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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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Warning concerning towing your Smart!!!!!

I bought a 2009 Smart in March to tow 4-down behind a Sprinter chassis motorhome.The combination is great, but my Smart is sitting at the dealership with a ruined engine.PLEASE BE AWARE ALL 4-DOWN TOWERS-EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE YOUR GEAR SHIFT LEVER IN THE NEUTRAL POSITION THE TRANSMISSION CONTROL CAN POSSIBLY HAVE THE TRANSMISSION IN GEAR. DO NOT USE A AUTOMATIC BATTERY DISCONNECT SWITCH SUCH AS THOSE SOLD BY ROADMASTER.When these automatic switches allow the power to return to the electronics of the car there is a period where the transmission control is "teaching-in"(THE DISPLAY WILL HAVE 3 HORIZONTAL LINES-NO "N") and the transmission can actually be in gear even though the shifter is still in neutral.If you tow during this "teaching in"period it could ruin your engine.ONLY USE A MANUAL BATTERY DISCONNECT SWITCH AND MAKE SURE A "N" IS PRESENT ON THE DISPLAY BEFORE YOU DISCONNECT THE BATTERY AND START TO TOW.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 07:35 AM
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Well, welcome to SCoA! Very sorry to hear about the problem with your car and the ruined engine. Since you posted elsewhere about finding a replacement engine, unless you need the car immediately it sounds like having an independent shop fit one would be the least expensive way to go.

Here's a thread on independent repair shops: https://www.smartcarofamerica.com/for...ependent+shops

Peak Auto, Inc.
833 Hwy 64W
Apex, NC 27523
(919) 363-8589

Smart Car Auto Repair & Services for Raleigh, Durham, Cary & Apex | Peak Auto

Plus you can look here for places that may be able to work on your car: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...v7yJNg&cad=rja


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 07:53 AM
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Camper,
Sorry for the very expensive "teachable moment." While I have no first hand experience, I hear nothing but rave reviews about;

Eurowise
440 Springbrook Rd
Charlotte, NC 28217

Phone: 704.559.8100

Eurowise Inc. - Specializing in Volkswagen, Audi and European Service

Eurowise - Starmount - Charlotte, NC

Best of luck and welcome to the asylum . . .
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 08:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper View Post
I bought a 2009 Smart in March to tow 4-down behind a Sprinter chassis motorhome.The combination is great, but my Smart is sitting at the dealership with a ruined engine.PLEASE BE AWARE ALL 4-DOWN TOWERS-EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE YOUR GEAR SHIFT LEVER IN THE NEUTRAL POSITION THE TRANSMISSION CONTROL CAN POSSIBLY HAVE THE TRANSMISSION IN GEAR. DO NOT USE A AUTOMATIC BATTERY DISCONNECT SWITCH SUCH AS THOSE SOLD BY ROADMASTER.When these automatic switches allow the power to return to the electronics of the car there is a period where the transmission control is "teaching-in"(THE DISPLAY WILL HAVE 3 HORIZONTAL LINES-NO "N") and the transmission can actually be in gear even though the shifter is still in neutral.If you tow during this "teaching in"period it could ruin your engine.ONLY USE A MANUAL BATTERY DISCONNECT SWITCH AND MAKE SURE A "N" IS PRESENT ON THE DISPLAY BEFORE YOU DISCONNECT THE BATTERY AND START TO TOW.
I have discussed this very issue several times recently and in the past in the towing forum.

In my SCoA garage for my 2009 Passion I posted detailed information about the manual battery disconnect. I recently posted the flat towing instructions from the 2009 smart owners manual.

There are some smart owners who have said that they flat tow their smart without disconnecting the battery with no issues. They are the exception, not the rule.

Here is a related manual battery disconnect post. The Hella 87181 battery disconnect switch that I have is a $17 USD to $20 USD part. One can Google it.

I hope this thread yet again serves as a reminder that a manual battery disconnect AND following the flat towing instructions is required to flat tow a smart.

Last edited by ManchVegas; 08-18-2011 at 09:18 AM. Reason: spell check
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 10:44 AM
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It seems like an arguement for the Smart Trailer.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 11:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BigWarpGuy View Post
It seems like an arguement for the Smart Trailer.
Let's see: $2,800 USD for trailer or $1,550 for a "Falcon 2" on sale at Camping World + a manual battery disconnect, and performing a small set of instructions to be followed without question.

I went with the "Falcon 2" last March. I paid about $1,950 (installed). It wasn't on sale (If one has the extra money, I strongly recommend the All-Terrain Falcon 2. Being able to unhook the car on uneven surfaces is really nice). I had it installed in Oregon (no sales tax). I then paid my smart dealer $150 (installed) for the battery disconnect switch. If I had known what they were going to install for a switch (and where they installed it), I would have bought it online and installed it myself.


I copied/pasted the Before and After flat towing instructions from the PDF of the 2009 owners manual into MS Word. Then I increased the font size so that I could read it without my glasses. Then I printed it and laminated it at Staples (with 10 mil laminate). I keep it in the car. I follow it to the letter when I flat tow. I have had zero problems.

In the end I paid $2,100 for the tow bar and battery disconnect instead of $2,800. For saving $700 (in my case), it is worth my having to take an extra 2 minutes to put the car into flat towing mode.

Last edited by ManchVegas; 08-18-2011 at 12:15 PM. Reason: spell check
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 01:09 PM
 
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$2800 dollars for a flat bed single axle trailer..:eek: somebody is gettin' ripped off big time..
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 01:52 PM
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I'm keeping on with being an exception and ensuring the interior of the car is clear to make sure the car is not inadvertently knocked into gear. As far as the trailer, very nice but some of the classier RV resorts (notice I did not say campground) frown on trailers, also the trailer is that much more stuff to take up room in your slot.

No battery disconnect for, livin life on the edge. (sarcasm intended). Not saying using one is bad - for me it is something I can live without - I am not alone)



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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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anyway, let it ride
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 06:00 PM
 
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Hello All, I installed a manual battery disconnect on my "Smart" outside of the car on the front right bottom side of the blinker, just below my tow hitch. I did the disconnects and gear in "N" as required, to the letter, went outside and locked my doors with the FOB switch. Then turned the manual battery switch off, same type in the picture posted. My doors remained locked, and the car was tow ready. I tried this multiple times, with no problem. Hopefully, I won't have lessons learned problems later on. Thanks all for your posts, they are very helpful-Toby.
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