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How to Fix a loose door mirror

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  • How to Fix a loose door mirror

    This tutorial is a shortened,illustrated , version of a thread started by Tahmid. You may understand just from the pictures, with no need to read the text.

    He found that a cyclist had struck his wing mirror, and it no longer fitted flush to the door skin panel , could not be tightened up, and it rocked.

    Although I have some panel beating experience from classic car restorations, I did not do this repair. But I would probably do the job myself, and you might too.

    But even if ,like Tahmid, the actual repair is done by a professional it could save you time and money if you know something about what is involved. If there are no major complications the panel beating can be done in less than 30 minutes

    Tahmid chose a relatively small independent bodyshop and by having the mirror ready for quick removal they saw it was a quick fix .Tahmid might have been given an immediate firm estimate for later repair or told they are not willing to have a car taking up space and disrupting schedules for such a small job.(Or an over priced estimate to make it worth their while.) At least he would immediately know to try elsewhere. In the event he was lucky. They carried on and did the job immediately.

    This is what tahmids mirror looked like
    Click image for larger version  Name:	51.jpg Views:	1 Size:	76.9 KB ID:	118430

    The mirror is fixed to the door by a bolt from the outside. There is no need to remove the inner door card. To access the bolt you remove the back cover of the mirror. No need to remove its glass. Unfortunately I have never done this. It clips on, but a clip may break off during removal and need to be glued on. Others may be able to add details.

    The force of impact was concentrated on the fixing bolt, which put all the strain on its captive nut that is welded into the fixing panel. Notice how the metal is torn around the nut.

    Tahmids still had just enough strength left. But if yours is torn out with worse damage than this it might need welding,making it a bigger job. See later.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	torn.jpg Views:	1 Size:	145.6 KB ID:	118431

    The bolt tried to pull the nut from the metal,. It tore the metal, but also pulled the whole inner panel nearer to the door skin. Especially around the threaded nut
    Click image for larger version  Name:	deep shadows.jpg Views:	1 Size:	272.5 KB ID:	118432

    The mirror sits on the inner panel on three legs. Two have location pegs that fit into plain holes on the inner panel. The mirror is then clamped down in place by the threaded Bolt that acts as a fourth leg. If the inner panel is at exactly its correct depth from the outer door skin, the mirror sits flush to the door skin .

    If the inner panel is distorted,and pulled nearer the door skin the mirror will not sit deeply enough . If part of the panel is uneven one or more of the 'legs' will not reach its footing and the mirror may be uneven, or rock like a wobbly table. The most likely point for this is at the captive nut. The bolt will be flush but one or more legs will not reach their footing.

    In theory the repair is quite simple. You panel beat the inner mounting back deeper into the door until all four mounting points are again exactly their correct depth.

    I cannot give these depths, but they can be worked out by comparing with the back of the mirror.

    In practice you get them approximately right, but not quite deep enough, then hammer the panel a little bit at a time, while repeatedly trial fitting the mirror, until it fits flush.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	depth 1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	160.1 KB ID:	118433

    You will probably have to concentrate most on getting the captive nut to its correct depth. This may

    automatically correct the other points. Dont try to hammer directly through the oval hole in the door skin. You are likely to miss and dent the doorskin. Do it indirectly by placing something against the inner panel and hitting that.


    The threaded captive nut hole must be exactly square and in line to the incoming bolt. Both the nut and the bolt are held at an angle that cannot alter . Any mismatch is likely to cause cross threads and damage.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	nut at wrong anglesmall.jpg Views:	1 Size:	90.3 KB ID:	118435

    Also if the bolt has been bent ,even slightly, its may miss the bolt hole, or cause damage. It might not screw back out of the mirror either.

    If it cannot be straightened enough to remove you might need to cut it off and use a replacement bolt.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	DSCF4243 caption small.jpg Views:	1 Size:	113.8 KB ID:	118436

    If the thread in the captive nut has been damaged you may be able to repair it by using a thread tap

    Heres the principle
    How To Use a Tap and Die Set | how-tos | DIY

    If the thread is too badly damaged to use a tap it may need to be drilled out larger and a helicoil insert used.

    Here is the system. HeliCoil

    An engineering workshop or garage may be more likely to have a helicoil kit than a bodyshop. (although they would almost certainly have taps and dies)


    Hopefully you wont need to get it welded, but if the metal is badly weakened its best not to take risks . But welding is risky . White hot metal spatter is likely to fall inside the door and could set fire to insulation etc. At the very least you should remove the inner door card so before welding so you can immediately extinguish any fire or damage that might start . Maybe best to also remove the door from the car just in case.

    Its possible a pro workshop will refuse to do welding here at all, or at least without a time consuming strip down, unless you took them just the door, ready stripped.

    If the damage is bad it might be cheaper and easier to simply replace the whole door.

    You could possibly reclaim some of the cost by selling off parts individually , such as glass, electric window mechanisms,trim etc.

    Here is the original, long, posting. It may have more detail Driver Side Wing Mirror Loose - Forums
    Last edited by Bugman; 10-05-2018, 02:27 PM.