The Garage - Repairs
Driver Side Outside Mirror Replacement!

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Last Updated: 12/2/2013
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02-10-2012 - The nice thing about the Durango is the luxury one can enjoy while owning this vehicle. As an example on my 2003 SLT Plus model, the factory equipped 5x7-inch power mirrors which have besides heating, the automatic dimming day-night feature in the driver side outside mirror incorporated. This helps ease nighttime driving strain by reducing glare as it dims to the level needed while providing rearward visibility appropriate to operating conditions and allows me, the driver, to concentrate on driving without concern for the glare of following headlamps.

Coming back from my last trip from Detroit, I realized that the mirror did not automatically switch back to full reflectance but stayed at full dim instead. I also noticed a small band on top of the mirror glass which appeared different then the rest. It was clear to me that the dimming feature has died and a replacement was needed.
This normally wouldn't have been a big deal to me but after calling the Dealer and finding out that the replacement would cost $339.00 before tax and I also was told that it would take 14 days to get it, it quickly became a Big deal!

I immediately went to for a replacement but couldn't find one. I searched through various other sites without success and even ebay did not list a new heated power mirror with dim function. I sure didn't want to buy a used part in this case even if the price was right.
I decided to postpone the repair and keep looking for an affordable new replacement in the meantime. After two weeks my patience paid off, a seller on ebay had what I needed for 100 bucks and I wasted no time to hit the BuyItNow button.

Having my new mirror in hand I went in my garage and initiated the repair.
The entire repair took about an hour with the help of my son with his usual "all hands on deck" attitude as soon as I opened the door to our garage.

Loosening up the door panel just enough to gain easy access.but without completely removing it is the magic key here.

I unplug the mirror power connector and pull off the protective foam cushion beforet taking the three nuts off which hold the mirror in place. Next is pulling out the mirror along with the plug and cable which has a rubber grommet seal attached to prevent moisture from entering.

A small amout of Anti-Seize on the three bolts of the new mirror will make it easy the next time around.
Now it's time to get the rplacement mirror onto the door.
The cable goes back through the opening and the grommet is properly inserted and the foam is placed back.

Now I fasten the new mirror on the door frame with the old nuts and then bolted into place.
The connector is plugged back and before putting the door panel back in place a quick function test is performed. All is good and reinstalling the door panel concludes the installation.

Everything works as it should and I am very happy with the replacement as it is an OEM part and absolutely identical to what was installed when my Durango left the factory back in 2003. It was an easy fix and the mirror will again ease my nighttime driving. The dealer would have charged somewhat around 450 bucks plus tax for parts and service. My total cost was 100 bucks and an hour worth my time!

The auto-dimming going out after several years of service in weather conditions like here is not an uncommon problem. The mirror consists of a thin layer of electrochromic gel sandwiched between two pieces of glass. The amount of reflected light is reduced by darkening the gel. The intensity of incoming light is measured by a photocell and electronic circuitry in the mirror. A variable electrical current passing through the gel darkens it in proportion to the light intensity.

I am very happy with my result! The savings I am giong to spend at Summit Racing Equipment by treating myself to a few new tools to tackle the next repair or project!

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