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DIY LED Signal Mirrors in a 96 XLT

29273 Views 32 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  justin
If you are like me, you’ve given up stumbling upon the ultra rare 96 signal mirrors. I came across a kit from found here:

I looked through Steve83’s supermotors album and read Bossind’s thread on the disassembly of the 92-96 flag mirrors.

I have read about people having problems getting the mirror and backing plate off the housing. I used a trim removal tool shown here:

Per Steve83’s instructions I pushed the mirror all the way down and in towards the door. I inserted the trim tool in the top corner that pushed out the most and gently pulled on it and worked my way around the perimeter until it fell into my hand. This is what you will see (assuming you have power mirrors):

Now the next step requires you to attempt to separate the actual mirror glass from the backing plate. I heated it with my heat gun and was unsuccessful. So I broke both of them off and went and bought two new mirror glasses from advance auto for $10 a piece. Well worth it. Here is what you get from sharkracing, which BTW, came from S. Korea so don’t be surprised if it takes up to 10 business days:

I then cut off a piece of the double sided tape that came with the new glass and used that hold the LEDs in place. I then ran the wires to the hole that is already in the backing plate. The red tape is for the new glass.

I then installed the glass onto the backing plates and started running the wires through the mirror and door jam. Here is where you will run the wire, you will have to remove the mirror from the door and then take off the plastic gasket in order to properly hide the wires through the door

Now this was the biggest pain in my ass….getting the wires through the door jam. I straightened a wire coat hanger and taped the wire ends onto it and fished it through the door jam. While it is a pain in the ass, it is well worth the effort for the clean install. I’ll also note that I wrapped the tape around the hanger alone for a few wraps and then around the wires so that it wouldn’t just slip right off.

I knew from looking through Steve83’s diagrams that I was looking for a W/LB and LG/W wire for the turn signals. I popped the passenger kick panel off and lo and behold, I see an empty connector that is for, I assume, a 96 w/ signal mirrors. I turn my hazards on, break the test light out and sure enough, those are the two I want. I must say that I was pretty happy to find that because I was apprehensive about splicing into the MFS harness at the column. I cut the plug off and the W/LB wire is for the Passenger side signal and the LG/W wire is for the driver side signal.

This plug:

Yep, this one:

I’m not sure if there is another one of those on the driver side, but I just ran the driver side signal over here and used both of the wires since it was so damn convenient. There was a ground right under that harness that I used for both signals (in the first pic, it is what is grounding my test light).

Here is the final result, one during the day and one at night. I can probably get them brighter if I sanded the backside of the mirror but I’m happy for now. I may try sanding if I ever attempt to install autodimming side mirrors.
I’m pleased with the result, on the driver side LED, I put it to close to the bottom and some of the light leaks off between the glass and the backing plate..I’ll probably end up fixing that sooner rather than later.

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I'd guess that 96's will have that plug since signal mirrors was an option.
Just curious, why didnt you center the led's??
I did not center them because I was going for that OEM look and that was where Ford put them.

When my wife noticed it, that was the first question she asked.:rofl:
No reason why you could not have a heated mirror with LEDs. I considered it and even found a DIY kit online, but I would only get to use them once every 2 years. Just apply the heating element onto to the back of the glass and cut out an area just big enough for the LEDs.

I would really like to have autodimming side mirrors and I'm looking into how that can be done. I already have the autodimming rearview mirror that has the inputs for side mirrors.

The actual mirror itself is pretty difficult to remove from the backing plate in one piece. It can be broken and removed pretty easy though.
Just curious, why didnt you center the led's??
Because factory 96 led turn signals were at the bottom.
Signal mirrors

Ordered the LED's from Shark Racing after reading 'justins' post. Got them in three days.Followed Steve83's instructions on removal of mirrors, but unlike justins replacing the glass, I used a woodburning tool to melt the shape of the LEDs through the back of the plastic mirror. Used silicone glue and reassembled mirrors.
Didn't have the empty connector on passenger side(don't know how many vehicles make up this truck) so had to go to the loom from the MFS. Found the wires neded, tapped into them, soldered and taped 'em.Closed it all up..
Now have signal mirrors. On a ten point scale, I'd give it a 3. Fun project.
Actually, I'm retired and nothing better to do and this project was cheap enough to fit into the fixed income budget at $33! Two day project.
Justin, do you know if the autodimming mirrors have a sort of "polarized" look to them??

I have a factory drivers side signal mirror LED backing plate and I'm wondering if these factory signal mirrors use some kind of special mirror glass. The factory 96 passenger side signal mirror glass on the complete signal mirror I have has a sort of polarized sunglasses look to it and the signal chevron shape is not visible behind the mirror unless you look at it from a very wide angle with light on it. I'm worried if I do what you were talking about with sanding the backside of an aftermarket mirror that a 'hole' will be visible in the reflective backing.
Yes, I have a few automdimming side mirrors from a caddy sitting in my garage and they all have a sort of bronze polarized look to them.

I've looked into the side dimming mirrors and have given up on it at the moment. From the factory, its two pieces of glasses with some sort of gel between them and both pieces of glass are coated with some electrically conductive coating.

I wouldn't worry about sanding the backside of the glass. At night, its plenty bright, daytime output leaves much to be desired, but I think sanding the backside would kind of look like shit. I need to see how the signal mirrors work on the newer GM SUVs/Trucks as they are bright as hell during the day.
I just pulled the kickpanel on my 96, I too have the unused plug there. Same color wires and everything. At some point I'll try to hook up my one right side signal mirror lol
The factory side mirror glass isn't polarized or bronze; it's just half-silvered. That's ALL flag-style mirror glass; not just the signal mirrors. And the silvering is on the VISIBLE (rear) face, so sanding the mounting (front) face would only make the LEDs look foggy; it wouldn't change their visibility. To make the LEDs directional (which isn't the same as polarizing), you'd need to add black strips along the inboard edge of each column of LEDs so the driver couldn't see them, but anyone outside the truck could. The factory LEDs have a directional lens on them to achieve that effect. Drilling a hole for each LED & then mounting the plate offset inboard of the holes would accomplish the same thing. I've recently added several pics to that photo album, and one shows a factory plate without the mirror.

That website offers a reward for referring customers, so post your customer number if you ever plan on ordering from them again.
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Refer a friend and if that friend joins and enters your Customer ID in the registration form, we reward you $3 mileage!
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As far as the bronzing, I was referring to the autodimming RV mirror.

Have you ever given thought on how to add autodimming side mirrors?
I've never seen a bronze RV mirror, either, and I have 2 buckets full of them (1 w/compass; the other w/temperature & compass). You can't add dimming to a mirror - the glass has to be built with a liquid crystal sheet & a polarizing sheet, and contacts to connect wires to the liquid crystal layer. It's not a DIY project, and you can't cut glass with those features down to fit in these heads. The only way to do it would be to bolt on a complete mirror assembly with those features.

I bought a set of Shark LEDs & made them directional:

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Looks good.

I was thinking it may be possible to cut a mirror down...but oh well.

Every electrochromatic mirror I have has a tint to it. Its not bronze like the factory topper tint, but it definitely gives the mirror some slight color.

I have a few dimming side mirrors our of gm vehicles and they all have that tint to them as well.
Cutting a liquid crystal display (LCD) causes the liquid crystal to leak out, and it stops working. And that's how all dimming mirrors work. If you have polarized sunglasses, hold them up to the mirror, and rotate them. If the view thru the glasses changes from dark to black, the mirror has a polarizing sheet. Same for any other LCD.

I've seen yellowish GM side mirrors, but all my RV mirrors have a distinctly green/blue caste when they're darkened, and almost no perceptible color when off; nothing I'd call "bronze".

. .
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You quoted the answer to your question. :rolleyes: You need to read more carefully. :deal
very nice

I ordered these turn signal LED's last week from china to try on my mirrors but think its going to be a little harder with my year mirrors.
I really like this idea, definitely adding it to my "to do" list
i have a 95, i dont have the plug so where can i wire it to? i couldnt find the answer
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