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BrendaJChil

1995 Nissan Pathfinder speed sensor?

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Check engine light on, then sometimes off.  When check engine light is on, speedometer and odometer do not work.  A suggestion was it could be a speed sensor.  Any thoughts, ideas or how to do this??  I can find parts, but need to be clear what I am looking for and how to proceed.  I cannot even find a photo or video showing where this part fits on vehicle!!  Husband is willing to to try.  Do not want to go to a dealer, being a 1995 model.  I bought this new and love it/want to to go on forever!  It is a 4-wheel drive, automatic transmission.   HELP!

Nissn Beck Arnley speed sensor.docx

Edited by BrendaJChil
added information, document

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Sounds like the speed sensor to me too. The sensor on yours mounts into the transfer case and has a gear on the end spun by the output shaft. The intermittent nature of the fault would have me checking the condition of the wiring and the plug for the sensor before ordering a new one, on the off chance something is obviously corroded or loose.

 

The service manual has the procedure to troubleshoot a faulty VSS (vehicle speed sensor). EF&EC section of the '95 manual should have what you need, and you can download that here. Looks like VSS diagnostics starts on EF&EC-88. That same section has instructions for pulling codes if you want to verify why the light is on. EL-41 has a test for the sensor. The manual shows the sensor having two wires, red and white, which might help you track it down. There are a couple of switches mounted to the transfer as well (to control the light on the dash).

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I so appreciate your help!  We might get this figured out....  Thank you, Slartibartfast!

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I am going through this with a newly aquired 1994 SE. 

 

Ordered speed sensor.  swapped it out. still not fixed. 

 

I noticed that the speedometer is all over the place. when unplugging and plugging in the sensor. 

 

I beleive the speedometer is my isue. 

 

I read that if you hook up a meter to the speed sensor it should show dc volts when spun.  1volt for every 10mph.

Edited by msavides

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With great difficulty husband has removed the sensor, new one arriving by Thursday, $73+ on Amazon...3 sources say it is the right one for the Pathfinder.  After all this, I am so hoping this resolves it.  Hate the thought of then dealing with it being a different issue!  In all honesty, from our experience, I don't think you can remove that thing without destroying it! 

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Yeah, I've heard they're not fun to remove. Good luck! Don't throw away what's left of the old one just yet, IIRC you might need the gear off of it.

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mine was  in there pretty good as well. I used a wide flat screwdriver and  gentley pried up behend the ear with the bolt hole. at first it would not budge.  I then lightly tapped on the spped sensor with a hammer. the next time I pried it popped right out. I was afraid I would break the ear off.

 

I am going to take the cluster off this weekend and see if there is a bad ground on the speedo gauge and possibly put a meter on the wires going to the speedo gauge.

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The new sensor arrived Thursday (happy valentine's day)  and above poster was correct that we still needed the gear...as new one did not come with it!  ; 0

Finally got it installed and just this morning took vehicle for a test drive.  NOT FIXED.  Still engine light comes on and speedometer acts erratically, then does not function.  Obviously, we are now going to have to direct our attention to the speedometer itself, I guess!  Sigh...

Bottom line...don't assume this issue is speed sensor.  Worst possible part to replace if you are not a mechanic!  We survived that, now wondering now hard it will be to remove the dash or whatever we have to do next....! 

Do not know if or whether it is worth it to learn how to read the codes from the gizmo under the passenger seat.  Seems more sensible to just go to the next possibly?  The Speedometer itself.  Any advice on that?

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Well crap, that sucks. I had a look at the service manual and it looks like the VSS signal does go through the cluster before reaching the ECU, so it is possible something in the cluster has gone out. I'd start at the sensor to make sure that's good (should be if it's brand new), then check that the same signal is present where its wires hook to the cluster. Looks like the wires are a straight shot there (with a couple connectors), so you should see the same signal at the cluster that you do at the sensor. You may need to wrap a thin piece of wire around the leads on your meter to poke into the connector. The speed sensor has a white wire and a red wire, and those colors continue to the cluster, though they're in two different plugs just to be that way. Looks like it's pins 42 and 28 (pin layout shown on EL-39 of the '95 manual). Then there's a white wire with a blue stripe in pin 7 that carries the speed sensor signal to the ECU, but given that the speedo's not working, it sounds like the signal's stopping at or before the cluster--probably no reason to check the wire to the ECU. If the cluster is getting signal from the sensor, then that points at the cluster. I've heard of people clearing up tach issues by cleaning and tightening the brass screws on the back of the cluster, no idea if that would help here but it's worth a try (they're electrical connections). If not, the problem's in the wiring between the cluster and the sensor. Hopefully it's not that, wiring issues are a pain.

One odd thing is that one diagram shows the VSS as a reed switch, but the diagnostics say to spin it quickly and look for about 0.5v AC, which isn't how a reed switch works. I know my '93 has a reed switch (it's in the cluster on mine, because square-dash trucks have a mechanical speedo with a cable). If the 0.5v AC isn't showing up, you might try putting the meter on resistance, which is how I'd expect to test a reed switch (on/off as it turns). Don't use a test light, reed switches aren't really built for current.

The good news is that the cluster's not that difficult to pull. Been a while since I had a round-dash but IIRC it's about the same as the earlier models: a couple Phillips screws holding the bezel in and then four more around the cluster itself, and then a bunch of electrical plugs. Helps to adjust the steering column down as far as it goes so you have room to work.

The ECU code checking procedure isn't too difficult (once you wrap your head around it). Might be good to confirm, but I'd be surprised if it told you something you didn't already know at this point.

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Ordered a new cluster from ebay. I will let you know if that fixes mine. 

 

 

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Slartibartfast - I appreciate your post back.  I printed it and will use it as a guide to our next endeavor!  I agree, not much point in learning how to read the ECU codes at this point.   Husband did take the speedometer and dash sector apart yesterday and said everything looks very clean...which does not equate to functioning!

 

Thanks too, msavides...I would really like to hear back on whether replacing cluster solves the problem!

 

This vehicle has for the last several years had electrical problems...door looks going up and down, a slow drain from battery...all kinds of weird things.  A Nissan dealership was on a program of just changing out parts...as long as I was still under warranty around 1998-99.  After that went away, have just lived with some of this as being non--essential!

 

We disconnected under the dash foot zone lights, connection to doors that turn on lights, mostly solved.  Worst was the phase of having to actually lift the hood and disconnect the battery everywhere I went so as not to be left stranded with a non-starting car!  That was discovered to be an arcing light in the taillight sector...finally resolved!  Many things I have just learned to live without...the heated seats, the remote for door locks, etc.  It just is what it is! 

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I just started having this issue, Speedo not working intermittent cel, with my 95 4x4. When I throw mine into 4h the Speedo works. So my speed sensor my be going out as well but then again I have a failing transmission anyway

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I just pulled my Speedo cluster out and come to find out There's corrosion on the back of the Speedo and a broken connection on the printed board. So I guess time for a different speedo

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sbrowning0723.  In hindsight, might save a lot of grief going to the speedo first.  That VSS thing is an ugly ordeal.  We are still pondering what comes next.  We need a few days away from the issue  ; 0

Sincere thanks to those helping us along with this!

 

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Sbrowning, if you've got a broken trace, you might just try soldering it up to see if that brings it back. If it's hooped already, you're not gonna make it worse, right?
 

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46 minutes ago, Slartibartfast said:

Sbrowning, if you've got a broken trace, you might just try soldering it up to see if that brings it back. If it's hooped already, you're not gonna make it worse, right?
 

True but the wierd thing is I put the old girl into 4wd and the Speedo works

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Yeah, that part's bizarre. My best guess is that the switch on the transfer that grounds the indicator light (I assume it's ground switched, haven't checked) is also providing ground to the cluster through some shared wiring somewhere, bypassing that broken trace. Circuits can interact strangely when something goes wrong. I'd still be curious to see if a jumper across the break solved the problem.

When I had my '95 I rewired the cargo area light to the tire carrier switch (because the switch in the hatch was worn out), and when I turned the truck off, the tire carrier idiot light on the dash came on. I eventually worked out that the light was getting + from the dome light circuit and somehow finding ground in the cluster (which was + when the ignition was on). A diode on the wire I'd scabbed in sorted it out in the end, but it confused the hell out of me for a while.

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So found that a bundle of 5 wires for mine were up against the exhaust header and melted the wires. And melted the wire inside the cab. I wish I could post the pictures here to show y'all.  And figure out where the harness goes

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I tore apart my cluster. not a spec of corrosion, the circuit board on the speedo is perfect, i cleaned evreything and put it back together again and the speedometer still does not work and now the tach stopped working. 

 

anyways

got the ebay cluster today.  I put it in and speedometer is now working. the trip display is not working though.  kinda pissed cause I spent $100 on this cluster. Trip display worked on my old one. I may tear it apart and swap inthe trip from my old one to get it working, but I am afraid of breaking the speedometer by taking it apart. 

 

 

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I had mine apart a while ago and there really isn't much to them. I didn't break down the speedo unit itself, but you may be able to figure out why the trip meter isn't working.

 

Sbrowning, yeah, that sounds like you might've found the problem! The service manual has harness diagrams if you want to jump into that rabbit hole to figure out what's melted.

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So I've patched the wires both under hood and in cab. Still no speedometer but I've checked the engine light and it's giving error code 14. The speed sensor has gone bad. Oh well. Be picking up another pathy soon

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So the guy I bought the cluster from gave me a $25 refund for the non working trip gauge.  (lcd was not wokring) I tore it apart and swapped just the speedometer from his into my cluster. and everything appeared to be working. speedometer  (BTW the Tach stopped working because I forgot to tighten those screws  DUH)

 

However, I was still getting a Check engine light. Sure enough it was code 14.  so I put the original VSS back in.  It normally gave a CEL at the 3rd gear shift.  I drove it around the block for a few bocks and it did not come back on.  I will check with the othwer half to seee if it gave a CEL on her way to work this morning. Also the Odemeter and trip meter does not change.

 

The VSS i ordered off of Ebay said it was a 19 tooth.  My Gear on the original was blue and from my reading that indicates that it is a 18 tooth. I would not think the gear would make a difference. only about 2 MPH from my testing. But it should not have thrown a CEL because of that.  My thought is that the connections or wires from the Speedometer to the ECCM are at fault. 

 

I will wait to see if it does it again before I pronounce the CEL is fixed. Not sure if the odometer/trip work off the speedometer wires or the wires coming back from the ECCM. 

 

BTW I seem to remember seeing the factory service manuals on this site,  I don't beleive they are still available.  I thought Nissan made whoever was hosting them take them down. 

If anyone Knows the location where I can get the 1994 service manual, please PM me the link.

 

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Thanks I just found it.   It was on Nicoclub forum

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