How do you remove the door mirror?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Bob Simon, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Bob Simon

    Bob Simon New Member

    I bought a replacement mirror housing (the base) to replace a broken one but cannot figure out how to remove the mirror assembly from its mounting shaft so I can drop in the new housing. Removal of the assembly is blocked by blue and purple wires (and maybe the black ones too) which won't let me lift the assembly up enough to clear the shaft. I uploaded a picture of this to and attempted to upload the image file here also but don't see it.

    I suspect the mirror glass must be removed in order to get to the connector for these wires but I do not know how to release the glass. Can anyone confirm whether this is true and explain how to get to the connector? The glass isn't cracked now and it would be nice to not need to replace it too.

    Bob Simon
    New Orleans
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2019
  2. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    Good luck from the outside unless you want to cut and splice all those wires. Body shops don’t usually even attempt this type of repair with mirror still on he car, and often refuse to replace individual mirror components. They will often just buy the full assembly and replace it. This is done by removing the interior door panel to get to the harness plug and fasteners for the mirror. Why Manufacturers continue to even offer certain individual components for sale is beyond me...some of the parts are simply non serviceable, even though they can be purchased.

    Maybe this one is serviceable? I’m not sure. But for any mirror repair step one is usually to Remove interior trim panel from the door and the water shield beneath it, unplug the mirror, and see if that gets the slack you need.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  3. Bob Simon

    Bob Simon New Member

    Thanks for the suggestions. I took the car to a Honda dealer and the service guy I spoke with agreed with you. He said, "We always just replace the whole thing." When I explained that the whole mirror assembly is $530 while the broken base was only $34 and he said, "Don't you have insurance?"

    I've considered cutting the wires and will do that as a last resort but would prefer to release the connector if I can. I found a YouTube video for a Honda Fit mirror where the guy was able to release the mirror glass from it's mount and will attempt that this morning.

    Also, I already removed the inside door panel but was not able to figure out how to get more slack on the harness. Maybe I didn't pull hard enough but it seems to be sort of locked into place. I can get a few fingers up in the space where the mirror is mounted but can't see exactly what's going on with the wires. Maybe I'll give it another tug and see if it releases a bit. I only need between 1/2 and 1 inch to get the mirror assembly off the stalk from which it folds in and out.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
    Louis Nisenbaum likes this.
  4. MPower

    MPower Well-Known Member

    Can you get a phone in there and maybe use the flash app to see what is going on or to take a pic?
  5. graure

    graure Member

    Usually mirror glass just pops out with enough force. They're just held in with plastic clips.
  6. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    There are often plastic clips holding wire harnesses tight to the shell of the door, to prevent rubbing/vibration/rattles. May need to pop loose a clip or two inside the door to get slack in the cable. At this point if you have door panel off, just remove the entire mirror and get it all done that way.

    And SOMETIMES to get full mirror swap access, the door glass first needs to be removed to gain access to fasteners and wiring...or rolled down, or up....

    I am speaking in generalities. I don’t know Clarity specifics. But Surely it’s similar to a late model Accord or Civic or whatever if you can find some how to instructions for those.

    And one of my very favorite mechanics tools in my box is a cheap small mirror on a stick...allows you to see all kinds of things your eyes cannot...I have a better one that doubles as a strong magnet, which also finds and picks up dropped nuts and bolts from the deepest holes...but here are some cheap samples
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  7. Bob Simon

    Bob Simon New Member

    @graure "Usually mirror glass just pops out with enough force. They're just held in with plastic clips."
    I was able to force the mirror retaining clips to release with a screwdriver. But when I was finally able to get to the connectors and unplugged them, I ran into another problem: The connectors themselves are now blocking the mirror assembly from being lifted out from the stalk. (See picture "Mirror_Wires.jpg".)

    @craze1cars "There are often plastic clips holding wire harnesses tight to the shell of the door, to prevent rubbing/vibration/rattles."
    Although I can't see it, I feel something like a rubber boot around the wires at the top of the mounting stalk. I imagine this is for waterproofing or soundproofing but in any case, it seems to lock the wires so I can't move the harness either up or down from either inside the door or outside at the mirror assembly. I may have to cut the wires near the connectors after all. DRAT!

    "And one of my very favorite mechanics tools in my box is a cheap small mirror on a stick"
    Great idea. Thanks! Next time I'm at Harbor Freight, I'll pick up one.

    Attached Files:

  8. graure

    graure Member

    There aren't any connectors that lead to the mirror wires inside the door? It seems implausible that the mirrors themselves would be hardwired to the main harness. I wouldn't be surprised if you need to cut and resolder the wires at this point though.
  9. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    I guarantee there is a single plug for the mirror down inside that door somewhere. That’s how all cars are made. Indeed it might NOT be real close to the mirror....might be further down. Unplug it there, remove the 2 or 3 nuts holding the mirror to the door from the inside, and pull it off. Don’t think I have ever seen a modern car that deviates from this. Indeed there may be some challenges reaching the nuts and he plug, but they exist.
  10. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    Here’s a short video showing what I am trying to say in words. Clarity might be different. But not THAT different....

    It may be closer to the Fit since it is mounted lower on the door than Accord is:
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
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  11. AlanSqB

    AlanSqB Active Member

    Sorry for all your trouble, but thanks for confirming that buying the complete unit is the way to go for most of us. I’m really rough on side mirrors and tend to have to buy 1-2 of them over the life of each of my vehicles. Yes, I recognize that’s not normal :)
  12. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Nahh, you’re not abnormal. You just live on the edge.
    MPower and insightman like this.
  13. Bob Simon

    Bob Simon New Member

    Thank you all for providing good information and advice.
    I removed the mirror assembly from the car door and now see that some of the harness wires must be cut. I took a photo (mirror_base_w_harness.jpg) and annotated the 6-wire connector with an arrow. It definitely does not fit through the washer that locks the mirror assembly down onto the stalk on which it can be rotated. The connector that was on the inside of the door is too big too.
    It now appears that the connectors were crimped onto the wires AFTER the harness was run through the shaft so there's no way to remove/replace the harness after the fact without splicing. Can this be true? !!

    Attached Files:

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  14. graure

    graure Member

    Yup, this is just like the mirrors for my Nissan 240SX. The in-door harness connector is too big to be fished thru the stalk, so if you want to reuse the housings but replace the internals (like you're doing), you need to cut the wires at one end or the other, pull them through the stalk and then solder them back together. It's not hard and think about how much money you're saving! Alternatively, you could try opening and de-pinning the harness connector and then reassembling it afterwards, but this is even more work than soldering to create a clean look for something that no one else will ever see. Remember to leave enough pigtail for you to work with when you make your cut.
  15. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    Yes this is why shops don’t service mirrors, they replace them. If paying several hours of shop rate to remove, disassemble, cut and splice all those wires it becomes not real cost effective. Plus you end up with a non factory wiring harness with multiple splices. For DIY you are saving cash and that’s fine. Make good splices. Again adhesive heat shrink crimp butt connectors is the way to go here. This is no place for the typical twist together and electrical tape job you see many shade tree mechanics do. And stagger the crimps, or they won’t all fit where you need them to fit cuz they’re much fatter than he wires are.
    KentuckyKen likes this.
  16. Bob Simon

    Bob Simon New Member

    Since I don't have crimp butt connectors (but will order a kit) I soldered the splices and covered them with heat shrink tubing. The mirror tilts and pans fine. I put the door panel back together and tested the window and door locks.

    I'm almost done. (See photo: Reassembled2.jpg) The only thing left to do is to push down the steel washer at the arrow in the photo, lock it into place, and add the "skull cap" cover. The washer sits on top of a heavy-duty spring which pushes the mirror assembly down onto a notched base that keeps the mirror from accidentally turning but allows it to rotate when needed. The washer and spring must be pushed down about an inch and then the washer turned 1/4 turn to lock it into place on the shaft. It takes all my strength just to push it down but then I can't turn the washer to lock it.

    Does anyone have a tip on how to accomplish this?

    Attached Files:

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  17. graure

    graure Member

    Cheapest would probably be having a friend turn it while you push it down, but maybe using an O2 sensor socket would allow you to push down hard and turn at the same time? You can rent the O2 sensor sockets from Autozone, Pep Boys, Oreillys for free if you return within their specified time (usually a few days).
  18. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    Clamp a vice grip on perimeter of washer. If you actually do have the strength to push it down with one hand, then you can rotate the washer with the leverage of the vice grips while it is down.

    3rd and 4th hand will obviously help. This is what neighbors are for....

    If truly forced to diy then make a tool out of a pipe or something with a slit to accommodate the wires, with a handle on the top of it so you can get a good grip and press down real hard with one arm of strength...still then rotate it with vice grips or channel locks.

    Your soldered connections should be ok. But soldered joints are weak and don’t like movement or vibration. But the heat shrink should stabilize them enough to prevent conductors from breaking, and this should stay dry so the adhesive is less critical too. Soldered joints also shorten wires! But apparently you found enough slack. Butt connectors preserve original wire length which at times can be very important. I wouldn’t habitually fold the mirror with soldered connection repair though...and most people do not. Repeated mirror folding may break a contact eventually. Good work getting that all figured out!! Kudos!!! You’re more ambitious than the majority!
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
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  19. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Now that you're experienced, how much would you charge another Clarity owner to fix the mirror on their car? Would you do it again on your car or just buy the whole mirror next time?
    Patdown45 likes this.
  20. Bob Simon

    Bob Simon New Member

    I've been wondering the same thing myself. The first time, there's some fun in learning new stuff which would be missing from subsequent repairs. On the other hand, I might be able to do it in 2 hours next time (crimping has got to be way easier and faster than soldering) rather than eight or so (didn't really keep track).

    Then there's the fact that I'm not done yet. Pushing down on the washer from the shoulder as hard as I could may not have compressed the spring enough. This final step could be a deal killer for me to consider future attempts. Or perhaps it'll be easy with a neighbor.
    insightman likes this.

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