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Ted Ritter
Ted Ritter, Toyota Master Tech
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 4179
Experience:  Toyota Master Tech, ASE Certified
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Highlander: I have a 2002 Toyota Highlander v6. The neon

Customer Question

I have a 2002 Toyota Highlander v6. The neon green lights located within the climate control unit stopped working a while ago, as did the illuminating light behind the hazard blinkers button as well as the illuminating light for the gear shift area. I opened up all of these today and replaced them with OME lights from Toyota. After sealing everything back up, I gave my engine a start and turned on my headlights, expecting these new lights on the dash and gear shift to glow again. None of them did. I am at a loss to figure out what or where the trouble may be. Thanks!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Hello, thanks for postingDo the instrument cluster lights work?Do you have a 12 volt test light or a voltmeter?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The instrument cluster lights do work, e.g. speedometer is fine, the warning lights around the speedometer all light up temporarily at ignition, the three buttons for climate control all work and light up when they are respectively pushed, the clock works.I do not have either the 12 volt test light nor the voltimeter. I could certainly obtain one or the other though. Where would you want me to go with that? Fuse box?
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Ok, there should be three knobs on the dash for climate control, remove the center knob, just pull it off,check the nut that holds the shaft on, if it is loose try to tighten it, this is the ground for some of the illumination lights other than the instrument cluster.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will take a look at that when I get home in a little bit. I do remember I replaced the front side of the climate control module about four years ago when one or more of the dial bands in the original unit broke. Should I expect to see any wires attached to this center knob nut?
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
The wires breaking in the control unit is a common problem and it may be the case again, please check the mounting nut and let's go from there.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The mounting nut beneath the center knob felt tight when I just checked it out here.
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Ok,
can you get an inexpensive 12 volt test light? The hardware store should have some in stock as well as any auto parts store.
Then we can do a couple of voltage checks to see where the voltage to the bulbs may be lost. The instrument lights and the other lights are on the same circuit, was anything done recently before this happened, any electrical repairs or part replaced?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have not yet bought the test light, as I discovered probably where the problem lies.A chance search on the internet on Highlander illumination gear shift revealed to me that there is a secondary fuse location just to the left of the steering wheel. Opening up and removing the little door, I found it beneath and using my Highlander owners manual, identified fuse position number 45, 7.5 amp as responsible for interior panel lights.So I removed this fuse, held it up to the sunlight and observed it was burned out. I put in an identical fuse from my fuse box kit into the slot. Then I closed everything up and started the engine. The lights on the climate control the gear shift and also the cigarette lighter all illuminated for the first time in years. However when I turned off the ignition and turned it back on a few minutes later just to make sure everything worked, these lights did not come on when I turned on my headlights (as the just had). I turned off the ignition and I opened up the secondary fuse box again. I took a look at the fuse I had just replaced and now this one too was blown. I put in a third 7.5 amp fuse (one of the toyota provided spares from the main fuse box) and tried that and again after turning on the ignition and not seeing any of the climate control, gear shift, hazard button or cigarette light lights, I turned off the ignition and found this third fuse had also blown.What might be my next step? Something seems to be overwhelming this particular fuse position.
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the updateIt seems there is a short to ground in the circuit, the fuses are all labeled inside the cover, can you give me the name for the fuse, for example gauge, panel, etc? After that I'll have to check a diagram to see what else is on this same circuit the may be causing the problem.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ted,The fuse in question is referred to in the manual as:"45. PANEL 7.5 A: Instrument Panel Lights"
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The only thing that changed in my vehicle related to the instrument panel was installing a new, not particularly fancy radio a number of years ago.
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Is this when the problem started?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't believe so. The dash functioned normally for years. It was only recently that I realized that a number of the panel lights were in fact no longer illuminating. The radio does not draw any unusual power demands. It is properly wired up via harness.
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
I kind of suspect that the cigarette light may be causing the short, can you disconnect the wires to it and see what happens.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How would I go about disconnecting the cigarette light? Do I need to open up the gearshift area cover? Also would I be able to get the cigarette light reconnected once again after our experiment?
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
With this fuse out do the tail lights work?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, the tail lights do work with the 45 position fuse out.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I should also add that nothing was plugged into either the cigarette lighter or accessory power plug today when I was working on the fuse
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Ok, put another fuse in with the key off and the light switch off, wait for about a minute, if the fuse stays in turn the ignition on, if it's still intact turn the parking lights on, at which time does the fuse blow?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will have to go down the street here in a few minutes and get some more fuses as I have burned through my supply of 7.5s
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I'll be here for a while.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Should I get any other component or accessory at the store to help with testing out the problem?
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
We may need a volt/ohm meter.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I will get one of those.
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
OK.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The fuse survived until I turned on the headlights, then it went out.
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
I'll have to look at a wiring diagram and get back to you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks! It got thru ignition okay but the headlights being activated burned out the fuse.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
(Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't need a live phone call
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
http://s4.postimg.org/rxo8tyhot/2007_11_01_155333_fuse.jpg
Please copy this url into your browser, let me know which fuse in the picture is blowing, just the number.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I will get back to my garage here in a few minutes from an errand and look. I take it you're presuming that if the panel fuse is blowing, then one of these other fuses is already blown?
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Earlier you mentioned the fuse was numbered 45, is this fuse under the hood? The fuses on the inside go to only 27/
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The fuse I replaced was #45, which is located in the auxiliary fuse box situated next to the steering wheel and accessible from inside the vehicle. It is not the main fuse box found in the engine compartment.
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
I'm going to have to go offline in a few minutes, can you upload a picture of these fuses, can we continue this tomorrow morning?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The graphic which you sent me earlier matches the interior compartment with fuses. So far I have pulled out two of them, the cigarette lighter and the auxiliary power fuses and I do not see any damage to either fuse
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
You mentioned that one fuse keeps nlowing I'm trying to determine which one it is, a picture may help.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On the diagram which you sent me an hour ago, the fuse which is repeatedly blowing is #25 on your diagram
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Or on the photo I just sent as an attachment, it is the 7.5 fuse directly above the sticker reading 834.
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Ok, that clears it up , I'll have to go through my files for an actual wiring diagram to see what other components and circuits are on this fuse, can we continue in the morning this may take some time
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ted,That sounds fair to me. Yes it is fine if we continue this tomorrow.Thanks!
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Ok, hope we can get this resolved then.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ted,Any further ideas on what to try with regards ***** ***** fuse box issue? Could it be something beyond a fuse such as perhaps a relay?
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
No, it sounds to me like a short to ground as soon as you turn the headlights on, this causes the panel illumination fuse to pop, it's going to be very difficult to locate, it could be the headlight switch itself or a wire that goes to one of the lights, I thought about this for a while and my conclusion is that an electrical problem like this is beyond the scope of a forum like this since I have no access to the vehicle, I'm sorry but in this case I'm going to have to opt out. There are quite a few other experts available and maybe someone has a definite answer as to what the problem is or may be.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank You Ted for your assistance and I look forward to speaking with the expert to whom you have referred me.
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome, please be patient as the question will now be available to the expert pool.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ted:I thought some more about the problem today. I decided to try an experiment where I took off the front face of my stereo head unit (with the ignition off). I replaced the 7.5 volt fuse at position number 45 in the auxiliary fuse box. I then started up the vehicle and turned on the headlights. The panel lights remained on. So the problem may be with the head unit/radio. I'm wondering whether or not I perhaps did not use the ground wire on the back of the stereo unit correctly. Right now from what I recall it is just taped on with black tape to a steel member inside of the vault of the climate control radio area. Perhaps it needs to be anchored more securely to a metal member? It has a black wire and horseshoe "U" clip at one end.I am attaching a photo showing the working illumination panel.
Expert:  Ted Ritter replied 1 year ago.
Hello, sorry for the delay in getting back to you, the photo did not appear here on my end, a bad ground sounded to me like the problem from the beginning, try lengthening that wire and attach it to a body ground, this can be any part of metal that has no paint on in, I'm sure there is a bolt or nut that can be removed to provide a ground connection.