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Installing an aftermarket temp gauge: Wiring questions...

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Old 01-05-2012, 01:15 PM   #1
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Installing an aftermarket temp gauge: Wiring questions...

Hi, everyone. I'm a first-time poster here but have been on and for quite a few years.

My vehicle is a 99 4runner, SR5, 3.4, auto, 4x4 with the rear locker. Currently at about 142k miles.

Anyway, I've run into a problem that I can't seem to find an answer for. I did a search but couldn't find anything that helped.

Here's my issue: I want to install an aftermarket outside temperature gauge so I know the temp outside (most modern vehicles have these but my 99 SR5 doesn't.) I've been running a cheap outside thermometer for the last couple of years, but it has a few drawbacks, primarily they are that I can't see it at night (not backlit as it runs on a single AAA battery) and it looks like crap stuck on my dashboard.

Now I know they make those mirrors with the outside temp display, but I don't like them. They also seem rather expensive (around $150 from what I've seen.) So, I went ahead and got an aftermarket electric 2 1/16" gauge and a pillar-mounting pod from

Now I'm not a mechanical whiz by any means, but I can operate a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. However, this install has me a bit confused. In order to install the gauge, I need to tap into 3 locations: A ground, a 12v power source that is only powered when the ignition is on, and a source that is only powered when the lights are on (to activate the 'dimmer' on the gauge.)

Seems to me the ground is easy - I should be able to ground to a body screw or bolt, right? But the other two - where and how can I find the correct wires? I have had the lower dash off my 4runner before, so I know where the fuse block is, but it just looks like a mass of spaghetti down there. Not only that, the wires are tiny - I'm afraid of trying to cut into one of those little wires for fear of screwing something up in the truck that would cost a lot of $$ to fix.

So, any tips as to where I can find a couple of wires to connect to? Has anyone out there installed a similar type of aftermarket gauge into the driver's side A-pillar?

Thanks in advance. If/when I get this figured out I'll make sure to take lots of photos and post it up in the appropriate section of this board.
Martin A/K/A Zapp Branigan
'99 4runner, 3.4, Auto, E-Locker, 265/75/16 BFG AT KO, AOR Tube bumper
"I am the Man with No Name - Zapp Branigan!"
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:26 PM   #2
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You want a test lamp. Its a probe with a sharp point that can pierce insulation and the other end is a lead that clips to an earth. When current flows it lights up a small bulb in the probe. My last one cost me NZ$10.
Also If you have the FSM (Search on here, someone will have it) you can look at the wiring diagram and see that switched power is Red with a Yellow stripe (for example) and then you are just confirming with the test lamp.

Anyone who says they enjoy working on cars or trucks is lying. They just want an excuse to swear heaps.

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Old 01-05-2012, 02:36 PM   #3
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why not buy one of those little fuse taps that splice directly into a fuse... I'm not a fan of them, but then again I'm not a fan of people hacking up their wiring either, unless you know what your doing, solder, and use heat shrink.
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