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1990 Camry Tail Lights Don't Work???

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Mike Gerber
08-14-2008, 03:49 PM
just to add to my above post : its a 1991 Camry Australian edition. and exploring a bit more I found an unconnected socket in the truck from the wires leading to the fuse box. there is no place to connect it so why is it there ? cud that be the problem ?

Possibly, but it would be best to take a picture of the socket and post it here so people know what kind of socket you are talking about. It could even be something someone added to connect lights for towing a trailer. Is/was there evidence of a tow hitch on the car?


08-15-2008, 12:45 AM
I have the pics but don't know how to attach them. it asks for a URL to attach, can't figure out how to attach from harddisk.

I opened the tail light to see why it doesn't light up on brake pedal ... to my surprise it does have a two point bulb but the connection is of single point... watever it does the second point cant lit up with this wiring.

and apart from tat all the lights are working perfect, the fuse box is fine with no blown up points or anything.

and mike I can email you the pics or tell me how to upload the pics on forum.


Mike Gerber
08-15-2008, 02:17 PM
Sorry, it's been so long that I had to upload a picture that I can't remember how to do it. Maybe someone else can chime in here with some instructions.

"to my surprise it does have a two point bulb but the connection is of single point... watever it does the second point cant lit up with this wiring."

Do you have the owner's manual or any other source to see what the correct bulb should be? If the owner's manual is not available, do you have a local auto parts store that can look it up for you. That's the first thing I would check. For cars built here in the states I frequently use this source:

I don't know if your Australian built Camry is the same, but give it a try if nothing else is available.


08-15-2008, 10:33 PM
I can email it to you if its okay for you to post ur address in here. and I have the manual and it says use the same bulb as for brake lights which has two points. and the tail light connector only has a ground and one green wire for positive connection.

the tail check light inside still lit up even if I ground tat other point... can you tell me anyway to just turn off that light as its very annoying for me.


Mike Gerber
08-16-2008, 10:24 PM
You can PM through the forum.

I would try a single filament bulb in those sockets if that's all that will fit in there. That might turn off the tail check light. (I think you mean the light that is set off in the dash when a bulb is burned out.) What bulb does your local parts store say belongs in there? They should have some books or some computer listings for bulbs on specific cars. My brother-in-law had a 91 Camry that listed the wrong bulbs for the front turn sigal bulbs in his manual, so it wouldn't be the first time the manual is wrong.


10-07-2008, 01:59 AM
Just thought I'd post this up for all potential future people who might have the same issue as me.

Friend's car, 1990 Camry 4-cylinder.

Brake lights worked fine but parking lights would not come on in the tail lights nor the trunk lights. Checked all the fuses, reset all the breakers, but to no avail still.

Reverse, hazards, and everything else worked fine. I did change out a pair of 1157 bulbs (one was burnt out on the driver side tail light) and a 194 bulb in the front.

The above picture is EXACTLY what was wrong with his lamp failure circuit board.

I called the dealer and it was $193 + tax! :screwy:

So I figured I'd whip out the sodlering gun and as noted above it looks like it's just a I just plopped a bunch of solder on the connection and whammo everything worked! Only thing is the dash "LIGHTS" warning light is I told my friend to replace the circuit board with an eBay special if the light bugs him.

Wanted to say thanks to everyone who posted on this thread. Very helpful!
:werd: I had the exact same burnout on my '87 Camry (tail light failure) box...aka yellow box. I compared it to my '89 Camry's box and sure enough it is just a relay wire...not a resistor. soldered the one burnt side and WALLA!! fixed.....Aloha

10-07-2008, 02:01 AM
I had the exact same burnout on my '87 Camry (tail light failure) box...aka yellow box. I compared it to my '89 Camry's box and sure enough it is just a relay wire...not a resistor. soldered the one burnt side and WALLA!! fixed.....Aloha:runaround:

07-13-2009, 03:50 PM
I know this thread is nearly a year old but I wanted to add my 2 cents. I spent half a day trying to diagnose the brake light problem on my 89 v6 camry yesterday. I did almost everything in the service manual. Did the obvious first (bulbs, wiring, ground, etc). I pulled the stop light switch from under the dash (I removed the driver's seat first to make life a little easier) and checked the continuity between all the contacts. Everything was good. The fuse is good and getting current. Only thing I didn't do based on the manual, is check the connector going into the cruise control computer. I figure that if problem is computer I wasn't going to replace it and instead sell the car or rig a bypass. Remember, the cruise control is involved in the stop light circuit (cruise control drops control when you tap on the brake). I checked the the wire going to the stop light bulb(green with white stripe) to see if it was not grounded - this is the wire that supplies hot current to the stop light filament) - lo an behold it was grounded. So there is a short somewhere. This is what is great about this forum - no where in the Toyota service manual does it mention the little yellow box. I've seen that box before but was never able to remove it so I've always ignored it. Now that I found this forum and read that it solved many of the same problem I am almost certain that is where my problem is. Another 1/2 day will be spent targeting the yellow box!!! Thank you.

07-18-2009, 04:11 PM
I was able to remove the yellow box once I disconnected the wire connector. Internally the circuit board in the box looks good. Box is getting current when I step on the brake pedal but still not stop lights. I played around with the connector and VIOLA...I got stop lights again. Narrowed my problem to the wires near the connector. The connection was still not reliable so I rigged a jumber from the hot wire (when brake pedal is depressed) to lead going to the lights. End of story!!!!

11-29-2009, 12:49 PM
For those of you with a Camry WAGON, the yellow Lamp Failure Circuit Box is located behind the left rear interior panel. If you haven't been in there before, take your time to carefully figure out where all the fasteners are. Step 1 on my wagon is to remove the flat rear floor. Once inside the panel, the yellow box is easy to locate.

On my 1992, all lights worked except the brake lights on either side. The high center brake lamp still worked fine. It does not go through the Failure Circuit.

I opened the box as discribed in this thread. I repaired the burnt open run on the circuit board, and everything worked fine. I did not have to defeat the circuit with a by-pass wire as some folks have.

12-01-2009, 10:11 AM
Just an additional note: If all your lights are working properly but you still get the indicator on the dash as if there are light(s) burned out - check out the lamp sockets themselves. I had a tail light gasket fail allowing water to get into the tail light and corrode the lamp socket, it still worked but there was apparently enough resistance in the circuit to trip the warning light. I fixed the gasket, cleaned up the socket and all was well again.

grandpa's toyota
07-13-2010, 10:05 PM
To Toyotaman255 Thanks Big Man for the information, the box was exactly where you said it was and it was a burnt out piece of circuit board as you described. I was ready to put the rag in the gas filler nozzle and light it up after playing anaconda replacing the stop light switch and checking the fuses multiple times to no avail. The whole set up looks like something the dealers engineered to make more money off people just as frustrated as I was. Thanks again.:)

07-14-2010, 10:00 PM
I know this post is old, but I see a BUNCH of people posting the same problem, and I just finished up PERMANENTLY "fixing" this problem.

This is on a 1988 Camry, I assume very similar to others using the dreaded "box", but one should never assume with wiring. :)

Anyways, at first sign of trouble I pulled the box, and cleaned the connector terminals. Didn't fix the problem. Then I bent the pins a bit to get better tension on the terminals, and that fixed the problem. Slathered with dielectric grease, reinstalled, problem gone. For about 6 months.

Problem returned. Moving plug around while connected would result in intermittent tail/brake lights. No visible bad connections or burned piece. Decided to cut my loss of time, and figured out which wires were needed. Here it is, again for the 1988 Camry 4 dr sedan, and perhaps others. (but confirm before trying if not exact same vehicle!)

Cut the dark green and light blue wires from the terminal (this is the plug that went to the yellow box). Peel back the protective sleeve enough to get the wires free to work with. Put your shrink wrap tubing on one of the wires, and push it away from what will be the joint. Solder the two wires together. Shrink wrap the joint.

Repeat for the green/red and green/white wires.

You are done. I tested, everything I could think of in the rear works. Hazards. Parking lights. Turn signals. Brake lights. License plate lamps. (Granted, the box doesn't control all, but I checked anyways) Dash warning light won't work, but who cares? Better than spending any time hunting for other problem boxes, or paying through the nose for new ones, only to replace later.

For reference, the scheme for determining which wires went where that needed spliced (In case the colors don't work) is:

Turn park lights on. Write down which wire gets 12V with them on, and nothing/very little voltage with them off. Have someone apply the brake pedal. Find out which one gets 12V with the brakes on.

Determine which wire(s) is ground (in my case just white/black). Don't mess with that one. :) (In other words, do NOT jumper to it!) Figure out which is 12V all the time. Leave that one alone too.

Since you've now determined what four of the wires do, in this car there were only seven total, so just jumper the 12V switched brake wire on the remaining (with pedal depressed of course!) pins until you find the one that operates the brake lights. Solder those two together. Repeat for parking lights. Done.

BTW, someone should have told Toyota the point of the 3rd brake light was to be a fail safe in case the "service" brake lights fail. Loss of the yellow box SHOULDN'T result in no brake lights at all, but in fact it does, meaning it's no safer than a system with no third tail light, and a box that is prone to CAUSE brake light failure. :rolleyes:

Hope this helps, thats why I decided to add this!

08-17-2010, 02:06 AM
I know this is an old topic but I just had to share this, my 1991 toyota camry is having an issue, my dome lights, clock, dash light, tail lights dont work. I checked the fuse box in the engine and the dome light fuse isnt burnt out, i replaced it with another and it burnt out 3 times. I came to this forum and found out about the lamp failure sensor and pulled it out and checked it and saw nothing wrong with it. I dont know what the problem is, i checked all fuses under the dash and there is nothing wrong with any of them. I checked all relays and nothing seems wrong. I dont know what to do about this cos I cant drive at nite and that really sucks. Now my headlights only works when the engine is on and the taillights dont work at all. I do have brake lights and back up lights, those two work but nothing else. Can anyone help me?

Mike Gerber
08-17-2010, 11:43 AM
Check the loom of wires inside the trunk by the driver's side trunk hinge. Open up that loom and look for frayed or broken wires. Repair what you find. Those wires are exposed to a lot of flexing over the years and do frey and break over time. Then replace the fuse and see if it has helped.


08-17-2010, 12:01 PM
Hello Mike, I have checked the wires and they seem ok no frays or breaks. when replacing a fuse should i do it with the battery still connected or not? I dont know if the battery being connected is causing the fuse to burnout. Please let me know your thoughts

Mike Gerber
08-17-2010, 02:56 PM
It's OK to replace the fuse with the battery connected.


04-01-2011, 08:25 PM
I'm currently having the same problem. My tail lights wont turn on but all the other lights work perfectly fine. I had a guy look at it and he fooled around with the wires in the back but couldnt fix the problem so he determined in was the headlight switch. So i got that replaced and that didnt fix the problem. Then he ended up finding the lamp failure moduel in the left side of the trunk which seemed to be what the problem was. So I purchased another one (used) and when he plugged it in, the lights came on but my break lights came on as well, then the box started to somke. I know the break lights arent suppose to also be on. So im guessing that the wires must be crossed or something which is whats causing the lamp failure box to smoke. Can someone please help me. How do I fix this problem???????????????????????????

Joe W
04-01-2011, 11:42 PM
There is a danger in purchasing used parts. If you are dealing with a competent mechanic they will be able to verify proper wiring hook-up. If the wiring checks-out it might be worthwhile to purchase a new module...used electronics, especially with a history of failure, should be avoided at all cost!

Mike Gerber
04-02-2011, 04:51 PM

Check the loom of wires inside the trunk by the driver's side trunk hinge. Open up that loom and look for frayed or broken wires. Repair what you find. Those wires are exposed to a lot of flexing over the years and do frey and break over time. A couple of them might be freyed to where the metal strands of a couple of wires are touching each other.


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