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Toyota Camry Fuse and Electrical Questions

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  • So we just bought this 99 Camry on Thursday...it has 110K miles on it. Everything looked good and it ran good as well. We're driving it home and the lights/dashboards start dimming...until, finally, the whole car dies. We have to have it towed home. Once we get it home and looked at, it's the alternator. So we replace the alternator. The car now starts but it doesn't stay on for very long, so we check the battery. It needs a new battery as well because this one isn't holding a charge at all. Well, here comes the interesting part. After changing all of this, the dashboard gauges aren't working as in the temperature, the speedometer and rpm's. The gas gauge is still working. The mileage is blank. The clock on the side works but barely. The dome light works but none of the windows work. The keyless entry works.
    Any ideas on what to check next? PLEASE HELP!
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Start first to verify that your basic power supply is good. Are the battery connectors clean, free of corrosion, and both the wiring and connector tight to the battery?

    Get a digital voltmeter, and check the voltage of the battery, it should be sitting around 13.5 to 14.0 volts. If you are down at 10-12 volts you still have a battery problem.

    Verify that your voltage is good, and if so we can take you deeper into the electronics to trouble shoot. You may have blown another larger fuse or alternator out while putting the battery in. Who did this installation work?
  • We figured out that the problem was that someone had switched the 10a fuse with a 15. Once we changed that to the 10a, everything came back on and is working again. We took the car out for a test drive, and we heard an electrical pop from the drivers side and all the gauges went out again. We'll replace the fuse again and see how it goes. Could it be an electrical problem that is making the fuse keep blowing?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Tell me specifically which fuse circuit is blowing. The fuse box is labeled. Is it the 10A "Gauge" fuse?

    If so, the alternator could be bad. But that circuit feeds a lot of other stuff, so we'll have to do some sleuthing to figure out what is causing the problem. Don't want to jump immediately to the alternator, but at this point since you were working there....that is probably more likely.

    Who did the alternator repair......where did the part come from, and who put it in?
    Who did the battery repair....where did the part come from, and who put it in?

    Depending upon where the products came from, and who installed them, will determine the suggested course of action to diagnose/fix.
  • It is the 10A gauge fuse. We tried to replace it and it blew again, and then again.
    We bought the parts from AutoZone and did the work ourselves, meaning my dad and I. My dad is a retired mechanic so he knows a lot about cars. The battery is also from AutoZone. Right now we're looking around to see if there's a wire that's been stripped or is touching the metal frame. When we bought the car it was missing the radio, so we're looking to see if something happened when they took it out.
    The battery says 14.64 and so does the alternator so we really don't think it's either of those.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Okay,

    Since the 10A Gauge powers the control circuitry in the Alternator, I think there are at least two scenarios that are possible:

    1.) It could be that there is some problem in the wiring, causing the 10A Gauge to blow, which in turn makes the alternator not work because it doesn't have any voltage to power the control circuitry. That then, causes the battery to run down as it's not charged. Hence, you may have replaced an okay alternator and and an okay battery......unless at AutoZone you had them check the alternator and battery before replacing.

    2.) It could be that the new alternator is bad, and there is a short in the control circuitry, which is causing the 10A gauge fuse to blow. That is causing all the other things on that circuit to not work.

    One thing you could try, is to unplug the alternator, replace the fuse, and then try to run the car without the alternator in the circuit. You'd be running just on the battery at that point. If the fuse blows again, you've eliminated the alternator as being the cause of the problem. If the car runs fine, then you should suspect the alternator is bad.

    One thing you should also check, since you are checking some wiring. Get on your back and lay down in the trunk, with your head up by the left drivers side rear seat. Inspect the wiring, wear it rubs against the metal framing as you open and close the trunk. Sometimes people overjam things in the trunk, the wiring becomes pinched or wears, and shorts out.
  • We tried what you had suggested about unplugging the alternator and trying it off the battery, it blew the fuse. So then we rehooked everything back up and it blew again before the car was even started all the way.
    Any other suggestions?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    The 10A Gauge fuse, handles a lot of control circuitry for a number of things:
    - combo meter
    - cruise control
    - door lock control
    - transmission
    - engine computer
    - key reminder and seat belt
    - headlight control
    - light auto turn off
    - moon roof
    - power windows
    - stop light
    - tail light

    Note: a number of items have the control circuitry powered by the gauge fuse, but then has another fuse for that same item which may go thru the secondary points of a relay. As an example, the control circuitry powers and controls a relay, when the relay is turned on it supplies power to the device thru a different fuse.

    Take a look at all of the relays, see if any of them look (or smell) burnt/melted.

    Looks like you found out why they were interested in selling it.

    Let me go look at the schematics, and see if there is some way I can get you to unhook some couplers to see if we can get it to stop blowing the fuse.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    A 15 amp fuse in a 10 amp position.

    Radio was removed.

    Whoever installed that 15 fuse amp may have done so knowingly and for good logical reason. I would first try another 15 amp fuse on the chance some past owner knowingly put an extra load level on that circuit.

    Was a new radio installed and who did the work..??
  • We did try another size fuse, we tried another 15 and also a 20....each blew the fuse.
    As of right now, there is no radio in the car. The person that owned it before said he took it out and to a place to get the radio fixed because there was a cd stuck in it. He also said it was expensive to fix and it would have been cheaper for him to buy another factory one. We were gonna put a Sony one in that we had already bought awhile ago.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Don't put a 20A fuse in a 10A circuit.

    The purpose of a fuse, is to blow before the wire burns......it protects the wire.

    If you burn the wire, you'll have a real mess trying to re-wire that circuit.

    Try disconnecting the park/neutral switch, to see if it is causing the fuse to blow. You can also disconnect the reverse switch on the tranny, and pull out the daytime running light relays. If those don't cause the fuse to stop blowing, pull out the integration relay. You can also try disconnecting the connector on the speedometer, which provides the power to pin 7. Pull out the cruise control computer, that is also powered by the fuse.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The radio backlighting is powered via the instrument panel, guage, combination meter circuit. That wire is now disconnected and may be bare laying around loose somewhere.

    Turn the instrument, guage panel back lighting down to minimum and then check with a new fuse.
  • We haven't tried any of those things yet...
    But is this relevant: When the fuse is out, the battery and the alternator are running at 12.15. As soon as that fuse is in, it goes up to 14.64.
    Also when the fuse first blew, we were driving up a hill and smelled like something was burning...almost like burnt metal.
    When it blew the second time after we thought we fixed it, I was going up a little hill. It blew again, when the key was just in the ignition and then again shortly after the car started.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    As I mentioned earlier, that fuse provides power to the control circuitry of the alternator.

    Without power to the circuitry, the alternator is just free spinning, no producing any output voltage/current to charge the battery. As a result, the engine is just running off of the battery.

    When you put the fuse in, the alternator control circuitry would determine that it needs to charge up the battery, and would try to do now do so.

    If you smelled something burning, something undoubtedly burnt. You will need to inspect the wiring to see where the insulation is worn off and touching metal somewhere. You should never put a higher rated fuse than the wiring is rated at....you'll burn the wiring instead of tripping the fuse.

    Start at the 10Gauge fuse, and start tracing the wire to all of it's branches. It is going to be a nightmare. You might actually be better just re-wiring that circuit with new. You are going to need to buy a set of Toyota electrical schematics for your vehicle.

    Good luck.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..buy a set.."

    Or simply subscribe to techinfo.toyota.com for a day and print them out.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Okay..

    It appears the car ran for quite some time, some period of time, with that 15 amp fuse installed.

    What changed to blow that fuse..??

    You turned up the instrument panel lighting level.....??
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Don't confuse the illumination of the gauges, with the operation of the gauges.

    The 10A gauge fuse provides power to a number of things including the gauges, which allows the gauges to work. The illumination of the gauges at night with the rheostat controlled dimmer is powered via the 7.5 Panel fuse.

    Two different circuits.
  • I have a 1994 Camry LE. The illumination lights behind the heating/cooling controls went out. I think that I looked at the correct fuse underneath ash tray on drivers side and looks good. Please let me know if that is right. If so and the fuse is ok and the light/lights are burned out, how to I get to them. I am hoping that I do not have to take the entire dashboard off.

    Thanks for any help

    Nick
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    What fuse is it that you looked at and think is good?

    Did you check the 15A "Tail" fuse?

    Let me know what you find.
  • Yes. Just tried it again and replaced with a new fuse and still nothing. The entire heating/cooling backlights are not out. Just the left 2/3 which makes me think it is just a couple of burned out lights. I just wanted to make sure that it was not something easy like a fuse. Any other ideas or do you think it is just burned out lights. If so, how do I get to them?

    Thanks for the speedy response.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Verify that auto transmission indicator light is working, as well as the rheostat. If they are, then looks like the bulbs to me (like you suspect).
  • I am not positive about how to check the rheostat but when I put the car in drive the light between the tach and speedometer does not light up (the square around the D). But all other squares do P,N,R, etc..

    All other lights are in working order.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    when you turn the rheostat, do all the bulbs dim down?

    Actually, I think I need to go check whether all the bulbs dim, or only some of them.

    What I'm trying to verify, is that when you turn the rheostat....at least some of the bulbs are dimming. That would let us know that the circuit is working.
  • Yes they all seem to dim correctly.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    bulb time

    I guess after 16 years it's reasonable to burn out a bulb or two.

    Personally, I'm not sure it would bother me enough to replace them. I'd write it off as my attempt of 'going green', saving electricity.....
  • I wish every light I bought would last that long! You have any ideas on how to get to the lights or know of a web page that can help?
  • Plus I am going to buy another car soon and going to try to sell this one. I figure people would like it better with all lights working. Even though it is so old.
  • I have been trying to follow the posts here on problems with the 2001 Toyota clocks and fuse replacement and I did see that someone was told to check the 15 amp fuse which is for the clock and cig lighter. My cig lighter works but not the clock is there something else I can check? When I look closely at the clock I see what looks like several number eights but I have to really be close to see them.What other options do I have other than buying a new clock.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    For a 2001, there are three fuses that all need to be good for the clock to work. Check the:
    - 7.5 Amp Panel
    - 7.5 Amp Dome

    and you say the 15A cig is okay.

    Let me know what you find.
  • bperricobperrico Posts: 13
    edited February 2010
    Think I will head to advance auto to pick up several fuses to have on hand before I do any checking. It is pretty cold here right now to be working on a car unless you are in a garage!!! Yes the cig lighter does work that is what was confusing me I thought the clock used the same fuse.Can you tell me what fuses I should look for? Thanks
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