VDO Kienzle Clock Movement Testing, Adjustment & Repair

    Ever been driving your VW, looked down at the clock there in the dash and wished it would tell you the REAL time and not just 12:00?? (that IS what everyone sets their broken clocks to, isn't it??)   Well hopefully after reading this, you will be able to make minor repairs and adjustments to yours and get it back telling you the correct time and not just a perpetual 12:00.

How Is It Supposed To Work??

    When power is applied to the terminal, basically an electromagnet (coil) is charged with electricity which causes the winding wheel to move separating the contact points.  The winding wheel has a tension spring on the bottom of it which keeps pressure so that the points are drawn back together.  The points are held apart for a short time by a small catch which grabs one of the gears on the mechanical clock mechanism putting tension on it; thus getting the second wheel moving.  Once the clock has run between 1 - 2 minutes (or less), the contacts will be drawn together again causing the circuit to again be energized and the whole process to be repeated.

Testing, Adjustment & Repair

    First you must remove the white cover and the metal mounting plate.  There are 3 small nuts which hold on the white cover.  One is hidden under the tamper seal.  Don't worry about breaking the seal; the warranty has been expired for at least 2 - 3 decades now.  I promise no VDO tamper seal police will knock down your door ;-)  The mounting plate is held on with 3 triangle push-on connectors.  These will have to be carefully  pried off. 

NOTE:  Type 3 clocks have the hands permanently mounted to the clock mechanism.  Be aware that you seriously risk breaking the hands off by trying to remove them.  This could render your clock useless.  You've been warned!!

    I always start by getting a good look at the thermo fuse.  The thermo fuse is a soldered joint that is fused together with special solder that will melt and act as a fuse if the unit gets a short.  Pic #1 shows a shot of a good thermo fuse.  If that checks out, I do a continuity check to ensure the electronic parts of the clock are in order.  To complete the circuit, you must ensure the contact points on the winding mechanism are closed as seen in pic #2.  Pics #3 & #4 show me doing a continuity check of the unit as a whole (#3) and then a single part (#4)

#1  clock-thermofuse.jpg (52193 bytes)        #2  clock-winder-contacts-closed.jpg (62774 bytes)        #3  clock-continuity.jpg (53245 bytes)        #4  clock-continuity2.jpg (62802 bytes)

    Chances are that the thermo fuse came un-fused and you're not getting power to the rest of the components in the system.  These units are pretty robust and I have yet to see one that had anything but the thermo fuse broken.  If the thermo fuse is broken you must re-solder it.  VDO used a special solder which would melt if there was a short.  I have been unable to locate any of this type of low-temp solder, so I just use what I've got.  To be extra safe, you could put a low amp in-line fuse up-stream from the clock once it's replaced back into the vehicle.

    If everything checks out O.K., hook it to a battery and give it a test.  The instant power is applied the wheel that the contacts are on should move opening the contacts about 3/16" to 1/4".  If everything else is working properly, the clock should come to life and start ticking.  If not, here's some other things to look for. . .

    Pic #5 shows the wheel that moves back and forth (I don't know the proper name for it, sorry) and basically runs the whole clock.  I call it the second wheel since two complete cycles is basically one second.  This is truly the heart of the clock.  If this doesn't work right, than the clock won't work at all.  I've found several that are loose fitting from the ends of the shafts wearing over time.  If they are loose, you can make minor tension adjustments with the adjustment screw shown in pic #6.  Screw it clockwise to tighten it and counter-clockwise to loosen it up.  it only takes a small bit of adjustment to tighten things up usually. 

#5  clock-secondwheel.jpg (56602 bytes)        #6  clock-wheel-tension-adj.jpg (56292 bytes)

    I always give the entire unit a good spraying of Liquid Wrench to lubricate all the gears as well as displace any moisture that might be in there.

    These simple tests, repairs and adjustments will usually repair your clocks movement back to working order.  If your clock has parts that are worn or broken, you may be able to remove and replace individual parts with a donor movement.  This sort of repair could take special tools like a soldering gun or tiny screwdrivers so unless you have these, you may want to leave that to a professional watch repairman.

    Now that you (hopefully) have your clock in working order, you will now be able to tell just how long it takes to get where you're going in that slow, but classy VW!!  


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Revised: August 28, 2003 .