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My first mod - disabling the daytime running lights

August 1, 2001.

While the ABS brakes may have been a lucky break (in certain on-road situations), one thing I wasn't going to put up with were the daytime running lights (DRL) that I couldn't turn off. Three things bugged me: First, what if I wanted to drive around a campground with just my parking lights on, so as to not disturb other campers. Second, they used the same bulbs as my headlights, and I didn't want to have to pony up $3 too often. And lastly, just imagine what they'd do to my gas mileage. I mean sure, it wouldn't be measurable, but I was convinced it would cost me a fortune.

So, one day I decided to add a switch to disable them. Should be easy, right? We're just adding a switch to an un-switched light.

Well, Toyota decided to make the headlight/DRL circuit super complex. The details of the diagram aren't super important, but I decided that the best way to disable the lights was to try and break the circuit in the driver side wheel well, where the DRL resistor was located - hopefully not screwing up the rest of the headlight situation!

Because, unlike can't-ever-turn-them-off-DRLs, headlights are important.

First, I had to take off the steering wheel. That was the second scariest thing I've ever done since I was worried about the air bag exploding in my face, and because I had to pull so hard to get the wheel off of the shaft.

Next, it turned out that to remove the driver side dash cover, I had to take off the center console cover. And for some reason I took out way more of that than I needed (including the shifter cover?!?) until just about the entire interior of my truck was dismantled.

Finally, out came the piece I needed to make a 1 inch by ½ inch hole in for a new switch, which I carefully cut with a drill, utility knife, and file.

And then, it was back together with everything, with the addition of a small switch and some wiring that ran through the firewall and into the engine compartment, allowing me to break the circuit on the running lights. Now, I could save that $3 in gas over the life of the truck. Whew.

But I learned my lesson. No more mods for a while.

[2016: Oh, and I installed the steering wheel slightly askew on the shaft (turned slightly left from its original position), so for the next 14 years, until I finally fixed it, it bugged me and made the truck harder to drive.]

One Comment

  1. Micheal
    Micheal November 5, 2019

    Wow what a good idea. Even the DRLs can help to reduce accidents but for some people who don't really need that one, your idea is very helpful. I saw that sometimes, this DRLs can disturb even the car owner and other drivers, too. Good job. Congras

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