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Gentex 453: Auto Dimming mirror with Homelink & Compass

60647 Views 55 Replies 33 Participants Last post by  vkb87
Hi Everyone,

When I bought the car last year I asked the dealer for the Homelink mirror. Their quote was US$450+tax (parts & labor) WOW, no surprises there :wink

Initially I looked at the 3-button Homelink module that goes in the roof-liner. My wife would not let me cut the roof-liner.

Then "life happened' and the project went on hold.

Last week an friend of mine bought one for his Nissan Maxima and that got me started.

I looked at ebay and found many varieties and models. After few days of looking around this is what I concluded;

Auto Dimming mirrors are between $35-55
Auto Dimming mirrors with
and Homelink are between $55-75
Auto Dimming mirrors with Homelink and Compass are between $70-125

Prices varies based on the donor vehicle, target vehicle and overall condition of the mirror. For some reason Toyota mirrors are more expensive :confused:

Finally after "extensive research and contemplation" I purchased a used auto dimming rear view mirror with compass and Homelink from ebay last week. It is a Gentex 453, cost me $85 and came out of a Pruis 2009. In pictures it looked fine. When I got it I was really happy that it was in perfect condition. No scratched on the plastic shell or on the mirror. The 10 pin-4 wire harness was attached as well, although it was cut at the other end. So 9/10 score.

While I was looking online I found that Gentex 453 is common model sold by many OEMs. Because it is sold by many OEMs and there are many sub-models, there are way too many wiring diagrams, harnesses and configurations available online. Pretty confusing at first.

Once I had some idea about the wiring, I tested the wiring using the 110V AC to 12V DC converter to identify the wires. During the testing all functions worked fine. Wire coding is below;

  • Black - Ground (pretty obvious)
  • Red - Always on +12V (required for Homelink)
  • Brown - Switched/ACC +12V (required for auto dimming and compass)
  • Orange - To Reverse switch (to turn off Auto Dimming while reversing)

Some people have mentioned online that they connected the Homelink wire with switched 12v so it would only work when ignition is ON. I decide to connect Homelink wire to "always ON".

As for the installation, I looked at a lot of posts on this and other forums about the installation. After figuring out the wiring, everything else seems pretty straight forward so I started yesterday.

Removed the OEM mirror by twisting the windshield mount cover. Once the cover is gone, I saw a clip at the bottom of the mount, just pressed it and mirror slid up.

Put the Gentex 453 in the mount and it fit perfectly, no issues. Tighten the torx screw to secure it.

Wiring harness was not long enough so I soldered a 8" wire for Homelink pair and a 10' wire to run to the kick-panel fuse box. I used 18 gauge-two core wire, commonly used in car audio installation.

Map light has four clips at each corner. Slowly but firmly pull down from one side. After removing the map light I tapped into the map light connector for GND and Homelink +12v. At this time all three Homelink buttons were live but not programmed for the garage door.

My RAV 4 does not have sunroof so no switched 12v around the map light area. Still I ran the other two wires to the kick panel fuse box, through the roof liner and drivers side A-piller. I could not figure out the switched power connection so I just left the cable there for later. BTW, removing and putting back the A-Piller cover is royal P.I.A.

After verifying all the connections, functions, and putting back everything where it belongs, next step was to program the Homelink buttons. I watched this video from inspiration
This mirror model comes with rolling codes, so I had to press the learning button on the garage door motor. Programming is not complete without this step. Luckily the ladder was in the garage.

Note: The video is for the 3 button OEM Homelink module that goes in the roof liner. However procedure is the same for Gentex 453 mirror as well.

This morning, I started poking around with a 12v tester for the switched +12V. After about 15 minutes of poking I found a white wire at the bottom left corner of junction box 3D (I think that is what it is called, right most one behind the door mirror remote control panel). Tapped it with a wire tap and moved the key to ACC, viola - compass came up. Just to test I put flash light on the front sensor and the mirror went dark :) Everything is working as it should be.

My wife does not like the garage door opener on the sun visor so she keeps it in either the cup holder or glove box. She is happy that she does not have to look for it anymore.

I still have to verify if the buttons on the mirror are back-lit or not. Will check tonight after dark.

Also, I have not connected the Reverse wire. Since I have the backup camera in vehicle, I don't care much about. Wire is tucked behind the kick-panel, just in case.

Overall I am happy with the relatively simple install.

One observation after the install: Normal wireless garage door opener required a single-quick-press of a button to open the door. On the mirror I have to keep the button pressed for about 2-3 seconds.

All pictures are attached.


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I picked up a Gen 4 RAV4 OEM autodim mirror (basic, no compass, no Homelink) from a salvage place on the cheap. $26 with plug and black plastic extendable cover. My 2013 XLE came with the manual flip mirror.
Mirror looks brand new. The 2 wires were short on the plug but I extended them out by soldering extensions and heat shrinking the new joint. I picked up a few of the quick tap connectors from Wal-Mart and used the pics above from cpz32 to help determine which to hook up for ground and 12V with key power. The job was done in less than 30 minutes for less than $35.

It looks factory installed once I put everything back in place. :) I kinda wish that I had gotten a fancier mirror (with a hidden compass (hidden and homelink) but I don't really need them and cost would have been several times higher although they are available. The factory plug is a five pin which seems to be common for both current generation RAV4 and Camry. Other makes and models seem to use a different connector.

A hands free mirror and heated seats were two things that I missed when I switched back to a RAV4 from a Subaru Forester. Funny how you get used to some of the creature comforts that are optioned out differently between makes of cars. I don't know if I will want to tackle the heated seats but may try one of those cheap heated covers this winter.
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