Vehicle Speed Sensor on a 96 Golf? - VW Forum :: Volkswagen Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Vehicle Speed Sensor on a 96 Golf?

I've searched for the past twenty minutes for the exact location of it and i can't seem to find anything.

Just got it out of the shop about an hour ago and the speedometer isn't working, P0501 in the cpu. Can anyone tell me where I will find it or how to locate it so I can test for proper voltage and whatnot?

thanks!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 04:27 PM
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This is looking down at the transmission from the top. It's the one with the three wires going to it. This picture is from my manual transmission though, I know the automatics have a different kind of sensor, but I don't know if its in the same spot.


96 Golf GL, 5-speed, 2.0L

Last edited by dgaunt1; 04-07-2011 at 04:32 PM.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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hmmmm

in accordance to a factory pdf i found it's located on the left engine compartment below the battery. every component i've checked that is visible near the battery has 2 or five wires... so i'm guessing its really UNDER the battery (grumble grumble) .

Unless its the component underneath the tubes that feed into/out of the heater coil. that was 3 wires. but i'm really thinking that might be the transmission speed sensor.

i'll keep you updated, thanks for the help again, any more is welcome.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 07:16 PM
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Huh. I always thought that the 3 wire connector on top of the transmission(in the picture), was the sensor for the speedo. I'm actually having a problem with my speedo not showing the right speed at the moment, so let me know what you find out.

96 Golf GL, 5-speed, 2.0L
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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I also just had the timing redone so it might have something to do with the ECM talking with all the sensors and electrical components to evaluate lots of bullshit before it decided how fast it thinks i'm going. So maybe if I drive it for a while it will magically figure out what the hell its doing. Sensor physically is fine along with the gearshaft it sits on.

as far as you situation i would hook the car up to an OBDII and see what speed its is picking up. check the components and the wiring and see if its all good... which i imagine it is. could be your ECM malfunctioning, or maybe your instrument cluster is faulty... just my thoughts though. gl.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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and this gives me hope.

just took a trip to taco bell about 3 miles up the road. give or take 6 mile round trip. my speedometer kicked on for about two minutes after pulling out of drive through... than crapped out again.

pretty sure i just need to figure out the drive cycle to calibrate the damn thing again.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 12:29 PM
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I just did some searching on alldatapro and it looks like the vehicle speed sensor is the one on top of the transmission with the three wires. And the engine speed sensor is on the block right behind the oil filter. At least that's what I'm seeing for my manual transmission.

Maybe the terminals on your speed sensor just needs some cleaning, or a whole new sensor is in order. I think the speedo would still register some kind of speed, even if a bunch of settings in the ECM were changed.

96 Golf GL, 5-speed, 2.0L
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 02:06 PM
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Well, I just unplugged the 3-wire sensor on the transmission and took a drive, and the speedometer did indeed, not work. It didn't give me a check engine light either though.

96 Golf GL, 5-speed, 2.0L

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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it actually took me about five or ten minutes of driving for the check engine light to come on. gonna drive it around a bit more today and see if any more progress comes out of it.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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My dad had to come give me a jump today due to an alternator bolt being lose (weee). I asked him about your situation Gaunt.. if you've changed tire sizes it might be affecting things.... in some vehicles theres what is called a "pinion ratio" . also the gear on the end of the VSS might be the wrong size (not sure about 96 VW's specifically but there are different ones for different cars. It could also be weather erosion on the cluster from all this hot/cold super-fluxing weathere we've been having. prolly gonna take mine out tomorrow to take a look at it.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 09:07 PM
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Thanks for asking for me. I have the stock rims and stock size tires on it, so it should be right. But my speedo is off by about 20mph at 60 anyway. Like my car is doing 60mph (gps speed), but it only shows 40mph on the speedo. I don't think any size tire I could fit on there would make it be off by 20mph, haha.

But I understand all about speedo gears and gear ratios. I have a lifted Jeep wrangler that I swapped the axle gears out of with lower ones, and even with the deep gears and big tires, the speedo was still only off by 15mph. A new speedo gear with a different tooth count fixed that though.

I'm starting to think mine is faulty at the actual speedometer, like maybe the needle is worn out or something. With yours, have you tried reaching under the dash and wiggling some wires around while driving? I've seen a few threads where the solder starts to break down and cause a intermittently working speedo.

96 Golf GL, 5-speed, 2.0L
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Another odd thing is when I toggle between trip/total miles using the button on the cluster while I'm driving it will actually pulse the speedometer needle every not and than.

Must be some gremlins in the works.

Haven't tried wriggling any wires but that could very well be the case. I'll check for erosion and looseness when I have it apart tomorrow.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2011, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Jostled the wiring and gave a "Russian-wrench-to-sensitive-space-station-equipment" bump to the dash and it seems to be working now. Gonna check the speed output with an OBDII scanner and see if everything lines up.

I guess lots of things can be cured with a simple hand job.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2011, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdgar View Post

I guess lots of things can be cured with a simple hand job.
That was pretty good, heha. But good for you though, at least you got some results. I just swapped a speedo gear from my stepbrothers 98 golf into mine today, and I still have the same problem. So, now I guess its time to get into the instrument cluster.

96 Golf GL, 5-speed, 2.0L
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