Cheap fixes for broken Mercedes-Benz W202/S202 side mirrors
It appears to be a common problem that Mercedes W/S202 mirrors lose their ability to fold and eventually break where the spring mounts, rendering them useless.
You can purchase new mirror assemblies which bolt onto your doors and you reuse your outer mirror shell. These cost at least A$200 for aftermarket ones.
Both of the mirrors on our S202 have broken recently and I was looking at how they could be fixed rather than replaced.
I found some resources online which showed how you could install a new hook, so I thought I would give this a try.
First step was to remove the mirrors. These are held on by three screws which are accessed from outside of the car. With a broken spring it is easy to fold the mirror back and forward to get access to these (Phillips head screws).
You can then unplug and remove the mirror from the car.
To get access to the mirror internals, there is a metal plate that needs to be levering to unclip the outer housing (see photo). The actual mirror needs to be tilted inwards to then be able to slide the outer housing off.
The first mirror had two problems. The spring holder had broken off but also the metal frame that the mechanism pivots on had broken.
I fixed the frame by drilling a small hole that I was then able to fit the pivot shaft into.
I then drilled a hole near where the original spring holder was and fitted a larger-than-necessary hook (it's all that I had). It may be easier to drill if you separate the two parts of the mirror, by hammering out the pivot pin.
Because you need access to the screws to put the mirror back on the car, I did not attach the spring yet. I refitted the mirror to the car and then was able to stretch the spring back on: first onto my new hook and then onto the other side. The outer cover then slides on and just needs a small hit to seat it.
The mirror was now nice and taught although I doubt it will last long if it is sprung back and forward too much, but better than having to buy a new mirror assembly.
For the mirror on the other side, using what I had just learned, I wanted to see if the mirror could be fixed without removing it from the car.
I removed the outer cover, which can be done with the mirror folded backward.
This time, rather than retaining the spring, I decided to permanently lock the mirror in place using some coathanger wire. Although this means that the mirror can no longer fold in or out, I don't recall having needed that function many times if at all in the last 30 years, so I decided I could live without it.
I bent one end of a 20cm piece of wire into a hook and attached this to another hook which seems to have no original purpose (see photo). I carefully positioned the wire in a way where I could slowly put the mirror back into position while bending the wire around the other outer hook.
Once fully in position, I bent the wire as hard as I could to hold it into place and it did a reasonably good job. It is a little loose but perfectly usable.
If I was to try again I might try and reuse the spring so that it was tighter - possibly bending a small piece of wire into a figure eight and mounting that to the new hook and the other end to the original spring. Or if you have access to other springs you might find one that works better than the original spring.
It was a pleasant surprise to find that these mirrors were easy to work on.