How to replace your speedometer cable


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How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby WingAdmin » Wed May 05, 2010 2:38 pm



The mechanical speedometer on Goldwings is driven from the front wheel. The speedometer hub links into the wheel hub, and turns as the wheel turns. The speedometer cable connects to this hub. (Goldwings with digital electronic speed readout do not use a speedometer cable, and instead have an electronic sensor at the hub) The core of the speedometer cable is rotated by the hub as the wheel turns. The other end of the cable is connected to the speedometer, where it turns a set of magnets inside. These magnets attract another magnet that is connected to the speedometer needle. As the first magnets rotate, they pull the needle along, indicating the speed of the motorcycle.

The speedometer cable continually flexes as it rotates, wherever the cable bends. For this reason, after a number of years and miles, it will eventually break. When this happens, your speedometer will read zero, no matter what speed you are travelling. Replacing it is quite simple, and only takes a few minutes!

Replacement speedometer cables can be found everywhere - online vendors such as Goldwing Cycle Parts sell them for around $15. This is a part that is subjected to continuous wear, so you really do want a new one, not a used one from a breaker bike.

1. Remove the set screw on the speedometer hub. This screw locks the cable into the hub.

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2. On the back of the speedometer itself, you'll find this knurled fitting. Unscrew it from the back of the speedometer.

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3. Remove the screw holding the speedometer cable and front left brake line to the fender. Careful - there is a tiny, easily lost nut on the back side that this screw screws into! Pull the speedometer cable free from the fitting. Observe the routing of the speedometer cable through the fairing, then pull the old cable out of the motorcycle.

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4. The new cable has a triangular shape to the inner cable at the speedometer end of the cable.

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5. Before installing the cable, it should be lubricated. The absolute best lubricant to use is graphite. It sprays in with a solvent carrier. This carrier quickly evaporates, leaving a dry coat of graphite behind, which is an excellent dry lubricant. Caution - this lubricant sprays on - and permanently marks - like black spray paint, so be careful where it drips!

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6. Insert the tube from the graphite lubricant into the top of the cable, and very gently spray the lubricant into the cable.

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7. When the lubricant starts dripping out the bottom of the cable (onto a strategically placed shop towel, as in this picture), the cable is lubricated. Turn the inside of the cable a few times to make sure it is equally distributed, and let it sit for a few minutes to dry.

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8. Thread the cable back into place through the fairing. Make sure it goes through the wire stay, which holds it away from the brake hardware.

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9. Gently insert the cable into the speedometer, and tighten in place.

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10. Insert the hub end of the cable into the hub. If it doesn't go in all the way gently, pull it out, rotate the inside slightly, then reinsert. Tighten the set screw.

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11. Refasten the speedometer cable and brake line into the fender stay, and tighten the screw.

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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby indyfuse » Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:00 pm

This was helpful in knowing what type of lubricant to use and how to disconnect. I had a screeching coming from my speedometer and had become increasingly loud and constant. I searched within the site and read this article. Figured the cable needed lubricating, I followed the steps and voila; the screeching has stopped and all seems to be better. Thx for the info, these how to articles have been great in keeping my 82 Goldwing running with the best.
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby woolz123 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:56 am

I to had a squalling speedometer. I took the cable off, cleaned and lubed it. It seems to be working fine. Thanks :)
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby montgomery63 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:23 pm

My set screw on the speedometer hub is frozen and I am beginning to strip the phillips head on the screw. I've tried penetrating oil and gently heating the screw. Nothing has worked. Ideas?
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby montgomery63 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:46 pm

Got the stripped screw. Bought a $7 screw extractor from Ace Hardware and backed it right out. Got the new cable installed but the speedo doesnt work. It seems to be seated on the bottom end. Cant tell if it is going far enough up inside the speedometer at the top end, but it seems to go in a half to 3/4 inch. Don't know what else to do.
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:58 am

montgomery63 wrote:My set screw on the speedometer hub is frozen and I am beginning to strip the phillips head on the screw. I've tried penetrating oil and gently heating the screw. Nothing has worked. Ideas?


I had the exact same problem. I ended up using an impact driver (no, not a pneumatic one) - it's a screwdriver that you hit on the head with a hammer, and as it gets pressed into the screw head by the impact, it twists the screw. One whack, and it popped the screw right out. I got it from PartsnMore.

Impact screwdriver
Impact screwdriver
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:59 am

montgomery63 wrote:Got the stripped screw. Bought a $7 screw extractor from Ace Hardware and backed it right out. Got the new cable installed but the speedo doesnt work. It seems to be seated on the bottom end. Cant tell if it is going far enough up inside the speedometer at the top end, but it seems to go in a half to 3/4 inch. Don't know what else to do.


Did you make sure it was seated into the drive? If you unscrew it from the speedo, and watch the end while turning the front wheel, can you see the inner core turning?
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby montgomery63 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:40 pm

Did you make sure it was seated into the drive? If you unscrew it from the speedo, and watch the end while turning the front wheel, can you see the inner core turning?


Yes, I did that, and it was not turning. It sure felt seated, so I pulled the other end from the speedometer drive and spun the wheel. The internal pin in the speedo drive was not turning consistently (would for a second, then would stop). I now believe I have isolated the problem as a bad speedometer drive.
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:46 pm

montgomery63 wrote:
Did you make sure it was seated into the drive? If you unscrew it from the speedo, and watch the end while turning the front wheel, can you see the inner core turning?


Yes, I did that, and it was not turning. It sure felt seated, so I pulled the other end from the speedometer drive and spun the wheel. The internal pin in the speedo drive was not turning consistently (would for a second, then would stop). I now believe I have isolated the problem as a bad speedometer drive.


Yes, I would definitely agree with that.
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby montgomery63 » Mon May 07, 2012 10:07 pm

Does anyone know a source for a speedometer drive unit for an 82 GL 1100? I am not finding one online. Thanks.
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby WingAdmin » Tue May 08, 2012 10:56 am

montgomery63 wrote:Does anyone know a source for a speedometer drive unit for an 82 GL 1100? I am not finding one online. Thanks.


There's quite a few listed on eBay:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R4 ... eter+drive

The same drive (part 44800-425-013) was used on all years of GL1100, so one from any year will work.
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby Britanicus » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:07 am

You have to make sure that you seat it properly. I just did this for my bike and found that the seat end has a slot and groove that must be lined up to properly seat.
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:03 am

Britanicus wrote:You have to make sure that you seat it properly. I just did this for my bike and found that the seat end has a slot and groove that must be lined up to properly seat.


Yes, all the (mechanical) speedometer Goldwings are like this. The wheel end of the cable has a flat piece that needs to be fit into a slot in the speedometer hub on the wheel. Don't force it - it should fit very easily. If it doesn't fit, rotate the wheel slowly until the slot lines up, and it will slide right in.

The top end of the cable is square, and similarly must be in the correct position to fit into the speedometer. If it doesn't fit easily, rotate the front wheel until it does.
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby bassmaster42 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:36 pm

so how do i change the speedometer hub. do i have to take off the tire..
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:12 pm

bassmaster42 wrote:so how do i change the speedometer hub. do i have to take off the tire..


No, you do have to remove the pinch bolts and axle nut however. You can see it in step 11 in How to remove and reinstall your front wheel
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby bassmaster42 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:45 am

so i see, to just take off pinch nuts and bolts on the cable side.. not the break caliper? so if i lift up the bike will that give me enough room to get the hub off without the other side not lossen or off?
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:23 pm

bassmaster42 wrote:so i see, to just take off pinch nuts and bolts on the cable side.. not the break caliper? so if i lift up the bike will that give me enough room to get the hub off without the other side not lossen or off?


No, the brake caliper has to come off, as shown earlier in that process. There isn't clearance for the wheel to drop down like that without removing the caliper.
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby bassmaster42 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:07 am

ok, sorry to keep bothering you. was trying to save money the shop wanted and extra 120 to do this on top of my 48k tune-up. so i have to do all that stuff for taking tire off. but just for the speedometer side. i can leave the other side alone right? tks
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:26 am

bassmaster42 wrote:ok, sorry to keep bothering you. was trying to save money the shop wanted and extra 120 to do this on top of my 48k tune-up. so i have to do all that stuff for taking tire off. but just for the speedometer side. i can leave the other side alone right? tks


You aren't going to be able to drop just one side of the wheel - the other side will hold the axle tightly in place, so you need to remove the axle holder on both sides.
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby bassmaster42 » Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:58 am

just found out the hub is good. i hooked up new cable to tire and after turning the tire the cable moved. yeah.. but how do i get the cable off the speedometer. is there something i have to take off to get to it. i can see it but can get hands on it to turn it off??
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby bassmaster42 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:36 pm

well was able to get old one off. but there is no room for your fingers to get new one in. starting to get frustrated. maybe should of let dealer do it. any suggestions on how to get new one back in???/
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby icebox » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:59 pm

Kinda skipped over how to get to the back of speedometer. What is the best way to get at it on a '86 1200 Interstate? Remove windshield ? Does it come out from the front? Remove Fairing? I just can't see how to do it. Thanks for all the advice you give!!
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby ronscycle1 » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:14 pm

I dont know how to get it lose from speedo either ? anybody
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Sep 08, 2014 2:20 pm

ronscycle1 wrote:I dont know how to get it lose from speedo either ? anybody


It has a knurled collar that turns holding the cable to the back of the speedometer. Loosen the knurled collar and the cable will come out. Sometimes (if you're lucky) you can get it to loosen by turning the whole cable (once it has been disconnected from the wheel hub).
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Re: How to replace your speedometer cable

Postby ronscycle1 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:18 am

how do ya get to it to take it off the speedo ?


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