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Toyota Camry Fuse and Electrical Questions



  • I replaced a tail light bulb and the related fuse on my 97 camry and the right signal is affected. When headlights are on the right rear light will stay lit. When the headlights are off all the lights will be blinking like they would in an emergency situation. The left hand signal works perfectly.
    Help please.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    You have a bad dual filament bulb.

    A dual filament bulb has two filaments in it, a bright one (for brake lights and/or front turn signal) and a dim filament (for when your headlights are on).

    If one of those filaments breaks, it typically will lay over and touch the 2nd filament, thereby powering the other circuit.

    So the symptom you are seeing is this. You put on the right turn signal, and the 'bright' filament is energized on the right side. That filament touches the parking light filament, and thru that circuit thee voltage is now fed to the dim circuit on all four corners.

    If you are able to look closely at the filaments in the bulb while they are working, you will see the problem.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited October 2010
    That "short" between the two circuits sometimes happens inside the socket, socket contacts, and even on the base of the bulb. As you push/twist the bulb into the sockets the twisting motion forces the socket contacts together.
  • For several weeks the red "BRAKE" system warning light has gone on daily. It consistently goes on a few minutes after car initially driven in AM. The frequency of light going on diminishes or ceases as the car is driven more throughout the day.

    Turning the steering wheel to the left seems to trigger the dashlight. It sometimes disappears when the wheel is turned to the right, the brakes are applied or the car is pulled over and the parking brake is applied and released.

    The brakes are working fine. Car has 100,000 miles and I am the initial owner.

    Thank you to all who take the time to read and respond to this post.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,411
    edited October 2010
    Check your brake fluid level first thing and if low, pull the wheels off and see what's going on with the brake calipers and/or linings.


  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Your brake pads are probably worn, and your brake fluid low because of that.

    You're probably long overdue for a brake job, including brake fluid flush.
  • Thanks so much. I'm going to check and get back yo you.
  • kiawah, all bulbs are OK.
    What next?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Then you may have corrosion on the bulb socket.

    Take each bulb out, and work on them one by one. Take the bulb out, and with a piece of sandpaper lightly sand the brass on each bulb base, as well as the silver contact points on the bottom. You are looking to get a clean contact.

    Next roll up a piece of sandpaper like a cylinder, and put that into each socket and clean that as well. Blow air in the socket to get all the dust particles out.

    Now on a dual filament bulb, if will have two silver contacts on the bottom, with the ground being made thru the brass side. Look carefully at the lugs on the bulb, you will notice on a dual filament bulb that they are at different 'depths' up the side of the brass base. If you look in the socket, you will see the grooves where those lugs engage, and one groove is deeper than the other. Place the bulb back into the socket, so that the deep lug is correctly positioned into the deep groove.

    Now power on the bulbs headlights, and see that the low output filament is lit. Now try the brake, and you should see the high output filament light. You need to look real close and actually see which filament is lit.

    Now move on to the next bulb, and go all the way around the car until you have cleaned and checked each bulb.

    Normally you will find a broken bulb filament is shorting out to the other filament. To a lesser degree, you may find corrosion in the socket which is causing the short between the two circuits.
  • the signal light is the one that stays lit and does not flash at all when head lights are on. When head lights are off the left signal light can now flash but it makes all other lights fhash (front and back) as well as if I have put the emergency flashing lights.
    I hope this clarifies the misunderstanding.
    I appreciates your suggestions
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    edited October 2010
    Your symptoms are exactly the symptoms one would expect, with a bad bulb where the filaments are crossed.

    I still believe you have a bad bulb, and aren't looking closely enough at the filaments to see the problem.

    What I'm betting is happening with a bad bulb, is that when you turn on the turn signal, the power goes thru the light switch to the flasher, to the bright filament of the bad bulb. There it shorts over to the 2nd filament, thereby powering the 4 corners and they all flash (should be dimmer than a normal flash). The flashing period might be faster than normal, or it might be the depends on the type of flasher that is in your vehicle. Cheap flasher units would end up flashing faster. Heavy duty flashers that are made to handle vehicles with trailers, would flash with the same timing.

    In your other situation with the headlights ON, the dimmer filament is lit on all bulbs, and in the bad bulb the filament is now feeding over to the flasher circuit. I have to digress a little to explain how the flasher module itself works, and this might be a little confusing to you. It's a little can like device, that monitors the current in the turn signal circuit. When it lets enough current thru, it turns off, which opens the circuit, and your turn signal bulbs turn off. It cools a little, closes again, turns the turn signal bulbs on, which makes the bulbs flash.

    Now the reason it doesn't flash when your headlights are on, is because there is voltage bleed from the headlight circuit, thru the bad bulb, over onto the flasher circuit bulbs. Because of that, there isn't enough current drawn thru the flasher, to allow it to flash. The result, the turn signal bulb turns on bright, but never flashes correctly.

    Please go back and recheck those dual filament bulbs. You have to look at the bulb itself, where you are looking at the two filament wires inside the bulbs, and noting that one of those filaments is a bright filament, one is a dim filament, and they cannot in anyway touch each other.

    It is possible that socket corrosion can also cause this problem, but it is much more likely a bad filament in a bulb.
  • After adding a little brake fluid the brake warning light stopped appearing.

    Next week I'll be able to have the brakes checked out and will report back. Last complete brake job was at 64,000 miles. Car is now at 102,000 miles.
  • My dad took his 97' Camry in a few years ago to get his tires rotated. After it was done, he drove home and the ABS light came on. It has stayed on ever since. He never went back to ask them why it came on. They must have done something. I didn't know the car had ABS until this light came on. Anyway, forward to now, he is giving this car to me since he got a new car. I know the brakes are good and recently that the pads were replaced. I don't want to pay a mechanic extra $$ each year for him to pass the car's inspection which my dad did since the light came on. Is there a way to turn or disable this light off myself? Or maybe when i go get it rotated again, i will ask a mechanic to clean it since i've heard some ABS sensors are just dirty and needs a good old cleaning. Thanks.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Well the easiest time to have figured out what happened was years ago. The problem might have been caused by the tire rotation, or it may only have been a coincidence.

    Why didn't the mechanic figure out the problem, when they put new pads on? Did they flush and refill the brake fluid, or ignore that as well?
  • Ahhhhhhh! You know I have had scant few issues with my 02 Camry. An o2 chip went under warranty. A gasket job when I noticed a puff of white smoke out the pipe...I was not too thrilled with that one. A door lock repair for a sticky lock which I did not think much about but was told would have cost $600! These were under all my 7/75K warranty. Well I now have 88K and my starter went…$350 and now another door lock is sticking. They told me last time I was lucky I had the warranty because it was a $600 repair. I am NOT getting it fixed this time at that cost.

    Anyone familiar with this problem. The lock sticks. It opens when it wants to. Today its stuck. It rained last night...wonder if that has something to do with it. I recall someone telling me the door guts on Camry's were no adaqautely sealed from weather...

    When I click OPEN on the fob you hear the normal unlock sound and all doors unlock except the passenger rear. You hear a secondary click but the lock does not open (or close) .There are a lot of posts on the internet but not many solutions.

    Anyone know where you get something like this fixed by a non dealer? Sure the dealer is better but they get $225 just to take the door apart and put it back together. I just saw a video on youtube…they guy had the door apart in less than 10 miniutes…they wonder why folks do not want to go to the dealer. Any ideas…thoughts?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    edited October 2010
    If you have a video of someone taking the door apart, why don't you consider doing the repair yourself?

    Just be careful not to damage the interior door panel (or get dirt/grease on it), or cut/pinch yourself on the sharp metal edges inside the door. If the problem turns out to not be the part you bought for replacement, you can save it for the next time or sell it on ebay as used.

    That's a reasonable repair to tackle for a handy do-it yourself-er. Haven't had to do our Toyota, but I've done a number of our previous vehicles (a Chrysler twice, couple different Chev's). As long as you don't damage other parts, or cut yourself, you should be able to beat the price you have. Shouldn't take you more than a couple hours, plus parts running time.
  • tempted but I am unsure what could be wrong, what the part costs and to be honest I am a bit intimated by electronics....
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    edited October 2010
    That's the value you're getting then, for your $225. Somebody with the expertise and knowledge to diagnose the problem, and fix it.

    If you have the skills, then you can save some money by doing it yourself. If you don't, then you pay for someone who does.....and use your expertise/time making money in whatever business/profession you are in.
  • Not quite, they charge $225 to take the door apart then must dx the problem then must get the part. I am paying $80 and hour to dx the problem and and then stuck with their inflated parts costs. The fact they charge 2.5 hours of labort for 20 minutes work taking the door apart and putting it back together just adds insult to injury.

    My point is I am willing to pay for an expert just not an expert who lies about the time it takes and doubles the price of the parts. The trick is finding that person...which is was what I was asking. Anyone know of a company or such that might be an alternative to the dealer; or a more specific how to on this fix?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,411
    Well the dealer is paying a mechanic very good money to do the job quickly and correctly. The mechanic can't spend 4 hours doing this job or he'd be fired no doubt. Slow and methodical is not rewarded in this business. The dealer has enormous overhead and the technicians have to "beat the clock" whenever they can.

    Everything looks easy if you know how. Our only alternatives when dealing with our modern, complicated cars are:

    1. Do the learning curve and figure out how to fix it ourselves, buying the information and tools we need

    2. Pay an independent shop to do it for us, counting on their (somewhat) lower labor rates to ease the pain.

    3. Pay the dealer whatever it costs to do it fast and correctly and with a warranty on parts and labor.

    As for the parts, if no aftermarket parts exist, then Toyota is the only source, and you know what that means. It's either them or a wrecking yard to find the part.


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