What can Wage and Icebat be up to? They found an old Miata mirror to play with?
Yes… that’s the funky mount the 89-95s used. But it’s a little off. It should go straight into the mirror rather than into that adapter.
Dun dun DUN!!!!!!!!!!! Lights! That’s what all the fuss is about.
I’ve been into these little cars for a long time. As a result, there’s a lot of items over the years that have been on my wish list. This mirror is one. These were sold over a decade ago. I remember seeing them around 2000. They disappeared a few years later. A few shops sold them (I think I saw them at Performance Buyers Club and Brainstorm) but they were never very popular. I assume that was due to the price.
These things used to sell for around $300 each.
That, my friends, is insanity. There is absolutely nothing about this mirror that commands that price. The mount is indeed unique, but it’s an OEM part. That can’t have contributed that much to the price. The mirror itself is a generic item that should also have been pretty cheap. The only unique part is the adapter that connects the OEM mount to the mirror. Can that have been $100 each to machine? Doubtful. I’ve no idea why these used to be so expensive.
Due to the price, these mirrors basically vanished. No one bought them new and no one today remembers they existed. I mean, why try to source a rare Miata mirror when you could hit the junkyard and get a lighted mirror for $6 and an hour’s time digging?
So, I never owned one. I always thought they were cool, but I never spent the money. Also, I had a 97, which would have required the mirror be glued to the windshield rather than mounted to the frame. I always admired these mirrors and their superior lights, but they remained on my mental “wish I had one but doubt I ever will” list.
This mirror came to me in a box with a wiring pigtail. That’s it. No instructions. No wiring diagram. And I’ll tell you how it came to me in a bit, but first, the wiring.
The mirror has three wires. They are labeled A, B, and C. According to the mirror’s previous owner, they would come on with the door switch. But when the doors were closed and the lights were off, the mirror lights could still turn on with their own switches to act as map lights. That, to me, meant that there must have been one power wire and two grounds. One ground would be constant so that the lights could be activated with their own switches. One ground would splice into the door plunger.
A little trial and error on my workbench with a power supply and multimeter revealed which wires had continuity depending on how the switches were set. I was very happy with how easy it was to figure out.
C – constant power
B – switched ground
A – constant ground
Now to find power and ground for this little guy. And, well, remove the stock mirror. That was something I’d never done.
This was the worst part of the entire install – getting this damn little plastic cover off. It clips on, but I had no idea how. I ended up prying it off with a large flat blade screwdriver from one side. That got me enough wiggle room to slide the screwdriver around and pop it out the rest of the way. Not much damage doing this, but there are a few tiny scratch marks. There must be a better way, but I don’t know what it would be.
It was fortunate that I needed to change out my mirror. The OEM one was very loose in the mount. The screws would have needed tightening soon to keep the mirror from flopping around.
Once the mirror and visors are removed, this piece of plastic trim can just be pulled down. It has a few metal clips holding it in place, but nothing more.
The A-pillar trim is rather delicate. You have to pop the two metal clips free on the top, but not just yank the whole thing free. Once the top half is loose, you have to slide the whole thing UP to avoid breaking the little plastic grabber at the bottom. If broken, the trim will buzz at certain RPMs.
So. How did I get the mirror?
My buddy Stoly used to have a car named Flipper. He had fun with the car and sold it off, as was his plan all along (hence the name… FLIPper). One of the items on the car was this mirror. When I first saw it, I assume I made a big deal about the mirror, because holy shit are these things rare. I’ve never seen one in person. I never knew anyone who bought one years ago. I never expected to see one.
And there it was.
Stoly sold the car to a few guys who split the cost and were parting out the car between them. He called Kent, the fellow who drove it back home from Texas, and asked if I could somehow have the mirror. As a gift. Because Geoff is awesome and remembered how much I liked it. Kent said “sure!” and asked his buddy Adam who had the body and was stripping it. Adam removed the mirror and popped it in a box for me. It arrived less than a week ago. I opened the box and was greeted by this little mirror. Just staring back at me. It was amazing.
So, before I go any farther, I want to say thank you. THANK YOU Geoff, Kent, and Adam. I can’t believe I finally own this rare part.
Now, back to the install. I believe I needed to find a ground wire…
This little guy comes on when the door opens. He has a switch that lets the light be shut off completely. He has power. In other words, this little light has everything I need. I just need to figure out how to access those items.
Thanks to my dash restoration last summer, I’m very familiar with every part of Sharka’s interior, including this light. I took both apart to clean the contacts before installing in the leather dash. I remembered that the switch had a nice metal screw that held it together. My plan was to attach a wire to that screw and use that as my variable ground.
The ground wire actually slides with the switch and there’s plenty of space for it to do that. In the off position, there’s no ground to the mirror and the lights won’t come on with the door. In the door position, the 3 lights will come on together (along with the passenger knee light depending on the position of that switch). And in the ON position, the 3 lights will light together.
See the red wire? That one is 12v. I tapped into it for power to the mirror lights. So that’s TWO wires all sorted out. I just need to find a nice hole in the windshield frame to put a bolt through for my constant ground.
Let me take a moment and mention my awesome ratcheting crimper. It came from Parts Express. I think I paid less than $20. It works wonderfully. If you do much wiring, I highly suggest buying one. The price is the lowest I’ve ever seen a ratcheting crimper go for and the quality is very high.
I connected about 6 feet of 16 gauge wire to the driver’s knee light and fished it up through the dash. Then I used crappy black electrical tape to hold it in place. My thinking was that the black trim will hold the wires pretty tight (there’s NO space on the leading edge where I ran the wires) so I didn’t need much to hold it up. If the tape gives and wires start to rattle, I’ll take things apart again and use gaffer tape.
Notice the ring terminal in the windshield frame pic? That goes to one of the sun visor mounting holes. That is my constant ground which enables the lights to work when the mirror-mounted switches are flipped. That’s all three wires sorted!
Wiring is a lot of work for not a lot of visible results. But a good wiring job is worth the effort. Always.
It hardly looks different than stock. Unless you know what to look for, you’d either ignore the mirror or think it was a factory option.
NA Miatas have horrible interior lighting. Seriously, it’s just shameful. This little mirror fixes the situation single handedly. I am SO happy to have this. I should have bought it a decade ago.
These photos were taken inside my completely dark garage. The only light in the interior was the mirror and knee lights. I shot these hand-held with a not-fast lens. It’s… just amazing. Having real light inside a Miata? Light that you can read with? That’s something I’ve never had.
Thank you again, Geoff, Kent, and Adam. You made me one very happy Roadster nerd. And Sharka will proudly wear this mirror for the rest of his life.