Calibrating the Speedometer Needles - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 07-16-2012
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Calibrating the Speedometer Needles

Since the mail man dropped this off for me.


And i used the search function, but got stonewalled.

who has a definitive how to be all end all way to calibrate the needle. once i change faces.

I looked at the how -to from a while back, something about a AA battery attaching to the solder points of the needles on the backside?

I also read another thing that talked about just measuring the distance between the 10mph and 20mph and setting it that way?

any help would be cool guys.
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Old 07-16-2012
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This was obtained from an old how to. Is this the right?

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Now flip the center section over. Here, you’ll see the electric motor which drives the speedometer needle(silver round thingy towards the bottom right). Circled, are the solder studs which we’ll talk about later…


In order to take the odometer/speedo gauge out, you must remove the needle. BUT in order to make sure you place the needle properly in the correct orientation on the needle, you must first calibrate the speedometer. We do this with a little bit of wire, alligator clips/roach clips, and a new AA battery. Make your wires look like the pic below. You need to pretty much make a ‘ Y ‘ out of them. Top of the ‘ Y ‘ shall have the roach clips, bottom of the ‘ Y ‘ shall be a long stripped section of bare wire. I made the bottom portion of the ‘ Y ‘ long to make it easier to make the vids seen later in this post.


Now….those circled solder studs talked about above…they come into play here. Place an alligator clip on each stud, as following diagram. Make sure the roach clips are not touching each other OR the motor. I like to lean the Tach/Speedo gauge up against the cluster ‘housing’..makes it easy and it stays put. Red = + pos. Black = - Neg.



Now…place the bottom of the ‘ Y ‘s stripped section onto their respective ends of a new AA battery. I did the wires in cooresponding colors…Red = pos. Black = Neg. So it makes it easy. While you do this, watch the speedometer needle. It should move and hold still on a number, in this case, it was approx 70mph.


Go ahead and do the AA test a few times to create an accurate speed reading. Write that reading down or take a mental note. Now you are ready to remove the speedo needle. This is best done I find, by rotating the needle up off the stop, and taking a fork to it. Sometimes though, the needle is set in so far, a fork will not fit. In that case, I like to take my box cutter and pull it up a little bit…enough to get the fork in. Get the fork in there, and pull straight up, strongly yet gently. Now the needle should be removed.




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Calibrating the Speedometer Needles-pa290028.jpg   Calibrating the Speedometer Needles-pa290029.jpg   Calibrating the Speedometer Needles-pa290031.jpg   Calibrating the Speedometer Needles-pa290033.jpg  
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Old 07-16-2012
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i put my cluster back in the truck without the clear lens on it, then use my gps to tell me how fast i'm going. usually set it around 55 or 60. works perfect.
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Old 07-16-2012
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i did mine the battery way and it worked fine...when i put the 33s on, i dialed it in with the NGS
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Old 07-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drppdyllwrngr View Post
i put my cluster back in the truck without the clear lens on it, then use my gps to tell me how fast i'm going. usually set it around 55 or 60. works perfect.
So, you just moved it with your hand while you were driving?

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Originally Posted by Toreador4x4 View Post
i did mine the battery way and it worked fine...when i put the 33s on, i dialed it in with the NGS

I was thinking of doing it the battery way.
What is the NGS, i'm afraid i'm not aware of it.
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Old 07-16-2012
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i saw something somewhere.. that if you key the ignition and mark where the needles sit, pull them off, then put them back where they were then you should be set. i dont really remember tho, this was a while ago.
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Old 07-16-2012
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i used the how-to you quoted with the battery/aligator clips on solder points method multiple times. works well. just have to make sure you put the battery to it before you take the needle off to see what speed it calibrates to. my original cluster calibrated to 60. another one i had calibrated to 70.
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Old 07-16-2012
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And then do what when i put the new one on.
I understand the taking it off part, and either i'm really ignorant, or just not getting it.
Do i set the new needles in place at whatever speed the original ones read?
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Old 07-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StxDangerRanger View Post
So, you just moved it with your hand while you were driving?
yeah. i put the speedo needle on loosely, then pulled it off and adjusted it until i was happy. i'm within 1-2mph.
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Old 07-16-2012
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I've done all my clusters the battery way


oh yeah and before you remove the stock needles from your cluster, take a picture of where everything is first while at idle (gas gauge and tach are the ones you'll want to put in the right spot)

and use a fresh battery each time
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Old 07-16-2012
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say your speedo calibrates to 60. switch your faces out, then put the juice to the speedo. so your motor will be turned to wherever it turns to. then you plop your needle on 60 with the juice on. when you take power off it will drop to 0. when you put the juice back on it should go to 60.

i hope that makes sense.
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Old 07-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac View Post
say your speedo calibrates to 60. switch your faces out, then put the juice to the speedo. so your motor will be turned to wherever it turns to. then you plop your needle on 60 with the juice on. when you take power off it will drop to 0. when you put the juice back on it should go to 60.

i hope that makes sense.
Yes, perfect sense.
Thanks.


And Perdo, Just place the needles back where they go at idle, the place them where they go at idle when the truck is off?
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Old 07-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StxDangerRanger View Post
Yes, perfect sense.
Thanks.


And Perdo, Just place the needles back where they go at idle, the place them where they go at idle when the truck is off?
idle when the truck is on for the tach and gas gauge. For the temp one, put it back on the cluster when the truck is cold so that one is really easy. Voltage, place it on when the truck is running right in the middle where it should be, also really easy. the only tricky one is the speedometer.
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Old 07-16-2012
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Ok, so. let me try and get this all together.

On the speedo, Test it with a Battery and get the reading, (more than once) then place the new on in the same place with the battery connected.

Same for Tach? or just set that at Idle?

Set all other needles to their position that they were in when the truck was on before tear down, both times with truck running?
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Old 07-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StxDangerRanger View Post
Ok, so. let me try and get this all together.

On the speedo, Test it with a Battery and get the reading, (more than once) then place the new on in the same place with the battery connected.

Same for Tach? or just set that at Idle?

Set all other needles to their position that they were in when the truck was on before tear down, both times with truck running?
Speedometer- Battery test
Tachometer- take a picture or remember where it is at idle in park
Gas- Take a picture or remember where it is before removal.
Temp- Replace when its cold so you can't really mess that up
Voltage- place in the middle at idle
Oil- place in middle at idle

Remove all needles with the truck off and the cluster out of the truck. using a fork works best
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Old 07-16-2012
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AND. don't press the needles on too far when you go to put them all back on. there should be a little gap. otherwise they won't move smoothly, sometimes not at all. imagine my disappointment when i had pressed the tach needle on to far and it moved all jerky.
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Old 07-16-2012
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My tach one fell off one day when i killed a bug on my dash. I hit the bug and the needle fell off lmao
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Old 07-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99offroadrngr View Post
My tach one fell off one day when i killed a bug on my dash. I hit the bug and the needle fell off lmao
Shoot. thats going to happen to me now.

I'm going to be damn good at taking my dash apart soon enough here. Figures. I dropped a U-clip the other day for the very top 3 bolts that are above the gauge cluster. So now i can put it back on.
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Old 07-16-2012
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i hit a bump that knocked the little black cap that goes over the needle off. must've thrown it off balance too because it would just wander up and down. then, i upsized my tires and BAM, reads a perfect 10 under. go figure.
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  #20  
Old 09-05-2012
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Mine was about 10mph off after putting on 35" tires then I regeared my truck with 4.88s and it's about 3mph off now. I use my gps for the most accurate mph. You can get a whole new speedometer cluster off ebay for less than $100.
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Old 09-05-2012
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I'm glad you bumped this thread, I have a new cluster on its way. This will work way better than following my friend on the interstate and trying to stick the speedometer needle on while driving
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Old 10-10-2013
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This may sound stupid but why not just pull the needless off when the truck is fully off?

IE if you pull the speedo needle off when the truck is off and on a flat surface there is that little peg to stop it from going lower, why not just put it back on that same spot? Wouldn't it be the same or this is for those that are changing to bigger tires and want to adjust the speedo to compensate for the bigger diameter?

I just got a ford ranger cluster that has the silver dials and I plan on changing the red needles to my 01's white needles since I like the white and green look compared to the red/green Christmas look.

Thanks,
-Nigel
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Old 10-10-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewShockerGuy View Post
This may sound stupid but why not just pull the needless off when the truck is fully off?
That's what you do... You take note of where the needles are while the vehicle is at operating temp and running. Remove cluster. Remove needles.

Quote:
IE if you pull the speedo needle off when the truck is off and on a flat surface there is that little peg to stop it from going lower, why not just put it back on that same spot?
Because it wouldn't be calibrated and the peg starts at 10mph. (at least on 98-03). Try it and it'll forever be off til you fix it by driving with cruise control at 60 (using a GPS) and setting the needle while trying to drive.

Quote:
Wouldn't it be the same or this is for those that are changing to bigger tires and want to adjust the speedo to compensate for the bigger diameter?
That's "fake compensation". Odometer is still rolling at a slower rate (with bigger diamter tires) or faster rate (with smaller diameter tires).

Quote:
I just got a ford ranger cluster that has the silver dials and I plan on changing the red needles to my 01's white needles since I like the white and green look compared to the red/green Christmas look.

Thanks,
-Nigel
Easily done. Just follow what's outlined in this thread and take a look at this write-up I did years ago. Not all of it will pertain to you because you're not rolling the odometer....just swapping needles.

Click: https://www.ranger-forums.com/interi...s-only-104556/
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Old 10-10-2013
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Shanes Thread was the one i originally read to get the initial knowledge base.

FWIW.

I'll probably do mine soon. I can do it at work where i have a power supply, which i can set to a constant 1.5V or whatever so i don't have to worry about the battery part and where all my electrical tools are as well.
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Old 10-10-2013
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I've done 3 gauge swaps in my truck and always used Shanes thread and haven't had a problem.
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