Tow Pig Dash Cam

Short / Fun little project:

Amazon had this Aukey camera on a one-day sale with a 32GB microSD card a while back and the deal was good enough I couldn’t pass it up.

I did a little playing around with the positioning and found right under the center of the mirror put it out of the way.

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The wires are already run in this picture, but it was pretty straightforward. I used the cladding over the wires for the auto-dimming mirror to run the wire up to the headliner, and tucked it under the headliner all the way to the a-pillar cladding. I pulled the handle so I could separate the cladding from the a-pillar, and ran the wire all the way down to the bottom. The glove box had to come off for access to the bolts of the fuse panel, and to have working room for the wiring.

From the base of the A-pillar, I tucked the wire behind the weather stripping and behind the bottom of the top-half of the dash (ie: where the dashboard meets the glove box, which also comprises the bottom half of the dash. Here’s where the wire comes ‘out’, and I tucked it around behind the fuse box with the rest of the wiring harnesses, then ran the pigtail wires up to the dashboard from the bottom. The wire poking out from the weather-stripping, and then below the fuse panel is the one in question.

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The wiring harness had built-in fuse taps for power, however a) the Armada doesn’t use mini-fuses, but uses low-profile mini fuses, and b) there aren’t really enough available fuse slots (at least on my 4×4 SV, which has the Driver Package). Given that, I picked up a set of Add-a-Circuit low-profile fuse taps and did a little basic wiring.

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I also put a ring-connector on the ground wire (because there’s no ground in the fuse panel, so a fuse tap on the ground wire is dumb, but what do you want?) and put that underneath 1 of of the bolts for the fuse panel as there was nice clean steel there to use that tied into the chassis. I tied the other 2 wires into non-critical circuits, just in case. It seemed like the safer thing to do. For the battery lead, I used the dome lights, and for the accessory I tapped into the power mirrors.

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And finally, a crappy picture of what you see when it’s all back together, with the fuse panel cover off.

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Didn’t take more than an hour, and it was a job that involved my 2 least favorite parts of automotive work: messing with wiring and interiors. The Armada is a super easy beast to work on by modern car standards.
UPDATE: Quick test video. Make sure it’s playing in HD, but it looks really good on 720p60. I’m not sure when the next time I’ll be driving at night, but I’ll probably pull 1 from there too. The video is saved in ~85MB, 1 minute chunks, and you can press a button on the camera to “lock” a video so it won’t get overwritten as you’re going to save an incident.

 

LED Tachometer Mount

The main reason I got the bling-o-meter is as a rudimentary yard stick for reviewing video of speed in a certain part of the track (or at least, RPM). More lights = more fast. Easy.

The problem is that it’s nearly invisible in the video, because the steering wheel is between the tach and the camera. So how to fix it?

I noticed in the video that if it were directly behind the steering wheel on the column, it would show up perfectly, so I fabbed up a quick mount to get an idea of where it should go.

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I briefly considered welding to the column housing, but after consulting with a friend who generally knows much better than I (Thanks Dave!) decided that there’s too many important unknowns that could be cooked inside the column housing (plastic bushings, grease seals, etc) to risk welding directly to it. He floated the perfect solution (as usual). Inexpensive and effective: a 2-piece shaft collar.

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A little time on the wire wheel cleaned off the oxide coating on the un-threaded half, a little welding, and a coat of paint, and it should work great:

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A little time spent on the little things that would bother me if they were staring me in the face before each run:

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And now I should be able to get some use out of it. A little before & after: