Monday, January 21, 2013

PSA: Changing a lightbulb behind the dash of a Toyota Echo

If you know me personally, and/or you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that I have very little patience for helplessness. No, I suppose we can all thank my Dad for teaching me that you can DIY just about anything if you want to badly enough. When I need something done I more often than not just do a little research and find out how to do it myself. So, last week when one of the bulbs went out behind the dash of my car I didn't do what a normal person would do go ask for help at an auto repair shop. I, of course, went to YouTube. In the past YouTube has guided me through the process of changing a headlight, making popcorn, and even doing my eye make-up, so I was sure that it could teach me how to change light on the instrument panel. But, no such luck. In fact, there don't seem to be any good instructions anywhere on this world wide web for how to do this little repair yourself. Come on internet, help a girl out on this one.

So, today instead of a craft, I'm doing a Pubic Service Announcement: How to change a lightbulb on the instrument panel of a 2000 Toyota Echo. It's a $5 part and 5 minute fix and while you could probably figure it out on your own, it's always nice to know what you're getting into. 

Step 1: Get your supplies ready.
You'll need a Phillips head screwdriver, and replacement bulb 2721 LL. If you go to AutoZone or any other store that carries Sylvania parts, they will probably tell you that you need bulb 74LL. They're wrong. I ended up back at the store, burnt out bulb in hand, doing an exchange. Save yourself the trip. You need 2721 LL. 



Don't buy this one!

This is the one you need.

Step 2: Take apart the dash.
There is an oval of plastic just in front of your speedometer that you can pretty simply pry out of place with your fingernails. Don't use your keys, you'll scratch it. Once that is out, you have a handle to yank the larger plastic covering for the panel out of place. It comes right off.


Underneath the plastic cover you'll see three screws, one on either side of the instrument panel itself, and one on the far left side. You just need to remove the two (one on each side) that look obviously connected to the instrument panel. Don't lose those, you need them. Put them in one of the cubbies. Toyota Echos have tons of cubbies.
Lift out the instrument panel. You don't need to disconnect any of the wires, just lift it out and turn it around. On the back you'll see a whole bunch light cases. With enough guess and check you could probably disconnect that pesky check engine light, but pretend I didn't say that. The ones you need are the two towards the bottom of the panel.
Step 3: Change the bulb. 
The light cases are screwed in 1/4 turn, so to remove twist and pull. Then, pull the bulb out of the plastic case, remove the blue rubber sheath over it. Pop in your new bulb. Replace the blue sheath. Put the whole casing back in the hole it came from, securing it with a quarter turn. Repeat on the other side if both bulbs are out (or if you want to avoid this charade again when the other burns out).


Step 4: Put it all back together. 
Then, just reverse the process. Put the instrument panel back in place and secure with screws. Pop the plastic cover back on. Put the plastic disc back in place in front of the speedometer. Done.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you .

Anonymous said...

Your post could be a life saver :) Even if it's not - thanks for the effort to put up such a detailed description.
On to my conundrum - two of my dash lights are not working - the cool engine indicator (blue) and trunk open (red). However, other ones are working (low washer fluid etc.) If there are only two bulbs in total on the dash board (unless I didn't get that right), will changing the two bulbs that you showed help? Again - I am assuming that the two bulbs you showed at the back of the dash (one on fuel gauge side, and other on left side of panel), are all that I am assuming - a) there are, or b) are replaceable. Any ideas :) ?
Thanks!!
Matt / Regina, SK.

Messy_Veronica said...

Glad it helped a little, Matt.
The 2 bulbs that I replaced illuminate the speedometer/instument panel overall (give off the green glow). The little indicator lights like washer fluid, cool engine, etc are each controlled by their own little bulb.
Notice in the image where I have the whole panel turned around that there are a whole bunch of those bulb holders above the two I replaced. Each of those controls a different light. It may take a little intution/trial and error to find the two that control your bulbs that are out. But, if your dash layout is the same as mine I'd say start with one of the bulbs that is missing from my panel back for the trunk-- as I have no functioning trunk indicator light in my echo. I bet the bulb closest to the bulb labeled "left side of the panel" for the "cool engine" light.
The size bulb you need might not be the same as what I replaced, but I bet they're all the same in those little holes, and they can match it up at the parts store.
Hope that helps!

Terry said...

Thank you so much. The shop wanted to get me to buy either a brand new cluster or a used one. Price range from $450 to $120. I almost bit. You saved me a bunch and your instructions to remove and replace the cluster in my 2000 Echo were precise. Thanks again !!! Terry

Aida said...

Hi do you know how to put the LED light in the holder? Because I bought these from ebay and the don't go in all the way...http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Heyman-10pcs-T5-Radio-Gauge-Cluster-37-73-74-79-LED-bulb-4184/400345439789?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140423084956%26meid%3D60c18161f4064b23addef594eeb3d9a0%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D20140423084956%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26mehot%3Dag%26sd%3D400345439789

Thanks

Anonymous said...

You rock!
Nice job documenting a useful fix. Good mechanickin & documentin skillz!

Wes said...

You might be the most awesome women I've ever seen on the Internet! You fix cars, sew dresses, and study for psych... and have an amazing blog! Feel the love, baby! I came for the Echo bulb and stayed for all the other gold around here. Keep it up!!

Wes said...

*woman ...but for all you do "women" might be more apropos

Anonymous said...

today you are my hero. thanks for this info.

Anonymous said...

Our Echo is about to turn 558, 000 so spending a bunch of money on repairs isnt an option anymore ! lol thanks for info, its much appreciated!

Tom L said...

Thank you for posting this. You saved me a lot of trouble figuring out the dash of my wife's car.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

You are my new favorite person in the world!! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

These bulbs can found at WWW.SPEEDOMETERBULBS.COM
At the TOSHIBA V-2 section

Rick Dains said...

Freakin' Amazing!! Thank you for the detailed shots!!

Anonymous said...

Very cool! This turned what I thought would be a long job into a quick fix! It took me longer to drive out to get the bulbs than to make the repair. AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that! I have a 2004 Echo, so just need to see if it's the same part.

Katherine Miller said...

Thanks for this post - years later, I stumbled across it when trying to figure out how to change my check engine light bulb (and yes, it is a sad, sad testimony to how many times I've put off dealing with minor issues that it finally burnt out). Your description was very helpful, particularly the note about avoiding the 74LL bulbs, which is exactly what was offered to me first.

A note for future readers: The 2721 LLs fit for all the cluster lights, not just the bottom two. If you're replacing an individual warning light, as I was, the plastic assembly holding the bulb will be a bit different (smaller, and no blue cover over the bulb). It's a pain to get the bulbs out of those little assemblies--much harder than the larger ones. If yours isn't budging, I recommend using a very small screwdriver to (carefully) pry it out. Worked for me, anyhow.

Dawn Keogh said...

Wow, thank you!!!! from a happy original owner of 2001 Toyota Echo.

Anonymous said...

Informing us to use the 2721LL bulbs is much more helpful than the greasy-glommed goomer on youtube who admonishes viewers to "not be cheap" and buy the whole plastic bulb holder assembly from the Toyota dealer. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This was extremely helpful, it solved my problem perfectly. Thank you for taking the time to document how to do this so easily.

Anonymous said...

Well, my last light burned 3 days ago. My dash is all dark at night. I have been debating how difficult this job is - and procrastinating for these three days. Seems pretty straight forward with these pics! Thanks for taking the time to explain!!!