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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a "despatch." Seems that the new formulation of 451 body panels (the exotic, soft, resilient ones), which they say are to meet pedestrian safety standards, are soft enough to suffer front-end stone dings, especially obvious on the metallic-painted ones. Maybe a leather "bra" ought to be an early accesssory.
 

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Here's a "despatch." Seems that the new formulation of 451 body panels (the exotic, soft, resilient ones), which they say are to meet pedestrian safety standards, are soft enough to suffer front-end stone dings, especially obvious on the metallic-painted ones. Maybe a leather "bra" ought to be an early accesssory.
Ah, crap!...Hate those things.....on cars, anyway! :D LOL
 

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Off topic! No leather bra discussions here :D

But seriously, it's probably the paint more than it is the panels. The newer environmentally friendly paint processes produce "softer" paint finishes that unfortunately don't hold up as well as they should.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Off topic! No leather bra discussions here :D

But seriously, it's probably the paint more than it is the panels. The newer environmentally friendly paint processes produce "softer" paint finishes that unfortunately don't hold up as well as they should.
The problem apparently isn't the paint; it is the soft sub-strate, not paint chips, but deeper wounds.
 

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I guess the answer is to avoid driving behind any trucks until somebody makes a bra for the 451; can't imagine how ugly that will be. :eek:
 

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Clear protective plastic protector.

As I was reading several of the posts on the Club Smart Car from Canada, I read about a company that installs a clear protective plastic film on cars so they don't have to have 'bras' and such on them. It's supposed to be quite invisible and quite durable and is almost impossible to detect as being present.

That kind of option might be a viable solution for stone chips. I'll try to locate the information and post it later if anybody is interested in such information.
 

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Clear protection for stone chips.

I located the website. There may very well be businesses in the U.S. that are doing this same application.

Here's where you can read about it: "http://www.autocleararmour.com"
 

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3M protection film

Here is a sample of pricing as I looked at only one location for the 3M solution.

Clear Bra
Total installed pricing typically runs between $495- $795 for Hood, fender, mirror/ Bumper/ and Headlamp kits. Please fill out our contact form for an exact quote.

Popular Additional Protection (Includes film and installation/prices may vary):
Door Edge___________________ $50.00
Roof & A-Pillar_______________ $125.00
Rear Bumper Pad____________ $75.00
Rocker Panel________________ $200.00
Entry Scuff___________________ $75.00
 

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Turns out the body panels aren't painted after all, according to the smartusa site:

The entire vehicle bodywork of smart is powder coated rather than painted. Powder coating uses 40% less energy than conventional painting methods with zero solvent emissions and no water consumption. Powder "overspray" is collected and is 98% reusable. This is a great example of eco-friendly solutions that also provide excellent finish quality.

I would have thought the powder coat was harder than paint but maybe not. Anyway, the clear bra approach seems like a good way to go if it's not too costly - $495 to do the front of a smart seems a bit high to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
The powder coating is only on the steel tridion. The three basic panel colors (black, white, yellow) are molded-in-color, and the three metallics (red, blue, silver) are over-painted MIC black panels. The grief over the stone dings with metallics is that the dings get down into the black plastic.

I believe all the panels are clear-coated, whether MIC or painted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Another "Despatch"

Problems with UK (and likely NA) door locks continue that aren’t showing up on Continental 451s. There seems to be something going haywire between the electronic remote and manual interface. But one part of the problem seems to be solved – as in “read the book!” Once inside with the doors locked, which will happen at some low road speed, it is a two-step operation to manually open the doors. The first pull on the handle will unlock but not open the door. A second pull will open the door. I don’t see that as any big deal once realized and practiced a time or two.
 

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Good catch concerning the UK door latch issues, fishrdnc! Doesn't look like we should have any issues with our smarts' doors over here.

In regards to the clear plastic coating availble from 3M, I've seen applications not only on CDN smarts, but on many other cars whose owners love them. From more than a few feet away it is undetectable, and only a direct high speed hit frm something very sharp will mar its surface. It is thicker than a coat of paint, and pliable, so it absorbs sharp blows easily. I think it is the perfect solution for protecting our smarts' relatively flat front ends.
 

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Panel coloring method

I finally heard back from the actual panel manufacturer regarding color application:

"The metallic colours are obtained by conventional painting. The
yellow/white and deep black is mass coloured Daplen ED230HP painted only
with a clear coat (so called MIC - moulded in colour).

Borealis Compounds LLC"

:)
 

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I noticed a few things about the panels yesterday at the DC Roadshow I was at.

They were using brand new cars for this road show, US spec (they were saying that it was because they had a meeting with Congress and lobbyists and wanted them to see the actual cars we are getting). Their stationary vehicle was a black 2007 EU spec model, complete with the chrome package. The front access panel was flipped down (first one I have seen like this), and I lifted it off. The corners where it reaches under the A pillars were scratched up badly (due to improper handling I suppose), and it did feel like soft paint. I don't think it would show once on the car, but it is definitely going to be something that I am looking out for on mine.

Slightly OT, but the US spec cars do seem significantly different than the EU spec cars... quieter, smoother, and a bit more refined... the shifter is amazing as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Problems with UK (and likely NA) door locks continue that aren’t showing up on Continental 451s. There seems to be something going haywire between the electronic remote and manual interface.
The very real door lock problem has apparently been diagnosed by a UK gentleman in the smart business as a part problem:

"I am sure once smart realise what the problem is (its a simple one) there will be a revised part number supplied with a slightly modified part for the door (s)....
So on that basis, expect a revised part in 2009/2010....."

One can only hope that he is passing the info on to smart ASAP! I'd hate to wait until '09-'10 if it involves the N.A. 451s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
And from Australia Too

For a while I only read of GenII 451 overheating problems on an Australian smart forum, usually in stopped traffic that required shutting off the A/C and turning on the heater. Once moving, the heat came down. I now see an instance on a UK site, along with some speculation that it may be an air lock or thermostat issue. I don't know if the 451 has an electric radiator fan or not (if not, it needs one). And it may be wise to install an oil filter heatsink if there is room. Anyway, what it all boils down to is that new car models will have teething problems, and we may have some with the earlybird N.A.s too.
 
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