Insight into BMW's failed auto dimming mirrors - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums
E39 M5 and E52 Z8 Discussion 1998-2003 Advertiser's Forum

 2Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
post #1 of 70 Old 6th July 2011, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
RaceMX-M3
Senior Member (>500)
 
RaceMX-M3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Dallas
Posts: 508
Thanks: 15
Thanked 123 Times in 58 Posts
Insight into BMW's failed auto dimming mirrors

If your mirror has failed you can contact us at sales@radar-mirror.com to arrange for repair. Please mention you saw it on the M5Board.

We've been integrating radar and laser displays for M5board members for a few years now and within the last couple of months began offering a service to repair the BMW mirrors that are so prone to failing. We've learned a few things over the last few weeks and wanted to pass on some insights about why the mirrors fail and some tips to hopefully limit the damage if your mirror suffers the same fate.

How Auto Dimming Mirrors work

An auto dimming mirror is comprised of two pieces of glass that are sealed together along the edges, a conductive gel is then injected and completely fills the area between the two pieces of glass and then sealed at the injection point. The back of the glass is coated with a silver mirror coating and under normal (non dimming) conditions the gel is completely invisible and transparent. The mirror housing contains an electronic circuit board with photosensors that measure ambient light, one facing toward the front of the car and one facing out the rear window. The forward facing sensor tells the mirror whether it's day or night and enables or disables the auto dimming function accordingly. At night when the rear facing sensor detects light the electronic circuit board will begin applying very low levels of voltage to each piece of glass and the conductive gel will begin to darken - effectively reducing the amount of light that hits the mirror coating and eliminating glare.



Why the mirrors fail

The vast majority of the mirrors that have experienced failure were produced between the late 90's and mid 2000's by the Magna Donelly Corporation, the supplier at the time for BMW's rear view mirrors. What happens is the seal along the edge of the glass is breached due to a failure in the material and air will begin to make it's way inside and produce the bubble we're all familiar with. Whether the liquid inside the mirror will begin to leak or how long it takes depends largely on where the breach occurred.. if the breach is on the upper side of the mirror it may take a while for any liquid to make it to the bottom of the case and begin to leak out. If the breach is on the lower portion of the mirror the liquid will escape much more rapidly and since it's directly hitting the bottom of the case you may see it leak the same day the seal is breached. There's a popular misconception that the mirrors first fail and then begin to leak over time and this isn't always the case. Once the seal fails the liquid is escaping and simply following the laws of gravity.

What to do if your mirror fails

Remove the mirror from your windshield as soon as possible and get it out of the car, it's best to place the mirror face down on a flat surface. Instructions for removing your mirror HERE. If there is any visible signs of the liquid leaking from the mirror clean it off right away and wrap the mirror with an absorbent towel to avoid or limit damage to the case. Many of the mirrors we receive have some visible damage to the case caused the the liquid and in some examples the damage occurred during shipping to our facility as the mirror gets moved around every which way and causes the liquid to spill faster. If there is any sign of the liquid leaking from your mirror prior to shipment you may wrap the seam of the case with a few layers of paper towels and then wrap with tape. Here are some pictures of mirrors that experienced damage to the case during shipment.





The DFW Auto Club (Dallas/Ft Worth) meets every Saturday morning at The Shops at Starwood @ Lebanon & the Dallas North Tollway. For more information please visit dfwautoclub.com
RaceMX-M3 is offline  
The Following 19 Users Say Thank You to RaceMX-M3 For This Useful Post:
2-Pugs (5th April 2012), B Jack (6th July 2011), bcampbe7 (29th February 2012), chowdah (6th July 2011), Danish (29th February 2012), Frye (6th July 2011), GBPackerfan1963 (6th July 2011), gsfent (6th July 2011), herrubermensch (6th July 2011), JDMM5 (27th October 2011), Lancefitzgiben (6th July 2011), M5 Russ (6th July 2011), Mike S. (6th July 2011), Need4Spd (6th July 2011), rao (6th July 2011), RICKROSS (6th July 2011), sportmodeON (7th July 2011), Tiauguinho (6th July 2011), turbolizard (30th December 2011)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 70 Old 6th July 2011, 01:13 AM
SidekickChuck
M5 Guru (>2000 posts)
 
SidekickChuck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Pasadena, CA
Age: 41
Posts: 2,574
Thanks: 96
Thanked 233 Times in 216 Posts
Very nice write up and description of a common failure to our cars.
I have been meaning to contact someone at radar-mirror to take care of my rear view which has had the bubble since LAST summer. I need to send it in before it gets very hot here in SoCal so I do not risk the liquid spilling out. If I were to send a mirror out on say, a Thursday from Southern California, when would I expect it fixed and returned?
SidekickChuck is offline  
post #3 of 70 Old 6th July 2011, 01:16 AM
rao
M5 Expert (>4000)
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 5,727
Thanks: 155
Thanked 1,265 Times in 883 Posts
Very interesting.

If you find this post unsatisfactory, please add me to your Ignore List so you will not be disappointed again in the future.

---> http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/pro...?do=ignorelist

Rob

Current - 98 540i with Chevy 6.6 LS2/T-56 power - Build Thread
Old - 92 325i with Chevy 6.6 LS2/T-56 Power
Older - 95 M3 with Chevy 6.6 LS2/T-56 Power
rao is online now  
post #4 of 70 Old 6th July 2011, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
RaceMX-M3
Senior Member (>500)
 
RaceMX-M3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Dallas
Posts: 508
Thanks: 15
Thanked 123 Times in 58 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by SidekickChuck View Post
Very nice write up and description of a common failure to our cars.
I have been meaning to contact someone at radar-mirror to take care of my rear view which has had the bubble since LAST summer. I need to send it in before it gets very hot here in SoCal so I do not risk the liquid spilling out. If I were to send a mirror out on say, a Thursday from Southern California, when would I expect it fixed and returned?
The repair takes one business day ground shipping to socal is usually 3 days. (We're in Dallas). Expedited shipping is available upon request.

The DFW Auto Club (Dallas/Ft Worth) meets every Saturday morning at The Shops at Starwood @ Lebanon & the Dallas North Tollway. For more information please visit dfwautoclub.com
RaceMX-M3 is offline  
post #5 of 70 Old 6th July 2011, 02:31 AM
M5 Russ
Member, P400 Sport, DSC On (>550)
 
M5 Russ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kent, UK
Posts: 597
Thanks: 122
Thanked 78 Times in 61 Posts
Can you repair the wing mirrors too as one of mine looks like it has a bubble.

BMW E39 M5 - 2001 Le Mans Blue
Evolve equal length headers
Evolve high flow 100-cell cats
Evolve centre H pipes
Evolve GT rear exhausts with burnt titanium tips
Evolve AlphaN tune
AP Racing Brakes
Bilstein PSS9 coilovers
Uprated front and rear sway bars
Dinan strut brace
19" LM Reps
Intravee 2
Bluetooth upgrade
Mk 4 DVD sat nav

M5 Russ is offline  
post #6 of 70 Old 6th July 2011, 03:53 AM
pjfox23
Fellow Member (>400)
 
pjfox23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: CT
Posts: 408
Thanks: 38
Thanked 69 Times in 49 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by M5 Russ View Post
Can you repair the wing mirrors too as one of mine looks like it has a bubble.
I think the answer to that question is no. Right? It may be something to look into for guys, though. I would want my side mirror repaired, too. Two customers already

Last edited by pjfox23; 6th July 2011 at 03:56 AM.
pjfox23 is offline  
post #7 of 70 Old 6th July 2011, 04:42 AM Thread Starter
RaceMX-M3
Senior Member (>500)
 
RaceMX-M3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Dallas
Posts: 508
Thanks: 15
Thanked 123 Times in 58 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjfox23 View Post
I think the answer to that question is no. Right? It may be something to look into for guys, though. I would want my side mirror repaired, too. Two customers already
No sorry we can't repair the side mirrors.

The DFW Auto Club (Dallas/Ft Worth) meets every Saturday morning at The Shops at Starwood @ Lebanon & the Dallas North Tollway. For more information please visit dfwautoclub.com
RaceMX-M3 is offline  
post #8 of 70 Old 6th July 2011, 11:13 AM
Tiauguinho
M5 Guru (>2000 posts)
 
Tiauguinho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,378
Thanks: 790
Thanked 949 Times in 428 Posts
Cool, thanks for taking the time to explain how this works

2001 BMW E39 M5 Le Mans Blue + Heritage Nappa Black Leather - Van Manen Headers, Stoptech ST-40 BBK. The Garage Queen.

2004 BMW E39 530i Touring M Package Individual Carbon Black + Cinnamon Nappa Leather. Smooth Daily Driver.
Tiauguinho is offline  
post #9 of 70 Old 6th July 2011, 06:09 PM
RichardP
M5 Guru (>2000 posts)
 
RichardP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 3,066
Thanks: 111
Thanked 846 Times in 591 Posts
My mirror has been stuck in UK customs since the 26th.

Scott turned it round very quickly but the civil service strike in the UK has not helped it getting back to me.
RichardP is offline  
post #10 of 70 Old 6th July 2011, 06:57 PM
chowdah
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: midatlantic
Posts: 4,587
Thanks: 3,619
Thanked 898 Times in 547 Posts
Does your repair replace anything on the customer's mirror beyond the gel (e.g. glass)?

Does your repair improve on the factory/original (e.g. better gel, better sealing)?

For those of us without this problem (yet), can you comment as to whether there is a "right" or "wrong" way to grab/adjust the mirror?

Is the factory gel also corrosive to human skin?

Thanks.

Last edited by chowdah; 6th July 2011 at 06:57 PM.
chowdah is online now  
Reply

Bookmarks

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Linear Mode Linear Mode
Rate This Thread:



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Question About Auto-Dimming Mirrors... B Jack E39 M5 and E52 Z8 Discussion 2 15th June 2011 08:07 AM
how can i mimic the auto dimming for the mirrors? razahyde E39 M5 and E52 Z8 Discussion 2 12th February 2009 06:00 AM
Auto Dimming Mirrors ? ? ? kingsolomon12 E60 M5 and E61 M5 Touring Discussion 0 9th January 2008 09:52 PM
Auto dimming exterior mirrors, should they look like this? Gustav E60 M5 and E61 M5 Touring Discussion 12 7th June 2007 07:38 AM
auto dimming mirrors.. LI-M5 E60 M5 and E61 M5 Touring Discussion 13 9th November 2006 05:16 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome