I’ve been sick most of this past week and still hacking up a lung with a cough that’s being more persistent than the creepy guy at the bar hitting on the really, really drunk girl. Needless to say, I didn’t get much done this week. However, the last of my packages have arrived so now all I need are the little things, like my electrical wiring and a few more plumbing components. I even went and bought the deep cycle batteries for the solar setup I plan on having.
One of the packages that came in was my rear view camera (I also ordered backup sensors, but will install them a different day). I want all the help I can get when it comes to backing up the She-Beast’s badonkadonk; the rear view camera, as well as the soon-to-be-installed backup sensors, will help tremendously in that effort.
The camera I bought is a small, cylindrical one that requires you to cut a hole where you want it placed and it fits right in. Although I wasn’t too fond of the idea of having to puncture a hole, the other camera options just wouldn’t work for my vehicle. The license plate bracket cameras cost more than what mine did and won’t fit inside my license plate area due to a light that’s in the way. They also have cameras that mount with the third brake light, but apparently they only make them for new model vehicles. So, punching a hole was my best option.
The install was pretty basic. I drilled a 3/4″ hole a couple inches below the door handle on the rear door. I was gonna put the camera in the step area in the middle of the bumper, but figured I’d end up kicking it or hitting it with something at some point and wanted to avoid getting the camera broken. With the hole in the door, I fed the wires through and slid the camera into place (no idea which way is “up” on the camera at this point). Then I fed the power and video wires from inside the van down the rubber tubing connecting to the door and connected them to the camera. The camera is only powered when reversing, so I had to tap into the reverse lights for this (on my vehicle, it’s the green wire). Then I ran the video wire up to the cab and connected it to the stereo. The wire in the kit was only 15 feet so I had to buy extra at the store.
Since everything had power, I did a quick test to make sure it was working (it was). It’s not very useful having a rear view camera if you have to manually switch the camera on, so you also have to tap into the reverse lights in the cab and connect it to the stereo’s reverse light wire. This allows the stereo to automatically switch over to the camera view when backing up.
Now came the adjustments; this was kind of a pain. Because the camera is completely cylindrical with no markings indicating which direction is “up” on it, you have to spin it and just figure it out. Since I did this by myself, it meant putting the van in reverse to see the video feed, then back in park, then walking to the back of the van and making an adjustment, then walking back to the cab and putting it in reverse again. Of course, it wasn’t right on the first try, so I repeated this step like seven or eight times until it finally looked straight. Once it did, I caulked that beach in place so it hopefully doesn’t rotate on me.
I’ll probably change the camera’s power source in the future. Since it’s currently powered by the reverse lights, it means I can only view what the camera is looking at when I’m in reverse. Since this is what I bought it for, that’s how I wired it up. However, the stereo allows me to switch to the video feed at any point, so it’d be kind of cool if the camera was always powered when the vehicle was running so I could randomly look at what is behind me. It’s not a priority to me right now, so I’m not gonna worry about it.
Earlier this week I cleaned up the storage drawers I bought that will be going underneath the floor in the van. I painted them black and lined the bottom of each drawer with that rubber/foam kitchen cabinet stuff you find at Walmart. Once I had the liner cut to fit, I lifted it up and used spray glue to secure it in place. They look significantly better than they did and will make for a great place to store some tools and other supplies.
I also decided on what my layout is gonna be and how I’m gonna fit everything in there that I want. To give more counter space, I plan on having a recessed stove. It’ll be a few inches below the top of the sink and have a lid that folds down over it. Here are some doodles that somewhat illustrate what I’m gonna do. Remember, the entire rear half is raised six inches to accommodate the storage area underneath. The bed/seating will be raised an additional 12 inches beyond that.
I really want the front, passenger seat to spin around on a swivel so that it can be used as part of the living area, but I have a feeling it just won’t be in the budget right now.