Tech Article Title Author Date
Full-Size Passenger Rear View Mirror michael-stanton 2005

The rear view mirror on the passenger side has quite a considerable dead spot. You can easily overlook your neighbor in the right lane if he is just behind you. The only way of preventing an accident is to look back over your shoulder, but then you don’t see what’s going on in front of you.

I like the split mirror on the driver’s side, in which I can still see the rear bumper of my neighbor when his headlights already appear in the window beside me. It gives me a good view of the left lane without losing the brake lights of the guy in front of me out of sight. I wanted the same for the passenger side to make sure I wouldn’t have a BMW in my trunk who had tried to overtake me on the right.

As far as I know, a full-size passenger rear view mirror was never available as a factory-installed option; the parts mentioned here were designed for right-hand drive vehicles. Shipping times may hence be longer than usual.

There are instructions on the net about retrofitting S4 chrome mirror housings along with a full-size passenger mirror, which tell you to disassemble the old mirror first. This is only necessary if you want to install the chrome housings (and only on the driver’s side) – if you only want to replace the passenger mirror, you can simply remove the entire assembly.

Parts needed (11/1994 to 1/1999)

We need three parts:

Mirror holder: The “chassis”, which includes the electrical adjusters and comes in two versions – a folding one and a non-folding one.

Housing: It is sold in black; if you have painted mirror housings (models built after 7/1996 or the powerful engines), you have to paint this one as well.

Glass: Available in three shapes – planar, convex and split. The split glass (the one with the vertical line on it) will give you the best viewing angle. All of these glasses are available with heating as an option; the glasses listed here are without auto-dimming.

Depending on whether you’re doing this mod on an LHD or RHD vehicle, the parts you need differ. This is the list for upgrading the right side mirror on an LHD:

Part no. Description Price
8D2 858 532 C 3FZ Holder (right/RHD), black € 63.68
8D2 858 532 D 3FZ Holder (right/RHD), black, folding € 152.54
4A0 857 508 3FZ Housing, black € 30.74
4A2 857 536 AD Glass (right/RHD), planar  
4B0 857 536 B Glass (right/RHD), planar, heated  
4A2 857 536 AF Glass (right/RHD), convex  
4A2 857 536 AB Glass (right/RHD, also LHD models “J..”) convex, heated  
4A2 857 536 AE Glass (right/RHD), split  
4B0 857 536 D Glass (right/RHD), split, heated € 39.67

The parts you need for performing this mod on an RHD are:

Part no. Description Price
8D1 858 531 C 3FZ Holder (left/LHD), black  
8D1 858 531 D 3FZ Holder (left/LHD), black, folding  
4A0 857 507 3FZ Housing, black  
4A1 857 535 AD Glass (left/LHD), planar  
4A1 857 535 AA Glass (left/LHD), planar, heated  
? Glass (left/LHD), convex  
4A2 857 535 AB Glass (left/LHD, models “J..”) convex, heated  
4A1 857 535 AE Glass (left/LHD), split  
4A1 857 535 AC Glass (left/LHD), split, heated  

As you can see from the part list, the LHD mod requires parts that were intended for the RHD model and vice versa, hence the parts might be difficult to get or totally unavailable. Getting the RHD parts from a German dealership was no problem (they said it might take a few days longer); your mileage may vary.

Prices are valid for Germany, including 16% VAT. The total price may be as high as € 222.95 plus painting (if required). You might be able to sell off your old mirror to get some of the money back.

How to change the mirror

This mod takes about an hour. The first step is to prepare the mirror assembly:

  • Remove the black plastic part on the underside of the mirror holder (2 Phillips screws).
  • Install mirror housing.Put on the plastic part and replace screws.
  • The adjuster unit has two holes, into which we insert two screws (not supplied with mirror). They should be about 12 mm in length:

  • The glass will be installed later, after we have installed the new mirror assembly.

    Now we’ll start working on our car. In order to replace the mirror assembly, we have to remove the door panels.

  • Open passenger window.
  • Unscrew 3 screws on the door panel: two on the upper edge, another one near the handle.

  • Tilt the plastic cover inside the handle downwards.

  • Behind it you will find two more screws; remove them (the photograph shows a rear door, which has only one screw in this place).

  • Now we can lift off the panel by pulling it upwards. Caution: there are still several cables attached to it.

  • Now pry off the triangular cover in the window area. Take out the foam piece behind it.
  • You have now unveiled the connector for the mirror assembly. Pry open the two notches on its sides and pull it out of the receptacle.
  • Now unscrew the screw that holds the mirror assembly with a 45 mm Torx screwdriver. You might need a gripper to apply more torque to the shaft of the screwdriver.

  • You can now carefully wiggle the assembly out of the weather stripping.
  • This will unveil another piece of foam, pull it off.

  • To install the new mirror, proceed in reverse order:
  • First stick the connector through the hole.

  • Now insert the mirror assembly with its foam piece into the frame and fix it with the Torx screw.
  • Push the connector and receptacle together (both parts are coded and will fit only one way).
  • Push the connector into the foam piece and reinsert it.
  • Replace the triangular cover. It has a tab on the inside; push it into the white plastic part.

  • Replace the door panel, inserting the four notches into their slots, and push it downwards. Be careful to insert the doorpin into its hole.
  • First replace the two screws near the handle; then tilt up the plastic cover and fix it with the third screw.
  • Replace the other two screws near the upper edge.
  • If you have heated mirrors, push the two free connectors on the wires onto the contacts on the reverse side of the glass. The wires should point downwards.
  • Insert the plastic tab on the glass into the metal clamp on the housing and insert the glass. It should click in place.

    Turn on the ignition and move the mirror all the way into each direction to make sure the glass is firmly seated.

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