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Discussion Starter #1
I find it's nice to keep a runnning log of issues with my cars, it makes a nice place to record what's happened, what I've tried, and gives others context when helping me diagnose, so here we are.

I bought a used 2008 Passion in December 2019, knowing it had some "quirks", but the price was right; as with all used cars, you take your chances, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

I'd owned it for all of 15 minutes when the 3 bars of death popped up the first time and I was in a bit of a panic, went through the re-teach of the transmission: Key off, key on, listen for the shifting to stop, move into each gear in turn pausing each time until reaching D, then back to P, turn it off, then start as usual. I had to re-teach it 2 more times on the 20 minute trip home and I was pretty sure I'd made a poor decision at this point.

I put it on the charger when I got home and it was fine for about a week, after that it would occasionally throw the 3 bars every few days and I've gotten proficient at coasting to safe places to preform a re-teach.

In the past couple of weeks I'd noticed that if it was going to throw 3 bars, it did so more often just after starting or perhaps in inclement weather. Only twice has it thrown the 3 bars after driving more than 10 minutes. I'd also noted occasional flicker and surging of the headlights, this got me to thinking it might be electrical, possibly the battery on it's way out. The OBD reader I use on my old car makes the Smart angry, so I ordered a replacement which is more compatible.

With the new OBD reader in place we monitored the battery through a drive and saw that not only was the battery low (12.4 +/-) but that the alternator was not putting out nearly enough power, only occasionally spiking to 13v or so. A look at the alternator connections showed some corrosion, so that will need to be cleaned. Installed a new battery, and it appears that now the alternator is putting out 14v, which is closer to what I would expect, but the terminals still need to be cleaned. Of note, the alternator appears to be much newer; having been replaced at some point in the recent past before it came into my hands.

The folowing morning I was greeted by the 3 bars again and it took several resets and stops before it once again, decided to start working again.

This trip a new event occured, the ABS light came on and remained lit along with the warning triangle on the dash. Need to figure this issue out as well.
 

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I finally got a ODB/CAN scanner and read the CAN modules for error codes and got the following:
Module N3/15 (Me-SFI[ME] Control unit - P0318 "Open circuit at signal path Rough road detection"

Module N15/6 (Sprintshift Control Module) - P1800 "Transmission teach-in was required" (historic)

Module N10/10 (SAM Control Unit) - B1723 "immobilizer:transponder communication error detected" (historic)

Module N47-5 (ESP Control Unit) - C1323 "Fault in CAN communication with control unit N15/6(Sprintshift Control Unit)" (historic)

N2/7 (Restraint System Control Unit) - B11F0 "The message from control unit SAM is not available on the CAN bus" (historic)

N23 (Heater/AC Operating Unit) - B1002 "Control unit N23 (Heater/AC Operating Unit) is defective (interior temperature controller)" (historic)

N15/5 (Electronic Selector Lever Module Control Unit) - U0140 "No or incorrect CAN message from control unit N10/10 (SAM Control Unit)" (historic)

Seems I have some investigating to do....
 

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I had cleared all the error codes last time, but really hadn't had much opportunity to explore aside from some reading.
I metered the battery Sunday at 12.77v, today before starting it was 12.66v

Started fine, backed out, put in drive and instant 3 bars. It failed re-teach 3 times, succeeded on the fourth, at which point I pulled it back into the driveway to read codes.
Audibly, you can hear the motors cycling through the gears, then it ends with a squeeking sound that reminds me of the sound of putting my foot on the clutch of a car, that soft squeek of parts butting against each other and pressing. I don't know if it's the Clutch Actuator, a gear binding, or something else entirely.

I realized I wasn't using the CAN reader correctly and there were likely more codes available that I didn't cycle through previously.
Today's codes were...
From module "N15/6":
P0707 - Signals from incremental sensor of component M17 (gear motor) are unreasonable
P1800 - Transmission teach-in was required
P1801 - Teach-in of mechanism not successful

From module "N47-5"
C1301 - short or open circuit of CAN wires
 

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i would start with the voltage, I believe running it should be around 14 v. Check the belt, and if you end up replacing the alternator, put a new belt on at the same time. Then see what the codes say.
 

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Audibly, you can hear the motors cycling through the gears, then it ends with a squeeking sound that reminds me of the sound of putting my foot on the clutch of a car, that soft squeek of parts butting against each other and pressing. I don't know if it's the Clutch Actuator, a gear binding, or something else entirely.
I would back her up on the ramps and check the clutch actuator. There is a plethora of different mechanical as well as electrical symptoms that can arise when it’s out of adjustment, dirty and in need of a good cleaning. It’s an easy part to access with ramps and a creeper, and even if it doesn’t solve the problem, it’s maintenance that eventually would need to be performed thats behind you.
Im following this tread like a hawk, please keep us posted.
Paula
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i would start with the voltage, I believe running it should be around 14 v. Check the belt, and if you end up replacing the alternator, put a new belt on at the same time. Then see what the codes say.
Orignally with the old battery the alternator wasn't putting out enough voltage is seemed, but after battery replacement (it was due) the alternator appears to be putting out enough voltage (14v+/-)
I've been monitoring the battery and there does appear to be a drain somwhere, but it does it even with a new battery at full charge.

I would back her up on the ramps and check the clutch actuator. There is a plethora of different mechanical as well as electrical symptoms that can arise when it’s out of adjustment, dirty and in need of a good cleaning. It’s an easy part to access with ramps and a creeper, and even if it doesn’t solve the problem, it’s maintenance that eventually would need to be performed thats behind you.
Im following this tread like a hawk, please keep us posted.
Paula
I had considered that, but the code suggests it's a problem with M17 (gear shift motors) and not M18 (Clutch Actuators). Others have also suggested I examine the CA, and it's on my list. I'll probably get to the CA before the shift motors, so I suppose we'll see what happens.
 

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Good morning,

Since the shift Motor sits on top of the clutch actuator and can be found lower right of the air box. Access to it can be gained through the top. By removing the air box you can gain total access to it. But you don’t have to remove the air box to lubricate it. There is a small cap that sits on top of the shift motor. Over time the grease inside will solidify. You can pull the cap and give it a squirt of white lithium.
May I ask what make and model ODB/CAN scanner unit you’re using?
We are cut from the same cloth as far as keeping a log of issues encountered and corrected. Information is knowledge, Knowledge is wisdom
Paula
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's been a while, cold weather and winter plague issues have kept me from playing with it.

Good morning,

Since the shift Motor sits on top of the clutch actuator and can be found lower right of the air box. Access to it can be gained through the top. By removing the air box you can gain total access to it. But you don’t have to remove the air box to lubricate it. There is a small cap that sits on top of the shift motor. Over time the grease inside will solidify. You can pull the cap and give it a squirt of white lithium.
May I ask what make and model ODB/CAN scanner unit you’re using?
We are cut from the same cloth as far as keeping a log of issues encountered and corrected. Information is knowledge, Knowledge is wisdom
Paula
Thanks, I did get to them from the top as described. I got the shift motors out, but haven't yet done much with them. Until I can get something in there, I cut a cardboard template out to cover the hole in the transmission to keep the crud out.

As for the model of scanner, I ended up getting the iCarsoft MB V2.0 scanner (not MB II); it seems to be a decent unit and I have no complaints. I had debated getting a slightly more expensive scanner with support for a greater number of manufacturers, and somwhat wish I had done so. Perhaps when we buy a newer car I'll get one then.

As part of checking things over, I also found that the retaining portion of the clutch actuator's electrical connector had detriorated away and broken off, so added a ziptie until I can find or fabricate a replacement. I've tried looking around for a part number for that, but have thus far not been succesful.
62768
 

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GTD, before you tear into the gear shift motors, remember that you take them apart and clean with electric contact cleaner. Do not lube them! Since you have the motors removed, that makes it quite easy to pour in new fluid from the opening, watching for it to overflow the fill hole.... So drain out the old first, put the drain plug back in, remove the fill plug, pour from above, much easier. I used Redline MT90.
When you do the clutch actuator from underneath the motor... remove it from the car and OPEN IT UP, clean with degreaser, brake cleaner, carb cleaner... what ever you have, after it is nice and clean, lube the heck out of it with white lithium grease, reinstall cover, then reinstall on car. Two things to remember... clean the electric contact connectors and apply electric grease to keep out the moisture, next when installing the actuator, slide it towards the clutch housing until you feel contact, then maybe another 1/8 inch, then tighten up the bolts. Of course the relearn is required, while at it, also do the throttle relearn! The actuator may require additional adjustment either in or out... you will have to experiment a little. However... you may get lucky like I did, and the clutch worked great after the install.
Since you are at it, why not give the motor an oil change, your already a little greasy by now!
How did you get the air box out? I had to cut mine... and it is in a land fill now, where it belongs. I replaced it with the madness cold air intake tube, much nicer!
Please keep us posted..... inquiring minds, shared knowledge, enthusiastic members is what keeps our Smarties smart!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
GTD, before you tear into the gear shift motors, remember that you take them apart and clean with electric contact cleaner. Do not lube them! Since you have the motors removed, that makes it quite easy to pour in new fluid from the opening, watching for it to overflow the fill hole.... So drain out the old first, put the drain plug back in, remove the fill plug, pour from above, much easier. I used Redline MT90.
When you do the clutch actuator from underneath the motor... remove it from the car and OPEN IT UP, clean with degreaser, brake cleaner, carb cleaner... what ever you have, after it is nice and clean, lube the heck out of it with white lithium grease, reinstall cover, then reinstall on car. Two things to remember... clean the electric contact connectors and apply electric grease to keep out the moisture, next when installing the actuator, slide it towards the clutch housing until you feel contact, then maybe another 1/8 inch, then tighten up the bolts. Of course the relearn is required, while at it, also do the throttle relearn! The actuator may require additional adjustment either in or out... you will have to experiment a little. However... you may get lucky like I did, and the clutch worked great after the install.
Since you are at it, why not give the motor an oil change, your already a little greasy by now!
How did you get the air box out? I had to cut mine... and it is in a land fill now, where it belongs. I replaced it with the madness cold air intake tube, much nicer!
Please keep us posted..... inquiring minds, shared knowledge, enthusiastic members is what keeps our Smarties smart!
An engine oil change is one of the first things I do when I buy a used vehicle, I like to start from a known point and an oil change is cheap insurance. I change transmission oil less frequently, but I suspect it hasn't ever been changed and while MB says it's good for the "lifetime of the transmission" I suspect it's well past its prime.

As for the airbox, I managed to get the bolt under the elbow out using a torx socket, the space was too small to fit a ratchet in, but I slipped a 1/4" wrench over the torx bit for leverage. The second bolt, the one that installed kinda backwards and upsidedown on the opposite side of the box was harder. I couldn't find a reasonable way to get to it without dropping the engine, so I tried to slip the plastic mount over the grommet and bolt, but in the process I pulled a Dumbstrong and broke it. I'll have to ziptie it back in place, but that seems a better option to me anyhow.
 

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Between the weather and seasonal plagues, I finally got enough time to pull the shift motors out and had a peek inside. To say they need some servicing is an understatement; the brushes and bearings area shot at a minumim. It will take some time to rebuild these, assuming I can find the brushes.

I've swapped out the old motors with a replacement, so it's back on the road now at least.

gtjunk-451_SM_internals7.jpg
 

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Oh Yes... they looked pretty bad... but my motors were quite dirty also.
I cleaned with Electric contact cleaner, and they work great.
Having accomplished the throttle relearn, I am noticing quicker shifts using the paddles.... must be some
weird electrons in there somewhere that needed a boot!
 

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Since you are having diverse, multiple electrical problems I would also check the major grounding points.

There are two places to check:
  • Where the negative battery terminal connects to the frame. In the passenger footwell.
  • The ground line from the engine block to the frame. In the right side of the engine bay.
 

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Since you are having diverse, multiple electrical problems I would also check the major grounding points.

There are two places to check:
  • Where the negative battery terminal connects to the frame. In the passenger footwell.
  • The ground line from the engine block to the frame. In the right side of the engine bay.
Thanks, I hadn't mentioned it, but that was pretty much step 1! :p
Since it's new to me, I have been slowly going over things and a lot of basic diagnostics as I have no idea what I will find; never hurts to check the basics and it can save a lot of time and money.
 
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