Daf Speedo Cable

Both our Dafs have decided to break their speedo cables in the last couple of months.  As a temporary fix while replacements were found they were fitted with bike brake cables which provided an interestingly bouncy needle anywhere below about 40mph.  Having confirmed with various places that the Daf cable isn't available any more it was looking like time to have a couple made to spec.  Then I thought of the VW Beetle.

Like the Daf, the Beetle drives from the n/s front wheel hub rather than the gearbox.  The Beetle 1302 ('70 - '79) cable is listed as about 185 cm long, which is 20cm or so longer than the Daf one.  There'd been trouble with the original chafing against the inner wheel arch, which is what caused the failures once water got through the damaged sheath, so the extra length seemed like a good idea to allow slight repositioning.  Unlike the daf, cab;es for the VW are easily obtainable from almost anywhere.

Fitting the VW item turned out to involve hardly anything more than fitting a Daf spec one.  First, reach under the dash and unscrew the cable from the back of the speedo:

Unscrew the cable from the speedo


then pull through into the engine bay.  Note the grommet that comes out with the cable - this will be needed for the replacement:

Pulling cable out of the bulkhead


Jack the front left of the car and remove the wheel:

Remove front left wheel


And remove the wire that holds the existing cable adapter in the hub grease cap:

Wire holding old speedo adapter


Then remove the cap and the adapter:

Remove hub grease cap

Remove old cable adapter



The cable fits to the hub through a guide tube which is held to the back of the hub by a single 11mm bolt.  Undo this bolt and pull the guide and cable out from the hub:

Undo cable support guide tube

Remove cable from hub


We can now compare the old and new cables.  The only differences are extra length on the new one, a swaged-on adapter at the hub end of the new one, and the grommet and guide tube on the old one:

Old and new cables compared


The extra length and the swaged-on adapter are no problem, so all we need to do is swap over the grommet and guide tube.  the tube is swaged onto the old cable at the "top" end so we cut just below the swage and pull the tube off:

Cut the guide tube below the swage

Pull the guide off the cable


Once the guide is out of the way, slide the grommet off the old cable and fit it to the new one:

Remove grommet from old cable


Clean up the cut end of the guide tube with a file and slided the new cable into it:

Clean the gut end  of the guide

Fit guide tube to new cable


The new cable is now ready to fit to the car.  Start by refitting the guide tube to the back of the hub.  This can take a bit of wriggling to get it lined up but it will go.  Replace the securing bolt.


Now gently feed the cable down through the guide until the adapter is showing clear of the outside of the hub:

Feed cable thorugh guide tube

New adapter sticking out from hub


Now refit the hub grease cap and wire the adapter to prevent it pulling out:

Wiring the new adapter to the grease cap


Once the wire is secure, gently pull the cable back through the guide tube so that the wire is almost flush to the grease cap.  There should be just enough play to prevent the cable being put in tension:

Hub end fitted


The cable can now be routed through the engine bay and passed through the bulkhead.  Don't fit the grommet to the hole at this point:

Passing new cable through the bulkhead


From inside the car, reconnect the new cable to the back of the speedo and do up the knurled nut finger tight.  Now refit the grommet to the bulkhead hole and make sure that the cable is routed free of anything it might chafe against. The original cable had a single clipping point on the left side of the bulkhead, close to the battery tray suupport.  Tie wraps are useful for adding extra support anywhere that it seems it might be able to move and rub.


Finally, refit wheel, remove jack and close bonnet.

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