Bought new CCOT instrument gauge lights when I rebuilt my instrument panel.

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They claim to be (and are) much brighter than the original bulbs in the panel, but they are still incandescent and not LED. I took my Cruiser out for a test drive Friday and after a couple of times around the block I went to a store about 10 miles round trip away. When I came out and started the Cruiser none of my gauges worked, and neither did the brake light indicator on the Emergency brake. Engine ran fine. I got home and took the instrument panel back out. I may cut off the tip out tabs on the bottom of the dash because disconnecting/reconnecting the speedometer cable is a PITA if you can't put the cluster in by just going straight back with it. I could not find anything that looked wrong with the wiring. I looked at the fuses and none of them looked blown, but to make a long story short the fuse for the gauge backlights was blown, it just didn't look burnt. Put a new fuse in, and everything works again. Until I turn the light adjustment on the headlights to increase the brightness of light inside the gauges. Not instant but the fuse fails again, once again not in a visible manner by just looking at the fuse.

I put another new fuse in and turned the brightness all the way down, and let the vehicle sit running. 15 minutes later everything was still working. Turned the knob about 1/2 turn and let it run for another 15 minutes, and everything still good.

I had turned the adjustment all the way up after first instaling the new bulbs to see how much brighter the bulbs were, and it is quite a bit. Even at 1/2 turn the brightness is greater than the old bulbs were when the adjustment was at max before. Since the fuse doesn't blow instantly I assume that I am right at the edge of 20 amps of current. The fuse that blows does NOT affect the actual headlamps only the gauges and the backlighting. Is there an easy way to put a current limiting resister inline with these lights so the turning the brightness up doesn't kill the gauges? I'd have to do it at or near the fuses or inline with the headlight gauge brightness adjustment knob. I could try putting a bigger fuse in but I don't like that solution.

Going to go for another 10 mile round trip drive with the brightness at 1/2 turn.
 
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Seems to me that those tabs at the bottom of your speedometer were grounding points. If you cut them off, it now can only can ground out through the mounting screws. Run an auxiliary ground from the back of your cluster to the dash and I bet your issues will go away. 90% of FJ40 electrical problems seem to be bad grounding. My 76 cluster had a problem with both the fuel and temperature gauges randomly not working until I added the extra ground a couple years ago, no more issues. Good luck!



FWIW I went with the LEDs in my cluster and they are great!
 
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They claim to be (and are) much brighter than the original bulbs in the panel, but they are still incandescent and not LED. I took my Cruiser out for a test drive Friday and after a couple of times around the block I went to a store about 10 miles round trip away. When I came out and started the Cruiser none of my gauges worked, and neither did the brake light indicator on the Emergency brake. Engine ran fine. I got home and took the instrument panel back out. I may cut off the tip out tabs on the bottom of the dash because disconnecting/reconnecting the speedometer cable is a PITA if you can't put the cluster in by just going straight back with it. I could not find anything that looked wrong with the wiring. I looked at the fuses and none of them looked blown, but to make a long story short the fuse for the gauge backlights was blown, it just didn't look burnt. Put a new fuse in, and everything works again. Until I turn the light adjustment on the headlights to increase the brightness of light inside the gauges. Not instant but the fuse fails again, once again not in a visible manner by just looking at the fuse.

I put another new fuse in and turned the brightness all the way down, and let the vehicle sit running. 15 minutes later everything was still working. Turned the knob about 1/2 turn and let it run for another 15 minutes, and everything still good.

I had turned the adjustment all the way up after first instaling the new bulbs to see how much brighter the bulbs were, and it is quite a bit. Even at 1/2 turn the brightness is greater than the old bulbs were when the adjustment was at max before. Since the fuse doesn't blow instantly I assume that I am right at the edge of 20 amps of current. The fuse that blows does NOT affect the actual headlamps only the gauges and the backlighting. Is there an easy way to put a current limiting resister inline with these lights so the turning the brightness up doesn't kill the gauges? I'd have to do it at or near the fuses or inline with the headlight gauge brightness adjustment knob. I could try putting a bigger fuse in but I don't like that solution.

Going to go for another 10 mile round trip drive with the brightness at 1/2 turn.
Seems to me that those tabs at the bottom of your speedometer were grounding points. If you cut them off, it now can only can ground out through the mounting screws. Run an auxiliary ground from the back of your cluster to the dash and I bet your issues will go away. 90% of FJ40 electrical problems seem to be bad grounding. My 76 cluster had a problem with both the fuel and temperature gauges randomly not working until I added the extra ground a couple years ago, no more issues. Good luck!

And I added LED’s...X2^^^
 

brian

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the fasteners provide more than enough of a ground path. those tabs have nothing to do with grounding.....merely retaining the bottom of the cluster in the dash, cutting them off is not the way to go, but giving them healthy trim is.
LEDS are the way to go.

jan22leds.jpg
 

ToyotaMatt

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what @brian said .................





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Holy smokes those pics are great! I gonna get me some of those bulbs. I have the same dash as Brian, am I to believe the head lamp switch is illuminated? If so where is the bulb? Mine is dark and dead.
 
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the fasteners provide more than enough of a ground path. those tabs have nothing to do with grounding.....merely retaining the bottom of the cluster in the dash, cutting them off is not the way to go, but giving them healthy trim is.
LEDS are the way to go.

View attachment 3050101

Some previous owner cut notches where the tabs are, but not deep enough for the tabs to completely miss. I drove the Cruiser today with the brightness adjusted about 1/2 of travel and didn't blow a fuse. But I know if I turned it all the way the fuse would last only about 5 minutes max. I burned a few fuses to get a better idea how long it takes.
 

ToyotaMatt

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Holy smokes those pics are great! I gonna get me some of those bulbs. I have the same dash as Brian, am I to believe the head lamp switch is illuminated? If so where is the bulb? Mine is dark and dead.
Some previous owner cut notches where the tabs are, but not deep enough for the tabs to completely miss. I drove the Cruiser today with the brightness adjusted about 1/2 of travel and didn't blow a fuse. But I know if I turned it all the way the fuse would last only about 5 minutes max. I burned a few fuses to get a better idea how long it takes.
Yes lights knob is illuminated

View attachment 3050214



here we go and there we are ......... :cool:










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Shark56

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Is your switch one that will turn on interior lights (dome/door light) if turned all the way?
Could that wire be shorting out.

LED's are the way to go.

Late friend bought those bulbs from CCOT. If I remember the OEM bulbs are 3 watts and they were 5 watts. He did not have any issues. He ran them for awhile then I gave him some LEDs.
 
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Is your switch one that will turn on interior lights (dome/door light) if turned all the way?
Could that wire be shorting out.

LED's are the way to go.

Late friend bought those bulbs from CCOT. If I remember the OEM bulbs are 3 watts and they were 5 watts. He did not have any issues. He ran them for awhile then I gave him some LEDs.
A previous owner removed any dome light if one existed. And the fuse will give out after about 5 minutes even if not turned all the way to the brightest setting, but is turned greater than 50%. Below that point and it lasts for 1/2 hour with no problem. Haven’t driven it extensively yet, have a few things that I want to get fixed first.
 
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I read somewhere to increase the brightness simply cut the surround away around the globes is this true anyone have any pics
 
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I read somewhere to increase the brightness simply cut the surround away around the globes is this true anyone have any pics

I did this on my '65 FJ45, and what bugged me is that when you looked at the side windows (the operable front windows) at an angle you could see more bulb glare from the bulb itself, now that the shield was gone.

I would not do that mod again - I'd get brighter (and/or LED) bulbs.
 

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