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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have a 2012 Pure with 41,000 on the car and 33,500 on the engine. 2 days ago after driving the car I pulled into my driveway then decided I was too close to my steps, I put it in reverse and it "bucked" then went backwards. Today, I was driving and wanted to turn around so I pulled into someone's driveway to back out and go out the other way. The car would not drive in reverse, nor would it go forward. It was like all three shifts (reverse, neutral, drive) were all in neutral. I shut the car off, waited and tried it again and the same thing happened. I shut off the car and called a tow truck. Sure enough, when he got there he got in and started the car and shifted into drive and the car acted normal! Went smoothly into all gears. I told him what happened and at first he said I needed to have the engine running, LOL. But he said he didn't know what it could have been and I began to drive home and noticed the engine light is on now.

So, what do you all think might have happened and would you take it to a dealer or a place like "Smart Madness"? Thanks in advance

P.S. Do Smarts have a reputation of having bazaar electronic lights, sensors and etc. happenings, yet nothing may be wrong? What about fuses?
 

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Your issue is with the transmission.

Sometimes it seems the transmission confuses itself and forgets how to be a transmission. If you pulled the code from the check engine light, it will almost certainly be related to the transmission.

My 2012 used to jump out of gear or not select gears frequently. Sometimes it could be as simple as trying to go on a green light and bam, nothing. No forward, no reverse, and if I did get gears I would only get a couple of them. Usually restarting the car fixed it. Sometimes the issue would persist.

Eventually the frequency bothered me so I just disconnected the car's battery for 30 minutes, reconnected it, then never had the issues again. Well over 50k miles since the last time it happened.

No worries about fuses, lights, or sensors, it seems sometimes the computers need a good ol' "hard reset". :)

What happened to your engine to warrant its replacement at around 8,000 miles?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Took car in at 7500 miles for service at a Smart repair place and they failed to replace the coolant cap. I drove it onto the freeway for about 45 miles and it was steaming up front and konking out in the back. Called tow truck to take me to dealer and the next thing I knew, it needed a whole new engine. No cost to me from Smart.

Thanks for the info.
 

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Your issue is with the transmission.

Sometimes it seems the transmission confuses itself and forgets how to be a transmission. If you pulled the code from the check engine light, it will almost certainly be related to the transmission.

My 2012 used to jump out of gear or not select gears frequently. Sometimes it could be as simple as trying to go on a green light and bam, nothing. No forward, no reverse, and if I did get gears I would only get a couple of them. Usually restarting the car fixed it. Sometimes the issue would persist.

Eventually the frequency bothered me so I just disconnected the car's battery for 30 minutes, reconnected it, then never had the issues again. Well over 50k miles since the last time it happened.

No worries about fuses, lights, or sensors, it seems sometimes the computers need a good ol' "hard reset". <img src="http://smartcarofamerica.com/forums/images/SmartCarOfAmerica/smilies/tango_face_smile.png" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />

What happened to your engine to warrant its replacement at around 8,000 miles?
Disconnect the battery for a bit. Some say 30 minutes, others just a long bunch of seconds.


S u b R o s a
I am at 35000 miles now. Would this hard reset be something I might do say at 40000 mile servicing. Even might this be something that the dealer servicing actually does at service intervals?
 

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I have has 'going in to gear" issues in the past and I have found (at least on my car) that going into reverse is a bit confusing for the computer. If I shift into drive, then to reverse, it seems to work better. Also if it doesn't go in to reverse right away and I feed it some gas, it jumps once it is in gear. Then it acts dumb after that when it shifts for about a day.

have only done the power down reset a few times when I couldn't reset a trans code. 30 min to an hour usually does the trick.
 

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Just my .02 but the "hard reset" is equivalent to turning your computer off and back on in hopes of solving some problem. Probably won't hurt but may not help either. YMMV. :)
 

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Hard resets are a necessity in our sister department. The barcode scanners they troubleshoot aren't the smartest objects in the world. More often than not, the little computers in them receive a parameter they weren't programmed to handle and as a result they stop working correctly. Taking out the battery and putting it back in is the only fix (since the manufacturer certainly isn't going to reprogram them any time soon). :)

That brings me to my next point. These cars are essentially a couple computers strapped to wheels and an engine. Many people here have found that transmission updates (if applicable) have resolved a lot of driveability issues. However if you're out of warranty the dealer may want to make you pay for it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Today, I got the engine code of P073E: Unable to engage reverse. So, I did as suggested, I unhooked the battery for about an hour. Rehooked it up and took it for a little spin around the block. The engine light went out and all seems fine. I was told to also check for a code history on my car, which there was none. Only this one code. I also read that clearing the code and still driving the car could cause serious damage. Clearing the code once and driving is okay, but if I clear it 3 times and it keeps popping up there is a real problem, and the code history would show me all the problem codes in the past that I cleared. Am I understanding that right?
 

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If you clear a code and it doesn't return. chances are it was a fluke. If the problem keeps coming back up, you have a problem.
 

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IMHO, it's important ... VERY IMPORTANT!! ... to make sure that you're fully stopped before shifting. I've seen this happen a lot when teaching youngsters how to drive in my smart. They like it because it's easy to park, etc.



However, we get sloppy and try to hurry the process. I've got in the habit of braking to a full stop before shifting drive to reverse or vice versa.



I've always been able to stop. Shut everything off. Sit for a few seconds and start up again. Sometimes it takes 2-3 times, but I've never been stranded.


Remember: The transmission you save may be your own!!!


Cheers, Bob
 

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Computers as such do not respond well to changes in voltage. There's a lot of drain on the Smart electric system. The Bosch alternator is rated at 90 amps and I don't see how it keeps from robbing a lot of our 70 hp from the engine. But when you start your Smart and put it in gear it has to run a motor to depress the clutch, run another motor to engage it in first gear or reverse. Besides that your fuel pump is running so it's drawing amperage. The coil packs are drawing power. You have a electric vacuum pump that provides constant vacuum for the Smart's power brakes. You've more than likely got on the heater or the A/C so the blower motor is running and the motors on the dampener doors are active.

A big draw on the electrical system in the Smart is the heated seats if you have them. All the systems like ABS, Stability control and hill star assist are all active. If it's nighttime your lights are on, maybe the radio too. So you see there are a lot of constantly changing drains on the electric system. If you are idling at a stoplight and the system is drawing more power than the alternator is putting out at a given RPM then it is going to draw from the battery. So with all these events going on electrically behind the scenes voltage can vary especially if by happen chance 2 or 3 things cycles occasionally at the same time you are going to get a drop in voltage albeit milliseconds, but if the computer is operating and the voltage goes south even for milliseconds it is easy for it to glitch and "drop the ball". Since the main draw when driving is the clutch actuator and the double gear change motors when you pop it in gear you have instantly dropped the voltage because they both begin actuating at the same time to get you moving.

Every time it shifts gears there is this coordination between the transmission control module and the engine control module for the smart to successfully execute a gear change that we all complain is too slow. At a gear change it lets off the gas disengages the clutch shifts the gear, re-engages the clutch and presses the gas pedal back to the same place it was in the matter of a second. So if that is going on and say the air conditioner compressor cycles or the intermittent wipers takes a swipe or the heated seat kicks on, you can see voltage fluctuate and hence it is possible to get a glitch and gears go south.

I put a full time digital voltage gauge on Max and in normal operation driving down the road it normally reads 14.2 volts and fluctuates down to 13.8. or 13.9. Kicking on a heated seat will cause it to drop clear down in the 12.7 volt range for a second then the alternator will kick in and stabilize the voltage back to 13.8 to 14.2 range again.

In defense of the alternator Bosch did an outstanding job with keeping the voltage steady and it puts out a lot of amps even at idle. I can idle with the headlights on and I have a mountain of LED's throughout my Smart, also run the A/C and the radio and at idle it still maintains 14.2 volts.

So you can see how a dirty battery terminal or a rusty ground strap can wreak havoc on the voltage staying steady enough to keep the computer operating in spec. I run most of the time in manual mode because I have found that letting it auto shift, if I take off easy as in making a left hand turn it will shift to 2nd and then as I get straightened out on the road and push the gas pedal down the computer decides to shift on up to 3rd gear and lug the engine down to that famous drone sound. And there have been a couple of times it was shifting as I tromped it to pull out and it panicked and wouldn't shift into any gear for a second or two, but it seems like an eternity. DCO

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the spelling lesson! I should know better. I was just so wound up about the incident. Thank you for your kind advice about my car's situation!
 

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We had the same thing happen. It was intermittant, and since my wife drives the car, we did not want her to be stuck anywhere. I checked out forum, you-tube, and found that the "clutch actuator" needed lubricant. I took it to a Firestone shop, they put it up on the lift and sprayed white lithium grease (that I had bought and brought with me). I asked what I owed, and the owner said, "Give the mechanic a tip". It took less than 5 minutes and I gave his $10. That was 6 months ago, and no problem since.
 
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