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Common Dash Cam Installation Issues for

Off-roadsters — off-road trucks and SUVs with removable roofs — offer a unique mix of an open-air motoring experience and go-anywhere capabilities. However, you might encounter issues when installing a dash cam in one of these vehicles, such as the Ford Bronco, Jeep Gladiator, and Jeep Wrangler. We have received many inquiries about these, from our customers who want to equip their off-roadsters with dual-channel dash cam systems.

In this article, we will cover some common installation issues we encounter with off-roadsters, explain different ways to work around them, and share a few tips and tricks to ensure you’re well-protected both on and off the pavement.

Understanding the Issue

Applicable vehicles include, but are not limited to:

  • Jeep Wrangler/Unlimited
  • Ford Bronco
  • Land Rover Defender
  • Suzuki Jimny
  • Mercedes-Benz G-Class (G-Wagon)
  • Dodge Ramcharger

The fundamental issue is the removable roof on these vehicles, making the usual rear window mounting location less than ideal. While rear window mounting is possible in off-roadsters with removable hard tops, the nature of this setup means you’ll lose your rear camera if you decide to take the top off. If your off-roadster has a soft top, rear window mounting wouldn’t even be possible.

Then, there’s the issue with wiring the rear camera. In typical off-roaders with fixed roofs, the rear camera connecting cable would generally be run along the vehicle’s roofline from the front camera to the rear camera. However, since off-roadsters have removable roofs, this installation method is not ideal unless you’re really comfortable with undoing the rear wiring every time you want to go roofless. Additionally, removable roofs almost always lack headliners, which makes it incredibly difficult to neatly hide the wires.

Lastly, if you have a Jeep, the windshield may fold down. This introduces an additional challenge, as front cameras are typically mounted on the windshield.

Our Dash Cam Installation Tips for Off-Roadsters

We’ll go through the installation options by level of difficulty.

Consider mounting the rear camera facing backwards on the front windshield.

This is a common workaround we use for convertibles, but it works just as well for a simple installation in off-roadsters. However, as with convertibles, the rear view will be less than ideal due to the distance between the windshield and the rear of the vehicle, meaning the camera will mostly capture the vehicle’s interior and only a distant glimpse of what’s happening behind you. This is especially true for longer SUVs like 4-door Broncos and Wranglers, and trucks like the Gladiator.

Consider mounting the rear camera on the rear roll bar instead.

All off-roadsters are equipped with a roll cage to ensure structural integrity and proper protection in the event of a rollover. Most roll cages have a horizontal bar at the rear of the passenger compartment, which we can use to mount the rear camera.

The bottom of this rearmost roll bar acts as a much better mounting location for the rear camera, closing the gap between it and the rear of the vehicle. With this in mind, however, there are a few things worth considering. Firstly, while the rear camera is much closer to the rear of the vehicle in this position, it’s still not exactly there. The field of view becomes limited when the top is in place, with the camera being higher up than the top of the rear window, meaning it’ll have to be angled downwards to look out, mainly capturing situations closer to the bumper of the vehicle. If the top were to be removed, this would open up the camera to a more horizontal angle, with a wider view.

While this allows the rear camera to better capture things like rear-enders and pick up certain details, it still won’t be able to capture everything that a traditional rear window-mounted camera could. Additionally, due to the distance that still exists between the rear camera and the rear of the vehicle, you’ll likely end up seeing a fair bit of the cargo area in the frame and the roof when it’s installed, including the spare tire mounted to the rear of many of these vehicles.

Furthermore, not all roll cages are created equally. Dash cam units are typically mounted using a strong foam adhesive (often 3M VHB) which works best on smooth, hard surfaces with minimal curvature. We’ve seen some off-roadsters with roll cages like this that work fine with the standard adhesive mount, offering a smooth, relatively flat bottom surface for the unit to adhere to. However, many have roll cages where the bottoms are trimmed in textured plastic, a soft padded material, or oddly shaped with a significant amount of curvature (particularly older models where the roll cages are made of cylindrical metal tubing).

If this sounds like your off-roadster, a traditional adhesive mount won’t work. In cases where adhesive mounting may not work, common workarounds include stronger adhesives, magnet mounts (if the roll cage has removable bottom trims), and zip ties. Some of our customers have also fabricated custom roll cage mounts for their rear cameras, though we only recommend this if you have the necessary skill set and equipment (like a 3D printer).

Special Considerations for Jeep Owners

One thing we love about Jeep off-roadsters like the Gladiator and Wrangler is their fold-down windshield which enables a unique, fully open off-roading experience. A historic and staple Jeep feature that first debuted with the original WWII Jeeps in 1941, it was also found on competing vehicles like the original Ford Bronco. While competitors quickly dropped this feature with successive generations, Jeep held on to it, making it one of their best-known, exclusive features today.

While front dash cam units are typically mounted on windshields, you shouldn’t do so if you plan on using the fold-down windshield. Even if you opt for a BlackVue unit with full 360° vertical adjustment, you can’t simply rotate it to face forward with the windshield down—the windshield frame on all Jeeps with this feature has a significant lip which blocks its view and thus, renders it useless. Of course, since the windshield moves, wiring also proves trickier than it would be with a fixed windshield.

So, what should we do in this case? Let’s go through the installation options by level of difficulty.

Consider mounting the front camera on the dashboard instead.

Yes, we’re taking the term “dash cam” quite literally here, but this would be the simplest way to mount a front camera on these Jeeps—especially if you have a JK Wrangler (2006-2018) or an older model that doesn’t have fixed A-pillars and a front roll bar. For this mounting method, we would recommend a unit with a wide range of vertical lens adjustability, like the BlackboxMyCar S-Drive or VIOFO VS1, allowing you to point it straight ahead.

However, with the unit being so low, its field of view will be limited compared to a unit mounted high up on the windshield. While it can capture some of what’s happening in front of you, it may miss anything ground-level and certain details like low-mounted license plates. This is especially true if your Jeep is significantly lifted.

Consider mounting the front camera to your roll cage.

As with rear camera units, the roll cage is also a great option for front camera mounting in Jeeps with fold-down windshields. This is especially true for Gladiators and JL Wranglers (2018-present), which have fixed A-pillars connected by a horizontal front roll bar. As with mounting a rear camera on the roll cage, the same advice applies here: the mounting method will vary depending on the assembly, shape, and texture of your roll bar.

Furthermore, if you have an older Jeep without a front roll bar, you may need to mount your front camera on the middle roll bar instead. This way, you’ll end up with a similar point of view as seen in this video, but you’ll still be limited by the higher mounting point and amount of interior that the camera will capture.

Consider using a BlendMount or custom mounting solution.

In the Gladiator and JL Wrangler, Jeep has decided to mount the rearview mirror on the front roll bar instead of the windshield like older models. This allows you to use a BlendMount, which lets you attach any BlackVue dash cam to the rearview mirror stem for the ideal high-up point of view, leaving it in a fixed location while the windshield can freely fold up and down.

That said, BlendMounts are only available for BlackVue dash cams and are mainly suitable for Gladiators and JL Wranglers due to their unique roll cage and rearview mirror setups.For further BlendMount recommendations and information, please reach out to BlendMount directly, as mounts are vehicle-specific.

Record every Off-Road adventure with a Dash Cam!

Whichever method you choose to install with, you can rest assured that your off-roadster remains protected from the unexpected, whether you’re cruising down the highway or hitting the trail. For more general advice on installations, check out our dash cam installation hub here.

For more questions, please reach out to our support team here.