Gallery: Tow Mirrors Brace Update

We recently installed a pair of American Trucks Trail Ridge towing mirrors (part no. HR108330) on our 2012 2500 Dodge Ram. The mirrors function correctly, and we are satisfied with the fit and finish. However, a Mopar Connection Magazine reader and Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram parts department employee named Norm Palin suggested the installation of factory tow mirror reinforcement plates.

Above Left: The factory installed reinforcement plates on the Dodge trucks with tow mirrors. A plate, three bolts, and three Rivnuts are required per side. We were able to find the plates and bolts at a salvage yard for $10. Above Right: The one-time use Rivnuts were purchased at a local Dodge Dealership. We bought six Rivnuts for $6.62.

We did not know about the reinforcement plates, but seeing we had access to a score of Dodge fleet trucks, we pulled off the mirror flags to see if the reinforcements were present. It turns out the plates were on every factory tow mirror truck and several trucks with the smaller non-tow mirrors. So after our investigation, we knew Palin was on to something.

Above Left: There are three Rivnut anchor holes in each door (green arrows). Above Right: Each six-sided Rivnut slips into the door and will retain the reinforcement plate to the door. 

We decided to add the reinforcement plates to our truck. Palin provided the factory part numbers for the plates (68078242AA, LH and 68078243AA, RH), the Rivnuts (6507161AA, quantity of six), and bolts (6508709AA, quantity of six).

The plates, bolts, and Rivnuts retailed for about $80 from any Dodge dealership. Going a cheaper route, we called several salvage yards in the central Pennsylvania area, and we were quoted $10 to $25 for the plates and bolts (the Rivnuts are one-time use).

Above Left: With the plate in place, we slipped a bolt through the plate and into the Rivnut. Above Right: The Rivnut compressed and expanded into the door frame as the bolt was tightened. The expansion allowed the bolt to snug the plate to the door. Three Rivnut/bolt combinations secured the reinforcement plate to each door. 

For $10, we got the opportunity, rather than a salvage yard employee, to remove the plates from a pair of picked-over doors. After harvesting our parts (in 15°F weather) and handing over a Hamilton, we had the plates and all six bolts.

The local Dodge dealership had six new Rivnuts for our truck. They set us back $6.62, so for a total of $16.62, we had all the parts we needed to add the mirror support plates to the doors.

Above: After tightening all three plate bolts, the two mirror bolts removed for the plate installation were reinstalled and torqued to spec. The plate fits perfectly under the door panel, and the wiring harness clears the plate as well.

Follow along with the photos as we install the plates and review Keep an Eye on Your Six, the original tow mirror installation story. Lastly, we thank Norm Palin for informing us about the parts. We appreciate our reader’s input.


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Chris Holley

Technical Contributor Chris has been a college professor for 24 years; the last 19 spent at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA. During the day Chris instructs automotive HVAC and electrical/electronic classes, and high-performance classes, which include the usage of a chassis dyno, flow benches, and various machining equipment. Chris owns a '67 Dart, a '75 Dart, a '06 Charger, a '12 Cummins turbo diesel Ram, and he is a multi-time track champion (drag racing) with his '69 340 Dart, which he has owned 33 years.

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