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BMW E36 M3 Mirror Upgrade

Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E36 M3 Mirror Upgrade


2 hours2 hrs






Stubby flatblade screwdriver, 10mm socket and driver,

Applicable Models:

BMW E36 3-Series (1992-99)

Parts Required:

BMW M3 style mirrors

Performance Gain:

Give your E36 M3 style

Complementary Modification:

Paint the mirrors to match your car
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Installing M3-style mirrors is one of those neat projects that can really add some spice to the look of your car without taking up too much of your time. The total install time for a pair of mirrors should be less than two hours.

The mirrors are attached to the door with three bolts hidden from view by a small plastic panel that is easily popped off the door. Once the panel is popped off, you can unbolt the old mirrors and bolt in your new ones.

The toughest part of the job is actually finding a set of mirrors that will match your body color. If your car is white or black, there are usually aftermarket mirrors available in those two colors. Any other color will need to be custom-painted to match your body paint. There are many different mirrors out there, and they vary in quality. I prefer the German OEM mirrors from BMW, but they can be quite expensive (about $200 each from

Some aftermarket mirrors are manufactured with an additional lamp in the side. This can be wired to either to your parking lamps or your turn-signal lamps. Either one requires additional wiring to be threaded through the door, so I usually don't recommend this approach. Most of the cars I have seen with lamps in the side of the mirrors don't actually have them connected, they are just for show.

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Figure 1

You donÂÂ't need to remove the door panel to access the mirror mounting points. Simply pry off the top plastic piece (inset photo) and slide it upward to remove it. Underneath, you will see the three bolts that hold the mirror to the door. Disconnect the wire harness, remove the bolts, and the mirror should fall right off the door. Make sure you grab the mirror while removing the last bolt or it will fall and scratch your paint.

Figure 2

Shown here are the M3-style mirrors installed. This particular mirror set contains an extra lamp inside the mirror, a neat feature but one that requires you to run extra wires through the door harnessÂÂ--generally, more trouble than itÂÂ's worth.

Comments and Suggestions:
Ernst Comments: I have a '99 M3 and the right side mirror has been knocked loose. It looks like I should be able to press it back into the slots, but I can't do so. Do I have to disassemble it or is there a way to press fit it on. Nothing appears to be damaged or broken. Thanks
October 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'd have to see a photo of what is broken. I would guess the mounting studs were sheared off. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Janiepoo Comments: I have 2001 Z3 passenger side mirror was knocked loose. Good shape just a little floppy can you tell me or show me how to fix it so it is stable? All wires are attached and working.
August 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It likely requires replacement. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Moran Comments: Do you have a procedure for removing and replacing the sideview mirror motor?
September 5, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What year and model car do you have?
- Nick at Pelican Parts
kahunagirl Comments: i like the idea of having the led lights work
i installed a pair but it seems to me the wiring for the led in the mirrors would be best passed through the factory loom which i found out cant be done! so the wires need to be passed from the door through the tiny opening in the guard between the door jam and connected to the side markers which really looks tacky!
if anyone has has achieved this through the factory loom pls let me know.....
February 8, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is a tool that will get the job done, it is called a wire fish. It is a stiff thin piece of wire with a hook on the end, you feed it through from the backside and hook and tape the wire to the hook and pull. You can try to use thick mechanics wire but it is usually not stiff enough.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Dave Comments: Is the procedure the same for the 4-door 3-series? Should I attempt to pry off the plastic piece in Fig. 1 the same way?
Thanks guys
December 14, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hi there. Yes, this should apply very similarly to the four door cars. These pieces break all the time when they get brittle, I think they are only a few bucks to replace... - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Ramon Comments: Hello
In relation to the cables of type M3 mirrors with LED wires are in the harness for the doors, I mean, the cable that could give you streams to shine the light of the mirror are in harness, you know what these are, I hope thank you very much for your help
November 3, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you want these to work, you can power them to the front turn signals or the front parking lamps. But, you will need to run wires through the door which is not a fun task. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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