I personally believe the Polo 6R which Volkswagen continues to sell in India, comes with a fairly long and usable feature-list, but still there’s no going around the fact that we still do not get a company fitted reverse camera
on this camera, which still holds its ground as a Premium Hatchback touching the 11L mark. It’s absolutely disgraceful that even entry level offerings from 5L OTR or even lower pack in a very usable reverse camera.
Now the Polo Auto-Dimming IRVM works like a charm, but it is slightly on the tinier side. The ORVMs are not really generous either. Installing OPS had already made life super comfortable for me when it comes to parking this hatch, but I hate to admit that Reverse Cameras have spoiled us. The reverse camera on our i10 has been so good that my mother just refuses to drive this Polo, because of its absence. It's quite psychological to the extent it gets annoying.
As per my conversations with fellow Polo owners, most dealerships are charging upto 10K
for installing a Reverse Camera at the dealership and all of these are Aftermarket Cameras which sit near the License Plate Lights, at a very low vantage point with respect to the ground. I often wonder why and the quick answer was to “AVOID Voiding the Warranty.”
I think I took the quote “Life is too short for warranties” quoted by a fellow BHPian a long back too seriously and started on my mission to make this beast even better. It’s funny how I had already read the DIY : Flip Camera Thread by Graaja (Installed: VW Flip Camera in my Polo GT TSi. EDIT: Custom Adapter Plate & Water Drain on Page #3)
at least 3-4 times 2-3 years back, even before I knew we’d be considering a Polo in 2020. The thread was very inspiring and I was so glad that someone had done their homework and been kind enough to share it with me. Graaja’s DIY
has been the backbone for my DIY, and so I won’t waste time repeating the detailed steps, but will only be focussing on my experiences. Parts Needed
Tools I Needed
- OE Flip Camera with Wiring Harnesses
- Fusetaps (If not planning to disconnect the fusebox)
- SS Camera Mounting Plate : Included In The Box
Summary Of Steps
- Torx T8 : Water Drain Pipe Bolts
- Torx T20, T25, T30 : VW Specific Bolts on the Body, Camera etc.
- Wire Strippers for clean wire ends.
- Electrical Connector Pin Removal Tools - Might help sometimes.
- Plastic Trim Tools
- Vaseline/Silicone Grease to make passing wires a simpler affair.
- Firm Wires/Fishing Wires to route cables through the car.
- Zip ties
- Tessa/ Insulation Tape for reinforcing harnesses
- Luster Terminals if you intend to avoid soldering for joints
- Opening the boot trim.
- Removing the old emblem.
- Mounting the new flip camera.
- Routing wires to and from the hatch.
- Crimping and plugging in connectors and cables.
- Coding the Headunit.
- Testing all functions.
- Routing the drain pipe.
- Water leak testing the drain pipe.
- Putting everything back together.
I took about 3 days at the rate of 4 hours per day to complete this project and I'm very satisfied with this DIY. It was fairly straightly, very fulfilling and helped me learn and needed application of quite a lot of technical skills. Getting Started
The project starts with the removal of the Hatch Trim, which is held in by two T25 Torx Screws
. Since I was opening this hatch trim for the first time, I was being very gentle since I did not want to break any plastic clips nor did I want to deform any metal clips. Removing the entire panel was fairly simple, but it definitely helps to have a long screw driver to help pry off the trims.
Next, I undid the two Pin Boot Release connector
and unscrewed the three T30 screws
holding the Emblem Boot Handle to the hatch.
If you've read through Graaja's detailed thread, you should already know that the Flip Camera mounting points do not align with the mounting holes
for the Polo 6R and contrary to popular belief, this is true even for European Polo 6Rs. The Polo 6R was never officially sold
with a flip reverse camera, but it was always retrofitted by enthusiasts. The product I purchased already had a Flip Camera Mounting bracket in the box, but it was far from perfect. I could screw in only 2/3 holes and would have had to resort to the use of a washer to securely mount the camera to the hatch. I was not comfortable with this approach on a new car, and so I sought Graaja's Adapter Plate file and wanted to 3D print it and inspect the fitment. It somehow did not work out, since I was unable to convert the file to a suitable .stl file and so I directly had a plate laser cut
from the .dwf file. I still have a few extra plates
, which I'm happy to offer interested individuals.
Using this laser cut plate, I mounted the frame of the Flip Camera to the hatch and checked the alignment of the Volkswagen logo. On fully tightening the assembly, I find this alignment as good as it can get. The new logo has a black rubber O-Ring like seal which should prevent water entry directly into the boot area. Laying Out The Wires
The wires need to be routed from the hatch lid and they split after they reach the inside of the car. The video and power cables need to travel to the front of the car, while the reverse light is tapped from the rear section of the car. In my case, I did not have to tap the reverse wire, since I had already installed the 8K OPS a few months back. I used a spare Finolex cable as a pulling wire to and fro along the hatch area. I found it helpful to pry open what I believe is the defogger cutout
to easily route the wire from the hatch lid.
If you get a Master Cable, you can simply tie the ends of the rest of the wires and pull the entire wire bundle inside.
Ultimately, the wires need to be passed through the tough rubber grommet which can be really tight on a brand new car. I tried using my hands to widen the rubber openings, and almost thought I would manage to do the job, but I messed up every single time. I unfortunately hurt myself in the process, and cursed myself at each instance for skipping on work gloves.
It was then, that a brilliant idea came to mind, and I applied a few drops of Silicone Grease
to the rubber ends, and voila!
The entire grommet and the tight passage had suddenly become a super slippery corridor for the wires, but ultimately, it was done!
Here is a closer look at the bottom grommet and you can tell, it has a Plastic Sleeve which you can dislodge. I found this to make life a lot simpler. Then, I had to remove the rear wheel side carpet lining and manage to route the wire to the seat area. To do the job in the neatest and most OE way, I had to take out quite a lot of trims, but what is must needs to be done. This also meant taping the video and power cables with TESSA tape
to achieve a near OE look.
I was initially a little skeptical to pull panels on a brand new car, but I gulped down my fears and proceeded very slowly and steadily with my trusted plastic trim tool and it turned out to be quite a neat affair. One of the metal clips was already deformed during removal, and I thought I'd repair or replace it before going for the final fitment. The trim piece for the left and right side on the Polo 6R which bypasses the Front Seat belts is one single piece, and it pops right out, once you start serially.
Then, I had to remove the Headunit Trim to access the Quadlock Connector of the RCD340 Radio and this is where I plugged in my OE Camera Video Signal.
The blue block on the right is the Video Adapter. The power cable moved ahead to the Fusebox for power. Temporarily, I'll be using a Fuse Tap since I've been a little lazy to undo the Fusebox and neatly hardwire the Power Source. Testing Everything
After connecting all of the harnesses, we need to test if the Camera Folds in and Folds out correctly with the Reverse Output. The camera has a 15 second delay module after which the camera folds back in, provided Reverse Gear is not engaged. The boot lock needs to be engaged for the camera to be working. A few of the wires on my harness were not matched correctly, but having a multimeter and terminal removal tools helped me diagnose the issue at every point. Notice how the wiring and signal adapters are different from an AV Camera which we have commonly seen. Coding And Road Test
I coded the Radio to enable the Reverse Camera input and checked all of the connections and the camera came to life. Now what was left was to test this camera out on the road, and so I took the car for a short road test on varying roads to inspect how the mounting screws, wires and other loose ends were holding up. Video Quality
I'm pleasantly surprised by the video quality and it feels at par with an OEM product. The colour reproduction and contrast can be minorly tweaked from the Headunit, but it is of sufficient quality to read a rear number plate. I'd rate it near 720p. The night time quality is also surprisingly good, and while there is evident noise, it's not glaring to the point where the camera becomes unusable. The night vision can be improved by upgrading to better and brighter LED Reverse Lights. Drain Hole
This is a necessity, if you don't want to have long term trouble and so I wanted to get it done right away. The water drain pipe mouth needs to be removed for installing the camera in place and the pipe is held down by two T8 Torx bits. It turns out, that you do not need to drill a hole on the sill of the hatch. The manufacturer has included two grommets which can be used for routing a water drain pipe. The second hole I used was where the wiring harness was clipped onto, but detaching the mounting would not result in a big problem. I must say that routing a drain pipe was a genuine pain and needed a lot of improvisations and comebacks to do in one seating. Silicone Grease came to the rescue once again.
After connecting the drain pipe, I tied a zip tie and also applied a uniform beading of silicone on the crevices I presumed to be susceptible to water ingress. My drain pipe has a minor kink, but the entire setup passed the water tests and so I'll be calling it a day. End Result
Now I feel like I've a car that belongs in 2021, with a cool looking, head turning reverse camera, which also helps me move around a lot more confidently, especially when I'm reversing. As always, here's a video where I've shown the performance of the camera along with the water drain in action, and this should be the cherry on the top!