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1981 VanagonL
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kvorhies
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Joined: February 22, 2009
Posts: 127

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:12 am    Post subject: 1981 VanagonL Reply with quote

Hey everyone,

I just bought a 1981 VanagonL and I had a few questions. I was hoping you could all help. I know I've had great experience with the beetle forums on this site in the past!

It's a 2.0L, aircooled, FI.

So, first off, my speedometer doesn't work at all. On low speeds it bounces around and at higher speeds it appears to be stuck at the max speed (even though I'm definitely not going 85). The cable doesn't seem to be loose.

I also noticed that my dash lights in general aren't working very well. The warning symbols are all illuminated, but my speedo and clock are not. Maybe just a bulb, but not sure.

I also have a tail-light out, reverse lights don't work, and one brake light isn't working. All of my fuses are good.

Anyhow, I would appreciate any help. I know that's a lot to absorb! Thanks in advance everyone. I'm really excited about this van.
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pinealservo
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Joined: March 08, 2010
Posts: 155
Location: Lehi, UT
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished going through some issues with my speedometer. Here are some things to check:

Is the cable mounted tightly to the back of the speedo? (I think yours is a screw-in?)
Is the cable end at the driver's wheel dustcap rounded off? Is the square hole in the dustcap for the speedo cable rounded off?

If those aren't the problem, you can try pulling the wheel end of the speedo cable out and hooking it into a drill to see if the same behavior happens with the drill vs. the wheel. If it's still bouncing, your problem is either a sticky cable or some stickiness in the speedo itself.

Cables are cheap at GoWesty, so you might just want to replace it at this point.

If you still have a problem, it's time to pull your speedo out of the dash and see if you can lubricate whatever is sticking. The cable drives a disc with several magnets in it, which in turn rotates the disc with the needle attached due to the magnetic force pulling it against a clockspring.

I dripped a bit of 3-in-1 oil down the shaft beneath the needle, which seemed to smooth things up a bit but not completely, and didn't completely eliminate a nasty squeak, either. I later removed it again and sprayed a little bit of aerosol white lithium grease in the little gap between the two discs, and then sprayed the excess out with compressed air. I tested it with the drill and it ran nice and smoothly and without noise.

The speedometer is very simple mechanically, so I'd be surprised if you aren't able to get it working smoothly again.
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FNGRUVN
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Joined: October 27, 2007
Posts: 2237
Location: Fort Collins, CO
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bad or broken speedo cable won't cause the needle to indicate a higher than actual speed. This is going to be caused by a malfunction in the speedo itself. Either the return spring is broken/loose or the magnet and drum aren't working together as they should. Send it in for repair. I think Van Cafe or Go Westy repairs them.

It sounds like the bulbs are bad with light issues. Buy a Bentley repair manual and check your fuel lines.
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kvorhies
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Joined: February 22, 2009
Posts: 127

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, thanks for the input. It's dark out tonight, but I can check some of the speedo stuff tomorrow!
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thummmper
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Joined: November 25, 2009
Posts: 2015
Location: Meadow Valley, California Republic
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you sound like you just have a bunch of lite bulbs that are burned out. my GL had them too. You can upsize the reverse bulbs so they are brighter too. the instrument lites are easy to replace once you get them. takes about 2 minutes with no tools.
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