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Thread: [DIY] Converting Manual-folding M3 Mirrors into Power-Folding -- No 56K doityourself

  1. #1
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    [DIY] Converting Manual-folding M3 Mirrors into Power-Folding -- No 56K doityourself

    Converting Manual-folding M3 Mirrors into Power-Folding Mirrors


    Requirements:
    • Manual folding M3 Mirrors
    • Donor mirrors with compatible motors (another set of M3 mirrors; E39 M5 mirrors, and M3/M5 replica mirrors (YMMV with those – I don’t know if all molds are the same)
    • T15 and T20 bits
    • Optional but recommended: Blue Loctite (ideally 243 as some parts are greased)
    • About 1-2 hours depending on how much experience you have.

    This DIY is useful for two groups of people: People who already have manual folding OEM M3 mirrors and don’t want to paint another pair just for folding, and for people who currently have folding replicas and want to convert to power-folding M3 mirrors for minimal cost.

    In my case, I already had OEM 12-pin M3 mirrors and wanted to convert them to power folding. As such, any steps required for 6-pin or ribbon cars are not detailed here. You should be able to manage if you use this DIY in conjunction with another guide specific for your style mirror.

    I used a pair of OEM E39 M5 mirrors as the donors, but the steps are nearly identical if the donor pair is a set of replicas. If the donor pair is a set of power-folding M3 mirrors, it's actually a bit simpler.

    I also did not cover removing the door panels or mirrors from the car, as there are many guides online that cover that material. So this guide will begin assuming you already have the mirrors off the car and ready for transplant. Without further ado, here’s the DIY:



    Part I: Getting to the bracket


    Quote Originally Posted by Part 1
    1. Remove the glass from both mirrors (if present). The procedure will vary depending on the build date – in the case of my car, the glass simply pops off. However older M3s had some kind of locking mechanism. Examine your mirrors to determine the appropriate method

    2. Remove the adjustment motor. There are 3 T15 screws around the perimeter. You may have to push the motor in various directions to reach all the screws. Remove the motor, unplug it, and set it aside.



    3. Remove the 5 screws holding the adjustment motor’s mount to the mirror’s frame.



    4. Now there’s only 1 screw holding the base to the dome; remove that screw and separate the two pieces. Set the dome aside.



    5. On the underside of the base, there are two T20 screws holding the bracket onto the brace. Remove them.



    6. After some wiggling, you should be able to separate the base and the bracket.

    7. On the bottom of the bracket, there’s a metal brace held on with 4 screws. Remove these screws and remove the brace. The wiring should stay with that metal brace. Set it aside.


    Now that we have the bracket alone, I recommend disassembling your donor mirror to the same point. If your donor mirror was an M3 mirror - you're basically done. Just reassemble with the donor bracket/wiring. If you were able to acquire the motors separately, skip to part 2. Otherwise, continue reading.



    Part I-b: Donor bracket specifics

    Quote Originally Posted by Part I-b
    The steps vary on the M5 and Replica mirrors slightly, but it’s similar enough that I’m not going to detail the entire procedure. The main differences are that the bracket on the M5/replica mirror also serves as the adjustment motor's mount. Also, the bracket does not fit through the mirror housing's opening, so you have to slide it through the other way (thankfully the wiring easily separates from the base, unlike the M3 mirror). One part I will spend some time detailing is removing the motor's wires from the rest of the harness:

    1. Look at the connector. Notice how on one side there seems to be some kind of tab. Take a screw driver, and stick it between the block of pins and this tab. You should be able to pry out the block. (Sorry I forgot to take a picture of this tab)

    2. Now locate pin 1 and 2 – you should see a blue and white wire in them. Remove these wires (poke a small object onto the tab, and slide the wire out. Don’t force it if it feels stuck – just look for where it’s getting stuck and depress that point).



    3. Separate these wires from the entire harness (should be a matter of cutting some electrical tape)

    4. Separate the bracket from the rest of the assembly


    Okay now you should have two brackets – one from the M3 mirror (top), and one from the donor (bottom).You’ll notice that the donor bracket has a blue and white wire sticking out of it. These power the motors. Now let’s swap the motors.







    Part II: Swapping the motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Part II
    1. At the top of the cylindrical portion of the bracket, you will see 3 T15 screws. Remove these 3 screws on both brackets. After removing these three screws, you should be able to separate the motor and the bracket with a little bit of effort. (On the manual-folding bracket, there’s a “dummy” motor held on in the same manner)



    2. Look at the motor – you will notice that there are 3 notches of different sizes. Now look inside the M3 bracket and you should see 3 matching extrusions. Line these up and slide the motor into the M3 bracket.



    3. Attach the 3 screws. I recommend using blue Loctite here as these screws are known to come loose on occasion
    Assembly is basically the reverse process, except we need to add the wires to our E46 harness. Here are the details for that (sorry I forgot to take pictures)

    On the metal brace that holds the bracket to the mirror base, there's a rubber plug that keeps the exist harness organized. Pull this plug up, pull the blue and white wires through, then push the plug back down.

    Bring the wires through the base. Now you'll notice a rubber boot that wasn't there on the M5 mirror. You'll need to snake the blue/white wires through these if you want to keep the factory seal. Basically just force the wire through while taking precautions to not break the connectors. The wires are longer than the rest of the harness. I just looped the slack and taped it up. If you want everything to look OEM, get that fabric electrical tape and go over the whole harness.

    After the wire is through, you'll want to insert the pins into our connector. Separate the pins from the locking mechanism. Insert the blue wire in to pin 1, and white into pin 2.

    The rest of the assembly should be exactly the opposite of the disassembly procedure. Once the mirrors are fully assembled, install them on your car, and enjoy your newly folding M3 mirrors! Coding may be required. Here's a video of mine in action.

    Last edited by terraphantm; 05-21-2012 at 12:31 PM.

  2. #2
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    Also since this is predominantly a ZHP forum, I feel I should address how one would wire up the M3/M5 folding motors to the ribbon connectors.

    A stock ribbon adjusting unit has 3 extra plugs coming off of it. 2 of these are for heat, and the last plug is to power the folding motors (this plug is present even if your car didn't come with folding mirrors). It is a 3-pin connector with power going to the two outer pins. The best way to go about it would be to take the wires of a folding motors, and splice it onto a male 3-pin connector (a fan power lead from a computer would work great). Then plug those exposed pins into the that 3-pin plug. You'll have to experimentally determine which orientation would result in proper fold/unfold behavior.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by terraphantm View Post
    Also since this is predominantly a ZHP forum, I feel I should address how one would wire up the M3/M5 folding motors to the ribbon connectors.

    A stock ribbon adjusting unit has 3 extra plugs coming off of it. 2 of these are for heat, and the last plug is to power the folding motors (this plug is present even if your car didn't come with folding mirrors). It is a 3-pin connector with power going to the two outer pins. The best way to go about it would be to take the wires of a folding motors, and splice it onto a male 3-pin connector (a fan power lead from a computer would work great). Then plug those exposed pins into the that 3-pin plug. You'll have to experimentally determine which orientation would result in proper fold/unfold behavior.
    Terraphantm,
    If someone was starting from scratch, they could just buy OEM M3 power mirrors, then splice the copper wires from the M3 mirrors into the ribbon connector, correct?

    After that you'd just need to do the mirror base modification (for sedan) or bolt them right on for a coupe / vert, correct?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sna77 View Post
    Terraphantm,
    If someone was starting from scratch, they could just buy OEM M3 power mirrors, then splice the copper wires from the M3 mirrors into the ribbon connector, correct?

    After that you'd just need to do the mirror base modification (for sedan) or bolt them right on for a coupe / vert, correct?
    That is my understanding, yes. Admittedly it is a bit of an unknown since I don't think I've seen anyone do it.. But I don't see why it wouldnt work.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by terraphantm View Post
    That is my understanding, yes. Admittedly it is a bit of an unknown since I don't think I've seen anyone do it.. But I don't see why it wouldnt work.
    So you just need to convince me to drop $1k on new mirrors a month after spending $500 on new mirrors I see....

  6. #6
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    Thx for the writeup Terra.

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  7. #7
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    glad I found this.

    I have the m3 mirrors on my ZHP with the ZHP ribbon motors retrofitted into them.

    i am about to purchase the M3 mirror power folding Motors off ebay and already ordered the Maroon mirror switch as well.

    i already know how to install the motor from the previous disassembly and reassembly from the retrofit but was hung up on the wiring.

    Does anyone know or have a picture of this unused 3 wire connector I am looking for in the door? the One Terra mentions in his





    Quote Originally Posted by terraphantm View Post
    Also since this is predominantly a ZHP forum, I feel I should address how one would wire up the M3/M5 folding motors to the ribbon connectors.

    A stock ribbon adjusting unit has 3 extra plugs coming off of it. 2 of these are for heat, and the last plug is to power the folding motors (this plug is present even if your car didn't come with folding mirrors). It is a 3-pin connector with power going to the two outer pins. The best way to go about it would be to take the wires of a folding motors, and splice it onto a male 3-pin connector (a fan power lead from a computer would work great). Then plug those exposed pins into the that 3-pin plug. You'll have to experimentally determine which orientation would result in proper fold/unfold behavior.
    2003 ZHP 332i | S54 6 speed
    2002 ZHP Touring | M54 6 Speed

  8. #8
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    Took my doors apart Tonight and I don't see a mysterious unused 3rd plug. My driver's side ribbon mirror has 2 plugs, one for memory and one for heat I guess. And the passenger side mirror only.has one plug. There is no memory module to be found in the door and there is no unused plug that I can find tucked anywhere..

    I take it that I'm supposed to splice the m3 folding motors blue white wires into one of the ribbon plugs on the car side not mirror side?
    2003 ZHP 332i | S54 6 speed
    2002 ZHP Touring | M54 6 Speed

  9. #9
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    Nevermind I found the third black plug it's actually inside the mirror housing with the mirror motor since I retrofit it zhp ribbon Motors into the M3 housing I thought you were saying that there's a third plug in the door somewhere my bad lol.
    2003 ZHP 332i | S54 6 speed
    2002 ZHP Touring | M54 6 Speed

  10. #10
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    ok dokie i have more info to add to help anyone else finish this.

    anyone who has retrofitted the M3 mirrors and retained their Ribbon cable, there is a 3rd unused black 3 pin plug that is behind the motor in the mirror housing...

    I used a pair of E39 M5 folding motors I got off ebay for $175. each motor was labeled driver and passenger so I knew which one was which. each motor has 2 wires, BLUE and WHITE.

    since the Ribbon motors are on the BUS system, it doesnt matter which wire goes to which wire in the black connector. as Terra said above, its the 2 outer wires, the center one is unused.

    I happened to have a pair of E46 front shades that have the mirror and vanity light. it has a 3 pin connector with only 2 wires on the outside so I used those and just filed the edge down so it would fit into the ribbon connector.

    my 2003 was not coded at all for folding mirrors, I ordered and installed the updated switch maroon button which i got for $38 brand new from here:

    https://www.eeuroparts.com/Parts/650...61316901383OE/

    the mirrors did not fold. I had to use NCS expert and look at the Gm5/ZKE module and found 2 settings specific for folding. one fore power mirror folding and the other for comfort closing.

    once I coded those then everything worked with the switch.

    I used PASoft to enable comfort closing from the remote and once that was done then the mirrors folded from the remote locking and unlocking.

    im slightly annoyed that the driver side mirror is lazy and slower than the passenger and i think my PCD is going to kick in real soon.


    Pictures of the hidden connector in the mirror and pictures of the vanity mirror 3 pin connector i used

    1.

    IMG_20170131_002925 by Shawn Robertson, on Flickr

    2.

    IMG_20170131_014546 by Shawn Robertson, on Flickr

    3.

    IMG_20170131_014536 by Shawn Robertson, on Flickr





    Video of the mirrors in action

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9R4UmrpRoA
    2003 ZHP 332i | S54 6 speed
    2002 ZHP Touring | M54 6 Speed

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