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Discussion Starter #1
Gone through the forum and tried a few things: replaced the VSS with a Motorcraft, replaced it with an Autozone brand, pulled the cluster and reseated the connectors and added dielectric grease.

What happens is the car reads speed fine for the first 10-20 minutes of driving, then starts bouncing around (when doing highway speed) and around town sits at zero. if I let the car sit for a while the issue goes away until the above repeats. When I have the digital display going it's reading the same as the speedo, working or otherwise. When I read the speed through the XCal it shows my accurate speed even when the gauges aren't. Based on what others have discovered the gear in the instrument cluster is bad and needs replacing. The transmission was serviced a few years ago to add an M-Factory LSD. It's been a while but I'm 99% sure the speedo worked after the first engine install so but can't say for certain if that little gear inside is the issue.

I'm assuming since the car is reading the VSS accurately then things like how it's running won't be affected since the ECU knows what's going on. I'm just not going to know my speed or account for mileage correctly.
 

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Sounds like a bad connection or wire between the VSS and cluster. My bet is on connector C3001. Try inspecting the connections as best you can, if no luck, try jumping around them.
80900
80901
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Here's C141 for good measure, but its pretty well protected under the dash and it sounds like your problem is heat related so I'm sticking with my C3001 suspicion.
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Maybe just make sure that length of wire isnt too close to the rear header as well. It shouldnt be, but the wiring in that hole is pretty convoluted.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nice. Where'd you find these diagrams? I'll check it out, maybe that got bent in a weird way when the engine was being removed. May explain the issue with it acting weird after a few miles as the engine warmed up.
 

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In the wiring diagram book.
Disclaimer, this is a '99 book. Not sure if you have later wiring if anything changed or not.
 

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+1 on wiring. I had my speedo bounce around randomly on my s13 even after replacing the VSS. It ended up being a loose pin on the connector.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Checked the harness and it nothing looked out of place. Tightened the bolt slightly and it didn't make a difference.

I swapped out the faces/needles with one from an 01 hoping it's just the motor and while it's slightly better it's still got a mind of its own. Touching the brakes causes it to drop to zero so I'm guessing it's an issue somewhere under the dash.
 
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