Another must have for an automobile is a dashcam. It will protect me from false insurance claims and capture any entertaining footage for my future cross country road trip. My preference for in-car dash cams is a camera with concealed wiring. For this blog, I’ll demonstrate how I installed the dash cam in 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum with minimum wires visible. I will divide this journal into two parts, installing the front camera and then installing the rear camera.
What I’ll be using:
- VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4k Dash Camera
- VIOFO HK3 ACC Hardwire kit
- Micro2 Fuse Tap
- 3M Scotch All-Weather Fasteners (Used this mount the dashcam)
Installing the Front Camera
Step 1: Remove plastic shield
Before I can reach the fuse tap I had to remove a plastic shield. There are two 7mm screws and a Christmas tree fastener that holds the shield together.
For the Christmas tree fastener, I did not see any clean or possible way of removing it without damaged the screw. Once I removed the 2 x 7mm screws I went ALL MIGHT and pulled the plastic shield off from the Christmas fastener.
Here’s a picture of what the shield looks like once it’s taken out, the very left is where the Christmas fastener is located, the middle and right are the 7mm screws.
Step 2: Install the dashcam wire kit
Once the plastic shield is removed I moved the seats all the way back so I can squeeze in to install the dashcam wire kit.
For the 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum, I’ll be tapping into MICRO2 type fuses. I’ll be installing this into slot 36 (ACC) and slot 32 (battery). I removed the fuses from the respective slots and installed them onto the fuse tap. There’s a picture below to outline what I did. I used a needle nose plier to remove the fuse. The fuse tap kit came with a fuse removal tool, but I had issues trying to pull fuses with it.
Afterwards, I inserted the fuse tap into slot 36 for the ACC wire and then slot 32 for battery power.
For the ground wire, I was able to find a bolt that’s located right behind the steering column. I was able to loosen the bolt with a 10mm socket, slide in the ground wire prong in and then tighten it. It was a perfect fit.
Where I connected the ground wire.
Step 3: Removing the side piece of the dashboard
This was surprisingly easy. All I did was insert a slim trim remover, pry, and then it popped out.
Step 4: Wiring to the front camera
I was a little anxious on this part. I wasn’t sure if the wires were going to be completely hidden or if it was going to stick out like a sore thumb. Luckily all the wires were able to fit in between the trims and weather strip. So for this part I was able to hide the wires in-between the weather strips and in-between the trims if needed. Once I reached the windshield area, I was able to stuff it under the headliner. A really helpful tip, there’s not much room to hide the excess wire so it’ll be helpful to start from the cam first and then ending at the dashboard.
Pulling the dashcam wire through.
Tucking the dashcam wire under the pillar trim.
Hiding the wire in between the door weather strip.
After reaching the top of the door, I was able tuck the USB wire under the side pillar trim. Then I ran the wires under the roof liner.
Step 5: Install the front camera.
Now after all the wiring I thought it was a good time to test to see if the front camera is turning on. Is the wire properly grounded? Is the fuse tap working? I was able to sigh relief when the dashcam turned on.
Installing the Rear Camera
Step 6: Treading the wire for the rear camera.
For this, it was easier to start from the front and make my way to the rear. Fitting the wires in-between the headliner, trim, and weather strip took around 5 minutes.
Started from the front, ran it under the roof liner first and then tucked into the side pillar trim.
Then I ran the cord in-between the weather strip and and tucked it into the trim pieces when needed. I hid all the excess wires into the rear side pillar.
Step 7A: Wiring and mounting the camera (easy method)
After spending an hour trying to figure out how to remove the the tailgate upper cover trim I decided to go the easy route on mounting the cam because it was getting dark. This is not my favorite method because I like all my wires hidden so in Step 7B I’ll show a different method where I hide the wires.
I simply mounted the cam to the upper trim cover of the tailgate. I used the a plastic clip provided to hold the USB wire..
Not my most favorite method because the wires are dangling when I looked in the rear
Step 7B: Wiring and mounting the camera (harder method)
Sometimes the difficult roads often leads to beautiful destinations. This is also true when it comes to installing dashcams. As you know, I like my wires hidden as much as possible so this step will be a tad bit more harder. To do this, I had to remove around 4 trim pieces and fed the wire through the rubber accordion hose.
I started on the sides of the trim near the ends and unclamped the plastic hook type clip. I had to pry the plastic towards me to get it to unhook:
Prying the the trim piece towards me. Once I was able to unhook the plastic hook clip I then pulled the metal clip off. Below are pictures of the plastic and metal clip.
Here’s what it looks like from behind. There’s a plastic hook clip (top) and a metal clip (bottom).
Once the sides of the trim was released, I worked on the center of the trim piece. I held onto the plastic trim and pulled out each metal clip. I didn’t take any pictures of this process but below is the picture and location of the clips:
These are the locations of the metal clips for the upper trim piece of the tailgate.
Next, I removed the rear trim on the side pillars.
The right trim was able to pop off but the left trim was a bit stubborn.
For the left trim, I was able to insert a flat head on the middle of the metal clip. Once I pressed down it released the trim.
The final piece I had to remove was two fastener holding the rear headliner. I was able to slightly pull down the rear headliner and see two white fasteners connecting it to the ceiling.
To separate the white fasteners, I inserted the trim removal tool in-between the white flange and the roof:
Next, I had to route the wire from the inside to the windshield my plan was to feed it through the rubber hose. This was honestly the most difficult part since I didn’t have any fishing wire or wire-wire pulling lubricant to help out. I removed the top and bottom of the rubber hose. With some pulling and squeezing the ends, they were able to pop out.
Once the rubber accordion hose has been disconnected I pushed the USB wire through. It took a combination of pushing and massaging the hose to even see the tip of the USB. I wasn’t able to push anymore USB wire through so I compressed the rubber piece as much as I can (like an accordion) and then used a needle nose plier to pull the out the rest of USB cable. I made sure I clamped onto the plastic part of the USB and not the metal tip.
I hid the excess wires in the roof liner and reinstalled the headliner and the side trims. Finally, I mounted the camera.
Tada! No dangling wires.
There were a lot more steps for this method but to me it was worth it. It looks a bit more professional and best of all, no dangling wires.