Hello everyone. I want to extend a very warm thank you to each and every one of you who have posted all the how-to threads and diy info on here. I've spent so much time reading and learning over the past few weeks I feel like my head is going to explode.
I'm a severe DIY'er finding that if I approach life by taking everyone's throwaways, and fixing it for myself, I get so much more enjoyment out of it plus I save so much money. I've built my own bed for my wife and I, buy other people's junk cars and and fix them up and drive them around, fix lawn mowers, chainsaws, air-cooled VWs, and love anything that flies.
I've had an affinity for the quirky vehicle and the better mileage it gets, the more I'm game. Since my VW addiction has led to a collection of them, I've naturally eye-balled the Smart ever since it became available in the states, but true to form I had to wait until I found the right price on one before I spelunkered the cash down on one. I believe I have found a deal.
A guy advertised a 2008 Smart with 100K miles - starts up and runs - but it just won't go when put into gear. It has a salvage title as well. All that title malarky doesn't bother me - anything can get a salvage title at the drop of a hat and I guess as long as it hasn't had an electrical fire or been in a flood, I'm not too worried. Salvage titles are calculated based upon retail price of parts and full labor costs. Even cars with no titles can have a new title acquired by using a titling company or a friend in a bill-of-sale state. I know a cop who will run VINs for me to make sure the item isn't hot. Anyway, where I live nobody wants small cars - thinking they are a bit of a joke I guess, but I'm willing to tackle anything.
The guy claims he can't trailer the car and it needs a transmission reprogram. Fair enough and after reading the forums, I see the clutch actuator is the cause of many problems. Even people whose dealerships say the actuater is seized - I'd love to get my hands on the part because I have yet to run across anything that I can't fix. The actuators in these cars remind me of the German actuators on a paint shaker machine I've used at work. When they go bad, it's a 400 dollar part plus shipping from Germany. So in the case of a car that won't go, I figure with 100K miles, it's more than likely the actuator or a worn clutch that can be remedied enough by moving the actuator away from the clutch. Worse case scenario will have me tipping the engine down and pulling off the transmission so get into it to replace the clutch. Looks like I need to invest in a set of those E-sockets (reverse torx is what I call them) and get ready to dive-in and go for it. The guy wants under $2000 for it and if it starts and runs good, I think I'll dive in and join the ranks. My Aussie bride commutes 60 miles round trip to work, and she'll be the main driver of this Smart and is all excited. I hope this car is as easy to fix as I think it will be. I plan to go through the brakes, change all fluids, and make it safe for her to drive. I'll even overhaul the engine if I have to. Kits are cheap and the local machine shop and I will work together to make it happen.
It shocks me to see how much the dealers are charging for repairs. I know they gotta make a profit, but I live by the adage if you see a rich mechanic, he's a crook. You gotta be able to sleep at night by helping people - not raping them financially.
I'm open to any tips, warnings, beware of this n thats, etc. I'm new, but love the thrill of learning something new to fix.