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How to Fix a BMW 2002 Odometer Failure Yourself for Free or at a Low Cost


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Written by Curt Ingraham Tuesday, 06 June 2006

(edited by Scott Sislane 4/12/2020)


If you're driving a BMW 2002 vehicle and your speedometer is still working, but your odometer has stopped counting miles, you may be dealing with a common issue known as the 2002 odometer failure. Fortunately, several options exist to fix it without spending much money.


One option is to take it to a speedometer shop and pay between $75 and $150 for a repair. Alternatively, you can find a used instrument cluster at a swap meet or salvage yard for less than half the cost of a repair. If you're handy with tools and patient, you can also try to fix it yourself for free.


With some DIY spirit, you can save money and get your odometer working again. Whether you choose to take it to a shop, find a used part, or fix it yourself, don't let a broken odometer keep you from enjoying your vehicle.

Rear of the Instrument Cluster
Rear of the Instrument Cluster


Repair Instructions:


      1. Remove instrument cluster from dash.
      2. While speedo is still in cluster, loosen big nut on back (circled in green), center of speedo. (just loosen it, do not remove it yet)
      3. Remove the 6 screws circled in red, remove the tachometer to left, then remove the speedo from cluster. Handle carefully. Resist temptation and do not touch needle or face.
      4. Now with the speedo out, remove big nut and washer from back of speedo, and remove the speedo from the back plate.
        Odometer Gears
        Odometer Gears
        • Notice that:
          • Speedo cable input on rear drives speedo.
          • Shaft from speedo to odometer drives odometer number wheel shaft;
          • Odometer shaft drives a big aluminum-colored gear at the end of the odometer number wheel stack;
          • Odometer is not turning because that big gear is slipping on the number wheel shaft;
      5.  Number wheel shaft is held in position by friction with big gear.
      6. Gently slide the number wheel shaft back and forth a very small amount to verify that it is loose.
      7. Find a temporary replacement shaft of slightly smaller diameter, such as a nail or machine screw.
        • 2" finishing nail being used to drive out the number wheel shaft. It's the perfect width and length
          2" finishing nail being used 
          Here is a 2" finishing nail being used to drive out the number wheel shaft. It's the perfect width and length.
      8. Replace number wheel shaft with temporary shaft (2" finishing nail) as follows:
        • Identify end of number wheel shaft withOUT the gear.
        • Place end of temporary shaft against end of number wheel shaft.
        • Slowly and carefully press temporary shaft in, forcing number wheel shaft out.
        • At this point, temporary shaft is in, number wheel shaft is out, and number wheels are still in place.
      9. Locate position on number wheel shaft where big aluminum-colored gear normally sits. A polished band likely exists there. Verify gear location by holding shaft against number wheel frame.
      10. With a center punch or cold chisel make a very light impression on shaft at gear location. This distortion should be large enough to fit tightly in
        2" nail in place
        2" nail in place 
        gear, but small enough to pass through number wheels using finger pressure.
      11. Please note: I had previously advised fixing gear to shaft with super glue, but that repair doesn't last nearly as long as the distortion method above.
      12. Try replacing number wheel shaft in odo frame. Keep number wheel shaft end against temporary shaft end.
        • If number wheel shaft won't go through odo frame or is tight in number wheels, distortion is too large. File slightly.
        • If number wheel shaft slides all the way in easily, distortion is too small. Punch it again.
        • When distortion is just right, shaft will stop sliding when distortion reaches gear, and will not go into gear with finger pressure.
        • Repair the shaft
          Repair the shaft
          Use channel-lock pliers or a small vise to press shaft firmly into position in big gear. Leave a very small gap between odometer frame and small brass gear at other end of shaft.
      13. Verify that numbers on number wheels align correctly with rectangular hole in speedo face.
      14. Remove shaft between speedo and odometer by removing one screw. Turn number wheel shaft with fingers and verify that wheels turn smoothly, and ten's digit advances when one's digit goes from 9 to 0. Replace speedo-to-odometer shaft.
      15. Replace back plate, washer, and nut (finger tight) on back of speedo.
      16. Clean speedo face with careful puffs of canned air. (If more cleaning is needed, use water and lens tissue.)
      17. Replace speedo in cluster, engaging trip odometer reset shaft.
      18.  Reassemble cluster.
      19. Tighten big nut on back of speedo, noting alignment of speedo face.
      20. Reinstall cluster in dash.
      21. Test speedo and odometer. You can do this by using a drill and a hex drive. Simply insert the hex drive into the input drive, and start drill. Make sure it turning in the proper direction - CCW.
      22. Reinstall under-dash panels.




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      • 8 months later...
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      • 1 year later...

      This was a great article…..Everything appears to have gone ok except now my numbers fell slightly out of alignment - tripometer ok - odometer two numbers are buggered.  Any ideas to align them without repeating the entire performance?

      1973 BMW 2002 Restomod - Fjord Blue on Nutmeg 

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      • 1 month later...
      On 1/26/2022 at 9:03 PM, Overdraft said:

      This was a great article…..Everything appears to have gone ok except now my numbers fell slightly out of alignment - tripometer ok - odometer two numbers are buggered.  Any ideas to align them without repeating the entire performance?


      When you were removing or replacing the shaft, you must've had a gap between the temp shaft and real shaft, allowing the wheel to move. The only way I can think of correcting, is to take it apart again & re-do. To avoid a wheel moving; when the temp shaft (nail) is pushing the real shaft out, make sure they stay in contact so none of the wheels get loose. To fix yours, you will actually need to allow a gap so that one wheel is freed up. It'll be tricky but you can do it. Good luck!

      1976 2002 Custom Dk Blue w/ Pearl

      1975 2002A Sahara (sold Feb 2008)


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      I am a little embarrassed but that is precisely what I did - and with some confidence because I had successfully done it the weekend before feeling good about the work I had done - BUT this time I BROKE the friggen speedo needle while handling it !  I was so mad I could spit - so ended up buying a new to me cluster which has been since installed.  Maddening.  



      1973 BMW 2002 Restomod - Fjord Blue on Nutmeg 

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      • 7 months later...

      I carefully followed the instructions to a letter (I was more than a bit nervous pushing out that shaft!) and happy to report it worked like a charm.  Trip and Odo both working great now at exactly $0 cost.  Thanks for posting such a useful and detailed procedure!

      Stuart Obermann

      Huntsville, AL

      '74 2002tii Verona

      '14 535i Msport

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      • 8 months later...

      Just used this as a guide, opted for a Bobby pin in place of a nail to hold everything in place while I added the punches to the gear shaft. The Bobby pin made it easier to have a good grip but due to being thinner, the number wheels had a little play in them, but it did the job well. 

      thanks for the great write up! Bought my tii a few weeks ago and this was the first of many fixes I have on my plate 


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      • 2 months later...

      Great project. Lots of fun. Thanks for the write up and subsequent comments everyone.


      A piece of tape on the numbers will help keep them in line throughout the process. It can be very frustrating to try and get the numbers realigned should they move.  Tough lesson. 🙂

      I should mention that just about every connection from the Speedo to the failed friction fit needed attention: degrease/regrease. The friction fit was just the final fix.

      Definitely don’t need much distortion on the shaft to get a good friction fit. I found pressing the shaft with a vice to be a much safer method of reassembly. I could push the temporary nail out and the permanent shaft back to where the friction fit was firm but no further (not sticking back out the other side). The vice inserted the shaft just that last little bit… slowly and safely.


      Test on drill.


      Be sure to clean up the speedo window while you’re in there. It looks great.


      Highly recommended project.




      Edited by Birdie
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      When I was Re inserting the shaft back into the Speedo, I also got stoped where the friction part met the box so I was using a large pair of pliers to gently squeeze it in and , dooh , crap , I bent the bloody shaft and now it is stuck it there , assrrrggghhh 

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      @Rich Oh no! So, I certainly posted the abridged story of my odometer fix. Everyone knows, but no one wants to hear the iterative desperation these projects can require.


      Even if you’ve resolved your issue my less abridged story below may help.


      I also had to remove my newly vice pressed pin from the assembly - three times. I won’t go into why (but once bc of misaligned numbers). Each time was more harrowing.  

      So first and foremost, I would secure the numbers. Some videos on YouTube recommend scotch tape and it worked for me. 

      I repeatedly removed  the shaft by prying under the sprocket with a very small flathead screwdriver. And not just the sprocket but the base of the sprocket that keeps the actual sprocket from touching the assembly.  First, by simply rotating the flat head  (not truly prying) and then using progressively larger flatheads. The tricky part was stopping at just the right spot so as to switch to the nail and pushing by hand.

      And, I know it’s too late but a vice is preferred to pliars for any number of reasons - the most important is less chance of catastrophic failure.

      Best of luck. Let me know how it goes.

      Edited by Birdie
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      Last year I replaced the offending gear with one from odometergears.com.  A bit tricky, but the folks there walked me through the really tricky parts and it worked just right.  


      I did a Roundel column on the topic, so if you want a copy, PM me.




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      '69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
      '73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
      '91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
      Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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