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Old 30-07-2012   #1
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Post Speedometer failure: Cable?

Hi all,
We've just bought a Hymer Camp mobile home based on a 2001 Fiat Ducato 2.8 JTD . It is left hand drive, imported from Germany on a 51 plate.
On the drive home, the speedo failed.
The speedometer has a mechanically reset odometer, and it looks like a cable driven unit to me. There's a big fat Bowden cable running into the back of the instrument cluster and it dives down the back of the engine.
I'm being told that "it's electronic, that the van's too big to get near the diagnostic unit, it'll cost 850 to fix, blah, blah, go away and stop bothering us..."
Before I get myself all greasy and have a go myself, can anyone confirm whether it's a cable driven unit or not?
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Old 30-07-2012   #2
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

you might have to get dirty to see if its driven from cable from box or electronic will have wires coming out of sender.
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Old 31-07-2012   #3
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

Hi Carole,

Don't let them blag you - you've correctly identified that it's an old-style cable-driven instrument and the cable needs replacing. We had the same issue on our 02-plate (but 01-built) D10 with 1.9TD engine. It had only done 9500 miles from new but is 10 years old. On the first trip after buying it the cable broke.
Ours has one of the last mechanically-injected engines too and everyone seems to think it's got an ECU which, of course, it hasn't.
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Old 31-07-2012   #4
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

Quote Originally Posted by fenman View Post
Hi Carole,
Ours has one of the last mechanically-injected engines too and everyone seems to think it's got an ECU which, of course, it hasn't.
Cheers!
This engine definately has electronic fuel injection. The previous owner, a fellow in the motor trade, had the engine either re-mapped or "chipped" as he put it. Works well too! The wheel-spin in top can be disconcerting though.
The speedometer has a mechanical odometer and reset, and there is a whopping thick cable into the rear of the instrument cluster. But ,of course, one can't see which instrument it goes into without some major gymnastics and a few mirrors. I'm being told that the RPM guage is cable driven and the speedometer is electronic, but that's counter to what I've experienced in the past. RPM guages have been electronic since the dawn of history. So, I choose to disbelieve everything I'm told by the FIAT dealer on the grounds that I don't like it.
I'll await the Ducato workshop manual and have a fiddle about then. I don't want to get involved in a dashboard strip down if there's a quick way to get at things.
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Old 31-07-2012   #5
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

Once again you're right. There's no way the rev counter will be mechanically-driven. Since you have a common-rail engine it will be electronically-driven from the ECU. You're also right that even before the advent of ECUs they were electronic, often driven from a connection on the alternator. Those guys at the Fiat franchise don't know what they're talking about. That thick cable can only be going to the speedo. You can prove it, of course, by tracing it back to the gearbox as dirtyhands suggested.
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Last edited by fenman; 31-07-2012 at 16:41.
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Old 14-08-2012   #6
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

I bought a Fiat Ducato user manual on DVD that uses the same block of text for all speedometer descriptions across the range, telling me it's electronic. Hmm. That's why FIAT's in Chelmsford are being unhelpful.
I took it into a local garage today (because they have a high bay) and left it. Phoned at lunch time asking, "Is it electronic then?", whereupon I could hear the mechanic in the background say, "Is she F****ing stupid?".
Cable driven then.
I still don't know if it's actually the cable that's gone or whether it's something far worse, but at least I know now I'm not a complete numpty.
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Last edited by Carole Sherrington; 14-08-2012 at 15:36. Reason: error
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Old 14-08-2012   #7
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

You should've said "Am I right then - is it a cable?"
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Old 16-08-2012   #8
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

The speedo cable fitted was very long and had been looped about to get it to fit in the engine compartment. I guess it's a replacement and had been mis-routed. Anyway it had failed and fuzzed up at one of the bends. Unfortunately, the jammed cable has stripped the teeth off the plastic pinion in the gearbox and a replacement is going to take 10 days to obtain.
Quelle grande bummage.
This whole sorry story does point to a problem with FIAT's documentation. We'd supplied the engine number and VIN to the FIAT dealership and, "Computer says it's electronic" was the answer.
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Old 24-08-2012   #9
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

We had to have a new cable, gearbox sender unit and a connector rod. The cable had seized in its liner and stripped the teeth off the sender.
150.6 kM after repair, the damn thing has failed again.
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Old 25-08-2012   #10
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

Sounds like the new components weren't installed properly. Presumably the work is warranted so you'll be taking it back with a few choice comments. I'd be interested to know what the problem turns out to be this time so keep us posted.
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Old 29-03-2016   #11
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

Hi, I realise this is an old post. but i have the same problem. I recently bought a Ducato 2001 2.8 JTD and on the fist outing the speedometer stopped working. Because it is the old mk1 mechanical cable i just need to replace it but i can't seem to source one from anywhere. Does anyone know where i can get this type of speedometer cable from ? Any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks.
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Old 29-03-2016   #12
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

Quote Originally Posted by NickCook View Post
Hi, I realise this is an old post. but i have the same problem. I recently bought a Ducato 2001 2.8 JTD and on the fist outing the speedometer stopped working. Because it is the old mk1 mechanical cable i just need to replace it but i can't seem to source one from anywhere. Does anyone know where i can get this type of speedometer cable from ? Any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks.
Make sure its not the nylon gear on the sender. Although the cable is usually the cause of this stripping in the first place so probably needs to be changed.

Speedy cables london (located in wales haha) have made them up for others, worth trying citroen and peugeot first as they stock a lot of the parts fiat have stopped stocking. Also axel augustin in germany may have or fiat alfa parts in the uk.
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Old 29-03-2016   #13
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Re: Speedometer failure: Cable?

Great, i'll try those. thanks.
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