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Upgrading the Truck Mirrors

Ever since I got my truck I have never really liked the factory mirrors that it came with. In the USA the equivalent Fuso model to mine, the FG140, comes with split mirrors as standard equipment (flat mirror on top and a convex spotter mirror at the bottom), but here in Australia the only option we get is a single, slightly convex mirror, which is a real pain, especially at night when trying to judge distances.

To add to that, no matter how you have the passenger’s side mirror adjusted there is still a significant blind spot on that side of the truck. The driver’s side is a bit better, but it’s definitely not ideal either.


One option was to fit separate spotter mirrors on each side. Doing that should eliminate the blind spot issues but it wouldn’t resolve the somewhat distorted view of the world you get from the convex factory mirrors, so this was only considered as a last resort solution.


The most practical solution would be to replace the factory mirrors for split mirrors. I seriously considered importing some of the FG140 factory mirrors and I did find a listing on eBay (US) for them, but the seller was less than useless when it came to getting any detailed information and seemed somewhat resistant to posting internationally too. To that end, I contacted a friend in Canada who has a FG140 to get some more detailed pictures of the mirrors and the mount, which is also different from the Australian FG84 model. I did not realise it at the time, but the FG140 bracket, although it looks fairly similar, is actually quite different, so it is lucky that I did not go down that route, as those mirrors would probably not have fit on my truck.

A couple of years ago I did actually purchase an after market split mirror, but other than taking it out of the box to have a look at it, I never actually tried to fit it to my truck. The reason for this was not laziness, rather it did not look like it would have worked. The slot that goes down the back of the mirror was too narrow to fit around the mirror bracket tubes, so straight back in the box it went.


Recently, while doing further online searching, I found another mirror that I thought might possibly work. I also discovered that this particular mirror was OEM equipment on pre 2007 Isuzu trucks, so I took a trip to my local Isuzu dealer and, as luck would have it, they had one on the shelf that I could take a good look at. The Isuzu mirror is about 70mm longer and 25mm wider than the factory Fuso one, but I see that as a positive, not a negative. This mirror was not heated, but other than that, it looked like it might actually fit onto my truck.
After a bit more research I found out that these OEM Isuzu mirrors were actually made by an Australian company called Hasmotec, so I thought I would give them a call and discuss my mirror issues. The guy I spoke with was one of the owners of the company and was quite helpful. He confirmed that the Isuzu mirrors were not normally heated but kindly offered to customise a couple for me, adding a 12v heater to the flat glass of each mirror. The mirrors could also have Hasmotec branding, not Isuzu branding, which was good. After all… who wants Isuzu branding on a Fuso?


At this point I had only really been focussed on looking at the driver’s side mirror, so something that I had failed to take into consideration was that the passenger’s side mirror needs to be twisted inwards about 25 degrees in order to get a clear view down the side of the truck. As much as the slot in the back of the Hasmotec mirror would be wide enough to accommodate the Fuso mirror mount bars, when twisted, the mirror body would most likely foul on the mounting bars when using the Hasmotec clamp setup, preventing the mirror from getting to the required position. This looked like it might be a showstopper, but luckily, it wasn’t.


One thing that I had seen, but obviously not taken enough notice of, was that on the factory Fuso mirror the mirror clamp protrudes out the back quite significantly. This has the effect of moving the pivot point further behind the mirror, giving more space between the back of the mirror and the bracket. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a significant difference.
To test a theory, I removed the clamp from the Fuso mirror and fitted it to the split glass mirror I already had. Doing this made that mirror nearly usable, so that clinched it; I ordered the custom heated Hasmotec mirrors and also got two Fuso clamps.


The power cable for the heated factory Fuso mirror comes out of the door, where there is a waterproof plug connecting it to the door’s wiring loom, then it runs though the inside of the mirror mounting bracket and into the back of the mirror head. In order to remove the mirror from the bracket, first you need to open up the mirror and disconnect the spade terminals from the heater element. Disassembling the mirror head is not all that difficult, if you know how, but sadly this procedure is not covered at all in the workshop manual.


Around the outer circumference of the mirror are ten small rectangular holes. To remove the mirror glass housing from the mirror’s rear casing you need something like a small, flat screwdriver to unlatch the plastic claws that hold the mirror together. With some firm but gentle pressure, push down on a claw whilst pulling against the side of the hole with the screwdriver. This action should allow you to separate the two halves of the mirror slightly. Work your way around the mirror in a similar fashion until all claws have been unlatched.


I should also mention that even if the Hasmotec mirrors did not bind on the mounting bars, the clamp that is fitted to these mirrors is not really compatible with the Fuso bracket setup. There are two issues here… firstly, the heater cable exits the bracket tubing near the centre of the clamp. These Hasmotec mirror clamps are not of a design that easily allows for this. Secondly, on the Fuso mirror mount there is a fixed “stop” that limits the amount of rotation the mirror can have. This is obviously there to stop the heater cable from being cut accidentally when rotated. The Hasmotec mirror clamps do not fit over the stop and modifying them to accommodate this would probably be challenging.


When the new mirrors arrived I confirmed that replacing the included mirror clamps with the original Fuso clamps wouldn’t just be a simple changeover, as there was a significant difference in their widths. Using the Fuso mirror as a guide, I designed a suitable clamp spacer in CAD. The next day I paid a visit to my second home, the Veterans Support Centre workshop, and using their milling machine I made up a couple of high density polyethylene (HDPE) spacers. Definite over engineering, as I could have just used some simple pieces of plastic to do the same job, but I am a Fitter by trade, so why would I do it the easy way?

The mirror’s back casing also needed a minor modification, as the heater cable holes were not in an ideal position for my truck. I used some small rubber blanking grommets to fill these holes and drilled a new hole closer to the mirror clamp. The heater on the new mirrors is a self adhesive setup and has smaller terminals than the Fuso heater. Going against my normal instincts, I chose the simplest solution, cutting off the 6.4mm spade connectors from the Fuso heater wires, replacing them with 2.5mm terminals and a bit of heatshrink.


On both the Fuso and Hasmotec mirrors the slot down the back of the mirror is not in the centre. The way the mirrors are normally mounted is with the wider portion towards the window, but after some thought I chose to change that. On the new mirrors the slot is about 45mm off centre, so mounting the right hand mirror on the left hand side of the truck (and vise versa) positions the mirror about 90mm further from the window. This will give me a better view down the side of the camper body, which I consider another plus.


These Hasmotec mirrors are of a reasonable quality, but I did have to modify a few other minor things when installing them. Behind the flat mirror glass are five small rubber anit-vibration feet. These feet are only held in place with friction, which is fine if you are assembling the mirror on a flat surface, but not if you need to hook up the heater wires when the mirror is fitted to the truck. Rather than stuffing around with the supplied rubber feet, I decided to replace them all with some small lengths of adhesive, high density foam, which I attached directly to the back of the mirror glass. Something else that I found when the mirror was apart is that the spotter mirror’s swivel mount was only secured to the back casing with two screws, when there were actually four mounting posts. Initially I did nothing about this, but after installing the driver’s side mirror I noticed that there was a noticeable rattle when I tapped the mirror head. In order to get to these screws, the spotter mirror had to be removed. Doing this was not all that easy, but with a couple of pry bars and a significant amount of force I was able to separate the mirror from the swivel joint. I replaced the two original nickel plated screws with four longer stainless screws, then popped the mirror back onto the swivel mount, which was definitely easier than removing it.
After installing the mirrors I found that tightening the mirror clamp bolt sufficiently to give a desirable pivot tension, it did not give enough friction to secure the up and down adjustment of the mirror. So, I removed the custom clamp spacer I had made and added some 1mm rubber strips to the inner faces, which resolved the problem. I am definitely pleased now with how this installation has turned out.


What I still don’t understand is why there isn’t a simple, bolt on, aftermarket split mirror option for the Australian FG84 and FGB71 model Fuso.
Well, there isn’t, so… for anyone else that thinks the genuine Australian Fuso mirror is not ideal, hopefully I have given enough detail here that you now have a valid mirror replacement option. Also, if you want your mirrors out a little wider, for whatever reason, mounting them on the opposite sides than intended may be a better/cheaper option than buying and fitting the wider mirror brackets that come on the FE models.


Although it has taken a bit of time and some stuffing around, I now have a decent pair of split mirrors fitted to my truck, so I am happy.