Question about 1992 Lexus Ls 400

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Dashboard light flashes and goes out unexpectedly

How hard is it to fix by a dys?

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  • Anonymous Apr 01, 2009

    I was told some time ago that the instrument cluster was lighted by a high power florescent light, but it doesn't explain the stereo and temperature control going black. Would it be worth the time and money to fix the car?



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I like to know more about the symptom to prevent giving you a wrong solution. Please confirm if these are what you have. It usually starts OK when the car is cold. As it gets warmer, it flashes and eventually goes out. It happens more often when the weather is warm. The center column lighting (transmission indicators, stereo, temperature control, etc.) flashes and goes off along with instrument cluster.

Let me know if the description matches your LS400. If it does, I will need a day or two to gather my old notes.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009

  • sunnykhh Apr 28, 2009

    This is a typical problem for the first generation LS400. The symptom is dashboard lights flash and go out unexpectedly. Like most modern cars, LS400 has integrated instrument panel lighting control with center column lighting, including transmission indicators, stereo, and climate control. Although the problem source is in instrument cluster, the effect propagates to the center column. Fortunately, you don’t have to open the center column to fix this problem.

    The problem is caused by faulty electrolytic capacitors inside of the instrument cluster. During the life of those capacitors, electrolyte will dry out gradually. The capacitors will lose their capacity and eventually fall out of specification. It is reasonable to expect such parts in Lexus LS400 to last 15 years or more. A lot of them however start showing fatigue after 5 years of use and failed at the age of 8 to 10. Unconfirmed source states those capacitors were made in China with wrong formula. Lexus may charge $1,200 or more to replace the circuit boards with capacitors from a difference source.

    If you are comfortable to open up your car and handy with electrical soldering, you can fix it yourself. The problem is very easy to fix. First, you need to remove the instrument cluster. I found this instruction very helpful.

    Once the instrument cluster is out on a workbench, remove screws from the back of cluster and open it up. You should find two PC boards. You will find many electrolyte capacitors on both. They all look alike, housed in a small aluminum can about 5mm in height and 4mm in diameter. Several can go bad and cause different kind of problems. The one contributes to flashing instrument and center column lights is C212 on the small PC board. The original one is 10uF / 16V. Replace it with a high quality capacitor. I recommend a 10uF / 25V (or 16V) tantalum capacitor. It should cost you less than 50 cents in an electronics store. Be aware of that both electrolytic and tantalum capacitors are polarized. Make sure you connect correctly.

    Assemble everything back together in the reverse order in which you took them apart. You then can tell everyone you save $1,200 on your LS400.

    Best of luck to you



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