Tampering with the way it works or the mileage isn't legal,
but repairing it to original specs yourself is.
95% of time it is either one of two things:
- bent/bad contacts. Most units have a bunch of spikes/pins that slide
into the board above. Gently buffing the contacts with fine grit
sandpaper and squeezing the contacts together(gently, with the pins
out/board removed)- that will ensure a nice, tight fit.
Card-edge connectors are the same sort of deal. Sometimes you have to
take the connector apart and squeeze the tiny pins together. Other
times, it's terminal and you have to directly solder the wires to the
- cold solder joints. Easy to check - look at the contact and power
connectors - the backside likely has a couple of bad or intermittent
joints. re-solder and presto - good to go.
My thrasher/beater Neon (hey it runs and I paid $600 for it!) was a
matter of the first problem - gently squeeze the connectors that the pins
slide through the board into together and a little sanding - and presto,
good as new. Radio was the same - $40 at a parts yard - fix a wire,
replace a rear speaker, and presto - good as new.
People moan about these little cars, but they are cheap and easy to
The Escort's spedometer appears to be of a simmilar modular design,
so look there first. Oh - taking the dash apart may be tricky. It
was a snap(literally) in the Neon, but Ford has a way of making things
odd at times.
Your right Joseph
Motor Vehicle Cost Information Act, 49 U.S.C. Section 32704
1. (It shall be unlawful for a person) "with intent to defraud, operate a
motor vehicle on a street, road, or highway if the person knows that the
odometer of the vehicle is disconnected or not operating; or
2. The owner of the vehicle or agent of the owner shall attach a written
notice to the left door frame of the vehicle specifying the mileage before
the service, repair, or replacement and the date of the service, repair, or
3. A person transferring ownership of a motor vehicle shall give the
transferree the following written disclosure
A) Disclosure of the cumulative mileage registered on the odometer,
B) Disclosure that the actual mileage is unknown if the transferror knows
that the odometer reading is different from different from the number of
miles the vehicle has actually traveled.
(b) Mileage Statement Requirement for Licensing. - (1) A motor
vehicle the ownership of which is transferred may not be licensed for use in
a State unless the transferee, in submitting an application to a State for
the title on which the license will be issued, includes with the application
the transferor's title and, if that title contains the space referred to in
paragraph (3)(A)(iii) of this subsection, a statement, signed and dated by
the transferor, of the mileage disclosure required under subsection (a) of
I said you were right, what the hell else did you want? Here, try this
To all reading this post, I sincerely apologize for not being 100% accurate
in my original statement. To make things clear, I have posted an excerpt
from the federal law regarding odometers.
Does that work for you? I think it's important that Simon knows what he is
working with. I would rather spend $120 than to ever sell a vehicle and be
accused of tampering with the odometer. The defense lawyer will cost more
What is considered "Tampering" with those parts? I a friend and I wanted to
settle an argument with our calculus teacher about odometers in cars going
backwards when the car goes backwards (long story). Anyway I drove in
reverse for around a quarter of a mile, and watched the numbers roll back.
If I remember right... it looked like all 5 digits were going to back up by
one. But not for sure. I stopped at that point and then kept going
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