///M Mirror Base Refurbishment DIY

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Keith
Joined: Sat 07 Nov, 2009 14:56
Posts: 85

  M coupe S50
Location: Maidenhead

///M Mirror Base Refurbishment DIY

Post by Keith » Thu 07 Jan, 2010 20:27

Thought I would do a write up for the DIY I just did on my mirror bases.

Myredzed has done a fantastic write up for the non-///Ms, but the procedure of removal/refit is different for the ///M variants, hence this post. I hope some of you find it useful.

It seems a common problem for the aluminium bases on our mirrors to oxidise, causing unsightly bubbling on an otherwise immaculate car;




I tackled this over the last few days, without too much bother at all. You just need time and patience.

You will need;
1. Allen Keys
2. Torx keys
3. An aerosol can of matched colour (Halfords can make one up for you for about £12)
4. An aerosol can of acid etch primer (normal primer won't key to the aluminium as well as this stuff)
5. An aerosol can of clear lacquer
5. Posidriv Screwdriver
6. Flathead Screwdrivers
7. Masking Tape
8. Long Nosed Pliers


Step 1 - Glass Removal

This can be a bit fiddly, and requires you to push the top of the mirror in as far as it will go, so you can just about see underneath the bottom of the glass and into the guts of the mirror body.

You the need to take a small flathead driver and try to ease the black clips of the mirror itself, off from the white mirror bracket. You will only be able to do the bottom 2;




This picture shows the black clips to identify, and how they are constructed;




This picture shows the mirror bracket you are trying to pop them off from - (note the 4 white studs the clips attach to);




Once you have popped the bottom two off, get your hand behind the glass, and using appropriate force, try to pull the glass off from the top two. This will require some wriggling, but I could not access the top clips at all in the same manner I reached the bottom - the mirror simply does not move far in enough at the bottom to allow you get a screwdriver into the top.

Once the glass is off, simply pull the two wires of the heated glass off. Use some long nose pliers if need be, and put the glass aside safe.

Now the glass is off, you will see this;




Undo the four screws (posidriv), this will release the motor mechanism and allow you access to the back of the motor unit.

There are four terminals in the back - each wire can simply be pulled out using long nose pliers, and you don't need to remember where they go, as the instructions of what-goes-where, are moulded onto the back of the motor unit!




Once these have been removed, put the motor aside.

Feed the heated mirror cables back into the stalk - this will make the wires less bulky and easier to pull through from the other side




Step 2 - Body Removal

Pull out mirror toward you (away from the car) and twist.
Passenger side you pull out and turn clockwise
Driver's side you pull out and turn anti clockwise

This will reveal two hex head (Allen head) bolts which simply unscrew.

NOTE; To reduce the chance of the mirror breaking when trying to twist it (which Jonttt informed me some people have reported), ensure you pull the mirror away from the car by about 4/5mm BEFORE twisting. The mirror body is spring loaded tight to the base, and must be compressed by pulling toward you before rotating :thumb:



Pull the body away from the car, pull off the black rubber base, and gently pull the wires through;

Note the two heated mirror cable coming through to make it easier to pull the rest through...



The body is now free!

For protection against the elements (as the painting takes days), I cleaned up the exposed wires, and then taped them together neatly. This will also make it easier to thread them back into the mirror upon reattachment.

NOTE; Be sure to put a little insulation tape over each metal crimp though, else they will short if you start the car up.

I then covered the hole in the door with a plastic bag and taped it to the side of the car using masking tape, as snow was forecast;




Whilst all the innards of the mirror were out, I cleaned them all up using G101;

There are a couple of door components there too - ignore them!



Step 3 - Prepping The Bases Ready For Paint

You cannot actually separate the base from the mirror body, as the internal bracket will not fit out of the neck... (The ordinary Z3 mirrors are two-piece, so I believe they can be taken apart). On the ///M mirrors, we must just undo the 4 torx bolts that fix the bracket to the body, and then feed the bracket as far out through the neck as it can go. I found turning it 90 degrees allowed it come out the furthest.

Once in a suitable position, tape the bracket in place, to stop it from moving around;

These were taken at the end, when all painted and finished, but you can see how I did it;





Once all bound in place with tape, mask off everything else except the base (I put a freezer bag over each body and taped the rest up), ready for prep.

Using some heavy grit abrasive paper, I attacked the worst of the oxidisation, and then once I got down to the metal, I used varying degrees of wet and dry (200, 400, 800) until I had a smooth transition between paint and metal.

Make sure you get rid of every single area of oxidised aluminium (the white milky stuff), else it'll come back.




De-grease the surface, and the allow it to dry thoroughly - again, any trapped moisture will allow the bubbling to return.

Once thoroughly degreased and dry, you can get on with the painting.


Step 4 - Paint

You must use acid etch primer to allow a good key to the aluminium.

Do one good layer of primer, and allow to dry thoroughly for a good 8 hours - in front of a heater would be even better.

Then use very fine (800 and 1200 grit) wet and dry paper with water to smooth the primed surface - the smoother you make each layer of paint, the better the end result will be.

Once done, dry thoroughly and repeat with a second coat of primer. Again, allow to dry bone dry, so you can wet and dry it smooth once more - this time make sure it has a very smooth finish, as paint is next.

After smoothing;




OK. Now the tricky bit, where you will make or break the final finish - Paint!

What works best for me is a light, constant spray. Have a few trial sprays with the can, just to get used to the feel of the paint can and nozzle.

Once you've nailed the fine spray, whilst holding the mirror in one hand make passes with the spray can, whilst rotating the mirror to ensure all surfaces are evenly covered.

Don't spray on too heavy, else the paint will, run, drip and get air bubbles in it - if this happens, you will have to leave it to dry thoroughly for a day, just so you can sand it back down and start again.

Once you have done one coat, allow to harden overnight.

Lightly sand with very fine wet and dry (1200/1500) using water to lubricate. This will be the last time you sand the surface, so what you do here will determine the final finish. Degrease and dry thoroughly.

Now for the second and final coat of paint. Repeat the step above with regard to spraying - light spray, nice and even, make sure everything is covered.

Allow to dry in front of a gentle heater, or overnight.

Final stage; lacquer. This is much easier than paint, but the same rules apply as if it were paint - make it nice and even, covering everything.

Repeat for a second coat, allow to dry overnight - this was the final coat, and must be left to dry thoroughly, else handling it too early may leave fingerprints in the soft bottom layers of paint/lacquer.

You should be left with an immaculate finish like this;








Happy? :cheers:

Now, remove all masking and if you want, apply a coat of wax.

Realign the bracket in the mirror body, and replace the four torx screws.


Step 5 - Refitting Mirrors

Same as reversal.

1. Feed cables through the rubber base and into the mirror.
2. Fit rubber base to the bottom of the mirror, align, and tighten the two hex bolts attaching the mirror to the car nice and tight.
3. Pull mirror outward, and swivel back to the original position.
4. Re-terminate the wires into the motor unit using the long nose pliers - colours are indicated on each terminal, so you can't get it wrong.
5. Screw motor unit onto body (4 screws).
6. Attach heated mirror wires.
7. Push mirror back onto clips (can be tricky, but persist).

Polish everything up, and admire your 'as-new' bases. 8-)

Note the snow in the background... I cleaned the car with hot water before I reassembled, as snow was totally covering the car! Was absolutely frozen by the end of it all!







Hope you have found this guide helpful, and saved a few quid doing it yourself.

Keith.
Last edited by Keith on Sat 09 Jan, 2010 14:46, edited 11 times in total.

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Ian_C
Joined: Sun 10 Dec, 2006 20:10
Posts: 2412

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Lytham St Annes

Post by Ian_C » Thu 07 Jan, 2010 20:43

Great write up Keith :thumb: - that'll work for the non-///Ms too and will save you having to take the door card off.

Mods - any chance of appending Keith's writeup to the other mirror base refurb entry in the knowledgebase so that we've got all the info in one thread?
Current...1998 ///M Coupe
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Keith
Joined: Sat 07 Nov, 2009 14:56
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  M coupe S50
Location: Maidenhead

Post by Keith » Fri 08 Jan, 2010 15:53

myredzed wrote:Great write up Keith :thumb: - that'll work for the non-///Ms too and will save you having to take the door card off.
Ahh, so even on the non-Ms you don't have to remove your door card? As you do so in yours, I assumed you must have to! The inside of the doorcards look different too, so that also added to the feeling that perhaps the process is different.

I know of your mate - he goes by the username 'Stan 24v' on E46Zone.com, and he told me I should check out your car... Which is very nice indeed mate, a credit to you.
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Jonttt
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  M roadster S54
Location: Liverpool

Post by Jonttt » Fri 08 Jan, 2010 17:08

Great write up Keith but worth a word of warning regarding step 2.

As the mirrors do not get rotated to the base very often (if ever in a lot of cases) they can sieze and be very hard / impossible to rotate. If you force it too much you can actually break the mirror base resulting in a new mirror being required.

Some people rotate their mirrors here whilst washing their car to stop this problem. Keith's was obviously OK but just be careful at this step :wink:

ps If you want this moving to the knowledgebase, its best to pm a site admin with a link to this thread (and the other thread if you want it adding to an existing one) :rtm:
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Ian_C
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Posts: 2412

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Lytham St Annes

Post by Ian_C » Sat 09 Jan, 2010 13:39

Keith wrote: Ahh, so even on the non-Ms you don't have to remove your door card? As you do so in yours, I assumed you must have to! The inside of the doorcards look different too, so that also added to the feeling that perhaps the process is different.
I didn't realise that this was the case until I'd posted my write up. BonBon points it out in the write up thread but there are no pics of the procedure; you're write up has sorted that out perfectly :D
Keith wrote: I know of your mate - he goes by the username 'Stan 24v' on E46Zone.com, and he told me I should check out your car... Which is very nice indeed mate, a credit to you.


Stan looks in on here from time to time too; I've spent many hours fettling his 3 series on my drive! :roll: He mentioned that you'd got an ///M coupe so I was waiting for your first thread to appear on here :wink:
Current...1998 ///M Coupe
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Keith
Joined: Sat 07 Nov, 2009 14:56
Posts: 85

  M coupe S50
Location: Maidenhead

Post by Keith » Sat 09 Jan, 2010 14:27

Jonttt wrote:Great write up Keith but worth a word of warning regarding step 2.

As the mirrors do not get rotated to the base very often (if ever in a lot of cases) they can sieze and be very hard / impossible to rotate. If you force it too much you can actually break the mirror base resulting in a new mirror being required.
As we discussed elsewhere Jonttt, I'm pretty sure the problem lies with people attempting to twist the mirrors without first pulling them away from the body. They will only twist once pulled about 3-5mm away from the base, at which point you can gently twist them.

If you really feel that it is seized, about all you could do is remove the mirror and direct the straw of an aerosol WD40 directly to the spring, as circled in red in the image below. This help loosen things up, but like I say, I'm sure most problems will lie with people not pulling the mirror away from the body enough before twisting.

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Alfie
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  M roadster S54
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Post by Alfie » Sun 10 Jan, 2010 13:25

Good write-up Keith, thanks.

In an attempt to avoid having to do this job at all, whenever I wash the car, I always twist the mirrors and blow out the standing water in the bolt holes in the mirror base. I then leave the mirrors twisted until I next drive the car to allow the remaining moisture to evaporate.

I'm pretty sure that leaving this water contributes to the corrosion in the first place. Also my mirrors don't get seized because I twist them regularly.

Those bolt holes are a design fault and should've been plugged at manufacture.

Cheers.
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Keith
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  M coupe S50
Location: Maidenhead

Post by Keith » Sun 10 Jan, 2010 14:34

Alfie wrote:
In an attempt to avoid having to do this job at all, whenever I wash the car, I always twist the mirrors and blow out the standing water in the bolt holes in the mirror base. I then leave the mirrors twisted until I next drive the car to allow the remaining moisture to evaporate.

I'm pretty sure that leaving this water contributes to the corrosion in the first place. Also my mirrors don't get seized because I twist them regularly.

Those bolt holes are a design fault and should've been plugged at manufacture.
Top tip there Alfie. I too thought that the water in the bolt holes must be a major contributing factor to the oxidisation. You may notice from the pictures I did my refurb in the snow, and when I twisted my mirrors, the holes were plugged with ice cubes!

I think from now on I will do as you do and clear these after each wash - a bit of remaining moisture in there would be ok I guess, but when they are actually brimming with water after a wash/heavy rain, it cannot be a good thing.

Thanks for the valuable input.
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