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Smiths Speedometer Wavers

I recently acquired a '71 P1800E. This is the second car I've owned that had a Smiths speedometer. Both do the same thing: the needle wavers as the speed increases. I can't tell whether I'm going 50 or 65! Is it the speedo, or the cable? I don't want to replace parts needlessly. Advice? Please don't tell me me to "live with it."
Patricia Donnelly

Phil says: Our 1800S, which has a brand-new cable, does the same and worse. It's a common problem. Who can tell us the solution? I'd really like to know, too.

Answer from a reader: This is often the result of a bad speedometer cable, but it may be caused by missing teeth in the speedometer drive gear or the right-angle drive adapter. The only way to find out for sure is to test them individually. It's not too difficult to remove the drive gear from the transmission for inspection. You can test the cable after disconnecting it from the right-angle adapter by twirling the inner cable between thumb and index finger. If it's difficult to turn, the cable should be replaced. I assume you can test the right-angle adapter the same way after removing it, although I have no experience with this item, as my '63 does not have it.
Glenn Goodspeed

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