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Hi, everyone! Newbie here. Purchased my 2010 Passion about 2 months ago and am positively loving it!!! It came from a used car lot that was definitely no dealer of any sort...in fact the guy didn't even know the engine was in the rear! I had done quite a lot of research beforehand and had sniffed this car out at this lot roughly an hour away from my house. Anyhow...I bought it with this blinking problem. At first I didn't know there was a problem...had read about the blinking wrench being a maintenance reminder...and knew the oil had been changed. The blinking gear indicator, however, I did not know was NOT normal 'til later. I successfully reset the wrench (the days past due counter went to zero & the wrench stopped blinking...until I restarted the car, ugh!) I've read a lot about limp mode and all that. This car drives completely fine. It doesn't skip gears, it goes into reverse fine, I have no clue why it could be blinking when in gear (auto or manual, doesn't make a difference, still blinks.)

Smart dealer is 3 hours away. I called and the service guy I spoke with just told me he didn't know but I should bring it in because there may be a problem that hasn't yet shown up while driving. I'm not sure if that may be true or not.

We also pulled the battery cables for a good hour. All that did was kill the infamous Fuse 12...which was a whole 2 day conundrum I had to figure out!

I am clueless. I have researched every single nook & cranny of the internet for this distinct problem, with no joy. Help! The blinky-blinky I can ignore fairly well, but am afraid there might be a true problem? (though the longer the car runs fine I am doubting it)

Thanks for any insight!
 

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Welcome to SCoA! :)

The dealer isn't wrong - there's an issue of some sort. You can take the car to an auto parts store and have them check for any OBD codes; that MAY give an indication of the problem. Let us know what you find.
 

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When the service reminder is properly reset the wrenches will switch from one wrench to two wrenches or vice versa. The count down will show that it has been reset to 10k miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Soon after we bought it (and discovered the blinking isn't normal) I took it to Advanced Auto & had them scan it. No code found. I also recently purchased a ScanGauge and that also has found no codes, stored or otherwise. I assume it would be a code that only MB Star System can detect...if there is one in there to be seen (which means it's transmission related, I gather?)

So you don't think it's just a weird glitchy thing? (hoping!)

I am VERY pregnant (due in less than 5 weeks) so I'm really not up to a 3 hour trip by car to...anywhere. lol I previously tried to talk my husband into making the trip with me (like, weeks ago) but as you can see, was unsuccessful.

Wouldn't some impending mystery problem have already manifested itself in some way? As you can tell, I'm really doing some major wishful thinking here. Like I said, every tiny thing that I've observed the car doing has panned out to be a "SmartCarQuirk" (like the ABS check thump & the lolligag shifting in auto mode, to name 2!)

:)
 

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Please try this before you spend money and time at dealer.

Please do a search on this forum. I had a 2010 Passion that I purchased used and I also had the wrenches and flashing gear selections. There is a procedure to do a reset for the transmission. It only involved taking the battery connections off for thirty minutes and then I believe re-connecting the battery and putting the gear shift lever through all the gears and the wrenches will disappear and the gear selections will stop blinking. Just follow the procedures and it could solve your problem too. I ran across a post on the forum and followed the advice for the reset and my car was running fine before the reset and is still running fine with nothing blinking. It saved me a trip to the dealership for what seemed to have been such an easy solution.

-smarTony
 

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Found the thread to help you.

Sorry for the re-post. But I found the thread that I had used to fix the issue. I'm not claiming to be the originator. I'm just trying to pass along the info to help you. Good Luck.

"I've seen this before. I'll bet that they'll do a forced re-train on the transmission. The way to force it is by leaving it in neutral and disconnecting the battery for about 30 mins. When it comes back up it will show 3-bars on the display. From there you shift from park, down to drive, and back again, slowly. The transmission will grind a bit, and eventually you'll get a park indicator."


Thanks,

-Tony
 

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The answer is nobody can tell you wherein the problem lies. If the gear indicator is blinking then one of the control units is not happy, and it is probably the transmission control module. The system needs to be scanned with a scan tool that is capable of scanning multiple systems on European vehicles. Generic scan tools or code readers like the parts stores have will not do it. Find a local shop that specialized in Mercedes and see if they can scan the car. Until that is done all else is pointless speculation. Fault codes and live data will give a direction in which to proceed.

Used vehicles from no-name used car operations are always an adventure.
 

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Well this just happened to me on my 2013 pure that bought new. 27600 miles. The car does seem to drive fine.i drove 25 miles home. Turned it off and turned it back on again in my driveway and now the check engine light is on.
 

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Well the next morning, no blinking D, no blinking wrenches but the check engine light was on. I just drove it. This morning no check engine light. It fixed itself I guess
 

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Hi I Had a similar problem a few months ago the dealer fixed it and no problems since. turns out there is a service bulletin on my issue. what they did to fix it was
locate shift motor servo
there are 2 electrical connectors on it.
unplug 2 connectors,
blow out each end with compressed air,
reconnect connectors,
and secure with tie.
it seems that moisture and dirt causes corrosion in the connectors and the computer cannot read the info properly due to a high resistance. by cleaning out the connectors and re securing the connectors with a zip tie creates a better seal and prevents from vibrating loose to keep moisture and dirt out.
 

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I know I'm bumping up an old post... sorry about that. I'm twice a newbie — a newbie on this forum, and a newbie with Smart cars overall, having bought my first one a couple of years ago, and being clueless about car mechanics (but always willing to learn new things :D ).
So... I live across the Atlantic, and I understand that Smart cars in Europe differ quite a bit from those shipped to the US, but I'm hoping that most things will be similar enough. The Smart I've got is a model 451 from 2009 — around here they label it as 'Smart Fortwo MDH 1.0 Coupé'.
Basically, I've got the dreaded 'blinking gear' issue as well. The transmission I've got is what they call here 'semi-automatic', so, besides the Neutral, it has a Reverse, and then gears 1-2-3-4-5 (no Drive mode), which go up manually by pushing the clutch away, but shifting down happens automatically (although you can pull the clutch to get a manual shift). I hope that this kind of clutch/transmission is familiar to at least a few of you.
When I drive around for a bit — and this is especially true when hitting the highway for, say, half an hour or so — it's not unusual that, when parking immediately afterwards, I sometimes can't get into Reverse gear. What happens is that while the clutch definitely goes in the 'right' position (and there is a 'mechanical' feeling that 'feels' right), after two seconds or so, the gear indicator will blink the N. More rarely, it will blink the R, but clearly it's not engaged in the reverse gear (yep, I've tested it... lol). Usually, all I need to do put it back into neutral and restart the car; afterwards, shifting into reverse will work flawlessly. Sometimes, this will work for the first time, then, when shifting back to N when parking, and then into 1, back to N, and finally R again... I get the blinking N again. As said, when this happens, on most of the times I just restart the car over and over again until it finally allows me to shift into reverse...
There are some variations. A few times, when parking, I can't even shift forwards, i. e. I may have been able to go into reverse after a car restart, then when going from Neutral into 1, N will blink and remain on neutral. Shifting into R when that happens will also have N happily blinking so that basically I'm stuck, unable to shift either forwards or backwards.
Ok... I'm pretty clueless about car mechanics, much less about car technology of the 21st century, and this is my first car without a manual transmission. I do have a cheap Wi-Fi OBD-II reader and the apps DashCommand and OBD Fusion working on my iPhone — I bought the OBD-II reader to be able to reset the error messages coming from the temperature sensor on the 1st cylinder (yes, it has been replaced a year ago or so, under warranty, but on very cold days, it tends to be too slow to relay information to the main computer unit, thus the error; the tough thing is that the error throws the car into that 'lame maintenance mode' where it responds sluggishly even though nothing is really wrong with the motor... a simple error code reset will get everything running smoothly again). But I sometimes use the apps to take a look at whatever data the sensors are reporting. In particular, because the blinking N happens mostly when I've driven around outside urban traffic for 20 or 30 minutes, I first suspected it was something related to the cooling system (I know — I'm just really clueless about how everything works). Clearly, it's not, since the coolant's temperature never goes above 90ºC (uh, 194ºF), which is exactly what should be the case (in the mean time, I was told that the fan kicks in at 90ºC or so, and the engine can work fairly well at twice that temperature, so I have no reason to worry about the cooling system).
As you might expect, there are no errors reported via the ODB-II interface when the blinking N appears (no wrenches ? or any other symbols appear on the dashboard, either), and resetting the error codes will have absolutely no effect on the blinking N. However, it's fair to say that this situation is more an annoyance than a 'real' problem, because a few car restarts will fix the issue... except once when we were late for dinner with a friend, and it took me half an hour with multiple car restarts until I finally managed to park it (after dinner, the car had no trouble to start, engage whatever gear I wished, and we drove back home without a glitch). You know how it is — Murphy's Law.
I also suspected that I was to blame. My garage mechanic and his team, who have worked on all my cars in the past 25 years, and who have actually sold me this Smart (they're also an accredited 'Smart point' or whatever certified Smart garages are called these days), have been fond of replacing lots of manual transmissions in the past, because I'm very good at wearing them out :) I am a lousy driver (hey, we cannot all be 'above-average drivers'... some of us must be below the average! :giggle:), so, suspecting that somehow I was managing to destroy an automatic transmission, I started shifting very carefully when parking, hoping that this would avoid the blinking N. To no avail. This time, the blame couldn't be all mine...
I tried to figure out other external reasons for the blinking N — say, hot weather, cold weather, damp weather, having driven over water, that sort of thing. There seemed to be absolutely no correlation, except for one thing: after long drives, the blinking N would be more probable to appear when parking than after short drives; and this would happen in any kind of weather or time of the day.
So... I took the car for the yearly inspection and told all the above to the garage owner's son. His first reaction was a very negative one, i.e. that probably I'd need a new transmission/clutch kit (or a new transmission control module...), and that the car would be 'dead' in a few years. When I told that to my wife, she sort of panicked (we cannot afford a new car right now, and even if we luckily live in a dense urban centre and don't need the car that often, sometimes we definitely need it); fortunately, when picking up the car, we got better news: after a retrain of the transmission, the mechanic believes that the problem might just be corrosion/dirt somewhere on the contacts (just as @TheGreatGazoo suggested — also, both my wife and I are heavy smokers, meaning that we have a lot of ash everywhere, which possibly might also be obstructing the contacts), but tracking it down would be 'a nightmare' and I'd be probably better off with a new transmission control module, a job that they only did once... in the mean time, I ought to expect things to worsen, especially when driving over bumpy roads or in weather conditions that might make those contacts loosen a bit (thus, the issue about 'longer drives' — the probability of hitting a hole in the road or bumping into a similar obstacle is higher! Also, the mere vibration from the car might sometimes be enough to loosen the contacts). This is pretty much what happened to the car of @TheGreatGazoo, and the 'fix' was quite easy.
Whew. Ok, long post, I know!
Now... cleaning connectors is something that is well within my very limited abilities, and that's precisely what I did a few weeks ago, when the A/C blower started to work intermittently, and sometimes not at all for long stretches. Fortunately, I saw a couple of videos on YouTube explaining that in most cases the problem is just some oxidation on the copper coils of the blower motor, and that is really child's play to fix. I did that myself, took some time to understand exactly how to remove the whole motor (next time will be much, much easier!), but I eventually managed to do it, clean the oxidation, clean the whole plastic fan, and the ventilation fan is now working far better than when I bought the car!
If I can do a similar simple fix to the transmission control unit (TCU)... I'll do it!
n15-6.png Now, I managed to get a copy of the 451 service manual, and it seems that the TCU, known as N15/6, is located just under the driver's seat. While I never removed the driver's seat, I have seen videos showing how it's done — it's not overly tricky (I can't post links here), except for having to be careful with the seatbelt sensors. The N15/6 TCM, according to the service manual, is supposed to be beneath that seat.
I couldn't find any videos/manuals explaining how exactly to remove the N15/6 TCU in order to clean it, but it looks like a very standard thing to do... there are some screws... I guess that the cables come from below or so... and once these are disconnected, I can attempt to clean them to the best of my ability.
My question now is if I'm understanding correctly what has to be cleaned and where the unit's connectors are located and how to access them easily in order to be able to do what the mechanic did to @TheGreatGazoo's car. What pitfalls are there and what can I expect to go wrong if I do a serious mistake?
Hey, thanks in advance — especially if you read this to the end!
 
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