Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rear View Mirrors

Over the years, Lazy Daze has used a variety of outside mirrors, ranging from the older ones mounted with brackets to the Velvac single-arm models. A major complaint of many owners was the small stick-on convex wide-angle mirrors. They often fell off and they really didn't provide a quick, easily seen view of what was beside you. There are at least two ways to remedy that - replace the mirror head with a two-mirror head or add some wide-angle mirrors made by Velvac for U-Haul. And even the older bracket-style mirrors can be replaced with the modern single-arm style. Check the LWALDRV Group at Links > Repairs & Maintenance > Mirrors for lots more information.

Stick-on convex mirror fell off?

Use HD double-sided tape, available at any hardware, stationary and most supermarkets. Clean off the old glue with a single-edge razor and rubbing alcohol. Wipe everything once again with alcohol and let it dry before applying the tape to the back of the convex mirror. Place on the Velvac and press hard for 15-20 seconds and that's it. I think you will be surprised at how small a piece of tape the Factory used. Live a little, use a large piece.
Wobbling mirror arm?
The mirror bolts are behind a small black plastic trim piece, at the front of the passenger side window. I pulled at the top of trim piece and it popped right off. Behind it are three of the four mounting bolts and nuts. The fourth one is below, slightly under the door trim. Remove the screw that was exposed when the trim piece was taken off. It is at the front, top corner of the door panel. On ours, I was able to pull the door panel out far enough to get a 1/4" socket and ratchet into position and tighten the nut.
Want to replace mirror head?
Velvac has several different mirror assemblies with various options such as turn signals and heat. You can check on-line to see what you want or need. Replacing the mirror head on the single-arm model is very easy: loosen a screw, remove the old head, install the new one and tighten the screw.
- The "notch" in the open side of the bushing is not supposed to be lined up with where the set screw hits. The cut in the bushing/collar should be seated full in the mirror arm hole facing toward the rear of the coach, i.e., 90 degrees from the set screw. There's a small indentation (this is very faint on the bushings that came with the replacement mirrors, but well-defined on the original, thicker bushings) on the side of the bushing where the set screw hits. Tightening the set screw compresses the bushing against the mirror post and holds it firmly; obviously, this compression can't happen if the set screw is hitting against the *slit* in the bushing and not on its side.
- Many who have swapped out the single-mirror heads for the dual have found the offset of the mounting posts on the bottom of the mirrors to be different, resulting in the mirror extending too far out. This can be remedied by switching the mirrors - put the left mirror on the right and vice-versa. This will place the mirror closer to the vehicle.
Replacing the bracket style with the single-arm version can be accomplished on the Ford E-chassis from 1992 onward. It took Tessa two hours to make the swap.
- The instructions were included and involved taking off the old mirrors (easy), removing 2 pieces of interior door trim (easy), and screwing on the new mirrors (easy). So you see, if this Psychology major with no mechanical skill can do it, anyone can install new mirrors on an old rig. You'll need to fill in and paint over where the old bracket screws went into the door. You can see some before and after pics for you in the Photos under Ciao Baby folder.
Mirrors Loose in the Head?
- Remove the small plastic cap at the end of the mirror arm.
- Inside is a 3/16 allen screw that adjust the horizontal movement.
- To adjust the vertical, loosen the 3/16 allen and lift mirror from the arm. The vertical adjustment bolts are inside the bottom end of the mirror. I used 2 different brands of 3/8 open end box wrenches, because the wrench head angle will very slightly between wrenches and it is a small place to work. One of the 2 bolts was loose enough to tighten.
- Put it back the way I took it apart.
- Adjust the mirror angles.
The “Exploding” Side Mirror
 The following has happened to more than one LD owner. With no warning, the entire mirror assembly, mirror head and arm, may decide to part ways with the rig. If you’re lucky, as Nukamper was, this will happen in your driveway rather than tooling down the highway at 65 mph. Nukamper was kind enough to write a few words on how he resolved this problem:
While working on the LD one day, I heard a crash. Upon investigation I found lying on the ground the entire mirror assembly including the arm, surrounded by an assortment of parts; a big spring, plastic cover, several washers and what looked like a cracked washer. Amazingly, the mirror itself was not broken. Research on this problem lead me to Terry Tanner's Techsnoz website, which has a great article about these mirrors.  Apparently there is no repairing and reattaching the mirror arm, replacement of both arm and head is the only option.
So I placed a call to Lazy Daze, where both Vince and Todd recommended replacing both side mirrors with the new style mirrors. But they couldn’t provide any quickly. I also learned that these new 2020XG mirrors are available for 96" and 102" width rigs; LD uses the shorter arm. I placed a call to Velvac and learned that the newer mirror style would be a fairly straight forward installation. But the key thing was the year of my chassis. In 2003, Ford had changed the mirror mount to a 4 bolt assembly, prior years only had 3 bolts. This meant that my current Velvac 2020 used 4 bolts and the pattern of the 2020XG would be the same. I would need to remove the inner door panel (there is a good video on Youtube about how to remove the interior door trim) to remove the 4th nut, the other 3 were behind the black "sail" trim which is the black triangle shaped piece above the door panel.  The Velvac rep who was in their technical support section was very helpful and gave me the part numbers and suggested I order from one of their online vendors.  Ryder Fleet Products is a Velvac vendor I contacted - what I ordered was Velvac #U80 715900 (right side 2020XG with arms for a 96" width coach)  $215.91 and Velvac #U80 715901 (left side, again for 96" width coach and also $215.91 all with free shipping.
I had bought a trim removal tool and it took about an hour for each mirror. It was easier that I thought it would be! I did not remove the interior door trim but I did loosen it enough to pull it away from the actual door to get enough room to remove the bottom of the 4 nuts.  I highly recommend the use of a magnetic socket when the removing the nut on the bottom bolt, just in case. Losing the nut down inside the door would not be a good thing.

Contributors: Larry Wade, Tessa Hill, Joan, Bob in Yuma, WxToad, Nukamper
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Updated: 2 Sep 2015