Correcting speedometer after lift/tires - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old November 22nd, 2005, 12:39 AM
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Michael Elliott
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Correcting speedometer after lift/tires

I recently lifted my 97 D-90 SW and installed LT285 75R 16 tires with 4.10 ring and pinion gears. The transfer case was not modified (still at 1.2). I knew the speedometer would be off but was surprised at how much. According to my GPS the speedometer now reads 10 miles per hour fast at 70 mph (reads 80 mph). I searched this site in order to find out how others have dealt with this problem and only found several references to replacing the factory VDO speedometer with a newer programable unit.

Thus, I have two questions:

1. Are there any solutions to this problem other than the VDO swap noted above?

2. If the VDO gauge swap is the only way to go what is the best source/vendor and what is the model number to buy?

Thanks in advance if anyone can help. I expect that this topic has already been discussed at length in the past but my search only produced two threads directly on topic. Likely operator error (me)......

Michael
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  #2  
Old November 22nd, 2005, 03:59 AM
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James Falchetto
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Easy solution: use the speedo on your GPS! Look anyway it's an LR so it's not as if you're ever going to need it unless of course you go through zones with photo radars (we got tons of those here, guys playing desert storm with mobile units - quite annoying), again GPS measurement is the best.
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  #3  
Old November 22nd, 2005, 08:16 AM
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Scott
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Michael - NOT operator error. I did get a tidbit more info outside the common VDO fix. You can change the speedo gear in the t-case to get the correct reading. However, I was not able to figure out where to go to get the gears I did this on my jeep - it was very easy and sourcing the gear was also very easy - jeep dealer. Hmmm. I wonder if the land rover dealer would have any idea what I'm talking about???

As for sticking with the GPS, I'd much rather my speedo ran slow!!! As it is I'm putting many more miles on my truck than I'd like - insurance also apparantly wants to make sure I dont put too many miles on the odo in order to get a lower insurance rate. So, amazingly there are reasons to get this addressed.
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  #4  
Old November 22nd, 2005, 10:03 AM
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I did the VDO swap and it is great. My speedo is right on the money and I have 35"s with a 1.4 t case and 4.11's Buy any gauges here: http://www.egauges.com/
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  #5  
Old November 22nd, 2005, 12:15 PM
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Mike Hammond
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the gear that runs the speedo on the back of the transfer box is changable but only to compensate for the different sized tyres that Landrover fitted as standard: 205's or 7.50's.
Changing the transfer box ratio won't affect the speedo as the pick-up is on the output to the prop shaft.
Changing the tyres and diff ratio will, you could work out the change mathmatically as a % and apply that to the speedo. e.g if it's 20% out then you can work out what the real road speed is for any shown road speed.
There are only a few speeds to learn afterall coinciding with various legal speed limits.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 07:34 PM
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Yep, there's not much you can do other then changing the gear, but I run 35's with stock axle gears (3.54) and whatever gear is in my t-case has the speedo set right. I'll pull it out when I drop the t-case again and count the teeth. I am kinda curious as to what everyone has for a tooth count. I have also hear that it Disco's have different gears?
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  #7  
Old November 22nd, 2005, 10:38 PM
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Robert Dassler
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Yes, Mike, the Discos have different gears. There are a couple of gears available. The Defenders have white gears (like I sent Jimmy) or blue gears depending on which speedo cable they need. The Discos have black gears. I don't have any in front of me to count teeth. If you have a disco with bigger tires, you can swap in a white gear to make your speedo more correct (correcter?). You might be able to have a speedo shop build an inline reduction box or something, but I don't think there is a magic gear in the parts book that will make the D90 speedo accurate. Mine reads 10% fast almost exactly. Abel told me that his is off only by about 4% with his 255/85/16s. Speedometer accuracy will also change as tires wear out. I'd rather have it read fast than slow...it adds a safety margin for speeding and accidents and makes my gas milage seem less pitiful.
Rob
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  #8  
Old November 22nd, 2005, 11:51 PM
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Michael Elliott
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Thanks for the suggestions. As a follow up I called several Land Rover vendors today and all of them informed me that the VDO speedometer swap was the preferable method. The consensus of opionion was that this is the better solution because:

(a) The new VDO speedometer is completely programable and thus if I decide to change tire size again at some point in the future I will have the ability to adjust accordingly; and

(b) The existing Land Rover Sending Units that are available to swap out in the transfer case are set for existing tire/ring & pinion combos and therefore I would only get close to an accurate speed reading (i.e., it doesn't work exactly so why bother).

I found a shop in the Los Angeles area that carries the VDO Vision series 4" gauge and can also swap out the existing white LR needle and set the odometer to match the factory unit. The labor for this service is $40 plus $130 for the speedometer. Seems like a decent deal as I do have a specific need for an accurate speedometer/odometer and am not willing to use the GPS as a full time alternative. I know many owners are willing to live with the speedometer off but I am not, so I guess I get to pay for being stubborn.

For those of you who have done the VDO swap, did you use the Vision model? If so/not, what model number did you use? My research indicates that the closest match would be the VDO-437155. I also found the VDO-437152, which is an even better match to the factory unit but unfortunately is the wrong size. Such is life with the Defender. So much easier with my piece of shit Series truck......

Thanks again for all of the suggestions. In January I will be driving the D-90 from LA to Washington D.C. on a bit of an adventure and having a working and accurate speedometer/odometer will make things much more comfortable.

Michael
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  #9  
Old November 23rd, 2005, 08:54 AM
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Dont' worry about needing the speedometer here in DC -- you're either doing 0 or 80.
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  #10  
Old November 23rd, 2005, 10:12 AM
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What?! You mean you can fix this

I drive the Disco daily, and with the 235/85's and 4.10's the speedo is right at 12% off. I just fugure it gives me a little math problem to do as I drive down the road

On a more serious note, we will need to fit a electronic speed transducer to the LT95. It looks like its the same speedo output as the LT230 - comments, Rob?

KAA
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  #11  
Old November 23rd, 2005, 11:02 AM
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Robert Dassler
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Keith,
Can you post a picture of what you are working on? I don't have access to an LT95 at this time. I do have extra speedo gears, housings, and transducers.
Rob
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  #12  
Old November 23rd, 2005, 11:39 AM
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Hi Rob,

The LT95 is at Pendys. The speedo output looks like the LT230. We'll need transducer outbput to run the Chevy TBI and the anticipated VDO speedo.

Kinda planning on a cable connected to the trans with an inline transducer mounted remotely. There might be room between the park brake drum and the trans, but a cable long enough to mount the transducer up at frame level could have its benefits too

I'm sure Jimmy will see this too ... just thinkin' out loud right now...

Happy T-Day,

KAA
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  #13  
Old November 23rd, 2005, 03:13 PM
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Robert Dassler
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A transducer& speedo cable out of a 92 classic...mounts to the frame.
Rob
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  #14  
Old November 23rd, 2005, 04:53 PM
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before my t/c gave up my speedo was 12mph fast, then i got a t/c from a friend in the UK out of a 200tdi.the cable didnt quite fit into the gears so i cut a coke can to wedge it in.it worked for a while and the speedo was correct.Rob sent me a NAS gear and now its a permenant fix but the speedo is 12mph fast again.i run 33 x 12.5 x 15.so the teeth on the one i sent to rob looks like a good fix
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  #15  
Old November 24th, 2005, 01:41 AM
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Michael Elliott
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Anthony,

I have spent quite a bit of time in the D.C. so I know exactly what you are talking about. However, I will only be driving the vehicle for fun on the weekends so hopefully I can avoid the normal commuting mess.

By the way, how is the off roading in the immediate area around D.C.? I have zero experience in that area so any recommendations would be appreciated. I would immagine there should be something good in West Virginia and Virginia south and/or west of Quantico.

Michael
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  #16  
Old November 24th, 2005, 07:35 AM
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Not too much around here unless you run out to the GW national forrest or run the 3 hours to Rausch Creek and Paragon in Pa.
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  #17  
Old November 24th, 2005, 08:37 PM
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Michael Elliott
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Pargagon sounds good as I have never been there. Coming from LA three hours on the road will not seem like anything--often my commute to work is two hours just in the morning so I am mentally well equiped for this type of torture....

There are a lot of great places in Southern California but the issues are exactly the same. Two to four hours from the middle of LA to get anywhere decent (Big Bear, Johnson Valley, Gorman, etc.).

Michael
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