How To Fix a Wobbly Loose Wing Mirror E46 M3
If the wing mirror on your E46 M3 (Coupe or Convertible) wobbles and there is some 'play' between the mirror body and the painted triangular base plate then there could be a very simple and Free fix for you. It will literally take you a couple of minute and the only tools you need are a 10mm socket on a ratchet and a T20 Torx Driver like this one:
First you need to remove the small black plastic triangular piece on the inside of the door here:
To remove, grab the top section and pull towards you until it unclips, then lift upwards to completely remove the piece.
Once removed you will be left looking at this:
Use your ratchet to remove the 2x 10mm bolts holding the complete mirror to the car. Once you have done this there should be enough play in the wiring to pull the mirror away from the car and allow you work on the back of the mirror. You will need to pull the rubber grommit out from the hole in the door to give you a little slack. Carefully remove the foam gasket from the back of the mirror. You will then be left looking at this:
Using your T20 Torx Driver tighten up the two torx bolts on the back of the mirror. Be careful you don't over-tighten them. If they appeared slack and you were able to tighten them up, then this should have fixed your wobbly mirror problem! Push the grommet back in to the door, refit the foam gasket on the back of the mirror and bolt the mirror back using the 10mm bolts. Refit the triangular cover on the back and there is your Free fix!
If they were both tight already or the Torx screws just spin and will not tighten up then read on……
Unfortunately the free fix has not worked for you. This means that either your internal aluminium mirror bracket has cracked or the threads have been stripped in it. Either way you will need to purchase a replacement mirror bracket. One of these:
As you can probably guess BMW do not sell this bracket on it's own. They expect you to buy a complete new mirror. However, help is at hand! I get these brackets manufactured for me exclusively and they are offered at a discounted price to Cutters. See my For Sale thread here:
Until you have received your new Bracket, you may wish to re-fit your wing mirror so you can use your car in the meantime.
When you have received your new bracket, follow my fitting guide below:
Replacing internal wing mirror bracket
**This bracket is the same part for left or right side. Right hand drive or left hand drive. It is also the same bracket used in manual fold or electric fold wing mirrors**
Before you start you will need the following tools:
Ratchet with 10mm socket
T20 Torx Drive
T15 Torx Drive
Trim Tool OR Flat head screwdriver
First step is to remove your door card. There are 5x T20 Torx bolts you need to undo. They are located here:
The three in the handle are easy to get to and pretty obvious. When you undo them, the handle wont fall off. The handle is bolted to the door card from behind. There is one more Torx bolt located behind the Airbag badge. This is just pushed in, so you can pop it out using your Trim tool or flat head screwdriver:
Then you can undo the Torx bolt behind:
Last Torx bolt is inside the door handle. There is a small round smooth plastic cover in the way. To remove the cover use a small flat head screwdriver and push the cover in on one edge:
By pushing in on one edge, this will cause the opposite side to pop out. This will allow you to get a small flathead screwdriver behind to pop the cover out:
You can then undo the final Torx Bolt.
The door card is still held on with plastic poppers. To release the door card use your trim tool or flat headed screwdriver. From underneath push it between the door card and the door being careful not to scratch the paint. Lever the bottom of the door card away from the door.
Once you have done this at the bottom, this should be able to get your fingers in between door and door card. Work you way all the way round up both sides to ‘un-pop’ the door card from the door. Finally, to fully remove the door card; lift it up over the door pin at the top. Be careful as the speaker wires are still connected.
Carefully unplug the bass speaker at the bottom and mid/tweeter at the top of the door car. It helps to rest the door card on your foot to take the weight off the wires. Lastly unclip the end of the door cable from inside the handle. The white clip part releases to allow you release the cable. When you have done this you can move the door card away to one side.
Now remove the plastic triangular piece of plastic that hides the wing mirror bolts. To remove, grab the top section and pull towards you until it unclips, then lift upwards to completely remove the piece.
Now you should be left looking at the 2x 10mm bolts:
Follow the wire from the mirror to the control box on the door. Un-plug the mirror plug from this box. You can now use your ratchet to undo the 2x 10mm bolts that hold the mirror to the door. Be careful that the mirror doesn’t fall when you undo the last bolt. This could damage the paint on your door. Pull the grommet out the door and feed the wire and plug through the hole. You now have the mirror removed ready to work on:
First remove the foam gasket on the back of the mirror. This just pulls put of the base. Put this to one side.
You now need to remove part of the plastic plug. It just slips together. If you push a small flat head screwdriver down, this will release the catch. You can then pull the middle of the plug out:
Although this makes the plug smaller, you can see there is no way it will fit through the middle of the rubber grommet. You now have two choices. Option 1: You can either leave the plug attached and put a cut in to the tubing part of the grommet:
This will allow you to pull the plug through the middle of the grommet. It should still remain water tight when you re-fit it. However, you can use the insulting tape later if it bothers you.
Personally I prefer to use Option 2. This is a little more fiddly, but it saves you cutting the Grommet. You can release each individual wire from the plug. If you use your sharp knife, you can push it through the slot in the plastic plug on to each individual metal pin. You will see there is a raised part on the metal pin. Push the blade on that part and while you are doing that pull the wire out of the plug at the same time:
Do it one at a time for each wire, until they are all released from the plug:
Now you can pull the rubber grommet off the end of the wire:
Use your T20 Torx driver and undo the 2x bolts that hold the mirror base to the mirror body:
If your bracket inside is very broken then the mirror might come away from the base straight away. If not, then there is a hook holding the mirror to the base at one end. It will be obvious when you have undone the Torx bolts and try to separate. Feed the cable through the middle of the base and put it to one side. You will then be left with something looking like this:
You then need to undo the 4x T15 Torx bolts that hold the offending bracket to the mirror housing. Your may be broken or cracked. Remove the faulty bracket and grab your nice new shiny one:
Paying attention to the cables sat in their rubber block in the mirror. Fix on the new mirror bracket to the mirror housing using your 4x Torx bolts:
Thread the triangular mirror base back on the cable. Make sure you hook the base plate over the hook part of the mirror bracket:
The new bracket isn’t threaded. You need to cut your own threads using the original bolts. The bracket is aluminium and the bolts are steel, so they will cut their own threads easily. You just need to put some pressure on your Torx Driver so push down while screwing the Torx bolts in:
Nearly there now. Thread the grommet back on:
Now time to put the wires back in to the plug (assuming you didn’t cut the Grommet). Did you make a note of which wire goes where? Don’t worry if you didn’t! Each terminal on the plug is numbered. Here is where the wires go:
1: Thick Blue (empty if you have Manual fold mirrors)
2: Thick White (empty if you have Manual fold mirrors)
10: Thin white
When all the wires are back in the plug, clip the outside part of the plug back on.
Refit the foam gasket to the back of the mirror:
Thread the cable back through the hole in the door and push the grommet back in the hole. Do up the 2x 10mm bolts using your ratchet to hold the mirror to the door. Do not over-tighten the bolts.
Plug the mirror plug back in to the control box.
Grab the door card and plug in the lower bass speaker and upper mid/tweeter.
Re-attach the door release cable in to the handle.
While paying close attention to the door pin, drop the door card down over it while pushing the door card toward to the door. There is a ridge on top of the door that the door card need to drop over first. If you missed it, you may need to lift the door card up and try again. Once the top part of the door card is over this ridge, the rest is simple. You just push the door card to locate on all the popper. Give the door card a firm thump with the palm of your hand going all the way round the edge to make sure all the poppers slip in. There should be no gaps between the door and door card.
Lastly screw the 3x T20 bolts back in to the handle. Do the same with the one behind the Airbag badge and the one inside the door handle.
Lastly push the Airbag badge back in and the small round cover inside the door handle.
Your mirror should be fixed. Sit back and admire your handy work!