I bought a 2000 F250 Ford truck equipped with a 7.3-liter Powerstroke diesel engine to pull our 27-foot 5th wheel trailer. When first delivered, the truck came with the standard power mirrors. These turned out to be virtually useless for visibility when towing the trailer; they just didn't stick out far enough to provide visibility past the trailer.
Ford also offers optional telescoping mirrors that replace the stock mirrors. I had the dealer change the mirrors over. The new mirrors are genuine Ford accessories and the official part number is YC3V1769BAA. The cost for the mirrors when I purchased them in June of 2000 was about $200 each. The dealer quoted installation at about $200 also, but in this case was only $50 dollars. Exchanging the OEM parts to these was quick and painless on the Ford pickup, but would obviously be more of a challenge on another vintage or type of vehicle, which accounts for the difference in installation charges. Owners with sufficient skills and patience could do the installation themselves and save some change.
The top flat mirror adjusts with the trucks electric controls and the bottom convex mirror adjusts by hand.
These telescoping mirrors folkd back just like the stock mirrors.
These mirrors telescope out three inches to improve the angle of visibility. Now let me guess what you're saying, "Only three inches?!?" It really was a revelation to me how much those three inches really helped. Go to a dealer and check it out for yourself.
The mirrors have two parts. The top two thirds is a power mirror, adjustable from the driver's seat on both sides. This mirror provides a great but narrow slice of rearward visibility. The lower third of each mirror is a small, convex mirror that can be hand-adjusted to provide a different perspective. I use them to scope out the position of the trailer wheels while on the go, where viewing the road delineation marks help verify your position on the roadway. In addition, as I negotiate corners, the mirrors give an excellent view of clearance of curbs and obstacles. I also found the lower mirrors added immensely to the reduction of blind spots for the big rig. On a fifth-wheel trailer this big, there is a substantial blind spot on each side of the truck and trailer combination. These lower convex mirrors add significant visibility to these blind areas.
The mirror unit retains the OEM mirrors' ability to be folded alongside the truck for added clearance in tight areas. This feature is especially useful in car wash facilities where mirrors tend to damage easily.
One minor disadvantage is that the back of the mirror is a magnet for bugs at highway speeds. I never knew there were so many bugs!
Another disadvantage is that the adjustment of the passenger-side lower mirrors is almost a 2-person job... unless you don't mind getting out and walking to the other side of the truck for a half dozen incremental adjustments.
The mirror has tick marks to help align it.
For me, these optional mirrors have proven to be worth the investment. These mirrors are valuable not just for towing a RV, but also when pulling other trailers or hauling vehicles of different sizes.
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