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Hello everyone. I am new to this forum and just purchased a used 2017 Tundra. Like most, I immediately noticed that the there is not enough backlight on the dashboard during the daytime. I've only had my Tundra for about a month and it bothered me so much I had to do something about it. I hope this post helps as I searched the internet trying to find a solution to no avail. Seems like to only thing to do was to file a complaint to Toyota, but I doubt they will recall and provide everyone with new instrument cluster.

I apologize in advance for not taking sufficient pics and posting a step by step. I needed to prove the concept and I am glad it worked. I will be glad to answer any questions if there is something unclear, so please bear with me.

Here are some of the parts/tools that I used:

Slim pre-wired LED 2835 size in Cool White (also use 5050 size LED)

Dimmer switch (mounts in one of the switch blanks)

Wire Tap for fuse box with pigtail (I already had one of these)
Wire connectors
Wire stripper/cutter
Needle nose pliers
Heat shrink tube
Heat gun
X-acto knife or razor blade
Dremel and/or drill with drill bits (will need about 8mm bit or close to it)

Assuming that you know how to take the instrument cluster apart, below is what it will look like once you strip off all of the plastic parts with clips and remove the needles. The gauge needles pop off if you pull straight up, but I found it easier to pull up and rotate counterclockwise being super careful not to apply too much force. All of the gauges have a line mark on where they need to be. It is the 2nd hash mark close to or past the zero going clockwise. The image below is after removing the plastic gauge. After researching it a lot and looking for myself, the factory LEDs to light up the instrument cluster are located on the inside of the gauge needles that illuminate through the clear plastic where the needles mount on. The white "cup" of each gauge acts as a reflector to illuminate the entire screen.

Before mounting the LEDs, I powered them up using a battery on my work table and tried to find the best place to mount them for best illumination. You have to mount them close enough to the hole of the gauge needle or the light will be too dim or look yellow. I ended up using the larger 5050 size LEDs for the Tach & Speedo gauges by drilling a small hole just above the center opening to allow the entire LED light to shine through. I did this because the smaller gauges were much brighter than the RPM & Speedo gauges. Below is the best placement for the smaller 2835 LED's without making too many modifications to the cluster or electronics. The LED's come with a 3M double-sided sticky tape, but I removed it and super glued them to the gauge motor as the wire did not want to stay in place. I didn't want the LED to come loose after putting everything back together. You can duplicate the placement on the left side. To run the wires out of the cluster, I had to cut out a small notch on the white plastic. The location of the notch is below the factory warning LED's just below the Trip/ODO lever (sorry for the lack of pics again). Best I can describe is the curve part of the white plastic that would go around the steering column. You can cut off this portion without affecting the remounting of the cluster. Notch is about 3/4", just enough to pull the pigtail wires through. I used a couple of mini zip ties to group the wires in place.

I mounted the dimmer switch to the blank located just to the left of the rear window switch. After popping off the blank, I used an X-Acto knife to cut out the space for the dimmer switch leaving only the upper/lower clips to remount the blank. Basically, cut out the plastic to make room for the switch, which fits perfectly BTW. I then had to use my Dremel to reduce some of the plastic from the back of the blank because the plastic was too think to properly mount the switch. Use the X-Acto knife to cleanup the hole and backing. BTW, the switch allows you to turn off the LED entirely by clicking OFF turning to the counterclockwise, or full power by turning clockwise. I wanted to add this feature because I didn't know how bright the LED's were going to be and it gives me the dimming option like most newer cars :) I again used superglue to face of the dimmer and the back of the plastic blank so the dimmer won't come off after continuous use.

After pulling all of the wires through, group all of the RED wires and BLACK wires, strip the plastic for each, and twist together. Use wire connectors and connect to the dimmer switch. I used a Wire tap for the fuse box with a pigtail to tap into ACC power and connected the RED LED wires to the RED wire in the dimmer. The LED BLACK wires connect to the WHITE wire on the dimmer and the BLACK wire on the dimmer goes to ground. Make sure you mount the dimmer correctly first and pull the wires through. You will need to pull some of the plastic panels off your Tundra to have access to the wires and see clearly where to run them to the fuse box. I used shrink tubing on all of my connectors to keep everything in place.

I know I am missing a lot of the details here, but I hope this motivates you to try this. It wasn't as complicated, but you do have to have some skill to do this.

Below is the pic of the standard factory illumination with the headlights turned on and below that is the LED mod only at 100% in the daytime with the headlights turned off. I have tint and this looks GREAT during the day. I can now see my gauges without any issue!! During the nighttime, you can either turn off the LED's with the dimmer and only use the factory LED's or use both!

Factory Illumination with headlights turned ON:

LED Mod at 100% dimmer with headlights turned OFF:

I hope this helps someone and forgive me for not posting more pics. This is my first post in this forum as I just joined yesterday. Feel free to shoot me a question and I will do my best to help you with your install.

Good Luck and God Bless!!


Premium Member
6,871 Posts
thanks. for the post and DIY welcome to the forums
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