Backup Camera Installation

 

I hate having blind spots, especially when towing.  My last RV spoiled me.  It was a 36' Class A motorhome, with a backup camera.  Nice being able to see what was behind me all the time. 

After our maiden camping trip with the new travel trailer, I really missed being able to see what was behind me.  Extended mirrors help, but there's still a huge blind spot directly behind the camper.  With this setup, I'll be able to hitch the trailer solo, and with a press of the remote, I'll be able to see what's behind the trailer when towing.

Wireless systems don't work well from all I've read.  The lack the power for the necessary range.  While this was a time consuming project (several hours), it wasn't technically difficult.  All the wiring is hidden.

 

The kit was purchased on Ebay for $118 + shipping.

It includes the mirror -w- 7" LCD monitor, the backup camera, a remote, and all the necessary wiring.

The back of the mirror has four clips that attach to the existing mirror.

The two lower clips are spring loaded.

Only takes a few seconds to mount the mirror.  It's slightly larger than the stock mirror.

From underneath, you can see a size comparison.

The harness was easily worked under the headliner, behind the window post trim (2 screws had to be removed), and behind the rubber door seal.

I had to find a spot to bring the video cables inside the cab.  I found a rubber plug under the floorboard, so no drilling was required.

I removed the rubber plug, split it, and chopped out the center section.

From under the vehicle, you can see where both video cables entered the vehicle.

Now with the plug back in place, it prevents water from entering, and the cables won't chafe.

The rear camera simply uses the license plate mounting bolts.  I trimmed the bracket a little so it wouldn't cover the date decal.

Really bright outside when I took this picture.  I took the picture from the side so you wouldn't see the camera in the reflection, but this showed some glare.  Looking at the mirror straight on, the image is bright and easy to see even during full sunlight.

I tapped into the 7 pin connector for power and ground for the rear camera.  The backup light wire turns on the camera when the vehicle is put in reverse.  If you look closely, you'll see an unused RCA plug hanging.  When I put a camera on the travel trailer, I'll plug it in when towing.  The system has two inputs.  With the included remote, I can select the "other" input, allowing me to see what's behind the trailer.

 

Phase 2, Wiring The Travel Trailer

 

I drilled a 1" hole close to the center to use the empty space between the cover and the wheel.  Drilling too far towards the outer edge and the camera will hit the tire.  I bought this camera on Ebay too.  It was about $40.  Make sure you buy a REVERSE image camera, or the left/right will be backwards.

The spacers were installed, and the locking nut was tightened.  The spacers are cut at angles to allow the camera to be mounted on a non-flat surface.  A dot shows which way is up on the camera.

Camera installation complete.  Flush mount in the cover, and didn't have to drill a hole in the fiberglass body.

As I installed the cover, I pushed the camera wire harness through one of the holes in the spare tire.

You could use a long cable with RCA connectors already mounted, but I had RG-58 laying around.  I cut it to length and installed connectors.  Finding power was a challenge.  I finally took power from the running lights.  Easy to do, and the camera is only drawing power when the lights are on.  I tow with my lights on, so this was a good source in my case.

Time to put the tools away, I'm done.  Other than a black dot on the tire cover, the installation is hidden.

Using many tie wraps, I laced the cable along the trailer frame next to the existing wire harness.  Now when I plug in the trailer cable, I connect the video cable.

One video channel shows the back of my tow vehicle, push a button on the remote, and the second channel shows the back of the trailer.  Sorry, the picture was taken a little out of focus.

 

The entire installation took 4 hours or so.  Figuring out how to hide the wires and get power was the most challenging part.  This isn't a technically challenging project, but it pays to be limber and have long arms at times!  I have about $150 invested in the entire setup.  I consider this a very worthwhile project, and I got the parts at bargain prices on Ebay.

 


 

 

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Last updated 12/17/06    All rights reserved.