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Discussion Starter #1
First of all, I love my little bubble. It's the best car I had ever had the privilege to "afford" (when we went into the dealer, since I was underage and only had a 2k cash deposit, it was either the smart or some delivery vans with no widows on the back). It is a 2008 Fortwo that only had 35k miles when I purchased it in April of '13.

However first few months of driving it back in '13 and I noticed an odd smell. Took it in for a check up and the dealer services said it was fine. Drove back home and still noticed the smell, so popped the engine lid and it was covered in at least a quarter inch of dust and muck. Had to take care of that with a hose and dish soap.

No problems until the skid plate got skirted by a lone rubber tyre flying on the freeway and getting caught underneath. Had to rip it off because the clips were beyond being able to take em off with pliers. A side skirt eventually flew off on the freeway and I heard it at first thinking it was something I ran over (sounded very light, like something had been dragging and got caught), but when off miles away before actually SEEING it missing.

Had taken it into the dealer for a groaning sound coming from the dashboard when I drove in the cold, couldn't figure it out. Drove around for two days before having the front lid pop off while running some errands, the idiots had yanked the front off thinking that's where the engine was and pulled off the clips, not realizing they were there and never replaced them. Had to duct tape it back on and never got around to ordering back-ups.

Car had problems switching gears and would sometimes not switch at all when going into reverse or drive, would just sit on neutral. Had a check engine with a "lean on idle" message but when running diagnostics everything came up fine. They reset the computer and It went away, problems and all.

Then the battery died out after a flood. Mind you, the car was parked under a tarp and had no water go near the engine, so i thought it just straight up died. Replaced it for $300, and had it die a month later after another rain. Had it checked, no one could find the problem, and found myself counting the days till I had to jump it manually. Finally someone figured it out and had it fixed, and had peace for 6 months until it rained again and died.

Still haven't been able to get that fixed again. Now the last problem I had was the car flat out stopped driving while pulling out of a parking lot and it sounded like the engine had fallen out the back. After pushing it back into the parking lot I looked underneath and saw the part holding the rear passenger tyre had melted off and the axle was dragging on the ground. Had to take it in again.

Here is where I ask how much more I can put up with when it comes to my bubble, which I had fallen in love with ever since I took it for a test drive oh so many years ago. I was wondering if having so many problems was common or was I just stuck with a bad car that wasn't previously taken well care off, since the dealership hasn't been more than helpful with it.
 

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Welcome to SCoA! :)

Just my opinion but that car is a basket case; if it were me I'd trade it in on whatever newer used smart you can afford. And look for a better place to work on the car.....
 

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Hey, you might actually be the youngest person here now!!!! I was only 15 years old when I joined this forum!!! :)

Alright, so good news and bad news. A lot of folks might disagree with me, but to me, the 2008 smarts are a hit or miss. Either the car will be so rock hard it'll go 200k no issues, or be a lemon.

And while your car sounded not bad at first, the water damage is most likely the final nail in the coffin for it.

The good news is that the newer models are cheap and more reliable.

I'd say trade for a newer model as well. :) And welcome to SCoA!!!
 

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Minor stuff for an 8 year old car with owners and mechanics who sabotaged it. IMO.

~A sideskirt and new clips are easily replaced. ~15 minutes.
~A hood flap and clips are easily replaced. ~15 minutes.

~Check engine light reset eliminated CEL and trans shifting issues. ~Issue gone.

~$300 for a battery was a dramatic overinflation of what is likely the battery that ended up being installed in the car. Probably a very basic grade, entry level battery.

~"Flooding" in footwell area where the battery sits on passenger floor... eyeball check for debris blocking various passages throughout the car. The source of the water should be identified within ~30 minutes. Potentially cleared free of charge. If a/c related, the drain hose can be removed and cleared out or replaced ~ 60 minutes.

I wouldn't give up the car over these concerns.
 

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Minor stuff for an 8 year old car with owners and mechanics who sabotaged it. IMO.

~A sideskirt and new clips are easily replaced. ~15 minutes.
~A hood flap and clips are easily replaced. ~15 minutes.

~Check engine light reset eliminated CEL and trans shifting issues. ~Issue gone.

~$300 for a battery was a dramatic overinflation of what is likely the battery that ended up being installed in the car. Probably a very basic grade, entry level battery.

~"Flooding" in footwell area where the battery sits on passenger floor... eyeball check for debris blocking various passages throughout the car. The source of the water should be identified within ~30 minutes. Potentially cleared free of charge. If a/c related, the drain hose can be removed and cleared out or replaced ~ 60 minutes.

I wouldn't give up the car over these concerns.
IMO, it depends on how much more money the OP wants to spend on the issues/what in the world is causing it to die in the rain. If it's corrosion from the flooding/a loose ground somewhere, no big deal. But if it's the SAM, might as well cut your losses and get a newer smart.

Most of the problems (like the side skirt/belly pan coming off type stuff) is more of just really bad luck rather than reliability issues...but the whole "the part holding the rear wheel on melted off" and "it keeps dying in the rain after it flooded" makes me worry about electrical gremlins that'll plague the car forever.

That said, I'm one to talk, one of my smarts is an actual basket case and yet it still sits in my parking spot and even gets in some winter driving. xD
 

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lemon car very tinny,
the steering wheel's got a squeak,
and the brakes on this darn lemon haven't lasted me a week...
lemon car "very tinny" ? It's small. The structure is solid though. Not sure what you mean with that comment.

The steering wheel "squeaks"... automotive lubricant will eliminate that in seconds.

Brakes haven't lasted a week? The brake job wasn't performed properly the week prior, which is a human caused issue not the car.
 

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IMO, it depends on how much more money the OP wants to spend on the issues/what in the world is causing it to die in the rain. If it's corrosion from the flooding/a loose ground somewhere, no big deal. But if it's the SAM, might as well cut your losses and get a newer smart.

Most of the problems (like the side skirt/belly pan coming off type stuff) is more of just really bad luck rather than reliability issues...but the whole "the part holding the rear wheel on melted off" and "it keeps dying in the rain after it flooded" makes me worry about electrical gremlins that'll plague the car forever.

That said, I'm one to talk, one of my smarts is an actual basket case and yet it still sits in my parking spot and even gets in some winter driving. xD
I missed the rear wheel hub melting off, but that doesn't even make sense enough for me to believe it.
 

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MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
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There are several comments in the one and only post by Psycho Chiquita that may suggest a "drive-by" tease.

Owner of a MY08 since April 2013 and 3 years later all of these "problems" are being reported in the first post?

At the dealer, "the idiots had yanked the front off thinking that's where the engine was and pulled off the clips" - Huh?

A $300 battery and "the part holding the rear passenger tyre had melted off" - say what?

Psycho Chiquita - YES, this is the typical smart ownership experience and you will learn to enjoy it!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just wasn't sure what to make of the car itself, I was planning on passing it down as a gift to a younger sibling while I got another one, but don't want to give them a lemon and end up having to deal with the problems all over again if buying another one.

Also, I'm not really sure myself how it happened, But took a picture of it from as close I could get with my phone, sorry it isn't high quality, didn't have my Nikon on hand.
 

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You will need to replace the right side drive axle. Looks like your inner plunge cv joint separated. After replacement, you should be good to go.
 

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You are lucky it didn't whip around and damage the transaxle or the bottom of the motor! Not too bad if all you need is the axle\cv joint.
 

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Looks like the DeDion probably saved the day there. And darn, I can see why you say it melted! :eek:

How many miles do you have? *worriedly checks underbody of Tucker*
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Since I've gotten the thing 3y ago, I'd say I put in 25k, it's at 59k now.

When I first got the poor thing I had to take it in to get everything refreshed and replaced myself; tyres, brakes, oil, fluids, filter and even all of the bulbs. Seems they just left it in the garage, mostly.
 

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Yeah, I'd say that axle shouldn't have failed at 59k. My 2012 has 119k and while it's had its issues here and there, the wheels are still on despite driving like a pissed off teenager all the time xD

Did you get it from a smart dealer?
 

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Talked with one of my co-workers who recently bought a 1916 451, a leftover from cars2go and he just took it in for the 10,000 mile check. they replaced an axle seal and an axle under warranty, along with the scheduled service.
 

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Talked with one of my co-workers who recently bought a 1916 451, a leftover from cars2go and he just took it in for the 10,000 mile check. they replaced an axle seal and an axle under warranty, along with the scheduled service.
Well, it is a 100 year old car :p

I Kidd, I Kidd. :)

I'm happy with that kind of service. If the boots are leaking, might as well change the whole thing! Is it common for axle boots to leak early, on any car?
 

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Is it common for axle boots to leak early, on any car?
Yes and no. Depends on the quality of material in the boots. On my 199 Jeep Grand Cherokee I have replaced front CV boots twice. On my 1977 and 1990 Benz cars the original boots are still in place and show no age cracks and are reasonably supple. Environmental conditions might also be a factor.
 

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The boots are rubber and have an accordion-like shape. They are intended to keep the joints clean and dry. The joints are not bathed in oil from the transmission, but are lubricated with grease. As the boots crack, which can happen as they age, water and dirt will get into the joint and will quickly destroy it. As the joints begin to fail, there is always some telltale signs, such as unusual popping or grinding noises. Maybe even a jerking or thud under acceleration. Ignoring or failing to notice those signs will result in what you see in the photo.
The smart axle movement is very limited. The joint travel is not nearly as extreme as what you'll see in a FWD vehicle, so the boots should last a really long time unless they become damaged by something external, like road debris. Regardless of how the damage occurs, a cracked/torn boot will lead to premature failure of the joint.
Cracks in the boots are pretty easy to see, and if you do your own oil changes, it just takes a few seconds to look over the boots while you're down there. There are two joints/boots on each axle shaft. One where the shaft meets the trans and one where the shaft meets the wheel hub.
I'm not sure if replacement boots are available if you find a damaged boot. If not a new axle shaft will be needed. You definitely need a new one once the joint becomes damaged.
 
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