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Eric, Automotive Repair Shop Manager
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 31932
Experience:  Automotive Repair Shop Manager, Technician
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I have a 96 ford contour GL w/4 cyl./w auto trans. While

Customer Question

Customer: I have a 96 ford contour GL w/4 cyl./w auto trans. While driving I lost high gear & overdrive & cruise control & speedometer. The overdrive lock out indicator light started flashing. I replaced the Vehicle Speed Sensor which has corrected the trans. operation & removed the flashing OD indicator & I reset the "check engine warning" but I don't have a speedometer or cruise control. All fuses check good. Do you have an answer for the cause of my problem?
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Eric replied 1 year ago.


I am sorry that you have not been helped yet. I just came online and saw your question.

If you have the old speed sensor still, clean it up and look for the part number and post it here, as well as posting the part number and brand of the new one. I suspect you have the wrong speed sensor. There are some issues with the replacements from parts stores not being correct for this vehicle

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Here are the numbers on the old vss:
FORD 95BB-9E731-AA
on other side: PA66-GF30
The new part is NAPA Echlin: VSS326
Now the speedometer is fluctuating from 0 to 130 mph when driving. Sometimes while stopped the speedometer is on 130 mph & the odometer is moving ahead in mileage. Cruise still doesn't engage.
Expert:  Eric replied 1 year ago.


Ok, that is the correct sensor, but I suspect it is faulty. If you have a scan tool with live data, take for test drive and see what the mph readout on the scan tool says. If no readout or erratic, replace the sensor again. If good readout that doesnt fluctuate while the gage is fluctuating, then it is the IP Cluster. I suspect the new sensor is defective out of the box

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I finally found a scan tool to use that gives live data. The speed read out was fine & compared right with the GPS read yet the speedometer stayed on zero mph. Sometimes my speedometer needle will go to 130mph even when setting at a stop. If I move ahead a couple inches the needle may fall to 0 or in between 0 & 130, then when I creep ahead a couple more inches it'll go back to 130 mph. Since the scan tool gives a good mph reading doesn't that mean the VSS is good or does the scan tool get its mph signal from somewhere other than the VSS? Why did the new VSS fix the tranny shift only when the tranny, speedometer & cruise went wrong all at the same time? Please help.
Expert:  Eric replied 1 year ago.


Ok, that means the vss is good. The scan tool gets data from the ecm, which is where the vss signal is sent to.

So, this means that the IP Cluster is bad or a problem with either a loose connector at the IP Cluster or short in the wiring from the ecm to the IP Cluster

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's very difficult to get to the disconnect plug where the VSS connects to the main harness. Could I have pulled something loose when disconnecting the connector? Doesn't it seem odd that the IP went bad at the same instant the tranny quit working? Does IP abbreviate "instrument panel"?
Expert:  Eric replied 1 year ago.


It is possible you pulled a wire loose or connector loose, so you do want to check that.

Yes, the IP stands for instrument panel.

While it doesnt happen often, it is possible for the vss signal to damage the IP cluster.

But what points to the IP Cluster at this point is that you are getting a correct reading on the scan tool - that tells me that the vss is working as intended and that the ecm is receiving the correct signal. That leaves either the ip cluster or wiring to it

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, let's try this from a different direction. What is required for the cruise to engage? Does it receive a signal from the ECM? I can hear the brake switch working, anything else? If cruise doesn't need anything from the IP(speedometer) then it won't matter if it's is good or bad.
Expert:  Eric replied 1 year ago.


The signal goes thru several things including the speed control module, ecm, clockspring, brake switch, IP Cluster, and abs control module

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Does the IP cluster need to be replaced as a unit or can I replace only the speedometer?
Expert:  Eric replied 1 year ago.


It is replaced as a unit or you can send it out for repair

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Even though all signs say it's not the VSS, I'm going to get another & replace it because I have a hard time thinking that the vss & ip cluster malfunctioned at the exact same time. I'll let you know if it helps. If it doesn't then I'll get a IP cluster & replace it. Let me ask you this. On a normal working 96 contour do you know if the cruise will stop working if the IP cluster is unplugged? I'm trying to figure out if the IP cluster is the problem without having to buy one. It seems like the speed readout is an output & not an input to the cruise. I hate hanging parts as a trouble shooting procedure.
Expert:  Eric replied 1 year ago.


Because the cruise control circuit does go thru the cluster, it would stop working with it unplugged

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Eric, I've replaced the VSS again with same results, I'm purchasing an IP cluster & once we've solved my problem I'll give you a rating. Thank you.
Expert:  Eric replied 1 year ago.


Ok, sounds good

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Eric, I'm back. To recap, I've replaced the vss twice & the Ip cluster once. The speedometer stil moves all over from 0-130 even in reverse. The longer I drive the more accurate it gets. After an hour its fairly steady (2 mph fluctuation) but what I've noticed is that when I turn on the fan blower mtr &/or the headlights the speedometer will increase about 30 mph. The battery is fairly new & cranks the engine fine even in 20 degree temp. & the cable connections are good & clean. Also I still can't get the cruise to work. I know this has been troublesome but you did say "satisfaction guaranteed".
Expert:  Eric replied 1 year ago.


I will opt out at this point as I dont know what else it would be. I will open this up to other experts to see if any have an idea on this.

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