How to do-it yourself instructional on replacing a side-view mirror on a car or light truck with complete inner door panel removal and installation process and discussions on torque and the over-tightening of fasteners.
OK so the problem is obvious, the driverís side view mirror is loose at the base. There is a broken mount. So stay tuned, weíll have a look.
OK so youíve seen the problem, this mirror right here has a real bad wobble in it because of a broken mount inside. So what weíre going to do, with just a small handful of tools, is remove the inside door panel and pull off the mirror. So letís get to work.
OK among the first things to do, thereís a little screw here that holds on that tray and thereís another screw in here which you wonít be able to see unless we bring the camera around to the side here. OK Iím just going to slip my little screwdriver in underneath, pry up on it, there it is right there and then underneath there are a couple of hex headed screws that Iíll remove with this little socket wrench.
Iím just going to leave it hanging like that because Iím not going to actually disconnect any components Iím simply lifting the door panel off and Iím going to let it hang while I get into this area here. This is about the only specialized tool that youíre going to find that you need itís made by the Lisle company. You can make your own you just need a piece of flat bar, cut a little groove in it bend the end of it.
Steve showing an automotive interior door panel removal tool
For instance hereís the diagram of what General Motors suggests your tool should look like. Anyway  theyíre underneath we start at the bottom here, just work your way in and get in behind the mounts and Iíll show you what they look like as soon as Iíve got them all undone Iíll get the door off or the door panel off. OK the last thing is thereís a channel hooking into the door frame here. So you need to be able to just pop the whole thing upwards just like that and itís free. You just want to drop that through there and as you can see thereís the inside of your door panel. That this little fellow comes in behind and pops free out of the holes they mount into.
 OK these are little foam bushings that are used to cover the access ports. So Iím going to pull them out very carefully as you can see get in behind it with a screwdriver and chase it out through the front. Chase that one out through the front. Going to go in with our ten mil socket and start undoing the nut. Now one of the problems with a recess like this is Iím afraid to drop the nut inside the door panel. So what I do is instead of undoing them all the way I undo them most of the way and then I reach inside with my mechanical fingersÖ
And I undo it the rest of the way with a sure grip on the nut to make sure I donít drop it inside the door panel. And there she is. Two more like that and weíre off. And the mirror pulls away nice and easy. Now you can see thereís an electrical connection here. Pull back on this locking tab and it pulls apart very easily. The entire mirror comes off easily in one piece. And as you can see thereís three studs that come out except the third oneís broken.

How to use a Craftsman click type torque wrench

The service manual calls for fifty three inch pounds. OK now Iím going to show you here on this wheel nut that you can easily put fifty three foot pounds on it with just one hand. Now a foot pound is obviously twelve inch pounds so itís twelve times the power weíre going to require on these little nuts over here. OK Iíve dialed in fifty three foot pounds. I just wanted to show you how easy it is to make that kind of power never mind the fifty three inch pounds, which is all you need on the studs to hang our side view mirror. OK so Ií just going to make some power. Letís just say like that. You see I was only a foot out rather than the actual full eighteen inches. Just do that real quick and proveÖ you see that? I donít turn at all and itís already saying fifty three foot pounds. So I was able to make fifty three foot pounds with just one hand and only twelve inches of leverage.
OK well the weatherís changed on us and itís cooled off quite a bit so weíre going to hope that thereís enough light here to do this. Just get started by peeling off the tape and weíre ready to install the new part. OK so you do want to work with the window open, again Iím working through the window for your benefit. Iím just going to peel off the tape that I put over the holes. As you can see here Iíve touched up the paint across here where itís been worn off by the loose mounting of the mirror. Went to my parts dealer and she was able to just pick it off the shelf in a matter of minutes. Again, I was lucky, if you donít live in a major metropolitan area like I do you might not be as lucky, you might have to wait a week or two. You can also just go down to your local scrap yard and see if theyíve got it on the shelf often you can get a perfectly fine working piece for a quarter or half the price that you would pay for a new one. So we got all the studs here lined up, got the electrical connection to go through, just pass that through the door.
Now as I said before Iím going to try and limit the amount of torque that I can put behind this nut so Iím going to drop it into a little quarter inch drive socket wrench instead of using the big one you saw me take it off with.

Removal and installation of the driver's side mirror on a chevy blazer

OK Iíve got my nut loaded in there and itís safely in place with a bit of shop towel.  And Iíll just find the stud. Get it started. OK Iím certain thatís started now so I pull this off so that I can get the shop towel out of there easily and I can put this back on and spin it down just until itís snug. Once weíve got all three nuts in place then we can torque them down to spec. Now as you can see Iím trying to limit the amount of torque I apply to this by using a tiny little quarter inch drive socket wrench and choking half way up on it as well.
So we take it up to thereís forty inch pounds and a zero we want to go to fifty-three so I donít know if you can see this very well but thereís  fifty eleven twelve thirteen. Forty and thirteen is fifty three.
Alright Iím going to just torque these down nice and even you want to you want to bring all the bolts snug before you try and apply the torque. I can feel, Iíve developed a feel for it so I sort of know when the spring inside is about to jump. Thatís the first one. I donít know if you noticed it. Thereís the second one. Thereís all three. Iím letting go with this hand in order that it doesnít interfere with the torque Iím applying with this hand and you see Iím doing it with just two fingers of pressure. And thatís what I am trying to impress upon you in this episode is that some things canít take a lot of power and you can make a lot of power no matter how small you think you are no matter how weak you might believe you are youíre very strong compared to small fasteners and itís very easy to break them.
 So the next step is to put it all back together, the first thing are these foam bushings that are used for soundproofing. You want to just drop them in just enough. Donít want them to fall through. Thereís one, two three theyíre just little plugs that cover the access port. OK Iíve got one of these little body panel plugs that I was mentioning. They hang in little bracket/keepers on the inside panel and you can see theyíre all barbed and have pointed tips and they go into a Ė drop on in and thatís why you need that curved tool Ė just get in behind it like that and it just pops right out. Just this little hook, like that kind of deal . You hook it into the door-panel right onto the steel inner door skin. Sometimes thatís the tricky part. Just pass this baby through there and work on hooking that into the door just like that. Nice and easy. Line that up. Find our little keepers. Thereís one down here. One up in here. There we go. The next thing to put together after the door-panel is on is this little plastic piece that holds the door handle release and it also has the actuator for the manual door lock and thatís the tricky part. What youíve got to do see the actuator there with this little keyhole type slot there and youíve got this lock actuator here this rod and its got to be lined up with that little keyhole slot. Sorry about the flashlight but its gotten really dark I think itís going to rain. OK so you want to have both the actuator and the control both in the unlocked position. Thatís how they suggest in the manual that you find neutral position for it and then youíre just going to work your way on from the corner and snap it into place. There we go. And, you can see I got it. So all thatís left is weíre going to drop a little screw in behind there and weíre done.
OK and the last thing Iím going to do is hang a convex ďspotterĒ mirror on the outside lower corner because I used to drive a truck for a living and I learned that the only way to drive is using spotter mirrors on both sides of your vehicle. I donít care what size of vehicle youíve got Ė even a motorcycle Ė you want to have convex mirrors on both sides.

After shot of replacement side mirror on 1996 Chevy S10 Blazer

Alright as you can see fully operational, the neighbours are all out of bed, itís been quite a morning. Weíll go for a little drive and Iíll show you what it looks like.

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