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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,
This will be my first post on this site. I recently purchased a 2005 e46 for my wife. She was a little neglected but thankfully not abused, and with only 80k, I felt she was worth the investment. I've gone through pretty much the whole car but the passenger mirror has stumped me.

I knew the mirror was not working at time of purchase and after being quoted an enormously large sum for a new motor (around 700) i went to the junk yard for a replacement. Found one and got to work.

Upon taking the door apart I was stunned to find that the motor was controlled by a ribbon cable rather than standard wires. And not the type of ribbon cable from the old computer drives. This cable is as thin as paper and extremely delicate. I presume that is also the cause of my problem.

The ribbon cable was unplugged but unfortunately plugging it in did not fix the problem.

A test with an audible circuit tester confirmed that the plug for the mirror (which only has three connectors) is receiving ground, hot, and a signal. The signal lead also made different tones for each of the possible directions on the mirror control.

I did not test the mirror defroster with the audible tester, but I assume there is also a signal to the mirror to activate the defroster as there are no other leads going to the mirror.

I completely removed to motor unit. And pried off the back side. The new motor unit contains a integrated circuitry behind the motor. So there is no way of me using the junk yard find as it has six wires running from the door... Presumably with control circuitry located before the mirror.

The ribbon to the motor unit has something I've never seen before and I'm hoping someone here can identify it for me and tell me its function. While the plug on the door side had only three connectors, as the ribbon passes through the door there is a plastic torpedo-shaped object that binds a second three wire ribbon to the first wire, possibly a splice. So on the inside of the door, there is only a three-wire ribbon. On the outside there are two three-wire ribbons. All six wire ribbon leads go to the circuitry on the back of the motor. From the motor there are two wires that connect to the defroster and a set of wires (I don't recall the count) that go to as unattached plug... Possibly for programming?

I did continuity tests from just after the motor unit's plug to the wires just after the torpedo shaped object. Only one wire showed continuity.

Figuring that what ever the object is wasn't working, I pulled it apart. To my surprise I found no hard connection between the ribbon that ran straight through and the second ribbon that was attached. So is this a splice where that's all that ribbon cables need... Maybe some conductive adhesive? Or is it a way to transfer an inductive effect on the second ribbon for signaling... Or...?

I saw no obvious cuts or damage to any of the wires.

In doing research some people have soldered the ribbons with conductive adhesive, but I'm not sure that's the problem here as there are no obvious breaks.

Also some pictures of ribbon motor units show a three wire ribbon going all the way from the plug to three motor without the torpedo object. Possibly a new design?

So that's where I am. Hoping for some insight. Any and all ideas appreciated.

If no ideas...I'll probably try undoing the ribbon at the circuitry and soldering old fashioned wires to the circuit such that the wiring would be the same as if the torpedo is actually a splice.
 

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The 2004 e46 I bought had the "drivers" mirror completely smashed off [ that's the passenger side for you guys and girls In the USA ] the only thing left were 2 ribbon cables going to the door, 1 with white connecter 1 with purple connecter, on the door connecters each have 3 wires, 6 in total. Managed to get a replacement second hand [still an arm and a leg as they are "rare' in New Zealand] only to find it didn't work. Checked there is power going to the mirror on green/brown wire with yellow spots checked the switch was OK but no function on the mirrors, back to searching again for me
 

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The 2004 e46 I bought had the "drivers" mirror completely smashed off [ that's the passenger side for you guys and girls In the USA ] the only thing left were 2 ribbon cables going to the door, 1 with white connecter 1 with purple connecter, on the door connecters each have 3 wires, 6 in total. Managed to get a replacement second hand [still an arm and a leg as they are "rare' in New Zealand] only to find it didn't work. Checked there is power going to the mirror on green/brown wire with yellow spots checked the switch was OK but no function on the mirrors, back to searching again for me
I have this exact problem now after hitting a crow!
If you find a solution please post it.
 

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Subscribed as well and I've seen the threads before that discuss using wires to create continuity for any 'breaks' in the ribbon cable to solve the issue.

In my case, the right mirror does dip when the car goes in reverse and I have also confirmed that the mirror switch is not the issue. I'm hoping there's some forward progress here.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Hello All Again!
So.. It's almost a year later. I suspect that most of the original posters have moved on but I decided to post this up for anyone else that might come across it, as it's google's first return for e46 ribbon mirror.

I did solder some wires to the microprocessor board on the back side of the mirror motor unit. I also soldered a few jumper wires (I found that the ribbon cable with all its folds had a few lines that simply traced back to different spots on the board). The torpedo I questioned above appears simply to protect the ribbon as it passes through the foam on the inside of the mirror mount going into the passenger cabin. The cut cable under it is simply a useless dead end as far as I can tell. I had pictures of the the solder/repair process, but I lost them. I've included a picture of the final product. At the very least it shows the order in which the lines have to be connected.

I used hot glue but I think automotive goop would have worked equally as well. I was simply concerned about the solder connection to the board not holding up, as I had to scrape off the plastic coating and there was not a lot of strength left in the board.

Truth be told, I waited so long, because I was looking for a mirror in the junk yard, which I did find, and decide to use. I just really didn't want to take the door apart twice in case my solder job didn't work... so lazy. In any case, I tested this set up, it worked, and I will be keeping it as a back up. I feel that the wires are better suited for this application and less likely to fail with time compared to the ribbons. I'm sure it saves bmw a whole half cent per car or some nonsense.

FYI, if you do get your hands on a replacement ribbon drive, the three connection plug needs to be removed to feed it through the mirror and door frames. Easily done by applying slight pressure pulling the ribbon from the connector while taking a small pick and depressing the visible metal parts of the connector one at a time (they all have a small reverse barb on them).

Enjoy... HoPe this helps some of you in the future!

Also... there was some question about what years have it, at least some of the '04's have them, as the junk yard car was an '04. '05's definitely have them.
 

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passenger cable mirror not working

Thanks for the follow up. It is not clear to me what solved it. New mirror with new ribbon cable?

I have a similar problem but not same. Reverse will tilt the mirror. But it stays tilted. Then, I hit the program button on side of driver seat to set mirror and seats back to where I like them and the mirror seems to move sideways but not up.

Years back I had a different problem where the mirror would only tilt but would not respond to adjustments to the switch. drvr mirror memory drive 67-13-6-946-313 fixed that problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Regarding the reverse passenger mirror tilt, does it make a difference if you exit reverse before the mirror has tilted all the way down?
 

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I used hot glue but I think automotive goop would have worked equally as well. I was simply concerned about the solder connection to the board not holding up, as I had to scrape off the plastic coating and there was not a lot of strength left in the board.
In your pic, is connector already connected or not yet? I couldn't tell with your hand covering it.

Also do you have a wiring diagram for the board by the motor? If you have any pics of the board before attaching the wires and gluing that would be awesome.
I'm assuming the 2 on the left are for the heated mirror. Does it matter which wire goes into which plug on the mirror?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In my picture the connector is already attached. But the wires are fairly long so I looped them outside of the picture. I'm simply showing the colors to the connector and to the motor.

I don't have a picture before they were attached. The order and jumper is important. Some of the solder areas on the board are larger than others for no obvious (to me) reason, so count carefully.

Yes the wires on the left are for the mirror heater... No they don't matter, it's just going through a resistive wire for heating.

Good luck.

If you don't have a used one, this sure beats 600 bucks for a new motor...
 

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By the way the unused connector goes to the power tilt motor (not an option in the USA) consider yourself lucky that your mirror has the unused lead. Mine doesn***8217;t. I wanted to upgrade my mirrors to power tilt but it***8217;s a crazy price to buy them new
 
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