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Investigation of a 1956 Dodge Fender Mirror and its components
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Posted 2020-06-14 8:24 PM (#599667)
Subject: Investigation of a 1956 Dodge Fender Mirror and its components

Expert 5K+

Posts: 6135
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Earlier today Steve B. from Australia enquired about his 1956 Dodge's fender mirror and why it wasn't working and why there was a bunch of crumbled metal inside. I provided some photos of 55 and 56 Dodge mirrors that I had collected but it didn't really answer Steve's question. Steve mentioned how easy it was to remove the bullet "nut" at the forward end of the mirror so armed with some masking tape (to protect the chrome) and a pair of ViceGrips (for the jaw opening, not for the pressure), I made my way out to the garage to investigate my mirror. (I want to get new glass cut so this would help me as well as Steve (and maybe others)).

This previous thread:

So, first thing was to remove the bullet nut (masking tape on the nut, gentle pressure with the ViceGrips and lefty loosey and Bob's yer Uncle, easy peasy, off it came - normally I would have soaked some Moovit in there first but I took a chance and it worked).

With the bullet nut removed, I was looking at a 7/16" nut on a fine threaded stem (I knew about the stem already). I sprayed some Moovit in there and let it sit for a bit while I got the 1/4" drive 7/16" deep socket from the tool case. Turns out the nut is an early version of a Nyloc and it has a red insert to help keep the nut from working loose. Might be good to know. I then worked the nut out slowly. Reversing direction when the pressure seemed too high and spraying more Moovit in there. A few outs and ins and outs and ins and it finally was all out and off it came. Very fine thread.

I carefully pulled the mirror out with the threaded stem. Then I noticed that there was a nylon "washer" at the downwind end that helps to keep the mirror in place without potentially letting the mirror "rust" to the mirror base. I carefully removed that nylon washer and placed it with the mirror and the bullet nut.

Back at the upwind end of the mirror, I noticed a washer that the Nyloc nut had been in contact with. I removed that washer and discovered that there was a fairly short and stiff spring between the washer and the mirror base that is obviously used to keep the tension on the mirror stem without totally fixing the mirror in one and only one position, i.e. it is the component that allows the mirror to be adjusted and then stay in place after the adjustment. The spring comes out but I didn't go any further, i.e. trying to knock out the bit with the square hole the keeps the mirror from getting too loosey goosey when the Nyloc nut is installed and tightened.

This is what I discovered today:

Edited by 56D500boy 2020-06-15 2:14 AM









Attachments 56DodgeLeftHandFenderMirror.jpg (130KB - 7 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeLeftHandFenderMirror_BulletNutRemoved.jpg (140KB - 7 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeLeftHandFenderMirror_BulletNutRemoved_716NutExposed.jpg (169KB - 7 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeLeftHandFenderMirror_MirrorRemoved_MirrorEnd_NylonWasherInPlace.jpg (99KB - 7 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeLeftHandFenderMirror_MirrorRemoved_MirrorEnd_NylonWasherRemoved.jpg (131KB - 7 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeLeftHandFenderMirror_MajorComponents.jpg (140KB - 7 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeLeftHandFenderMirror_MirrorRemoved_WasherRemoved_SpringInPlace.jpg (102KB - 7 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeLeftHandFenderMirror_RemovableComponents.jpg (163KB - 7 downloads)
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Posted 2020-06-15 9:46 PM (#599731 - in reply to #599667)
Subject: RE: Investigation of a 1956 Dodge Fender Mirror and its components

Expert 5K+

Posts: 6135
Location: Lower Mainland BC
I swapped the good (better) passenger side mirror (the bit with the glass and the threaded stem, not the base) onto my driver's side mirror. It is much better.

I took the original driver's side mirror to an automotive glass shop but they weren't too keen on removing and replacing the glass. They would prefer that I remove the glass and bring them the shell. Basically they want to just see this (below). They mentioned that they thought that the glass was a) flat (neither concave or convex) and b) 5 mm thick.

I am not sure whether I will proceed. I might just put the old driver's side mirror into the passenger side base and move on. That mirror is fairly useless anyway (too low for me).

Edited by 56D500boy 2020-06-15 9:49 PM
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Posted 2020-06-23 3:49 PM (#600057 - in reply to #599667)
Subject: RE: Investigation of a 1956 Dodge Fender Mirror and its components

Expert 5K+

Posts: 6135
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Because Steve B. in Australia has discovered issues with one of his 56 Dodge mirrors (the fixed inner spring base and threaded rod guide (one thing) has crumbled) and I have an idea that he might be able to fix his mirror, I decided to add some dimensions to this thread. For Steve's benefit, I have done this in metric but I can also do it in English (US) units as well (if somebody wants them).

My idea is that Steve could cut a flat disk from 1/8" (3.175 mm) thick aluminum in an appropriate diameter and drill and file a square hole in the center for the threaded stem rod and then epoxy (JB weld) the disk into his mirror (after ridding the mirror base of any remaining signs of the crumbled pot metal. To get there, some dimensions are needed so I used my cheapo digital caliper to get them for an annotated photo.

The photos are as follows, staring with a schematic of the inner workings of the mirror base and ending with the dimensions needed to locate the new aluminum rod guide and spring base:

Edited by 56D500boy 2020-06-23 3:54 PM












Attachments 56DodgeFenderMirror_BasePhoto.jpg (212KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeFenderMirror_LengthOfEmptyMirrorHead.jpg (109KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeFenderMirror_DepthToInnerCircle.jpg (88KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeFenderMirror_DepthInnerCircleFromTrailingEnd.jpg (126KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeFenderMirror_DepthToSquare_2.jpg (84KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeFenderMirror_DepthToSquare.jpg (72KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeFenderMirror_DepthInnerCircleFromForwardEnd.jpg (85KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeFenderMirror_DepthInnerCircleFromForwardEnd_2.jpg (115KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeFenderMirror_DiameterOfCenterDisk.jpg (108KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeFenderMirror_EmptyBase_DimensionBase_Metric.jpg (169KB - 5 downloads)
Attachments SchematicOfNewInnerSpringBaseAndRodGuide.jpg (6KB - 5 downloads)
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Posted 2020-07-07 9:34 PM (#600580 - in reply to #599667)
Subject: Trying a 1955 Dodge Fender Mirror as parts source for the 56 Mirror

Expert 5K+

Posts: 6135
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Bottomline: The laugh is on me.

I looked for a 56 Dodge Fender mirror to buy on eBay just for the mirror bits. I could only find a 55 Dodge mirror. I convinced myself that the internal design would probably be the same as the 56 mirror and that the only difference was the base.

I just got the mirror today. First thing I did was I cleaned up the base with some Quick-Glo and Autosol. Quite a difference.

Next thing was to remove the "bullet" nut at the upwind end of the mirror. It seemed very strange as it turned it out. The 56 bullet nut is very coarse threads and is really just cosmetic. Not so the 55 nut. As I turned it out, the mirror assembly fell out on to the ground (grass so no damage). That was weird (I thought). I had expected an internal nut with a 7/16" hex head. Nope. The bullet nut is the only nut. Okay. Different than the 56 mirror.

Then I looked inside the base. No square hole to hold the mirror shaft from turning. Just a wide round opening.

Then I examined the assembly. From the bullet nut to the mirror, the componets are:

1. A pressed metal "nut" that works on the finely threaded shaft
2. A washer
3. The tension spring
4. A pot metal disc that has two small grooves that fit into to tangs on inside of the mirror base to stop the disc from rotating
5. The nylon friction washer that allows some movement of the mirror shell against the mirror base.

Entirely different than the 56 mirrors. Furthermore, the diameter of the 55 mirror is about 4.25" compared to more like 4.4" for the 56 mirror so I can't really even use the mirror glass in my 56 mirror. Too bad, the glass is almost perfect, without flaws.

Live and learn. Too soon old, too late smart. Ouch.

Photos of the 1955 Dodge Fender mirror:

Edited by 56D500boy 2020-07-07 9:58 PM






Attachments 1955DodgeFenderMirror_AsReceivedFromEBay.jpg (125KB - 3 downloads)
Attachments 1955DodgeFenderMirror_After10minWithQuick-GloAndAutosol.jpg (137KB - 3 downloads)
Attachments 1955DodgeFenderMirror_MirrorAssemblyOutOfBase.jpg (90KB - 3 downloads)
Attachments 1955DodgeFenderMirror_MirrorBaseShowingDiskLockingTabs.jpg (102KB - 3 downloads)
Attachments 1955DodgeFenderMirror_Disassembled.jpg (132KB - 3 downloads)
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Posted 2020-07-08 9:29 PM (#600609 - in reply to #600580)
Subject: RE: Trying a 1955 Dodge Fender Mirror as parts source for the 56 Mirror

Expert 5K+

Posts: 6135
Location: Lower Mainland BC
For "fun" and maybe practise, I decided to see *IF* I could remove the mirror glass from the 55 Dodge fender mirror. If I could, I might use it on the 56 Dodge mirror (just gluing/siliconing it over my existing mirror glass as per Wizard (Sven)'s previous suggestion. This meant that I would have to pry back the edge of the mirror shell that was crimped over the bevelled edge of the mirror glass. I got the prying started using the tip of a shart X-acto knife blade. Then I used a very small (eye-glass repair) screw driver to slow pry the crimped edge open. I got about 1/3 of the way around when I must have twisted the blade on the screw driver and caused a minor chipping of the mirror edge. When I went back to continue the de-crimping, the mirror broke from the chip, across to the other side. I was not surprised. Disappointed and mad, but not surprised.

I continued de-crimping until I thought I had enough done to pry the remaining mirror glass out of the shell.

As the mirror glass came out, I discovered a cardboard layer that I guess is there to protect the coating on the back of the mirror. Underneath the cardboard there was a galvanized metal (tin) disk that must have been there for strength and or protection of the cardboard. Might be over kill. Or not. Then came the empty shell.

Photos below.

Bottomline: Another learning experience. Not with out cost

I will probably get a mirror cut and glue it to my 56 Dodge mirror.





Attachments 55DodgeFenderMirror_AttempToRemoveGlassWithoutBreakingIt_Fail.jpg (138KB - 3 downloads)
Attachments 55DodgeFenderMirror_CardboardLayerUnderTheGlass.jpg (107KB - 3 downloads)
Attachments 55DodgeFenderMirror_GalvanizedMetalLayerUnderCardboardLayer.jpg (126KB - 3 downloads)
Attachments 55DodgeFenderMirror_EmptyShellWithCenterPiece.jpg (111KB - 3 downloads)
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Posted 2020-07-09 12:47 AM (#600618 - in reply to #599667)
Subject: RE: Investigation of a 1956 Dodge Fender Mirror and its components


Posts: 41
What a bummer! You are ahead of me every step of the way. I was thinking a 55 would be a good donor for the mirror and shaft, and now you disproved that, I was wondering about removing the glass, rechroming and fitting new glass. Back to square one I guess!!

Appreciate your exploration. Well documented. thanks.

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Posted 2020-07-09 6:09 PM (#600634 - in reply to #600618)
Subject: Creation of a Frankenmirror from a 55 and 56 Dodge mirrors

Expert 5K+

Posts: 6135
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Steve: All is not lost. Furthermore, you might be the winner.

It turns out that the internals of a 1955 Dodge fender mirror will successfully fit into a 1956 Dodge fender mirror base, with minor issues.

The first issue is the fact that the threaded shaft of the 1955 Dodge mirror is very loose in the mirror swivel. So loose, that the other day I made a "fatal" mistake and allowed the threaded shaft and swivel to fall inside the mirror shell while I was investigating the 55 mirror. If I had known what was about to happen, I never would have let that happen. As I tried to extract the threated shaft from the shell, the swivel came off the shaft. BAM!

It might be possible to set it back over the shaft and then pull the end of the shaft out of the shell, but I knew that would take hours and hours of trial and error. Hence yesterdays attempt at removing the mirror from the shell. I failed at that but it lead to further understanding of the mirror and today's "experiment".

First thing that I tried was placing the 1955 mirror bullet nut at the end of the 1956 mirror (56 nut removed). Looked promising so I removed the 56 mirror internals and tried again. No interferences between the 1955 bullet nut and the 1956 mirror base.

Next thing to try was the 1955 mirror internals in the 1956 base. Immediately there was one issue: the big pot metal washer thing from the 1955 mirror did not fit in the 1956 mirror base. Fine. I removed it an tried again. With the 1955 tension spring and washer, and pressed metal "nut" all removed and me holding the threaded shaft into the mirror swivel (from the empty shell end), the 1955 threaded shaft went easily through. I tried the 1955 nut on the shaft and it almost worked perfectly but I couldn't get the nut tight enough on the shaft to hold the mirror in place (NOTE: I had to hold the threaded shaft from turning inside the mirror swivel - just thumb pressure/friction was enough). Then I realized that I had left out the nylon friction washer that allows the mirror swivel to move smoothly in the base.

So with the nylon washer in place on the second attempt, I was able to tighten the 1955 bullet nut on the 1955 threaded shaft with everything in the 1956 base. Again, I had to hold the 1955 threaded shaft from turning inside the shell.

So for this to work one of two things would have to happen:

1. The 1955 mirror (and cardboard, and metal disc) would have to be left out of the mirror shell until it was tightened enough (while holding the flattened head end of the threaded rod from spinning) *OR*

2. The threaded rod and swivel would have to be locked together, either via some kind of soldering *or* perhaps, JB weld epoxy. This would mimic the 1956 threaded rod/swivel approach and might work and avoid removal (and potential replacement of the mirror).

Here are the photos that I took this afternoon during the resulting creation of the 1955/56 Dodge Frankenmirror:








Attachments FrankenMirror55MirrorInto56Base_1.jpg (124KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments FrankenMirror55MirrorInto56Base_2.jpg (127KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments FrankenMirror55MirrorInto56Base_3_Cosmetic56NutLeftActive55NutRight.jpg (159KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments FrankenMirror55MirrorInto56Base_4_LooseShaftIssue.jpg (159KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments FrankenMirror55MirrorInto56Base_5_LooseShaftNeedsHoldingWhileNutIsTightened.jpg (108KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments FrankenMirror55MirrorInto56Base_6_Installed_1.jpg (124KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments FrankenMirror55MirrorInto56Base_6_Installed_2.jpg (155KB - 0 downloads)
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