So there are already plenty of threads on this subject, but my questions have still not been answered.
Hopefully, this can turn into a one stop shop for all side mirror thread as well as get some answers for myself.
First, for us with Base and Sport models, there are 2 connectors for the side mirrors.
7 pin for US/Canada assembled
11 pin Japan assembled
It seems the Sport models are pre-wired with working connectors. Meaning the connector already has signal and heating so adding a new mirror is plug and play. ( this has been confirmed by a few members)
Base model? My 2012 has the connector, and it seems the pins are populated. Are they working connections providing a plug and play solution? ( will find out this weekend with multi-meter).
Plug and play solutions: This is easy, purchase new mirrors with corresponding connector, either after market from ebay ( which should be anywhere from $140 to $180) a pair. Or get the OEM parts, which will probably run you upwards of $600 for a pair. From what I can tell, it's about $200 just for the housing with heated mirrors, $80 for signal lamp and another $50 for cover(matching).
I'm not gonna pay $600+ for a set of mirrors. I also don't want aftermarket stuff. If you feel the same way, then there might be other possibilities depending on the answers to the following questions.
Assuming car is pre-wired with working connections:
1. what is the difference between the Japan model and the Canadian model? 7 pin vs. 11 pin. Can the 11 pin connector be spliced to work with the 7 pin? I think it's safe to assume in both cases, 4 pins are taken by signal and heat. So does that mean the Japanese mirror requires 7 pins to do the job of 3 pins(Canadian mirror)? Are there dead pins? or is the motor simply have difference control input.
why this question? well, from my searches, it seems there are a lot more OEM (Japan made) mirrors available outside of the usually OEM part sites. For example, there are a pair of OEM Japan side mirrors with signal and heat for $90, new. This would cost $290 from most of the sites I've seen.
2. Can signal and heat be added as individual options to standard base mirrors?
This may be important to those that only want signal lamps and will provide a much less expensive way to have OEM mirrors.
We know heated mirrors can be replaced. we also know that the signal lamp is/ can be sold as a separate part. So it makes sense that the housing is identical on all mirrors. I'm assuming these darn things are injection molded, and it wouldn't make sense to have 2 molds. The signal lamp is attached to the mirror housing with 2 screws. From looking at pictures of signal mirror without cover, and non signaled mirror without cover, the housing look the same. the small bottom cover may be different.
Assuming this case, the signal lamps can be installed mechanically, but what about wiring? By looking at the mirror side connector on my base Rav4, there are only 3 pins populated. Obviously you would need 7 to make the rest of the options plug and play. can this harness be purchased? can the signal or heated mirror be hard wired/spliced?
So why these questions? Well, I don't necessarily need heated mirrors, but I would like turn signals on my side mirror. I want the cheapest solution while still keeping the OEM mirrors.
There are some costs that can not be avoided, e.g. painted covers. You can buy primed and paint them, or just buy matching covers, either way, that $90-$100 has to be spent.
But money can be saved if couple things can be done. Cheapest for me will be simply adding signal lamps. Worse case is $180 for a pair of lamps and bottom covers. Second cheapest will be making 11 pin Japanese mirrors work with my 7 pin connector at just over $200(better option value wise since this has heat).
Edit: Just to add, the reason why I want OEM mirrors is due to the reports of after market mirrors having vibration problems. Now, another option can be, if possible, purchase the cheapest after market from ebay. remove side signal and wiring harness, then transfer onto existing mirror? not sure if this can be done, but why wouldn't it be possible?
7 pin connector
11 pin connector
base mirror without cover
mirror with signal. note the wired connector coming from the mirror to the lamp.