Mafia Secrets
All you need to know about sun visors (and then some)

By Bryan Martin

When you get a new or used truck, what’s one of the first things you replace? The visor… then next comes the stacks … and then the bumper …

But back to the visor. The pure function of a sun visor is to merely keep the sun out of the drivers eyes as you drive in the direction of the sun. If you look back at most of the factory visors installed on trucks over the last 25 years, they just barely come down to the top of the windshield.

The early visors on the Petes featured a “bowtie” style, which usually were straight across the bottom with a slight V shape to the top line. Most other trucks, and eventually the Peterbilts too, had OEM visors that were more or less straight across the top and bottom. 

These visors did indeed keep the sun out of our eyes. But it wasn’t long before drivers and fabricators started tipping, reshaping and modifying these gizmos to give their truck some attitude and style to get a look all their own. 

Dropped visors and extended visors were soon developed to fit most popular conventional trucks. Today dozens of visor styles and models are available for your visoring pleasure.

The Law

Lately it seems some of the law enforcement officers in the southern region of the U.S. have been issuing tickets for visors that are too low. I have spent a little time researching the official regulations on this issue.

FMCSR 393.60 (paraphrased) prohibits the obstruction of the driver’s field of view by devices mounted across the top of the windshield. Devices must not be mounted more than 6 inches below the upper edge of the windshield. These items must also be located outside the area swept by the windshield wipers and outside the driver’s sight lines to the road.

So here is what we have learned regarding the regs: Better grab a tape measure and determine the drop on your visor to see just how illegal you are. And while you’re at it,-better go ahead and buy some shorter wiper blades, too.

I reckon next time you roll across the scales, you better sit up straight, put yer hat on right and give Mr. Law a friendly wave. Maybe he won’t say anything about that Monster Super Slammed Drop Visor.

If you’re lucky, maybe he will hear an audible air leak that will draw his attention far away from that big ol’ sun visor.

There’s the ever-popular dropped visor; the bowtie and extended bowtie; the ‘slammed’ visor which fits much tighter to the windshield than traditional visors; the wicked style, which features a curved bottom edge to the visor with a peak in the center; visors with visible bolts across the face of the visor; and then there is the blind-mount version, which has no visible bolts.

Different manufacturers have various names for their models. Names such as Bad Attitude, Southern Style, Gangster Visor, Monster Visor, Butterfly, the Darwin visor, the BatMan, the Super Dropped – and undoubtedly many more I have not mentioned.

Visors are typically available in polished stainless steel or aluminum for those who plan on painting their visors. Depending on which visor you select, installation can take anywhere from 90 minutes to two and a half hours.

Most aftermarket visors come with all the brackets and hardware needed to complete the install, and to make it even better they usually use the stock bolt hole locations on the roof of your cab.

And even if you don’t have a long hooded Pete, KW or Classic – never fear. There are plenty of cool visors available for your aerodynamic trucks that require sun visors with cab lights mounted on them.

As far as other ideas, you may opt to paint or cover the backside of the visor with vinyl graphics to add your own custom touch. After all, you are gonna be looking at the back of the visor just about what? 10-11 hours every day? Might as well have it looking as nice on the back as it does on the front.

Or, if you wanna go hog wild, you can even create your own shape and style and have your very own one-off visor custom fabricated. But hold on to your checkbook. A hand-built, specially designed visor can approach and sometimes even exceed $1,000 because of the trial-and-error nature of the project and the countless hours of design and fitment time required to get it just right. LL

March/April
Digital Edition