Interior dome light issues

I have a 2000 corolla that had a loose interior dome light. It turned out that the contact points in the switch needed some cleaning. There is a small steel ball bearing that makes contact with different points to turn it on and off. While putting it back together the steel ball fell inside of the shifter and is forever gone. I took apart the shifter assembly but couldn’t find it [image] now the light won’t work without this steel bearing. What should I do? And does anyone know the size of this steel ball? Maybe I can order a replacement or improvise?

Order this and pick the bearing closest to the size you lost.

Or head to a hardware store to see if they sell smaller amounts.

Or go to a pick and pull junkyard and get an entire dome light assembly.


I said the same thing on the Toyotanation forum.

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Bicycle shops have a myriad, if you can take the piece in bet they could come up with one that works, if not buy a range of sizes you think might work. Minimal cost I would guess.

Pvt suggested for me to use a bb for a BB gun. I went to my neighbor and he had a bunch. He gave me one and I installed it and it works great! The junkyards wanted $25 for the switch. I thought that was a bit too much. To anyone who loses this steel ball, just use a bb. it doesn’t stick up a bit much and it’s a little harder to move the switch but it’s not a big deal

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Ended up using a bb bullet and it works great. Pvt suggested that


Great you found a solution. I can not remember the last time I manually turned on a dome light.


Glad it’s working

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Glad you got the issue solved there OP. I wouldn’t have thought a BB would be big enough.

Parts that have to be sized precisely like steel balls and motor bushings, those can be very difficult to find a vendor for, and even if you find a vendor, often prohibitively expensive to just buy one or two. Usually it is cheaper to just buy a new switch ass’y.

If you drop something like that again, I’ll share a couple tricks I’ve used

  • If it will stick to a magnet (like steel balls do), Try moving a magnet around in the area you lost it. Often you’ll find it stuck to the magnet.

  • Or place a piece of nylon stocking over a shop vac tube and vacuum the area with that. The nylon blocks the ball from going into the shop vac, & the suction will hold the ball against the nylon.

  • Or empty the shop vac canister, then vacuum the area the ball fell. More suction that way.
    Then use the magnet to find the ball in the canister debris.

Having an assortment of different sizes and shapes of magnets on hand is helpful for many diy’er jobs. A couple years ago a steel ball flew out of a tool I was using to change the spark plugs in my Corolla. I couldn’t find the ball anywhere. Decided I better look inside the throttle body, which was opened up at the time. There it was, right up against the throttle valve. Used a pencil shaped magnet to retrieve.

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Oh geez you guys. Now I’m going to have to start saving ball bearings too? I’ve got springs and cutter keys and washers and o rings and and . . .

I should add though I have a container of bbs but I much prefer the pellets for the stopping power. Ten pumps and will dang near go through plywood. To resupply though gotta pay cash now, no plastic.


I have sort of thing for springs. No idea why. The other day I found what appears to be an automobile engine valve spring laying in the gutter. Wonder how that happened? Seems like if valve spring got loose from its moorings it would still stay inside the valve cover compartment, not fall out onto the road. .

And you’ll probably never need one until you get rid of them.


I kept them in my tool box for plugging vacuum lines. On late 70’s thru mid 80’s Hondas vacuum diagrams looked like this.

And in the passenger corner of the engine bay was the “magic box” lots of vacuum lines went into it and plugging certain ones got rid of some vacuum problems.

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All hail to the mechanics that had to deal with this and also to the poor draftsman that had to draw it. I always preferred golf tees but I’m running low now.

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Wow that’s insane. Is there a way to fully delete these systems? I have an evap system that keeps giving me issues in my 2000 Corolla. It’s not this crazy but if I just remove the system entirely will I get vacuume issues and will the engine run too lean? Or will everything work out ok

No, in todays world and even some places back then there were fines for removing/disabling emission controls. That’s where the BB’s came in. You could unplug a line shove a BB in it, plug it back, and it would look untouched.

Heh heh, I was wondering how you got the bbs out. Now I see.

They are out, get a set for your Pontiac.


Naw they don’t look like they would be very good in the snow.