2002 Sienna, Broken mirror, a Comedy of errors

A few weeks ago, as I came back to the border, just as I entered Reynosa from the West, the outside mirror on my side blew back. Something went broke inside that sucker. When I stopped fast, it flipped to the front. Until I got to my home in North McAllen, when I needed that mirror for example for a lane change, I had to reach out with my hand and hold the mirror in place. Sigh.

When I got a chance, I took silicon and pasted that sucker in the correct position. Then, I ordered a replacement mirror from Rock Auto. I assumed it was without heat, because I never saw any signs of mirror heating. The unheated mirror was only $40 plus shipping.

When it came, my clever SIL started taking the door trim off. When we got it down to the brass tacks, we realized the plug was not correct for the unheated mirror. Instead of putting the door liner and trim back on while ordering another mirror, we left it off, with the switches flopping beside me.

I ordered a heated mirror, and this time we knew what the plug was supposed to look like. The OEM heated mirror was nearly $100.

Today, the mirror had been delivered. So, when my SIL got home, we started in on it. Alas, when we got the old one out and went to install the new one, the stud thingie on the new one was broken all to heck.

We explored all our options. I want out of here and back home early next week, and had no intention of waiting for a third replacement mirror. After some thought, he dug out his J.B. Weld and put it on that broken piece. It has to sit all night to cure, so we put the broken-glued one back on and tomorrow I will see if the safety inspector will pass it with a silicon-ed mirror. He is a sport photographer and Friday night is football night, but he will put the Welded one on Saturday.

As we finished up our temporary fix, it came over me. If we had not been in idiot mode, we could have un-pinned the plug on the broken mirror, and put the unheated mirror on the car using the plug from the original mirror, and it would have worked perfectly. Sigh! (My SIL says one can insert a pin in the plug holes, and that will allow the contact to be removed and put in the other one.)

In the process of examining things, my SIL realized that the connectors for the mirror heaters were not connected at all. Apparently, when Gus from the glass repair place, replaced the glass for that mirror several years ago, (the car was parked on the street in our capitol city and someone hit it, either pedestrian or bicyclist) he never bothered to plug them in again.

I will take the $40 unheated one with me, in case it gets thumped again. It’s all paid for, and I am sure there is someone clever enough to swap the plugs as we should have done in the first place if the new mirror gets broken.

Funny how things get out of hand, isn’t it?

I wonder though, why not just buy the correct mirror locally and install it tomorrow? I’m not familiar with your town but surely a Toyota mirror can be had at one of the local parts stores, can’t it?

“surely a Toyota mirror can be had at one of the local parts stores, can’t it?”

In Mexico, where irlandes resides, that might not be the case.
@irlandes-- What can you tell us regarding this issue?

In Mexico, where irlandes resides, that might not be the case.

I understand the story to read that he is back in Texas at this point, and is/was just waiting on the mirror repair to begin his return trip to Mexico. Instead of waiting for JB Weld to cure and using a mirror that has been damaged in shipping, I was wondering if any of the local parts distributors had a new one sitting there. My local vendor has the correct mirror here for $80.

Or stop by the boneyard and find one.

I used JB Weld on a friends mirror and it worked pretty good with a coat of matching paint before he knocked it off again.

One time when driving on the freeway at 60 MPH, speed biker was not happy with the amount of space he had to split lanes, so he managed to break the side view mirror intentionally with his elbow as he was zooming past me at 90 MPH. I was glad he was good at this, otherwise his body would had been on the blacktop. So, now my mirror housing was flipped all the way and the glass was dangling. I made it home w/o the mirror. I was ready to order a new one but started finessing with the mirror. I was able to flip the housing back to its original position. And then the glass easily snapped in the original clips. I was glad that it only cost me a few minutes.

Just for future reference, get some JB Qwik next time. Same performance but cures hard in 15 minutes. Sold right next to the original formula…

Good tip. I’ve waited a couple days before for that JB stuff to harden. I’ll have to look for the quick stuff next time.

:My SIL is pretty good at getting stuff, and he did not mention a local source of the Toyota mirror. Clearly, he does not know everything, but I took that as a sign he didn’t know anywhere.

All we had to do, if we wanted to pay the price, was go to the Parts desk at Toyota in Pharr, and they would have it the next day. Probably close to $200.

And, there is no chance to find such a specialized part in Mexico where I live. It is even hard to find 10W-30 oil, as I have written in the past. I would have to go a 4 hour minimum round trip to the Toyota dealer in Puebla for the mirror, and they would probably have to order it from the US by air freight.

This is all part of my logic in performing 'high rel" maintenance on the car, so I need a minimum of parts in Mexico.

This happened on Oct. 2nd as I entered Reynosa which is on the border, and within an hour I was waiting in a very long line on the US side.

Parts for older cars are available in rural Mexico, in certain villages. You can buy the turn signal parts for the steering wheel on a 1976 Chevrolet pickup. Toyota Sienna’s are not common.

I will be keeping the $40 mirror in Mexico in case of future damage, though this is time limited since I have to have this car back in the USA by April when I change to Permanent Resident, and as soon as Possible, nationality. Alex at Pharr Toyota told me the Mexican Sienna’s are made in the USA and exported to Mexico so many of the parts will be the same as for the USA cars.

I went to the car inspection station my SIL uses, and asked if they could inspect it with a glued mirror. The young woman who is state inspector says the only requirement is one rear view mirror.

I went to HEB which issues renewals, but I never received the form from DMV, so I had to drive to the county offices. HEB (a Texas supermarket chain and HEB is the initials of the founder Horace E Butts, seriously) gave me the address of 100 E.Cano, and that is not where the office is. It is at the corner of Canton and business 281.

New plates this year, now 7 characters for private cars…

what is SIL ??

How about screw on aftermarket side view mirrors, the old school ones that you actually adjust manually. I am sure you could find one of those in Mexico if you ever needed one. I am sure it would make your Sienna stand out even more!

what is SIL ??


Sister in law =SIL my gyess. I have had better luck with the old fashioned jb weld, not the quickie stuff, but my fave, shoegoo, 24 hour cure time min, and it is clear!

Yeah I thought it was sister in law too. Never thought of son in law which was why I was confused with “he” but didn’t want to say anything.

What are you saying though? Are you moving back to the US or just moving the car back or neither?

son-in-law, a common abbreviation on the Web. So is BIL brother-in-law, and Dil Daughter-in-law, FIL, Mil.

BillRussell: I was thinking Sister In Law then thought it could also be Son In Law.

irlandes: 30+ years military. I hate acronyms with multiple possibilities. SAR (Search And Rescue) had nearly 30!

I come back a month or less each year, partly to renew my car documents. Also to visit family. It is a violation of Federal law (though few people know it) to keep a car out of country more than 12 months, except by a complicated inspection system.

I had planned to import this excellent car into Mexico. But, in the last few months they changed the Mexican laws, and now for all practical purposes I cannot do so. It is a shame, it is such a great car. In the 835 miles back to the border, the oil dipstick dropped less than 1/8 inch.

I will go back, and buy a Mexican car, then come back in the 2002 to the US, drop off the 2002, and go back by bus. Future visits will be in the Mexican car. As long as I buy U.S insurance on it, I can drive the Mexican car into the USA.

The issue became an issue because I will be obtaining my permanent residence in April, which is when I must have only a Mexican car. I had planned to make my car into a Mexican car, but they changed the rules, in part to protect the Mexican car market.

I hope to leave again around Wednesday and not be back until February, to return the 2002 Sienna to the USA before the permanent residence application…

We will probably have the plugs changed the second time, and gaskets at the top of the motor changed, then give it to a son who needs such a vehicle.

I guess your son is the lucky one.