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  #1  
Unread 03-05-2009, 09:26 PM
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Default Changing Tacoma Instrument Cluster Lights for PIAA's

So I've been looking around on different forums for any advise or pictures from people who have upgraded their lights in their Tacomas. It's really easy to take out the instrument cluster and the lights just pop right out of the back of it. The trick is finding out which bulbs to replace them with to get the desired effect. Here is a quick rundown on some basics:
  • LED Lights - They are super bright but they cannot be dimmed at all. I really like to turn down the lights when driving all night long so this isn't an option for me. Plus you will need frosted LED bulbs or you might want to frost them yourself. This will diffuse the light so that it doesn't direct the light beam right out towards you and cause a really weird looking light pattern in your display.
  • Regular Bulbs - The only ones I could find in town were regular replacements that were clear or probably slightly yellow. I want mine ice white. I did see some blue ones that "simulated" a light blue but there was only 1 pair available and I need 3 pairs. They were only $2.25 which is cheap.
So for my application I will be going the regular bulb style. LED's are pretty expensive as well. I just can't see spending $70 on a few tiny lights.

Here is my instrument cluster. Every model of Tacoma uses a different amount of bulbs for different features like ABS, Electronic Traction Control and other options. So that's why you might notice a couple of bulb sockets missing. Different years will probably have different layouts as well.

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Unread 03-05-2009, 09:33 PM
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Ok so there are two different sized of bulbs in my 1996 cluster. The smaller ones which are 74 and the larger ones which illuminate the main part - 194's. There are nearly a dozen smaller ones that light up the check engine light, E-brake light etc etc. I only counted 6 of the larger ones so that's good because those will be the more spendy ones.

Now for the tricky part. 194 is the number in the book for these larger lights. They ALSO interchange with 168 and T10 bulbs from what I have seen so far. They also call them "wedge style". I think I will be going the PIAA route as they are the best and I'm sure they will be the brightest lights that I can use and keep my dimming feature. http://piaa.com/Bulbs/Bulbs-Miniature.html

I'll have to order up 3 pair of these: PIAA 19172 168 Xtreme White Wedge Bulb or maybe the 19283
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Unread 03-05-2009, 10:07 PM
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Another picture of the rear of my Toyota Tacoma instrument cluster. It's a good thing that there are 6 larger #194 lights. Some of the newer models only have TWO and when you put brighter lights in those they don't look so good. I'll be using standard bulbs in the smaller sockets. Those would cost a fortune in more expensive PIAA's.

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Unread 03-05-2009, 10:11 PM
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I simply changed out my HVAC controller light while I had it apart. It's not easy to get to otherwise. The books call for a #74 bulb to replace the factory bulb and it turns out to be just a slight bit larger. This isn't a problem for fitment into the socket BUT the little green condom that goes over the top hardly fits over the larger one. Mine split when I was trying to get it down all the way but it still stayed on. I would throw in some dirty joke but I'm too tired right now.



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Unread 03-10-2009, 08:48 PM
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So here are my bulbs that just came in. They are the 196 aka 168 aka T10 bulbs - no seriously all of those numbers interchange.



Just to get detailed for you guys. Since NO ONE tells exactly what bulbs they use when they show pictures of their trucks around different forums. They just post, "hey check out my new dash lights!", never saying exactly what bulbs they used.

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Unread 03-10-2009, 08:51 PM
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I'll have those bulbs installed tomorrow but I won't be hooking up the electrical in my truck until this weekend probably.
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Unread 03-22-2009, 09:51 PM
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Here is the Toyota Tacoma instrument cluster all dirty and ready to be cleaned out:


And here we are all cleaned up, the front plexiglass polished out and PIAA lights installed:
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Unread 03-22-2009, 10:00 PM
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I can't wait to see what mine looked like with the power hooked up but until then here are some examples of what other people have done to their Tacoma dash lights and instrument colors:

Here is a newer 1st generation Tacoma:


Here is a 1st generation Toyota Tacoma with blue LED lights in the dash:


The same truck but a view of the whole dash with blue LED lights:
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Unread 03-22-2009, 10:02 PM
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This is a current new Toyota Tacoma with the LED's swapped out from the annoying stock to white:


Apparently they are very tiny LED lights and require a little more skill with the soldering iron than usual:
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Unread 03-22-2009, 10:03 PM
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Here is another new Tacoma with an interesting color display. I can't even remember what is stock.


A neat stereo and light combo:
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Unread 09-21-2009, 06:33 AM
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UPDATE - FINALLY TURNED LIGHTS ON

OK well I turned on the lights a couple weeks ago while testing the ignition circuit with my new wiring. Everything turned on just fine and I also snapped a couple pictures of the Tacoma instruments with the new PIAAs installed. I knew it could only look so good considering that it's not a new Tacoma but I'm happy with the results. I just was ready for a change. The white color of the new bulbs is well worth the cost and effort of replacing the Tacoma factory green bulbs. I'm sure you'll agree.

Ahhhh nice and white just like my Acura. Green and amber colors are so 90's, just like all the Pioneer head units and CD players from that era.



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