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Electron Summit White NK13...107k 91.5 and rising
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I decided to have a go at freeing off my seized mirrors (as a prelude to a more ambitious project more of which later). As I doubt there are many owners now who do not have seized mirrors, I thought I would share what I've learnt in the process.

EDIT: If you are thinking of doing this make sure you read all three parts !!

The mirror consists of 6 parts:
  1. The 'mazac' metal 馃ぃ pylon that is bolted to the door (together with two trim pieces that cover it
  2. The main mirror housing that sits on top of the pylon (and is supposed to rotate rearwards when struck), and to which the repeater lamp is screwed
  3. The top front cover in body colour that sits on the main housing
  4. The black bezel that holds the cover onto the housing
  5. The electric mirror adjuster plate that screws into the housing
  6. The mirror itself that clips onto the adjuster plate
It is fairly straightforward to disassemble the mirror unit provided you take things slowly.

Firstly, push the mirror fully in on the side next to the door. That will allow you to insert a med-large flat blade screwdriver at the bottom of the now exposed outside edge. Get it in as far as you can and try to pop the mirror off by rotating the screwdriver. Applying pressure near the centre rather than trying to pull it off from the edge is the best way to ensure you don't crack the mirror. It will be stiff but it will come off - it is only clipped on. Disconnect the two heating power cables from the mirror and remove.

Now you will see the round mirror electric adjuster plate. It is held on by three T10 screws around the outside. Be careful that you don't lose the T10 screws, unplug the small black connector and remove.

The black bezel is attached at the bottom by two clips and at the top by small hooks so that to remove it you have to hinge it upwards around the top edge. To get it started, grasp the bezel at the lower corner nearest the door and flex it outwards. Not too hard or roughly, but you should soon hear first one then another rather loud 'crack's which is the clips letting go. I've done two of these now and not broken either but it sounds like they are breaking. Then rotate the bezel upwards to unhook the top clips and put it away safely.


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The body coloured cover is not really clipped on. The bezel holds it in place so it is really just sitting in place on the housing. But you will have to ease three little straight tabs that are along the top edge that you can easily see now. Now remove two T10 screws that hold the repeater indicator lamp in place, disconnect the plug and put that and the screws safely away. Remember where all the wires are routed for re-assembly.

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Now the pivot is exposed and that is where the problem lies. You can see the 'mazac' tube pillar with a large starlock washer. This holds a large spring in place which is what is supposed to hold the rotating part of the mirror onto the base. Remove the starlock washer by bending the tabs upwards with small but strong screwdriver and when you have got enough of them bent to free the washer it will suddenly pop off under the pressure of the spring.

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Now, if your mirror was not seized, it would lift off at this point. But the horrible 'mazac' metal has corroded and formed an oxide powder that has filled up the space between the plastic and the metal at the moving surfaces. There are two problem areas: one you can see - the plastic tube surrounding the pillar; and one you cannot which is a slightly tapered ring underneath the larger diameter plastic base (see last picture). Now it is a matter of Plus Gas around the tube (assisted by drilling pilot holes downwards between the plastic and the metal); forcing the rotating part upwards with a couple of wood chisels wedged gently between the upper and lower parts and working the top part back and forth. Nothing happens for quite a long time, but eventually it starts to move and then suddenly it is free and lifts off.

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Then it is a matter of cleaning everything up, carefully removing all of the corrosion products from the plastic, greasing and re-assembly. You can either flatten and re-use the starlock washer or get a new one off ebay for a couple of quid (I think it is 25mm). If you get a new one remember to transfer the nylon washer over. Getting the starlock back on will require either some sort of jury rig with a large G-clamp (or possibly a valve spring compressor). I have also seen it done on other mirrors (it's a standard method of attachment for mirrors) by using a large socket on top of the starlock and heavy hammer to whack it back into place. UPDATE: None of these methods will easily (or safely) work - but don't despair - see next episode below ;)

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I've not replaced mine yet because the next project is to convert them to power folding and I'll let you know how that goes.... 馃 馃
 

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Electron Summit White NK13...107k 91.5 and rising
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
PART TWO

I was feeling a bit guilty about glibly saying just put it all back together and having inspected the mechanism more closely I'm going to have to revisit my plans to make them power folding. So I have re-assembled the mirror for now and it was a little more challenging than I imagined. The main problem is that the spring GM used is massively over-specced for the job, being 4mm wire dia with a compression load fitted of about 15Kg. So it puts up quite a fight when you try to persuade it to ease off for a minute to let you get the starlock washer back on. Forget everything I said about G-clamps etc - here is how I did it.

First, clean everything up and smear a bit of lubricant on the metal cup - I used bike chain spray grease. In the second picture you can see where the starlock washer sits at the top of the tube. The vertical channel is what I drilled to get the Plus Gas in when dismantling.

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Feed the cables through the housing and locate it back onto the pillar in its normal position, ensuring it sits snugly into the locating slots in the base. Now, here is the point where I spent some time struggling with the spring because it is very strong. I tried all sorts: G-clamps with a block of wood underneath, even cable ties as spring compressors. Eventually, I decided to ease the problem and also make the mirror easier to move once re-assembled by cutting one turn of the spring off with an angle grinder, making sure to leave a nice long horizontal taper to seat onto.

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Now the problem is much more manageable. Poke the wires back into the tube temporarily to get them out of the way and then put the shortened spring and the straightened starlock washer in place. Take a large socket (about 2") so that it lies on the rim of the starlock and clears the locking tabs, get it all lined up with a bit of pre-load by hand then tap it smartly with a hammer to push the starlock into place.

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Now extract the wires and route them through the housing in the right place, and re-assemble the mirror housing, starting with the indicator repeater. When putting the bezel back on, first check that all the cables are coming through in the right place - mirror heater by one of the clips, adjustment motor from the bottom. It is easiest if you stand in front of the mirror and support it with your body, then pull the bezel on towards you remembering to hinge from the top. It will make an awful cracking noise again as the two clips take hold but that seems to be normal. Three screws hold the mirror motor in place after you have inserted the connector, then attach the mirror heater wires to the mirror and clip it into the motor. The reduced spring pressure has made no difference to the stability of the mirror, but I can now pull it back towards the door with little more than finger pressure (or rather SWMBO can 馃槃). Much easier now in supermarket carparks. Just the driver's door to do now.

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Electron Summit White NK13...107k 91.5 and rising
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'll be very interested in this if you can make it work!
I'll post the results in a separate thread eventually, but to whet your appetite, the building blocks are a couple of salvaged power fold mirrors from Peugeot 307, a nice illuminated momentary ON_OFF_ON switch from an old Mercedes and a Chinese power windows relay for the timed logic. I selected the Peugeot items because they were the cheapest salvage I could find but in fact they seem to be the perfect choice because they are completely self-contained with motor, limit switches and pedestrian-friendly knock-back all built in to a compact unit that will (I hope) fit into the space available. We shall see. Just got to find the courage to make the first cut. :unsure:
 

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Electron Summit White NK13...107k 91.5 and rising
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
PART THREE - The Driver's Door

Well, this was an emotional experience for both of us.

The driver's door mirror was even more solidly lodged in the metal cup than the first one I did on the passenger side. So much so that the plastic parted company leaving me with the mirror frame in one hand and the plastic cup still sitting in the metal holder. Even with full visibility and access, it still would not budge though. So in the end I was obliged to hammer a screwdriver through the plastic to get underneath it and lever it out. Like a lizard grabbed by the tail, it then sacrificed one third of itself so that the rest could stay in the cup! Eventually though I did get the last piece out. Full marks to the rubbish metal casting, that it stood up to all the levering very well - they ought to make toys for kids from it.

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As you can see the metal cup was absolutely rammed with corrosion deposits. It is like the limescale in a kettle and 2-3mm thick in places.

But it is fairly easy to scrape out and fettle with a small rotary wire brush in a drill.

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Now to stick the mirror frame back together. I don't think the mirror frame is ABS - the shell and bezel definitely are. But the frame feels less brittle and as there was a good area of broken surface I thought I would be in with a chance. Plastics are notoriously difficult to stick with adhesive and with the objective being to actually have the mirror moving again I wasn't sure how it would work out - even Gorilla glue has lots of exceptions. But I found a Locktite product that claims to do the job. It has an activator like a felt tip pen that you wipe over both surfaces before dripping the superglue on just one side. The superglue instantly turns white but does not set until you bring the pieces together, and I have to say it seemed to work. I then reinfoced it with ordinary superglue dripped right around the fracture line, reinforced with baking powder tamped in. I think the baking powder forms a matrix that gives strength to the bond which you don't normally get with superglue if there are any gaps.

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Anyway, 24hrs later and it feels as solid a rock. So all back together as per the other side. Only this time I took a quarter turn more off the spring to reduce the pressure (and therefore load on the glued joint) even further.

So I hope that this might give some of you the confidence to try this in the knowledge that even if things go horribly wrong it is possible to still get a reasonable result. But be prepared for a long weekend though !!

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Thank you Spindrift. My car鈥檚 mirrors are solid, and I was reluctant to break things while trying to fix them, but your instructions will hopefully help a lot. Did you manage to motorise them eventually?
 

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Electron Summit White NK13...107k 91.5 and rising
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Did you manage to motorise them eventually?
No - not yet. I've got all the parts and been through it all in my head many times, but we don't seem to have had a single decently warm weekend without a threat of rain since March when I can get down to it. It is also a one-way street as I'll have to cut off the central locating tube (or most of it) to mount the motorised baseplate and also cut off the locating boss that I so carefully stuck together. Ideally I would have a spare to play with but they are too damn expensive. I'll write it all up in a separate post if it's successful.

Good luck with unsticking yours. I can tell you that I've had no problems with mine since I did the job. In fact the drivers side was struck by a Mercedes in a hurry a couple of weeks ago and there wasn't a mark on it to show. I hate to think what would have happened if it had still been locked solid.
 

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Thanks. I hope you manage the mod ok. It鈥檚 always a bit stressful taking a hacksaw to expensive parts!
 

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No - not yet. I've got all the parts and been through it all in my head many times, but we don't seem to have had a single decently warm weekend without a threat of rain since March when I can get down to it. It is also a one-way street as I'll have to cut off the central locating tube (or most of it) to mount the motorised baseplate and also cut off the locating boss that I so carefully stuck together. Ideally I would have a spare to play with but they are too damn expensive. I'll write it all up in a separate post if it's successful.
I'd be interested whether you succeed or not, although it'd great if it all worked.

Both my Chevi mirrors were seized when I bought the car, but I accidentally hit a wooden fence post with the passenger side mirror, but it freed it off in a jiffy. Pretty the same wouldn't work for the driver side. I wouldn't recommend this method.
 
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