It had been happening for a while. Every time I touched the Alfa’s inside rear-view mirror to adjust it, the next road disturbance would knock it back out of adjustment. It had gotten to the point where it didn’t take a bump in the road – I’d fix the position, and the weight of the mirror itself would cause it to slump like a wilted flower stem. Given that my car has only a driver’s side outside mirror, and poorly located at that (it’s halfway up the fender, out of my reach from the driver’s seat), I rely on the inside mirror a lot. It was time to perform a proper repair.
Peering behind the mirror, I could see a threaded shaft, but putting a wrench on it would have been a blind operation. There were only 3 Philips head screws holding the assembly above the windshield, so down it came. As soon as I pulled it away, the rubber gasket revealed itself to be completely deteriorated, so I was already in the well-known “might as well” mode, aka Mission Creep.
Putting the mirror on my workbench gave me much better access to the shaft and nut. This sub-assembly served two purposes: it allowed some adjustment of the total length of the shaft between the mirror and the glass, and it also allowed some adjustment in the amount of effort needed to move the mirror.
I played with the adjustment a bit, alternately tightening and loosening it to get to the right “feel”. While doing this, I seem to have noticed for the first time (after 9 years of ownership!) that the interior mirror has “day” and “night” settings, only of course in my case they read “giorno” and “notte”. With the work on the actual mirror quickly accomplished, it was time to turn my attention to the gasket. The original gasket measured about ¼” thick. I found nothing similar in any of my local hardware or auto parts stores, so to Amazon I turned to order up some ¼” thick black rubber sheeting. Tracing and cutting the gasket was simple enough. To make the screw holes, I first considered punching them with an awl. However, I experimented on an extra piece of rubber and tried drilling the holes. To my happy surprise, the material was thick and strong enough to allow clean holes to be drilled.
As they say in the repair manuals, “reassembly is the reverse of disassembly”. Everything went back together smoothly, and I used my newly-secured mirror as an excuse to take a 12-mile shakedown run. It held! Now I’ll have a crystal-clear view of that F-250 Super Duty six inches from my rear bumper while I’m cruising at 50 in a 45.
All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.