If you're sick of applying dressing to your exterior mirrors, only to have them eventually start to look ratty again, this is for you.
Shortly after fixing the tragic looking paint on my early 1999 F250, I took the windshield wiper cowling off to redye it (link to process here
). Ever since, the ratty looking side mirrors bothered me. So, I set about fixing them in the same way. Here's how to do it.
Before: unevenly black and badly weatherbeaten. This process won't fix stuff like chips and scratches in the plastic, but it will definitely bring back a nice, even, black finish.
1. Remove the inner door panel
. This process has been documented to death on the internet, but here's the Cliff's Notes.
- Remove the plastic panel up by the mirror (it just pops out)
- Remove the window switches and unplug their wiring (this also pops out)
- Pop out the red reflector looking thing near the bottom of the door
- Unscrew two 7mm screws; one by the door handle, the second behind the red reflector looking thing
- Lift off the door panel by pulling up and then out
2. Remove the door speaker
. This is necessary to gain access to the wiring connector for the mirror. It looks like this (shown disconnected in the photo):
3. Remove the mirror
, by removing these four 11mm nuts. Two of the nuts in the photo used to be concealed by rubber plugs, which are removed in the photo. It's useful to have the window down when you do this, so you can reach out and hold onto the mirror while removing the last nut. Be sure to hold on to the mirror as you remove the final nut, otherwise, it will fall onto the ground.
4. Mask off the mirror glass with masking tape
5. Clean the mirror housings thoroughly with your solvent of choice
. I use an auto body solvent that I get at a local detailing supply store.
Get out your plastic and vinyl dye
. The one I had on hand was made by Malco. This photo is from my wiper cowling project, but I used the same exact can of dye on the mirrors.
6. Follow the directions for your dye and get to spraying
. The Malco stuff dries very, very quickly. What I did was clean and mask the second mirror while waiting for the first coat of dye to dry on the first one. I ended up applying, I dunno, probably three coats. Just enough until it looked nice and even. Don't put it on too thick; thin coats make sure the grain of the plastic will remain visible.
7. Once the mirrors are dry, reinstall everything
in the reverse order of removal. That's it! Your mirrors are now nice and black. And, you no longer have to apply dressing to them every time you wash your truck, only to have it rain and make the dressing run down all over your doors.
(Disregard the debris here and there in the after photos; I was wearing disposable rubber gloves while doing this, and some of the powder was left over on the driver side mirror's outermost corner. The little white thing on the lower stalk is a reflection of the sun.)