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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 07-24-2016, 06:54 PM   #1
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Colorado
Posts: 34
My Ride: 330i
Sideview mirror glass WITHOUT the visible tab

I picked up a new-to-me 330i last Monday, and immediately set about baselining it. One of the baselining items (while parts and filters ship) is replacing the delaminating drivers side sideview mirror. I picked up a whole mirror at a yard yesterday thinking it would at worst be nice to have something to practice on, and at best a decent spare, and did the usual searching here and on the greater googlesphere for how to do it. Everything I found pointed to tilting the mirror up all the way and flipping some tab (fill in terrible photo wherein no tab is in any way visible). Groovy. Except there was no tab, and I just ended up breaking something.

I'm sure there are some models (seems like M3s and later generation cars) that have these tabs, but at least on my E46 and the E46 I got the mirror from at the yard, there is no damn tab. Here's the skinny on how to replace your delaminating glass if you are similarly perplexed:

Move the mirror into cornered positions (down to the left, up to the right, etc.) and peer inside.

In this photo, you can see four rectangular holes toward the corners. In each of these, you'll find little plastic tabbies.

They hold the exterior color cover to the mirror housing. You'll have to very gently pop these out of the holes. They are super easy to break, so be careful. If you get unlucky more than maybe once, I saw a tutorial somewhere about how to hold the cover on with zip ties. May the Force be with you.

Once you get the cover off, you'll be faced with a foam insert that looks a lot like this:

It's held on with double sided tape, and you can essentially just peel it off. Here's the other side:

and here's where the double sided tape is on the cast aluminum mirror base (top right):

Next is the next fiddly part requiring a greater than usual compliment of mitichlorians; you get to tilt the mirror around to release the brittle plastic tabs holding the mirror to the adjustment mechanism:

There are eight of them, one on each side of the tabs in the cut outs. You can get to them by moving the mirror around toward the corners as before, and reaching in with a small prying implement (i.e. small flathead screwdriver), and gently popping the tabs up and over the lip they hold onto through the holes that held the decorative cover in place.

The upper inside tabs are accessible by moving the wires up and out of the way through the largest of the holes in the back of the mirror.

As usual, assembly is the reverse of disassembly unless you broke too many tabs. Good luck. [Additional Star Wars reference for symmetry.]
2002 330i
1984 M1009 CUCV
1958 VW Type 1 (German market)

1981 K10
1986 RX7
1957 Karmann Ghia (German market)
1974 FJ40
1999 4Runner
1962 VW Type 2
1972 Karmann Ghia
1970 Karmann Ghia
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