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Old 04-18-2006, 09:39 PM
bhatt's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 421
W126 Odometer stopped but NOT a gear problem

Hello all,

The odometer in my 86 300SDL stopped working all of a sudden. Both the odometer and trip odo are dead.

The speedometer still works perfectly.

Took the thing apart and there is a 1" "wheel" on the side of the speedo itself. It has a plastic cover on it and once you remove the cover, the 1" wheel can be pulled out. It's some kind of magnet that apparently spins.

Spun the magnet by hand and it makes the odo turn.

However, ALL the gears turn properly and the mileage accumulates when spinning this wheel.

So my thought is this: something is wrong with the board in the unit. I tested the cable and it is sending the proper signal to the cluster. And spinning the wheel causes mileage to accumulate (ie. not a gear problem)

Any ideas on what to check? Am I right in assuming the odo assembly (gears, shafts, wheels, etc.) are working and therefore it's the circuit board?


'83 300SD 335,000km (207k) mi SOLD
'87 560SL 163,000km (101k mi) SOLD
'86 300SDL 356,000km (220k mi) SOLD
'92 500SEL 250,000km (155k mi) SOLD
'90 300SL 140,000km (87k mi) SOLD
'01 S430 260,000km (161k mi) SOLD
'03 SL500 167,000km (104k mi)
'07 GL320 CDI 4MATIC 289,000km (162k mi)
'07 S550 4MATIC 170,000km (105k mi)
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:14 PM
Larry Delor's Avatar
What, Me Worry?
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sarasota, Fl.
Posts: 3,114
I'm pretty sure that the gear that usually breaks is quite smaller than an inch.

I've attached a sideview of a gear that is similar in size. I believe yours is probably black in color (if any of it is still there).

It really is a small gear ...a little bigger than the eraser end of a pencil.
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W126 Odometer stopped but NOT a gear problem-g-1-2-3.jpg  
It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so. Robert A. Heinlein

09 Jetta TDI
1985 300D
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:30 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 783
Leave it broken :)

Mine in my 300SD broke in the late 90's. I kind of like not having the "instrument of doom" stuck in my face all the time. I keep track of service with how much fuel I run through the car sort of like having a hobbs meter like on aircraft engine.

Broken odometers are common on these cars and most buyers are aware of the issues.

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