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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Auto Fold mirror DIY. Wired to Ignition.

As loads of people on this website have helped me, I thought id put something back into the fanatics on here and posted a DIY. Mainly done this as I did not find many auto fold mirror DIYs. But here it is :D.

By following my DIY I take no liability if something goes wrong to your car. I therefore speak on behalf of everyone else’s DIY I have used and again … everything is at your own risk. This has worked for me (and them for whatever they did). In THEORY this should work for everyone without the module. But as I said, this DIY is at your own risk. I’m just doing a write up of what I did. I do not take responsibility for any good or bad outcomes. Thanks

DIY in a right hand drive car, left hand drive may have to reverse some of the things I have done. (screws may be on opposite side)

This method will allow your mirrors to unfold when the ignition is on (key turned to position 1) and fold when the ignition is off (key out).

My car is a 1999 E46 therefore does not have the factory switch, module or fuse. Although it DOES have electric memory seats.

If you have the factory module and fuse, etc. There is a fantastic DIY to wire your mirrors to your door locks. It’s better than wiring to ignition in my opinion but very tricky to do if you do not have the module. The DIY with module to wire to door lock takes a lot less time than my personal DIY and is a lot cheaper. Link:
(Scroll down on the 2nd page, is the 3rd reply on the page. Video clips on first page. DIY by daytonaviolet)

M3 Electric folding mirrors (£180)
1 x DPDT Relay 12v 10a (higher preferred up to like 30-40amps but hard to find) (£4)
2 x 7.5A blade fuse (£1)
1 x 6m black 18 gauge wire (£4) (used just OVER 5m)
1 x 6m red 18 gauge wire (£4) (used just UNDER 5m)
9 x Female blade connectors (£1)
2 x BMW fuse leaf connector with foot of wire (UK part number 61130007272) (£3)
3 x wire connectors (be able to connect 2 wires into 1, not necessary, can just use electrical tape)
Sprocket set (8mm and 10mm required only I think)
Wire cutters
Torx screw drivers
Philips screw driver (magnetic pref)
Flat head screw driver
Small flat head screw driver
Electrical tape
Stanley blade (or wire strippers)
A brain as I will not tell you minor details, such as unclipping wires etc lol

First I would like to add by saying that A LOT of what I used was following other peoples DIY and as they were GREAT HELP, I figured instead of taking my own pictures, I will just copy and paste from them and giving them full credit for the bits I contribute from them.

Also my mirrors seem to have some safety to them. Without this safety, my DIY method WILL burn out the motor in you folding mirror. I would have thought all of them the mirrors had it. Basically when I send continuous power to my mirrors, a few seconds after they have fully folded or unfolded, a clicking sound happens. I put in parallel a volt meter and the voltage drops when the mirrors are folding and unfolded and continues to stay dropped till the click happens when the voltage shoots back up to what it was to start with. Thus the motor not burning out.

Let’s get started :D.

2-the fuse leaf connector I got. Think it is known as some rear lights wire or something, BMW was saying common part for rear lights.

Before I forget, might be safe to disconnect the battery. For this, I was advised to disconnect the negative one only, I then wrapped it in a cloth incase it touched anything. I worried about my stereo code, but you don’t need to worry about stuff like that in e46’s apparently lol.

1) Familiarising yourself with The Relay.

Mine was a 12V DC 10A DPDT (Double throw double pole) Relay.

“This relay is a Double Pole Double Throw relay. It operates like the SPDT relay but has twice as many contacts. There are two completely isolated sets of contacts.” (http://www.bcae1.com/relays.htm)


Pins 13 and 14 are for the electromagnet. This acts as a remote switch basically. 9 and 12 are power pins. 1 and 4 are connected to 9 and 12 when the electromagnet is off. 5 and 8 pins are connected to 9 and 12 when the electromagnet is on.

Wire 13 to Ground
Wire 14 to Ignition positive
Wire 9 to Ground
Wire 12 to permanent positive
Wire 1 4 5 8 to mirrors.

Wires 13 and 9 were wired together and went to a ground point.

I got 2 x 6cm of red wire and 2 x 6cm of black wire and added female blade connectors to one end of each wire.

Connect black wires to pin 1 and 5
Connect red wires to pin 4 and 8

We cross wire 1 and 8 together (so you have one positive and one negative together) – 1-8
We cross wire 5 and 4 together so again same as above – 5-4

Wire 1-8 will go to either the white or blue of the mirrors motor wires
My 1-8 went to blue wire (mine was yellow)
Wire 5-4 will go to the remaining wire out of the blue and white.
My 5-4 went to white wire (mine was white too)

To test which one goes where will be trail and error. I wired red to 1-8 and black to 5-4. Then to see if red went to blue, I connected all up and if mirrors folded (if key out ignition) then that was correct, if nothing then reverse wiring on mirror side.

2) Removing glove box

No pictures I am afraid, I followed a thread with no pictures therefore il explain.

There are 6 screws in total. 5 inside and 1 outside.
3 along the top , 1 down the left hand side behind the strap to stop the glovebox falling any lower and 1 on the right hand side by the torch.
There is also 1 underneath the glovebox on the left hand side.

With all removed, the glovebox should just pull out, little bit of a wiggle. Diconnect the 2 wiring looms. (1 to the glovebox light, 1 to the torch recharge connection)
Shove the whole thing to one side.

3)removing door sill and wiring ground

Now removed the door sill. (xi_ter, http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=569404)

“To locate a ground, pry up the passenger door sill. Lift carpet, there is a black ground box with an open spade connector. Attach a female spade connector to a brown wire for your ground wire. Hide wire under sill and carpet. There is a similar box on the driver's side.”

I found that prying up the door sill was hard. I broke a couple clips but did not replace, still fits perfect. I used a long flat head screw driver to pry it up. I also read you could slide the sill forward and would lift up, this did not work for me. I lifted up a bit of the sill to locate a clip. I then used a flat head screw driver AT THE CLIP, prying it up. This worked a treat for me and did the rest this way. There is a ground box, as shown in the pic by xi_ter, beneath the sill and a spare blade connection. This was tricky but I got a SMALL female blade connector and about 1m of black wire ,(which I attached together) (I tried with big one and was tricky so I had a small one about and was easier) , and with patients I finally got my ground connection connected. Took A LOT of wiggling and there are no other ground connections nearby so make do lol.

I then set about removing the remaining plastic covering remaining in front of the sill in the foot well. Again I did this using a flat head screw driver and prying and hoping for the best. Fortunately I hear unclicking. There are only 2 clips to pry out. With this removed, you can channel your 1m of black ground wire to behind the fusebox area.

4) wiring relay:

Connect the ground connection you connected to pins 9 and 13. For the Passenger side mirror, cut 1.5m of both black and red wire. I cut about 3m of black and red wire to the driver side mirror. I then wired pin 1 and 4 wires to “Red wire” and 5 and 8 wires to “black wire”. The perm positive and ignition positive went to the fuse box using the fuse leaf connector wire.

5) Fusebox wiring

“For the Live, there are a number of wires you can tap into. I went directly to the fuse panel. This requires soldering a brass fuse connector to your live wire and pushing from the back of the fuse panel. Use a circuit where one on the brass connectors is already in place. Placing the connector sounds easier than it is. The top row is ignition switched, the bottom row is always on.”
(xi_ter, http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=569404)

I took the fusebox out to get behind it. By obviously by lowering it the normal way then by unhooking it. This was done by lifting the fuse box up and it came off 2 brackets, with a bit of a twiddle, it comes free.

The tricky bit was to get behind it. Obviously you can see the odd one out. I wiggled it in from behind, but the fuse sat nicely once in

On the top row, the brown fuse is one I put in, you can not tell the difference I chose fuse locations 8 and 39. I added this on the fuse number sheet for future reference. I thought by fusing, it made it safe and made it look a little more OEM. As my relay was 10A rated, I used 7.5A fuses.

The remaining ends of the wire, I put female blade connectors too. The wire going to the top row went to pin 14 on the relay and the wire going to the bottom row went to pin 12 of the relay.

This is now what my relay looked like. Everything was now wired except the mirrors. The 2 grounds, the perm positive and the remote ignition positive. Remaining are the mirror.

I let the relay sit in one of the white squares behind the glove box.

68 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
6) wiring to passenger door

I got the 1.5m of red and black wire and connected them to the relay. (see step 1, relay wiring)

There is a large button type plastic pin keeping the carpet neat to the side and together. I used a flat screwdriver and pried it off. I was then able to fiddle behind the carpet and where the door wiring loom comes into a car is a foam cover. I pulled this off.

(sq_e46_m3 http://www.cardomain.com/ride/656122/3 for following, log onto his page for bigger pictures and if this is not enough help):

Here's what the boot looks like attached to the door jamb and with the 8mm bolt removed:

With the boot pulled away from the harness, you can see that there is some room in there to fit a wire

What I did was drill a two holes in the harness that would allow my wire to pass over the plug when installed in the door, then through the boot. The wire is as close as possible to the top of the plug when the two halves are joined

For more information, please log onto his webpage. It was VERY useful to me to figure out how to wire to the doors.

To remove the connector from the car to the door wire:

If it is not blatant in the pic, just lift up a pin at the top and the plug should loosen and just pull apart (takes not much force, mind you my drivers door side took a lot of force)

I removed the door grommet for the wiring look to the door. After threading the wire down the snake bit, I left the remaining 70cm in the door and put the grommet and door connection back on. Now as the passenger side was now wired, I put back the two plastic door sill bits but left the glovebox out as needed to wire driver side door.

7) wiring to driver side door.

I started off at the driver side door and worked my way to the passenger side footwell.

I removed the driver side little compartment by opening it and undoing the 2 screws holding it in. it just pulled out.
I removed the plastic tray under the steering wheel. This had 2-3screws (I unscrwed 3 I think, but when went to put together, found only found holes for 2). At the back of the brake pedal, another plastic screw thing needs to come off, just unscrews and a bit attached to the centre console, this just needs pulling out (a lot of force I used).

The driver side door sill does not need removing but the plastic bit on the side like the passenger side does. To remove this, you’l have to remove the bonnet release. This has 2 screws, the first screw is in the centre of the handle. Once the handle is off, there is another screw in the plastic trimming. With these 2 removed, the whole thing prys off (with force)

(pictures from madmatt m3 http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=579839&highlight=bonnet+release)

Use his link to help dismantle the driver’s side if you do not fully understand my way.

Wire the doors leaving again about 70cm of wire in the doors. Use the same method as for the passenger side.

Now to get the wires from driver foot well to passenger foot well, I got a 60cm thin long stick (50cm probably small as id go and 1m as big as id go) and selotaped the red and black wires from the driver foot well onto it and just pushed it behind the dash in hope it would see the passenger foot well, and bingo.

Then went to passenger footwell and pulled it through. Now I just put the drivers side al together and when wired the red and black wires to where passenger side ones wired into relay, I then put passenger side back together. And now you could never tell any one took it apart or see any wires :D.

8) Removing door cards.

To remove the door cards, I used the following DIY:

The door removal starts on step 24.

Without pictures in my own words. Locate the screws and remove with the torx screw driver. There are 5 in total. Remove the triangle bit by pulling the clip off at the top of the triangle then pulling up and pulling away.

Get your fingers in the gap where the triangle is removed and just pull the door card off. It’s VERY easy. Takes 10mins in total including unscrewing which is longest bit. Unhook all wiring harnesses.


Unhook door handle cable (pulls off) and speaker cable (just clipped off)


Unhook door handle cable (pulls off) and speaker cable (just clips off). There will also be another 2 cables. 1 for passenger side mirror, other for driver side mirror. You just need to pry out the switch. To prevent damage to plastic trim, I unscrewed the door armrest (3 screws at top, about 6 if I’m rite in a row in middle of door, all use torx screw driver). Then just pull off door arm rest and from behind, push the mirror switch out. Then unclip the mirror switches. Remember passenger side is the vertical female connector and driver side is horizontal.

To remove the mirror, a 10mm sprocket is needed and just undo the bolts and pull mirror out. You’ll need to fight the grommet and get it out, I just used a large flat head screw driver.

To attach new mirrors, do reverse of above. To insert grommet, I pushed it all the way through and worked on pushing it out using a small flat head screw driver, was easiest.

The black cover just pulls off, do it slowly to prevent tearing. Its stuck with some sticky paste which seems to be forever sticky so just push the black foam back when done.

I used my 60 cm stick to feed it down door to the door grommet on the side. I then taped the wires to the stick and pulled it up the door. I then used electrical tape and attached the red wire to the yellow wire and black wire to the white wire.

I then put everything back together. Started with the door panels. Then door connectors, then driver side footwell bits, then passenger side footwell bits and pu glovebox away. With the fuses in place, I attached the battery again and WALAH!! If ur mirrors were unfolded, as soon as you attach the battery, they should fold. And to unfold, just put key to position 1.

Hope this helps. Any errors or additions, please PM or email me and il make edits. Thanks
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