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99 camry le v6
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Discussion Starter #1
ok so in a nutshell ALL my lights pulsate when the engine is running.
dash, dome, tails, turn signals, EVERYTHING.
ive pulled the fuses for my amp as well as my foglights and the problem persists.
it just so happened that the fuse on my foglights burned out and melted to the fuse holder and when i pulled it out the lights stopped pulsating so i figured it was a short in that line that was causing the problem but after i replaced the fuse holder and fuse the problem came back. i went so far as to completely disconnect the power wire for the fog lights but the problem is still there.
am i going to have to start pulling fuses left and right to see where the problem is?
any help is greatly appreciated.
 

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03 CAMRY XLE
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Sounds like you have a power wire that is shorted against the chassis or something else.
I would disconnect the fog lights ...also the amp ....until you find out where the short is.
Which fuse was melted? Was it an aftermarket inline fuse? How do you have the fog lights and amp wired to the 12v source?
If the lights are still pulsing, you have not found the short yet.
 

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99 camry le v6
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Discussion Starter #3
it was the fuse for the foglights that melted and it was a 20A yellow blade fuse. i cut off the fuse holder and replaced it. what i find to be strange is that after i pulled out the melted fuse the lights werent pulsating anymore but once i cut off the fuse holder and replaced it, the lights were pulsating again. as i said, i have since completely disconnected the power wire for the foglights. both the foglights and the amp are connected to the positive on the battery with a JL Audio battery clamp.
ive already removed both fuses and the problem persists.
i also want to note that i took off the relay for the foglights and that the switch for the foglights has a light on it. it has 3 wires coming out of it, a ground, a white wire going to the relay, and orange that i connected to the dimmer on the stereo so the lights only turn on when the parking/head lights are on.
i was told at the dealer something like pulling ALL the fuses and putting a voltmeter in there but i dont know what i should be looking for.
 

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Can't say for sure, but it sounds like the problem has something to do with the foglight circuit. I would remove everything related to the foglight...relay, switch, wires...and try to find what is causing the light pulsing....Does that make any sense?
 

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99 camry le v6
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Discussion Starter #5
yeah i follow what you're saying, i just dont get how (if its the foglights) its still doing it even with the power disconnected. that means it would have to be the wire from the relay to the switch or from the switch to the dimmer switch on the stereo harness.
i also have ALL those wires covered with corregated tubing.
 

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Is there any accessory connected to the battery terminal through the JL Audio connector clamp? Anything that might be damaged by the fuse issue? ... Thinking that you just have to eliminate any possible accessory circuits until you find the problem. ...From your description ... the foglight is not necessarily the problem.
 

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99 camry le v6
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Discussion Starter #7
off the top of my head, the only stuff on there is the amp and the alarm and the wires for both have tubing protecting it as does the wire going from the relay for the foglights to the firewall.
on a side note, a couple days ago my amp cut out and the VOLTAGE light came on. it came back on after a few seconds. but this was only when i had a song with real deep bass playing.
like i said, the guy at the dealer told me i'd have to bring it to them or another electrical specialist to check it out or i could get a volt meter and put it where the fuses go but i dont know what i would be looking for in that situation.
 

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... Just not getting any definite ideas here....something is missing.. Keep us posted if you find out what it is.
 

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99 camry le v6
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Discussion Starter #9
im ready to pull out every single fuse in the car until the pulsating stops...
 

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1998 Camry CE
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Volt meter across fuse connections will show 12V when nothing is wrong, and voltage drop when short circuit occurs, then you can isolate which circuit is the fault.



off the top of my head, the only stuff on there is the amp and the alarm and the wires for both have tubing protecting it as does the wire going from the relay for the foglights to the firewall.
on a side note, a couple days ago my amp cut out and the VOLTAGE light came on. it came back on after a few seconds. but this was only when i had a song with real deep bass playing.
like i said, the guy at the dealer told me i'd have to bring it to them or another electrical specialist to check it out or i could get a volt meter and put it where the fuses go but i dont know what i would be looking for in that situation.
 

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99 camry le v6
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Discussion Starter #11
Volt meter across fuse connections will show 12V when nothing is wrong, and voltage drop when short circuit occurs, then you can isolate which circuit is the fault.
THAT'S what i needed, thanks! i imagine i will need to have the engine running since thats when the pulsating happens, right?

i'll see if i try it out after work today and i'll keep you posted.
 

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If you don't locate it with the voltmeter I would be interested to know more about when you cut out the melted fuze holder. The plastic of a fuse nor that of a fuse holder should ever melt. A properly sized fuse will blow. If it indeed melted then it is likely that there is melted wire somewhere and that that is grounding out.

From what I understand the pulsating quit when you removed the melted fuse. Could you make it stop again? Even go so far as cutting out the new fuse holder (though if you disconnect the amp at the battery and the pulsating doesn't stop it should exonerate the circuit). If you once again stop the pulsating then the problem should have something to do with that circuit. If you were to run a separate wire from the battery (I presume the pos. post) to the fuse holder (after removing the original "feeder" wire) and the pulsating went away then you would know that the problem was in the wiring "feeding" the fuse. If the pulsating remained then you would suspect that the problem was somewhere from the fuse holder through everything on that circuit back to ground.

You mentioned that the circuit also supplied the "dimmer to the stereo". Does the pulsating change any as you dim or brighten the lights? A long shot but I like to check easy things.

Another multi meter check is to disconnect the positive battery terminal and set the multi meter to OHMs. Then you pull each fuse and test each terminal (two for each fuse) to ground. It shouldn't matter if you do one at a time or if you pull all of them at once. 0 resistance means that you have a direct short to ground (a bad thing). Infinate resistance (~) means that there is no circuit to ground (in this case that's good). A reading in between (14, 50, etc... a number not 0 or ~ ) usually means that you are reading a circuit running through an accessory (like a motor or light filament) to ground (that's what you expect when you check the "sending" terminal to ground). I believe that you should always get a 0 reading from the "feeder" terminal to ground and that you should usually get a middle reading on all of the "sender" terminals to ground (though, again in this case, an infinite reading (~) would not be a concern). Remember, when using the OHM meter part of a multi meter there should be no voltage in the circuit -- disconnect the battery first! (Otherwise you burn out the multi-meter or blow the multi-meter fuse.) Sadly, since you can't do this test with the lights pulsating, this would only work if the damaged piece was grounded out at the time of the test.

I overdid, again. Sorry.
Kep
 

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99 camry le v6
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Discussion Starter #13
ok im going to start pulling fuses and do everything suggested. my goal is to not have the car explode or catch fire or be damaged in any other way due to frustration.
to answer your question kep, the pulsating doesnt change when i use the dimmer on the lights, you can still see the clock and outside lights pulsating.
also, when i cut out the melted fuse holder i just soldered the wires together and put the new fuse holder right before the postive connection to the battery. so if the "feeder" wire, as you put it, were damaged, i would catch it at this point from the fuse holder. im going to double check this.
i forgot to mention that the midrange/tweeter sound distorted sometimes so im going to check the connections on those to see if they're somehow grounding out. i had that problem before with one of the tweeters shorting to ground but that would turn of the stereo all together, which isnt the case this time.
ok im going to check everything mentioned and whatever else comes to mind as im doing it.
thanks for all your help guys, i'll let you know how it goes.
 

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99 camry le v6
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Discussion Starter #14
ok so i tested the resistance on the circuit for:
>amp from the fuse to the amp itself
>the foglights from the fuse to the lights
--from there i went to the switch for the lights and tested the white wire going to the relay and the light going to the dimmer. there was no resistance on the dimmer wire for the fog lights so i took out the stereo and disconnected the stereo and foglights from the dimmer wire on the wiring harness. after that i fired up the car and the lights no longer pulsated. after about 5min of driving around the problem was back.
 

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Considering that the problem stopped for a while and then came back I envision (read "guess") that you moved the offending wire/part so it no longer grounded out and then gravity and vibration moved it back to where it was shorting out again in 5 minutes.

I would love to see a diagram of the fog lights and amp circuits. I just don't have a good idea of how you have the power, wires and switches routed or how they would affect each other. I can't say that I'd understand the drawing if you do one but I would like to see it.

Another guess. Is there a possibility that you somehow damaged the alternator when you powered up your amp? Could it be cycling in a manner that would cause a pulsing? Don't know...

I would still be tempted to isolate the section of wire from the battery to where the melted fuse holder was. It just seems so right for the problem to be between the melted fuse and the battery. If the wire is hard to get to you could disconnect the end at the battery (and now the new fuse holder). If the pulse goes away it has to be in that circuit (doesn't it?).

Kep
 

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99 camry le v6
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Discussion Starter #16
Considering that the problem stopped for a while and then came back I envision (read "guess") that you moved the offending wire/part so it no longer grounded out and then gravity and vibration moved it back to where it was shorting out again in 5 minutes.

I would love to see a diagram of the fog lights and amp circuits. I just don't have a good idea of how you have the power, wires and switches routed or how they would affect each other. I can't say that I'd understand the drawing if you do one but I would like to see it.

Another guess. Is there a possibility that you somehow damaged the alternator when you powered up your amp? Could it be cycling in a manner that would cause a pulsing? Don't know...

I would still be tempted to isolate the section of wire from the battery to where the melted fuse holder was. It just seems so right for the problem to be between the melted fuse and the battery. If the wire is hard to get to you could disconnect the end at the battery (and now the new fuse holder). If the pulse goes away it has to be in that circuit (doesn't it?).

Kep
i want to say its the alternator because ive been wanting a valid reason to upgrade it but i dont know how to test it without removing it and taking it to autozone or something.

also, i dont think isolating the wire would do much at this point since i disconnected that section of wire from the battery and the problem persisted.
 

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99 camry le v6
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Discussion Starter #17
Volt meter across fuse connections will show 12V when nothing is wrong, and voltage drop when short circuit occurs, then you can isolate which circuit is the fault.
would i do this with the engine on or off. nothing happens to my lights with the engine off so im assuming the obvious and do it with the engine on but then pretty much everything i tested was showing a fluctuation in the voltage (but it wasnt much) even putting the voltmeter across the battery was giving me a small drop in voltage. in retrospect the drop was only like .3 at most and i highly doubt thats going to cause my lights to pulsate like they do.
 

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The alternator is not required to run the car for short periods. You could remove the alternator belt (on my I4 it only drives the alternator and the AC). and drive the car around for 10 or 20 minutes (maybe less if you're running the amp. I don't know what their power draw is).

Kep
 

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Discussion Starter #19
so i tested the voltage on the alternator with the lights on and off and i got about 13.3/15.1 respectively.
that 15.1 doesnt seem right to me. how do i test the current it generates?
 

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When you start the car and there is current coming out, the voltage rise is an indicator.
Most alternators output is 13.8 to 14.8 Volts, regulated at alternator. If your meter (DMM) is not calibrated properly, then you may see 15.1 instead of 14.8volt DC.

Engine off for 20 min, the battery should read around 12.8 to 13.2 volts never below 10.5 volts.

To test current, you need a proper meter that will handle at least 100 Amps DC (90 A alternator on the 4cyl.) most DMM handle like 10 amps max. When you add a load to the system and see a voltage drop, that is an indication of a load.
 
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