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Burstner mirrors

Brian Kirby

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Guest Brian Kirby
Having had a little difficulty with a Portugese roadsign, I have just completed necessary repairs to my lhd nearside mirror. The base vehicle is Fiat Ducato. Mirrors electrically operated and heated - yes the expensive ones! I had for some time been puzzled as to why I was finding the Burstner mirrors so difficult to judge and apparently vulnerable to knocks. Most assurances were that it was due to my incompetence. Well, that it may be; but I've now discovered that Herr Burstner also has his finger in the pie. When ordering the replacement mirror, (no, you can't buy the bits, only mirror glasses or entire mirrors) I discovered that Fiat make three variants on the Ducato Mirror. The standard, van, mirror - obviously too small; an extended van mirror for body converters, flat beds etc - looked similar but still, seemingly, too small; and a super extended mirror for motorhome conversions, which need to be wider again. This looked closer to the size, but did not match the appearance of the Burstner mirrors. The extended version has two individual arms per mirror, each cased in a ribbed neoprene sleeve. So does the Burstner. The super extended version has a single, massive, arm that, in effect, fills in solid the gap between the top and bottom arms of the extended mirror. This is also cased in a ribbed neoprene sleeve, but is quite different in appearance to the Burstner mirrors. All this was demonstrated at my ever patient Fiat service centre. Since the Burstner mirrors were definitely the two arm variant (although apparently on longer arms), and since this was the longest available Fiat twin arm variant, I obtained it as the replacement, and departed £170 poorer. Now, when I came to fit the new mirror, I realised the two extended arms were, in fact, as they had seemed, much shorter than the Burstner originals. I therefore removed the damaged mirror, gingerly dismantled it and the new mirror, and discovered that Herr B had apparently fabricated even longer, "super extended", top and bottom arms; so placing the mirrors even further out than the longest available Fiat version. I say "apparently", because a) the Fiat parts list does not recognise such a long twin arm extension, but also b) because the arms have moulded into them "rechts oben" and "rechts unten", which seemed odd for something manufactured in Italy. It also seemed odd that the control cable had been jointed with a bunch of (small and very neat) scotch block type cable jointers, tucked up just inside the ribbed neoprene sleeve. This latter is also, inevitably, much longer than the Fiat equivalent and must have been specially fabricated by/for Burstner. The replacement of the mirror thus entailed a partial rebuild using the Fiat mounting and mirror head, coupled by the super extended Burstner arms and sleeves. No plastic trash, these arms, either, but solid, shiny aluminium castings of some quality. Cheap, then! The payoff for all this extra work was that the control cables that came with the new mirror were long enough to reach through to the main connector block inside the door, so I could do away with the bunch of cable jointers. The point of all this is to forewarn other Burstner owners that, should they make a mess of their mirror, they may have more of a struggle replacing it than is immediately apparent. Should one of the Burstner "super extended" arms get broken, I think it would have to come from a Burstner, and not a Fiat, dealer. Are they stocked you may ask; well, you never know! It seems possible that rhd Burstners are not so equipped, since the mirrors differ between rhd and lhd versions, and that would necessitate producing special, rhd, super extended arms. I don't know, but suspect that Burstner may not have gone to such lengths just for the smaller rhd market. However, lhd Burstner owners should anticipate mirror replacement getting a bit tricky, if the need arises. You have been warned! Oh, and if you feel your motorhome is especially difficult to place on narrower roads, don't despair - it is! Brian
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