Speedometer cable installation

I’m about to install a speedometer set up on my 14. I read something about it being necessary to pre-load the chain links? I’ve got all the parts except the bracket that holds the speedometer head to the dash but I can make one to make do until I find one. I want to get everything right, seems like I read installation without preloading the chain can result in links breaking.

I think the preloading takes care of itself if you install the chain links, slathered in grease, into the outer casing by letting them hang downwards. After the links are in the case there should be barely enough hanging out to attach the end piece. Too many links will result in a bound up chain that breaks. Exactly enough links no way it can bind up.

I fill the palm of one hand with grease and pull the chain through to make sure there is way too much grease, which is always better than not enough.

Ok. Im sure I’ve got the right amount of links. The chain comes out just enough to get the last link off. I’ll grease and put it back together then. I didn’t really understand the preload part because it looks like it would just unwind when you go in reverse.

I always try to have the telescoping end (clutch end)? in as far as it will go, so it will have more support.


Directions I received from Russ Furstnow to preload the chain links:

  1. Grease and pull through the cable with just enough links to make the end chain connections, the two clutches.
  2. Jack up the right front wheel (US) and engage the road gear with the pinion.
  3. Connect the swivel end of the cable, the lower ferrule, (nut with the flats). This is the end with the lower clutch connector (big one) .
  4. Rotate/spin the front wheel in the forward direction a few rotations and observe the upper clutch rotating smoothly in the upper ferrule that connects to the speedometer head. Stop the wheel.

This spin “lays” the links where they “pull” each other rather “push” each other. If you don’t do this and continue to have a pushing situation on the links, you will eventually break a link.

  1. Connect the knurled cable nut, the upper ferrule, to the speedometer head being careful to line up speedometer drive to engage the single ear end of the upper clutch connector. Tighten upper ferrule to the speedometer head. Spin the wheel forward again and you should see about 5 mph on the speedometer. You’re done.

You will not break a link doing the small amount of slow speed reverse used in normal driving even if the chain doesn’t flip.

If you haven’t already done so, it only takes about ten minutes to do the above and I strongly suggest it to avoid eventually breaking a link.

I had my car worked on by someone and subsequently broke a link in less than a hundred miles. They had disconnected the speedometer and failed to “lay” the chain and I didn’t check it. It’s the only link I ever replaced and at least 5,000 miles ago on that chain link cable.


I always try to get a used cable a clean as I can, before returning it to service. As I recall, I used a rifle cleaning kit to do this. The links are usually pretty dirty too, so I wash them good, and air dry them. I feed them in to the cable slowly using plenty of light chassis grease.