Did a lot of things today.
Replaced oil, for one. The old oil was very very black. Noticed that the steering pump is leaking quite a lot, and it's sitting directly on top of the alternator, so the alternator is very wet. It's one of the "rare" typical issues for LS, not sure what to do about it yet.
Removed "the immobilizer" finally. Here it is, in its entirety :lol:
While in the mood for exploratory digging, I took the centre console apart and ripped the some aftermarket bits. This is some kind of handsfree system, it was wired into the audio system, not any more
While taking it apart, I noticed this infuriating detail. Whoever was installing the handsfree had lost one of the original bolts and replaced it with some off the shelf crap!
But.. later in the day I found the lost bolt behind the carpet
But now to the main story of today, I decided to tackle the needle illumination problem. This was the problem:
The rev counter needle is half-dark and the speedo needle is already fading at the tip. Now this is not your ordinary backlighting issue. Let me tell you how Lexus dashboard works.
As you know the dash is completely black until you turn the key. This is achieved with a matt black surface on the panel itself, and with a heavily tinted plastic screen in front:
Here is the screen removed, the matt black/grey surface makes everything that is not back-illuminated invisible. And the needles themselves are lamps! Yup, they are actual tiny
The backlight is also fluorescent. This produces a lot of light, so even with the tinted glass the dash is very clear.
The needles are encased in a conductive sheathe, with one side exposed. It cracks and peels off, making the needle go dark. I am not 100% sure how this works, but I assume it's some sort of capacitive coupling, this is why half the needle is lit, and it's only dark where the conductive layer is peeling off.
The matt surface is very delicate, so I slid a sheet of paper to protect it. If you put a greasy fingerprint on it, it might stay there. The needles themselves are also really fragile, so this was a bit of a fiddly work. First I used superglue to reattach the peeled-off layers.
And then I used conductive silver paint to paint over the cracks.
Speedometer needle too. It was mostly lit, but it was clearly on its way out.
And once again, they didn't fuck around with "lateralization issues" as CrzRsn put it. The instrument cluster is also mirrored. LHD cars have rev counter on the left. What's more, even the hardware behind the cluster is mirrored, I was looking up for a pinout of the connector to the power module (CCFLs need high voltage and starter/ballast, so it's a separate module here), to test the gauges on the table, and the photo of an LHD cluster had connectors in opposite corners. So they designed even separate power PCBs, for the two versions that do EXACTLY the same function. They could've easily used the same part for both, with a difference that one of the versions would have a bit longer cables to plug to the opposite side. Boggles the mind.