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Discussion Starter #1
I'm hoping someone else has had this issue. Other than take the old girl to the Toyota place, we have been trying to troubleshoot this. The instrument dashboard lights have gone dark and we can't get them to come on. The last time this happened a tractor trailer gator took out my right quarter panel and the rear light. Fixed light, fixed blown fuses...all good. That was 3 years ago, no problem since.
Before you ask:
Yes I did check the dimmer switch...temp control and radio, turn signals all other lights dim and brighten fine...just no instrument panel lights
Yes I did check EVERY FUSE for the entire car..all fine, none blown
Yes I did check all the light bulbs...all fine.
Thought we found the culprit when there was a right tail light out...drove 1 hour RT to get a bulb ( just moved to the country and left my service shop behind very far away)
...tail light works now, but still no dash lights. Any other ideas?
Someone said something on one of these threads about a possible reostat being bad? I can't do it, but my husband is pretty car savey if someone can explain if we should/how to by-pass the dimmer switch to see if that is bad..
Would this be an issue that can be determined by putting it on a diagnostic computer at a service center?
 

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There are no "on board diagnostics" (OBD) to figure this out, you just need someone good with troubleshooting (and that is rarely a dealer!). Instrument panel has 4-6 little bulbs that illuminate it (I just had one go bad), the odds of all of them going bad are very slim (unless they have been failing over time, but you would have noticed it). If your dimmer (rheostat) works on the radio/climate controls, then it is probably OK.


There are threes connectors leading to the cluster from the car, I would remove it and find a pin that brings power to the cluster lights. Measure if you have any voltage at that location (and if dimmer has any effect on it). That will tell you if the problem in the instrument cluster or in the car. Or if you have access to another cluster, try it out (I have a spare '97 cluster, if you are local).


As a temporary solution, you could buy a small LED light to place on your dash so that you can tell your speed.


BTW, many people make a big deal about using Auto or 5sp specific clusters, I just put in a 5sp 96 cluster into my 97 Auto Rav4, without any problems...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Leon R. Will check that stuff. Also as a "weird aside" when you open the door with the headlights on normally you receive a warning bell indicator right? Well if the dimmer switch is in the on position or turn up high ..no indicator warning that you have your headlights on...only when you adjust the dimmer switch down or off does it start to make a sound...intermittently beeping at first in the middle of the revolution, until you have the dimmer switch turned off so that it emits a continuous tone.. this maybe normal, but to be honest with you, I drove this car off the showroom floor in 1998 and I have NEVER known the dimmer switch to act this way regarding the headlight on/ignition off situation.
 

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That definitely doesn't sound right (no pun intended ;)). Does anyone know if Rav4 buzzer built into the cluster, or is it somewhere else?
 
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