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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I poked around on here for quite a bit and didn't find any definitive information spots with all of what I was looking for, so sharing this here for future explorers.

I wanted to add a backup camera to my Ridgeline. I previously did this on my 07 RTX and drilled a hole in the bumper. This time I wanted a clean factory look on a nicer 09 RTS I just purchased.

The backup camera seemed to become truly a factory option on the 09-14 model years. The earlier 06-08 units had some thing that drilled holes into the tailgate and protruded. If you look on youtube, that's the install video you'll find. It's helpful in showing you what you're getting into, but not much else.

What you need to know is that you don't have to pull any wire the length of the truck. You can tap power off the driver side backup light. You can ground either to body or the backup light lead. You can use a very inexpensive wireless transmitter to get the signal back to an after market head unit in composite video format.

As is the case with the Chinese electronics from Amazon, this is one of several things that are likely the same unit under the hood. This wireless transmitter was cheap - $15. In my opinion, much preferred to hours of removing literally every body panel on the rear of the vehicle between the camera and the head unit, along with half the interior.

You power the transmitter, which has power out leads for the camera and input for the composite video in.

On the stereo side, you can pair the receiver power with your head unit power in, and it has composite video out that connects to the head unit. It's very small and fits wherever you want to lay it behind the dash. For testing purposes, each unit has an LED that illuminates to let you know power is received.

Your aftermarket head unit, must support backup camera, and will have a "reverse" lead that tells the unit when to switch to the camera feed. This has to be pulled from the wire loom in the driver side footwell, behind the hood latch. You'll need to remove the fuel door handle tip, the rocker cover beneath that, and the kick plate cover to gain access, along with slicing up a little of the factory electrical tape. It's a green wire here. There are lots of green wires here, but I've pulled it from the loom the first time both times I've done this just going off the attached picture from another thread. Stick a straight pin in the wire from the wire loom and meter it with the engine off, but the car shifted to reverse to confirm it's the power lead to the reverse lights. It will lose 12v when you shift out of R.

In the back, for the factory look, you need the updated gate handle.

I bought mine on, and my Ridge is black (the gate handle is painted, pick the one that matches your paint code)

Part No.: 74810-SJC-A21ZK
Handle Assy., Tailgate (Upper)*NH731P* (Camera)

I also picked a camera that looked like it would tension fit the opening, giving a very clean, factory appearance.

It was $18. Be aware that some cameras have the visual lines on them, and some do not. Some head units have their own way of doing these lines as well. This one has lines - and they aren't terribly accurate for the Ridge in my opinion, but you'll learn to reference.

I previously had a backup camera on the other Ridgeline that had the LEDs all around the ring of the camera. All this seemed to do was produce a haze in the image and made it unusable if the lens was fogged up. I don't recommend them.

This camera came with a small hole-saw bit, to cut a space for it. As it turned out, I did need it. It was off by a fraction of a millimeter. Two turns of the trill and the hole was the right size for the camera, and still looks stock.

Getting the tailgate apart is only a little tricky. The little plastic "spoiler" on top of the gate is clipped in and a little difficult to remove. Be patient, it pops out, and reveals more Torx screws that hold the backplate on the tailgate. After all those are out, the plate comes off easily.

Changing the handle, there is a blue plastic piece on the lever that connects to the handle. I rotated it off the rod carefully, and used a small screwdriver to push the pin from the socket, and it popped right out. Remove the two mounting bolts, and release two clips and it's out. Took like 90 seconds. New one snaps in the same way. The pin pushes into the same socket and you rotate the blue plastic support back into place.

There's plenty of room in the "well" to secure the wireless transmitter and your wiring.

My main concern was how to get everything out of the tailgate and into the taillight well to tap into the backup light. I used a wire fish (stout piece of weed-eater cord will do in a pinch) to pull the wire through openings that were already present and out of the way of moving tailgate pieces, and put it in some weather proof loom, running it under the hinge, just like the factory wiring uses. No holes drilled. Nothing had to be cut. The tailgate inner cover covers everything up completely, and you only see a very small bit of the wiring after its all back together.

The only downside of the wireless is occasionally you'll see a little interference, static glitch, etc, and the image isn't likely as clear as pulling an RCA cable through the whole length of the truck. At the end of the day, it accomplishes the goal though, and looks stock, which was my objective.


70 Posts
Thank you for this info.
My brother has a 2007 RTL with navi and was thinking of adding a backup camera.
Did your 09 have the navigation screen already? I'm trying to figure out if my brother's has bluetooth support but am not sure. If it does, I wonder if a bluetooth wireless transmitter would work any better.
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