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August 30, 2016

The Prodigal TJ, Part 5


A design "feature" of the Jeep Wrangler is that outside rear view mirrors are mounted onto the door. This is not unusual as cars go -- but most cars don't feature removable doors. Jeeps do. So when you take the doors off, which I plan to do shortly, you will also be removing both rear view mirrors.

What to do?

This is what online retailers are for. I spent some time researching various options. Basically, there appear to be four different approaches:

1) Fabricate something from various parts, brackets, etc. Obviously, this approach isn't the one I'm taking. There are plenty of such solutions described in the various online Jeep forums. Many are quite ingenious, and all are (for those skilled with tools) very inexpensive.

2) Buy mirror relocation brackets that allow you to move your factory mirrors from the door onto the A pillar - the windshield frame, in other words. There are attachments already built into the Jeep for this purpose. (The next three pictures I have taken from a hopefully forgiving retail website. If anyone objects I'll remove them.)

3) Believe it or not, there are a couple of other mounting points also on the windshield frame slightly above the mirror relocation points. I believe these are provided for spotlight mounts, but I'm not sure. Anyway, there are quick release mounts that can be attached to those points, and mirrors that fit into the mounts.

4) Finally there are mirrors that simply drop into the door hinges, which will be empty when the doors are removed, and tightened into place.

For me, the drop-in mirrors -- option 4 -- seem the best way to go. There's no attaching of special mounts. Just put 'em in place and tighten a couple of bolts. Easy enough even I can do it.

However, while today's retain sites (Amazon, for example, as well as a number of 4wd and Jeep-related retailers) offer vast amounts of information, they are also capable of stalling even the simplest purchase. Once you figure out what your options are and begin looking up specific products, you automatically start looking at reviews. I mean, who wouldn't? But many, many of these products will have reviews that are quite negative, pointing out flaws in manufacturing and design. This is what can lead to buyer paralysis.

The problem with hinge mounted mirrors, many report, has to do with vibration and the willingness of the mirror to depart its desired location in response to wind pressure. So as I sifted through the various different products, I was faced with a cascade of opinions (also easily found on forum sites) that gave me serious second thoughts.

But I finally took the plunge, favoring an older-school solution designed for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I figure if it's meant to be used on a Harley, it's got to be designed to handle some degree of vibration, right? $31 later, this is what I received:

I would have preferred black powder coat, but that was $15 more, and I'm still smarting a little from the Jeep's repair bill.

So -- mirrors are here. Now I just need to remove the door. What could go wrong with that simple project?

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