Xk120 1954 FHC speedometer wire broken

My 1954 XK120 speedometer was not working. So I unscrewed the wire from the meter, pulled the cable from the sheath and found it broken off. I tried to unscrew the transmission end of the wire without success. there is no grip for me to unscrew. I need help in how to remove the lower end of the broken speedometer rotating wire. Also where can I buy a replacement speedometer wire?
Many thank for your help.

The little end and the big end are pretty similar. Use pliers on it.

Last time I bought one was from Moss Motors. XKS Unlimited may have them.

thanks Rob. The pics help. Just want to know I was doing the right thing if I am going to use force.

I used some pliers with some leather to prevent the ring from being scratched up.

In my limited experience, you should check the speedo for old stiff grease (causing the cable to twist up and eventually break).

Another point that should be mentioned is that graphite cable lube is sold specifically for speedometer and tachometer cables.

Thanks Rob. I would have used lithium grease if you have not mentioned it. Anyways i have ordered a new 60 inches cable from Barret… inner and outer cable set. I assume it will be pre lubed already. Rob and Chris and the whole forum community…you guys rock and are the greatest. …Never too proud to help small people like me.

Replacement cables sold in the UK these days usually have a polymer inner sleeve, which doesn’t require lubrication. I never lubricate cables as the spiral winding of the inner often winds the lubricant up into the instrument and damages it. Instruments should only be lubricated with a specific light oil and only very sparingly in the right places.

The speedometer in the past was very jumpy before the inner cable broke. I hope with the new cable it should be steady? Or are all xk120 speedo are all jumpy?

Try driving the instrument with a cordless drill. If the needle still jumps then the instrument needs attention.

There are two common causes of ‘jumping’ pointers in older Smith’s instruments. A flickering pointer can occur when the driven cable (inner cable) gets older and starts to fray, with odd strands catching in the outer cable as it turns. This is pretty common and is cured by the new cable. Secondly the magnetic ‘disc’ (it’s usually a polygon) can contact the driven disc attached to the pointer, which can cause flickering, but more normally causes very inaccurate readings and, in worst cases, winding round of the pointer.

A new cable is the place to start, and it seems you need one anyway.

Can any one tell me where to buy a new speedometer and wire for my XK120 1954. I searched the net but found none. My old original speedometer is gummed up and had broken the original cable and a new cable. Now I need a speedometer and cable.


Barratts and S C Parts have reconditioned ones from time to time but you might as well send yours to be repaired. I’ve seen Nisonger in the US mentioned on this forum many times but there are probably others and I have used Speedy Cables in the UK several times and found them to be very good although Slowly Cables would be a more appropriate name.

As Eric has suggested, Speedy Cables do a good job, but can take a while. Another option in the UK is Speedograph Richfield - I’ve had lots of work done by both companies over the years.

If you’ve made any drivetrain changes - rear axle ratio, wheel or tyre size etc. - either company will recalibrate the speedo for you if you send them some figures. The rotation numbers they need are usually on their websites.

Try Vintage British Cables in Canada.
I ordered a tach cable for a 120 and it seems to be of very good quality.

I took the speedometer apart and managed to free up everything and lubed. Now it spin freely but the needle does not move when i use a drill to spin it. Wonder if speedycable can make it work or not in this situation.

Any of the repairers will have all the parts needed to fully restore your speedometer. The choice depends mainly on where you are located. They are all easy to find on the web. It’s worth giving the one you choose a call to ask about cost and time.

Moss Motors has the 60" cable for $27.99, part 011-207.
XKs Unlimited has the 65" cable for $21.49, part DF1112-65.
Nisonger can repair your speedometer.

Not being silly but you are spinning it in the correct direction?

Both the UK suppliers I mentioned have built me entirely new instruments of various types, using photographs etc. to replicate obsolete or unavailable dials (e.g. accurate Cobra instruments), so restoring a relatively mainstream instrument like a Jaguar speedo shouldn’t be a problem.

I tried spinning both directions. needle not moving