Sign in to follow this  
branshew

Cluster Light Help Needed - Jim Walker, Dcfish ?

Recommended Posts

On my ’95 ES 300 I had some burned out backlights in my instrument cluster (Cluster A) as well as a bad needle & another on the way out. All backlights but the light(s) at the top of the tachometer were out. I bought a replacement cluster (cluster B ) to swap for w/ better needles & backlights, but the mileage was off on the replacement cluster by a significant amount (over). Today when I was going to do the swap, I plugged in the replacement cluster (cluster B ) to test it and all of the backlights but one were working (the one by the fuel gauge was off). I removed the replacement cluster (cluster B ) and swapped out the circuit board (w/ the chipset on it) with my original one (from cluster A) to keep the odometer reading the same. I also swapped a bulb from cluster A to cluster B to fix the one non-working backlight in cluster B. When I plugged cluster B back into the power to check it again, the Odometer was indicating my original miles (due to the circuit board swap), all needles were working fine, but instead of no burned out lights (or only 1 as before), I had the same light(s) on above the tach and all others were out just like my original cluster.

This was somewhat puzzling unless the lights are wired so that one bulb out would affect the others like a strand of X-mas lights. Are the backlights wired so that if one goes out it would affect the others? Is it possible I have a problem in my ckt board that powers the lights? When I swapped bulbs, I swapped the entire housing unit and not just the bulb. I wouldn't think that would make a difference unless something was daisychained together.

It was getting dark and I didn't have the chance to switch everything back. My first thought was to go ahead and replace all of the backlights with new ones just to be on the safe side (plus they're 10 years old anyway). I went to Advance, Autozone, & NAPA and nobody could tell me what bulb type I need for the backlights. I found the type 74 bulbs for the black & gray inserts (bulbholders) that control the indicator and warning lights, but I couldn't find a bulb that matched the bulb for the backlights (green holders). Anyone know the correct size?

I have my original cluster installed now w/ the replacement ckt board (wrong odometer) until I can get the other one squared away. (I may just need to send it in for a repair).

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On my ’95 ES 300 I had some burned out backlights in my instrument cluster (Cluster A) as well as a bad needle & another on the way out. All backlights but the light(s) at the top of the tachometer were out. I bought a replacement cluster (cluster B ) to swap for w/ better needles & backlights, but the mileage was off on the replacement cluster by a significant amount (over). Today when I was going to do the swap, I plugged in the replacement cluster (cluster B ) to test it and all of the backlights but one were working (the one by the fuel gauge was off). I removed the replacement cluster (cluster B ) and swapped out the circuit board (w/ the chipset on it) with my original one (from cluster A) to keep the odometer reading the same. I also swapped a bulb from cluster A to cluster B to fix the one non-working backlight in cluster B. When I plugged cluster B back into the power to check it again, the Odometer was indicating my original miles (due to the circuit board swap), all needles were working fine, but instead of no burned out lights (or only 1 as before), I had the same light(s) on above the tach and all others were out just like my original cluster.

This was somewhat puzzling unless the lights are wired so that one bulb out would affect the others like a strand of X-mas lights. Are the backlights wired so that if one goes out it would affect the others? Is it possible I have a problem in my ckt board that powers the lights?  When I swapped bulbs, I swapped the entire housing unit and not just the bulb.  I wouldn't think that would make a difference unless something was daisychained together.

It was getting dark and I didn't have the chance to switch everything back.  My first thought was to go ahead and replace all of the backlights with new ones just to be on the safe side (plus they're 10 years old anyway).  I went to Advance, Autozone, & NAPA and nobody could tell me what bulb type I need for the backlights. I found the type 74 bulbs for the black & gray inserts (bulbholders) that control the indicator and warning lights, but I couldn't find a bulb that matched the bulb for the backlights (green holders).  Anyone know the correct size?

I have my original cluster installed now w/ the replacement ckt board (wrong odometer) until I can get the other one squared away. (I may just need to send it in for a repair).

Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks.

unfortunately, if you have driven the car at all, your mileage on your odometer will never be accurate again.

other than that, i cant be of much help...sorry :(

well, actually, i do think the reason why they go out is because the LED's are rated for 12 volts and the alternator puts out 14...i read that somewhereon here about an hour ago...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On my ’95 ES 300 I had some burned out backlights in my instrument cluster (Cluster A) as well as a bad needle & another on the way out. All backlights but the light(s) at the top of the tachometer were out. I bought a replacement cluster (cluster B ) to swap for w/ better needles & backlights, but the mileage was off on the replacement cluster by a significant amount (over). Today when I was going to do the swap, I plugged in the replacement cluster (cluster B ) to test it and all of the backlights but one were working (the one by the fuel gauge was off). I removed the replacement cluster (cluster B ) and swapped out the circuit board (w/ the chipset on it) with my original one (from cluster A) to keep the odometer reading the same. I also swapped a bulb from cluster A to cluster B to fix the one non-working backlight in cluster B. When I plugged cluster B back into the power to check it again, the Odometer was indicating my original miles (due to the circuit board swap), all needles were working fine, but instead of no burned out lights (or only 1 as before), I had the same light(s) on above the tach and all others were out just like my original cluster.

This was somewhat puzzling unless the lights are wired so that one bulb out would affect the others like a strand of X-mas lights. Are the backlights wired so that if one goes out it would affect the others? Is it possible I have a problem in my ckt board that powers the lights?  When I swapped bulbs, I swapped the entire housing unit and not just the bulb.  I wouldn't think that would make a difference unless something was daisychained together.

It was getting dark and I didn't have the chance to switch everything back.  My first thought was to go ahead and replace all of the backlights with new ones just to be on the safe side (plus they're 10 years old anyway).  I went to Advance, Autozone, & NAPA and nobody could tell me what bulb type I need for the backlights. I found the type 74 bulbs for the black & gray inserts (bulbholders) that control the indicator and warning lights, but I couldn't find a bulb that matched the bulb for the backlights (green holders).  Anyone know the correct size?

I have my original cluster installed now w/ the replacement ckt board (wrong odometer) until I can get the other one squared away. (I may just need to send it in for a repair).

Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks.

If I'm not mistaken all the backlight bulbs can be replaced with the 74's make sure that you pry the bulb contacts away from the base just a little so you ensure a tight fit and a good connection. The gas and the temp guage can also be removed from the faceplate [ slide them out from the side ] if you need to . If you feel that you have to send it out I highly recomend www.lextech.org [LLS ON THIS BOARD] Also you can easily pull the bad needles off and replace them with the good ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If I'm not mistaken all the backlight bulbs can be replaced with the 74's make sure that you pry the bulb contacts away from the base just a little so you ensure a tight fit and a good connection. The gas and the temp guage can also be removed from the faceplate [ slide them out from the side ] if you need to . If you feel that you have to send it out I highly recomend www.lextech.org [LLS ON THIS BOARD] Also you can easily pull the bad  needles off and replace them with the good ones.

The indicator lights for warnings, airbag, CEL, P, R, N, D, 2, L, etc are the type 74s. They are inserted into gray or black plastic removeable sockets. The backlight bulbs are inserted into green plastic sockets. I tried using a 74 type and it is definitely not the same as the original. I also tried a 73 and a 32, but none of them fit in tightly. There was considerable play with the fitment on each. There was another type of bulb (number twenty something I think) that looked like the wedge base would fit perfectly, but the bulb size itself was considerably larger than the factory.

Gas & temp gauges are working fine so I left them as is.

Is there a clip or something that holds the needles in place? I was afraid that I would break them if I tried to pull them off so I didn't mess with them.

I'm wondering if the problem is in my circuit bord since the new cluster was OK except for one backlight. Then I switched the circuit board and the new cluster exhibited the same outtage pattern as my original?

... Or the switch over caused more bulbs to go out on the replacement cluster since they hadn't been lit in a while (old bulbs).

... or they are wired in series (doubt it).

...or I blew a fuse or two (less likely, but possible)

I'll start w/ the fuses and then go to a bulb replacement if that doesn't work Process of elimination will hopefully get me closer. I know that some of the LS problems were on the circuit board itself & was just wondering if anyone has had that same problem w/ the ES.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK - Here's the update as of 11:00 AM Monday.

1) Replcaed all bulbs for backlighting w/ type 24 bulbs as indicated on the Lextech site. When doing this I bent all of the contact wires off the bulbs just slightly before I inserted them into the holders to make sure the contacts would be good. Then I did the same thing to the bulb holder contact points to make sure they make solid contact w/ the ckt board. I cleaned the contact points on the circuit strip as well as the bulb holders w/ rubbing alcohol.

2) Checked & replaced both 15A fuses in the interior fuse panel that were related to the cluster/ecu. Neither fuse appearred to be blown, but I repaced them both just to be sure.

Result:

The left half of the cluster (tach & temp side) are fine with good backlights and all needles working. The right side of the cluster (fuel & speedometer) has no backlights. The needles for the speedo and fuel gauge work just fine - just no backlights on that side. I replaced the fuses after I swapped bulbs and it made no difference.

I may try swapping the power/circuit strip that feeds the lights next. Then my last step would be to swap back the circuit boards w/ the chipset.

Can anyone tell me the best way to remove the needles from the cluster - I may need to go that route in the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OK - Here's the update as of 11:00 AM Monday.

1) Replcaed all bulbs for backlighting w/ type 24 bulbs as indicated on the Lextech site.  When doing this I bent all of the contact wires off the bulbs just slightly before I inserted them into the holders to make sure the contacts would be good.  Then I did the same thing to the bulb holder contact points to make sure they make solid contact w/ the ckt board.  I cleaned the contact points on the circuit strip as well as the bulb holders w/ rubbing alcohol.

2)  Checked & replaced both 15A fuses in the interior fuse panel that were related to the cluster/ecu.  Neither fuse appearred to be blown, but I repaced them both just to be sure.

Result: 

The left half of the cluster (tach & temp side) are fine with good backlights and all needles working.  The right side of the cluster (fuel & speedometer) has no backlights.  The needles for the speedo and fuel gauge work just fine - just no backlights on that side.  I replaced the fuses after I swapped bulbs and it made  no difference.

I may try swapping the power/circuit strip that feeds the lights next.  Then my last step would be to swap back the circuit boards w/ the chipset.

Can anyone tell me the best way to remove the needles from the cluster - I may need to go that route in the end.

Just take the smoked plastic faceplate off and firmly pull the needle straight out [ FIRM AND STEADY PRESSURE IS NEEDED TO PULL THE NEEDLES OFF] and they just push back on no clips, Just make sure that you put the needles back on in the position in which they were taken off. You can take the plastic cover off without pulling the cluster out just take the dash frame off and you will see the screws that hold the cover. I put the needles back on with the car running with the gas tank full , the car warmed up and at idle. The needle settings were previously made note of. And everything operates exactly as the original cluster. The reason this was done is that the new needles had a different weight than the originals so the balance was off I had to add weight to the gas and tach needles so they would balance the same as the originals.

post-1634-1110817776_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On my ’95 ES 300 I had some burned out backlights in my instrument cluster (Cluster A) as well as a bad needle & another on the way out. All backlights but the light(s) at the top of the tachometer were out. I bought a replacement cluster (cluster B ) to swap for w/ better needles & backlights, but the mileage was off on the replacement cluster by a significant amount (over). Today when I was going to do the swap, I plugged in the replacement cluster (cluster B ) to test it and all of the backlights but one were working (the one by the fuel gauge was off). I removed the replacement cluster (cluster B ) and swapped out the circuit board (w/ the chipset on it) with my original one (from cluster A) to keep the odometer reading the same. I also swapped a bulb from cluster A to cluster B to fix the one non-working backlight in cluster B. When I plugged cluster B back into the power to check it again, the Odometer was indicating my original miles (due to the circuit board swap), all needles were working fine, but instead of no burned out lights (or only 1 as before), I had the same light(s) on above the tach and all others were out just like my original cluster.

This was somewhat puzzling unless the lights are wired so that one bulb out would affect the others like a strand of X-mas lights. Are the backlights wired so that if one goes out it would affect the others? Is it possible I have a problem in my ckt board that powers the lights?  When I swapped bulbs, I swapped the entire housing unit and not just the bulb.  I wouldn't think that would make a difference unless something was daisychained together.

It was getting dark and I didn't have the chance to switch everything back.  My first thought was to go ahead and replace all of the backlights with new ones just to be on the safe side (plus they're 10 years old anyway).  I went to Advance, Autozone, & NAPA and nobody could tell me what bulb type I need for the backlights. I found the type 74 bulbs for the black & gray inserts (bulbholders) that control the indicator and warning lights, but I couldn't find a bulb that matched the bulb for the backlights (green holders).  Anyone know the correct size?

I have my original cluster installed now w/ the replacement ckt board (wrong odometer) until I can get the other one squared away. (I may just need to send it in for a repair).

Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks.

unfortunately, if you have driven the car at all, your mileage on your odometer will never be accurate again.

other than that, i cant be of much help...sorry :(

well, actually, i do think the reason why they go out is because the LED's are rated for 12 volts and the alternator puts out 14...i read that somewhereon here about an hour ago...

and since there is too much voltage going to the needles, the 18 SMD's (surface mount diodes, not led's), will heat up and actually melt the bottom connector going to the smd's. The connection will be somewhat lost and they will flicker to the point where the connection is TOTALLY lost and eventually lose connection all together and not work at all. I know this from a test i did. I went to my nearest junkyard (which my uncle owns B) ) and took 3 gauge clusters; 1995 es, 1990 ls, 1997gs. I took one needle out and tested it with 12 vlts, all the way up to 16 vlts until it burned out. I lookerd underneath and saw that the plastic was melted and there was a gap in the connection. I took the smd's out individully and tested each one; only 2/18 actually still worked. So there must have been enough electricity to burn them out as well as the connection. The other needles i still have, all in working condition for some more testing ;) ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This should be in the ES forum.....

I posted this inthe ES forum but got no response there so I decided to try elsewhere since most Lexus clusters are essentially the same.

BTW: I did trace the backlight problem back to the printed circuit board somewhere. I swapped just about everything and that was the only thing that made the difference. Oh well. Back to my search for a another cluster w/ similar mileage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this