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Common Dash Cam Wiring Issues for Chrysler Vehicles

Of the Big 3 American automakers, Chrysler is the one that dares to be different. For nearly 100 years, Chrysler has made moves that no other automaker could even imagine, like building a jet-engined sedan, innovating with turbocharged 4-cylinder engines in the ‘80s when the competition was all about V6 power, and building family SUVs with 710-horsepower V8s.

However, as innovative and quirky as Chrysler might be with its engineering, this also applies to the electrical system design in many of their modern vehicle models. We have received many inquiries about this, especially from our customers who want to have their dash cams or battery packs hardwired into their Chrysler products. This is particularly seen in Chrysler products released from 1997 onwards.

In this article, we will provide insights on Chrysler wiring issues, and recommendations on how to install your dash cam properly.

Understanding the Issue

The fundamental issue is the lack of an internal fuse box in many modern Chrysler vehicles, which use what Chrysler calls a Power Distribution Center (PDC) or Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM). The PDC or TIPM is a single fuse and relay box in the vehicle’s engine compartment, which is difficult to access from the interior.

Chrysler vehicles that use a PDC or TIPM include, but are not limited to:

  • Chrysler: 200 (2011—2014), Pacifica, PT Cruiser (2006+), Sebring (2007+), Town & Country (2001+), Voyager (2001+)
  • Dodge: Avenger (2007+), Caliber, Caravan (2001+), Dakota (1997+), Journey (2009—2010), Mini Ram Van (2001+)
  • Jeep: Compass (2007—2016), Gladiator (2020+), Patriot, Wrangler (2007+)
  • Lancia: Flavia (2012+), Voyager
  • Ram: 1500 (2002—2018), 1500 Classic, C/V Tradesman, Heavy Duty (2002+)
  • Sterling: Bullet

This also applies to Chrysler-designed and produced vehicles for other manufacturers, such as the Mitsubishi Raider and Volkswagen Routan.

Chrysler vehicles based on Mercedes-Benz platforms have their own unique issues, adopting another fuse box-related design quirk from their German cousins. While these models have internal fuse boxes, they are located in the rear—usually in the trunk or under the rear seat—instead of being up at the front of the vehicle. Even if there is a front fuse box, it is unlikely that it will have both the ACC and constant connections required for the hardwired installation. This makes powering the front dash cam unit more challenging.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of affected Chrysler models, based on the Mercedes platform:

  • Chrysler: 300 (2005+)
  • Dodge: Challenger (2008+), Charger (2005—2023), Durango (2010+)
  • Jeep: Grand Cherokee (2011—2021)
  • Lancia: Thema (2011+)

Our Dash Cam Installation Tips for Chrysler Vehicles

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

Basic Issues and DIY Installation Tips

Consider using an OBD-II power cable for a plug-and-play installation. If your Ford vehicle has a cigarette socket that stays on while the ignition is off, but you don’t want to hardwire your dash cam. An OBD-II power cable allows you to enjoy the same plug-and-play convenience without worrying about a dead car battery by using the vehicle’s OBD-II port as a switched power source. Unlike a cigarette socket, the OBD-II port can also provide constant power, which works in conjunction with the switched signal to enable proper parking mode operation—just as you would get by hardwiring the dash cam. With that said, it’s worth noting that the OBD-II port cannot be used to power a battery pack as it doesn’t supply the current needed, and OBD-II ports may not be available for much older or imported vehicles. Furthermore, OBD cables are great at bypassing delayed ACC fuses. The most limiting factor when it comes to OBD cables is it’s only offered by certain brands, like Thinkware or FineVu.

Test for delayed ACC fuses when hardwiring. To properly identify such fuses, we recommend testing fuses initially, then leaving the fuse box cover and closest door open for 15~ minutes, and then returning to it for testing; a practice we follow in all of our Ford installs. Any fuses that lost power during that waiting period are your delayed ACC fuses, while the ones that remain powered are your constant fuses. Testing should be done with a circuit tester or multimeter.

Clearance Issues with Tight Fuseboxes

Some fuseboxes lack sufficient clearance for add-a-fuses, being too tight and narrow to properly connect these essential components of Dash Cam installation. Here are some resolutions to this.

Consider using pigtail fuses. Like an add-a-fuse, a pigtail fuse has a wire that diverts power from the original circuit to a new accessory but with the same low profile as a standard fuse. In the case of a dash cam installation, you’ll simply have to splice the ACC and constant leads from the hardwiring kit into the wire on the pigtail fuse. If you’re installing a battery pack or a hardwiring kit without inline fuses, you can simply add your own inline fuses of appropriate amperage. However, to prevent fires or electrical issues, the wire on the pigtail fuse must be of equal or lower gauge (i.e. thicker) than the wire on your hardwiring kit.

Consider wiring battery packs using relays. If you plan on installing a battery pack but your fuse box doesn’t provide enough clearance for an add-a-fuse, this will likely prove more difficult, but it is ideal. A relay setup interfaces with any non-essential ACC connection to act as a switch. It allows the battery pack to draw from a suitable constant connection only when the vehicle is running, acting as a countermeasure to protect your vehicle’s battery and electrical system. Depending on your vehicle, this may either be done with or without splicing. Doing this may expose you to high voltage, so this should only be done by professionals or individuals with the necessary skillset and electrical experience.

Consider getting a professional installation. If the advice above seems beyond your experience or skillset, we recommend seeking professional assistance. A reputable local auto electrician or car electronics installer should be able to do the job. At our shop, we have completed installations into many Ford vehicles with no issues.

And that’s how you can work around the common wiring issues with Ford vehicles! For more installation guides, visit our Dash Cam Installation Hub here. If you are in or near the Vancouver, BC area, book an installation appointment with us here.

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