Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wal-Mart does its part: The rear view mirror restoration

Every once in a while there is a part that consumes just a crazy amount of time and effort to do. In this case the internal rear view mirror (the only mirror to be fitted to the car) was a lesson in patience and persistence. Lucky for us Paul has these qualities in spades and directed them towards making the mirror like new again.

Our first challenge was that the flip lever that changes the mirror angle was not working. Upon opening the unit we found a broken piece in the mechanism. Luckily our American friend Randle had a spare and sent it our way; THANK YOU.

Now it came time for the new mirror and glass. When we went to buy glass the person working there was very knowledgeable and told us that we need 2mm thick mirror and that it is a very hard thickness to find because most mirror is much thicker. Given that the mirror is not too large he told us that the solution lay in an inexpensive vanity mirror that can be bought at Wal-Mart in the beauty department. You see the mirrors sold there are made as cheap as possible so to save money they make them very thin. Sure enough $4 later we had a mirror that was the EXACT thickness as the original Ferrari part.

Alas we were not going to get off that easy. Finding a glass cutter with proper attention to detail proved impossible so after 3 failed attempts (and as many scrapped mirrors) we finally found one place that got it close enough to our liking that a few hours of polishing with oil and abrasive stones got the edges of the glass perfect. Also particular to this mirror is a light bevel on the top and bottom that allows the plastic mounting clips a surface to grasp on to. We gave up early on having this done and did it ourselves during the edge polishing.

In addition to this came endless hours of stripping, polishing, priming, sanding, powder coating, and plating to get the mirror looking perfect. Today it all came together and it is finished and ready to install. Another part down and we pray that the others go a little smoother and faster than this one.

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