Author Topic: Are Broken Instrument Cluster Needles a Recurring Issue?  (Read 841 times)


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Are Broken Instrument Cluster Needles a Recurring Issue?
« on: July 22, 2016, 08:57:57 AM »
I purchased a 1983 Honda Ascot VT500 recently. Started riding the bike, and a couple of weeks after purchase, the tachometer needle broke off. Not the entire needle assembly, just the orange shaft that extends past the black disc. I had a few other issues with the instrument cluster, so I purchased a replacement cluster from a parts bike. The replacement cluster is in great shape overall ,only 2,000 miles, but BOTH the tachometer and speedometer needles have cracks in them. These cracks are in the same place where my old tachometer needle broke. I used some superglue to try and fill the cracks, and hopefully this will give the needles some longevity. But I am not sure what to do next if the needles break at a later time.

Is this a known issue on the Ascot VT500? Any recommended fixes? Can I swap in some replacement needles from a Honda Shadow VT500C?


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Re: Are Broken Instrument Cluster Needles a Recurring Issue?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2016, 10:47:34 AM »
I have not heard of that being a common problem, but I have only owned two VT500FT Ascots over the years.

Most likely I would have attempted the same fix as you did.

Good luck


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Re: Are Broken Instrument Cluster Needles a Recurring Issue?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2016, 10:40:02 AM »
I bought one with a broken tach.  I found a guy in Georgia who will do a full refurb, calibration and replace the needles. Let me know if you want his contact information.  It will run $400 but he guarantees his work.
I got mine done and it looks like new.  The needles are a little larger. The originals evidently dry and get brittle with age. Easier to see though!

I noticed after I got it back that my 2004 Avalanche speed and tach needles are the same design.  You might want to investigate that...

Good luck,


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Re: Are Broken Instrument Cluster Needles a Recurring Issue?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2016, 09:18:12 PM »
Very nice. Jewelry work. Not so much guys can to do it, to get his contact information very interesting.
Honda VT500 1984 Ascot / Debian 8.6 / Mate


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Re: Are Broken Instrument Cluster Needles a Recurring Issue?
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2017, 08:36:19 PM »
 I cut out a section of aluminum soda can, creased and folded the printed side over flat so the raw aluminum will be the face of the needle.  In afterthought, a better option would be to use an orange soda can, painted side on the needle face.  Using a utility knife and steel straight edge I made my cut with a slight taper from end to end, then cut the pointer tip off at about 1/16" wide, with an overall length of 1-1/2".  Undo the crease with a 6" steel rule on edge, using the rounded end as the splitter.  To create the 90 degree shape the full length of the needle I used the machined square edge of a drill gauge.  You need a precise edge to get the shape right.  I then used a slight amount of Gorilla Glue to attach the needle to the existing pointer hub and tail.  Contact cement applied properly should work too without having to wait overnight. Wedge a piece of thin folded cardboard to jam the needle hub so as not to have the needle rest against the stop pin on the face of the gauge until the glue is completely set.  I had a fluorescent orange paint pen that I used to apply the color.  If you used an orange soda can this step would be eliminated.

Note- DO NOT remove the needle hub from the gauge like I did.  It's very difficult to get it pressed on exactly right so the speedo or tach read accurately.


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Re: Are Broken Instrument Cluster Needles a Recurring Issue?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 04:15:08 PM »
Nice idea, I like it.


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Re: Are Broken Instrument Cluster Needles a Recurring Issue?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2017, 01:40:02 AM »
It is very common for the needles to break.  I've gone through several clusters and they've just about all had broken needles.  The ones that had good needles. - ones that I tried to 'harvest'.. the needles would break off with just the lightest touch.

As a replacement you can try using the small triangular cocktail skewers.  They're light and just about the right size.  They can be glued on and painted with some red model paint to match the instruments.

In order to get replacement needles in the right orientation, make a mark where the original needle rests when it's not hitting the 'stop' pin - i.e if your original needles are still there, gently lifter them over the stop pin on the gauge face to see where they naturally rest and install the replacement needle in the same position.  If your needles are already broken, they're already at their natural rest point - install the replacements and lift them back over the stop pin.