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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well this wasn't the news I was hoping for. The other day I was heading out and the alternator light came on. I had just had the alternator and V Belt replaced so I only suspected it was something with the belt or replacement alternator.

Drove it straight home, about 7 minute drive but as I got it in the garage it started to overheat and dumped the contents of the overflow bottle.

What bothers me is I had no other alerts come on, reason I know this is I immediately closed the roof and windows, and shut off the a/c and radio as I knew from the last time the alternator went as soon as my battery died I was done.

But problem is my V belt broke and thus it looks like I have cooked my motor. Shop says it will not start and there is now coolant running out my exhaust.

I had checked the dipstick when it overheated and once it cooled and I did not see a milkshake so I had thought I had not blown the head gasket but coolant flowing into the cylinders is BAD. I have not looked at the car since then as it's at the shop. Granted I also did not try to start the car after it overheated.

So my question is, what should we be looking for now? Should I pull the top end and see about a blown gasket or is it more likely I cracked the block?

When it overheated I only saw steam coming from the front of the car, no white smoke out back. (I've blown a head gasket before). Coolant overflow was totally emptied but cap was in place. However as they have been cranking the car trying to get it to start (it isn't starting) coolant is now coming out the tailpipe.

Car is a 2010 Brabus cabrio with just over 102,000 km.
 

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Strange. The other person had a coolant issue too, and just after a coolant flush. Do you think your service involved opening the coolant system? If not bled correctly this can lead to an air pocket and serious damage.....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi, no coolant flush on mine. I had my alternator die about 2,500 km ago so had it replaced and while they were at it had both V belts replaced.

In my case my V belt which drives the alternator and water pump broke. I haven't seen exactly what happened yet but from what the shop is telling me it sounds like it shredded and that combined with driving without an overheating alert caused me to overheat the motor to the point I boiled out the all the coolant in the overflow tank.

When the belt let go it also took the oil pressure switch and possibly another wire that the shop mentioned I forget the exact one though I have to wonder if it was the coolant temperature sending unit. Seems that when these belts go they always take out the oil pressure switch. That isn't expensive though at $19.99 CDN however a cooked motor is which is.
 

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I'm thinking whomever installed the belt, didn't line it up right and this caused your problem. I'm thinking the guy who installed the belt is on the hook for this one.
 

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Ditto. I had a Merlin shop do my belt last year. It's already squealing. Good thing they have that nifty warranty.

Seems like if you don't get these belts perfect they will bite you back in the future.

Niteshooter, I have a fun fact about these engines for you. The temperature light will not illuminate until the engine is about 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) from warping temperature.
Also, if there are any bubbles of any kind in the coolant system, it can delay the triggering of the light until after the engine is already cooked. In short, you cannot trust the temp light at all to save you.

As for your car, before you invest in fixing the engine, try dumping some Marvel Mystery Oil in it. It's a shot in the dark, but it's cheaper than an engine repair.
 

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It's not a smart but my '85 de Ville had an alternator change at a local Chevy dealer. I was driving the car and about two miles down the road I could hear the belt snap and drove two miles directly home. This is a non pressurized reservoir and it was boiling when I got home. It's going to boil earlier without the pressure, but if it boils, that pressure is going somewhere. The smart has a dinky plastic cap, and I would want that to stay that way, as I would rather replace that than any other hard to reach coolant part... So I replaced the belt and it was not aligned, the new belt almost immediately started to fray...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ditto. I had a Merlin shop do my belt last year. It's already squealing. Good thing they have that nifty warranty.

Seems like if you don't get these belts perfect they will bite you back in the future.

Niteshooter, I have a fun fact about these engines for you. The temperature light will not illuminate until the engine is about 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) from warping temperature.
Also, if there are any bubbles of any kind in the coolant system, it can delay the triggering of the light until after the engine is already cooked. In short, you cannot trust the temp light at all to save you.

As for your car, before you invest in fixing the engine, try dumping some Marvel Mystery Oil in it. It's a shot in the dark, but it's cheaper than an engine repair.
Thanks for the ideas! Yes from what I am reading if the belt isn't on just right it fails and causes this type of catastrophe.

Also didn't know that about the temp light, so an alternator light is a definite stop immediately and check motor warning.

I'm suspecting that it was the aftermarket belt that I sourced, in hindsight I should have bought a Mercedes belt which is about double the cost but considerably less expensive then a motor or head gasket replacement.

Using MMO? I've used this to clean out a motor in the past but can it 'fix' a blown head gasket? I have to go see the car today so will have a much better idea of just exactly what is going on but not sure how that would work.

Thanks for your thoughts I know when someone sabotaged Tucker you went down a similar path.
 

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MMO is not going to fix a head gasket.

M-B would likely sell you a re-branded Continental belt at twice or three times the price.

Hopefully you did not warp the engine too badly. If you did it might be cheaper to swap in a used engine.
 

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It's not the belt, not at 7 minutes of driving. I actually like the gator-back belts that Goodyear used to make, now Continental bought the belt portion out, and is now continuing to make. (Have it on my W201).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
MMO is not going to fix a head gasket.

M-B would likely sell you a re-branded Continental belt at twice or three times the price.

Hopefully you did not warp the engine too badly. If you did it might be cheaper to swap in a used engine.
Thanks, I'm hoping for the same thing.

I've checked Standard and Carcone so far, only Standard in Port Hope have smart motors though I will be looking through Autotrader/Kijiji for wrecks.

Of the two I've seen so far the more expensive one was starting to get into the cost of a complete used smart though with that route I will have plenty of spare parts and no room to store them. But yes a wrecker motor is certainly on the table depending on how badly I've cooked my motor.
 

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...The temperature light will not illuminate until the engine is about 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) from warping temperature...
I encourage everyone to invest in a ScanGauge II that allows you to monitor, among many other things, the battery voltage (a drop indicating possible broken belt) and water temperature.
 

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While true that MMO doesn't solve a blown head gasket I was more recommending it in the event of a toasty engine. I do recall a number of people who've had the infamous burned valve issue who saved their engines with the stuff. But yeah, it's not going to help a head gasket. :/

As for an UltraGauge, ScanGauge, or apps: One thing to note is that if you're suffering from some sort of coolant failure, the temperature readout will likely look normal while the engine is roasting itself behind you. The sensor needs liquid to rea.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yup blown head gasket. Now to make a decision on what to do. Wrecker motors (which could be equally fragile) run between $1300 and $2700 and so far I have only sourced two. Buying a used parts car is a possibility as there is one in the complex that has been parked for almost a year and needs brakes. Motor is supposed to be running though have not checked the mileage. Big problem for me is that I'd probably want to get that one running instead.

It occurs to me just what is involved since the motor has to be dropped which means brake lines, fuel lines and electrical all have to be disconnected from the frame. (I'm doing a major face palm right now). Rebuilding my motor is going to be longer in terms of hours of labour.

We have not determined why the belt let loose though yes logically it would seem to be installation related the belt was Febi/ Bilstein Belt made in Germany. O/E manufacturer and I had also replace the belt tensioner which I picked up at NAPA however it was identical to the part that came off the car as both were made by Gates but the NAPA part had the smart/mercedes part no ground off.
 

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I encourage everyone to invest in a ScanGauge II that allows you to monitor, among many other things, the battery voltage (a drop indicating possible broken belt) and water temperature.
...as useful as a scan gauge is or any other device might be it all depends on its location in the cabin and specially how often it is monitored...that's what we call situational awareness....as a matter of fact...if an alternator belt brakes...how long will it take us to see the red battery icon on the left lower corner of the instrument cluster?...a minute...two minutes...or I didn't even know existed

Jetfuel...:shrug: :D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Mine is a black Brabus cabriolet the other is a white Passion HT. I actually don't mind the white and I suppose I could panda the resulting car though the parts car supposedly has some major non motor issues perhaps bad computer plus brakes and the owner is hard to get a hold of.

I think I'm loosing it thinking it would be cool to have a black and a white smart granted even better if one or both actually worked..... but I know me and the problem will be that I will want to 'save' the parts car and get it running as well and well that means even more $$$$$ which are probably better spent somewhere else.

I've only got $6400 in my smart, I have a feeling if I just went for a repair of my motor it might be in the $1,500+ range if just the head gasket and machining of the head. If I've cracked something then the motor is completely toast at which point it may be uneconomical to repair my smart. Granted the labour to tear down my smart's motor is more then to do a motor swap from a running donor car. But even up here smarts are not terribly common so finding a motor is not easy and not knowing the history of the wrecker motor may mean that the car will still have an issue. I'm guessing a motor swap might run me around $3,000 depending on the cost of the wrecker motor while I can find a decent running smart (non Brabus) up here in the $3,000 to $4,000 range. Then I suppose if I got a black on I could swap over my Brabus parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
...as useful as a scan gauge is or any other device might be it all depends on its location in the cabin and specially how often it is monitored...that's what we call situational awareness....as a matter of fact...if an alternator belt brakes...how long will it take us to see the red battery icon on the left lower corner of the instrument cluster?...a minute...two minutes...or I didn't even know existed

Jetfuel...:shrug: :D
That is a very good question isn't it. I likely noticed the alternator warning within a minute as I tend to scan all my gauges/road/surroundings constantly, fallout from the defensive driving coarse I took years ago.

But the problem was, because I had recently had an alternator fail and just suspected the replacement was faulty I didn't make the connection that the belt broke and I lost the water pump. When the warning came on I had no other warning lights. Actually this is something I don't like about the smart and that is the lack of gauges. My other vehicles all have temp gauges and not idiot lights so I would have immediately twigged into this problem, oddly enough my T-Bird is in the shop right now because the fan switch was malfunctioning so I am used to watching temp gauges very religiously.

So I think for everyone else reading this, if you have the alternator light come on, pull over immediately if it is safe and check to see if your fan belt is still there!

One other thing, smarts seem to have their alternators fail around 100,000km up here.

Also keep in mind that the car will eventually come to a dead stop when the battery dies and with that you will loose your steering, gear shifting and the engine will stop. Which unfortunately is why I mistakenly assumed it was just the alternator and ran the car home instead of investigating further. Had I stopped and looked for a broken/missing belt it's likely I would not have cooked my motor.
 
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