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Installing a Backup Camera in a 2006 Itasca Navion
by Ellsworth Chou

(This document began life as an email response to a fellow user of the Yahoo! View-Navion Tech group, an excellent community of owners of these adventurous Winnebago motorhomes, and an invaluable resource for any Winnebago View or Itasca Navion user.)

When we bought our Itasca Navion from the original owner, one of my first projects was to remedy the lack of backup camera system. This web page represents some of the process (but is far from comprehensive) of installing an inexpensive aftermarket camera system, using an existing wiring harness already installed in the chassis during construction by Winnebago.

NO CAMERA, BUT CABLING ALREADY IN PLACE

Our 2006 Itasca Navion was not originally equipped from the factory with a backup camera or monitor. However, I would learn from members of the View-Navion Tech group that there was an existing multi-conductor cable apparently installed in every View/Navion by Winnebago (a common production strategy for many products). This addressed the most awkward part of installing a camera myself: running a cable from the cab of the vehicle to the outside. (As I write this after having done a great deal more modification work on our motorhome over the past three years, it occurs to me that running my own cable under the vehicle and up inside the grey plastic trim on the rear of the vehicle might not be that bad.)

However, I also knew that it was unlikely that there would be connectors at the ends of the cable which were compatible with whatever camera and monitor I purchased (this turned out to be true).

I purchased a no-name backup camera system for $215 online. It included a 7" diagonal color LCD display, cabling and color camera with built-in infrared lighting (which turns out to be a terrible - more about that later).

At the front of the motorhome, the factory harness is coiled up inside the headliner over the cab. At the rear, the cable terminates inside the plastic (dark grey in our ‘06) trim which frames the top of the exterior rear bodywork of the coach.

INSTALLATION NOTES

It’s been a while, so some details are fuzzy in my memory, but here are some notes from my installation:

Winnebago monitor-end cable connector
Original Winnebago camera cable was hidden behind top-rear trim panel; I've pulled out a loop of cable to show its location
I fabricated this bracket to hook over factory trim-mounting clip without drilling any holes in motorhome
backup camera image
Final camera viewing angle provides very precise parking reference, but very little range as rear-view camera.

RESULTS

It's great! I park with absolute confidence in the location of the rear of the vehicle (and I'm willing to try an park almost anywhere, especially in urban conditions).

After finally ridding myself of the horrifically bad built-in infrared LED system, the only thing that's less than perfect about the imaging is that I wish the display could be further dimmed for the darkest driving conditions.

I'd like an additional level camera shot to behave as a virtual rear-view mirror. Some day, perhaps I'll rig a second camera for this purpose and connect it to the secondary input on the monitor.

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