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95 Es300 Removed Inst. Cluster, Now A Problem


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I recently removed my instrument cluster to replace the burned out bulbs with LED's.

Problem 1. When I reinstalled everything, my eng. temp and fuel needles stopped working. Could this be loose wires or do I need to replace the needles altogether?

Problem 2. For the bulb replacement, do I pull out the bulb from the plastic thing it's seated in and put the LED bulb in it's place?

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Any electrical work on any car starts by disconnecting the battery terminal to ensure that nothing gets short circuited. Hopefully you did this step. As well, I've not had to replace any instrument bulbs in any of my Lexus models over the years, but plenty in other Nissan, Subaru and Toyota models from that same time period.

As for the instrument needles inoperative ....I suspect that you'll find that the electrical plug connection is at fault. Check that the plug is properly inserted. If the instruments worked before you pulled the dash parts, they should work afterwards, provided all of the connectors are properly seated in the correct positions. If after all of this they still don't work, check fthe fuses for the instrument panel.

For the LED bulbs ... it depends on the type of bulbs used by Toyota. Some of those plastic plug bulb sockets simply require that the old bulb be pulled from the plastic socket, and a new one inserted.

Others have the same plastic plug, but the bulb itself has two long thin wires. In this case, you unwind the wires on the old bulb from the holes in the plastic socket and the notches in the plastic that they follow. Once removed, the wires on the new bulb get inserted into the holes and twisted around the recesses of the socket to follow the same pattern of the old bulbs. You may find that the wires will have excess wire that needs to be cut off when finished.

Check also that the old bulbs don't have thin, tiny rubber condoms on them, that can be pulled off and put on the new bulbs to keep the same colour of light consistent in the dash. I've found this on several cars of this generation. Good Luck!

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Yes, you may need to swap out your entire instrument combination meter to fix the problem, but first try this:

Is it possible that whebn you removed the combination meter that you may have stretched the wiring harnesses to it, and possibly pulled one of the wires loose from its end connector slightly?

Try this to find out: Disconnect the battery, pull the combination meter out of its cavity such that you can get at its wiring harnesses, then push all of the WIRES into their respective connectors. Lay the meter in its cavity, reconnect the battery and check the instruments.

If things work, you then have a little bit of snooping and repairs to make to that harness connector (best to let an electronics expert fix it if you're not confident yourself).

If it doesn't work, it may be cheapest to get another from a wrecking yard. Then be sure to record the mileage on your old odometer, the same on the new one, the date you changed them both out, sign the record and get a good witness to do the same and keep it with your owner's manual. That way when you go to sell the car, there'll be less hassles from the new buyer. Good Luck!

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Thanks again for the advice, Gene.

I checked the wires and everything seemed ok, hooked it all up again but still no luck. I ordered a used one and while the needles work, I can't see any of them! So I've decided to send it to a repair shop I found on Ebay. Hopefully in another week I can be done with the instrument cluster and start worrying about something else with this car lol

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