Backup camera install - 99 LX470 (1 Viewer)

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Finally got around to installing a backup camera in my LX, and what a process it was... I've seen a variety of posts similar to this, but I figured I would share my experience....hopefully it helps someone.

First I ordered this camera with the intention of mounting it on the lift gate between the license plate lights. Turns out the lip for the lift gate covers too much of the camera, so I returned it.

Then I ordered one of the ones on Amazon that integrates a camera into the light housing. Didn't like that because A. It didn't fit snugly AT ALL, and apparently the camera points down too much, so I returned it. Side note, after pulling the interior trim to run the wire through the lift gate I realized my third brake light was leaking. Also, the musty, wet carpet was a clue. So that was a whole extra process. Ended up up using some butyl rope and so far so good.

Finally settled on this one from Amazon, since it is adjustable and the mount hides behind the license plate. I dislike the cameras that are built into the frame.

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Here are some pictures...I ended up drilling a nice little hole next to the license plate screw mount. It was a small hole and I just shoved some butyl rope in there to form a gasket. I am not too worried about rust, but the butyl rope seems to form a really good seal and they use that stuff in RVs. I had to cut the wire for the camera in order to fish it through. I refused to get out a step bit and bore a big ass hole for the RCAs to pass through.

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At this point I tapped into the reverse light wire with some of those crappy blue t-taps. I know they aren't the best. If it fails i will re-do it. I popped off the plastic grommet at the bottom of the tailgate, cut a small section out with some snips, just big enough for the wire to pass through to get it outside of the tailgate.

To get the wire into the cabin, I originally just zip-tied it to the plastic harness that goes into the cabin and inserted it under the grommet plug, but I didn't like that. Seemed like it was pinching the wire. I also noticed that the plastic harness seems to be able to come apart, and it does. But it's a PITA! At least mine was. I kinda mangled it getting it open, but it came apart. I was then able to feed it through the grommet and I feel much better about that.

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I won't go over the process of getting the RCA up to the stereo in detail as that's been covered already, but I pulled the rear side panel over the sub, pulled the kick plates, and ran it under driver side dash up into the center console.

To reconnect the tiny wire, I just used some of that shrink tube with solder and carefully got it all back together and shrink-wrapped for good measure. I supplemented the thin wire with some thicker wire. Not sure if it will help, but I think it might give the solder something extra to connect to.

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I know there are purists out there who are going to say I shouldn't have cut that camera wire, but the camera works, and looks fine. Well, as fine as it can. I think the camera quality is mediocre, but it works. If these connections should ever fail I am going to scrap it and go with one like this that has a small connector that you can disconnect so you can feed the wires through more easily. If it lasts 6 months, great. If not, it was $30 and I took a gamble.

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EDIT: I will definitely be ordering this one instead. Has the small connector plus the viewing angle is 150 degrees, so it doesn't look so freaking weird and all fish eye like the 170+ cameras do.
 
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Great write-up! Did you ever consider a wireless backup camera? I have one I need install in my m3 and was thinking of trying one on the LC if I am happy with it.
 
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Thanks! I thought about a wireless camera but I really like hard wired connections. Although a wireless solution wouldn't be the worst idea. I have a Hyundai hatchback that I'd like a to put a backup camera in and its going to be a pain. Maybe I could try out a wireless camera for that car
 

AlpineAccess

Overlanding is an expensive word for car camping.
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Looks good! I installed a cheap amazon backup camera on my Tundra and the dang thing is still working perfect several years on.

Cutting and redoing the wires is no biggie, we're not looking at 40" flat screens here!
 
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I ordered this set up from Amazon. I wanted to go with a wireless camera and keep everything OEM looking.

Amazon product
What type of bit did you use to drill into the tailgate?

I just used a small drill bit. I think it's meant for drilling into metal but it wasn't anything special. That camera looks interesting. I like the idea of having the display on the mirror. It's working well for you?
 
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An alternate method of wiring: If you connect the camera power lead to an accessory power wire instead of a reverse signal, the camera can be used even when not in reverse (like if you want to check the trailer hitch while driving). The reverse wire trigger to the head unit still tells the head unit when the car in in reverse and when to switch the screen to the rear camera view, but at least on most head units, you can also get the camera view manually when not in R. If the camera power lead is connected to the reverse light and you try the rear camera view while not in R, you'll have a blank screen as the camera is relying on the reverse light for power. I've added backup cameras to 3 LCs, and each of them had a 12v plug near the jack location in the left rear where you could easily tap the accessory power.
 

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