I'm trying to remove the instrument cluster to replace some dead bulbs, but
just can't get the darn speedometer cable to unhook. I've heard lots to
vague descriptions that usually go "reach behind an disconnect the cable."
I can reach behind. I can feel the cable. I can turn the cable a little.
But I can't see it, and I'm not sure what to do to remove it.
Does someone have a picture of how the cable attaches to the back of the
instrument cluster, or know what I need to do to disconnect it. Do I turn
the cable 90 degrees? Is there a retaining clip I'm somehow supposed to
Disconnect the speedometer cable from the transmission. Just give the cable a
close to the trans. You can then pull it through the firewall enough to
from the cluster. You squeeze the connector and pull it off of the speedometer.
you are done with the cluster, push the cable into the trans until it snaps in
The cable doesn't exactly connect to the transmission. It plugs into the
Speed Sensor that is screwed to the transmission. If you have room, you can
the VSS instead of unplugging the cable.
I recently changed all the light bulbs on my 95' Escort's instrument
cluster. I couldn't disconnect the speedo cable from the back of the
cluster either. There's just not enough working room. I tried to pull
the speedo cable out of the tranny but it wouldn't release. I had to
remove the metal/wire retaining clip on the end of the cable housing to
get it out. I used some needle nose pliers to bend the clip back in
shape before reinstalling it on the cable. Once the cable was out of the
tranny I pushed it through the firewall a few inches while pulling the
cluster out of the dash. This is where a helper would come in handy.
With the cluster out it's easy to remove the speedo cable from the back.
I changed all the bulbs regardless of their condition. I used long life
'194' bulbs. They cost more but I don't intend to ever remove the
cluster again. I remember when changing an instrument light was just a
matter of reaching up under the dash and pulling the bulb out.
I know the cable is supposed to pull out but things don't always go as
they should. I pulled on the cable quite hard but it wouldn't release. I
was concerned that further pulling might damage the cable so I removed
the clip. It wasn't any big deal to reshape the clip and install it back
on the cable.
Without good instructions, replacing the instrument cluster blubs can
take forever, but it really only needs to take about 1-2 hours and
that's if you're not a good mechanic. Here's how:
Steps to replacing the instrument cluster/dashboard lights on a 1993
1. Remove the plastic cover underneath the steering wheel.
2. Now remove the 4 large bolts that you see. This will drop the entire
steering wheel down onto the front seat.
3. Remove the driver's side of the dash (goes from the center console
vents over to the driver's side door and up and around the instrument
4. Disconnect any excessories as you pull the dash (e.g. rear defrost,
5. The instrument cluster will now be in view. On the top of the
instrument cluster but farther back in, there are 3 little golden
star-tipped screws. Use a magnetic-tipped screwdriver to remove them or
else you could lose the screws. Note: these 3 screws are not the first
ones you see; they're actually back in an inch or two.
6. The clear plastic cover will now come off. You will now see the
gauges with nothing between you and them. Grab the gauges individually
(e.g. tachometer, fuel gauge, etc.; they're just connected with prongs,
not a bunch of wires). You don't need to pull the speedometer because
you can access the bulbs from the tach and fuel gauge.
7. Once the gauges are pulled, the bulbs should be in plain sight.
8. Do all of these steps in reverse order to put it all back together.
Very ingenious. How did you discover that method? I used the
instructions in the Ford manual which say to remove the complete
instrument cluster. It would also have been easier if the driver's side
dash panel would come off without having to lower the steering column
but there's not enough clearance.
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