Car problem.... help!

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott_lb, May 3, 2003.

  1. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    I have a problem with my 1997 Toyota Camry that I'm hoping someone might be able to shed some light on:

    On the bottom of the instrument panel are three circular dials placed horizontally next to each other. The first controls the "amount of air" (i.e., low, med, high, etc.), the second controls the heat or cooling level, and the third selects which vents the air is to come out of. Now, behind each of these three dials appears to be two main light sources. On the right "half" of the "three dial area", the interior light lights up 100% fine. However, on the left "half" of the "three dial area", the light lights up about 20%. I used to be able to flick at the less-lit area to make it light up at 100%, but alas, the finger flick method is no longer working. Any ideas? I told the deal about it when I got my last oil change and he said he'd have to charge me at least a hundred dollars just to look at it because he's "never seen anything like it in his many years of working in the car business" (yeah).

    As an aside, this problem started occurring at the same time when my little green clock started dimming as well, however, the finger flick method still works quite strongly for that particular problem.

    I'd appreciate any ideas or suggestions.
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Scott,

    The clock and heater control lights are 2 separate issues. The clock has no bulb, it's an LED display.

    The heater controls use little tiny bulbs with a diffuser to distribute the light across the panel. There are 2 of them, one on each side and the one on the dim side has burned out but that side still gets some light from the bright side via the diffuser.

    If you're lucky, the bulb may be behind the left knob and might be accessible just by pulling off that knob--some Toyotas are made this way.

    If the bulb isn't behind the left knob, the panel around the radio and heater controls can be removed by pulling it firmly outward, starting at the bottom 2 edges (remove the ashtray 1st) There are 2 more clips about midway up and 2 more at the top sides. The clips are pretty strong and it's easy to break the panel at the midpoint clips, so be careful.

    Once the panel is off you can remove the radio by removing 4 screws (8mm or 10mm hex head) which should get you access to the back of the heater controls where you should be able to find the bulb sockets at the back of the control assy.

    At the dealership where I work we would typically charge an hour's labor to replace this bulb if it can't be found behind the knob.

    You should be able to get replacement bulbs at any good auto parts store. If the bulb is green, you won't be able to get a green replacement bulb. That's because the green is actually a green plastic "condom" over a clear bulb. The "condom" can be unrolled from the old bulb and rolled onto the new one.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    Dude, I couldn't have asked for a better answer. THANKS! Damn, this forum rocks!
     

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