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The clown nose mirror dimmer switch in my 2001 325Ci broke. The clown nose wouldn't lock at either end of travel, and I could flop the mirror up and down.

The problem was the little over-center spring inside the mirror that keeps the clown nose at either end of travel. It's just a bent strip of metal, and the bends are sharp, meaning the stress concentrates there, so that's where it fatigued until it eventually failed and wouldn't push anymore.

A new mirror is around $200. I'm cheap and I don't want to wait.

I had a super-cheap split ring key ring lying around - the kind the dealer puts your key on when you leave it for service, so it's just springy wire, not a quality product. The point is I could bend it with pliers to my heart's content into a spring of my choosing, and it would still spring a bit. And that's what I did.

  1. Remove the mirror.
    • Remove the two halves of the frame cover. Squeeze them, and they pull apart toward either side of the car.
    • Rotate the bottom of the mirror frame to the right by about 45°. The mirror should pop out.
    • Disconnect the electrical connector.
  2. Open the mirror. The bezel is held to the back by tabs. Pry the bezel and back apart with a flat screwdriver, or a trim remover tool.
  3. Note the little spring and how it attaches to the frame and clown nose.
  4. Make a new spring. Note that it has to have little loops at either end. You'll need needle nosed pliers. Don't put sharp bends in it, and don't bend it back and forth a lot, because it will fatigue and fail.
  5. Replace the old spring with the new spring. You'll probably need the pliers for this, too. Guard your eyes - the spring may pop out several times before you get the design right.
  6. Test. The knob should lock at either end of travel. Again, guard your eyes until you're sure the spring is secure.
  7. Put everything back together.
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