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For the past six months, my speedometer on my 4th Generation 4Runner has been working intermittently. Some days, it will operate like normal. And some days, it won’t budge from the zero mark. I’ll also hear like a clicking or grinding noise before I start the car, and the speedo needle will twitch back and forth. But once I shift into drive and begin driving, the speedometer will not work.

Basically, my speedometer stopped working. After researching a bit on T4R.org, it appears that the speedometer stepper motor behind the instrument cluster may have failed.

Be very careful with the stepper motor replacement. Make sure not to apply too much heat with the soldering iron and only make contact with the contacts of the connections. If you damage the circuit board of the instrument cluster, you may have to replace the entire thing.

Tanin Auto Electronix is a good place to purchase this item (around $20): http://www.taninautoelectronix.com/2003-2013-Toyota-4Runner-Gauge-Stepper-Motor-p/import_6_black_stepper.htm

You may also find these on Ebay: 6S Stepper Motor Search Results

4th gen 4runner speedometer stopped working - stepper motor

Top view of the purchased stepper motor.

4th gen 4runner speedometer stopped working - stepper motor

Underside of the purchased stepper motor.

4th gen 4runner speedometer stopped working - back of speedometer

Instrument cluster removed, looking at the backside.

4th gen 4runner speedometer stopped working - soldering equipment

Instrument cluster circuit board revealed, along with the soldering equipment needed (do not use acid-core solder which is meant for plumbing as you see above, use rosin-core solder meant for electronics instead.)

4th gen 4runner speedometer stopped working - front of speedometer

New stepper motor installed.

4th gen 4runner speedometer stopped working - needles not reset yet

Everything almost put back together (needles not reset yet). The speedometer is back working again.

To properly reset the needles, I pushed the needles in for each of the gauges about 40% of the way. For example, I pushed the needle in at 2,000 or 3,000 rpm, and the speedometer at the 30 or 40 mph point. After pushing the needle in, I moved the needle counter-clockwise until it is at the zero point. Then I turned on the ignition to test everything out and once confirmed good, I re-assembled everything.

4th gen 4runner speedometer stopped working - finished product
Author

Hi there! I'm Scott and I run The Track Ahead. My goal is to provide helpful articles and tutorials based on my experience and research related to car maintenance and automotive detailing. When I'm not writing and not working my day job, you can find me spending time with my family and working on home and car projects.

4 Comments

  1. Christopher McCann Reply

    Hey- my speedo stopped working or sometimes rarely works. Cruise control still functions and I tried swapping the VSS out with no luck. I’m going to probably try this- what do you think? Is the soldering very difficult?

    • The soldering was not difficult, just follow all proper soldering procedures. Make sure you have a grounded soldering mat so you don’t short anything on your circuit board and be very careful not to damage other components.

  2. Ted Hinkle Reply

    Hey Scott, Wow great write up! Thank you so much for sharing this. I believe I have the same problem. So I’m going to order the stepper motor and hope that fixes the problem. Quick question for you, did you have to reset the needles for the gas and temp too and did you do it the same way as the others? I haven’t taken anything apart yet, but is there a reason why you have to remove and reset all the needles or is it just the speedometer needle that is attached to the stepper motor that has to be removed and reset? Thanks for your help!

    • Thanks and you’re welcome. It’s been a while since I did it, so I’ll try my best to answer your questions. I did do a reset of the needles on at least several of the needles, but I remember having some issues with some of the other gauges as well and having to swap out the stepper motors on them too. However, you’re right… if you’re only needing to replace the speedometer needle, then you shouldn’t need to mess with the other ones and hence shouldn’t need a reset of the needles since you never removed them to begin with.

      My advice based on my experience, work slowly and carefully and use good electronic handling/soldering techniques. These things can be delicate. I later ended up having more of the stepper motors go out (as I mentioned earlier) and replaced the motors/reset the needles and they just didn’t work right later. I ended up replacing the entire instrument cluster to get things working right: https://thetrackahead.com/projects/2003-toyota-4runner/how-to-replace-the-instrument-cluster-and-transfer-your-mileage-too-4th-gen-toyota-4runner/ So work carefully around the delicate circuit board and I think you’ll be fine. Good luck!

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