Replaced odometer gears, but still not working

mcurry

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First time posting--hope I chose the right forum. I have a '95 GT convertible that I inherited from my father after he passed away in December 2022. It needs some work and I've been teaching myself as much as I can from reading forums, watching YouTube videos, etc. The odometer (and the trip) stopped working just before my dad parked it for the winter last year with a little over 133,000 miles on it.

This summer, I had to get a lot of work done to the car for it to pass inspection. I decided to fix the odometer myself, so I bought a replacement main gear and worm gear from CJ PonyParts, pulled the instrument cluster, successfully removed the old gears (both were clearly broken) and installed the replacement gears with no problem. (While I had the cluster out, I also upgraded to LED bulbs as I've seen suggested in several forums and videos.) The cluster was reinstalled in the dash, but the odometer and trip still do not work. All other gauges seem to work just fine. When I took it for a test drive, I could hear a distinct clicking or tapping sound coming from inside the cluster. I took it to my local mechanic; he pulled the cluster, checked all the electrical, and verified that I had installed the odometer repair gears correctly. He put the cluster back in the dash, but it still does not work.

So now I have two questions:

1.) Any suggestions on what else might be causing the issue or what else I can check? My local mechanic thinks maybe the motor that drives the gears inside could be bad. But I've been looking everywhere online and I can't find a replacement one on any of the sites I usually check--CJ PonyParts, American Muscle, Rock Auto, etc.

2.) I ordered a used, replacement instrument cluster on eBay, thinking I could either do a full replacement or use parts from it to repair whatever else might be wrong with mine. But if I just replace the entire cluster, what do I do about the mileage reading since it won't match what is on my original odometer? (The original odometer currently reads a little over 133,000; the replacement cluster I bought on eBay has over 166,000.)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Like I said, this is my first SN95 so I'm a novice, but I'm willing to learn!

Thanks in advance!
 

07GtS197

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I had this exact same issue on my 90 Grand Marquis recently. The odometer gears didn’t mesh and would bind so the worm gear would spin and slip causing a tapping sound that would increase/decrease with speed. I ended up having to get another set of gears and swapping them in. All is good.

You can swap the cluster over but if your car has pats it won’t start. You either need to get the old keys programmed to the new cluster or swap the cluster, matching cylinder/keys and pcm all in one.
 

from6to8

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it could be the gear motor as I believe I was my issue on one of my clusters. I also had a V6 cluster that I got from someone and IIRC the v6 one didn't fix it. If you get a v6 one from a junkyard just make sure you get a v8 one as well in case the 6 one doesn't work.

I also ended up using the cluster housing from the v6 as I broke one of the ears that holds the motor in and after gluing it it still moved just enough I guess to where it would cause an issue. I just kept track of the mileage difference in my google drive so I can reference things as to the difference between the clusters. Works for me....:D
 
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mcurry

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I had this exact same issue on my 90 Grand Marquis recently. The odometer gears didn’t mesh and would bind so the worm gear would spin and slip causing a tapping sound that would increase/decrease with speed. I ended up having to get another set of gears and swapping them in. All is good.

You can swap the cluster over but if your car has pats it won’t start. You either need to get the old keys programmed to the new cluster or swap the cluster, matching cylinder/keys and pcm all in one.
Thanks for the input! The one mechanic that looked at it said as far as he could tell, the gears were working just fine when he tested things and he said he couldn’t find anything electrical that was wrong, but if this new cluster doesn’t help, I may take your suggestion and order another set of gears and try that replacement again. It’s certainly been frustrating because I’ve had it in the shop all summer and this is the last thing holding it up to pass inspection.

Sorry for sounding like a complete novice, but what do you mean by pats? This is my first time really working on a SN95.
 

cobrajeff96

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When you put the worm gear on the shaft, make sure you don't bottom it out. There needs to be some amount of gap, similar to the gauge cluster needles. If you bottom them out then they'll bind up that way too.
 
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mcurry

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it could be the gear motor as I believe I was my issue on one of my clusters. I also had a V6 cluster that I got from someone and IIRC the v6 one didn't fix it. If you get a v6 one from a junkyard just make sure you get a v8 one as well in case the 6 one doesn't work.

I also ended up using the cluster housing from the v6 as I broke one of the ears that holds the motor in and after gluing it it still moved just enough I guess to where it would cause an issue. I just kept track of the mileage difference in my google drive so I can reference things as to the difference between the clusters. Works for me....:D
Thanks for that input! Did you happen to try replacing the gear motor, by any chance? I couldn’t find anywhere online that I could buy just that motor. So that’s another reason I figured I would just buy a complete used cluster—even if it doesn’t work itself, I can possibly use it for parts. I’m guessing it would just be a matter of splicing wires to replace that gear motor, but I’m not 100% confident in my skill to do that, to be honest. Haha!

Good idea about keeping track of the mileage difference in your Google Drive. I just wasn’t sure if that was something a dealership could fix or if something like that would further delay getting the car to pass inspection. So far, since I acquired it at the beginning of the summer, I’ve had to put a new cat-back exhaust on it as well as rear axle dampers, front control arms, and a few other things in order for it to pass inspection. The odometer is the last item that is holding things up and we are itching to get it out and enjoy it a bit while there is still some summer left.
 

cobrajeff96

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No splicing involved. It has a mini connector as part of its sub-harness. Just pop out the old one, put in the new one. Just have to be real gentle when you push & twist on the motor housing (it's held in by surrounding plastic).
 
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mcurry

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No splicing involved. It has a mini connector as part of its sub-harness. Just pop out the old one, put in the new one. Just have to be real gentle when you push & twist on the motor housing (it's held in by surrounding plastic).
Excellent! Good to know—I might try swapping the motor first then and see what happens instead of just replacing the entire cluster right away. That way, it will keep the original mileage and I know all the other gauges in the original cluster work. Thanks for the info!
 
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mcurry

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When you put the worm gear on the shaft, make sure you don't bottom it out. There needs to be some amount of gap, similar to the gauge cluster needles. If you bottom them out then they'll bind up that way too.
Great advice—I did make sure I left some room with the worm gear, actually. Just enough to fit a small, flathead screwdriver underneath.
 

from6to8

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Thanks for that input! Did you happen to try replacing the gear motor, by any chance? I couldn’t find anywhere online that I could buy just that motor. So that’s another reason I figured I would just buy a complete used cluster—even if it doesn’t work itself, I can possibly use it for parts. I’m guessing it would just be a matter of splicing wires to replace that gear motor, but I’m not 100% confident in my skill to do that, to be honest. Haha!

Good idea about keeping track of the mileage difference in your Google Drive. I just wasn’t sure if that was something a dealership could fix or if something like that would further delay getting the car to pass inspection. So far, since I acquired it at the beginning of the summer, I’ve had to put a new cat-back exhaust on it as well as rear axle dampers, front control arms, and a few other things in order for it to pass inspection. The odometer is the last item that is holding things up and we are itching to get it out and enjoy it a bit while there is still some summer left.
No no splicing and pretty much what Cobra Jeff said
 
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mcurry

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Really appreciate all the feedback and input in this thread. The (used) replacement instrument cluster I ordered arrived today. I installed it and all the gauges seem to work…except the odometer and trip. I’m going to pull it back out and check the gears inside, but just seems odd that the same issue persists in both clusters. Not sure what else to try. Could it be a fuse? The last mechanic that looked at it told me they checked all the electrical and things looked okay to them. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

cobrajeff96

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If the speedo needle works but the number dials don't, it's just the gears. You just got unlucky, is all.
 

Daryl

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If all else fails, contact: Mark Olsen (408)357-3541. He’s an electrical engineer; been fixing Mustang clusters on the side for years. Does exceptional work!

I sent him my gauge cluster after having no luck fixing it myself. He fixed it up, works perfectly and cleaned up like brand new. Very reasonably priced, too. Shipping and packaging excellent. Quick turnaround.
 

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