Thursday, July 9, 2020

Update from NISMO... They Called Worx AutoAlarm And...

So this past Saturday afternoon, after two days of updates from Ochiai-san on the progress NISMO Omori Factory's Uchida-san had made on cleaning up the mess caused by Nakamura at Worx AutoAlarm, I was treated to some more interesting news from Ochiai-san.

He texted me to let me know that he had called Worx that morning in an effort to get some clarity on how and why Nakamura had spliced into the electrical harnesses for the alarm install in the peculiar (non-obvious and unusual) way he did.  He was hoping to figure out how best to remove the alarm, but alas from the get go things did not go well.

Even before mentioning my name, even though I think most small shops would be thrilled that Nismo Omori Factory was calling to inquire about their past work, the response was rude and unprofessional from the moment Nakamura answered the phone.

This irked Ochiai-san, but keeping his cool he asked Nakamura about his past installs, only to be bluntly told he didn't keep records or notes of any of his past installs ("Records? Why would I need records? It's all in my head").  In fact he told Ochiai-san that the mechanics at Nismo were complete amateurs and they should follow each wire back to figure it out themselves - never mind that the reason for the call was that we were hoping that professional courtesy would prevail and that Nismo wouldn't have waste time doing just that.

Of course when Ochiai-san expanded and told Nakamura that it was my car they were calling about, Nakamura got even more agitated, refusing to have anything to do with me and my car.   I guess my critiques and complaints had gotten back to him. He's lucky I've decided it's not worth suing him.

What was funny of course was that Ochiai-san (the most laid back guy at Nismo!) admitted to me that talking to Nakamura had really pissed him off - and he told me he now understands why I was complaining about Worx so much when I described what needed to be fixed.

In fact, Ochiai-san was so upset that he did some checking around and found that apparently Worx's and Nakamura's reputation is extremely negative.  So I was informed that NISMO will never have any dealings with Worx/Nakamura, and of course if any other customer asks for a referral for an alarm, Worx won't be on the short list. If pressed for details I've told Ochiai-san that it's ok for him to tell others what they found in my car...
Meanwhile Uchida-san had made significant progress - super clean!
Anyway, on to better and more positive things.  As all this was happening Uchida-san was diligently continuing his quest to clean up the stereo wiring.  Ochiai-san sent me the above photo which shows that in the end, Uchida-san was able to bring all the speaker wires together and use OEM connectors so that I can use those adaptor kits for Nissan stereo wiring to install a modern 1-DIN stereo without much hassle. Awesome!!

Next, a small bump in the road - even though I had bought an extra HVAC unit to replace the one that was now integrated into the shift surround panel, it turned out that the connectors in my car did not match the extra unit!  I learned today that the wiring connectors for kohki (Series 3) cars are different from the zenki (Series 1 and 2) earlier cars, which are identical to ones on the BNR32! I knew the parts numbers were different, but why change the connectors? So weird...
I bought this HVAC (with the bonus OEM radio/cassette deck) from Yahoo Auction assuming it would work 
Admittedly, I didn't test it to see if it would work in my car before handing over to Nismo Omori Factory
HVAC unit from my car on top with yellow sticker. The one I got on Yahoo Auctions with the black label.
So an expensive lesson on another area where the Series 3 R33 GT-R is different from the others.

In any case, to resolve the problem they did what they had to - which was to remove my old HVAC unit from the modified shift surround (because this HVAC part is no longer available new). When I looked at it previously, it appeared to be in there pretty solidly, but with the right tools...
I can almost hear that "CRACK" as the plastic separated
Unfortunately, looks like the sides of the unit and the front fascia have also been modified
And yeah sorry guys I don't think this can be re-used... will take a closer look in person however
 So what to do with the damaged fascia - remove and use the near pristine one from the incompatible older unit!
Super clean, and should fit on the newer unit
So that solves that issue quickly... which reminds me that before I took the car to Nismo, there was an odd clicking/whirring sound coming from behind the center A/C vents, when the key was turned to "ignition" but the engine wasn't started.  Turns out that this CyberNavi part was zip-tied behind the vents...
Apparently a relay from the CyberNavi...
...and when they tested after removing it the sound went away! So some good news! I'm not needing to replace the motors that control the vents, and it appears there was no damage done.

Finally some mixed news - I had instructed Nismo Omori Factory to remove the Morel speakers up front, and replace with the old Pioneers in the rear deck, just so I'd be able to listen to music when I get a 1DIN deck - an amp and high end speakers can come later!  Unfortunately, when they tried to remove the Morels, it turns out that the speaker wires were directly connected to the speakers, without using the clips or connectors (!). Who does that?? This is a GT-R, I'm not sure any improvement in sound quality can be noticed by a direct soldering install.

Since I plan to replace these speakers (and it's something I can do myself) I told them to leave it all as is, but to make sure that the wiring to the speakers, both front and rears are still functioning, I asked them to use the OEM radio-cassette deck to check - which of course was possible because thanks to Uchida-san we now have the OEM connectors for the speakers and deck.

And the result:

Ok so the sound quality isn't great but that's ok for now...

Unfortunately the tape deck doesn't work (would truly be period correct if it did!), but not a problem of course.

So what's next? Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Call from NISMO - It's The Worst They've Ever Seen!

So I got a call last Thursday from Ochiai-san at Nismo Omori Factory.  Bad news, and he didn't mince words to describe what he thought  - that this is the worst they've ever seen! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I'm pretty sure everyone at NISMO believes me now on how bad Worx AutoAlarm is.

He was referring, of course not only to the mess of wires behind where the CyberNavi used to be, but what they found as they began to remove the wiring.
The initial exploration/planning stage. Note the left door panel is off as is the glovebox. 
One of my requests this time around was for the experts at NISMO to remove all the stuff that Worx AutoAlarm had added, and bring the car back to OEM condition.  Long time readers of this blog know that I had made the wrong choice by going to Worx and trusting the owner, Nakamura-san, to "install the best."

That "best" has turned out to be not only "mediocre" (and now I suspect, judging by the date of install vs the date of product release, he installed used or prior year model parts) but in doing the install Nakamura not only damaged several parts, but he also threw out many parts on the car without asking me, and installed untested parts that might have led to long term damage.  So clearly, this guy seems to have problems with judgment and common sense. But now NISMO, who's assigned their best electronics guy Uchida-san to the work, has confirmed my worst fears - that in doing his install, it appears Nakamura took a lot of short cuts, made illogical and irreversible decisions, and in some parts, even damaged other interior parts. Based on what I myself found earlier, I guess it's not surprising to find out that in areas that couldn't be readily seen, it was just as bad.
Uchida-san trying to get a sense of the mess - note he's removed the seats
For example, some plastic stays on the back of the dashboard have been filed off -  likely in order to allow the install of the relocated HVAC unit combined with the shift surround. Unfortunately these stays are designed to support the OEM stereo and HVAC units.
It might be a good idea, but not if you have to cut off essential brackets for a smooth install...
So now, I can either buy a new dashboard, or more likely, Uchida-san will have to figure out how to reattach some brackets for support or some other alternative.

Incidentally, here you can see the bracket that Nakamura jury rigged to hold the CyberNavi. So that enormously heavy piece of electronics was supported by 3 screws on the front, and nothing in back, with the unit itself resting on the sea of wires behind it. Unbelievable, really!
From my prior post, where just looking at this pissed me off and I removed it.
An example of a shortcut is that the existing Blitz boost controller was re-wired into, along with the new ETC reader (nothing wrong with my old one...), audio related wiring behind the CyberNavi, presumably because it's easier to run all aftermarket accessories from one central power source. Not a big deal maybe, but now that the CyberNavi is gone, these parts will have to get power from separate, and proper, sources. Did Nakamura not consider that one day I might want to change out the CyberNavi? What happens when it breaks? I think a true professional installs items so things can be reversed with little hassle, and unrelated parts should be able to operate independently.

This one way thinking was also apparent in the speaker wiring - the original harness was gone, replaced by what appears to be slightly higher grade wiring.  To be honest, I'm not too crushed about this, since I don't plan on reinstalling OEM speakers, and newer wiring, regardless of gauge, will likely be of a better quality than the old Nissan OEM wiring for purposes of sound quality. But, as with other items he removed from my car, Nakamura never asked me if he could cut and throw out the OEM wiring.

But more importantly, because he threw out the OEM speaker wiring and its connectors, it's no longer possible to use the OEM stereo harnesses which is what I wanted in bringing the car back to OEM condition. Having the OEM stereo harnesses and connectors would make it much easier to install aftermarket stereos, because there are adaptors that run between the aftermarket stereo and the connectors on the OEM speaker harness.

Like this:
Why didn't Worx use something like this? Photo from Amazon
Now, we likely have individual speaker wires running into the center stack, making for a complicated and unlabelled mess.

Uchida-san also found that the old Pioneer coaxials in the rear deck were not hooked up to anything. In fact, the wiring for these speakers seemed to be connected to CyberNavi leads that were labelled for the front? So as I hinted earlier, I asked them to reinstall these Pioneers in the doors, to replace the Morels that will be removed.  This would allow me to easily first install an aftermarket stereo deck without worrying about a separate amp (these Pioneers were installed amp-less alongside with the old Pioneer deck I had, back in 2006), enjoy it for awhile, and then figure out what aftermarket speakers to get.

As for the alarm install itself, it turns out that Nakamura hacked into the main electrical harness (and likely, other harnesses such as for the doors and dome light) in places that don't make sense, meaning that in removing the alarm, they will have to be very careful to restore the harnesses to OEM condition.  The concern is that without knowing what or where he hacked, simply cutting out the alarm might result in certain things not functioning.  Alternatively, we could just install new harnesses, but this threatens to drive up the cost.  Ochiai-san wanted my permission to let the alarm be and initially I agreed, due to time and cost considerations.

Friday morning, Ochiai-san sent me the following photo to show how Uchida-san was at the shop early, finishing the cleaning up of the stereo wiring mess. I'm curious to know his solution on the stereo output wires. Guess I will find out when I pick up the car...
Note the seats are still gone but the left door inner panel has been replaced.
Later, when Ochiai-san called me to report on progress, I told him I had changed my mind and wanted the alarm removed at any cost.  Might as well get it taken care of properly.  Ochiai-san and Uchida-san were also curious as to why the alarm kills the starter on command (as it's supposed to via the remote) but at other times kills the starter at random, making starting the car a perennial gamble.  Is the alarm dying? If so then I told them we need to get rid of it.  So, rather than risk cutting out the alarm and ending up with a car that doesn't start period, with my permission Ochiai-san has now decided to call Worx AutoAlarm's Nakamura to ask what he did, as they don't want to assume anything at this point, given what they have seen.

In any case, by the end of the day Ochiai-san sent me this photo, showing how much cleaner it all looks now.
Note, not only is much of the unecessary wiring gone, but the switch panel has been reinstalled.
So I wonder how much more needs to be done. From the photo above I can see, in the passenger footwell, the grey boost controller and small black ETC reader, but there still is that large box behind them (and its related wiring) which I suspect is the brain unit for the CyberNavi, and which I want gone.  The cigarette lighter and ashtray have to be installed, as well as the HVAC unit and a blank spot for the incoming 1 DIN stereo.

I'm sure you all want to know what happened when Ochiai-san called Worx... for that, you'll have to check out my next post tomorrow!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Robson Leather - Project #1

So as I mentioned in my previous post where I detailed my recent visit to Robson Leather, I have two projects with Robson planned. Honestly at this time I'm not sure whether project #2 will actually work, but for now I can show you project #1.

You may recall in my previous post that I was there dropping some things off. Well those were some interior parts that are no longer available new that I found on Yahoo Auctions - namely the plastic cover for the left side A pillar, and then covers for the B/C pillars.

In the box to the side of my car when I parked were two new items sent over by Nismo - the roof headliner (part number 73910-22U12) and the right side A pillar cover (part number 76911-22U00).
Roof headliner not shown, obviously
Together, these old and new parts comprise the upper half of the visible surfaces of the car's interior.  In order to modernize the car while returning the interior to OEM (which would involve removing the A pillars with the gigantic and view-obstructing Morel tweeters) I have decided to get it all wrapped in Charcoal (color code #9002) Alcantara.  This incidentally is the same color Alcantara previously used by Cesar (I had bought it and had it sent to him directly) when he lined the glovebox, center console, main gauge surround and door pockets with Alcantara. There is actually an even darker black color for Alcantara but everyone I've talked to has advised against it, saying it makes the interior feel less spacious and that it shows dirt better. 

Not an easy color to capture well on one's phone.
Sharp eyed readers will see that in the first photo above, I had brought an extra leftover roll of 9002 Alcantara with me to Robson to verify color matching with their stock (yes, spot on).

In any case, given how busy they are I was very surprised to learn a week later that they were DONE with the Alcantara wrap and ready to send all the pieces to Nismo, but first they sent me the following photos as proof.

Yep, I thought the same... is that the right color?
A little better on the color... nice stitching though!
Ah, much better on the color.
And thank you for NOT putting stitching down the middle of the panel.
Robson Leather's Daihi-san reassured me that the color was all the same, consistent with the color code and that in person it looked darker. And that they had undergone a steaming process to remove all the wrinkles. Having still not seen it in person, I will have to take his word on this.  And regarding my comment above about stitching - when Robson had done an Alcantara wrap on the roof headliner of friend's BNR34, they had put stitching down the middle.  This was because my friend did not want a rear glass out install, and so in order to get the roof headliner into the car, it had to be cut in half, with the stitching holding the two cut sides together. Not so on the BCNR33 however as it has a larger cabin and the doors open wider...The headliner can be installed via the doors with just a slight bend according to Nismo. WIN!

I finally got word from Nismo yesterday that, having passed Shaken and then having gotten back the Ohlins DFV coilovers that had been rebuilt to original specifications without issue, they were finally working on getting ready to install the new roof headliner. 
Sound deadening!
I had read somewhere that Nismo had installed sound deadening to their CRS cars, so I requested the same of my car, in conjunction with the roof liner replacement.  Here you can see they are halfway through the roof area (they also sent me a short video demonstrating the difference in sound when the roof is tapped in various places).  Good to see the roof looking clean without any weird holes or rust. But it also shows how the roof is very simply constructed, without anything that appears to increase body rigidity - you literally cut the roof off panel and leave the center bit in, like a targa roof... HMMMMM???  Nah, don't worry it will never happen!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Let's Talk Tires!

Ok so as I mentioned in my post where I described taking the car to Nismo Omori Factory (again), I mentioned that in addition to getting the biannual Shaken done, I also needed to replace the tires.

When the 33 GT-R first came out over 25 years ago, the OEM tires were either the Bridgestone Expedia S-07 (on the V-specs) or the Bridgetsone Potenza RE010 (on the standard car).

Traditionally, the Nissan race cars of this era were on Bridgestones too.

I took this photo of the LM racing car at Nismo Festival 2017
Taken at Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery
Also at the Gallery
Nismo has confirmed with me that traditionally, their recommended street tire used to be one of Yokohama Tire's top sports tires being offered at that time. As shown on the CRS cars.

I took this photo at Nismo Festival 2017 - the Advan Sport is Yokohama's Maximum Performance Summer Tire 
Couldn't resist posting this, so clean!
Next, I have to figure out what polymer coating they use...
And yes, I've been on Yokohama Advans since I got my R35 brakes installed... back in 2011!
Metadata date is October 15, 2011!!

But about 7 years ago, Michelin started making inroads with Nissan... witness their gigantic trailer parked at last year's Nismo Festival, for example.

The Super GT cars began wearing Michelins around 2013.
The new e-dams Formula machine... wearing Michelins!

And then suddenly Nismo started to use Michelin tires on their CRS cars too.

My Lexus IS-F came OEM with the Michelin Pilot Sports, so I know that they are good tires.  But then I stumbled on this video.

And if it's widely acknowledged that the Pilot Sports 4S is even better than the Pilot Sports...

However, just because Nismo now uses the Pilot Sports tires, doesn't mean I do.  Putting price aside, I decided to do some research and compare the PS4S against the two tires I would normally decide between, the Bridgestone RE71R and the Yokohama Advan A052.

Interestingly, I found that on, they consider the RE71R and the Advans to be "Extreme Performance Summer Tires" ("Hyperfocused on extreme dry grip, but gives up wet traction, confort and life to get it") while the PS4S is a "Max Performance Summer Tire" (designed to "deliver the highest combination of dry and wet traction along with reasonable ride and treadwear").

In other words, the Extremes are for track/dry weather use, while the Max tires are for great all around use (except obviously snow and ice).  Normally I would agree that, since I never drive the GT-R in the rain, I could focus and buy one of the Extremes.  However, there were 2 things to also consider - what if I got caught in a downpour or end up on a road up in the mountains still wet from the day before, and second, is there a Max tire that has just as good dry performance as an Extreme tire?

Now, for those you who question my research at -while their categorization is useful, what I'm really interested in are the ratings by actual owners. Somewhat like how we check Customer Reviews on Amazon or feedback given in the App Store, I tend to disbelieve what the "experts" say - even in famous magazines or youTube channels - because most of the time those people are given some kind of financial incentive to not say anything negative about the products they review.  The average consumer, however, is usually much more truthful because it's their experience and money. In fact I usually go to the negative reviews first, pissed off consumers are usually very informative (if not entertaining)! But I usually go along with what the majority say.

So first the customer experience on the RE71.  Overwhelmingly, most people seem to buy these tires for track and/or autocross use.  For those who do drive with these on an daily basis, these tires seem to not be as good in the wet as they are in the dry.

Second, what about the Advans?  Very few reviews on the A052 but again the majority of reviews reflected track/autocross driving. Just in case I also checked out the reviews for the AD08R, the successor to the tires on my car, but the feedback was similar.  And the overall rating, like the A052 and the RE71, showed only "good" and not "excellent" subjective wet performance.

Ok then what about the PS4S? Well first, this tire showed "excellent" in both wet and dry performance, but the reviews showed that overwhelmingly, this tire is not for the track. Some of the users who used this tire for the track had problems with premature wear, and some even outright mentioned the RE71 as a better tire on the track... and especially in the dry.

So in conclusion, the PS4S appears to be the best high performance street tire. And, given that I can currently get these tires at about half the price of the others, I can convince myself to go with them, even though I'll likely never drive in the rain, and I've been itching for a track day.  If I ever get back to do a track day, I will have to mount some Advans or the RE71 (purchased as cheaply as possible) on my spare set of wheels (LMGT4s).

Incidentally, if pricing was comparable amongst all three tires, I would likely go with the Bridgestones, given their OEM association when the car first came out.  Never mind that I don't take the car to the track these days and I don't drive it much (and when I do, and I wouldn't do so in the rain anyway).  Just wearing JDM best might be good enough...

Stay tuned! Another post coming soon! Stay safe everyone.

Monday, June 22, 2020

New Speakers - Kenwood Sound Cruising System?

In an earlier recent post, I mentioned that I had begun researching speakers and speaker locations after I had removed the overly complicated Pioneer CyberNavi system, and that I was looking to replace it with a simpler 1 DIN deck.

And yes, one of the tasks for Nismo Omori Factory this time is to remove that mess of wiring, remove the Morels in the A pillars and the doors, and move the old 3 way coaxial Pioneers in the rear deck to the front doors, so that whatever deck I choose can be installed very easily.  But these Pioneers are not a permanent solution, as I'm sure there are newer speakers on the market that provide better sound quality.

In my research for new speakers, one option I DID in fact think about was the optional Kenwood Sound Cruising system, which in fact was standard on the 4 door Autech GT-R (and it's something I became aware of several years ago). Described in the catalogs as "200W, 8 speakers, 1 DIN AM/FM electronic tuner, single CD player (with CD auto changer capability)" putting something like this back in my car would be cool - OEM yet digital sound, and with 8 speakers!

Buttons look faded, and the scratches on the display...
Ah, but what about the speakers? We would need good ones for digital sound, right? Well, previously.  I had discovered the fronts are separates and go into the A pillar and that all cars are prewired for it.

But I had never realized (despite the description of 8 speakers) that the REAR deck speakers were also a bit different than the norm, until I came across this on Facebook.
Credit to someone on Facebook, apologies! Send me your name and I will add...
So my takeaways - looking at this photo, at the very least, these speakers appear to NOT have cones made of paper, but maybe a slightly better plastic (or a plastic coated paper cone)?

Compare with regular OEM speakers from my car that I still had saved!

And it's interesting that the fronts utilize the same plastic door mounts as the regular speakers, but the rears have independent tweeters next to the mids, or maybe they are subs.

Clearly the small tweeters that go up front seem a bit small.
As above, taken from a Facebook post - apologies for the lack of credit (let me know if this is your photo!)
So the question now is, whether these speakers are actually placed optimally with sound quality and imaging in mind, much like the modern systems of today, or whether Nissan put these tweeters here for convenience.  In other words, if I choose separates again to replace the Morel speakers, is this where I should be placing the tweeters?  Somehow I doubt that optimal sound staging was the idea here...

Then again, I have no idea why they decided that separate tweeters were necessary in the rear - it's common knowledge that staging is more of a front position speaker thing, with the rears, if used at all, providing fill.

Further, I'm sure both speaker design and material quality has substantially improved in the 25 years since the Kenwood system was designed.  Those tweeters look very small, so my thinking is that given their sound dynamics, they NEEDED to be placed as high up as possible in order to provide some decent sound.

I'm also curious about the 200W Kenwood amp that came with this system. How good it is and how does it compare to a modern Class D amp?

In any case there was one very simple and OCD reason I decided not to go with this system in the end - if you look at the photo above, you will notice that the white lettering on the buttons has turned brownish orange. If I'm going to go OEM, I'd at minimum want it to look brand new...

And so my search continues...

Monday, June 15, 2020

Problem Getting Car Ready for Shaken (Quickly Resolved)

Now this was unexpected...

A few days after I dropped the car off, and a couple of days before Nismo was getting ready to send my car to get shaken'd I got the following photos sent to me from Ochiai-san.

Hmm looks a bit dark on one side...
Interesting. Didn't know light was measured not in Lumens but in Hecto Candela for Shaken purposes

Yep, all that work to try to modernize the headlights and the right side bulb (showing a brightness of 71 hecto candela in the above photo) dies on me. Great.

Since I wasn't going to bother scrambling to find the exact replacement (Philips D2S/R bulb, 6200K, 3300lms - and no longer made!) nor was I going to pay an excessive amount of money for OEM (you know, I still have those bulbs somewhere...), I asked them to get something nearly equivalent in the aftermarket.

So they went ahead and got these.
From: SphereLight Website

So that's one problem (cheaply) solved. Hopefully.

What else?

Well, the HKS catalyzer. When taking your car in for Shaken, if you are running a non OEM catalytic converter, you need to have the paperwork from the parts manufacturer demonstrating that this part passes regulations. As I forgot to include this in the paperwork I left at Nismo, I had to scramble at home when I got the call and PDF it to them.

Looks like this - as you can see it has all the gas readings to show it actually reduces hydrocarbons...
This is actually for my old Apex'i one.
And then photos of how it's to look when properly installed.

The good news I got however is that the car passed Shaken and the guy didn't even bother to ask for this paperwork... oh well...

One more thing - I realized that I am getting a LOT of things done this time - but each item I have decided to do after lots of research and thinking (and budgeting, of course). So going forward, instead of showing everyone what I did when I picked up the car (which would be a very long post), I will be posting on the blog for each item I am getting done, and then when I pick up the car hopefully showing with photographs of the items on the car.

That should allow me to post more often, and in more detail! Next post coming soon!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Guest Post - Tom Smith - Folding Mirror Repair

Every once in a while, a friend of mine (usually a fellow R33 GT-R owner) sends me something interesting.  In this case, my friend Tom from the UK, owner of a very clean black R33 GT-R (and a fellow admin in the owners only Facebook ClubR33) happened to mention that he was about to take apart and repair one of his folding mirrors. So thinking ahead I had asked Tom to take photos as he repaired his side mirror, and not only did he do that, he also wrote up a guide! Which he has kindly allowed me to publish on this site.  Please enjoy (not sure why the font changed on me when I cut and pasted over):

Guide to Folding Mirror Repair.

Firstly, it’s important to note this is not really an easy job, more for someone confident with small fiddly components. That said its more than possible with simple tools and for me at least it fixed my issue. I found a guide on a site in Australia but that one was distinctly lacking in pictures so hopefully this one is easier to follow. Remember when working with 25 year old plastics they can be brittle so take your time and be gentle.

*Please note that the screws to be undone are JIS Japanese industrial standard. That means they are subtly different to Philips and Pozidriv. Make sure you have a good fitting screwdriver. For the 3 screws on the mirror base you may even need a bit to fit in a socket wrench. They are very tight and have thread lock applied*

 First task is to remove the door panel. This is done by removing the 3 screws along the lower edge. Then the one in the bottom of the door pull. Gently lever the door handle surround away and put that to one side. Same with the window control switches pull up gently and unplug the switches. Last is the little pop clips just pull gently on them (located along the sides of the door panel) and the door panel will lift out of the groove at the top. Lay the panel down safely somewhere safe so as not to damage it. Before you go further if it works, using the adjustment point the mirror glass up to the sky. (this gives room to pull the glass from the bottom with your fingers)

Once that is done, we can now start to remove the door mirror itself using the following steps:

1. Remove the small plastic triangular trim from the inside of the mirror base. This just pulls off.

2. You will now see the wiring loom for the mirror, the mirror needs to be unplugged so trace the loom along the door you will see the white connector. If you still have it the plastic membrane on the door can be peeled back to gain access to the plug. 

3. Unplug the mirror and using a multi meter we now need to test the wiring and switch in the car for functionality. 

4. The plug in the door has 5 wires. We are interested in the 2 green ones (one light green with black stripe, one dark green with black stripe) very carefully with the ignition key turned to accessory position we need to probe the pins in the plug for the two green wires. With the mirror in the folded position first you should see 12v (or -12v) and in the open position the opposite of what you saw in the folded (either 12v or -12v). *If you short the probes on the multi meter across more than one pin it will blow the fuse so be careful- Perhaps ask someone to hold the plug as you test it*

5. If you see a reading of 12v or -12v in both folded and open positions, you know the car side of the wiring loom is good. 

6. Next step is to remove the mirror from the door and thread the wiring through the hole. This is done by removing the 3 10mm bolts from the mirror base. *Be careful not to drop the mirror* 

7. Now the mirror is free from the car, we can remove the glass. As it is adjusted up there is room to slide your fingers under from the bottom edge and gently pull it away. The glass hooks in the top and clips at the bottom so must be done this way. Place it down somewhere safe.

8. With the mirror free, next is to undo the retaining screw for the loom. This is located behind the foam as shown in the picture. Cut the foam neatly with a sharp blade for the best chance of putting it back where it was. In this case it had just fallen apart.


9. Next the three screws on the base of the mirror need to be removed, as previously stated these are tight. They have thread lock on them. For this I used a ¼ drive socket wrench with suitable bit to undo them. 

10.  Now the mirror can be pulled from its base by threading the loom through the hole. Pull as much loom through as possible you want the mirror and the base separated as much as possible.

11. You should now have access to the screw on the base, remove this as shown. 

12. Now looking at the mirror aperture where the glass was, there are 3 screws to remove the glass adjustment motor from the bracket behind, these are shown below. 

13. With this removed you can now remove the three holding the mirror folding mechanism from the painted mirror cap. Undo the screws as shown below. The painted cap now can be removed and slid down the loom to move it out of the way as best you can. 

14. Next is to remove the cap from the motor / gearbox assembly. This is held on with 3 little tabs 2 are easily visible but the third is behind some tape. Carefully peel the tape back to reveal the third clip. I used a small flat blade screwdriver to pry the cover off the clips and lift it off. *Pay attention to the routing of the loom as it exits from under the cover as it will need to go back in the same place, this is easy to see*


15. With the lid removed you are presented with the motor, the PCB for the folding mechanism and the gearbox.

16.  Now this is where the fun begins. Remove the connector from the top of the motor, this is just 2 pins and pulls off easily. Then undo the 3 screws highlighted below. I have also highlighted the split line on the gearbox this is important as we need to pry this open on the next step. *Note the PCB is held onto the cylindrical post by the white clips but also has a locating peg on the lower right of the board to make sure its in the correct place*

17. The next step is to lever the lid up off the gearbox. The reason for doing this is to slide the PCB and the white tabs holding it on off the black cylindrical post running up the centre of the 2. This subsequently allows the white tabs to be pressed in and the PCB lifted off the white plastic base. This is where the troublesome contacts are. The image shows the gearbox lid pried up around 5mm you want to lift it around 10mm to be able to press the white clips in. If you lift it all the way off it exposes the gears and ideally you don’t want to do that. 

18. What you will see once the white plastic and the PCB are separated is the two copper coloured contacts. One or both will be just broken away from their mounting points. This is what causes the folding function to stop working either in one way or both. In mine one was still in place hence it opened but wouldn’t fold. 

19. The way to fix the issue is to reunite the contacts with their mounting post and glue them carefully back into place. The centre hole lines up with the peg in the white plastic section. Note the orientation from the picture above. The contacts are designed to touch the tracks on the PCB above it so they must be proud of the base when glued back in.  

I have tried my best to show here the orientation at which they go back in. Bear in mind the arrow on the right shows the placement for the second contact. If both contacts have fallen out with the motor at the bottom the left side runs as shown and the right side the opposite. 

20. With the contact glued back into place give the PCB a clean with some electrical contact cleaner and carefully push it back over the white clips in the contact housing below. The assembly can then be slid over the black plastic cylinder on the gearbox cover. *Note as with disassembly the plastic posts will not depress if the black plastic tube is up inside it too far, so be sure to keep the white part free of the black part (shown by yellow arrows) until the PCB and contact housing are clipped securely back together. 

21. Reassembly is the reversal of the above steps. Be careful not to damage any of the screw threads when putting them back together. After step 20 it may be a good idea to take the mirror out to the car and test it. I asked my wife to help me hold the mirror while I checked the function of it. * Be careful when reinstalling the glass remember it hooks in the top and clips at the lower edge* 

Anyway - hope people found this kind of post useful. If you've got something you would be willing to share, please drop a line and let me know! 

And now back to posts about my car...