What do you use to lubricate a noisy speedometer cable?

Mopar Interiors

  1. cruiser

    cruiser Well-Known Member

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    The speedo cable in my 1974 Duster rattles when its cold. Sounds a bit better when warmed up. How do you lube the cable core? Pull it all the way out of the housing? Maybe then clean it up really well, then lubricate before running the core back into the housing? Whaddya think? What's the best lube for this? Dry graphite or something else? Thanks- cruiser
     
  2. 413

    413 Well-Known Member

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    Yes Pull it out and clean it with brake cleaner. When it’s dry I use a small amount of wheel bearing grease. Slide it back in the housing.

    don’t use white lithium grease in a spray can, It will dry out and form a crust.

    I answered the question”what do you use”. Not what does the book say.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
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    • RustyRatRod

      RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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      I do not recommend grease of any kind and neither does the service manual. I use graphite. It needs to be kept dry, because grease can affect how the speedometer reads by gumming up the cable and making it have resistance.
       
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      • MOPAROFFICIAL

        MOPAROFFICIAL FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        I was just going to put in a reply saying 'use graphite' but then I read all the previous ones..
        Absolutely correct, Rob. Graphite.
         
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        • Alaskan_TA

          Alaskan_TA Well-Known Member

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          Superior brand white lithium grease specifically for speedometer cables.

          h.JPG
           
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          • Murray

            Murray FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            Before you spend a lot of time with the cable, check its condition.
             
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            • volunteer

              volunteer Well-Known Member

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              Never had any concerns using a high quality light engine oil, ATF or good additive such as Duralube. Cable removes from top so oil can be squirted in or gently applied as shoved back in. Greases can tend to be too thick or gummy and cause irregular rotation inside casing - which can, as a result, lead to a jumping needle. Do check how assembly is routed from top to bottom so no sharp curves. Jumping of speedo needle can also be due to stickiness or wear in that upper mechanism, but such issues in the speedo head require a lot more effort (or expense) to correct. So use what you wish, for casing and cable, and hopefully problem solved. Remember also that the cable rotates the same as the nylon coated drive gear and, graphite is a 'solid' so I would no more use it in the casing than I would use it in my door locks.
               
              Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
            • MOPAROFFICIAL

              MOPAROFFICIAL FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              This.
              If it hasn't turned in decades... chances are itll make noise for some time before and if it ever wears in again.
              Bouncing speedo!
               
            • cruiser

              cruiser Well-Known Member

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              If I were to pull the cable core out, clean it with brake cleaner, then lube it with dry graphite, wouldn't there still be a lot of crud inside the housing? And wouldn't this crud contaminate the newly cleaned and lubed core? Is there any way to clean the inside of the housing prior to reinstalling the cleaned and lubed core? You'd need some type of long, tiny brush with some solvent to do this. Ideas?
               
              Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
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              • RustyRatRod

                RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                Then shoot brake cleaner in the housing several times and blow it out.
                 
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                • MOPAROFFICIAL

                  MOPAROFFICIAL FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                • fratzog lover

                  fratzog lover Well-Known Member

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                  Back at the Buick dealer in the 70's we had GM Lubriplate. What we were told to use. Still have a can.

                  gmm.jpg
                   
                  Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
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                  • Dicer

                    Dicer Back Bone beats Wish Bone all the time. FABO Gold Member

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                    One tube left in this world, and its on eBay... $30.00 bucks hurry hurry . lol

                    speedo lub.jpg
                     
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                    • lemondana

                      lemondana BlackDart

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                      Slick 50 1 Lube in a spray can. I've only found it in Ace Hardwares. It is the most wonderous stuff I have ever found for a lot of things. Go out and get a can, you'll be hooked for life! Once you try it, you won't ever be without a can. I usually buy 3 or 4 cans so I never run out.
                       
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                      • RedFish

                        RedFish Well-Known Member

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                        The core pulls out from instrument end. To properly flush the casing you'll need to disconnect trans end also. Straighten the casing makes pushing the core back in easier too. It is possible to disconnect the cable from instrument and route it out from under the dash, pull the core out into the foot well but that doesn't get the square drive port on back of instrument cleaned.
                         
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                        • Cuda416

                          Cuda416 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          Blood from the skulls of my enemies..

                          Oh, wait, wrong board...
                           
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                          • cudamark

                            cudamark FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                            I've always used either lithium grease or lubriplate without issue. As mentioned, check the shaft in the speedo head for play. If it's worn out, lubing the cable won't help. Lubing the speedo head might though.... at least temporarily.
                             
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                            • Bad Sport

                              Bad Sport HALF A BUBBLE OFF Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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                              That ^^
                               
                            • Dicer

                              Dicer Back Bone beats Wish Bone all the time. FABO Gold Member

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                              Directions from the backside of a tube of Chrysler Speedometer Cable Lubricant #1243 632 This does not look like a dry lubricant in a tube.....

                              speedolube.jpg
                               
                            • cruiser

                              cruiser Well-Known Member

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                              Okay, I've solved the problem. Seems like you guys were pretty evenly split on using dry graphite or a white lithium grease product. Since the MOPAR speedometer lubricant in the tube above looks like a grease product, that's what I went with. Pulled the upper cable. (Remember, this car has a factory cruise control setup. The lower cable (servo to trans) was fine, it was the upper cable (servo to speedometer) that was noisy). I removed the core from the housing, both of which were in fine shape even though they were salvaged from a 1979 Volare. I used brake cleaner to clean all the gunk out of the cable housing, and there was a lot in there. I then used brake cleaner to clean the old lubricant off the core. Again, there was a lot there. The old lubricant looked like amber colored grease. The brake cleaner took care of this stuff pretty quickly. I then lubed the entire length of the core with white lithium grease and worked it in and out of the housing to spread it around inside. I did notice that there was a significant amount of resistance when I spun the core by hand, so I withdrew the core and cleaned the excess grease off of it. It was now spinning freely so I put it all back into the car and it works like a champ. The ratcheting noise that it used to make is completely gone. What a relief! Just in case, I measured the upper cable before I reinstalled it, should it fail at some point in the future and I have to buy a new one. It was 36" long, for what its worth. Again, thanks for everyone's input. I've solved SO MANY Duster problems by talking to you guys and gals!
                               
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                              • pishta

                                pishta I know I'm right....

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                                Every time I have removed a greased cable it felt like it had sand on it...stuck to the grease used prior. I'd use graphite but if Ma Mopar says use that stuff in a tube....? Grease will still hold grit, like a lapping compound.
                                 
                              • RustyRatRod

                                RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                                That tube looks what? 50 years old? Technology changes.
                                 
                              • cudamark

                                cudamark FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                Graphite is pretty old tech also. If anything, greases and oils have advanced more in recent years than graphite has. There's nothing wrong with graphite in certain applications, such as lock cylinders, but, I find it messy and it will stain things pretty easily if you're not careful. Either one will work on a speedo cable....we're not talking a top fuel engine here....
                                 
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