After installing a Kenwood 5140 Nav unit (click here to read up on it)
I started looking at reverse camera options. There's a ton of them on the market and next to no information on the quality of them. Price ranges from cheapo chinese $10 units to $2-300 for brand names like Pioneer and Kenwood. I suspect those are just rebranded chinese units at the end of the day.
After much research, hmming and hawing I decided to go midway and purchase a cheaper brand name. I purchased an Audiovox Roselsa camera off Ebay. Feature wise, I looked for a camera that had decent night vision. The whole reason for the exercise is my Forester has very dark tint and I can't see jack backing up in the dark.
Once I received the unit I had to decide where to mount it. I was originally going to mount it from the inside but someone who works with video told me that IR will reflect back on tint so outside mounting was the only option. This is a wired unit so I had to run the wires from the install point to where the cable from the head unit reaches the back. Thankfully they use a single cable to house the video signal , power and ground. Beware, some of the Chinese cams have seperate cables right from the camera which makes for a messy install.
Install locations: My options were under the spoiler, on the licence plate or under the bumper. I didn't want to drill into the spoiler and since it snows here I didn't think under the bumper was a good idea so on the plate it went. I removed the plate, used the base of the camera mount as a template and drilled 3 holes. Attached the base, then camera and reinstalled.
Since the camera is mounted on the outside you have to get all the wires routed to the inside. Its not as easy as it first sounds. There are two issues: 1) Getting the wires into the car from outside and 2) Routing the wires from the hatch which is seperate from the body of the car. What I did was route the wire from the rear plate up under the trim plate which resides below the rear window. See the pic above for detail.
To accomplish this you need to remove the trim plate on the outside + the trim on the rear hatch. Both are easy, you need to start from the inside and remove the panel. There are a couple of screws to remove (including 2 on the inside handle) then a few more clips hold it on. Take you time so you don't break anything. Once that's done , the exterior trim panel is held on by both metal bolts and plastic clips. You'll need a rachet with extension to reach them. Can't recall the size but 10-12mm sounds familiar. See pics below to get an idea of where all the holes , bolts, clips are located.
You don't need to remove the light from the trim. I was looking at routing options for the wire and pulled this off. Its a dead end so don't bother.
Once you're all done it looks like this
Here's the difficult part. Now that you've routed the wire under the trim it needs to get from OUTSIDE to INSIDE the hatch. I did this by drilling a hole into the body, yikes ! I used a drill bit to start the hole then a dremel to enlargen it just enough for the wire harness to fit. I slipped a couple of times with the dremel but since its hidden you'll never see it. Also, once I finished making the hole I filed down the sharp edges then painted the bare metal so it won't rust.
Next I routed the wire through. I used flex wire around the hole as its durable and I didn't want to risk having the wire getting cut on the metal edge. I'd rather not take this all apart again.
Now you have to get the wire from way up on the hatch into the body. I chose to route it through the tail light and sneak it through an existing grommet. This requires running the wiring down the side of the hatch.
Then down through a grommet which provides power to the plate light.