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  1. #1

    Retrofit OEM M3 side mirrors doityourself

    I know that this has been mentioned throughout people's project threads, including mine but I don't recollect seeing any dedicated DIY to retrofit OEM M3 side mirrors so here's what I have compiled.

    It is my intention for other's to contribute to this thread so that it can be comprehensive and helpful for others who may decide that they want to do this to their car.

    Tools & Materials:
    - Camera or camera phone
    - Lighting
    - Small Jewler's flat blade screw driver (used to take off the plugs from the ribbon cables)
    - Dremel and metal cutting disks
    - Power grinder to grind off the four studs on the mirror base plate and shave the edges where identified in the procedure
    - Belt sander tool (if available to sand everything smooth after grinding)
    - JB Weld (if not using a 3D printed mirror motor base plate)
    - Narrow long screws and nuts (sorry, forgot the size but has to fit thru the motor - you can reuse the ones from the original mirror)
    - Punch tool used to put a tiny indent where to drill the mounting holes in the door
    - Hammer for punch tool
    - Small torque bit to unscrew parts from the mirror housing and take apart the mirror assembly

    For prepping the OEM M3 mirror baseplate and mirror housing for paint you will need the following:
    - 800 grit sandpaper for wet sanding
    - 1500 grit sandpaper for wet sanding
    - Primer Sealer paint to prime mirror surfaces
    - Black paint (glossy for shadow line trim / flat for standard black trim) for mirror base plate
    - Base color (I used ScratchWizard spray paint)
    - SprayMax 2k Clear Glamour 368-0061 clear coat 2-part spray paint



    Disclaimer: By doing this DIY on your BMW, I am in no way held responsible for any mishap you may incur while working on your car. You accept full responsibility for your BMW when using any portion of this DIY.


    First, I cannot emphasize enough but when you are taking off the ribbon connector from the original mirrors, take pictures. They will help you!

    Also have a sharpie handy a fine tip one. If you don't have one then I would strongly recommend you go to Office Depot and get a black one. Once you have this you can mark both the ribbon and connector so when you take off the connector, you won't screw things up by putting back the wrong connector. The connectors are different colors and need to be put back on where you took them off. That's where the marking and pictures come in...




    Not much of an issue on the passenger's side but is a big issue on the driver's side since the driver's side has two plugs as you can see in the pic above.

    For those of you who have a coupe or vert, mounting the mirrors is very easy. They will bolt directly in the same places as your OE mirrors so no worries there. For those with a sedan like me....it's a whole different issue...consider yourself lucky because all you have to do is transfer the OE mirror motors from the old mirror to the new mirror. I have replaced vert side mirrors for OEM M3 side mirrors, they were a direct bolt on just like coupes. All I had to do was to transfer the mirror motors from the OE side mirrors into the OEM M3 side mirrors

    For sedans and tourings, you have to mod your mirror base plates so that the mirrors, once mounted, will be aligned properly. I used the Rogue Engineering M3 Side mirror retrofit DIY to mod my mirror baseplates. Here's the link to the procedure: http://web.archive.org/web/201502090.../E46M3MIR.html

    Modding the M3 Side Mirror Baseplates for Sedan and Touring

    To mod the mirror baseplates this is how you do it:


    Per Rogue Engineering DIY you leave 1/8" exposed on the posts to trim off.

    Next on the longest part of the baseplate You mark off 5/32" at the bottom and mark off 1/8" at the top then tape off that edge trying to follow the curvature of the baseplate as best as you can.

    The last part in taping off the mirror baseplate for sedan fitment is the upper back part of the baseplate where my finger is pointing to . . .

    For this part you start 2.9" from the top and line the tape from the edge at that point to the 1/8" point on the top then you're done marking everything off

    It should look like this.

    Now you're ready for the fun part . . .

    Once everything have been marked as shown above you have a few options on how to trim off the excess parts of the mirror base plates. You can use the Dremel but I would advise having some sort of clamp to secure the base plate so you can have an easier time trimming off the unwanted parts. There is also power tools if you have access to them which will make the process (especially cutting off the 1/8 portion of each of the four posts) easier and faster. I have done this both ways and have to say having access to power tools is much faster and easier to trim these base plates. For the edges I used a stand up grinder/belt sander and the process went relatively quick.

    If you don't have power tools then you can do the trimming using a Dremel

    Making the Mirror Motor baseplates

    I will attach a few pics showing the recommended mods to the mirror housing assembly...it worked perfect for me.

    The first way to do this is outlined below where you source a hard plastic panel to cut the mirror motor baseplates from:

    A plastic material like what you see in the DeWalt case is perfect for the new mirror motor baseplate you have to fabricate. Got to have this type of material as it works best...


    Then you cut the pattern like you see in the center between the mirror baseplates.


    On the OE M3 mirror baseplate, there will be three poles sticking up where the M3 motor will mount. You need to shave them off like how you see in the pic below....dremel works best here :


    Then take the new mirror baseplate and mount the ribbon motor onto it and screw the motor onto the new baseplate using a long screw and bolt like in the pic below. Then get some JB Weld and apply around each bolt like shown and allow to dry rock solid. After the JB Weld has cured, unscrew the bolts and take off the mirror motor.



    Then the new mirror baseplate you had fabricated from a plastic material like the DeWalt case is mounted onto the OE M3 mirror baseplate like this...(don't mind the missing mirror motor holes) - you get the idea


    The second way is to have someone 3D print the mirror motor baseplate for use:

    Sergy 3D printed these mirror motor base plates (pictured below) which is what I will be using for my Mystic Blue ZHP.


    He gave me this set when I helped him install his M3 side mirrors to his touring before moving to North Carolina. I saw just how perfect the mirrors aligned using those base plates I asked if I could have a set for when I do mine on my current ZHP. There will be updated pictures which will be replacing the ones below as I update this procedure with more current pictures.

    Then you run the ribbon from the motor like this before securing the motor onto the baseplate...


    You cannot run the ribbon through with the connector plug attached, which is why you have to take off the connector plugs before attempting to remove the ribbon wiring from the original mirrors. It is very easy to do using a small jewelers screw flat blade driver.




    The ribbon wire that is pointing up at a 45 degree angle is the heat element for the mirrors. Here's another angle showing those wires....


    Once you've run the ribbon cabling through you can now attach the motor to the new motor baseplate by screwing the three long screws in place. The screws do not need to be torqued....just hand tight. The shaft the screws go through are made out of plastic and if you try to torque the screws it will just go through the shaft....you don't want to do that....remember, hand tight


    Then attach the mirror like this....pictured below are euro mirrors. You can tell because they are the clip-on type


    These mirrors are very easy to install...they snap in place. Then you will end up like this :



    Pictured above is how the mirrors look mounted using Sergy's mirror motor 3D printed baseplates mounted in the mirror enclosures.

    Hope any of you who contemplate doing this will find this DIY helpful


    EDIT: One thing to add is that for sedans you need to modify the base plate so that the mirror housings are lined up properly with the lines of the car. I used Rogue Engineering's OEM M3 side mirror base plate mod for this. Here is the link: Rogue Engineering's OEM M3 Side Mirror Base Plate MOD for Sedan

    Modding the car door side mirror mount

    You then need to mod the car door (sedans and tourings only) so that you can mount the modded M3 side mirrors. Here's what you need to do to the door to mount the new side mirrors:

    Credit for the following procedure goes to adrian320 at e46Fanatics forum.

    Before starting this part of the retrofit you have to ensure your window is rolled down all the way.

    The thing to watch here is that the top hole, it is close to the semi-circular opening in the door, and you have to be careful not to make this location too weak to hold firmly the screw and mirror. As it is very likely you have experience drilling challenging holes I'll only recommend to make the fist hole with a small drill bit and see if the location was good or you need to move it. As you can imagine the position of these holes directly affect the fitment of the hole base.

    It is highly recommended that you make a cardboard template of the position of the holes in the side mirror baseplate and use it to draw mark the holes on the door.



    I made a cardboard template like this to use a punch tool to make indentations to start drilling my two mounting holes. This process made drilling so much easier




    as you can see in the above picture, holes were aligned so I could thread in the mounting screws. They were not tightened until after I knew the ribbon cables were free to prevent damaging them once the mounting screws were tightened and torqued.

    In the picture below, the lower screw (if using the original mirror mounting screws) have very little to no clearance so it is recommended to make a bit of room for the screw since it has the potential of hitting against the door from the inside a little bit. You can see in the picture where some room was made for the screw to seat in properly.

    Part number for the screws pictured above are: 07-14-7-196-375

    The screws used to secure the OE mirror assembly to the door are the same screws as in the part number above so you can reuse those screws if the Torx head is in good shape otherwise you can order new screws using the hyperlink above by clicking on the part number.


    Next, we have to cut a small piece of metal off the door. These piece is a small metal lip that hides behind the stock side mirror base plate, but with the M3 base plate it sits in the way and part of it sticks out. This lip makes the trim around the window remain flatter. After you make the small cut, the trim still sits pretty flat and does not seem to affect the exposed rubber piece in any way.


    For cutting this part a Dremel with a metal cutting disk will work nicely. Protect the car below and above this area as a precaution and wear safety glasses when cutting. Make a mark, a blue line in this example below, so that you can follow the line to make a clean cut. Be aware not to cut too deep so you won't cut into the rubber underneith. To mark this blue line I first marked where the mirror sat against this metal part, then with that line as reference I drew the blue line about 4mm inside from where the fist pencil line was drawn. This is because the mirror base is pretty thick in all it's sides and if the mirror base can't clear this metal part it wont seat flush to the door. As you can see the cut is kind of angled. I recommend finding a thin metal sheet, something flat that you can slide behind the part to be cut to prevent the cutting disk from going too deep. Key here is to take your time and cut shallow and make a complete pass. Do this until the part comes off and you won't cut into the rubber.


    When the mirror is mounted it should look like this. Note how the mirror sits and looks on the bottom. Try to mount the mirror so it looks like this...


    Notice in the pic below that there is a barely noticeable very small circle with an X (follow green arrow) inside. This circle X can be used as reference for the fitting process.




    This is how the M3 side mirrors should look when properly mounted.


    You should have no gaps whatsoever here...


    And that is it. There is a lot of work that goes into doing this retrofit but overall it is not that difficult. I have done this retrofit on verts (twice), a touring and a sedan (my first ZHP). Soon I will be doing this to my current ZHP


    Here is the reference link for modding the door mirror mount for those who want to see the original procedure:

    https://www.e46fanatics.com/threads/...-sedan.675377/

    Once the mirrors are mounted you need to get this switch to make the auto fold part of the retrofit work


    Make sure you order this switch with the purple bottom. From all my research concerning auto folding side mirror retrofit, it has been stressed to get the switch with the purple bottom or the switch does not work. So rather than put this to the test I have always gotten this switch with the purple bottom so in this DIY I am recommending getting this switch because I know it works.


    Here is the part number for this switch:


    Once you have this everything should work as if your car came with this from the factory . . . enjoy your new retrofit!
    Last edited by cakM3; 10-08-2023 at 03:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Great detail and very helpful Charlie. Thanks for posting this DIY.
    Randeaux/Rando/John/jr - '06 Cic ZHP; Southern California
    "ZHP or not, I still like you"


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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    too bad I never got around to doing this.
    Call me Seth
    CURRENT: 2016 Long Beach Blue BMW /// M2
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    Quote Originally Posted by danewilson77 View Post
    If I wore panties, I'd be dropping them right now.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by UdubBadger View Post
    too bad I never got around to doing this.
    That's okay Seth....I see what you now have....just take your time and work out the kinks so to speak and you'll have an Imola to drool over

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by UdubBadger View Post
    too bad I never got around to doing this.
    Did you ever pick up the mirrors?

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  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by cakM3 View Post
    ...For those of you who have a coupe, mounting the mirrors is very easy. They will bolt directly in the same places as your OE mirrors so no worries there...
    Reviving this thread a few years on. I think I'm going to make this move on my 2006 coupe soon. Is much involved with removing the triangular cover to access the mounting bolts? Seems like it would just pry off, but I don't want to find otherwise the hard way.

    Any other details anyone wants to pass on to a newbie?
    2006 6MT Coupe, Alpine White Premium, Cold Weather and Xenon packages
    MFactory 3.38 LSD 27mm M3 bar ECS strut brace Koni FSD's


    Other tweaks: see my profile




  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dual View Post
    Reviving this thread a few years on. I think I'm going to make this move on my 2006 coupe soon. Is much involved with removing the triangular cover to access the mounting bolts? Seems like it would just pry off, but I don't want to find otherwise the hard way.

    Any other details anyone wants to pass on to a newbie?
    Remember with a coupe you don't have to mod the mirror base plates. They are a direct bolt-on Only thing you will need to do is swap out the mirror motors.

  8. #8
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    Thanks. What about those base plates, tho? How do I remove the triangular cover? Pry it off?
    2006 6MT Coupe, Alpine White Premium, Cold Weather and Xenon packages
    MFactory 3.38 LSD 27mm M3 bar ECS strut brace Koni FSD's


    Other tweaks: see my profile




  9. #9

    Retrofit OEM M3 side mirrors doityourself

    Quote Originally Posted by Dual View Post
    Thanks. What about those base plates, tho? How do I remove the triangular cover? Pry it off?
    If you're referring to the base plate, there's two torx screws behind the base plate where the base plate meets with the mirror housing. You have to unscrew both screws which secure the housing to the base plate.



    You can see my finger pointing to the screw locations on the mirror housing in the pic above.

  10. #10
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    Are you talking about the cover on the interior of the door?
    The most important thing.... The ribbon cables are extremely fragile. I would consider wrapping the last couple of inches of it by the connector with clear boxing tape before even trying to disconnect the cables from the connectors inside the door. If one tears, you're out hundreds of $$. ECS has the motor listed at $514 Insane! https://www.ecstuning.com/Search/67136946313/ES184184/
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