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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I backed up and clipped a tree branch with the edge of my mirror. The plastic siding popped off, and broke the internal screw mount. I was able to fix that with a different screw, so now the turn signal light and mirror control mechanisms are again properly mounted (i.e. not dangling out, like was the case at first!). And luckily the outside housing, which just clips on of course, was able to still clip back on. However, as you see some photos, there's some residual damage to the housing. I'm concerned about water getting in there, since there are electronics inside. Does anyone know either (a) the dangers of water getting in there?...it's not like it was truly water-tight in the first place, or (b) what I might do to "seal" that area?
Thanks for suggestions!

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I regret to inform you that your best option is a full vehicle part out. Literally nothing you can do to save it.
Or... if you’ve got a steady hand and some patience, some epoxy could fill in the gap and hold that piece down so it’s not sticking out. You’ll just be stuck holding it in place till it dries firm enough to hold. After a couple days of drying, if you’re brave, you could sand down any epoxy that’s seeping out so that it’s flush. That’s assuming you don’t want to just replace the broken part of course.
 

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Except for the top broken piece that is sticking out, I cracked the same piece on my Ram in the same way several years ago, it actually looked pretty similar.

I repaired it with a lot of patience and supper glue then taped it till the glue set. I added a couple more layers of glue later to make sure all the gaps were filled.

It held until I sold the truck last year and wasn't very noticeable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I regret to inform you that your best option is a full vehicle part out. Literally nothing you can do to save it.
Thanks for the input. I did talk to the dealer about it while I was there last, and they said sure enough the part only comes as a whole, ballparked at $400...and I don't know if that includes labor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Or... if you’ve got a steady hand and some patience, some epoxy could fill in the gap and hold that piece down so it’s not sticking out. You’ll just be stuck holding it in place till it dries firm enough to hold. After a couple days of drying, if you’re brave, you could sand down any epoxy that’s seeping out so that it’s flush. That’s assuming you don’t want to just replace the broken part of course.
Except for the top broken piece that is sticking out, I cracked the same piece on my Ram in the same way several years ago, it actually looked pretty similar.

I repaired it with a lot of patience and supper glue then taped it till the glue set. I added a couple more layers of glue later to make sure all the gaps were filled.

It held until I sold the truck last year and wasn't very noticeable.
The problem here is that piece sticking out requires a lot of force to hold down. There's no chance of glue holding it, regardless of how long I keep it taped down while curing. Perhaps I'll try some epoxy (but what kind?) as a filler. I.e. not "glue the piece down" so much as fill in the gaps....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm also fine with it staying broken, if someone with knowledge were to say "don't worry about the internals, they'll be fine if a little water gets in," as that's my main concern (rain and car washes). Can anyone out there give me that news? ?
 

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I don't know if there are rain risks. I can't imagine that a mirror with moving parts and motors is completely water tight from the mirror side. Mine drip for some time when I go through a car wash. But does the front of the mirror body protect wires and motors from water? Maybe.

If you do decide to try fixing it:

Stay away from Crazy Glue or drug store Instant Glues - they generally aren't compatible with plastic and tend to cause plastic to whiten and get brittle. A good hobby store that services things like RC cars and planes will have cyanoacrylate glue made special for plastic (ask for "plastic safe C.A.", or "foam safe C.A.", and get medium viscosity if the plastic piece has some gaps to fill, or thin viscosity if it fits nice and tight). But better, stronger, and more weather resistant (sun can be nasty on glues) is epoxy. Again, it should be rated for plastic. A hobby store may have it, and I also trust Home Depot for epoxy labeling (I have bought plastic-bonding epoxy there).

For clamping, some thoughts:

1) Try to pre-bend the piece so that you don't have to use so much force to hold it. But careful not to distort its shape or mash the edges.

2) Some strong duct tape should hold it while epoxy is curing, if you wrap the tape around the mirror and pull the part of tape that straps over the broken piece really hard. To avoid duct tape residue on your mirror body, first wrap the mirror in painters tape, or saran wrap (but the saran wrap might not be strong enough to hold the duct tape when you pull it tight over the piece). Whatever you use, wrap everything tightly and leave an opening where the broken piece sticks out and needs glue.

3) If the piece still insists on sticking up, be ready with a piece of wood, like a couple inches cut off of a paint stirring stick, and tie it under the duct tape to apply pressure to the right spot(s).

4) All else fails, sometimes I put some epoxy on the surfaces, push the piece down with my finger, use plastic safe CA to tack down the piece, spray the CA to cure it (light misting of alcohol or water, or specific "CA Kicker" from a hobby shop); then if it's all holding, work more epoxy into the cracks, and wipe up. Use a plastic bag or saran wrap for your finger, or you'll be glued to the piece. (Ask me how I know lol.)

The cleaner you are with CA and/or epoxy, the cleaner the final result will be. Have a sharp knife or razor blade to remove any duct tape or wood that sticks to the plastic piece.

I hope that helps!

F.S.
 

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The problem here is that piece sticking out requires a lot of force to hold down. There's no chance of glue holding it, regardless of how long I keep it taped down while curing. Perhaps I'll try some epoxy (but what kind?) as a filler. I.e. not "glue the piece down" so much as fill in the gaps....
You might be pleasantly surprised how strong JB Weld is. They have a lot of different blends including some that set quicker than others and are specifically designed for plastics. Ive used it before and had plastic break in other locations before the portion held by the epoxy broke. I even fixed my iPhone with it. The back glass was missing a sizeable chunk after a drop without a case so I filled in all the cracks with JB Weld and added A LOT over the gaping hole in the glass. After about 2 days I sanded it down. I never took it in water after that but it kept out rain and held the glass together for about 6 months before I dropped it and broke the screen. Most auto parts stores carry it.
 

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None of those fixes will keep for long. The JB weld option is not flexible so a strong jolt could potentially crack it off again. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned plastic welding or chemical plastic welding. Plastic welding has the benefit of curing within 10-15 seconds and hold. You could look online to find out the whole process but I know for sure it would hold. The first plastic weld option uses heat and melting of plastic. So this first method may be a little hard for some to do since they wouldn’t want to mess up the remaining pieces. The second which in my opinion is easier involves using chemical solvents like acetone to melt pieces of plastic (either from fragments broken off the housing already or plastic filler you can buy) to fill the gap and glue the pieces back together. Personally I would go with the first because I know it is stronger, but I’ve used the second method as well. If I attempted this fix for either method, I would heat up the warped remaining housing with a heat gun (just not too much because you will melt the housing into an unusable shape) and bend them back into place. This would alleviate the pressure when you “glue” them together. Then I would fill the gap using either method and once set, try to smooth everything out and mold the patch again with either a heat gun or some of the solvent. Again, not too much heat and not too much solvent as both can and will warp to an unusable shape again. If successful, it will look good as new and will be as strong if not stronger than before. Just be sure to use the proper plastic filler. I’ve noticed that the ABS black plastic on the ascent is reasonably resistant to solvents, but enough of it will still destroy it. For some of you thinking ABS glue, I’ve done that and doesn’t work well long term. Although you may use it to give the plastic a fresh shiny look. I haven’t worked on the mirror housing yet so I don’t know which would work best. My opinion would be ABS black plastic tubing like the plumbing type. Soak it in acetone until it turn a to sludge, then use a small flat spatula for flat head screw driver and smear it into place. It may take a few minutes to solidify but it will hold in place. Chemical welding works with capillary action so it will be stronger than before, especially if you place a thicker layer on the inside part behind the mirror out of sight. Normal plastic welding involves using a steel mesh as reinforcement sandwiched in between the plastic layers, so as I stated before is much stronger as well as thinner than the second option. It may take a few tries to get right so I suggest practicing on something before hand (old toys, broken plumbing, other broken unused parts, etc...). Now I stress this point completely, DO AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! This can possibly make things worse or completely destroy what is around that part with the smallest slip of the hand or negligence. Also absolutely do this in a well ventilated area and use a mask designed to protect against chemical fumes as melting plastic and solvents can harm you physically and mentally, as well as chemical gloves, protective eye wear, and protective clothes. Good luck.
 
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