1. Welcome to Tacoma World!

    You are currently viewing as a guest! To get full-access, you need to register for a FREE account.

    As a registered member, you’ll be able to:
    • Participate in all Tacoma discussion topics
    • Communicate privately with other Tacoma owners from around the world
    • Post your own photos in our Members Gallery
    • Access all special features of the site

4WD Dash Light Hack. Illuminating the light after a J-shift 4WD conversion.

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by mjhenks, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. Aug 14, 2019 at 8:31 AM

    mjhenks [OP] Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    04 Jade Green TRD V6 DC
    For all you who have done the 4WD conversion the following is how i got the 4WD dash light to illuminate after the conversion without using the ECM. This is based on a J-shift transfer case, manual hubs & AT. It may work on other set-ups but not certain.

    edit: See post #3 below for info on ADD system by @mechanicjon

    First off i want to thank the following for helping me through this. No way i got this done without their help.


    These guys helped me (and i am sure rolled their eyes a few times) in my 4WD thread where i did most of this research.

    I wanted to put out a separate thread on this though so others can find this little hack alot easier.

    Tools you will need.
    - Harness
    - Soldering Iron
    - Solder
    - Electrical Tape
    - Wire snips
    - Wire strippers
    - Phillips Screw Driver
    - 10mm driver
    - Flat head screw driver or upholstery removal tool.
    - Flash Light
    - Factory dash bulb with holder.
    - Zip ties
    - 2 hours.

    This is the schematic we worked up to do this hack.

    These are the factory references. We are trying to tie into IK2 and we are looking for Pin 3 which is a Green/Black wire. There are other places you can tie into too. For instance behind the dash or in the drivers side kick panel but i wanted somewhere easy to get to and where if i had to check it out later i did not have to take the dash apart.

    The harness was pretty easy to build if you have the equipment. Time to install was about 2 hours and requires pulling the dash apart, the shifter console out and of course routing the wires from the transfer case into the cabin.

    I do have two extra harnesses available if you want to do the same. They are not cheap but PM me for info.

    The transfer case has three switches. The harness wires all three in parallel so if any one is switched the dash light will illuminate. You will not know which mode of 4WD you are in (4H, N or 4L) but i do not think you normally do anyways.

    A little back-ground first. The switchs at the transfer case is just that, switchs. There are three. 4H, 4L and N. As stated the harness just wires them all in parallel so if any one is switched the circuit is closed. The 4WD bulb we will place in your dash already has positive power routed to it. That is there is a place for it in the dash and it already has wiring in place. It just lacks a ground which normally comes from the ECM when one of the switches is closed. We just have to put the bulb in and route ground to it. Simple.

    The harness.
    I used factory plugs and pins. Harness is sealed connector to connector using heat shrink tubing and then overlaid with protective mesh. The goal was to prevent oxidation. The rear of the connectors are sealed with silicone. I used 12 gage wire which is overkill but is what i had.

    At the Transfer Case
    There are three plugs. Two of one style (white) and one of another. (blue) You really cannot plug them in wrong. They are keyed and will not reach otherwise. Two are on one side of the case and one on the other. They are hard to photograph installed but they should be there. Plug them in.

    Up into the cabin.
    From the transfer case you will go into the cabin through the AT shifter plate. I did not want to poke a hole in the AT shifter seal or the Transfer case seal so what i did may sort of crush the cables a little but it works. Do here as you see fit.

    As an aside i tried real hard to figure out the original wire routing. It was all in vane though. I am pretty certain that non-4WD trucks do not have the connector in the Engine compartment so you have to route it some other way.

    Moving on.

    Remove the center console and the shifter plate cover.

    Unbolt the ten 10mm bolts holding the plate to the tunnel and lift it up a little. Now back under the truck and push the harness from under the truck into the cabin.

    Once the harness is all the way in go back under the truck and secure the harness to whatever is convenient with zip ties. I used the VSS extension cable i made as part of my conversion.

    Back in the cabin notice on the front right side of the shifter assembly plate there is a indent in the plate. This is where i positioned my cable and clamped it in place when i re-tightened the mount bolts for the shifter assy. This provided a very shallow passage for the cable not to be totally crushed.

    Up into the dash area.
    From the console i simply ran the harness under the bottom of the lower center dash console and headed towards the glove box behind whatever is down there in the foot well. I did not have to take anything apart here but you will later take the dash apart so you may want to do that first to route this cable easier.

    Under the console. FIRST REMOVE YOUR BATTERY GROUND CABLE! We do not want any accidents here.

    Remove the glove box. (Two Phillips screws at the bottom hinge.)

    Remove the upper glove box cover. Three 10mm bolts and one light cable. You have to sort of pull the sides of the cover in and down to remove this cover. This exposes the ECM and some white connectors. The cover will hang from these connectors. That is fine.

    Notice two things. There are a few large 10mm bolts near the ECM and there is a large white connector and two small connectors on the cover you just removed.

    One of the wires from the harness will go to one of those large bolts. Cut the wire to length and strip the wire back. Loosen one of these bolts and stick the wire under it. Re-tighten. That is your ground tie in. There are many place to get to ground so if you do not like this one find another. Also it does not matter which wire you use from the harness. I used the blue one.

    The other wire is going to tie into the rear of the larger white connector on the cover. You are going to have to cut into the wire so get yourself prepared.


    If you are gun shy you can ring this cable out ahead of time if you want to. Take the dash apart at this point and locate the connector shown later in this thread. Check continuity between IK2 #3 and the wire on the dash pod. It should ring out.

    You are looking for pin#3 on the far right or back side of the large connector. No need to disconnect it. The wire green with a black stripe and is labeled #3 Double check you have the right wire!!! Cut the wire and splice the two cut ends and the other wire from the harness together. (White/Red in my case) Tape them up for protection.

    Technically speaking you are working with Connector IK2 and pin #3. Note do not go in from the left side. Use the right side.

    The dash bulb.
    There are a few threads already on how to take the dash apart so i will not cover that. I used this one from @turbodb (If you do not want this linked i will remove it)


    Take out your dash pod. There are four Phillips screws and three connectors.

    Turn the pod over and notice the following open light hole. That hole on the other side has the green 4WD indicator. What we are trying to illuminate.

    This light bulb routes to this connector which then goes to the ECM through the Green & Black wire. That same wire you just tied into that goes from here to there. (I did ring them all out which is how i ended up down at IK2, pin #3.

    Install your new light bulb here and install your dash pod.

    At this point you may be able to test your lighting before you put the dash back together but honestly i did not try this. I just put the dash back together because all we did here was install a bulb.

    Now, the dash is apart so if you were not happy with the routing of the harness before you can correct that now.

    Put it all back together and you should now have a 4WD dash light when you shift into 4H, N and 4L.

    Happy trails.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  2. Aug 14, 2019 at 10:06 AM

    adrn1986 Well-Known Member

    Mar 26, 2010
    First Name:
    Riverside Ca
    04 Pre-Runner
    -Icon Coilovers and Bypasses -LT Front and Rear -Supercharged
    Great write up. PM sent your way regarding one of the extra harnesses you have.
  3. Aug 14, 2019 at 10:44 AM

    mechanicjon They call me "Jonny Stubs"

    Dec 2, 2016
    First Name:
    Scottsdale Arizona
    04 Tacoma 4dr SR5 TRD Prerunner
    Fabtech AAL, Billie's wrapped with 880's , Tundra big brake conversion, bully bars and Pioneer DDin Stereo/dvd with exterrnal usb ports. 240K and going strong.
    Your running manual hubs correct? If some one was running a ADD axle that needs to be tied inline after the rest of the switches.
    Great write up.
  4. Aug 14, 2019 at 12:08 PM

    mjhenks [OP] Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    04 Jade Green TRD V6 DC
    Yes. Manual hubs. I forget that J-shift was available for ADD too although i have never seen one. I have edited my statement above. Thank you Jon.
    mechanicjon likes this.
  5. Aug 14, 2019 at 2:17 PM

    pray4surf Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2014
    First Name:
    Oceanside, CA
    98 PreRunner conv to 4x4
    F&R suspension, OBA, Custom bed rack, RTT, rear frame plates, 4x4 conversion from prerunner, many other
    Great write up - It's one thing I never bothered to address after my conversion.... One of these days...
  6. Aug 14, 2019 at 2:18 PM

    BartMaster1234 American Auto Horns

    Aug 21, 2016
    First Name:
    San Francisco, California
    1998 PreRunner 4x4 2.7l Supercharged
    4x4 Conversion Power Door Retrofit '85 DeVille Horns
    Well done. I went the extra mile on my conversion and actually replaced the unused ABS and RR DIFF LOCK lens with 4HI and 4LO lamps after I made a custom lens in Photoshop. That’s why I have those on the schematic above.

Products Discussed in

To Top