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Fitting a Holden Caprice Auto Dipping Mirror for the Holden VE II Commodore

  • The following document describes the tools and parts required to fit the Auto Dipping Rear View Mirror found on the VE Statesman and Caprice models.
    This document shows upgrading to the standard VE auto dipping mirror, however some of the concepts would be applicable to fitting the GM Onstar mirror.

    This document came about because I was lucky enough to purchase a used VE Holden Caprice Auto Dipping Mirror from a wrecker for the total sum of $15.00 AU.
    Searching typical auction sites, I have found other bargains such as this, including Onstar Autodipping mirrors for Chevrolet Models going for not much more.

    The auto electro chromatic dipping mirror is an electro chromatic windscreen mounted rear view mirror, which uses forward and backward facing sensors to determine the amount of light directed to the face of the mirror.

    When the mirror detects more light directed to the face of the mirror (Compared to light directed at the drivers face), the mirror will incrementally dim (become opaque), reducing the amount of glare caused by headlights directed at the back of the vehicle.
    Much in the same way that the manual dip function works for standard mirrors.
    The difference between the manual models, and the electronic models is that the dimming / dipping amount is constantly varied depending on the amount of glare detected.
  • Tools Required
    Phillips head screw driver
    A flat headed screw driver
    Soldering iron and solder

    Parts Required
    1x VE Auto Dipping Mirror
    2m of 3 or 4 core wiring
    1x 3 Pin Electrical Connector Block (Jaycar Part # HM-3433)
    Various lengths of heatshrink
    Electrical Tape
  • Please Note : For Series I Holden vehicles, it is probably much easier to make connections to the Accessories Power feed using the bluetooth wiring connector.
    For Series II Models (And vehicles exported to the USA such as the Pontiac G8 and Chevrolet Caprice PPV), you will need to run the cable down to the center console cigarette lighter power plug wiring loom. (Which is used to connect the cigarette lighter when the smokers pack has been optioned).

    To begin, your best bet is to start either at the Auxillary Power Connector, or the Series I Bluetooth wiring connector.
    In either case, you will need to remove the glove box compartment area in order to run the cable up through the top of the dash, to the bottom of the A Piller Trim.
    Firstly, you will need to remove the passenger side lower foot well trim to gain access to the bottom of the glove box.
    To remove this trim piece, simply pull the trim piece downwards, starting from the back of the trim piece, disengaging the 3 clips holding the back of the trim pieces in place, and a further 3 clips used to hold the front of the trim piece in place.

    The following image shows the passenger side lower trim partially removed.
    Lower Passenger footwell trim   lower passenger footwell trim

    Next, you will need to remove the horizontal dash spear trim on the passenger side of the vehicle.
    It is best to start from one end of the spear trim, pulling the trim outwards with an even amount of force.
    The horizontal trim pieces are held in place using a number of clips, which can be disengaged by pulling the trim piece outwards, away from the dash, as shown in the following image.
    Removing dash spears   removing dash spear trim

    Removal of the passenger side spear trim will allow you to access the upper glove box screws, which will require removal a little later.

    Next remove the fascia surrounding the boot release switch, inside the glove compartment.
    Once the fascia is removed, you will need to remove the screw located beneath the fascia.
    Next, locate the second screw cover on the other side of the glove compartment.
    Glove box hidden screw locations   Glove box hidden screw locations

    Remove this cover, and remove the screw located underneath this cover.
    Next, locate and remove the 2 screws located at the bottom of the glove compartment, used to hod the bottom of the assembly in place.
    These screws would have been hidden underneath the lower passenger foot well trim.

    Once you have these screws removed, you will need to remove the 4 upper glove compartment screws.
    The following image shows the location of these screws.

    Finally, with all the glove compartment mounting screws removed, the glove compartment assembly can be removed from the vehicle.
  • In order to run the required cable to the bottom of the A Piller trim, you will need to remove the passenger side tweeter trim piece.

    To remove the passenger side dash tweeter (speaker) trim piece, simply pull the trim piece upwards starting from the far left hand side of the piece, and slowly work your way around until the trim piece is removed.
    Passenger side tweeter trim removal Click to view this image in high definition

    With this trim piece out of the way, Run the required cable down through the hole next to the tweeter.
    The required cable should now be located around the back of the HVAC blower motor, and should be routed around to as it will be easily accessible at the back of the glove compartment when refitted.
  • When wiring the Auto Dipping mirror, the mirror requires the following connections in order to function correctly.

    1) Accessories Power : Provides Power when the key is in the Accessories or Ignition Position
    2) Ground : (Battery Negative (-) Terminal
    3) Reverse Lamps Positive Power : This disables the auto dipping function when reverse gear is selected

    For some Series I VE models, all three of these connections are available from the bluetooth module wiring connector.
    (The Bluetooth module and wiring connector is located just above the glove compartment.

    Please Note : Althought the workshop manual specifies that the reverse lamps power feed is available on the bluetooth module wiring connector,
    (Pin 3 - Light Green Wire), No such wire existed on my vehicle. (The pin was empty).
    The auto dipping mirror functions perfectly fine without this connection, however you may need to manually disable the auto dipping function by switching the mirror off, when reversing the vehicle.

    For Series II and Export models such as the Pontiac G8, and the Chevrolet Caprice PPV models, you will need to make the accessories and ground connection to the cigarette power socket wiring connector, located just below the radio.

    Looking at back of mirror, Pin 1 is on the LHS, Pin 3 is on the RHS.
    Pin 1 - Accessories Voltage - Connect to Pin 5 (Brown Wire) on Bluetooth connector
    Pin 2 - Ground - Connect to Pin 10 (Black Wire) on Bluetooth connector
    Pin 3 - Reverse Lamps Voltage - Connect to Pin 3 (Light Green Wire) on Bluetooth connector

    The following image shows these connections being made to the bluetooth wiring connector on a Series I model VE Commodore.

    For Series II and Export Models, the following is an image of the radio fascia and surrounding trim sections removed, showing the cigarette lighter power connector.

    The power connector is a two pin female T connector, with a Brown wire (Negative (-) Ground) and a Brown / White Stipe wire (Accessories (+) Power) connected to it.
  • To remove the A Piller trim, there is a hidden torx screw located underneath the Airbag plastic trim piece.
    Using a flat headed screw driver, simply pop this trim piece off, and remove the torx bit screw underneath.
    Next, simply pull the A piller trim away from the A piller, disenaging the plastic clips holding the trim piece in place.

    Next run the rewuired wire up against the windscreen glass, using electrical or gaffa tape to hold the wire in place.
    (The tape is used to prevent the wire from rubbing and bumping up against the trim piece, create unwanted cabin noise and rattles.
  • For the uninitiated, this step can be a bit daunting.
    To remove the existing rear view mirror, you will need to pull the mirror downwards, to disengage the mounting clip from the mount on the windscreen.
    This does require a fair amount of force before the mirror begins to budge.

    As can be seen from the following images, the mirror will disengage from the top of the windscreen mount, and using a twisting motion, the mirror can be removed by pulling the mirror both downwards and backwards.
    Once removed, you should be left with the following.

  • Before you start this step though, it is recommended that you place a length of black heatshrink over the wire. This length of heatshrink will be used later on to help mould the wire in to a nice neat shape, so as it is unobtrusive when the mirror is fitted to the vehicle.
    (The Statesman and Caprice models have an extra trim piece which bridges the mirror mount, and the roof lining, which hides the wiring from view.

    Next crimp the wiring terminal pins to the required wiring, and then using heatshrink, cover part of the pin and wire to form a nice bond.
    Once you have crimped and connected the wires, insert the pins in to the terminal block, using the following image as a guide to which locations the pins should be inserted.
    Now that the pins have been inserted in to the terminal block, fit the heatshrink over the wiring. (But do not heat the heatshrink just yet).
    For the next step, we can now fit the new auto dipping mirror to the windscreen.
  • To fit the new mirror, first align the base of the mirror to the top of windscreen mount.
    With the mirror base aligned, push the base of the mirror downward towards the dash of the vehicle.
    The mirror base should slide over the windscreen mount, and the mount should clip in to place.
    Again, this takes quite an amount of effort, so do not be afraid to use some force to complete this step.
    With the mirror in place, fit the wiring connector to the back of the mirror, making sure that the wiring connectors position (and orientation) is correct.
    Once you are happy with the wire location, adjust the rear view mirror to a position that you would typically use everyday, and apply heat to the heatshrink.
    This will allow the heatshrink to mould the wire in to a shape that allows the wiring to be as discrete as possible.
    Finally, switch the vehicles ignition switch to the On position.
    If the Auto Dipping Mirror has been correctly connected to the vehicles wiring, the mirrors LED will illuminate green indicating that the auto dipping mirror function is active.

    If this is not the case, make sure that the mirror has been switched on, by depressing the push button located at the bottom of the mirror.
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