Balancing Act

DIY: How to install JDM power side folding mirrors on an RSX

After a long hiatus from blogging, due to time constraint, I am back and will start today's entry off with a comprehensive do-it-yourself guide to wire up a pair of JDM DC5 Integra power folding mirrors onto your USDM Acura RSX. The beauty of this project is it does not require you to slice or splice any OEM wires. Not one. Be sure to read the entire guide before proceeding. As with all my other DIY guides, it was written for reference and documentary purpose only. Use the information contained within at your own risk.

Before I proceed with the guide, I'd like to give Krisen Type-S and George Type-S (both on Club RSX) credit for their original inputs and DIY guides on the Club RSX forums. Their original concept helped expedite this potentially week long project into a 9 hour weekend project. This guide will show you how to install JDM DC5 power folding side mirrors without cutting any wires, wired up to function as close to OEM-spec as possible.

I originally purchased these mirrors from hmotorsonline for a total of $175.00. The price and package includes two mirrors, a JDM mirror switch and a "relay". To the readers that are interested in adding power folding mirrors onto their RSX, do NOT buy the "relay" that is usually sold with the mirrors. This is what the alleged relay looks like:

"Relay" that is usually sold with the JDM power folding mirrors.

As it turns out, the JDM DC5 power folding side mirrors do not use an external relay that older Hondas did, i.e. EG6, EK9, DA9, DC2/4, etc. The relay is built into the JDM switch in the form of a dual polarity switch. Whereas the power folding mirrors in older Hondas utilizes an external relay to control the flow of electricity through the mirrors, the JDM DC5 switch coverts the polarity of the electrical currents depending on the position of the power folding mirror switch. Save yourself $25.00 and omit the "relay" when you invest in your power folding mirrors. Upon further investigation, this relay is actually the keyless entry unit - the exact same one that is located near your radio unit. Go figure.

Parts Required

1x Paperclip

1x Variety of screwdrivers; flathead and Philips

1x vinyl electrical tape

1x socket & ratchet set with 8mm socket

1x JDM power folding mirrors; driver side and passenger side

1x JDM power folding mirror switch

1x metal coat hanger, undone

1x roll of 16-18 AWG wire:

2x 2-pin Honda male connector plugs, part #: 04321-ST5-305:

2x 2-pin Honda female connector plugs, part #: 04321-SH2-307:

4x Honda male pigtails, part #: 04320-SP0-G00:

4x butt crimps:

Preparing the JDM DC5 power folding side mirrors for complete swap

This is the fun part. This step will involve the complete disassembly of the JDM power folding mirrors. We disassemble the JDM mirrors so we can swap the inner power folding arms into the USDM housing.

1. Using a paperclip, a micro flathead screwdriver or a terminal de-pinning tool, de-pin the 5 wires from the JDM mirror plug. Make a note of the position of the wires:

Using a paperclip, a micro flathead screwdriver or a terminal de-pinning tool, de-pin the 5 wires from the JDM mirror plug.
The pigtails completely isolated from the plug.

2. Carefully guide the pigtails through the grommet on the inner weather cap, then remove the inner weather cap from the outer lower arm and set it aside:

Pigtails sliding through rubber grommet of inner weather cap.
Inner weather cap isolated from wires and set aside.

3. Locate the white plastic harness clamp and unscrew the single 4x10 self-tapping screw, then put the clamp and screw aside:

Unscrew the self-tapping screw from the harness clamp.

4. The next few steps involve removing the mirror from the actuator. This step is easier than it appears. Start by wrapping your flathead screwdriver with a liberal amount of masking tape, then push and pull the mirror so that the lower corner closest to the lower arm shows a big gap:

Push and pull the mirror so that the lower corner closest to the lower arm shows a big gap.

5. Carefully pop the mirror out by wedging your flathead screwdriver between the two clips on the mirror and the surface of the actuator. The two clips to pop out is indicated in the following image:

The two clips to wedge your flathead screwdriver in-between.

Carefully separate the mirror from the actuator. The passenger side will have a stick adhesive in-between, while the driver side won't (as far as '05-'06 models is concerned). Once the mirror is partially separated from the actuator, dislodge the additional 4 clips as shown to remove the mirror completely. This can be done by pulling the mirror up so it's on a 90-degree angle and perpendicular to the actuator, then simply pull the mirror up and out:

Four clips to dislodge before separation.

Set the mirror aside, then remove the three bronze colored screws that is securing the actuator onto the outer mirror housing:

With the mirror removed, the actuator is in plain sight. Unscrew the three screws that is securing the actuator onto the outer mirror housing.

6. Unscrew the three self-tapping screws on the bottom of the lower arm, separating the mirror housing from the lower arm in the process:

7. With some careful force, push the joint cap out with your flathead screwdriver and set it aside. The cap is simply clipped on:

Removing the joint cap.

8. The next part is a bit tricky. Pull on the actuator so that the inner locking pin is separated from its socket. Once this pin is dislodged, guide the actuator assembly out of the mirror housing:

Close-up of pin and socket.
The completely disassembled JDM DC5 power folding mirror. No wire cutting necessary.

Perform the same procedure on the opposite mirror to completely disassemble it. Next step: door panel removal.

Acura RSX door panel removal instructions

The next step involves removing the door panel. If you do not know how to remove the door panels, read the guide "DIY: How to remove the door panels off an Acura RSX" for instructions on how to properly remove your door panels.

Preparing the USDM RSX mirrors for complete swap

With the door panel removed, we are ready to move onto the next step and prepare the USDM mirror to accept the JDM interior parts.

1. Pop out the interior mirror garnish. It's held on with a single clip. Then unplug the mirror. Finally, unbolt the three bronze 8mm nuts to release the mirror from the door frame. Place the USDM mirror on a microfiber cloth or shop towel on your workspace. This will protect the paint finish from inadvertent scratches.

Remove the interior mirror garnish and unplug the mirror.
Place the mirror on a protective microfiber cloth to protect the paint finish.

2. Disassemble the USDM mirror using the steps illustrating the disassembly of the JDM mirror. Note: 2002-2003 USDM RSX mirrors will not have heated mirror feature and thus will only have 3 wires coming out of each mirror plug. 2004-2006 USD RSX all have heated mirror feature and will have a total of 5 wires. All year model Canadian RSX will have heated mirror feature, thus 5 wires on each plug. Keep this in mind for subsequent wiring instructions.

De-pin the wires from the plug. Shown is a plug from a 2005 USDM RSX.
Remove the mirror from the actuator. '04-'06 USDM and Canadian RSX will have 2 additional defroster wires behind the mirror plate. '02-'03 USDM RSX won't have these wires.
USDM vs JDM mirrors. Note the wires from the defroster on the USDM unit.
The completely disassembled USDM mirror.

A note on JDM DC5 mirror orientation and angle

No doubt when you install the JDM lower arm onto your door, you will encounter problems with visibility on the passenger side because of the way the JDM DC5 mirror is angled. If you compare the USDM passenger side mirror vs the JDM "passenger" side mirror, you will immediately notice the arm is slightly protruded on the USDM mirror:

USDM vs JDM lower mirror arms.

And if you look at your USDM driver side lower mirror arm and compare it to the JDM "driver side" lower mirror arm, you'll see the reverse; i.e. the USDM driver side lower mirror arm will be shorter than the JDM counterpart. The reason is simple: Right hand drive versus left hand drive. Technically, the JDM "passenger side" lower mirror arm is the driver side on an RHD vehicle, so it is short just like the USDM driver side and vice versa. That's the reason why there is a discrepancy with the angle. As of now, there is not direct bolt-on fix to correct this. That is, the JDM folding arm will not bolt onto the USDM lower mirror arm, so you will need to use the JDM lower mirror arm. Fortunately, there is a fix that will solve this problem.

Rewiring the JDM DC5 mirror into the USDM mirror housing

This step involve stripping the USDM wires and inserting it into the JDM DC5 mirror sub assembly. If your RSX is not equipped with heated mirror feature, you can skip all the steps with an asterisk (*) next to the step number.

*1. Remove the two defroster wires from the USDM mirror completely.

USDM or CDM mirror with defroster.
The defroster wires found in USDM/CDM RSX mirrors.

*2. Pop out the power folding motor cap with a flathead screw driver. There are two clips that hold the cap down:

JDM DC5 mirror with cap covering folding motor removed, exposing the motor and wire harness.

*3. Take the terminal end of the defroster wire you've removed from the USDM mirror and insert it into the JDM DC5 wire bundle. You may need to tape the defroster wires onto a coat hanger to maneuver it through the rubber housing:

USDM defroster wires inserted into JDM DC5 mirror actuator subassembly.
Defroster wires inserted through JDM DC5 actuator subassembly.
Using a coat hanger as an aid, maneuver the two defroster wires through the JDM DC5 mirror rubber wire housing.
USDM defroster wires pulled through JDM DC5 rubber wire housing.
Guide the wires back into the notch and snap the folding motor cap cover back in place.

4. Reinstall the JDM actuator subassembly into the USDM mirror housing with 3 screws.

5. Secure the USDM mirror housing onto the JDM lower arm with 3 screws.

*5a. If you have heated mirrors, reconnect the defroster on the mirror with the defroster wires, then snap the USDM mirror back onto the JDM actuator.

5b. Snap the USDM mirror back onto the JDM actuator. For the driver side, you need to cut the JDM actuator as illustrated:

Using garden pruners, cut along dotted line. ONLY on the driver side.

The reason is a pin on the USDM mirror will not clear the JDM actuator. Keep in mind this is only applicable to the driver side.

The indicated pin on the USDM mirror will not clear the JDM actuator and thus, the small incision on the JDM actuator is a necessity.

6. Insert all terminal joints through the rubber grommet of the inner weather cap.

Insert all wires through the rubber grommet of the inner cap. 5 wires if you do not have heated mirrors. 7 wires total if you have heated mirrors.
Wires completed and pulled through.

7. Reinsert the terminal joints back into the plug in the same order it was originally removed. If your RSX is not equipped with heated feature, you will insert the terminal joints back into a 3-pin plug instead of a 6-pin plug. Regardless, two new wires will be hanging aloof (BLK and WHT wires). These two wires are the power folding wires:

Reinsert the terminal joints in the order it was originally removed. You will have two additional wires hanging aloof (BLK & WHT). These are the power folding wires.
A visual diagram comparing non-heated 3-pin mirror plug vs 6-pin heated mirror plug / JDM power folding mirror plug.

8. Insert the two pigtails from the WHT and BLK wire into a Honda 2-pin female plug, part # 04321-SH2-307:

Power folding wires inserted into a 2-pin female plug, part # 04321-SH2-307.
The completed USDM / JDM mirror hybrid assembly with a separate plug allocated for the two JDM power folding wires. No wires were cut in the process.

Preparing the wiring for the JDM DC5 power folding mirrors

If you've gone this far, then you are ready to wire up the JDM DC5 power folding mirrors! This is probably the most time consuming step. It's not difficult to do, but routing the wires through the rubber door grommet is a painstaking experience. Let's start by preparing the corresponding male plug for the newly assembled 2-pin power folding plug.

1. Take a Honda 2-pin male plug, part # 04321-ST5-305 and insert two male pigtails into it, part # 04320-SP0-G00:

The newly created 2-pin male plug using OEM Honda parts.

2. Reinstall the mirrors back onto the door frame.

Mirror reinstalled onto door frame.

3. Connect the 2-pin male plug created in step 1 with the 2-pin female plug housing the power folding wires, then strip the end of two wires connected to the 2-pin male plug created in step 1.

Initial connection made.

Adjusting the JDM DC5 lower mirror arm to compensate for the angle discrepancy

Remember we mentioned how the JDM lower arm is slightly off angle? If you reinstalled the mirror without making adjustment and sit in the driver seat, you'll notice the difference. Furthermore, because of the shortened arm of the JDM mirror, you can only move the mirror so far. The following illustrates the problem:

USDM lower mirror arm installed. Notice how flush it sits.
JDM lower arm installed. Notice the large gap all around.

To compensate for the discrepancy, you need to adjust the three 8mm studded bolts on the mirror.

Studded bolts that need adjusting.

If you compare the height of these bolts found on the JDM mirror to the USDM mirror, you'll notice that the bolts on the USDM mirror is slightly raised while the bolts on the JDM mirror is flush with the base of the threads. You'll need to take a 8mm socket and manually adjust the bolt sitting on the lower corner closest to the fender such that it sits a little raised:

Using an 8mm socket, begin raising the studded bolts.
You may have to make several adjustments before hitting the "sweet" spot.

The adjustment is all trial and error. You may have to make several adjustments before hitting the "sweet" spot.

Routing the wires through the door

This step is quite possibly the most time consuming. Take the metal coat hanger you have and unravel it.

1. Cut two pieces of 16-18 AWG wire at 10 feet each, then attach the wire to one end of the unraveled coat hanger with tape:

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to do it. I found that it was much more difficult to route the wires through the driver side versus the passenger side. So basically, what you do is take the coat hanger with wires attached to it and route them through openings on the chassis from the interior, through the rubber door grommet and finally into the door frame. For both driver side and passenger side, only the kick panel needs to be removed to access the routing point.

Routing point on the passenger side, right below the ECU. Only the kick panel needs to be removed, nothing else.
Routing point on the driver side, right above the hood release. Only the kick panel needs to be removed, nothing else.

2. Partially remove the plastic sheet covering the door frame. Chances are, the cream colored sealant is still moist and creamy to the touch. Careful because it will stick on you if this is the case. My car is a 2005 and the texture of the sealant felt like it was fresh out the factory.

Carefully peel apart the plastic sheet cover from the door frame. Only peel enough to expose the cavity above the speaker.

3. Continue to route and maneuver the coat hanger with wire attachments through the interior, through the door grommets and into the door frame. Once you can feel it, pull it out.

Coat hanger with wire attachments successfully routed.

4. Remove the tape from the coat hanger and release the two wires. Pull the coat hanger through and completely remove it from the door frame. Using a wire stripper, strip off about 1cm off the end of the two wires you've just routed through. Then attach one routed wire to one of the two stripped wire on the 2-pin Honda male connector with a butt connector and attach the remaining routed wire to the remaining wire on the 2-pin Honda male connector with another butt connector. The power folding feature is almost wired.

2-pin male Honda connector with stripped ends plugged into power folding wire plug.

5. Make sure the wires are connected and cleared, then reapply the plastic sheet cover over the door frame.

Plastic sheet cover reapplied.

6. On the passenger side, place the two wires inside a protective wire loom. You can optionally attach terminal connects at the end of these two wires. I attached one wire to a male bullet terminal and the other wire to a female bullet terminal:

Routed wire on the passenger side secured inside a protective wire loom.

7. Route both driver side and passenger side wires toward the power mirror switch panel on the driver side.

Preparing the JDM DC5 power folding mirror switch for connection

Couple of notes to be aware of when it comes to identifying the wires on the main power mirror switch harness. There are three different variation:

  • JDM power folding mirror harness
  • USDM harness with no heated mirrors
  • USDM/CDM harness with heated mirrors

The following diagram illustrates what each harness should look like:

JDM power folding mirror wire harness.
'04-'06 USDM and '02-'06 Canadian RSX heated mirror wire harness.
'02-'03 USDM none heated mirror wire harness.

Your main concern is pin #7 and pin #8. These two wire exists on the JDM wire harness and they connect to the two power folding mirror wires on each mirror. They are none existent if you have an '02-'03 USDM RSX with none heated mirrors. If you have a Canadian RSX or an '04-'06 USDM RSX with heated mirrors, pin #7 is vacant while pin #8 is occupied by an ORG wire. Additionally, pin #1 is occupied by a BLK/YEL wire. These two wire control the defroster on the mirrors: the BLK/YEL wire on pin #1 is the power source input which becomes active on IGN. It also powers the mini LED inside the heated mirror switch. When you press down the heated mirror switch while your key is on IGN, the BLK/YEL completes the circuit with the ORG output wire on pin #8, and power flows to the defrosters from the BLK/YEL wire through the ORG wire.

Regardless of what year model RSX you own, the fundamental step required is to de-pin the two wires occupying pin #7 and pin #8 of the JDM wire harness. Release the snap lock from the harness and de-pin the wires using a paperclip or a micro flathead screwdriver:

JDM mirror switch harness. De-pin wires occupying pin #7 and pin #8.

If you have an '02-'03 USDM RSX with none heated mirrors...

Simply de-pin the two wires in pin #7 and pin #8 from the JDM mirror harness and insert them into the corresponding vacant slot in your USDM mirror plug.

If you have an '04-'06 USDM RSX with heated mirrors or any year model Canadian RSX...

De-pin pin #1 and pin #7 from your USDM/CDM mirror plug, tape up the terminal joint individually with vinyl tape and stash them away, then insert the wires de-pinned from pin #7 and pin #8 into the corresponding slots in your USDM/CDM mirror plug.

De-pinning wires occupying pin #1 and pin #7 if you own an RSX with heated mirrors.
After de-pinning pins #1 and #7 on an RSX with heated mirrors, wrap them individually in vinyl tape, the wrap them together with vinyl tape.
Insert the two wires de-pinned from the JDM wire harness into pin #7 and pin #8 of the USDM wire harness.

The JDM wires in pin #7 and pin #8 are each supposed to be forked. Chances are, the forked end of the wire were cut when you've acquired the JDM switch. Here's an example of what I'm describing:

The BLU/RED wire (pin #7) is forked while the WHT/RED wire (pin #8) is not. Since the BLU/RED wire is already forked, we attach terminal connects at the ends.

If the wire is already forked, simply attach terminal connects at the ends. In my case, I attached one end of the BLU/RED wire with a male bullet terminal connect and the other BLU/RED forked wire with a female bullet terminal connect. For the WHT/RED wire that is not forked, we need to attach another wire to it to create a fork.

1. Cut a small piece of heat shrinking tube and then slide it into the unforked JDM wire. Strip the end of the JDM wire to expose the copper wiring. Then take a 3" piece of extension wire, 16-18 AWG thick and strip the ends to expose the copper wires. Thread one end of the extension wire onto the stripped end of the unforked JDM wire:

Attach an extension wire and secure the wires together by hand, forming a temporary fork.

2. Solder the wires together to form a singular joint.

Soldering the stripped ends together.

3. Slide the heat shrink tube down to cover the soldered joint, then apply heat on the heat shrink tube to activate it, sealing the soldered joint in the process.

Heat shrink tube activated, sealing the soldered joint.

4. You may attach end terminals to the newly forked wire. I attached one male and female bullet terminal connect respectively.

5. All you need to do now is take the wires you've routed through the doors and connect them to the forked JDM wires on the switch. The trick is you need to wire each mirror opposite of the other in order for them to fold/unfold in sync. Here is a diagram illustrating the wire configuration.

Notice that the BLU/RED wire is connected to the WHT wire on the driver side and the BLK wire on the passenger side instead of connecting to both BLK or both WHT wires on each mirror. Same concept applies to the WHT/RED wire. You may need to test out the polarity of the wire before making any final crimps. I recommend testing with an alligator clip connectivity test kit (you can buy one for less than $5.00 at AutoZone). Once you've identified the wires to connect and verified that the mirrors fold and unfold as it should, it's time to secure the wires. I attached opposite bullet terminal connects on the routed wires, then plugged them into the bullet connect on the JDM wire attached to the switch harness.

Completed wire linkage of the power folding wires.
Another shot of the completed power folding wiring configuration.

The completed product

The power folding function will only work if your key is turned to the IGN position of your ignition switch. For now, the heated feature is already wired on the mirrors. The DIY guide to activate the heated feature will be made available in the future as a separate DIY guide. Right now, the two heated wires from the switch is lying dormant while wrapped in vinyl tape.


6 thoughts on “DIY: How to install JDM power side folding mirrors on an RSX

  1. viktor

    this is a great write up. im just having a difficult time understanding where to hook everything up. i have 02 rsx so no heated mirrors and that is my goal to just have heated mirrors. i know i need to splice the ACC wire to get the power and ill put a fuse between that and the switch. i know i need to run longer wires from both mirrors and connect them together. i know #1 pin is the power source and #8 pin basically completes that circuit. I just cant put my mind on how to wire it all up like connection wise. Where do i connect the tapped power wire? to the #1 pin? where do the extra 2 wires from the mirrors go and do i even need to ground? what connects to the orange wire. I wish there was a simple diagram/ schematic for this. as you could tell im a noob haha.

  2. Anonymous

    OMG, how did you get the wires out. I'm having the most frustrating time. I feel like I'm lifting the spring, but the wire is just not releasing!

    1. 5teve-0 Post author

      You need to use a long thing object to push the wire terminal tabs while pulling the wires. I recommend a long necked micro screwdriver. If you don't have that, then a paper clip although it's not as strong.

      1. Anonymous

        Oh, wow, thanks for responding! I thought it was a long shot, but I truly appreciate it. That's what I've been trying to do, I can both see and feel the terminal tabs releasing the wire, but the wires just don't budge! I can't figure out what I am doing wrong :/

        1. 5teve-0 Post author

          Hard to explain but there is a tab that presses down on each pigtail, locking them in place. The tab is what you need to dislodge.

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