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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-11-2015, 10:49 PM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540iA
DIY Rear view camera installed, a lot of pictures

Part 1

I have the rear view camera for couple of weeks, today the weather is nicer, though still cold, 36 F but at least the sun is out so I decided to tackle this job, overall it went smooth, and works great.

Tools:
Flat head screw driver
Phillip head screw driver
Plastic panel remove tool
Wire stripper/Crimper
Utility knife
Fishing wire/cable

This is the rear view camera, it should replace OEM license plate light so it comes with LED license plate light, camera and two cables, one for powering up the camera, one for video feed to the head unit in the front:


First, open the trunk, on trunk lid, remove the 2 plastic rivets on the black hard plastic trim piece, one on left and one on right, picture showing the right rivet, pulling the pin out and it should pull the rivet out quit easily:


Then on the trunk lid closing handle cavity, use a flat head screw driver to pry out the small piece of screw cover (not shown), you should see this screw, unscrew it then you can pull this trim right out:



Unhook the trunk open handle from the cable, push down the tip of inner triangular clip and pull the cable out of the handle:


Now move to remove the trunk lid panel trim, there are 4 screws under the tool kit, remove them first, then use a flat head screw driver or plastic trim remove tool together with your hand to pop the trunk lid trim panel, this is on the right bottom:



Now remove the trunk lid light, push it back through the hole, then unscrew the tool kit holding screw to release the tool kit from the panel, then remove the the hanging band from the slot, you turn it 45 degree and it should come out easily:


Panel is removed:


Now remove the license plate light, insert a flat head screw driver into the slot on the left, push to the right and pop the left side out, them push the light to the left, the light should pop out easily, then just pull the plug out:



Pull out the plug, insert the camera cable through the round hole that original wire goes:



Well, at this point, I realized that I ordered the left side instead of left side, not a big deal, just need to switch to the left:



Here is the camera wires, the shot one on the top left is the license plate light wire, just need to splice to the original light wire, the black plug on top is the original license plate wire plug, the dangling wires are camera power wires and RCA video feed wire:


Splice license plate wires with closed end terminal nuts, I believe there are size 16-14 awg, I got them from Advance Auto:


I want a clean install so I run the wire inside the trunk lid, I use a wire to fish the camera wired through the lid, pull out the rubber wire boot out on both lid end and trunk end, the wires will through the trunk wire hole:



Now run the wires through to the trunk (on right side above the battery):


Now run the camera power cable to the tail light, find the backup light power wire, mine is red and black, and any ground wires, mine is white, splice and connect them, before you crimp the wire with connector, fire the car, have someone in the car put the reverse gear on, check if the backup light is on:


Last edited by theWalkinator; 01-11-2015 at 10:52 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2015, 10:51 PM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540iA
Part 2

Now prepare to run RCA video feed wire to the front head unit, first, remove the rear seat bottom, it is really easy, just hold the bottom of the seat, give it a pop, on both passenger side and driver side, the bottom seat should come off easily, here shows the bottom seat is removed, you can see the battery positive cable, I will run camera RCA wire along with battery cable:


Also you need to remove the seat back, there are 2 10mm bolts holding the seat on the bottom of each side, take out the bolts, remove all 3 head rests, then pull the seat back up, again, from both driver side and passenger side, then the seat back can be removed out:


Now you can see on the passenger side the battery cable is running through a rubber gasket, conveniently, there are 2 pre-mold holes in the gasket, I will run through the larger one, but I need to cut it open with a utility knife:



Now you need fish the camera wire, I use a electrical wire to fish the camera wire:





Push the camera RCA connector through the rubber gasket hole I just cut, then run the wire to the side:



Now move the front passenger seat all the way to the front, then use your fingers to pop up the black plastic carpet cover, tug the camera wire behind the carpet, also, you need to pop the bottom of the B pillar plastic cover, tug the wire behind it:




Now move to front, slide the passenger seat all the way to the back, pop up the front carpet plastic cover, run the wire behind the carpet:



Now, pop up the front passenger side right side foot well cover, run the camera wire behind it, try to tug the wire all the way up to the bottom of the glove box and then remove the left side foot well cover, run the wire around the bottom of the glove box, run it through the bottom of foot vent into the head unit cavity:



Now connect camera RCA feed to head unit Reverse Video In cable, also connect the 2 Reverse-In wires come with the head unit, other wise, it won't trigger the head unit to switch to the camera display when in reverse gear:



Now test it, start the car, put in R (mine is auto tranny), it worked, not bad:


Now, go back to trunk, tighten up wires, put everything back together, trunk lid panel and cover, sill cover, back seat:







I also splice the OEM illumination wire (pin #14 on my 40-pin connector) to the illumination wire of the head unit so when headlights are on, button back lighting of the head unit will lit:


This is rear view camera at night:


Overall, I am quite happy with the result, total cost, $15 for the camera, $3 for the close end connectors (pack of 10), few zipper ties, so for less than $20 and few hours labor, my e39 now has a rear view camera.
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  #3  
Old 01-12-2015, 10:23 AM
e39 crackr e39 crackr is offline
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Mein Auto: '01 540i/6, '97 528i
Very nice write up!

May want to edit and add what camera and headunit you have and where you got them. Or you will have someone PM you 5 years from now asking that, you know how the kids are these days.
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  #4  
Old 01-12-2015, 11:19 AM
MKJS MKJS is online now
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What a great write-up!!! Really inspires me to put one up myself about my adventures with my fog lights.

Thanks,
doc
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  #5  
Old 01-12-2015, 12:22 PM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e39 crackr View Post
Very nice write up!

May want to edit and add what camera and headunit you have and where you got them. Or you will have someone PM you 5 years from now asking that, you know how the kids are these days.
OK, both head unit and camera are Chinese made ones, head unit is an Android 7" touch screen unit, works just fine, my car does not have DSP so pretty much it is plug and play installation, except that I have to fabricate my own installing brackets.
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2015, 12:26 PM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is offline
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Location: Philly Suburb
 
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540iA
By the way, the camera comes with a LED license plate light bulb which is whiter than OE light, so I may buy a separate LED license plate light to match it.
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2015, 12:45 PM
Techno Duck Techno Duck is offline
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Location: LI, NY
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: '03 540i/6 M-Sport
Please follow up if you find LED's for the other light that match well. I was going to use the same style camera but i wondered about matching the LED color temperature and also uneven lighting of the rear plate. Kind of a moot point, but small stuff like that kind of annoys me .

I bought a standard external camera off Amazon to mount; but i hate to drill a hole in the trunk lid to run the wires. I was originally going to use a license plate frame type that i actually really liked. Unforunately it wont work because the camera and IR LED's block the trunk release.

Ive got the Dynavin also, with the current weather i have been too lazy to install it.
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2015, 03:53 PM
rezyn rezyn is offline
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Location: Chicago
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 20
Mein Auto: E39
Very nice! I was too lazy to do the rear view camera when I replaced my head unit, but damn this makes me regret it! Nice job
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2015, 09:41 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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Awesome write up! I bought the same camera and I have the same head unit (looks like the Dynavin) so I will be tackling this as soon as it gets a bit warmer. Question though, why did you run the cable through the battery route instead of the trunk lid loom conduit instead?
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  #10  
Old 01-12-2015, 10:54 PM
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DHoffmeyer DHoffmeyer is offline
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This write up is very well done!
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  #11  
Old 01-13-2015, 06:30 AM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpumpk1n View Post
Awesome write up! I bought the same camera and I have the same head unit (looks like the Dynavin) so I will be tackling this as soon as it gets a bit warmer. Question though, why did you run the cable through the battery route instead of the trunk lid loom conduit instead?
I tried that, it is too difficult to do it because the RCA connector is bit too big to go through the the rubber loom conduit, and fishing the cable through the battery route seems to be the easiest way to run cable from trunk to the cabin on passenger side, it doesn't seem to affect video quality.

If you have better way to route the camera cable, please post it, I would like to see.
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  #12  
Old 01-13-2015, 12:28 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
This is nice to cross reference to
- How to retrofit an E39 ccd reverse backup bumper or license plate camera (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) & user questions on sourcing an E39 rear camera (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #13  
Old 01-13-2015, 07:59 PM
Arkum Arkum is online now
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i
all you need to do to get the cables through the rubber conduit is spray some WD40 in there. No one likes to be penetrated without lube....

Here's a link to my Dynavin N6 and camera instal If you watch the bav audio youtubes I reference it makes running the wires from the trunk to the front pretty easy.
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  #14  
Old 01-13-2015, 08:14 PM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is offline
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Location: Philly Suburb
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540iA
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkum View Post
all you need to do to get the cables through the rubber conduit is spray some WD40 in there. No one likes to be penetrated without lube....

Here's a link to my Dynavin N6 and camera instal If you watch the bav audio youtubes I reference it makes running the wires from the trunk to the front pretty easy.
Very cool, that is a nice tip, I will re-wire it use this WD40 trick. Thanks.
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  #15  
Old 01-24-2015, 06:37 PM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540iA
So I re-run the wire through the rubber loom conduit, yes, WD40 did wonderful trick, it is quite easy to pull wires through after I gave a good spray of WD40 inside the rubber conduit:

Wire will go through the rubber conduit from inside trunk, the conduit looks like 2 pieces but it is just one piece:

And come out to trunk lid:


Again I run a fish wire through the conduit, use aluminum tape to tape fish wire and RCA connector for good, then pull RCA connector through the conduit quite easily:




Re-seat conduit gasket back nicely, very clean:



Re-connects wire to camera:


Testing, great, still works:


Thanks for Arkum's advice, this is a much cleaner way of running rear view camera wires from trunk lid to trunk, and I don't need to worry water gets into the trunk.
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