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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just bought a 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper van in great condition. It only had three issues when I picked it up:
  • windshield wipers didn't work - - replaced a bushing to fix successfully and now they work fine;
  • signal light wouldn't stay on unless I held the arm - - I'm told I need a signal light cancelling cam and it appears I can buy the part online.

- the instrument cluster (speedometer/odometer -- seller lubed the cable and said it was working but it bounced a little, then the speedometer/odometer quit altogether) - - - (alt meter function is sporadic but battery is charging when vehicle is running)
Is it possible the van seller just didn't hook the cable up correctly after he lubed the cable?
A mechanic friend said I should buy a complete replacement instrument cluster. I found four used ones on eBay but they are all older than mine (the newest is a 1974). The part seller wants about $320 plus shipping for any of the clusters he has available). Is this a fair price? How can I know the one I buy is in better shape that the one already in my van? Seller said they passed a basic ohm test. Does that mean the gauges in the instrument clusters he is selling are fully functional?

Please email me with advice -- everyone knows more than I do on this issue!
 

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You need to check the alt meter wiring and see if it is tightly connected. If it is then buy and after market alt meter and mount to the dash.

Speedometer could be disconnected or it could be something needs fixed. Look ay YouTube videos that show things to look for. It is easier to watch than read what people post.
There are YouTube videos on how to test various guages with multimeters and AAA batteries and stuff. Sometimes they can be fixed. When they can't you can buy new OEM, new aftermarket or source parts at a junkyard. You can get some nice useable parts at the junkyard.

If they passed an ohm test that means they are intact internally. No broken or nonconductive wires and should be functional. The same test you can do on yours to see what you need replaced.
 

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Just bought a 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper van in great condition. It only had three issues when I picked it up:
  • windshield wipers didn't work - - replaced a bushing to fix successfully and now they work fine;
  • signal light wouldn't stay on unless I held the arm - - I'm told I need a signal light cancelling cam and it appears I can buy the part online.

- the instrument cluster (speedometer/odometer -- seller lubed the cable and said it was working but it bounced a little, then the speedometer/odometer quit altogether) - - - (alt meter function is sporadic but battery is charging when vehicle is running)
Is it possible the van seller just didn't hook the cable up correctly after he lubed the cable?
A mechanic friend said I should buy a complete replacement instrument cluster. I found four used ones on eBay but they are all older than mine (the newest is a 1974). The part seller wants about $320 plus shipping for any of the clusters he has available). Is this a fair price? How can I know the one I buy is in better shape that the one already in my van? Seller said they passed a basic ohm test. Does that mean the gauges in the instrument clusters he is selling are fully functional?

Please email me with advice -- everyone knows more than I do on this issue!
First off. The lube trick is only temporary. A new Speedo cable is only 15 to 20 dollars if I remember correctly and you should be able to get it at AutoZone or parts geek or where ever. Hopefully they didn't get lube in the mechanism for the gauge cluster or spay the back of the Speedo cluster with lube or you are out of luck. The issue with these clusters is 3 fold. Whether it was tested closed signal or open loop. And just because you have a signal does not mean it is a good strong signal. I have seen plenty of these clusters in the military and some times the clusters would only read halfway on every gauge with only 30,000 miles on the truck. With corrosion on the face. Poor poor electronics. The $320 dollar tag is steep and you most likely stand about a 3 out of 7 chance of fixing the problem. Its much easier to get autogauges from a parts dealer and install them yourself. Quicker easier.
 

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89 B350 360cid 15 Passenger
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You are practically guaranteed that any 1977 used gauge cluster will be completely inaccurate on its readings - even if it is "functional" or bench tests "okay".

The Gauges in my 89 for example - would likely pass a soft bench test fine, except the Amp gauge , it has never moved. Just stays in the center.
Recently installed all new sensors/senders - The Temp gauge never went past about 1/8 of its sweep with a 195* T-stat.
Now with a 160* T-stat it never moves.

Oil gauge will only go up to about 1/4 of its sweep.
But a mechanical gauge shows 60psi (probably should peg the gauge) at cold idle, and 30psi hot idle (probably should be the halfway point)

So they are all useless and i wasted about $50 on name brand sensors.
My Fuel gauge is in decent range best i can tell, thankfully.

You can send your set out and have it professionally rebuilt and calibrated for around $200 - 300. I think some places give a lifetime guarantee.
You will want to buy all new senders as well.

Aftermarket analog gauge sets are the most reliable choice.

One of my speedo cables just broke the other night, the reading was jumpy before that.
Planned on replacing both of them anyway.

Congrats on finding your 77 Dodge !
 

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Just bought a 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper van in great condition. It only had three issues when I picked it up:
  • windshield wipers didn't work - - replaced a bushing to fix successfully and now they work fine;
  • signal light wouldn't stay on unless I held the arm - - I'm told I need a signal light cancelling cam and it appears I can buy the part online.

- the instrument cluster (speedometer/odometer -- seller lubed the cable and said it was working but it bounced a little, then the speedometer/odometer quit altogether) - - - (alt meter function is sporadic but battery is charging when vehicle is running)
Is it possible the van seller just didn't hook the cable up correctly after he lubed the cable?
A mechanic friend said I should buy a complete replacement instrument cluster. I found four used ones on eBay but they are all older than mine (the newest is a 1974). The part seller wants about $320 plus shipping for any of the clusters he has available). Is this a fair price? How can I know the one I buy is in better shape that the one already in my van? Seller said they passed a basic ohm test. Does that mean the gauges in the instrument clusters he is selling are fully functional?

Please email me with advice -- everyone knows more than I do on this issue!
Go to your local junk yard and get one. Probity get one for $50 or so fallers
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You need to check the alt meter wiring and see if it is tightly connected. If it is then buy and after market alt meter and mount to the dash.

Speedometer could be disconnected or it could be something needs fixed. Look ay YouTube videos that show things to look for. It is easier to watch than read what people post.
There are YouTube videos on how to test various guages with multimeters and AAA batteries and stuff. Sometimes they can be fixed. When they can't you can buy new OEM, new aftermarket or source parts at a junkyard. You can get some nice useable parts at the junkyard.

If they passed an ohm test that means they are intact internally. No broken or nonconductive wires and should be functional. The same test you can do on yours to see what you need replaced.
Hi Gigantor,
I got the signal cancelling part, installed it and now it is fixed. The speedometer/odometer is the only remaining problem.

I put a drill on the existing speedometer cable the instrument speedometer gauge and odometer move so I think the instrument cluster is okay, and the cable can't be broken inside, but the cable is the wrong length (or attached wrong).

I've ordered two different speedometer cables (one 100" and the other 68") but neither fits even though Napa said they would. My van has cruise control, and some people have said that means I need a 68" cable to attach to a transducer (whatever that is) then a very short cable to attach the transducer to the transmission.

The 68" cable I got from Napa had a plastic clip end to attach to the back of the instrument cluster and a 7/8" wide screw-on ferrule to attach to the transducer (I think).

Two problems...I'm not sure what a transducer looks like or where to find it, and the ferrule on the part I ordered is too big to fit onto the place where I found the speedometer cable attached after I bought the van. The screw-on ferrule on the speedometer cable in my van is only 1/2 to 5/8 of a inch wide.

I suspect the guy I bought the van from put a junker speedometer cable onto the van, bypassing the cruise control. I think the cable on my van is too long.

When I got the van, the speedometer cable was screwed onto a place on the side of the transmission. There is another attachment spot an inch or two away. Is that the transducer? Is the transducer actually inside my transmission?

Any advice you can offer, or a heads up about a YouTube that would show me what I am looking for would be helpful.

I can't believe the experts can't figure out what part I need. Maybe I bought a big door stop instead of a van.

Thanks....Margaret


You need to check the alt meter wiring and see if it is tightly connected. If it is then buy and after market alt meter and mount to the dash.

Speedometer could be disconnected or it could be something needs fixed. Look ay YouTube videos that show things to look for. It is easier to watch than read what people post.
There are YouTube videos on how to test various guages with multimeters and AAA batteries and stuff. Sometimes they can be fixed. When they can't you can buy new OEM, new aftermarket or source parts at a junkyard. You can get some nice useable parts at the junkyard.

If they passed an ohm test that means they are intact internally. No broken or nonconductive wires and should be functional. The same test you can do on yours to see what you need replaced.
 

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89 B350 360cid 15 Passenger
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i just went through some speedo cable mayhem myself recently.
My 89 B350 has Cruise and uses a 2-Piece cable set-up.
Cannot say how the cruise set-up was arranged on a 1977 , possibly similar to mine. idunno

But ... my style takes a 64"-68" length (factory specs various years) lower cable.
7/8" Female threaded collar on Transmission end.
It attaches to a speed sensor (looks like a cable union - with an electrical plug receptacle) right under the master cylinder vicinity.
That end is 5/8" Male thread at the speed sensor.

The upper cables are usually 24"-28" length (factory specs various years)
5/8" Female threads where upper cable attaches to speed sensor,
Plastic clip-on at speedo

So in theory - you could get by with as short as 90" on a 1-Piece .
Most 1-Piece original cables were 100" - 102" (factory specs)

Mine (before the lower cable snapped) had 66" lower - and a 40" aftermarket upper.
So the next theoretical parameter - maximum length - would be around 106" to as much as 110" maybe - with a 1-Piece cable

I just bought a Pioneer brand 102" 1-Piece to use for now = $16
Probably identical to the one you bought with the 7/8" Female Thread
Could not find a proper lower cable 64"-68" with correct ends - Anywhere.

You can have cables custom made from scratch for about $60-90 depending on length and type of ends. If you can't find one any other way.

My suggestion - if you are okay with a 1-Piece for now - and No Cruise for the time being - is contact Pioneer Tech Support by phone and tell them what you need in the way of a cable and see what they have that might work - right out of the box.

Sounds like you need 5/8" Female thread Collar at Trans, and Plastic Clip-On at Speedo.
90" - 110" length

Pioneer Automotive Industries
5184 Pioneer Road
Meridian, MS 39301

Tech Support:
Phone: 800-647-6272

Main Line: 601-483-5211

Customer Service:
Phone : 800-821-2302
Fax: 800-821-2303
 

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89 B350 360cid 15 Passenger
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Sounds like you need 5/8" Female thread Collar at Trans, and Plastic Clip-On at Speedo.
90" - 110" length
Pioneer website has 196 speedo cables pictured to browse through.
Found one that will work for you.
And it turns out to be a Mopar application cable too.

Pioneer CA-3048
Mopar / Dodge / Chrysler part number is 3635001 (if you want to look for NOS)
72-79 Dodge Truck (cross-referenced the part number for application)
95" length
5/8" female collar
Plastic push-in

Here is a link to RockAuto to view the cable and specs
Click Link > RockAuto CA-3048 Cable

AutoZone and O'Reilly's also carry the Pioneer cable, and may be cheaper & quicker than Rock.
I sourced my Pioneer cable through O'Reilly's and it shipped to the store for free, had it in 3 days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Pioneer website has 196 speedo cables pictured to browse through.
Found one that will work for you.
And it turns out to be a Mopar application cable too.

Pioneer CA-3048
Mopar / Dodge / Chrysler part number is 3635001 (if you want to look for NOS)
72-79 Dodge Truck (cross-referenced the part number for application)
95" length
5/8" female collar
Plastic push-in

Here is a link to RockAuto to view the cable and specs
Click Link > RockAuto CA-3048 Cable

AutoZone and O'Reilly's also carry the Pioneer cable, and may be cheaper & quicker than Rock.
I sourced my Pioneer cable through O'Reilly's and it shipped to the store for free, had it in 3 days.
Thank you so much. I will check it out. I appreciate you taking so much of your time on my behalf. I'll get this thing licked yet!
Margaret (y) 🥰
 

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Thank you so much. I will check it out. I appreciate you taking so much of your time on my behalf. I'll get this thing licked yet!
Margaret (y) 🥰
Very Welcome, MG
I have gotten help and info on here from others, and gladly willing to share any help / info i can with others.

Your 77 and my 89 share the same basic build platform/structure.
Am also assuming you have a V8 engine since it is a 3/4 Ton Camper.
For another given example - the factory specs on my cables are 64" Lower , and 27" Upper.
The speed sensor adds about another 1" in the middle.
So approx 92" length complete
The 95" Cable should work just fine for you.
It also shows to be correct/acceptable for a 1988 Van with V8 and No Cruise Control

Some transmissions have a 5/8" speedo cable adapter mount
Some have 7/8" , mine is 7/8"
i think those adapter mounts can actually be interchanged from one 727 transmission to another.

After proper fitment is confirmed -
It is advised by most to pull the inner cable out and grease the cable itself by hand (sparingly but uniform) on a new cable. Then re-insert cable into the cable sheath.
Then install on vehicle.
Also advised NOT to grease the upper 6-9" end of the cable at the speedo connection end.
A good quality Moly Grease or Synthetic Grease will go the longest.
Lithium Grease tends to harden/dry out after several years especially on a vehicle that isnt driven regularly.
 

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89 B350 360cid 15 Passenger
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The 1-Piece Pioneer Speedo-Cable is working great (smooth & steady) in my Van.

But ,,, my speedo reads 5mph faster than my GPS/Garmin.
The Trans is a replacement unit from a 1978 Vehicle , it must have had a higher ratio axle than the 3.55 axle in my Van .

You can get different speedo gears to calibrate the reading up or down ... but think i'm going to leave it like it is.
Might help prevent a speeding ticket since the CruiseControl is non-functional for a while.

Good Luck with Yours
 

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Just randomly reading posts and saw this one , one of the greatest improvements that can be had for these vans is a brand new windshield,it’s amazing how much less eye strain is had at night . One more thing from out of nowhere is to inspect your frame where the steering box bolts on , your frame will be cracked near there ,it’s in front of the box if I remember correctly,and may be seen easier from under the hood .
 

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windshield wipers didn't work - - replaced a bushing to fix successfully and now they work fine
I hope they replaced all 4 of those wiper bushings while they were in there.
Had to do mine last week, was a PITA to do it without damaging any paint or other parts.

Took my hood off to be able to get the cowl panel off & on.
After i had the hood unbolted from the hinges and the cowl off - found out the hood hinges are made to slide off their inner mounts (towards the driver side).
So it isn't necessary to unbolt the hood from the hinges and have to squabble with getting its orientation re-aligned.
I didn't have any help so i couldn't have done it that way by myself anyhow, i don't think.

Had JUST FINISHED doing a full Re-Vamp on the squirter jets and got them clear/working, painted the wiper arms, new blades, Rain-X on windshield ---
Was testing all that out - had went maybe 6 or 7 back&forth cycles of the wipers -
then clink clank ka-clunk - dead wipers . o_O
2 of the bushings let go on the linkages, but the Squirters were doing Great ! lol

The cowl panel needed to come off anyway to re-seal the firewall/cowl lapped joint seam on the passenger side. But i was planning on putting that off for a while longer.
.... it's all done now (y)
 
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