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A Guide to Replacing Your Door Mirror Housing
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

A Guide to Replacing Your Door Mirror Housing

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

Paper clip, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 3-Series (1999-06)

Parts Required:

Mirror, Mirror cover, mirror glass, door panel clips

Hot Tip:

Have door panel trim clips on hand in case they break when removing

Performance Gain:

Proper light function

Complementary Modification:

Replace mirror switch

The exterior mirror has a total of three serviceable parts, the glass, the housing and the complete mirror. The mirror glass wears out over time from water contamination and loses its reflectivity. You can replace just the mirror glass when this happens. The housing can become damaged from impact or from the harsh environment. This can also be replaced. However, I suggest replacing the mirror glass along with it as sometimes the mirror glass can break when it is removed. The complete mirror assembly is also available from Pelican Parts and can easily be replaced. 

If replacing the entire mirror assembly, you'll remove the inner door trim panel. Each inner door trim panel is equipped with SRS airbags. For safety reasons, be sure to disconnect the vehicle battery before beginning work on the door panel. See our tech article on the battery.

If for any reason you aim to remove the mirror glass from the mirror housing without shattering the glass, allow the vehicle and glass to reach room temperature before attempting to pry off the mirror glass. Warm glass is far more pliable than cold glass and more likely to remain intact.

In this article, I will go over the steps involved with all parts of the E46 exterior mirror. Locate the part you want to replace and follow the steps.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Mirror Glass Replacement:
Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the mirror glass.
Figure 1

Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the mirror glass. The mirror will pop off from its retaining clips. If the glass is cracked or in the condition where you think it may shatter, cover the mirror with tape to prevent pieces from falling off.

Next, (on vehicle with heated mirrors) disconnect the electrical connectors by pulling them straight off the mirror glass.
Figure 2

Next, (on vehicle with heated mirrors) disconnect the electrical connectors by pulling them straight off the mirror glass. To install the new glass, connect the electrical connectors (if equipped with heated mirrors) then gently snap the mirror glass into place.

Mirror Housing Replacement: 
Next, remove four the Phillips-head screws from the mirror (green arrows).
Figure 3

First remove the mirror glass. See the instructions above.

Next, remove four the Phillips-head screws from the mirror (green arrows).

Then, using a small flathead screwdriver, disengage the mirror housing retaining tabs from the mirror (green arrows).
Figure 4

Then, using a small flathead screwdriver, disengage the mirror housing retaining tabs from the mirror (green arrows).

Then, remove the mirror housing by sliding it off towards front of vehicle.
Figure 5

Then, remove the mirror housing by sliding it off towards front of vehicle. Install the new mirror housing following the reverse order of removal. Be sure the retaining tabs clip back into place and properly align the housing to the mirror.

Mirror Replacement: 
Working at the door hinge area, remove the two plastic rivets (green arrows).
Figure 6

Remove the door trim panel from the door. See our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Removing the Interior Door Panel.

Working at the door hinge area, remove the two plastic rivets (green arrows). I like to use a trim panel tool to pop them out.

Then, peel back the inner door trim from the window rail.
Figure 7

Then, peel back the inner door trim from the window rail. Do this by unclipping the trim piece at the interior side of the door and it peeling off towards the exterior of the door.

Once you get it unclipped, remove the trim piece in area of the tweeter (speaker) at the mirror.
Figure 8

Once you get it unclipped, remove the trim piece in area of the tweeter (speaker) at the mirror. Then you can let the trim hang for the remainder of repair.

Pull the foam insulation off the tweeter (speaker).
Figure 9

Pull the foam insulation off the tweeter (speaker).

Remove three T-30 Torx fasteners.
Figure 10

Remove three T-30 Torx fasteners. When you get to the last fastener, support mirror so it does not fall off the vehicle.

Remove the mirror from the door while guiding the wiring harness out of the door.
Figure 11

Remove the mirror from the door while guiding the wiring harness out of the door.


When installing, follow the reverse order of removal. Be sure to replace any damaged door panel clips. Remember to properly route all wiring as before.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Girds Comments: Your tips and walk throughs are excellent quality and have saved me a huge amount of angst, so thank you very much it is truly appreciated.
August 8, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
J Comments: This mirror is a little different than my 2004 330Ci ZHP Coupe. Does my mirror just pry out as shown in figure 1 or is there also a tab at the bottom of the mirror that I need to deal with? My mirror had a ribbon cable if that is a factor.
May 28, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, it should. Unless it has been glued on by someone. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Garth Comments: Is it possible to just replace the motor without having to replace the entire housing, thus avoiding having to repaint the housing.

Thanks
May 12, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can pull it apart and rebuild, possibly using a donor mirror. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Suvathan Comments: The passenger side mirror will go up and down, but would not go left or right. is it possible that it could be stuck and would require some lubrication to get it working?
March 30, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you cannot move it with your hand then yes, I'd verify that the signal is getting there by looking up the wiring diagram in a repair manual and then using a digital multi meter to verify that the signal is getting to the mirror. If it is but it is still not moving then replace the electric motor. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
steveoh2222 Comments: What is the part number for the clips the hold on the door mirror cover? I recently purchased a 2001 325i and the mirror cover seems to be just resting on the housing with nothing holding it on. It came right off when I washed the car.
March 3, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
simONE Comments: Just discovered your website....amasing...thankyou
Just wish you where located in Brighton UK
February 28, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Glad we could help you!! We appreciate your feedback. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Overboost Comments: Great write up guys, thank you. Retrofitting autofold mirrors and this explained how to remove the painted mirror shell. Just what I needed.
December 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: and - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Midgainc Comments: My daughters E46 lost the passenger side mirror back for unknown reasons. I have source several vendors that have it in stock. Do you have one that is painted? I need a black one for a 330xi.
April 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am pretty sure they all have to be painted. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Erik Walter Comments: I was replacing the mirror glass on my 2004 E46 sedan and as I was removing the heater element connector the flat mylar cable broke just above the clip. Can't find anything on how this can be fixed or even if it can be fixed. Any thoughts?
February 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your only option is to repair the wiring or replace the mirror. You will have to source wire from a local supply store. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Eli Comments: I recently bought the mirror switch for my e46 touring thinking thats why both mirrors wont work cuz of the switch was broken but after replacing it still did the same thing. Do you think the problem is the mirror motors that need to be replaced? I have memory seats but i dont think i have heated mirrors. What do you suggest?
February 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would start by checking if the switch works. Check the signal in and out to the mirrors when you operate the switch, if good, confirm the same signal is getting to the mirror connector. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
phu Comments: my car bmw 46 and the mirror different wire like you post and i want to replace whole mirror without heated,is the wire fit?thanks
December 30, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think the circuit may be there, minus the heater. I can't say for sure. I haven't tried to do that. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Mon 10/23/2017 02:21:45 AM