DIY: How to change wing (side) mirror glass. BMW E46 M3 (& other BMW's)

Discussion in 'MirrorJohn' started by MirrorJohn, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. 14 Aug 2019 at 5:09 PM #1
    MirrorJohn

    MirrorJohn Sponsor

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    Step by Step guide to changing the wing mirror glass on your M3. Only takes a couple of minutes per side. This really is one of the simplest jobs you can do on your BMW, but it will be even simpler using my step by step guide below.

    ***This guide refers to changing mirror glass on a BMW E46 M3 (2001-2006) but even though the glass looks different, the same process can be applied to any BMW wing mirror glass change***

    Bare minimum tools required:

    [​IMG]

    Thin flat head screwdriver.


    Ideally though, have this to hand:

    [​IMG]

    Thin flat head screwdriver, needle nose pliers, insulating tape & scissors/knife.


    You will also need a pair of my excellent quality wing mirror glass and if your M3 is pre-2005, you will also need heater extensions wires:

    [​IMG]

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    My wing mirror glass for sale thread is here:

    https://forums.m3cutters.co.uk/threads/for-sale-new-e46-m3-wing-mirror-glass-pair.108187/

    Discounted price to forum members who buy directly through here. PM me for details.



    Regarding the difference in glass for different ages of M3. Approx. late 2004 BMW changed the design of wing mirror glass fitted to the E46 M3. If your M3 is a 2005 or a 2006 it will definitely have the newer style fitted. If your car is a late 2004 you are around the crossover point. so you could have either. Best way is to check.

    There is no obvious logical reason why BMW changed the design. My guess would be down to costs. The older style glass used a 'locking ring' mechanism on the back to secure the mirror in to the mirror housing. It also has the heated glass connections on the outside edge on the back of the glass (furthest away from the car). Like below:

    [​IMG]


    When BMW changed the glass, they completely removed the locking ring method of securing and went with the 'clip on' style glass. Also they moved the position of the heated glass terminals on to the inside edge of the glass (closest to the car). I cant even guess as to why they bothered to move the terminals!
    This is what the back of the newer style glass looks like:

    [​IMG]


    Bmw no longer make or sell the older style glass with the locking ring. Even if this is the type of wing mirror glass that your M3 is fitted with; if you go to BMW to buy new glass then they will sell you the newer clip-on style. The wing mirror bodies are the same internally regardless, so this newer style clip on glass fits all M3's. My high quality glass that I sell is also clip on, just like the BMW glass (but much cheaper). Like BMW glass, mine is also heated, has a slight tint (for anti-dazzle) and has a wide angle section at the edges to help you see in your blind spot.

    [​IMG]


    If your car is not an 05 or and 06 then the safest option is to check whether you have the locking ring or not. To be honest, it doesn't to check regardless of age. Some earlier M3's have already had the glass changed to the newer clip on style and I have even seen some newer M3's that have the older locking ring glass fitted. To be safe check regardless. The process for checking and removing glass is detailed below:
     
  2. 14 Aug 2019 at 5:10 PM #2
    MirrorJohn

    MirrorJohn Sponsor

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    Changing Wing mirror glass

    First angle the wing mirror glass upwards (pointing towards the sky) as far as it will go.

    ***It doesn't hurt the mirror mechanism to manually move the glass with your hands. You do not need to do it using the mirror controls in the car. This is the way I always do it and it will be more important later when you refit the new glass, so push the glass upwards (by pushing on the top part of the glass inwards) using your hands***

    [​IMG]

    Once the glass is angled upwards look underneath for the release lever for the locking ring mechanism. You may need to use a light from your phone or a torch, but you are looking in the gap underneath the glass inside the mirror housing. This is what you are looking for:

    [​IMG]

    It is quite hard to photograph, but you should be able to see it in the photo above and where you should be looking. This is the tab in question:

    [​IMG]

    and what it looks like from the back:

    [​IMG]


    Now if you cant see this tab underneath it means either you have a newer M3 with the clip-on glass fitted from the factory or your older M3 has already had the glass changed once with the newer style glass. If so, then you pull this glass off to release it. Get your fingers under the bottom edge of the glass and gently pull towards you / upwards. Bear in mind that there is often double sided tape on the back which can be quite sticky. Gently work it off the tape if so.

    ***PLEASE NOTE: Do not pull it too hard as the heated glass connections will still be on the back off the glass and you do not want to pull the wires out of the terminals***

    ***WARNING. If your mirrors do have the locking ring / lever mechanism and you try pulling the glass off like above, you will most likely break something inside your mirror housing***

    If your mirror does have the tab with the hole in the middle hanging down that you can see, then you need to get your small flat head screwdriver. Push the end into the hole in the middle of the tab. If you no realise the screwdriver you got is too big, go and find a smaller one!

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With the screwdriver inserted through this hole in the middle of the tab push to the right to release the locking mechanism. It wont move that far, maybe 15mm, then stop. You are effectively turning the locking ring anti-clockwise.

    Looking from the back, this is a photo of the ring in it's 'locked' position before you start:

    [​IMG]

    and this is it un-locked:

    [​IMG]

    Not a huge amount of movement as you can see, but enough to un-lock the glass from the mechanism.

    ***PLEASE NOTE that whether you are changing the left or right wing mirror glass, you still turn the locking lever to the right (anti-clockwise) to release the mechanism***

    Once you have release the locking ring you can pull the glass off. Get your fingers under the bottom edge and gently pull the glass towards you / upwards. Please bear in mind there will be double sided tape on the back which is very sticky, so you will need to ease it off the tape gently.

    [​IMG]

    ***PLEASE NOTE: Do not pull it too hard as the heated glass connections will still be on the back off the glass and you do not want to pull the wires out of the terminals***

    When the mirror is released you need to pull both plugs off the terminals on the back of the glass. They will be quite stiff, so holding on to the plug on the end of the wire try wiggling it as you pull it.

    ***DO NOT pull via the cable itself as you are likely to pull the wire out the end of the connector. Always pull on the plug
     
  3. 14 Aug 2019 at 5:11 PM #3
    MirrorJohn

    MirrorJohn Sponsor

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    Now you are ready to re-fit your nice new glass:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    First you need to fit the heater extension wire (if required). It normally depends if you need this on age of M3. If your M3 is a late 2005 or 2006 then you should need this. The reasoning is that the wires for the heated glass already come out on the inner side of the mirror housing (closest to the car). This is obviously where the terminals are on the back of the new glass. If your M3 is an earlier model that has the older style glass fitted (or left the factory with this style of glass) then the terminals for the heated glass would have been on the outside edge (furthest away from the car). This means that the wires wont reach the new terminals on the inside edge of the newer glass. Hence needing extension wire. BMW did realise this issue and offered their own extensions wires. As usual, they are very expensive, so I make my own instead:

    [​IMG]

    It will be obvious very quickly if you need this extension wire or not. If you have already purchased these from me and you now need to fit, I always recommend connecting the wires inside the mirror first, so for now you can put your new mirror glass to one side.

    The spades on my extension wire needs to fit in to the female heated glass connections in the mirror body.

    [​IMG]

    They need to be fairly tight, but they shouldn't need a lot of force to push them in. If necessary you can open up the connection inside the mirror with your small screwdriver or if they feel a little loose; once you have the extension wires push in, squash the plug slightly using your pliers:

    [​IMG]

    ***PLEASE NOTE: the wires are not polarity sensitive, so it doesn't matter which way round you connect them***

    Once you have done this and they are fitting nice and snugly I always recommend wrapping the connection in insulating tape:

    [​IMG]

    Obviously do both sides:

    [​IMG]

    Even if you need to change the glass at any point in the future, you will only need to unplug the wires from the glass, so the wiring will stay permanently inside the mirror, hence the insulating tape is a good idea.


    Now it is time to fit your new glass. Try the female terminals of the wiring on the spades on the back of the glass. Dont force them too hard as you can damage the mirror glass. If they feel too tight, open them up ever so slightly using your flat head screwdriver:

    [​IMG]

    They should be snug but not excessively tight.

    ***PLEASE NOTE: If you need to remove them for any reason, do not pull them off by the wire. Always hold the body of the connector and pull them off via this. Otherwise you will pull the wire out the connector***

    As mentioned they are not polarity sensitive, so it doesn't matter which way round you plug them in. There should be no need to un-plug them.

    Both wires should now be plugged in to the back of the glass:

    [​IMG]


    Remove the backing of the double sided tape and route the heater extension wires over the top or the bottom of the tilting mirror mechanism so that it doesn't get in the way of you clipping the glass on.You can see the mechanism in the middle, this is what the glass clips on to:

    [​IMG]

    Now you just need to push the glass on. You should feel it 'click' in to place when it is firmly attached. Apply pressure firmly and evenly. Don't be afraid to use a little force. Try and push glass from top and bottom and left and right:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    To be sure you have firmly clipped the glass on properly and it has located correctly you need to move the mirror through it's extremes (full left and full right and then full up and full down). You can do this using the mirror adjustment button in the car but I always do it by hand. It doesn't damage the mechanism moving it with your hands, but it means by applying a little force it becomes obvious quickly if you haven't clipped it in properly as it will release in your hand (and you are holding it at this point so it wont drop down).

    [​IMG]

    Sit back and admire your handywork and your nice fresh looking wing mirrors. Takes years off your car!

    ***PLEASE NOTE: The mirrors are always heated as long when the ignition is on, regardless of the outside temperature. Unlike some cars where the heated wing mirrors only come on with the heated rear window. You will notice they are hot to the touch and this is a good way to test the heated function. Just turn the ignition on first***

    Any questions please let me know. I'm always happy to help. If you have read all this and now want to order wing (side) mirror glass you can see my for sale thread on the forum here:

    https://forums.m3cutters.co.uk/threads/for-sale-new-e46-m3-wing-mirror-glass-pair.108187/

    Discount on glass to forum members who order it directly through the forum. Message me to arrange
     

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