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GJF GJF is offline
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stupid Q's

Hey guys,
Just bought my kid a used 944 and have a few dumb Q's (car didn't come with an owners manual??) What is the keyed switch in the left rear quarter panel for? Right behind the drivers door? And how do you reset the trip in the speedometer?

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Old 05-09-2010, 08:58 PM
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That keyed switch is your alarm and the speedo reset is to the right of the gauges kinda hidden in the dash vent as one of the louvers. Only reset it when stopped.
Old 05-09-2010, 09:23 PM
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Welcome to the Pelican forums and the world of 944's!

Here's the link to an 1987 owner's manual: http://alordofchaos.com/Documents/944_owners_manual.mht

The key swtich in the L rear quarter panel is for the alarm (page 11 of the manual).

If you have a late car (85+) the odometer reset button is just to the right of the instrument cluster in the vent - a little button sticking out at the left side of the vent (page 34 of the manual).

Important: DO NOT push the button while you're moving! The odometer gears will strip. A design flaw and sadly, non-functioning odometers are common as dirt in the 944 community.

Welcome again to the world of 944 ownership - you got a fun little car, there!
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mikepellegrini View Post
Important: DO NOT push the button while you're moving! The odometer gears will strip. A design flaw and sadly, non-functioning odometers are common as dirt in the 944 community.
I am convinced that this is a myth. The gear strips because the plastic degrades and turns roughly the same consistency as a gummi bear. Resetting the odometer while moving does not cause the gear to strip, it's the degradation of the plastic that does it. The gear that strips isn't even the gear that is disconnected when the trip odometer resets.

This failure is common to many, many VDO gauges from the 1980s into the 1990s (the Volvo 850 series cars with VDO panels have exactly the same problem, but no-one blames it on resetting the trip odometer while moving).

Replacement gears that don't go gummi can be found for less than $30 and it's pretty easy to open up the cluster and replace it. For cars without airbags, I can replace an odometer gear in less than an hour.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:04 AM
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not even close!

[QUOTE=AaronM;5342509]I am convinced that this is a myth. The gear strips because the plastic degrades and turns roughly the same consistency as a gummi bear. Resetting the odometer while moving does not cause the gear to strip, it's the degradation of the plastic that does it. The gear that strips isn't even the gear that is disconnected when the trip odometer resets.QUOTE]

That is an interesting theory but the reset on early (Series 1) cars is mechanical. No myth, fact. Go to FAQ on 944s. If you reset the odo on a series 1 car while you drive, you will destroy it. End of story...
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GJF View Post
Hey guys,
Just bought my kid a used 944 and have a few dumb Q's (car didn't come with an owners manual??) What is the keyed switch in the left rear quarter panel for? Right behind the drivers door? And how do you reset the trip in the speedometer?
Open your wallet and depending on the age of your son, expect to replace a clutch or quarter panel real soon.

Have your son sign on to Pelican so we can get him the "real" help he needs and how to begin to upgrade the suspension------for a "Few Dollars More"

GL
John_AZ
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronM View Post
I am convinced that this is a myth. The gear strips because the plastic degrades and turns roughly the same consistency as a gummi bear. Resetting the odometer while moving does not cause the gear to strip, it's the degradation of the plastic that does it. The gear that strips isn't even the gear that is disconnected when the trip odometer resets.
That is an interesting theory but the reset on early (Series 1) cars is mechanical. No myth, fact. Go to FAQ on 944s. If you reset the odo on a series 1 car while you drive, you will destroy it. End of story...
The series 2 cars have mechanical odometers too, it's just that instead of the gearset being driven by a cable, it's driven by a stepper motor. The operation of the trip reset is mechanically identical, it's just that in the early cars it's a lever accomplishing the action while the later cars use an electromagnet to actuate the lever. As far as the drive gear is concerned, there's no difference.

The fault lies in the defective chemical composition of the plastic drive gear. If you've ever taken one apart, you'll know that the drive gear on failed units has effectively become jell-o; you can literally bend it in half without breaking it. I say again, resetting the trip odometer while moving does not cause the issue. This is an old wive's tale that has been circulated in the 944 community for a very long time, but that simply does not stand up to a rational analysis of how the odometer actually works.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:41 AM
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wives tales

I guess Clark's continues to spread this old wives tale, and I for one am not willing to try it to test your hypothesis... A little shaky mebbe.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:03 PM
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I guess Clark's continues to spread this old wives tale, and I for one am not willing to try it to test your hypothesis... A little shaky mebbe.
Clark's Garage is very useful, but it's no different than any other hobbyist-run website. It's not authoritative and it does contain misinformation occasionally just like every other resource out there, even factory shop manuals on occasion.

One has only to look at the odometer gear assembly to see that absolutely no part of the trip odometer reset system even touches the main drive gear (the gear that gets stripped). The portion of the system that is disengaged during a trip odometer reset is separated from the main drive gear by four other intermediate gears, none of which have any reputation for ever stripping. While resetting the trip odometer while moving may impart an absolutely minuscule amount of transient torque, if the trip odometer were the cause, then some of those intermediate gears would strip also, but they never do.

The cause is the main drive gear going gummi with age, after which it starts wearing away rapidly. Mine stopped working while driving down the highway even though at that point I still believed the fables and hadn't ever reset the trip odometer at all, just to be extra safe. When I took it apart to replace the gear, I realised that my precautions had been worthless.

The problem is that once the gear gets old enough that it has become soft, it starts to wear at an accelerated pace and there's nothing that can be done to stop it in the long run. It's going to fail eventually; the decomposition of the main drive gear makes that certain no matter how studiously you avoid resetting the trip odometer while moving. The tiny torque variations from resetting the trip odometer could, theoretically, accelerate the wear on the gummy-gear, but not nearly enough that avoiding them would prevent the failure from occurring. At best, you might buy yourself an extra year or two on the defective gear.

The replacement gears use different plastic and do not degrade like the originals, so they don't suffer the same problem. Once you've replaced the gear, it's not going to strip and have problems because it's a much more durable material. Once the defective gear has been replaced, you can reset the trip odometer while moving as much as you like and it won't hurt anything because there aren't any jell-o gears in the machinery anymore.
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Guards Red 1986 951 <- Seattle car (Gretchen)
White 1976 914 2.0 F.I. <- Prodigal car, traded away then brought back again (Lorelei)
Old 05-10-2010, 01:32 PM
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Mine broke when I hit it while moving. Coincidence? Maybe.

Either way, don't test fate, and be prepared to buy a new one.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:31 PM
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Odometer Gear

I wont get into the odo reset fray, but want to add this note. The original gears were soft to reduce gear noise, but do get gummy with age. Replacement gears from Pelican and my speedometer repair shop http://www.SpeedometerGears.com are made from a harder plastic resin that while long lasting will make a slight ticking noise on speedometers that use the stepper motors. Only heard in very quiet cars and and sometimes by women. (No joke, their ears are more sensitive to high frequencies.) We don't use it at the risk of picking up dirt, but a slight amount of viscose silicon damping grease will reduce the noise.

Last edited by ericsundbergva; 05-16-2010 at 01:28 AM..
Old 05-11-2010, 01:58 AM
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Thumbs up

By your signature I see that you drive a later car. The speedo setups are different front early to late. The speedo on an early is a cable/mechanical setup, vastly different than later years. If you said for later cars I might believe you as it could be possible. It appears you are sketchy on series 1 cars. No biggie.

On the early cars, odometer is mechanical, and the trip reset button is right near the trip odometer. Caution : do not press this unless the car is completely at rest, and not rolling as this would most certainly cause the ODOMETER TO QUIT WORKING. End of quote. Clark’s garage.
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:18 AM
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Never heard this odometer gear theory before, I guess you only learn it when it breaks. I've been hitting the odometer switch while moving on my '88 on every tank of gas consumed for 10years/100k miles because my fuel level gauge is broken. Been meaning to get that fixed...
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:29 AM
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Thanks Guys!
Always fellow Pelican's to the rescue. So the factory alarm is nothing more than a circuit interrupt? I don't have the key for the alarm on either car. I did see the modification to remove the alarm relay and bridge the specific terminals to eliminate the factory system. I bought 2 cars the 1st is an 87 with 75K automatic and in ok shape. The second is an 86 with 54K 5 speed and exceptionally clean but it was hit on the right front. Both run well the 86 has headers and a cold air intake. I am going to strip both cars and assemble one with the best parts. This way the car will be like new and I know everything will be in top shape for my kid. He is 17 and is in love with the car so I am making him wrench on the cars (of course me watching over him) hoping his respect for the car will increase with his blood sweat and tears.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:22 AM
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Thanks Guys!
He is 17 and is in love with the car so I am making him wrench on the cars (of course me watching over him) hoping his respect for the car will increase with his blood sweat and tears.
In my opinion, best thing you can do. My dad encouraged this when I bought my 924S. Now I can barely be pulled from the garage, and bought a 944 turbo last week
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:49 PM
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By your signature I see that you drive a later car. The speedo setups are different front early to late. The speedo on an early is a cable/mechanical setup, vastly different than later years. If you said for later cars I might believe you as it could be possible. It appears you are sketchy on series 1 cars. No biggie.
Sorry, but obviously you have no idea how the insides of the odometers work. Both the early and late cars have very similar gear-drives for the odometer. The primary spinning force comes from a mechanical cable on early cars instead of a stepper motor, but the actual geartrain to the odometer is not significantly different between the two. Clearly you're sketchy on the difference between a power source and a transmission. No biggie.

If you take apart both types, you will see that the gear transmission for the odometer in both types is essentially identical. Even the reset mechanism is essentially identical. The only difference is how the main lever is actuated, the engagement/disengagement of the trip odometer gears is mechanically identical despite the differing actuation methodologies.

Look, you're perfectly welcome to believe whatever you want, but anyone with even a basic engineering background who has taken both types of speedometer apart can tell you that the bits that are relevant to whether the main odometer gear strips are effectively identical despite the different power source for early and late gauges.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:25 PM
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Obviously you have no idea that the prime concern here is the mechanical speedo drive. On a series 1 car because the speedo drive is a cable, as soon as the car moves forward the gears are moving. This is mechanical. If you try to reset the odo, because the gears are already in motion when the car is moving you break the gear. Simple really. Most early 944 forums touch on this. A little more reading on series 1 cars is in order,lol... The argument is not about the odo gear, it is about what happens when you reset an early odometer and the car is moving forward.
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:11 AM
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Obviously the word obviously is being used too much.

(Obviously)

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Old 05-12-2010, 07:20 PM
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