Getting my speedometer rebuilt has become one of the biggest hassles of the restoration yet. Two weeks since I originally put it in the shop and things are still not right.
When I decided to go with a rebuild rather than a replacement I had two options, Speedo Check in Whittier, CA or Valley Speedometer and Tach in El Monte, CA. Speedo Check was going to charge me $95, an additional $75 if I needed them to remove it for me, but would take them a little over a week to complete it, business was backed up. Valley Speedometer was going to charge me $110, but would have it done next.
Both places were recommended to me by family friends so I felt either would be safe. I had several interviews coming up that week so I decided to go with Valley Speedometer. From the moment I arrived at the shop I questioned my choice. The shop seemed a little shady. I was already there though and they came highly recommended, so I ignored my gut and left it.
As promised it was done next day. I picked it up, came home, and reinstalled it. Immediately things did not seem perfect. The needle jumped more than it had before it seized up, and it seemed to be reading slow. Also, it seemed as if it stuck at 40 mph, but I would not be sure until I took it on the freeway.
The next day I had an interview in Santa Ana so it gave me a chance to test it out at higher speeds. I still did not feel like it was reading accurately, but it was not sticking at least. These were not my biggest problems however. When I stopped to get gas I discovered my odometer was no longer spinning. Driven 40+ miles and it had moved only 0.7.
My speedometer rebuild had a 6 month warranty so I called the mechanic that had done the rebuild. He told me bring it in. Two hours later I arrived at his shop and he was no where to be found. I called an left him 2 messages. This was all on a Friday. Saturday I did the same. Monday I waited to here from him, but still nothing.
Monday evening I called an demanded a refund, said that I would be taking it to another shop. He told me I could have a refund if I returned his new parts. Not wanting to hassle that I ignored my gut once again and took my speedometer back Tuesday morning to have him attempt to rebuild it again. I had it back Tuesday afternoon.
I had another interview that day so I rushed to reinstall it. Everything works perfectly now, except my fuel gauge, but I believe that is another issue for another post.
Lesson learned – do not ignore your gut instincts. My speedometer did get rebuilt and it does work perfectly now, but it took a week with a lot of stressing, wasted driving, and shady work. Next time I will not rush it and go with a shop that does not make me nervous. My speedometer would have been repaired in the same amount of time if I would have just gone with Speedo Check.
Some Tips for Removing a 1970 VW Beetle Speedometer Cluster
1. Be patient and take your time, make sure everything is alined and secure.
2. Have a partner, makes installation much easier.
3. Most importantly –> Label wires, both in photos and in drawings (there are a lot of wires to keep in order)