Convex Driver's Side Mirror

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This modification originally appeared on the "Tech Rally" group on Yahoo and was submitted by  Gene Caldwell in September 2004. PDF (148KB)

Convex Driver’s Side Mirror

Eliminate that infamous side-rear “blind spot” by adding a 4” x 5” convex mirror to the VW driver’s side mirror.  A mirror can be installed on the passenger side too, but due to the angle of the VW mirror arm it doesn’t help the driver very much, although it does help the passenger check the passenger side blind spot.

 

APPROX. MODIFICATION TIME 1 hour

PART LIST

All prices are pre tax.

The mirror you choose should be 4" x 5" or 4.5" x 5”.  As you can see in the pictures, the mirror I chose is the same height as the VW mounting arms and fits perfectly between the VW mirror and the door. ≈ $5
Plastic, 1/8” and 1/4“thickness < $1
Stainless steel counter sunk screws, 2; 6-32x1/2” and 2; 6-32x3/4” < $1
Lock tight, one drop per screw. < $1
Oil or bar soap for tap lubrication < $1
APPROX. TOTAL COST OF PARTS ≈ $10

TOOLS NEEDED:

• Tools needed for screw mounting procedure

  1. Marker pencil, pencil works better that ball point pen
  2. Center punch, a spring punch works very well
  3. Electric drill, preferably a cordless
  4. Drill bit, either a 7/64” or #36 will match the 6-32 tap
  5. 6-32 Taper tap
  6. Tap wrench or method for holding and turning tap to cut threads
  7. Oil or bar soap to lubricate tap
  8. Screw driver to match mounting screws, Phillips works very good
  9. Double sided tape
  10. Lock tight for mounting screws

• Additional/Different tools needed for pop-rivet installation:

  1. Pop-rivet gun
  2. 2, 1/8”x1/2” aluminum pop-rivets

INSTRUCTIONS:

Note #1: There is a down side to mounting a mirror this way.  Most VW mirrors are held in place with a strong spring.  As it is now, if you ever make hard contact with something pushing the mirror out of its mount, it will move and safely spring back.  This is a safety feature and each owner should be aware of this before this type of mirror installation is considered.

NOTE #2: On my first mirror installation, I used the mirrors supplied sticky tape to mount it to the VW mirror arms.  This method was easy and quick except when we met the first big truck on a windy day it blew off.  Luckily it didn’t hit the car behind me.  So I came up with a white plastic mounting plate to be permanently secured to the VW arms.  This mounting plate does three jobs; first, it absorbs the windblast, second, it gives the mirror’s sticky tape something flat to stick to as it was meant to have, and third, it tilts the mirror to the proper viewing angle.  Mine has been through down pours and all the wind I ever wish to drive through.

Pre-installation plastic mounting plate preparation: Cut 1/8” thick plastic to match the perimeter of the mirror, mark and drill 4 holes and counter sink each hole.  Each hole location is determined by where each hole is located on each arm.  Cut, drill and glue 1”x3”x1/4” plastic spacer on bottom of mounting plate.  This helps tilt the mirror up for better field of view.

Position plastic mounting plate on VW arm.

With a pencil mark arms in preparation to drill 4 holes.

Use center punch to dimple arms for correct drill location.

Drill 4 holes in VW mirror mounting arms, 2 top, and 2 bottom.

Use !!!EXTREME CAUTION!!!, when drilling the holes in the VW arms!  The wires for your electric mirrors are located inside the hollow VW mounting arm.  When drilling the holes, be very careful to not let the drill penetrate far inside the arm.  It could cut or damage a wire and then the mirrors might not work.

After four holes have been drilled in the VW mirror arms the plastic can be mounted using one of two methods, pop-rivets or screws.  The quickest installation method is to use pop-rivets, especially if you already have a pop-rivet gun, the correct size and length of rivets, and correct size of drill bit to match the pop-rivets.  However, the only way to remove pop-rivets is to drill them out.  They do not unscrew.  If you damage a hole while drilling out a pop-rivet, then you may have to make the hole bigger, make the hole in the plastic bigger, get bigger pop-rivets and then remount the plastic.  With all that in mind, this is the reason I use screws to mount my plastic mounting plate.  It takes more time on initial installation but is very quick and easy to repair.  If breakage occurs, just remove the screws, remount a new plastic plate, stick on a new mirror and your done.  So the choice is yours, time and effort spent now on installation or later for repair.

Lubricate tap and cut threads.

Then, install double-sided tape on the side of the plastic that is mounted to the arm, one across the top and one across the bottom between holes.  This is not needed for holding the plate to the arm, but for taking up slack between curved arm and flat plate.

Remove protective paper to expose other side of doubled sided tape.

Screw plate to arms.  I used a drop of lock tight on each screw to ensure that they don’t back out from vibration.  Remove protective paper from mirrors double-sided tape and stick mirror on plate.

You are done, job complete.  It might take about 10 to 15 minutes of city/town driving to get used to this new mirror but after that you will not be without it, believe me.


Additional Modifications:

[ Arm Rest Removal ] [ Automatic Transfer Switch ] [ Awning ] [ Bathroom Shelf & Basin ] [ Battery Disconnect ]
[ Belly-Pan Cutout ] [ Bicycle Rack ] [ Cabinet Storage ] [ CB Radios ] [ Center Console ]
[ Closet Shelf ] [ Coach Door Seals ] [ Coach Entry Floor ] [ Computer Table ] [ Convex Door Mirror ]
[ Curtain Track ] [ Door Catch ] [ Daylight Running Lights ] [ DVD Conversion ] [ Entertainment Center ]
[ Entry Handrail ] [ Exterior Power Inlet ] [ Exterior Shower Drain ] [ Fuel Pump Jumpers ] [ Furnace Vent ]
[ Galley Faucet ] [ Generator Fuel Cutoff ] [ Granite Countertop ] [ Headboard ] [ Jack Handle Storage ]
[ LCD TV Conversion ] [ LED Bulbs ] [ Magnum Shooters ] [ Map Box ] [ Microwave Convection Oven ]
[ Propane Detector ] [ QD-H Conversion ] [ Rear Axle Stiffener ] [ Rear Couch Foam Roll ] [ Heat Control Label ]
[ Rear Seat Kick Panels ] [ Refrigerator DC Mode ] [ Refrigerator Conversion ] [ Roof Air 13,500 ] [ Roof Rack ]
[ Satellite Dish ] [ Sewer Dump Valve ] [ Sewer Hose Storage ] [ Shade Standoffs ] [ Shower Faucets ]
[ Shower Filter ] [ Simple Shoreline Conversion ] [ Skylight Panel ] [ Spare Tire Carrier ] [ Super Freezer ]
[ Throttle Body Cleaning ] [ Transmission Dip Stick ] [ Trunk Handle ] [ Wheel Covers ]  

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Page Updated: 5 July 2015