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Hello, my name is Ben. This is a very easy repair for any do it your-selfer. There is a plastic triangle shaped piece on the inside of the door at the top of the door panel. Carefully pry it straight our using a small screwdriver or putty knife. Now you can just unbolt the old mirror and bolt in the new one. I hope this helps you with your repair.
Your going to have to remove the inside door panel to get to the three bolts that hold the out side mirror assembly. Once you have the door panel off you'll see the three bolts that hold the mirror assembly, just un-bolt and un-clip the wire harness to the electric/heated mirror. To install the new mirror assembly, just do everything in reveres. Go to Auto Zone and by extra door panel clips, there is a good chance of breaking some of the retainer clips and Auto Zone will have the step by step instructions to replacing the mirror assembly and the removal to the door panel. Good luck and keep me posted. Be glad to help.
SECTION 501-09: Rear View Mirrors
2001 Explorer/Mountaineer Workshop Manual
REMOVAL AND INSTALLATION
Exterior Mirror Glass, 2001 model
Removal NOTE: Exterior mirror glass is serviceable only on vehicles built after July of 2001. NOTE: Passenger side exterior mirror shown, driver side exterior mirror similar. All mirrors
Position the glass in the full up position.
Locate the notch at the bottom of the exterior mirror glass.
Release the exterior mirror glass.
Insert a long flat-bladed screwdriver in the notch.
Push the screwdriver into the notch until the glass is released.
Position aside the exterior mirror glass.
Disconnect the electrical connectors.
Remove the exterior mirror glass (17K707) passenger side or (17T675) driver side.
Installation Heated mirrors
Connect the electrical connectors.
Position the exterior mirror glass on the exterior mirror motor.
Place a hand against the back of the exterior mirror housing and a hand flat against the exterior mirror glass. Press the glass in place until fully seated.
To remove the door panel you will have to pull out on the bottom edges. There is a tool sold for this but you can use a screwdriver. It doesn't sound good when you pop them off but there are small plastic tabs you have to force out. This is what is being done when you pry the panel outward. Then there are screws that you will have to remove where the door handle and arm rest area is. You have to pop off the covers and then you will see the screws. All that is left to do is pull out and up and the door panel will come off. There is nothing fancy about it. Just take your time and don't be too concerned about using force.
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If you need to replace the entire mirror - it's a little involved. First you need to take the upper extension panel off from behind the mirror (black triangle) - just pull it of starting at the top. It will snap back on later. Next - remove the different screws holding the door panel in place (not the ones behind the mirror yet!) One is under the handle (pull it out and pull out the filler panel - small plastic thing that has a hole to pry it out). Then take off the rear red light - also pops off - and remove that screw. Finally - pick up the rubber filler where your fingers pull the door shut and remove these torx bolts.
Now is the tricky part. Snapp off the entire interior panel. It will pop off - but very difficult. It will sound like it is breaking! Start at the outer bottom corner - and use a door panel remover tool - check Amazon or E-bay - to keep from breaking things. Pull it out from all around the bottom and sides and then lift it up over the door lock. It good to have a friend help here. The panel will still be held on by a cable - that is your door release - leave it alone and let the panel hang by it (or better, put a box under it to rest on).
Now...remove the three bolts holding the mirror on - have a friend help hold the mirror while you do this or it will scratch your new car! Since the inner panel is off - you can also disonnect the mirror plus and remove it. It sounds silly - but the only reason to remove the door panel is to unplug it!
Get you new mirror and reverse the steps.
If you are just replacing the glass (non-heated) - get a replacement from the dealer. Adjust the mirror all the way to the inside and reach behind and pop it off. CAREFUL - put tape over the entire glass as it will likely break even more! Remove your connectors if heated - and replace (and reconnect) with your new glass. It just pops back on!
Replacing glass is easy - just be careful of cheap imitations on e-abay). And never use cheap flat glass on the passenger side! The DOT has special requirements for mirror glass - buy it from gmpartsdirect.com or your local dealer.