Pictures of how I replaced the vehicle speed sensor (VSS) on the Subaru Legacy Outback.
The speedometer and odometer quit working, suddenly and totally. This was immediately followed by the check engine light (CEL). Also the engine stalled a lot when coming to a stop. This is a 5 speed manual transmission, I think there are some differences in the automatic.
Señor Google tells me that this can be caused by a fault in the odometer circuit board, the speed sensor in the transmission, or the wiring in between.
First I took apart the dash to get to the odometer and the wiring behind it.
I lowered the steering wheel to the lowest setting to give me room to work.
Removed four screws holding in the cover over the instrument panel.
Next I had to remove the switches behind the instrument cover.
Each connector has a unique shape, so no worries wiring them to the right switch later.
Then four more screws holding in the instrument panel.
There are more electrical connectors attached to the back of the instrument panel. One big one on this side.
Two big electrical connections to the back of the instrument panel on the right side.
Two small electrical connections in back of the instrument panel.
These are the speedometer odometer (far) and the tachometer (close).
I had to turn the whole instrument cluster upside down and backwards to slide it out from behind the steering wheel.
Here are a lot of pictures of the speedometer. According to the Google machine,
a solder point gets loose in the back of this circuit board, but I couldn't find any broken solder points.
I don't really know what I am doing at this point.
So I went on to checking the vehicle speed sensor.
I put some wires into the electrical connector for the speedometer odometer.
This picture has a couple of extra wires I was using for testing something else,
but this is the best picture I have of the pins inserted into the connector.
The pins are just little cut pieces of wire.
I hooked up the wires to a multimeter and set it to measure AC volts.
The speed sensor is supposed to read about 5 v AC above 20 mph.
My speed sensor is sending zero point zero volts at how do I know if I was going 20 mph, I have no speedometer.
Next I want to see if the wiring is ok from the sensor to the connector in the dash.
I put some pins into a long piece of speaker wire.
I put the pins into the wiring that takes the signal from the vehicle speed sensor in the transmission
and leads to the connector at the back of the speedometer.
I brought that long wire into the front seat, and tested for continuity,
zero or nearly zero resistance, measured in ohms, with the multimeter.
2.9 ohms is nothing, if the wires were broken, it would read -- or 1* or OF,
and wouldn't give any measurement in ohms.
So that leaves the VSS. Bummer because that is $150 at the dealer.
Subaruparts.com had it for $100, but I got mine at the dealer because
I have never used Subaruparts and really I needed it that day.
FHI VSS pn 85082AC012. That's Fuji Heavy Industries, Vehicle Speed Sensor, part number. Cool.
Looking down on the passenger side behind the engine, down to the transmission, the VSS is circled.
Here is the VSS wire connector, unhooked.
I couldn't fit a regular open end wrench into the narrow space on the VSS to loosen it.
I used a pipe wrench on the black plastic part and it came out easy.
On the old one the little metal tab thing in there is loose, like it broke or came out of its socket or something.
New one went in easy. Test drive, everything works.
- Next I sold out to make 02¢
so I can fulfill my lifelong dream of owning a 1986 944 with blown head gaskets.
But no minivans!
- Then I finished my beer.
Donate to CharityIf this site has helped you, or even if it hasn't, please help care for abused and neglected children by making a donation to The Valley of the Moon Children's Home. That's right, abused and neglected children. Visit their website and try not to cry, you cold hearted bastard. Their site talks about how they achieved their goals and built a new home, but that was years ago. They still need cash to take care of all the kids there. Breaks my heart and pisses me off.
Think: Cars are expensive, powerful, and heavy. Before I start work, I face the possibility that I will destroy my vehicle, my own life, and innocent pedestrians' lives. If anyone messes with a 4000 lb machine capable of 100 mph, these are real possibilities. If I get in over my head, I call a professional mechanic. The information on this website is provided only for entertainment purposes, and it is not intended as advice on how to service a vehicle. For all you know I made this up. Don`t believe everything you read on the internet.
Disclaimer: The technical information in these documents is provided without any warranty whatsoever and at no cost. All information is in general terms and is not meant to apply to your particular situation, be current at the time you read it, or even be correct in the first place. Improperly maintained vehicles can lead to serious injury, death, or unavoidable accidents. The author is not responsible for any errors on this site, and does not make any claim at all about the validity, safety, or veracity of the information contained on this website. Any work you choose to do or not to do on your vehicle is done at your own risk. The information on this site is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional advice, professional workmanship, dealer service, union labor, or psychological counseling. The author disclaims any and all liability directly or indirectly arising from the application or use of any information or idea contained on this or any other web site. By opening this page, you agree to never sue anyone ever or allow anyone to be sued on your behalf. The appropriate professional should be consulted regarding your specific condition. BeerGarage.com does not take responsibility for the information posted on other sites to which it links.
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Last modified: 7/22/2017