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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
Top view of the purchased stepper motor.
Underside of the purchased stepper motor.
Instrument cluster removed, looking at the backside.
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.)
New stepper motor installed.
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.