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Discussion Starter #1
Since I travel every year 3000 miles with my RV it was time to buy a toad...

So far I am still in "honeymoon" with my Smart...

To flat tow my Smart I bought following parts already:

Demco #9518256 Classic Baseplate NEW 281.95
Roadmaster Falcon2 Towbar Craigslist 100.00
Safety Cables Craigslist 20.00
Roadmaster to Demco Adapter #034 NEW 40.22
Hopkins Flex-Coil 7 pin RV Blade to 4 -Wire Flat Adapter with Nite-Glow NEW 25.00
Roadmaster Universal Wiring-Kit #154 NEW 63.50
530.67 $


All prices include shipping...


I will make photos when I install the base-plate to my Smart.
 

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I adore your smart, your RV, and your cheap engineering spirit!! :D

Quick question, do you disconnect your battery before rolling out? There are horror stories here about cars that somehow get into gear then burn themselves out while getting towed.
 

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You did good my friend. After getting my 2012 Passion with less then 8000 miles for a decent price I went for my lungs to get it set up. There are pros and cons about disconnecting the battery, I played it safe and installed a disconnect switch. You can find pictures and instructions somewhere on this forum.
 

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A disconnect battery switch is a must so is a 32" bungee cord that you run trough your steering wheel and attach it to the undersides of the driver's seat; the bungee cord will prevent the front wheels from going crazy after a sharp turn.
 

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I use a 42" called "flat strap 2 pak", bought at WM for about 6 bucks. Strong plastic hooks and nice and flat so it doesn't dig into the wheel. color coded gold and black is 42" I put one end in hole in the seat frame near the drivers door wrap around the bottom of the steering wheel and putthe other end over the passenger seat and into a hole in the seat frame by the passenger door, works for me.
 

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I use a 42" called "flat strap 2 pak", bought at WM for about 6 bucks. Strong plastic hooks and nice and flat so it doesn't dig into the wheel. color coded gold and black is 42" I put one end in hole in the seat frame near the drivers door wrap around the bottom of the steering wheel and putthe other end over the passenger seat and into a hole in the seat frame by the passenger door, works for me.
I'm using a 32" and passing it at the bottom of the steering wheel and attaching both ends on each side of the driver's seat frame; while travelling, I lower the passenger's backseat and use the space for cargo. :laugh:
 

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I tow a 2014 ex-Car2Go 451 behind an Airstream Sprinter-based Interstate.

I installed a Blue-OX baseplate myself in two days. The Blue Ox instructions could be a lot better, but there are numerous videos on the web of how to remove the front clip to make the installation. Worst problem was getting up and down at 84 years old and bad knees.

I use a Ready Brake surge brake and wireless tow lights. It is necessary to use a special 7-pin adapter for the wireless transmitter or else the Smart thinks there are burned out bulbs and does not light the turn signals. The $11 adapter solves the problem.

I do not use a battery disconnect switch. I simply follow the instructions in the owner's manual.

I have made 400-mile tows with no problem at all except about 2 mpg penalty. Without the camera, I would never know the Smart is back there.
 

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Hello, I recently purchased a 2009 Smart that was already setup for towing. The previous owner went through all the steps with me and we pulled it home after purchasing. There is no battery cutoff switch, I just left the key in the ignition and eventually the dash goes blank. I'd be interested in better understanding the risk of not having a battery cutoff. The only trouble we had on the way home from our purchase is the hood popping off and dangling by the chord. Surprisingly, the hood was still functional though about 2-3 inches were ground off one corner, now I know why that strap is on there. Here's a pic from our trip home from upper Michigan.
 

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You might want to modify the hood retaining strap by cutting it in half and attaching them on either side so there are two straps (one on each side) so that it hangs level across the front and it won't drag on the ground if it happens again. There is a ridge on the outside of the back corners that does go under another ridge on the fenders, that is what keeps the rear of the hod from popping up. If that ridge is worn away, I would replace the hood as soon as possible. If it will be a bit before you replace it, I would apply some duct tape across the corner to secure it. Usually not getting the rear corners under the ridge on the fenders is what makes the hood pop off. Also take a good look at the front edge of the hood when it latches down. it should be tight and not have any up and down movement. Ifit does, the latches are bad and should be replaced. (also a common problem).

As for the cut off switch, with all the sensors and such on the smart, you run the risk of the key turning on and that could activeate the traction control or the ABS braking, or it could decide it should be in gear. I have also seen these cars trigger the door locks and lock the keys inside. (I don't think it will happen with the key in the ignition but don't quote me on that) Happened once to me but the window was open (luckily) and I was at home with the spare key in the house.
 

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As I understand the transmition shifting is computor controlled and the possibility to destroy the electronics. The switch can be purchased at amazon cheaply and the installation is easy. Instructions and pictures are somewhere on this website.
 

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I'd be interested in better understanding the risk of not having a battery cutoff.
Basically, if the computers wake up for any reason at all (which sadly, happens more often on this forum than you'd think), they may freak out and decide to lock the brakes, which in some cases has led to brakes getting so hot the metals of the braking system fused as one.

In worse cases, somehow the transmission decided it should be in gear (despite the shifter being in Neutral) and proceeded in ripping itself to shreds. Some other times, folks have gotten the three bars of death from it. Basically the transmission didn't implode but the transmission still decided to call it quits.

In worst worst case scenarios, the engine gets involved in the mess and eats itself so bad that it needs to be replaced.

Basically, if the computers wake for any reason, there can be catastrophic damage.
So I've read, using the battery disconnect can also cause issues, but those seem to be more that you want to give the computers time to wake up before setting out on your journey in the smart. These cars don't like doing many things quickly. :D Seems like an okay trade-off for the extra security.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Just an update...
The 5 hour job to install the flat tow bar, went to an 12 hour job. The "Demco Bar" needed flexing, bending etc.. This thing welded some apprentice on his first day.
Two holes lined up from 8...
But finally it is installed. For sure I installed the recommended battery disconnect. The cables I routed from the front to the inside where the battery tray is.
Next week I will start my summer trip...:)
 

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I'm glad I went with Blue Ox. Everything fit perfectly. It was hell getting the nuts started through the holes in the end of the frame, but the Blue Ox uses a box-like spacer bolted into the side of the frame. I ran the cables around the front suspension, but I think they are superfluous; no way that Blue Ox bar is going to come off the frame.
 

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One of my friend installed a Falcon Roadmaster towbar; he attached it to the 2 front hooks usually used for towing the car out of the ditch.
The cost was $28. CAN for the additional "Smart hook" and a few hours of self labour to modify the towbar's brackets !
The tow hooks screw into the bumper. He is towing the car attached only to the bumper. The bumper is attached only by 6 low-grade screws through the bumper flange and to the frame. The screws run fore and aft, so that they are not even in shear. He is depending on the threads only. I know this because I have the bumper removed at the moment to replace the AC condenser. Photo below is three of the bumper attach screws.

By the way, where does he attach safety cables? Or does he?

There is no way I could be convinced that it is safe to tow the car in that fashion other than what the hooks are intended for. i.e. getting the car out of a ditch.

The other two photos are my Blue Ox towbar. All grade 5 screws, torqued, and treated with thread locker. All screws are in shear and the metal is 1/8" thick.
 

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I've seen videos of Smart cars being towed that way in Europe...
If those bolts can be used to pull the car out of a ditch, they must be strong enough not to tear out the bumper, otherwise it could be very risky to do so...
Anyhow, I'll see my friend in a couple of weeks after he has done some trips to different campssites; I'll get back on here to report if all is just solid or not.
BTW, he has installed some home made brackets for his safety cables; they are bolted to the frame.
 
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