The first few projects for the van conversion are being planned and it is time now to dig into the installation details of the rear sensors.
The rear proximity sensor forms an extra layer of protection when backing up the van, in addition to the factory installed backup camera. It supplements the visual data from the camera with an audible signal, when an obstruction blocks the vehicle’s path.
They fall into two categories: Ultrasonic and Electromagnetic sensors. I chose the latter and you can read why, here.
The entire unit consists of a small processing unit with leads to a small speaker, to the sensor strip and to an available 12V power source.
12V is ordinarily originating at one of the backup lights; that’s discouraged with the new Ford Transit. Instead, obtain the backup signal from the trailer towing harness. I’m lucky to have the towing option installed and the following is a detailed description of its location. Those Transit owners without the trailer tow option installed or those entirely without trailer tow wiring should follow slightly different path. ProMaster and Sprinter owners should follow their manufacturers guidelines.
My Transit has a hitch and trailer lighting connector socket at the end of the fuel tank harness (3. Trailer Tow Socket Jumper – 4. Fuel Tank Harness). It is located approximately 3 to 4 feet from rear bumper along the drivers side body support member.
This is where you splice the wire for a positive lead. Ground the other lead at same location to an existing ground on the chassis (never more that two grounds at one location). The supplied leads seem to be sufficiently long to cover the distance between power source and sensor strip.
When the connection is established, I have to find an convenient route to the bumper. I’ll follow the trailer harness to the next cross member of the chassis, where the wires exit to an existing grommet and enter the cross member.
I pick up the leads through the access holes at the end of the cross member. Inside is a good and protected location for the sensor processing unit. From here, the speaker wire can enter the rear side pillar and go up to an appropriate location for its little speaker.
The other wire, that connects to the sensor strip, will go from the processing unit through a rear grommet towards the bumper. Just before entering the bumper at the drivers side bumper light, I’ll put in an extra male/female spade terminal connection for the wires to be disconnected whenever the bumper has to be removed. The extension wire goes a short distance from here into the bumper to the sensor strip, which is attached along the full length of the plastic bumper.
Unfortunately, the lights at each end of the bumper may restrict the effectiveness of the sensor somewhat, as the sensor strip only fits between the lights.
By now, I figured out where all the components are to be located and all the parts and materials are in my possession (except for a few that I’ll buy before the installation) and the modification should be child’s play, except for the unexpected.
During the next few weeks, after the USB project, I will jump-start this little project and I’ll let you know in advance when you subscribe to my LIVE feeds. You’ll have the opportunity to view every step of the installation LIVE on Youtube, while answering some of your questions too through the accompanying chatroom.