(and also how to remove parking brake assembly)

Since 2 years my '57 Imperial doesn't show speed ! After the restoration was completed i found that the speedo didn't go over 20 mph !! The odometer worked well but the needle just showed 15 mph when i was at 50 mph ... My first thought was that there was a magnetic problem in the speedometer head: not enough strenght from the rotating magnet. In fact, i discovered 6 months ago (when i bought another speedo and restored it) that it was my fault ! When i disassembled it, i unsettled the spiral (return) spring of the needle.So the needle couldn't overcome the spring and indicate a wrong measurement. About disassembly the speedo, take a look at this page

After my 7 years restoration, i was tired ! Too tired to remove the speedo so i put an electronic "bike computer". I was afraid also to remove this enormous instrument and i don't know "how to" with the dash in the car.
I studied all the possibilities but the speedo interfered with all things: steering column, parking brake assl'y. , wiper linkage, etc.. And i wasn't sure it was possible w/o removing the cluster .. I read in a "Chrysler labor schedule " that removing a '57-58 speedo took 1.6 hr. So it 's possible !! A Chrysler bulletin lists the different tasks and also 1.6 hours of work.

L.O.L  !!!  HA HA HA HA .. They never removed a speedo on a car ! Perhaps without firewall and floor or on a car w/o wipers and (antena / lights) switches .. And perhaps with a "magic" parking brake release shaft.  (1)

It took me 20 hours !!! And many more items needed removal besides what Chrysler said !! And a machining of a new axle !! 

Brake assl'y.  : with locations of firewall and dash !From "Chrysler bulletin CH-1000 ": how to r&r speedo (1.6 h) :

1. Disconnect battery.
2. Remove parking brake assembly.
3. Remove wires from clip on top of speedometer and push wires to
the left.
4. Remove the four lights from the back of speedometer.
5. Remove the three attaching nuts that hold speedometer in
6. Disconnect trip mileage setting cable by loosening cable set
7. Remove speedometer from the left side of car.

To install speedo, reverse above.

*   From my experience (20 h):

1.   same as Chrysler ...

2.    Remove parking brake assembly (need 2 hours..): remove cable at trans. - remove cable at parking brake assy. (but first need to remove switch on assy) - Remove knob and escutcheon - And now ? How to remove the assy. with a shaft which protudes at front of dash ? Impossible !! You need to remove the shaft with its return spring and stop sector. Ther's a cotter pin that you can reach with a lot of difficulty (see pic): you must remove it then you slide the shatf off the assl'y. Don't bother about return spring and sector, it's too late, you never could reinstall them ... Now you can remove the nuts (2), bolts (2) (beware! cupped washer under them) on firewall and 2 other bolts under the front of the dash.
In a twisting motion you can now remove the assl'y. (lower the rear of the assy and turn clockwise then slide it.). You need also to remove the speedo cable and the 4 lights because they could interfere with the front of the parking brake assy. when you tilt it.
Note that the shaft needs to be remove from the rear because the plastic "cam" which unlocks the parking brake is too large to pass through the dash opening..

3.   If not done, remove speedo cable and lights. But you need also to remove the wiper linkage from wiper arm (very small clip.. i lost it !) Remove harness wires from clip on top of speedometer and push wires to the left (if you can..).

4 .   If you take a look under the dash you'll see that the speedo is very large and will interfere with the antenna switch. remove it. At left the headlight switch 'll also be in the way... Remove the knob and nut which holds the assy. Push the switch in and to the left.

5.after 5 hours ..  Disconnect trip mileage setting cable by loosening cable set screw.

6.   Now, buy very long and thin fingers ... You have to loosen (but not removing) the 2 upper nuts of the speedo. They are very high and very deep in the dash. As you think ther's a lot of wires which prevent to access them. Try to locate them with finger then slide a 3/8 socket with universal joint and shafts. The lower nut (center) is very odd : it's a hex. shaft (3/8) with tapered end. Yes, you  remove it, it's easy. Now slide the speedo to the bottom, so it will disengage from the upper studs. Tilt it and slide it behind the dash. Note that the directional lights flasher is perhaps always on its location: back of speedo !! Remove it (and put it in another place

7.   take 1 or 2 beers .. You've worked around 6 hours.
    I think that Chrysler had some complaints in '57 because they changed something in the speedo fixture: in '57 the lower fixture is this odd hex shaft which screws on a stud. In '58 ther's also this hex shaft but now it's a bolt. And it's a major improvement in installation ! Fortunately i had a '58 lower dash (die-cast) panel. I made several tests on a spare (57) dash to reinstall speedo : remember, it's impossible to install the two upper nuts with speedo in dash so i test installation with the 2 upper nuts only loosen (i slide the two upper brackets from bottom to top on studs) but itsn't easy to push the third (lower) bracket on its stud. Without this stud as on '58, it's work like a charm, you've only to screw the shaft bolt... So if you've a '57, you'll have more difficulties (a good advise is to widen toward the center of speedo the 3 elongated holes)...

8.  Through the speedo opening loose enough the 2 upper nuts. Remember, you must not remove them !! If you've to remove the clock or change the parking light bulb, do it, you'll never have this chance...

9.  Slide the new speedo and engage the upper brackets on studs. Check if the brackets elongated holes are well on the studs ! Finger tight the nuts and install the lower nut (or bolt). Then tight the upper nuts if you could with a socket. Install trip mileage cable.

10.  re-install antenna and headlight switches. Do not reinstall at this time speedo cable, wiper linkage and the four speedo lights.

   Now ther's  an impossible thing to do: put in the same time  return spring, sector and cotter pin on the parking brake assembly release shaft ! I spent 3 hours (!!) with no success: you can never have the spring in line and even if it's in line, no possibilitie to hook the spring on the sector ! So i decide to machine an axle extension (see pics), named the "return spring extension" which holds the spring and sector. Fortunately ther's a uselesss bracket on the parking brake assy. I use it to install the extension shaft. This extension must have  a flat spot (for the sector) at one end and a slot at the other end to slide the original shaft + drilling for pins. So you install spring and sector on bench and you slide the brake assy. under the dash  Beware to not have the "swivel" release which engages or it 'll prevent installation of the assl'y.

11.  Slide the release axle in the opening (from rear). Slide the parking brake assembly. Install the axle in the "return spring extension" and install the cotter pin; not easy because you can't see or feel the hole with the pin in the fingers.. It took me 1 hour !! Take another beer ... Check if the release axle returns to vertical position. OK ? No, no beer now..

12.  Now remaining work is a dream !! Install the cable (you need an help to pull the housing cable from engine compartment) and all other things (speedo cable, wiper linkage, lights etc..). Put the 6 nuts / bolts of the parking brake. Install cable at transmission drum end.

13.  Enjoy !! But make an appointment with a chiropractor, your back needs some restoration


Click to enlarge

original release mechanism (pics 1 to 5 are original mechanism) Rear view of the "bench" cluster assy. How to access to the pin ? Another rear view with the speedo installed Note position of the "swivel" and the small gap.' lower speedo fixtures
57 rear view 57 rear view what you can see  under the dash.. '57 lower dash (front ) 58 lower dash (front) removing speedo (1)
removing speedo (2) removing speedo (3) extension the three *%+$-(  !! axle extension axle extension (with release shaft installed)


The "new" speedo (note that i've checked if it works : 1 mile...). The green "kph" numbers are printed on a clear and removable plastic.

Thanks to John Hertog for corrections...

(1) i received 08-02-2004 a message from Bob Dervin: he succeed in removing the  whole parking brake assy.  !! Below is his message (and 2 pics of his wonderful '58 LeBaron.

Hello Philippe, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to create the web pages detailing the spedometer removal on the 1957-58 Imperials. After studying your information I was able to swap mine in 4 hours with a rebuilt one, and I also changed the clock too. I saved alot of time on my swap because I was able to remove the parking brake assembly in one piece without removing the actuating rod. I kept moving the assembly toward the right-front of the car until the actuating rod swiveled enough to come out of the hole in the dash. Another thing I did is that I scratched the lens of the old speedo when I was removing it, so I taped some newspaper across the new lens until it was almost in position, then removed the newspaper before bolting it in.

Thanks again for your time and effort on creating your web pages. They saved me much time and effort.

Regards, Bob


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