New Rostra Rearsight Camera System 250-8037 Install

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Gadget Tech' started by jliltd, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. jliltd

    jliltd New Member

    I recently installed a Rostra Rearview camera system designed specifically for the 2008+ GM900 series trucks. Model number 250-8037. I have a 2008 GMC Sierra crew cab.

    The first thing to know is that Step 3 of the original instructions included with the camera kit say to “ROUTE HARNESS TO PASSENGER SIDE KICK PANEL AND GROMMET”. After I removed the plastic trim, kick panel and ventilation ducting from the passenger’s side of the pickup it dawned on me that the directions must have meant to say, “DRIVER’S SIDE” and not the passenger side as stated in the directions. Sure enough a quick check of the driver’s side found the junction panel and matched the pictures shown in the instructions. Maybe the designer lives in Europe where they drive on the right side or something. I had to reassemble the passenger side before getting back to the job.

    After that surprise I realized I was going to have to think for myself on this one and had an epiphany. As it turns out I didn’t even have to find the silly driver’s side junction panel. Here is why:

    The instructions also say to tie the wires of the monitor harness under the dash with t-splices. The only thing I hate more than t-splices is tapping into factory wiring unnecessarily. For example, the directions say to get a ground for the monitor harness by t-splicing into the ODB II connector under the dash. I don’t think so. I already have a warranty item with my ODB port and the last thing I need is for Chevy to find a t-splice in line and void warranty.

    I found a much easier way to connect the monitor harness into the electrical system without splicing into factory wires or standing on your head under the dash. Here’s how I did it. Under the hood near the factory firewall pass-through grommet is what’s know as the UHBEC (Underhood Bussed Electrical Center). It’s commonly called the underhood fuse panel. This is perfect place to attach the monitor harness connections for a clean install.

    So the first thing I did was to pull the monitor harness in from the engine compartment into the cab through the factory grommet. I started with a sharpened piece of wire, connected to a tapered step drill bit (wire wrapped around bit and electrical taped), followed by the S-video screw-on type monitor connector. All wrapped up in electrical tape and lubricated with a bit of soap. The step drill would force it’s way through and ream out a hole in the rubber grommet big enough to force the S-video connector into the cab. Woola. No more work under the dash as far as wire connections.

    Here is a photo of the engine side of the firewall with the monitor harness going into cab. The harness is highlighted by yellow lines and there's a dead bee thrown in for reality.

    Now back to the UHBEC fuse panel under the hood. I went ahead and removed the piece of gusset structure held by 4 bolts between the hood and cowl to effect easy access to the firewall grommet and UHBEC. The cover releases easily with two snap-in nibs on the inboard side. Then I bought two mini ATM fuse Add-A-Circuits bought at local Autozone. These ingenious devices allow you to tie into the vehicle electrical system without cutting or tapping any original wires, all the while providing for a new fuse. They basically “piggy back” onto an existing fuse in the vehicle’s fuse panel (in our case the big one under the hood).

    The underside of the UHBEC cover has a diagram showing what each fuse and relay is for so this made it easy to choose where I wanted to tie my circuits into. I chose fuse
    10 - TRLR BCK/UP for the backup signal and fuse 43 – MISC IGN for the power signal (If you have a diesel motor then the locations are the same but the fuse numbers are 9 & 40 respectively). Here is the diagram:


    Circuit 10 ties into the trailer reverse circuit to provide signal to the monitor’s blue wire. The other (43) ties into the ignition circuit to provide power to the monitor’s power red power wire. The add-a-circuit fuse used for each was 2 Amp for reverse signal and 5 Amp for power circuit (after talking to Rostra on the phone).


    In the above photo the 10amp fuse is the original and the 5 amp is the new one. Follow the Add-A-Circuit instructions to determine which direction to insert new assembly for proper fusing.

    And here is what it looks like with the new Add-A-Circuits inserted into the UHBEC:


    The black monitor wire was grounded to the firewall common to the existing grounding strap with a ring terminal.

    Then it was a matter of routing the system's long harness to the rear of the vehicle by following the main wire bundle down the driver's side frame.

    The instructions say to mount the shrouded camera into a 1 & 1/6" hole in the left center of the tailgate handle bezel.

    When installing the camera the instructions say to remove the camera’s snap ring but a call to the factory said not to do that. I had already done it but don't do it unless you want to spend some time re-orienting the camera with which way is up. So strike that instructional language.

    More importantly this bezel position is a bad location for Rostra's shrouded camera. I think the OEM camera uses this location but the Rostra shrouded camera does not have enough down angle to see your trailer hitch if you put it here. Trailer hookup is half the reason I put the system on to start with. With the fisheye lens there is plenty of field of view even when looking at the hitch. I've got the factory system on a new Tundra and it is spot on and tilted much farther downward than the Rostra. So after buying a new bezel to replace my "holey" one, I moved the camera to the top tailgate cover.

    Lesson learned. I’ll never again presume the suggested location for a backup camera has been thoroughly engineered. This kit is presented to be fully designed for the new 2007+ 900 series GM trucks. Apparently the shroud is not. Even when I installed it in the tailgate top molding it took some custom aiming to get it right. Maybe Rostra could offer some shrouds with differing degrees of tilt so you can get it right. Or just provide the right angle to start with for either the bezel or upper tailgate guard.

    While I was at it, I installed a Hoppy Tailgate EasyLift spring in the tailgate so I ended up shifting the tailagate harness pass-through location about 4” starboard in both the bed and tailgate each to allow clearance for the EasyLift spring.

    On another note I took the liberty of doing some custom bending of the monitor bracket and slotting the coin-holder holes to get a beter angle on the monitor. Out of the box the monitor is amed sort of toward the passenger's left knee. Now mine aims more toward the driver albeit without looking as clean since it's tilted.

    I am very happy with the system now that the camera is aimed correctly. The monitor is good and the Rostra representative told me they are in the works of increasing the size of the monitor in the future. That would be nice.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  2. jliltd

    jliltd New Member

    Here is the monitor:
    Here is the suggested camera location (BAD):
    Here is my new location (GOOD):
    And here's a better look at the UHBEC before inserting the Add-A-Circuits:

    The red circle shows the location for the power circuit (red) and the yellow circle shows the location for the backup signal (blue).
  3. zach45

    zach45 Epic Member 5+ Years 100 Posts

    how about a link so i can see price on one?
    loos like a good product
  4. 04sierracrewcab

    04sierracrewcab Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    ill just turn my head around when i back up and save me all that trouble and money :) :lol:
  5. jliltd

    jliltd New Member

    MSRP is $566 but it can be had for way cheaper than that.

    I found the cheapest price at Brandon Distributing. Here is a link:

    Rostra pointed me their way after I got some really high quotes from summit racing and styling trucks.

    Almost nobody lists the part number because it's so new. I called Brandon and got for $355.73 all-in delivered ($100 less than closest competitor).
  6. jliltd

    jliltd New Member

    Yup. I know where you're coming from. I never considered a backup camera and was sick when my new truck came with that and sonar. I hated them both as an unnecessary waste of money. I'm a farmer with old-timey values and was quite embarrassed about both options.

    Well. All I can say is that sometimes the world throws things at me despite my narrowest efforts. Now I will never own another new pickup truck without a backup camera. Unbelievable. Not only the safety an maneuvering of seeing your back bumper and kids, bikes and parking lot traffic. I trailer daily and it's every bit as good as you standing out by the trailer's tongue as you back up. I was pretty good at hooking up before but this has to be experienced to be believed. Even more important to me than my coveted Boxer Hitch (

    That's why I'm installing this system in my new Silverado and Sierra. I want my employees to have the best in equipment, safety and efficiency.

    Say what you will and good on ya. Free country, man. As for me I'm a convert. I'm even liking the front/rear sonar option due to the visibility issues of a long bed extended cab with a big hood and tall tailgate. If I gotta go downtown it takes a harbor pilot and two tug boats to park the Queen Mary. Every advantage I can get I gotta take.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008

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