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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > DIY Guides > DIY: drill method to fix mirrors that rotate all the way forward



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      11-26-2017, 05:36 PM   #1
dangdude
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DIY: drill method to fix mirrors that rotate all the way forward

Side mirrors rotate all the way forward due to 2 unrelated failures. One failure is the bump cam was dislodged and then snapped into the wrong indent. To fix this, you must rotate the mirror relative to the bump cam until you find the correct indent.

The second (worse) failure is the slider pin that locates the mirror's open position becomes stuck in its cylinder, not providing the resistance the mirror motor needs to find the intended open position. This DIY addresses the slider pin failure.

One gentleman posted a video on how to fix this failure the "right" way. A big thanks to him, as I studied his video to find this workaround. Study this video to understand what the parts look like inside.


Instead of complete disassembly as in the video, after taking off the mirror shell, I drilled a hole from the top to access and clean out the spring and slider pin.

Disclaimer: I have spare mirrors. This is a hack. Perform at your own risk. This DIY is primarily to show where to drill the hole. This method worked for me but I am a hack. I don't even use BMW branded coolant.

1. Gently pry off the mirror shell, and use a trash bag or something to keep degreaser off your pretty door. Here, I have already sprayed engine degreaser around in an attempt to release the pin with no luck before deciding to drill a hole.
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2. Drill a small hole through the potmetal casing from the top. You can see where I drilled and missed; the intersection of the two red lines is where you should drill to hit the center of the pin cylinder. The center of the cylinder is 1/4" and 1/16" from the edges of the cast vertical spline as shown by the offset dimensions in the pic. Drill with a 1/16" or 3/32" drill bit.

You can see my hole was initially in the wrong spot. I used a pick to feel around and push down in the hole, but I could not get the pin down. The mirror still rotated all the way forward.
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3. Enlarge the hole if need be to expose the spring and cylinder where the pin resides from the top. What you see here inside the hole is the left side of the slider pin cylinder, and the small ring is the slider pin spring in the cylinder. Fortunately, there's more than half of the "ceiling" of the cylinder left for the spring to push against. Your goal is to drill a hole inside the cylinder the first time so you can clean it out.

After drilling the hole, clean it well with degreaser and push it down with a pick. Now test your mirror--mine stopped in the correct location after this step.
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4. Use an acid brush or other small brush to remove as much potmetal as you can, then pack the cylinder with dry graphite lubricant. All that shiny stuff in the hole is dry graphite lubricant. You can use grease but I thought dry lube is best here given why I'm drilling into it in the first place. If your hole is really tiny, you may be better off with a pressurized lubricant that you can spray through the hole, like lithium grease or even wd-40.
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5. Cover the hole with aluminum duct tape. Make sure the outside of the potmetal is very clean--no tape will stick to graphite or grease.
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6. Reattach the mirror shell. It's easiest to push on the mirror to break the bump cam, which lifts the mirror a little, and push the mirror all the way into the door to get the mirror shell back on.

Again, thanks to the original video author for explaining the failure, and I hope you find this method (though hackier) is easier than drilling out and welding the spring clamp. Good luck--let us know if this works for you!
Dan H

Last edited by dangdude; 12-11-2017 at 08:43 PM..
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      12-11-2017, 08:48 PM   #2
dangdude
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FYI just found another thread explaining this method; cross-posting it.
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...php?p=11747201
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      03-06-2018, 03:35 PM   #3
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Smile Quick and Cheap Fix for folding Mirror Problem

I was about to tackle this repair with the drill option when I had another idea. It's pretty cold in my garage (less than 40 F) here in the U.P. and I worried about breaking one of the plastic tabs that hold the mirror housing cover in place. Instead of taking the cover off, I sprayed large amounts of WD-40 into the small gap between the mirror housing and the mount from all angles I could reach. I repeated the process several times, and lo and behold, by the next morning, the mirror had found its own way back to where it's supposed to park and now it works. As most farm boys know, it's not really broken until you determine that WD-40, baling wire, and duct tape won't fix the problem.
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      03-11-2018, 03:42 PM   #4
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My driver's side mirror was stuck like above, but while trying to get it fixed, it quit altogether, so I replaced it with another "gently used" mirror from eBay...works fine but now when it folds in the passenger side folds out and when it folds out (normal position) the passenger side folds in!!!! Anyone encounter this?? ...and any ideas on what might be the problem? Thanks.
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      10-28-2018, 12:16 AM   #5
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My intermittently-broken mirrors decided to start folding all the way out every time after letting my car sit for the summer while I chased an oil leak. Guessing I left them mechanically folded too long in my garage and the pins got stuck in. Something to keep in mind if you store your car or leave it parked for long periods of time.

Anyways, guess its time to give this DIY a try. @dangdude how's the fix holding up?

Side-note, the dude in that video is unintentionally hilarious. "I have no idea what these parts are. Probably no-one does. Unless they are a mirror expert" "Tip, don't break that thing like I did"
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      11-04-2018, 12:32 AM   #6
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hey thefrog1394 the mirror I drilled is still working great. If it ever acts up again, I can always pop the cover off and add more dry lube and/or wd-40. Good luck, let us know what you try and how it worked.
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      11-07-2018, 11:21 PM   #7
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No luck here. One side I was able to get the pin to drop, but I had to keep pressure on it or it would stick back in the up position as soon as I pressed the mirror fold button. Cut the wire with the pin dropped, so at least this one is solid. My other mirror, I couldn't even get the pin to drop. Ended up making a big mess drilling around trying to get better access. Cut the wire on that mirror too, but without the pin holding it, it's got about 10 degrees of play. Usable, but I'll probably replace it eventually.

For anyone coming by reading this, if this problem is just starting to occur intermittently, I'd personally recommend just cutting the white wire to be done with it. Wish I'd done that a year ago and not set myself up to need a new passenger mirror. You can always fold the mirrors manually.
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      11-23-2019, 10:28 PM   #8
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If it doesn't work try this

I followed the steps in this thread and the 1/4", 1/16" measurement was absolutely spot on for the location of the cylinder that the pin and spring sit in. I drilled this spot with a 3/32" bit. I tried wd40, liquid wrench, lithium grease and tried pushing down the pin with a small Allen wrench, a pick and even tried hammering it with a nail. Despite all this the pin wouldn't budge. Instead I tried to screw in a spare self tapping screw that I had in my tool box. Not sure the exact size but it engaged the walls of the cylinder and advanced enough with a screwdriver to push the pin down and the power mirrors work perfectly again. I ended up just leaving the screw in place. Hopefully this can help someone whose pin was seized like mine was. Attached a few pics in case what I'm writing doesn't make sense.
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      09-11-2022, 05:30 PM   #9
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Thanks so much for posting!
Simply drilling and poking and prodding did not work.
But - the screw in the hole did the trick for me.
Thanks!
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      10-02-2023, 09:34 PM   #10
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Welp, I drilled out my drivers mirror and none of these things worked. I may have drilled into the pin? Can't get the pin to budge that I can tell. Screwed a screw in like above and it does nothing but push against the mirror base. Can't tell if I'm screwing into the pin. Don't want to drill bigger, but now the mirror is a bit loose on the rotation axis. Not great.

Edit: Left the mirror in an odd position all night after spraying a bunch of WD-40 in the hole. Realized I actually left them in the folded position, unfolded them, and boom, they were finally in the right spot!! I can see out of my driver's mirror for the first time in like 6 months! I was actually researching buying a whole new mirror housing last night haha. Thanks for the help!

Last edited by dcorn; 10-03-2023 at 08:32 PM..
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      11-20-2023, 09:37 PM   #11
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Driver mirror body continues to annoyingly fold forward, even after making sure pin moves freely. Folds and remains forward after vehicle is turned off, when opening trunk and when using power fold button. No fault codes. Mirror glass adjusts fine. Pulled connectors, no corrosion. Unsuccessful with multiple reset options, and attempts to find design “zero” point. Passenger mirror and mirror body work perfectly !

Is there a software upgrade, or, is this another software “glitch” ?
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