Does your auto dimming rearview mirror look like a sickly lava lamp? Here's how to fix it.
My auto dimming rearview mirror has not worked since I bought the car about 3 years ago. I put some electrical tape over the bad spot, but it just kept getting worse until I couldn't stand it anymore, so I decided to fix it. Here's what it looked like:
I talked to my local Volvo dealer to see how much it would cost for a replacement. $580 for the part (because it has a computer in it, believe it or not), $41 for programming (because it won't work on my car unless they program it too), plus labor for a mechanic (because I can't change it myself). Total? $700 +.
I saw on another form where a guy changed out just the glass and it worked on his car, so that's what I did on mine (thanks to Rick Good for his help). I ordered a used mirror from http://www.vandsautodismantlers.com
, for $80, then went to work. With this method you don't need the dealer or the programming because you keep the computer section and just change out the bad mirror glass.
Tools required: T-30 Torx bit, jeweler's screwdriver, 10mm socket and wrench, needle-nosed pliers, heat gun, soldering iron, plastic putty knife.
To remove the old mirror from the car, first disconnect the battery negative cable and wait 10 minutes.
Use a small screwdriver to pry the rear of the center trim down:
Pull the rear of the trim down and pivot it forward:
Push the two plastic cover retaining clips to the side:
And remove the cover:
Remove the two 10mm bolts holding the mirror mount:
Now release the mirror and light housing from the headlliner by turning the two rotary catches downward:
And pushing the six clips toward the center of the car:
Pull the ground connector loose:
And remove the housing from the headliner. Let it hang by the wiring.
Use the T-30 Torx bit to remove the mirror retaining screw from the top of the mirror/light housing. Be sure to hang on to the cone-shaped lockwasher:
Now the mirror will be hanging from its wiring. Pry the back cover off the mirror:
Now remove the wiring retaining spring from the back of the mirror:
Use the jeweler's screwdriver to push up the catch on the wiring plug, then push it out the back of the mirror:
You now have the mirror loose. Take it over to a workbench and remove the front cover by inserting the jeweler's screwdriver and depressing the catches along the seam at the following points:
And the cover will come off with the computer and mirror in it. Release the plastic clips holding the photo sensor board in the top of the front cover. Be very careful not to break off the photo sensor from the back side of the board or to put too much stress on the ribbon wires.
Remove the mirror/computer combo from the cover:
Unsolder the two wires from the mirror glass at the posts as shown by the yellow arrows in the following pic:
Repeat the separation steps for the junkyard mirror. You might want to mark the computer from your car so that you don't get it mixed up the junkyard computer since it won't work in your car.
A piece of double-sided tape holds the computer on the back of the mirror. Draw a line around the computer board on the junkyard mirror (the one you're going to put in the car) so that you can position the computer from your car on it correctly (if you don't, the light sensor for the front of the mirror won't line up correctly). Do this next part very carefully. You don't want to crack the computer circuit board!
Now use your heat gun sparingly to heat the mirror and work the plastic putty knife between the glass and the computer circuit board. On the junkyard mirror I heated the computer side and worked the putty knife in between the computer and the tape to preserve the tape as much as possible. On the mirror from my car I heated the glass side and worked the putty knife in between the tape and the mirror to prevent heat damage to the computer. When I got them apart the tape easily peeled off the back of the computer.
Now heat the surface of the double-sided tape on the good mirror and stick your car computer board on it making sure that it fits within the lines you drew earlier. Hold it down until the tape cools. Solder the mirror wires to the computer board prongs. Snap the photo sensor board into the mirror cover, insert the mirror/computer combo into the cover, then snap the housing onto the cover.
Reassemble the car reversing the steps above. Don't forget to connect the ground wire and secure the two rotary catches at the top of the mirror/light housing. Reconnect the battery negative lead and enjoy your "new" mirror. You just saved about $600.
I'll post this in the repair database.