NOTE: This post is something I wrote back in May 2015, and was published on the Escapees HDT Forum. Here it is with a few minor updates. Still my most-used electronic driving aid!
After adding a Volvo hood-mounted mirror, I still wasn’t quite happy with how well I could see my front right corner. I feel like I have really good coverage down the side with the normal and wide angle mirrors, the over-the-window mirror, and now the hood mirror.
This afternoon, I added a camera to the mirror, facing down, so I can finally see how close I really am. Total project cost was about $35–slightly more for the Voyager connector I needed ($18) than for the camera ($17). Here’s how I went about it (with a few pictures).
Start by taking the back cover off of the mirror. There are 2 T27 screws holding it on (bottom side). Then take off the mirror and top arm cover–again, 2 T27 screws, this time from the top side. The cover is clipped around the edges, and has to slide toward the hood to come off. You’ll see a spot that looks almost perfect for the camera–I drilled a pilot hole from the back side, then used the hole saw included with the camera from the down-facing (outside) surface. I also had to file the hole a little bit–it was a tighter fit than I felt comfortable forcing the camera into.
You can see the wire running in a channel along the forward facing side of the arm, and down into the cavity towards the hood. With the mirror off of the truck, it’s not too difficult to fish the wires through, though I did enlarge the center hole (where the plastic clip holds the mirror to the hood) to 1/2″.
I had to buy an adapter to break out the spare 4-pin Voyager connector on the back of my monitor (part #1126810, $17.95 at AmericanRV) and connect power to get this:
I still need to run power and signal cables more permanently into the cab, but that should be pretty straightforward. Not bad for under $40! Just make sure it’s not a mirror image–here’s what I used:
First Drive with the New Mirror
The first obstacle was a motorhome with a trailer extending into the campground road, in the way where I needed to make a left turn (of course, I was committed to the turn before the trailer was in view). Still hooked up, just overnighting, I switched over to this camera–while it looked like the Volvo logo on the truck would have gone through the trailer from the driver’s seat, the camera showed me that I had room. Only about 2 inches (and I got out to check just to confirm), but what I saw was exactly what was going on there.
In rain heading to the ECR, the camera didn’t seem to have any trouble–good color and the image was just as clear as when dry. Backing into a couple of sites, it was really easy to see when I could start (or needed to stop) turning–gaining enough room that I was able to get lined up the way I wanted first try, seemingly a lot easier than before. I have a 348″ wheelbase, and generally need a pretty wide berth to do that.
Adding the Mirror
As far as sourcing the mirrors, you can get both the real Volvo parts or cheaper aftermarket on Amazon. Just make sure you get the backing plates and nuts.
Installation was pretty easy, though drilling holes in the hood was kind of nerve-wracking. Here are the instructions I should have had when I did mine: http://www.advantagetruckparts.com/content/0610_001.pdf