Side Mirrors

Our Swiss 404 came with nice convex side mirrors.  The curve was great, as it nearly eliminated blind spots, but the backs were plastic, so they broke easily.  We bought a set of curved, metal backed side mirrors, but they took us a while to figure out how to mount, as the mounting tabs were completely different.  After breaking our third plastic backed mirror, we decided it was time to figure out how to mount the metal mirrors on the truck.  The convex curve might be slightly less on the metal ones than the plastic ones, but the surface area is larger, so the overall view afforded is about the same.

Here is a view of one of the old plastic backed mirrors with our round flat mirror below it, and one of the new metal backed mirror on that side.  The convex mirrors are great for the amount of view you get, but depth perception sucks!  Backing up effectively really requires flat mirrors.  The flat mirrors came mounted to a short arm with a ball socket.  We mounted the arm to one end of a piece of flat bar, & welded the other end of the flat bar to a 12mm nut.  12mm nuts fit well on the stock mirror mounting arms.  The 12mm nut is drilled & tapped through one face for a 6mm bolt as a set screw.

The 12mm nut method worked so well for the flat mirrors, that we decided to adapt the idea for the new convex mirrors.

How to put the mirror mount on the truck was easy.  The challenge was coming up with how to attach the mirror to the mount.  The difficulty was making it so that we could adjust the mirror appropriately, even though the two adjustment planes would have no possibility of being at 90° to one another.

Underneath the weld holding them together, the two 12mm nuts are drilled & tapped with a short piece of 6mm stud threaded into them.  This was done so that the whole mirror assembly could be mounted on the truck, adjusted to approximately the right angle, and then the two nuts tack welded together.  Then the mount was removed from both the truck and the mirror so that the weld could be completed in the vice.  Each side is noticeably different, as the arms on the two sides of the truck are at different angles.

We attempted to mount the mirrors as close to vertical as possible, so that when adjusted for height they stay at pretty much the same angle with the truck.  Horizontal adjustment is accomplished by moving the mount around the arm.

It was important to get the spacing right between the sides of the nut & the ears on the mirrors.  There are two thick 10mm washers on each side, so that the mirror is well held by friction as well as the lock washer on the 8mm bolt holding the mirror in place.

We've had these mirrors on for a couple of trips this past summer, including the 4400km to NWMF2003 & back, and they've held up very well.  It takes a substantial branch to mess with the adjustment, usually the arm gives first & snaps the mirror up against the truck.  The only problem we've had so far is that the mirrors are a bit heavier than the stock Swiss ones, so the arms vibrate a fair bit.  Braces have since been added to the arms to tame the vibrations a bit.