My rearview mirror is losing its electro chromatic coating. It has the distinctive split in coloration: top clear and bottom coated darker. Sometimes the fluid leaves a large oval shape on the mirror. The fluid is toxic and will eat the plastic on your shifter. Not a good thing. So far none of the fluid has leaked.
This is a common problem with early model Jaguar rearview mirrors, and a known defect in the product by the manufacturer Donnelly. This particular mirror, model #011530, was originally made in Ireland by Donnelly, which went out of business (not surprised) and was bought out by Magna, a large European automotive supplier.
Note the horizontal split between the upper and lower portions of the mirror.
Up to about March of 2008, the US Distributor in Holland MI, Magna Donnelly, was supplying replacements for free because of a recall. (The fluid is not toxic to humans, but it will damage your interior if it is not cleaned promptly) Replacements cost nearly $400 from Jaguar as an OEM item. So this what quite a deal indeed. The last free replacement occurred on or about October 2008. Since then, replacement mirrors are obtained through a vendor, Sybesma's Electronics, at a cost of $75.
Calling Magna Donnelly number (616-786-5115) will result in a recorded announcement saying if you are calling about a replacement interior mirror, you should contact Sybesma's Electronics. They are a contract vendor handling the mirror replacement on behalf of Magna Donnelly.
I emailed Sybesma's Electronics ; and received a reply from their rep, Stacy. she sent a PDF form with instructions to return along with pics of the mirror and its mounting point. They also require info regarding the connector, its color, the number of pins and the color of the mirror wires.
The firm re-manufacturers these units, and they will ask for your old mirror as a core. This one company receives 8 - 12 auto-dimming rearview mirrors for repair EVERY DAY. The vast majority have the same problem ours do, and most are from BMWs and a few other high-end cars.
The rebuilt mirror uses a gel pack instead of the toxic fluid so at least the potential damage issue is eliminated. The cost used to be $75, but around 2010 it went up to $95.
Once they receive your old mirror data, they re-manufacturer it, and upon receipt of payment, ships it back to you. You use the shipping box to return your old mirror. Most readers report down time as short as 72 hours, but rarely more than a week. If your car is a daily driver, you can purchase a cheap stick-on mirror to use while yours is being repaired.
Remove the reading light/garage door opener overhead console from the header. There are three(3) prongs holding to the header bar. Get a screwdriver in the front first. Then you can work your fingertips around to both side and pull. It pulls straight down.
This pic illustrates the three (3) rectangular slots spaced in a triangular fashion. These correspond to the prongs on the overhead console. It pulls straight down. It may not be obvious that the three (3) points are not at the edges of the cover, but rather located in about an inch from the edge.
Remove the Connector
To access the power connector you should remove the black rectangular metal bracket attached by the two torqx screws. The connector is partially hidden behind the black bracket. Below is a picture of the yellow connector showing the input side. The mirror bundle had three (3) wires: Black, White and Grey. I think the extra wires are for the rain sensing option which was not installed on my vehicle.
Remove the Mirror
The mirror on my ’97 XK8 was attached to the windshield by a parallel slide joint using a plastic detent button. Bonded onto the inner windshield is a metal clip that accepts the pedestal mount. The mirror is removed by sliding it downward off the mount.
Note the yellow paper stick-on tab marks the stamped rise which fits in the detent and locks the mirror pedestal in place on the windshield mount. The tabs on either side are what hold the mirror to its windshield mount.
A metal clip is bonded to the windshield. Note the square detent. This is the seat where the protrusion (ID'd by the yellow button) of the mirror pedestal mount snaps into place.
Push the mirror bracket down towards the dash, PARALLEL to the windshield glass. Do not pry away from the glass. Do not twist the pedestal. I used a little WD-40 to lubricate the connection.
I used a length of soft wood and light rubber hammer to GENTLY tap the base of the mirror housing and it popped off w/o incident. Other owners said they just pulled the pedestal downward and it popped off. But remember keep all motion parallel with the inner face of the windshield.
Don't bother removing the plastic covers on the mirror pedestal. They should remain attached. They use flimsy plastic tabs which you will only have glue back on after you break them off.
Some other types of mirrors use a twist on/off cam lock. Others are attached by set screws on a post. It is important to first understand how the mirror is mounted on your car. In researching this project, countless owners reported cracking their windshields because they thought it was OK to "twist it a little bit"; or they they only just "pried it up gently". So if you are not comfortable with this type of task; take your car to a windshield shop and let them show you how to properly perform the mirror removal and install.
Your Choices to Replacing the Mirror
Note: You want to insure whatever replacement mirror you get uses a chromatic gel pack or film instead of the original toxic fluid. New old stock (NOS) from the original Donnelly inventory uses fluid. Be certain of your source.
1. Jaguar Dealer (same mirror) $380-400
2. Remanufactured by Sybesma's Electronics (same mirror) $95
3. Ebay $135 + shipping. - The same Magna Donnelly mirrors (#011530) are used on a number of cars including Acuras. However, these require their connectors be cut and replaced by the Jaguar connectors.
4. **** is a supplier of similar mirrors and they sell a GENTEX mirror which is almost an equivalent (model 36100). They are available from the manufacture and retail outlets. I do not know how they fit on an XK8 and did not do research on this option. I do know that owners have had success in upgrading their mirrors using **** to add extra functions like outside temp and a compass.
4. I could find no instance of anyone successfully completing an at home fix. Some readers did drill a hole in the unit and drain the fluid; however, the mirror is no without an auto dimming function.
Additional Notes: 4/2012
Member Iconoclast added the following disclaimer by Sybesma:
“...we must open the plastics in your mirror. In the rare instance your plastics break beyond repair, Sybesma's will make every effort to find a comparable replacement but no guarantees are made.
Also, be advised that we are unable to test the operations in the home link feature, auto head lamps and rain sensor, so your mirror may or may not have this as an operable function upon completion of the repair. If unit does break, $15 will be retained as a bench fee and the remaining refunded. (If you would like your mirror shipped back, an additional shipping/handling for charges will apply)”