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Repairing a Broken Side Mirror in a Gallardo
The side mirrors are one of the most eye catching aspects of the Gallardo. The fact that they come off the door slanting forward and then slope backwards gives a real impression of speed.  I know of no other car currently with this design. Also unlike the mirrors in the earlier Diablo's they are convex giving a good field of view. As an extra that are also self adjusting for night glare. If that driver behind you leaves his high beams on they will automatically darken. Common in many current cars glad to see Audi is catching up.  As in all modern cars the direction of the mirrors is adjustable from a switch/knob on the center consol in front of the gear shift. Again nothing special these days in fact not as fancy as say a Lexus GL SUV that changes the position of the mirrors each time the car is placed in reverse.  Anyway as a final extra if the mirror adjustment knob is switched to a certain position both mirrors fold upwards allowing the car to be parked in tight places. Looks quite impressive when you see it the first time.
Figure 1. Broken Gallardo Side Mirror
Here is the rub, this agility of this mirror system also makes them somewhat fragile.  The internal swivel mechanism is susceptible to braking. I broke both of mine in a Shell car wash. Somebody else told me he found one of his broken after parking the car on a busy street. It was on the pedestrian side.  How can this be?. Is there a repair option?  Well the simplest solution is to simply replace a broken mirror drive mechanism unit. They run about $900 each just for the mirror housing and controller. 

Internals of the Gallardo Side Mirror Controller. 

The mirrors swivel on a post assembly within the mirror housing. This swivel allows the mirror housing to be rotated/folded almost 180 degrees. This can be done any time by hand as in most modern cars. What is different in the Gallardo is that there is also a small servo motor attached to this post that allows the driver to automatically fold the mirror from within the car. This mechanism is quite compact (it fits within the side mirror assembly) and is quite lightly the same as in the new Audi A6/A8 cars. (I have yet to confirm this!).  Figure 2 shows one of these units. There is a strong spring that keeps tension on the rotating post to stop it from flopping around. The problem is that this unit is somewhat complex in shape and is made from a molded aluminum cast rather than a solid machined steel rod. Unfortunately the component is rather fragile and snaps across at the base. This leaves you with a hanging mirror as shown in figure 1.
Figure 2. Gallardo Mirror Controller
Solution 1 Repair of Broken Post.
The simplest solution would be to simply buy a new mirror post assembly from Lamborghini. Unfortunately Lamborghini only sells a complete mirror assembly and mirror housing mechanism as one unit. (BTW, you can fortunately buy the actual glass mirror and mirror attachment unit separately).  At $900 a unit I looked for an alternative. Solution 1 is simply a repair approach. The mirror will function as new but unfortunately will not be any stronger than it was before.

First we need to get the mirror assembly unit open.  To do this we must remove it from the car door.  This is not as easy as it sounds. The mirror is attached to the car door via 3 bolts that screw into the top section of the door itself. To get at these bolts you must first remove the inside door panel. Remove the speaker grill by removing a nut at the bottom of the grill then pressing the sides inwards slid it forward.   This exposed the speaker itself.  Remove the door handle by sliding it forward and out (fig 4).   Remove the two bolts that are behind the handle (fig 5 & 6).  Then carefully go around the edges of the door popping the panel out with a screwdriver or panel removal tool (fig 7).  Next remove the speaker (fig 8). Figure 9 shows the door with the speaker removed. Next we need to loosen the wires going to the mirror unit. These wires are shown in figure 10 (the smaller of the two wire bundles).  With your hand follow them inside the door up to the mirror. They are bound to the door with nylon ties at places. These need to be cut to loosen up the wire. 

Now the hard part! The mirror is attached to the top of the door by 3 bolts that have nuts on the inside. These nuts are tight (and are at an angle) and need to be opened. Use a small socket wrench with a long flexible extension.  Figure 11 shows the bolts when the mirror is separated from the door.  Next we need to draw out some of the connecting wires in the door to give us some room to work on the mirror fig 12. Next we need to remove the outside covering of the extension arm that attaches the mirror to the door. It slides up an internal frame, but to get it completely out you have to remove one of the 3 above mentioned bolts using a thorax socket as shown in figures 13 & 14. You do not need to remove the other two bolts. The cover then slides up exposing the frame that is attached to the actual mirror positioning system.  Figures 15 and 16 show the arm support actually removed from the mirror assembly -- this is not necessary in this case. In order to work on the mirror however we need to open the 3 screws at the top of this frame that holds the mirror housing in place. Through the frame are a number of electrical wires (used to position the mirror and heat it). You need to slide the mirror housing along these wires. Fortunately there is wire slack in the door frame.   With the mirror housing separated from the mirror arm we now need to get the actual mirror positioning system out of the mirror housing. This mechanism is attached to the mirror housing by 3 screws that take Philips screwdriver to open. If you carefully flip the mirror you can see them (fig 17 & 18).  Take real care in doing this so as not to brake the glass in the mirror. Use a small flexible screwdriver. I suspect there is a way to remove the mirror glass by somehow unclipping it, but I have not figured this out. Anybody that has done this please let me know.   With the mirror positioning system now free of the mirror housing you can separate the two. However you need to disconnect the controlling wires. There are 3 wires going to one socket the control the positioning system.  There is another pair of wires for darkening the glass at night when lights shine on it. There is a further set of wires for heating the mirror glass. All wires are different colors. They disconnect from their sockets easily. The problem is the wires run through the central shaft of the controlling mechanism. In order to completely get the mirror mechanism free we need to remove the wires from their Molex sockets. There is a trick to removing wires from Molex sockets. You stick a fine point needle between the metal and plastic of the socket and pull the lead out (Fig 19).  Note the use of tape to protect the paint edges (fig 19)!  We can then pull the wires through the small hole in the shaft of the mirror controller. This finally allows you to get the controller out of its housing. An isolated controller is shown in Figure 2. 

How it works.  The mirror assembly rotates on a post through the electrical wires run. There is a gear mechanism which grabs this post and rotates the whole mirror assembly 180 degrees when they are in the parked position.  While the mirrors can be rotated by hand this mechanism is not used to position the mirror angle for normal driving.

As I said above these posts brake easily. The arrow in Fig 2 points to where the controller post typically brakes.  It is made of fragile cast aluminum!  Fortunately this material is easy to tread. With a die cut a tread in both sections and with a corresponding brass tubing piece use it to join the broken pieces. (Figure 21-28).  The brass tubing I used can be found in any hardware store in the gas/water piping area. Note that gluing the pieces together does not work there is simply too much strain/vibration.

Remember it is important to have a hole through the center of the post to tread the mirror controller wires.  Attach via tape a wire rod and pull it through the post (fig 29). Then reconstruct the complete mirror assembly (fig 30).  One seemly simple task, inserting the 3 retaining screws that holds the mirror mechanism in its housing turned out to be a real challenge. To cut a long story short.. to position each screw insert each screw in a piece or tubing and use it as a flexible support to position it in the appropriate holes. Twist it in, then draw back the tubing. This use a Philips screwdriver to tighten it in place.  Done as suggested above and the mirrors function exactly as they did originally and may in fact be stronger!

Figure 2. Work your way around edges to pop up panel   Figure 3. Panel clips   Figure 4. Panel handle removed
Figure 5.   Remove screws behind handle   Fig 6. Remove screws behind handle   Figure7. Panel removed
Figure 8. Remove speaker   Figure 9. Door with speaker removed   Figure 10. Wires to mirror assembly
Figure 11. Disconnect mirror from door   Figure 12. Slide mirror along wires   Figure 13. Remove attachment bolt
Figure 14. Attachment bolt removed   Figure 15. Mirror attachment arm   Figure 16. Internal arm frame
Figure 17. Remove internal screws   Figure 18. Remove internal screws   Figure 19. Disconnect wires from socket 
Figure 20 Remove retaining clip   Figure 21 Broken post   Figure 22 Broken post
Figure 23 Tread base  of post   Figure 24 Tread top part of post   Figure 25 Insert brass joiner and trim
Figure 26  Post with joiner   Figure 27  Base with brass joiner   Figure 28   Reconstructed post
Figure 29  Retread wires through post   Figure 30  Reassemble mirror.   Figure 31    Attaching mirror screws



Solution 2 Replacing of Broken Post.
A second more drastic approach is to replace the above weak post completely with the loss of the ability to fold the mirrors remotely into the parking position.  I do not use this mirror/parking function anyway and really would like to have rock solid mirror support arms.  The solution was to replace the weak aluminum post described above with a solid aluminum bolt!

We go about this the same way as described above all the way up to the point where we have the mirror controller out of its casing. At this point instead of rejoining the broken post internally with a brass sleeve; we will replace it entirely with a solid steel bolt. The mirror can be adjusted by hand with this arrangement and is much stronger. 

As shown below in figure 32 we need to file down the 3 notches that are at the base of the mirror post. We tread the inside to fit the bolt shown in figure 33. Put Teflon tape on the treads insert the spring from the mirror assembly (fig 34) and tighten the post top the assembly so it is with effort adjustable. It is important to have this bolt tight as you do not want your mirror moving around when done.  Once the mirror assembly is put back in the mirror housing it will not be possible to tighten the bolt!  Figures 36 and 37 show two more views of the assembled mirror mechanism with the post and bolt in place.

Reassemble the mirror as described above. You now have one solid mirror!

Figure 32 Ground down & tread post base   Figure 33 Insert Steel rod   Figure 34. Bolt with spring
Figure 35  Post reattached to assembly   Figure 36  Post reattached to assembly   Figure 37  Post reattached to assembly


Final Note.  I would like to know if the above mirror swivel mechanism is an OEM part from another Audi car such as an A6.  If anybody knows this please let me know as it is often practical to get "used car parts" from these cars.

This page was last modified on 03/12/2014

This page was last modified on 09/06/2014