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Discussion Starter #1
Any suggestions on how to repair the broken plastic frame from my driver's side power mirror? Side mirrors appear to be made of 90% unobtanium these days, so I need to figure out how to make this one work.

JB Weld? Super glue + cloth? The tears of my enemies? Anything?

Thanks!

 

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Ideas:
1. Fiberglass around the base, then a glazing compound and sanding. Repaint to spec.

2. Get a steel ring/band made with the same shape as the bottom of that mirror to squeeze it together.

3. Are any plastic welding techinques worth while?

4. Get the part scanned then get it 3D printed =)
 

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There are 3 driver's side power mirrors currently on eBay. I guess the question is are they worth the $79+ dollars (plus shipping) versus a repair that may not work or last long?
 

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Replacement probably the best

Had the same exact problem, tried a few things, got a somewhat matching paint full mirror form APE for $40 I think. Worked for me, although I had my mechanic install is with soem other stuff he was doing.
 

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If you really have to fix that one:

Materials: stainless steel wire, 2-part epoxy (not 5 min), black plastic paint
Tools: Dremel, ball-mills, needle nose pliers, wire cutters

Process: Clean it up, sand off any old glue
Make sure the you can fit the breaks together
Grind both sides of the breaks in a U shape so that you can fill with epoxy (not yet) but not all the way through
Grind 4 or 5 channels completely around the broken area deep enough to lay the wire in with enough space left over to cover the wire with epoxy (deeper is better but not too deep)
Grind the channels wider and deeper in the thickest part of the plastic so that you can twist the wire tight and push the twists down in the channel.
Put on the wires, twist them tight, make sure they are dressed in the channels
Put on first application of epoxy, partially fill in U's along breaks and channels cut for wires
Wait 24 hours
Make sure none of the wire is above the plastic.
Sand down any epoxy overfill
Apply more epoxy
Wait 24 hours
repeat until you have built up to the original surface
paint with plastic paint

You are done, only took a week!

Fiberglass would not be strong enough in this situation unless you basically just built a new one out of fiberglass.

5-minute epoxy generates too much heat in this sort of application, resulting in internal fractures and a weaker finished product.

Super-glue is useless for this type of repair.

Tears of a clown might work but epoxy is cheaper.

When I used to teach this stuff the students had to mix the epoxy without getting any air bubbles in it, we threw away a lot of epoxy.
 

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Related question.

How do you split these into component parts. I have a rattly glass that is annoying me ..The moulded back looks like it is just pressed into the (split) sleeve pictured above but not sure?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@MNVXer -- I know you were joking, but I honestly considered going the 3D printer route. Until my wife pointed out that I needed an intact part to scan. Hello Catch-22.

Called APE today & found out that, not only do they not have any, but there has been a huge uptick in demand recently necessitating a waiting list for the part. Even for passenger side mirrors of the same vintage. I guess 26 years is the life span of the plastic frame.

@JJordan -- that's fantastically detailed! Thanks!

I have, however, decided to troll the ebays for a replacement, per @superflow's suggestion. It really is a better choice. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any drover's side mirrors for the $79 price he found and ended up buying a reconditioned plastic frame for over twice that price. Ugh.

Maybe I'll get it scanned and open source it for others to print out.

thanks for the suggestions, folks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@mn1 -- Given the busted nature of mine, it was quite easy to separate. The back panel appears to simply rest in the back of the frame, held in with a gasket and a lip around its edge.
I'll likely have a better idea when I re-assemble with the new frame.
 

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plastic epoxy at Lowes does the trick. I used it to repair exactly the same break on my mirror. You can smooth it with a dremel or sand paper to hide the repair and then repaint. $5.47 for the epoxy plus sandpaper and paint.
 

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Although my stock S3 flag mirrors are fine, I replaced the driver's side with a period correct Vitaloni "Californian". It's a lot lighter, smaller, and to me, fits the curves of the body better than the OEM mirrors.
 

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The best thing I've ever used for plastic repairs is a product called Plastex. It's a little pricey, but it hasn't failed me yet. It's not an adhesive; it becomes part of the piece, and while I haven't had to try reforming missing bits, they say it will do that as well.
 
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