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Old 10-16-2004, 12:08 PM   #1
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Unhappy speedometer and tachometer gone AWOL


I have a focus 1999 that has 49 k miles on the clock.recently I have noticed that the speedometer dies while I'm driving. The digital odometer also stops registering any distance travelled. It still displays just that it stops showing any new miles covered.
Then usually about 4 miles down the road both the speedometer and tachomter will start working as normal again. Anybody ever experience anything like this in their foci !?.

For the record I have changed my battery and alternator was overhauled though not replaced.
This was done for a different problem.
I had this speedo and odometer problem before and after doing the above.
Any ideas greatly appreciated.


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Old 10-16-2004, 12:21 PM   #2
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ummm I have never heard of that...if noone on here knows I'm stumped........possibly a wiring problem or a ground problem?
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Old 10-16-2004, 03:05 PM   #3
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Either that or the speed sensor (VSS) is going out. Pretty common.
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Old 10-17-2004, 02:42 AM   #4
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Where is the speed sensor located and is this something I could replace myself ???
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Old 10-17-2004, 11:01 AM   #5
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Looks pretty straightforward in the manual. Never changed it myself (yet). It is on the transmission and held in with a pin. You have to remove the drivers side wheel and fenderwell liner and get to it from below. It is next to the right hand driveaxle, to the rear of the trans. Push back the pin to release the sensor and pop it out. Have a rag ready as you'll get some fluid. Make sure you get the "o" ring out too. Install as you removed it, but lube the "o" ring before installation. Really all it is is a magnet, so it should be pretty simple.

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Old 10-17-2004, 11:09 AM   #6
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try putting vehicle in self diagnostic mode, put on mph if there's no reading when driving replace the speed sensor, i think it by on eof the axle shafts in the transmission.

the speed sensor feeds the ecm the ecm feeds the gauges.
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Old 10-17-2004, 11:43 AM   #7
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my 98 focus does that too
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Old 10-17-2004, 12:08 PM   #8
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My 2000 Focus was doing the exact same thing. I final bought a new vehical speed sensor for $52.00 last week and it works fine now. I was able to get to the VSS by removing the air filter housing and reaching back. You have to do it by feel this way but its not too hard. Trying to unlatch the connector in that position is a pain so, if you remove the pin that holds the VSS in and then pull the VSS out first you can unlatch the connector a lot easier.
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Old 10-25-2004, 04:14 PM   #9
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thanks for all the feedback..., I will definitely try replacing the sensor myself.
I was worried initally that it might be a symptom of a bigger problem !
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Old 11-09-2004, 10:51 AM   #10
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I had the same problem. I replaced the VSS yesterday and all seems ok now. After doing some experimenting, I found the easiest way to get at the VSS was to put the front on a set of ramps.

You can crawl under the car and get to the VSS. The only thing is you end up working on the sensor blind because of the position your hand/hands. Getting the sensor out was easy. Disconnecting the wiring harness was an other story. The clip holding the harness was a bear to un-snap while under the car.

I disconnected the MAP sensor and removed the air filter box cover and air filter. I fished the sensor and harness up. There's enough cable for you to work on it by the air box. I disconnected the harness and dropped it back down.

I made one last trip under the car to install the new sensor and connect the harness.

All told, it took about 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, it took the local dealer 2 weeks to get the sensor. Ford had a packaging problem and was shipping sensors under the wrong part number.
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