BMW M3 Forum
BMW M3 Forum BMW M3 Gallery BMW M3 Reviews BMW M3 Social Groups BMW M3 Chat M3Forum Sponsors >>
Loading


Mobile M3forum
Go Back   BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X) > BMW M3 Discussions > E46 M3 (2001-2006)
Tire Rack Buy Winter Tires Now!
Not a member? Register Now!
Register Gallery All Albums Garage Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Calendar FAQ

E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old Wed, Dec-21-2011, 12:47:26 AM   #1
RaceMX-M3
Scott@Radar-Mirror.com
 
RaceMX-M3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,901
Reputation: 0 RaceMX-M3 is a jewel in the rough
Location: Dallas

United States




Default Insight into BMW's (Magna Donnelly) Failed Rear View Mirrors

Radar-Mirror.com is a proud new sponsor of the M3 Forum.

If you own a E46 M3 and haven't experienced a rear view mirror failure chances are good that you will down the road. I've owned a E46 M3 since 2004 and my mirror failed twice - I've been working on these mirrors for 5 years now and thought I'd share some info about how the mirrors work, why the Magna mirrors fail and why we hope you will choose us if your mirror needs to be repaired.

The first version of an auto dimming mirror was actually a prismatic mirror (the tilt mirror everyone had before auto dimming) - there was a light sensor on the mirror and a small motor inside the mirror that automatically tilted the mirror up and down. The mirrors were only available on very expensive cars for the time and became obsolete when the electrochromic auto dimming mirrors were developed. BMW was among some of the first car manufacturers to offer the mirrors on their cars.

There are two companies that produce all of the auto dimming mirrors for 90% of the car manufactures around the world. Magna Donnelly is one and if you're not familiar Gentex is the other. The companies actually originated from the same family and are both headquartered in Holland, MI. When the electrochromic mirrors were first made available Magna had the lion's share of the business - over time primarily due to the overwhelming number of mirrors that failed Gentex has emerged as the leader and now enjoys (I'm guessing) 80% of the auto dimming mirror business. The mirrors they produce have not had the issues that the Magna mirrors do - BMW jumped ship in 2007 and moved all of their business to Gentex.

What is an electrochromic mirror and how does it work?

An auto dimming mirror is comprised of two pieces of glass that are slightly overlapped on the edges, sealed together and have a transparent conductive gel or fluid injected between the layers of glass. A mirror coating is applied to the rear portion of the glass and when a very low voltage is applied to the overlapped edges of the glass the gel darkens and reduces the amount of light transmitted and eliminates glare.







An electronic circuit board is attached to the rear of the mirror with wire leads soldered to the edges of the glass. There are two photocells (light sensors) - one facing out the front windshield and one facing the rear of the car. If a sufficient amount of light is hitting the forward facing sensor the mirror will conclude that it's daytime and will not dim the glass, regardless of what the rear facing sensor sees. As it starts to get dark outside the forward sensor sees less light - concludes it's nightime and when the rear facing sensors sees any light behind the car the voltage flow is opened and the mirror begins to dim. The level of dimming is determined by the combination of light levels the two sensors are detecting.





How do the mirrors fail?

The failure of the mirrors is due to a manufacturing defect by Magna. The mirrors are sealed along the edges of glass and over time the seal breaks down and eventually fails, allowing the fluid to escape which is replaced by air. The amount of fluid that escapes and whether it begins to leak depends on where the seal breach is located. If the seal fails on the bottom of the mirror the fluid is going to escape a lot more quickly than if it's on the top. In most cases it takes a few years for the seal to fail - the environment that the car is in can have an impact on how long the mirrors last. Heat is known to accelerate the process so if you live in a hot climate and park your car outside in the sun for extended periods your mirror is going to fail sooner. From the pictures below you can clearly see where the seal failed on this mirror - with a small amount of pressure the two pieces of glass completely separate.







Why have so many of the mirrors manufactured by Magna failed over an extended period of time? Why wouldn't they have resolved this a long time ago?

This is the million dollar question. We repair 5 - 10 of these mirrors every day and the mirrors range from Jaguars built in the mid to late 90's all the way to Lamborghinis built as recently as 2008. I know Magna has struggled with this issue over an extended period of time and continues to make changes to their manufacturing process. They may have the issue resolved at this point but only time will tell.

What about the mirror repairs from Radar-Mirror.com? How reliable are your replacement mirrors?

We have repaired about 2000 mirrors at this point, many of them for members of the M3 Forum and we have yet to see one of our mirrors fail due to a seal breach. The only failures that have been reported to us were due to the glass cracking and there have only been 3 or 4 of these. We're an authorized dealer for Mito Corp (distributor for Gentex) and our repairs include a lifetime warranty.

Sybesmas has repaired many mirrors for M3 owners and gets great reviews, why should someone choose Radar-Mirror.com for thier mirror repair?

Hopefully the fact that I am a hard core BMW enthusiast, own an M3 and now sponsor the forum wins us some favor. Mirrors that are shipped to us will be repaired, tested and shipped within one business day and guaranteed to look and work like new. The one thing that really separates us from Sybesmas is our warranty - thiers is 90 days - if anyone experiences an issue with a mirror we have repaired we will fix it for free for as long as you own your car. Our mirror repair is normally $104 with shipping in the US, for M3 Forum members we're going to match the price Sybesmas offers @ $95 shipped in the US and $135 shipped out of the country. Please mention that you are an M3 Forum member when you contact us.

We appreciate the business and kind comments we've received from this forum and look forward to serving others as the need arises.

Last edited by RaceMX-M3; Wed, Dec-21-2011 at 03:24:53 AM.
Jump to top RaceMX-M3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Register now and remove these ads
Old Wed, Dec-21-2011, 01:15:06 AM   #2
maveric23
Registered User
 
maveric23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,603
In the garage:
Reputation: 0 maveric23 is on a distinguished road
Location: Santa Monica

United States




Question Re: Insight into BMW's (Magna Donnelly) Failed Rear View Mirrors

Thanks for the helpful info Scott!

I already had my mirror repaired by Sybesmas before I knew about your service. Do you know if Sybesmas uses Magna Donnelly or Gentex mirrors for their repairs?

I just want to know the likelihood of my repaired mirror failing again. If it does, I will certainly send it to you based on your lifetime warranty and overall helpfulness.
__________________
Do you wish that Double VANOS never existed? Vote!

2004 Silver Gray/Black M3 Convertible

Jump to top maveric23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Wed, Dec-21-2011, 01:21:05 AM   #3
RaceMX-M3
Scott@Radar-Mirror.com
 
RaceMX-M3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,901
Reputation: 0 RaceMX-M3 is a jewel in the rough
Location: Dallas

United States




Default Re: Insight into BMW's (Magna Donnelly) Failed Rear View Mirrors

Quote:
Originally Posted by maveric23 View Post
Thanks for the helpful info Scott!

I already had my mirror repaired by Sybesmas before I knew about your service. Do you know if Sybesmas uses Magna Donnelly or Gentex mirrors for their repairs?

I just want to know the likelihood of my repaired mirror failing again. If it does, I will certainly send it to you based on your lifetime warranty and overall helpfulness.
Sybesmas gets their mirrors from Magna - we've had a few sent in to us but I don't know how long ago the repairs were done.
Jump to top RaceMX-M3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Wed, Dec-21-2011, 02:11:14 AM   #4
Mpoweroo1
OO=00=OO
 
Mpoweroo1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 3,453
Reputation: 0 Mpoweroo1 is on a distinguished road
Location: TEXAS

United States




Default Re: Insight into BMW's (Magna Donnelly) Failed Rear View Mirrors

Great write up Scott, hope to make it out to a Saturday meet soon.

Bump for a great product!
Jump to top Mpoweroo1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Wed, Dec-21-2011, 02:26:26 AM   #5
kevblah
Registered User
 
kevblah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 954
In the garage:
Reputation: 0 kevblah is on a distinguished road
Location: Boston

United States




Default Re: Insight into BMW's (Magna Donnelly) Failed Rear View Mirrors

Bump for a great service that Scott offers. They repaired my mirror; it came back as good as new and in very little time, thanks!
__________________
Jump to top kevblah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Wed, Dec-21-2011, 06:33:13 PM   #6
maveric23
Registered User
 
maveric23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,603
In the garage:
Reputation: 0 maveric23 is on a distinguished road
Location: Santa Monica

United States




Question Re: Insight into BMW's (Magna Donnelly) Failed Rear View Mirrors

Scott,

Can you please elaborate on the transparent conductive material that is injected between the layers of glass?

I assume that it was originally a fluid and at some point it changed to a gel. Do you know when that happened? Do both Magna Donnelly and Gentex now use gel? Do both companies use the same substance?

Can you describe the toxicity of these substances? It sounded like the fluid was very harmful, what about the gel?

Thanks!
__________________
Do you wish that Double VANOS never existed? Vote!

2004 Silver Gray/Black M3 Convertible

Jump to top maveric23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Wed, Dec-21-2011, 06:38:05 PM   #7
djm3
CSL (finished) inside
 
djm3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,231
In the garage:
Reputation: 0 djm3 is on a distinguished road
Location: HeArT of DiXiE

Philippines




Default

Good to know. I had a Magna Donnelly mirror fail on my 2001 Acura MDX. It was replaced free by them but was a pain to install. Hopefully the one on my M3 holds up.
__________________
Jump to top djm3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Wed, Dec-21-2011, 07:11:59 PM   #8
SmokeyDP
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 257
Reputation: 0 SmokeyDP is on a distinguished road
Location: Warren, NJ

United States




Default Re: Insight into BMW's (Magna Donnelly) Failed Rear View Mirrors

How hard is it for someone to open one of these up and clip the wire that dims the mirror? Those with tint wish there was a way to disable this feature.
__________________
2004 Acura MDX
2001 Phoenix Yellow M3:
Schrick cams - AFE intake - Custom Tune - Supersprint full exhaust - Evosport pulleys - UUC Evo 3 short shift kit - Brembo 14" BBK brake kit - Euro rear floating rotors - TC Kline Double Adjustable coilovers - Vorshlag caster/camber plates - Adjustable rear camber arms - Black 2005 competition package interior - Vorsteiner CSL front bumper - 19" CSL wheels
Jump to top SmokeyDP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Wed, Dec-21-2011, 07:33:40 PM   #9
maveric23
Registered User
 
maveric23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,603
In the garage:
Reputation: 0 maveric23 is on a distinguished road
Location: Santa Monica

United States




Lightbulb Re: Insight into BMW's (Magna Donnelly) Failed Rear View Mirrors

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyDP View Post
How hard is it for someone to open one of these up and clip the wire that dims the mirror? Those with tint wish there was a way to disable this feature.
Have you tried just unplugging it?
__________________
Do you wish that Double VANOS never existed? Vote!

2004 Silver Gray/Black M3 Convertible

Jump to top maveric23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Wed, Dec-21-2011, 07:50:21 PM   #10
m3 guy
Praise the good blood!
 
m3 guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,039
In the garage:
Reputation: 0 m3 guy is on a distinguished road
Location: Hawaii

United States




Default Re: Insight into BMW's (Magna Donnelly) Failed Rear View Mirrors

Congrats on the sponsorship

Your valentine 1 integration package is on my list for next year so it's great you are a sponsor now.
__________________

2010 E60 M5 Saphire Black-Black JOURNAL
2012 E70 X5M Monte Carlo Blue-Silverstone JOURNAL
2013 F30 335 Estoril Blue-Black SOLD
2001 E46 M3 Oxford Green Metallic II-Cinnamon SOLD
Jump to top m3 guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 03:27:10 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
M3Forum.com and M3forum.net is in no way sponsored, endorsed or affiliated by or with BMW NA / BMW AG or any of it's subsidiaries or vendors.
BMW and M3 (E90 M3 | E92 M3 | E93 M3 | E46 M3 | E36 M3 | E30 M3) are registered trademarks of BMW AG.
M3Forum Terms of Service
Copyright 1999-2017 M3Forum.com
Discussing Insight into BMW's (Magna Donnelly) Failed Rear View Mirrors in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)