30 January 2016. Speedometer cable maintenance.

The V-Star has been running so well that I have put the DR800 into the shed to do a whole bunch of minor maintenance, including setting right all the wiring for the headlight and indicators. Whilst I had the front end apart I look at the speedo cable and the way it fouled the electrical cabling when turning left. A little research revealed that it did not install it correctly and it had an extra bend in it. So I went about putting the cable right as per the manual and then asked the question, should that cable be cleaned and lubricated?

A 20 minute session searching through Google and well, it turns out that yes, it should be cleaned and lubricated. Failure to do so could destroy the cable and my guess that the replacement cost would range between $40.00 and $200.00. The possibility of damaging the speedo itself crossed my mind as well, although I am not sure if this would actually happen.

Of course the Institute of the Internet and University of Youtube had more theories on the best way to do than the Australian Parliament has on economic growth. The other similarity is that many of them had serious shortcomings. One theory was to just fill the speedo cable from the top with WD40, which of course would leave plenty of dust and rust inside the cable. Another was to take it apart, clean it and lubricate the inner cable with any grease available. I agree with the thorough cleaing but many greases dry out or mix with dust to create a grinding paste.

The final theory, the one I went with, was to clean out both the inner cable as well as the outer layer and then lubricate with with either CRC Dry Glide or WD40 brand Dry PTFE lubricant. I think that both do the same thing, using a Teflon product suspended in a fluid to lubricate the cable. The local hardware store had the WD40 PTFE and so that got the nod.

Cleaned both the cable and sheath with mild degreaser, flushed with WD40 and then very light machine oil and left hanging to dry whilst we went out for an hour. When I wiped down the inner cable with a rag, I was very surprised to see how must dust and rust actually came off. So the need was real, not imagned and I will add this task to the yearly maintenance for all bikes. Sprayed the inner cable and outer sheath with the WD40 Dry PTFE and put it all together. I then spun the cable by hand to compare the resistance before and after and there was a noticeable difference. Very happy with another minor improvement that cost almost nothing. Here are pictures of both products:

As an aside, I do find the WD40 brand products a bit easier to use due to the integrated straw. It makes being accurate with the spray much easier.