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xavior66 07-23-2003 12:55 PM

My dash lights went out!
I've got an aftermarket Audiovox cruise control system that I installed in my 1991 Toyota Camry. My Camry was unfortunately the base model and didn't originally come with cruise control. So I got that installed and it all works fine and dandy.

Ok, so now here's where things start to get interesting. When it comes to modifying my car, I'm very anal retentive and I want the mods I do to look as professional and as clean as I can get them. I thought it'd be neat to have the factory cruise control system installed in the car, giving it a more clean look than the aftermarket one (cuz for the aftermarket cruise control system, I had to drill holes in this and that. So anyway, there's a local junkyard that's home to several gen. 2 Camrys with many salvagable parts. I was able to scrounge up everything I'd need for the cruise control. I got the cruise control servo actuator assembly, the cruise control button that sits below the hazard lights button, the cruise control throttle cable that runs from the gas pedal to the servo assembly, the wires, the cruise control computer, and the cruise control lever that mounts into the steering column.

Ok, so, here's how I went about getting it all installed. Most of the stuff bolted right in place. Installing the servo actuator assembly into the engine compartment was a breeze. I removed the blank black button that went below the hazard lights button and replaced it with the cruise control button and hooked up the previously taped off electrical connector for it. I replaced the previous gas pedal cable with the cruise control one (the cruise control one is shorter than the base model Camry's gas pedal cable). I installed the cruise control computer and hooked up the previously taped off electrical connector to it. I took out the 2 steering column levers (ya know, the one on the left that controls the lights and stuff and the one on the right that controls the windshield wipers, etc.) What I did with this was unplugged them both from the wiring harness that runs below the steering column, and I took the steering column lever that had cruise control on it (that I got from the junkyard), and, using a small pick, unplugged the little electrical "tips" from the black box plug thingy that plugs into the wiring harness, unplugged the electrical tips from my original lever that didn't have cruise control, and basically just swapped out the wires (and yes, I noted the locations of the wires on the original lever before pulling them out.) Still with me?

After that, it was time to wire up the cruise control servo actuator assembly. I had the wires and their corresponding electrical connectors. What I did to get them was I took out just about every wiring harness from one of the junkyard Camrys, brought them home, and traced the wires that I needed. I traced them all the way from their electrical connectors to the little electrical tips that all insert into a plug, much like the steering column levers' wires go to the wire harness under the steering wheel column. I used a small pick to unplug the tips from the big plug, and cut the wires that went to ground spots (cuz I planned to splice these into the ground wires for the headlights using splice connectors.) So, noting how the tips went into the big plug, I took them and plugged them into the inserts of the big plug that my Camry's wiring harness came with. (The big plug that I inserted these tips into is located behind the passenger's side kick panel, below where the cruise control computer is located. It's this clearish light light green color and somewhat transparent.) I drilled a hole in the firewall for the wires to run through. I then jacked up my car, took off the tire, unscrewed and removed the fender apron, ran the wires through the hole I drilled in the firewall, and ran them to the cruise control servo actuator assembly. I plugged in the electrical connectors and spliced the ground wires into the headlight's ground wires.

Now then, here's another thing you should know that's interesting. My Camry also didn't come with ECT. I noticed that one of the Camrys at the local junkyard had the ECT button, so I removed it and plugged it into the previously taped off electrical connection on my Camry. However, I didn't know that the ECT also included the ECT computer, located on that big bar within the upper regions of the passenger's side dash. So I went back to the junkyard and got the ECT computer. I then proceeded to remove the upper dash on my Camry so I could get to the area where the ECT computer screws on and gets plugged into. Well, I figured that since the electrical connectors for things such as the cruise control and ECT buttons were just taped off, that the electrical connector for the ECT would also just be taped off. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any taped off electrical connectors for the ECT, so I just skipped installing it. By the way, when I removed the upper dash, I didn't completed remove it from the car, just enough to get to the wires in the back. This included me unscrewing and removing the dash meters, such as the speedometer, gas meter, temp. meter, etc.

Now then, when I went and put everything back together, I discovered something very unpleasing-my dash lights would not come on! The lights for my speedometer, gas meter, temp. meter, hazard light button, cruise control button, ECT button, pattern select meter (I have an automatic), and the rear defroster button that normally lights up at night would not come on. However, my a/c lights came on as normal, and my headlights, tail lights, and parking lights and turn signals worked. Also my dimmer knob seemed to be on the fritz. When I would go the turn the dimmer all the way up, the lights on the a/c would light as correspondingly, but just when I turned the dimmer switch all the way up, the a/c lights fade back down a bit. So in order to get them the brightest they can get, I have to move the dimmer knob down a little just before it reaches the end. Now I checked the little lights that plug into the back of the dash lights, and they all work. How do I know? Well, the door light that comes on when a door is open comes on, so what I did test the other lights was unscrew the little bulb that lights up the door sign, unscrewed a random little bulb, and screwed it into the door sign. And sure enough, the light came on, so the bulbs are good. Oh, by the way, the lights that come on when you insert the key into the key cylinder and turn it just enough so the a/c comes on without actually starting the car, such as the Check Engine, Oil, Fasten Seat Belts, and Charge come on as normal. Also, the meters on the dash, such as the gas meter and speedometer meter and temp. meter works and moves and stuff, it's just that the lights that light them up at night don't!

I drug out a mulitester, and put the little black probe thingy somewhere on the actual chassis to act as a ground, and then moved the little red probe thingy around the brass-colored parts that surround the little light bulbs. I got readings from all of them. I unplugged the 3 electrical connectors that plug into the back of the dash meters and tested them too. I got readings from some of the electrical tips, and some I didn't get readings from. By the way, I tested all these while keeping the steering column lever that controls the lights on the whole time. My dash lights still would not light up.

So I tried tracing the wires to see if there might be a fried one, but I couldn't find one anywhere. I've checked ALL the fuses (and I mean ALL of them, even unrelated ones like the radio fuse and stuff.) All of them checked out ok. None of them were shot. I checked all the fuses in the fuse box that's located in the engine compartment, and they all checked out fine. I even checked the ones that are located in that small box that rests on top of the positive battery cable, and they all checked out fine as well. And yes, each fuse of the proper size was where it was supposed to be (15 A was where it was supposed to be, and 20 A was where it was supposed to be.)

As a desparation to try and get the dash lights to come on, I've replaced the steering wheel column lever that came from the junkyard Camry that had cruise control on it back to the lever that was originally on my Camry. I then unplugged and removed the cruise control computer, the cruise control button, and unplugged the little electrical tips that I inserted into that clearish light light green plug that's located behind the kick panel on the passenger's side. I unplugged the electrical connections from the cruise control servo actuator assembly and pretty much removed all the wires that I added that went to the cruise control. I unspliced the ground wires that went into the ground wires of the headlights and taped up the headlight's ground wires with electrical tape. So basically my car was back the way it had started. The only things I've not removed are the actual cruise control servo actuator assemply itself, and the cruise control gas pedal cable that runs from the gas pedal to the cruise control servo actuator assembly. I didn't see how these could possibly cause my dash lights to not come on, so that's why I haven't removed them yet. Even though I did all this, my dash lights still won't light up!

I've tried everything I can think of. Basically my car is back the way it was before I even started adding these dumb cruise control parts that I got from the local junkyard, yet the dash lights STILL don't light up! Could anyone please help with this and tell me what I need to do in order to get the dash lights to come back on, and also fix my dimmer knob so that when I turn it all the way up, the lights will brighten up all the way instead of dimming back down a little? Any help would be greatly appreciated! (And thanks for reading this ridiculously long post!)

Wood§tok 07-23-2003 09:14 PM

epic post man. as for your problem, im not sure where you got the power for you cruise control computer but make sure its not the same place as your dash lights. i put a few neons in my car once and tryed to hook them up using the dash lights power (so the dimmer switch would work) and the dash lights stopped working. as soon as i ran a seperate power lead for the neons my dash lights worked again. thats just my experience so im not sure if its the same problem for you. the only other thing i can sugest is take your car to a good auto electritian - ie toyota specialist and see what they can do. good luck.

Nick 07-23-2003 09:46 PM

cliff notes? if not i'll read it later tonight

Bigshoguns 07-24-2003 06:41 PM

This happened to me and my Friend when were were working on our cars. The Dash Lights were out. What we did was look behind the changed box under the Left side of the Steering Wheel. and the 7.5V or 7V fuse was blown.

I am not sure if u 91 has this box or not, but this could be the case. or u forgot to Ground something Somewhere, or the ground ur using is too week for the power.

supra2nv 08-03-2004 01:18 AM

I have the same exact symptoms, but didnt do any mods what so ever. Hopefully there will be a fix on here soon as I am selling my car soon lol. This happened just recently. Fuse is ok though so I am a bit confused as what it could be. Could all the bulbs have blown? seems unlikely.


supra2nv 08-03-2004 01:38 AM

ok...just went out and inspected my car. Since it is night now I just noticed my tail lights wernt working either. I changed the 15 tail fuse and now everything works including my gauge lights. FYI.


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