I thought that I would contribute my work and findings with adding a rear view camera to an SV model. *DISCLAIMER*
I am not responsible if you mess up your own car or someone else’s car. This modification requires the basic knowledge of electricity. Common sense is needed when running wires, tucking under/between things, etc. Foremost, the most important thing is installing the camera and thinking about the people that will be driving the car after your modify it.
First off let me start off by saying what I did and how I came up with this. I am a Nissan Master Technician and with modifying many other models, I thought that I could do this with the Leaf. Besides, it is still a Nissan at heart and many of the designs/components were designed by the same people that did the Juke and other Japanese models. In dealing with the Leaf, almost all Telematic C/Us are the same, same part numbers, same buttons, same everything. The only thing that varies is the programming. So, with that said, every unit can accept a rear view camera.
My camera install is just about 100% fine for me. Because of the tight location under the rear hatch handle, I do pick up a lot of the bottom of the hatch handle. In the future, I will pull the camera out some, or try to make an angle wedge to point it up more. You could get a different camera and mount it in the tag area either on a tag bracket or from the plastic above the tag area. To each his own......
A brief overview for the install is as follows. Remove center vent console piece. Remove Telematics C/U. De-pin a few pins at the M84 connector. Add an RCA female to two pins, ground the other pin. Run wiring to rear hatch or bumper. And install your camera as provided in the instructions provided with your camera.
Items/Parts that you will need:
-A decent rear view back-up reverse camera with no guidelines, or with the wiring to disable the guidelines. Be sure that you get a camera that has a yellow RCA output wire.
-Either sacrifice a USB port to a motherboard to get the pins/terminals out of it which you can get from Fry’s Electronics or DigiKey, or find a plug in a junkyard to steal pins from. Or you can use the existing pins/terminals that we will deal with later.
-1 female RCA connector that you can get from RadioShack
-Electrical Tape and/or heat-shrink
-Electrical Solderless In-line Taps
Tools that you will need:
-Decent soldering gun/iron
-Phillips screw driver
-Trim removal tools or screwdrivers wrapped with tape
-Small precision screwdrivers or some sort of strong pins
As with any procedure with the Leaf, it is best to leave the ignition off and disconnect the 12 volt battery and make sure the Leaf is not charging.
Remove the center console trim piece around the Telematics C/U and vents by grabbing your fingers behind the trim piece and pulling backwards. Once it pops loose, wiggle the top portion up and down as the upper trim piece has rear facing hooks with a few different steps on them. Once it is free, remove the electrical connectors to it.
Remove the Telematics C/U and disengage and connectors on the rear. Please take caution as the brackets are sharp and can cut you, or can cut/scratch the dash or lower center console if you drop it.
Now, we will work with the main M84 connector that was attached to the Telematics C/U. There are two ways to go about this. Dealing with the terminals we are working with, you can remove the terminals from the connector, re-insert new terminals with longer wires, and re-insert them into the connector. Or, you can cut the existing wires far from the connector to give you some working room, tape off the dash harness wires that you cut, and solder the new wires onto the existing wires that you just cut off that are still attached to the connector. I am going to go about it the way I chose to do it which was to remove the old terminals and install new ones. If you are not going to do it this way and are just cutting the wires, skip down a few steps to the RCA female end install and the
grounding of terminal 56.
First, you will need to pop the front face piece off that covers the front of the terminals. Use a very small screwdriver by lightly prying between the face and the connector body. Once removed, flip the connector upside down. Now, lightly pry up on the back of the connector where the top connector pivot/lock meets the body of the connector, you will see a slight gap. Then pry up between the front of that pivot/lock, the pivot/lock will now just be slightly lifted from the connector.
With the connector facing away from you and the connector right side up and looking at the wires, you are going to remove both the right side upper and lower wires, which are red and black, terminals 59 and 60. You will remove them by inserting a very small precision screwdriver to the front of the connector just and lifting up the lock that holds the terminal in and pulling back on the wire, it should come out. If it takes any excessive force, make sure you are lifting up on the lock, and that you didn’t close the main connector lock that you pryed up earlier. Once these wires are removed and you have the dash harness terminals in front of you, tape them off and away, you will not need them.
Next, remove the black wire three wires in from the right on the bottom, terminal 56. Re-insert a new terminal end and ground this wire to a mounting screw for the Telematics C/U or to another ground wire that you can find. Or, you can cut this wire about 2 inches from the connector, and ground out the wire coming from the connector and taping off the dash harness side. The purpose of this wire is to tell the Telematics C/U that we have a back-up camera. With the wire connected the way it was before and not to ground, this was telling the Telematics C/U to not go into the reverse image when placed into Reverse. With this wire now grounded, it is telling the Telematics C/U that we do have a reverse camera and to display an image when in reverse.
Now, dealing with the other two terminals again, number 59 and 60. Take your female RCA connector and expose the inside by twisting the back part off. You will have a center prong and an outside prong. Connect a terminal/wire to the center prong and another terminal/wire to the outside prong. I cut them to different lengths so that I knew which one was which. Be sure to solder these wires to the prongs so that they do not move or work free. Heat shrink or electrical tape the two prongs or wires from each other so that they do not touch. Connect the center prong wire to terminal 59 on the main M84 connector and the outside prong wire to terminal 60 on the main M84 connector.
Now, here is a basic rundown. We are dealing with all the wires connected to the connector, all other dash harness wires that were cut or removed are taped off. Terminal 56 coming out of the connector is grounded. Terminal 59 coming out of the connector is connected to the center RCA prong. Terminal 60 coming out of the connector is connected to the outside RCA prong.
Connect your chosen rear camera back-up camera male yellow RCA connector to the new female RCA cable. Run this cable/wire across the driver’s knee plate steering wheel and secure with zip-ties. Now, either run the wire up vertical into the A-pillar and back along the weather stripping, or downwards and run along the kick plates. I ran them along the kick plates and tucked the wire under the weather stripping and then under the rear door weather stripping and followed the stripped up the rear door opening to the C-pillar. Then I popped loose the upper C-pillar trim piece, ran the wire above the head liner so it ran above the seat belt upper bolt. Then I ran the wire through the rear hatch grommet and to the point where I mounted the camera, which is under the rear hatch handle. Remove all the rear hatch panels/trim pieces and run the main camera harness to the camera, which again, I mounted in the rear hatch handle area.
At the grommet that I went through at the hatch, I ran the other camera sub-harness that came with my camera down to the reverse lights. Removing the tail lamp was quite fun. Remove the three 10mm head bolts. Now, with someone prying the tail lamp backwards up at the top, pull/tug at the bottom and the tail lamp should pop off. Then, twist off the bulb bases and place the tail lamp aside. The only clear bulb is the reverse light bulb. The red power wire or reverse signal wire of the camera goes to the positive reverse light wire and the negative black wire goes to the ground wire at the reverse bulb.
If you bought a different camera and got one that mounts to the license plate bracket, you will need to run the wires along the C-pillar, down and across the rear hatch striker trim piece, and then down through the grommet for the tag lights.
Now, with all of these connections made, install most of the components removed earlier. Install the Telematics C/U and all connectors; don’t forget to attach the ground at terminal 56 to one of these mounting screws. Install the center console Telematics trim piece and all connectors. I would leave the rear hatch paneling off just in case you need to aim the camera or if something doesn’t work right.
Re-connect the battery, power up the Leaf and set the parking brake, two clicks for extra force. Now, place it into Reverse. The screen should automatically go to the reverse image of the camera, with the distance lines already there. They will turn as you turn the steering wheel as the Telematics C/U has steering angle sensor input via CAN. If you see other lines there, it is probably from your aftermarket camera. There may be a looped blue/purple wire on your camera wiring labeled guideline or distance line. Cut that loop and tape it off, it should kill the lines. Some cheaper cameras don’t allow you to turn this feature off.
Now, if everything is working correctly and the camera is aimed correctly, re-install all removed components/trim pieces and enjoy your wanna-be SL model Leaf.