Saab 9-3: Installing a rear facing dashcam

I've had a front facing dashcam (in various cars) for quite some time. For a good proportion of that time I've thought about also having a rear facing cam, but in previous cars finding a switched live at the back of the car wasn't particularly straight forward.

The 9-3, though, has an rear electrical centre which includes a rear fusebox, conveniently located in one of the boot side panels.

This documentation details the simple procedure involved in installing a rear facing dashcam into the Saab 9-3 Saloon.

 

The dashcam I installed is the Nextbase 112, I chose that one because of it's small size (I didn't want too much obstruction when using the rear view mirror). In hindsight it does have some drawbacks though - the mount uses a smaller ball in the ball and joint, so finding an adhesive mount is nigh on impossible. The video quality also isn't quite what I'd hoped - it is a fairly cheap camera, but being Nextbase I'd expected frames to still be quite sharp (albeit at 720p rather than the full-HD supported by other cams). Unfortunately it's fairly grainy, which is disappointing.

To wire the cam in, you will need the following

  • Nextbase dashcam hardwire kit
  • 10mm socket
  • Self-adhesive cable clips (optional but strongly recommended)

You probably also want some form of adhesive mount for your camera - the sucker on mine stayed stuck to the window for about 20 minutes and then fell off. I couldn't find an adhesive mount for the Nextbase 112, so I bought a load of 3M adhesive tissue things and cut one down to size before fitting it to the sucker.

 

Procedure

Gain access to the rear electrical centre by opening the boot panel on the right side of the car, you should see the fusebox almost immediately.

Your hardwire kit likely consists of a USB lead running back to a black box and then two feed wires (the cable in the middle of this kit):

We don't want to be trying to pass the black block through small gaps, so installation starts from the fusebox end. Unbind the USB lead (if you haven't already) and pass it back behind the panel and up over the top of the panelling. There's a gap between the shelf and the panelling just in front of the speaker (you should be able to reach to pass it in with one hand and retrieve with the other).

There's a hole in the shelf that the seat release cables come through, pass the cable up into that.

Now that the cable's up and out of the boot, we need to route it under the parcel shelf cover and out near where we want to fit the cam.

To do this, we need to lift the cover a little. This is simple enough:

Put both seats down, there are three plastic rivets holding the cover in place, simply pull the cover forward just behind the rivets and they'll pop out easily

You should now be able to lift the cover up sufficiently to get an arm under and route the cable out of one side near to where the cam will be fitted

The next job to do is to connect the fusebox end of the cable so that we'll actually have power available when positioning the cam.

For the positive lead, we need to connect the kit's piggyback fuse adaptor into a switched circuit so that the dashcam will only be on when the ignition is on. 

After a bit of experimentation, I found that fuse F15 was the best option (there's a lot in that fusebox that'd you assume would be switched and isn't).

The ground also needs to be connected to the chassis. Conveniently located in the bottom of that compartment are the amplifier mounting screws, which do the job perfectly. Use a 10mm socket to slacken the nut a little so that you can slide the ground connector underneath and then tension the nut back up.

You should now be connected:

The final step then is to connect and position the camera. This is a little easier with the seats down (as then the headrests don't get in the way of you trying to view the dashcam's screen). If you can, it'd be wise to start with the standard sucker mount and then review video after a journey to verify the position and then use the adhesive mount.

Switch the ignition on, and then climb into the back of the car. Plug the cable in and then position the cam, using the screen to judge how well you're covering the area behind you.

I wanted to capture a little of the next lane, as well as the end of the boot (as a point of reference for judging distances) so ended up with the camera tilted at a slight angle.

The final step is to tidy up the cable run.

Remove most of the slack between camera and parcel shelf (you want a little bit of play to still be available) by passing it back under the cover, and passing it behind the boot covering. You can quite easily coil the spare cable up in the boot side compartment, but take care to make sure you keep it away from the area the boot lid support arm needs when the boot is shut.

I then used several self adhesive cable clips to help hold the cable:

  • One just before the hole in the parcel shelf (so that the cable wouldn't sag down into the boot and risk getting caught, 
  • One on the inside of the parcel shelf to stop the cable rattling or crossing the speakers
  • One on the positive lead, just after the piggy back adapter to provide some strain relief if the cable gets caught (visible in this pic)
  • One on the negative lead, just before the ground point - again to provide some strain relief
  • One on the side wall just above the amp to allow me to coil the slack cable through it

Once that's done, put the plastic rivets back into the holes in the parcel shelf cover, put the seats back up and you're done. Once you're happy with the camera's position, stick the mount to the glass with adhesive (if you haven't already).

 

 
 Share