Speedometer Trouble

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i'm fairly new to this board. So if i'm doing something wrong, someone please tell me. Well first i have a 95 es300. The speedometer isn't working. I just put in a new speed sensor and its still not working. While having the speed sensor unpluged, i spun the gear on the speed sensor with my hand and the speedometer needle jumps. But when i put it back in the engine. It doesn't work when i drive. The check engine light comes on while the Overdrive light flashes every 2 seconds. I already checked all the wire attachment behind the cluster. Can anyone help? I'm desperate!

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Hello Zephyr,

Please remember that I am using my 1994 LS400 as a reference in answering your "desperation".

My problem - the speedometer (always zero), cruise control (no control) and odometer (not counting up) all went dead at the same time. My O/D OFF light flashed intermittently (as it should to indicate a speed pickup failure). I did not have the Check Engine light on situation (not sure why the ES300 has this indication).

My diagnosis - I also replaced the Vehicle Speed Sensor No.1 but this did not solve the problem. However when I took a closer look at the plastic gear (metal shaft with plastic gear) which interfaced with the VSS No.1, I noticed that the plastic gear teeth were worn out. Because the teeth were worn out, they were not engaging the transmission. Consequently, the gear was not spinning as it should. And so my VSS No.1 could not pick up the speed. Hence the speedometer was still stuck at zero.

My solution - Replaced old with a new plastic gear. Made sure plastic gear was free from any oil so that it would not slip whilst it engaged with the transmission. However I did oil the O ring with ATF oil to give it a tighter seal.

This works with my 1994 LS400.

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yah it would have to be in the tranny as you can spin the gear and get a change in readings

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I read your post and it sounds similar to the problem I am having.

I have a 97 ES300 with about 100,000 miles, and my speedometer, odometer and cruise control are not working for about four months. The Speedometer (analog) shows zero, the Odometer (digital) is not lit and does not show anything, and I have error code P0500. I replaced the speed sensor on the transmission with another one from a junk yard and did not fix the issues, although it could have been a bad sensor... My original speed sensor did not have stripped gear and it seemed ok.

A few months back I bought GPS and I was happy that I can read the speed from the GPS so I did not bother to fix the speedometer/odometer/cruise control. Everything else seemed to work properly, and the dashboard seem to have light and work (with the exception of the problems above).

Lately, I noticed that when it is colder outside (less than 60 Fahrenheit) and I start the car, it hesitates about 2-5 seconds before going into the first speed or reverse, and does not shift to second until it goes to about 4000 rpm. This shifting problem does not seems to happen when it is warmer outside, or when the engine is warm, or after driving about a minute. I also noticed that if I start the car and wait about 30 seconds before putting in gear the problem does not seem to happen even in the colder weather. I am not sure if the shifting problems are related to the speedometer/odometer/cruise control problems.

Are this the same symptoms you had ? Was your speedometer digital and not lit?

Kind Regards,


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This video explains the 3 simultaneous symptoms others have had and shows the process of how it’s fixed. Hope this helps everyone who may run into this issue.
3 issues are:

1.    1. speedometer not moving

2.    2. odometer digital display is blank

3.    3. shifting is erratic while trying to accelerate

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