Question about 1999 Subaru Legacy

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1999 Subaru Legacy Sedan.. speedometer works intermittently dealer replaced sensor, to no avail..

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  • selkiedog Jul 24, 2008

    had speedometer sensor on 98 subaru legacy wagon (manual trans) changed, but 2 weeks later speedometer is not working again, and now car is also hesitating in first and fourth gears and check engine light comes on intermittently.

  • Anonymous Aug 05, 2008

    I have a 1999 Subaru Legacy GT Anniversary Edition. Same problem.... speedo works intermittantly. Is it a sensor type or cable? The car has analog numbers, not digital, so im assuming a cable?

  • blueextc Aug 05, 2008

    1999 Subaru Legacy AWD Anniversary edition GT - Intermittent speedo problem. Is it a sensor, or cable?

    Thanks

  • bnthere Aug 05, 2008

    same issue.

    believe it is wiring issue.

    will come on/off at touch of power device like radio or anything else electrical.

    letting the car sit will also reset it and make it work.

    tach ALWAYS works.

    1999 subaru legacy GT

  • Anonymous Aug 06, 2008

    worked intermitently, replaced with a speedo from ebay. Did not fix problem.
    Cruise control still works. I got a hold of a 3rd instrument cluster and tried it... also no good.

  • jeremysubaru Sep 02, 2008

    I have a Subaru 99 Outback and the speedo (and odometer) started to work intermittently after it came back from the shop (for fixing oil leaks).  Then at one point my battery went dead and I replaced the battery.  The Speedo worked just fine for about a day after that...  Not sure what to do and I don't want to spend a bunch of cash on something that won't work.... Any one come up with a good solution? 
    Best, Jeremy



  • bj888 Nov 03, 2008

    I bought a 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback Special Edition in Jan. This spring I started having problems with the speedometer. Sounds like the same problem mentioned in the other postings. I read in my Chilton book that this speedometer runs off of vehicle speed sensor(s). Mine is an automatic, which means it have two sensors on the left side of the transaxle. It says that I should have a professional replace these because they are inaccessible without removing the oil pan and valve cover. Note, The manual version has only one VSS located on the right side of the transaxle housing and it is more easily accessed by the average do it yourselfer like me.

    I spoke to a service tech on the phone at the dealership and he said they typically troubleshoot this problem by replacing these vehicle speed sensors. They also said they would charge $300-$400 to do the job.

  • cezj Nov 09, 2008

    I have the same problem and the mechanic that looked at it said that it was a magnet that was going bad inside the speedometer. I layed a large magnet infront of the speedometer on my dash and this seems to make it work more frequently but still doesn't work all the time. He suggested getting that section of the console replaced with a unit that has a similar number of miles on it. That would be about $300-400.

  • CWC25 Nov 19, 2008

    I have the same problem. 1998 Legacy Outback 5 spd. Tach works fine. Cruise control.Odometer not working. Don't know whether the VSS or the speedo is bad.



    CWC

  • msandford Dec 08, 2008

    I have a 2000 WRX sti with the same problem speedo and tacko works some times but not others

  • madcomer Dec 23, 2008

    I have a 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback. The speedometer works intermittently. This problem started about a month ago- not sure why. I have hesitated taking it in because i don't want a bad mark on my carfax record (miles don't accumulate when the speedometer isn't working). Did people who went to a mechanic have an alert placed on their carfax records because of this issue?

  • Anonymous May 12, 2009

    intermittent

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I finally fixed mine, on my 1999 Subaru legacy 30th anniv edition. . .

I removed the speedometer head, and resoldered the green connector on the board. Then I also ran a wire to duplicate the trace wire from the middle pin to the first connect (about 4mm). Problem gone.

email for more details if interested: mike(at)whiteley.org

Posted on Feb 11, 2009

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  • protonspring Feb 18, 2009

    I had the same problem with my 1999 subaru legacy (30th anniv edition). This is how I fixed it.

    After playing with the speedo head a bit, I realized that when I applied pressure on the green connector on the back of the speedo head, the speedometer worked (yes, driving around the the cluster apart was . . . interesting).



    I removed the speedometer head, and did some continuity tests which verified the same disconnect at various temperatures. When I pressed the green plastic connection receptor against the pcb, the problem went away again, so my conclusion was that the connection problem was with the connector or a trace closeby.


    There is room for 5 pins, but if you look at the pcb closely, only two are used, signal and ground (which must be grounded somewhere else, because the pin is not used in the connector).



    I removed the connector and all of the associated solder. Then resoldered the connector back on. I also (just to be very sure), soldered a small wire from the connectors pin (#3)

    to the first solder point on the pcb (just in case the break was with the trace itself), which was just a few mm away.



    I reconnected everything back, up and I haven't had a problem since.



    The solder job was not hard. The only advice i'd give is to make sure you don't connect the signal pin with ground.



    I can elaborate more if needed, but hopefully, this will fix yours like it did mine.



    protonspring



  • protonspring Nov 21, 2010

    Me again. I've worked with almost 100 people so far, and I haven't heard of this fix not working for someone. Many people have also reported that just resoldering the green connector (on the back of the speedo) on the PCB was sufficient to fix it for them.

  • protonspring Sep 14, 2011

    Several hundred people how now fixed their speedometer this way and not a single person has said it didn't work. If you don't want to solder, just email me and I can do the work for you.

  • kbrown7318 Mar 25, 2012

    Jumper worked like a champ, it appears that the perforations in the board caused breakage of copper lead. Thanx!

  • gthommd
    gthommd May 14, 2012

    Our fuel gauge works intermittently as well. Anybody else had this happen? We tried the soldering approach 2 years ago but it did not seem to help (although maybe we did not do he correct points). Protonspring, are you still willing to solder it?

  • Mickile Welch
    Mickile Welch Nov 13, 2013

    seems to have worked for me as well

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I had the same problem on a 99 Legacy. The protonspring's solution worked for me beautifully. It's now been probably at least 4 or 5 weeks since I've applied the fix and so far it's been working! In fact, I did a little more than protonspring suggested. I couldn't see anything wrong with the solder joints under the microscope but I retouched most of them anyways, and I added a redundant wire jumper from the pin 3 of the connector to the next via as well. On the top of that I cleaned all the connectors and lugs on the speedometer head PCB with plenty of contact cleaner. I did the same with the connector plug attached to the sensor wire before installing the cluster back in place. That connector feels a little loose and I wonder if that was the whole problem... I took some pictures while doing this job...

Posted on May 23, 2009

  • jbrown1030 Mar 02, 2011

    Nice job with the photos. Very helpful....as the saying goes: A picture is worth a
    thousand words.

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Free easy video instructions on youtube or go to http://www.vehix411.com how to diagnose the problam or how to fix subaru legacy speedometer

Posted on Feb 23, 2010

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I had the same problem and was about to get a new speed sensor at a Subaru dealer when the mechanic talked me out of it.  He said I might as well throw the speed sensor on the floor because that won't solve the problem.  He told me he has seen it before and it is a wire that leads to the speedometer that is a little loose and needs to be resoldered to the circuit board.   He gave me the # to a speedometer repair shop in my area where Subaru sends their speedometers. I took it over there, he pulled out the instrument cluster resoldered the wire and put it back in for $220.  If I pulled the cluster out myself he would have charged me $150.  It now works fine.

Posted on Jan 18, 2009

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I also had a 1999 Legacy wagon with a non functioning speedometer. The fix above by in the post by protonspring worked like a charm. I soldered two jumpers, one from pin three to it's contact point and a second from the ground to it's contact. Works perfectly

Posted on Nov 14, 2009

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I think the issue is just with the screws that hold the speedometer to the circuit board. I just cleaned them with steel wool, then used bulb grease to keep the contacts working. (I think the screws are aluminum, so they lose contact over time.) Also cleaned the other contact points that those screws bring together. So far so good.

Posted on Dec 31, 2009

  • Hardway123 Nov 12, 2010

    Hardway here again -- the speedometer stopped working again after just cleaning the contacts. You will need to go with a different fix.

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This link is very good. I just bought a 1999 outback. Are there any tips on removing the instrument cluster itself?

Posted on Oct 20, 2009

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I had this problem and i read some things on here about how to connect the middle pin to the first one or how to connect the middle pin the SP. those could work but when i tried the first one it made my speedo work good witch is what i wanted but when i went over 50 the odometer would go plus 5 miles for ever real mile. so i ended up just heating up the old sadder on the 5 pins and now it works fine. Hope this helps out a little.

Posted on Jul 05, 2009

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I had this problem 2 years ago I had a 1999 subaru legacy sus 30th ani. We tried to things with the car which was check the wiring which wasn't too great but also wasn't the problem. The problem is the speedo head. The cars do have this problem and I have talked to other people about this and read into it. What you need to do is replace the speedo head unit. it is pricy about 250-300 at any mechanic (besides subaru) I highly recommend buying a brand new speedo head! Do not buy used! hope this helps you all. Like I said this happened 2 years ago and hasn't acted up since It was at 110000 miles when it happened and I replaced it at 118500. Right not my car is at 156000 so you should be all set with this.

Posted on Jan 13, 2009

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I have a Subaru 99 Outback and the speedo (and odometer) started to work intermittently after it came back from the shop (for fixing oil leaks).  Then at one point my battery went dead and I replaced the battery.  The Speedo worked just fine for about a day after that...  Not sure what to do and I don't want to spend a bunch of cash on something that won't work.... Any one come up with a good solution?
Best, Jeremy

Posted on Sep 02, 2008

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I have had the speedometer out, there is no cable, just a wire so we can at least eliminate that possibility

Posted on Aug 25, 2008

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Ok I had this problem on my 95 legacy. I replaced the speed sensor and the problem went away.

it didn't cost too much and it's a unscrew old one and screw in new one type deal.

I would suggest buying the hanynes manual if you need help putting it in.

Posted on Sep 07, 2008

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Fixed it too!
I had the same issues except my cruise wouldn't engage either. Speedo was crazy and worked sparingly if I used the power windows, but not always.
On the back of the Speedo head I noticed that the blue GROUND plug was loose in the connector. So instead of paper I took a toothpick and broke it off in the connector/wire area and another one between the the two connectors. WORKS GREAT!! BTW I checked all the solder joints and had no cracking or oxidation, fortunately.
Thanks for all those for their input!

Posted on Dec 10, 2010

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I have a 1995 Legacy L AWD and recently I too lost my speedometer function. I replaced the speed sensor and it still does not work. My question is will the above wiring repairs work on my cluster as well since it is a 1995?

Posted on Nov 25, 2009

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Protonspring's solution of soldering a new duplicate wire from the #3 middle pin to the connection adjacent pin totally solved my speedometer problem. Thank you

Posted on Sep 20, 2009

  • jgeurts09 Jan 14, 2011

    What size wire did you use?

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I have this problem to i took it to a friend who works with cars and they said that I needed a new Speedometer gear. Try this for yours

Posted on Apr 29, 2009

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