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3rd & 4th Generation (19921996 & 19972001) Toyota Camry Discussion for years: 1992-1996 & 1997-2001 Topics of discussion range from fuel economy, safety, modifications, performance all involving America's favorite family car, the Toyota Camry.

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Old 05-14-2006, 08:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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3rd Generation Tail Light Failure Sensor - NOT!

Bought a 96 Camry V6 XLE with 72K miles...great car! but the tail light failure idiot light came on and stayed on even though the tail lights and brake lights all work. After some online research, I learned there is a tail light failture sensor in the trunk, driver side, near the trunk lid hinge. Found it. Ordered a new one as there are several models of sensors and it must match up with the VIN.

Ready for this? It was $212!! No luck with the local salvage yards either. Ah well. So I got it. Installed it. The dang idiot light still came on when the brake pedal was pressed. Hmmmm...

A little more online research led to finding that even though the lights may work, the bulbs may be worn enough that the sensor kicks the idiot light on. Fine. I drove to the grocery store, yes, it was late evening, and bought $2 worth of 1157 bulbs (one package). Wrestled them into the brake light sockets on the body, not the trunk lid, and the stink'n light still stayed on! Even with the new sensor installed. Fine.

So I dug the old one out of the trash and re-installed it. Guess what. That fixed it!!

It was $2 in bulbs not $212 in some electronic sensor that fixed the problem.

Moral of the story: Check the light bulbs first. It's worth the $2!!
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Old 05-14-2006, 08:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Lol..well yeah, that would've been the first logical step....


Those sensors work on resistance of the bulb, not *Bulb Blown or Not Blown*.
As a bulb gets old, its resistance drops..and eventually even though its not blown yet, the sensor will pick up the low resitance and turn your idiot lights on. (Not really idiot lights in this case). Even a dirty contact, loose screw can cause low resistance/warning light..so yeah, always best to check all the bulbs, there fittings, there connections etc first.
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Old 05-14-2006, 09:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i have the same problem heres my solution

just ignore the damn light and havent spent a penny
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Old 05-14-2006, 11:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have the same problem. Well, the passenger brake light kept going on and off at random times, replaced the bulb and found it had a bad filament. All lights work now, still get the warning light. It has something to do with them being aftermarket Ebay lights. I'll have to check ALL the bulbs
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Old 05-15-2006, 06:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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3rd Generation

LOL, yeah, replacing the lights should be the first step. But dang, I grew up on a farm, and we didn't need some booger engineer's electronic sensing device to tell us when a light bulb isn't working. That's why I figured it was that electronic sensing device that was the problem, not the light bulbs. Ah well, live, learn and pass it on.

I'll get "Gus" (the car) cleaned up and some pictures posted soon.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I know this is a Camry problem, but I'm currently having the same problem on my Lexus SC300.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ditto: Changing bulbs worked for me.

Ditto, I had a similar experience. As far as I could see, all my brake bulbs worked. I replaced them anyway, and the little icon of a car with brake lights on was happy again.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freestylez View Post
i have the same problem heres my solution

just ignore the damn light and havent spent a penny
i took the bulb out of the dash cluster. problem solved.
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm planning to either take the bulb behind the dash out or just to get the extra components to remove it from my custom LED brake light project going on. Black electrical tape is another option :P
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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On my old DX, all the lights worked, but when I removed the fogged up driver's taillight, I realised rust had soldered the bulb to the socket. Thank god that light never died so I went with the obvious dash cluster bulb removal.
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Old 08-24-2009, 04:00 AM   #11 (permalink)
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For the record, My tail lamp failure sensor only tends to come on when I dim the lights to the lowest level on my cluster guage.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Just bought a Camry and wasn't too worried about the little backup light as I was aware of what the light meant. Thought it would just be a new light bulb. Turns out the previous owner for some unknown reason cut the wire harness where it splits for the trunk lid.

It cost me 30 min and a backache from bending into a weird position to re-soldier the stupid wires. At least the light bulbs still worked and thank heaven for color coded wires.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Hackchet View Post
Just bought a Camry and wasn't too worried about the little backup light as I was aware of what the light meant. Thought it would just be a new light bulb. Turns out the previous owner for some unknown reason cut the wire harness where it splits for the trunk lid.

It cost me 30 min and a backache from bending into a weird position to re-soldier the stupid wires. At least the light bulbs still worked and thank heaven for color coded wires.

Ex-hidden hitch wiring?
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:55 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I have the same problem. It came on like 2 months back, at first it was really annoying. But now i have gotten used to it. I don't want to spent any money on this one until my next service.
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Good Moral -

I just changed one 1157 bulb in the rear and the longtime light went off immediately. More important many repairers with lot of experience could not resolve this problem for a long time and resolving it by myself gave lot of satisfaction.
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