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Discussion Starter #1
We've been a two smart apartment since October now and personally, I love it. My girlfriend doesn't drive so both cars are mine. Not long after getting the 453, I also got an incredible increase in my income that has allowed me to go back to my crazy hobbies.



Since then, I've been buying iPhones, repairing them, then keeping or selling them...and so on. I haven't been this happy and free in a very long time.

However, I still yearn to get back to my long dormant hobby, modding smarts.

When I first got Phil (the 453), my plan was that I was just going to restore Tucker to factory condition. For the most part, I'm finished with that. He's running like a champ, I cleaned up the damage from last year, I even gave him a heavy detailing.

When I got my 453, I told myself I would keep it mostly stock. At the most, I would get cosmetic stuff, lighting mods, a blow off valve, and of course my signature shift knob:



My 453 is perfect just the way it is, no need to ruin it!

So, that leaves us with my trusty 451 that's somewhere near 130k with plenty of life left in him. Well, what should I do with him? Finish the projects I stopped in 2014? Try an engine swap? Turbo? No, I think I have something more fun and hopefully not incredibly invasive for him.

Last winter, I took little Tucker out ice racing a few times. I even got him out on some trails. I had a blast. Everyone else had proper cars for the job, but Tucker did his best...better than anyone could expect.

I want to capitalize on it. I want to make Tucker into a rally smartie. I've gotten together my parts list and even a phase structure so I don't bankrupt myself with excitement. I know, I could just fully restore Tucker to factory condition and be done with him. But seeing as I plan on keeping Phil close to factory stock, maybe I should do something fun and unique with Tucker? Modding has always been a draw for me.

So, with that out of the way, here's my plan.

Phase I - Cosmetic and Emergency parts.

In this stage, Tucker is going to get:

- Rally lights! :D I’m finally going to get rid of that ugly front license plate box like I’ve always wanted to.
- Tow hitch spare tire carrier (with a spare, of course).
- A winch (if I can figure out how to make it work in a non-invasive way, still working on it).
- Roof rack? Not sure about if I want one yet or not.
- Maybe a jerry can and a tall antenna to compliment the look.

Phase II - Lift! Lift! Lift!

- Lift kit.
- Replace worn suspension parts.
- Alignment.

Phase III - Rubber.

- Getting all terrain tyres, or offroad tyres if I can find them.
- Shaving the bumpers (if necessary).
- Other finishing touches.

I think I could totally do something like this and have it done before the end of the summer. Thoughts? Advice? Am I crazy and should just keep my little Tucker nice and stock?
 

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Great ideas for the 451 . A little lift and some aggressive rally style tires with the appropriate rally eye candy bits and it would look sweet . Do I hear a Dakar style look ? Pretty cool , keep us posted
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Once I get started (my planned start date is approx one month before Iowa) I'll actually start a build thread. I actually have a secondary goal of making it as easy as possible. I expect the only times I have to actually hire someone will be when it's time to install the lift kit, any suspension work, and mounting the tyres as those are outside of my skillset. :)

And honestly, I don't want the car to conquer Moab or anything, but rather be my fun adventure companion!
 

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Sounds like fun! I've been trying to get an antenna mount for my 451. Plan was to get one of these tow hooks, remove the D ring and fabricate an L bracket to mount an stud for the antenna.

smart car Racing Tow Hook - Silver Finish Online Store - smart car Parts and Accessories

Now plan is to just use a bolt through the bumper mount for a tow hook and make a custom bracket, yours would be a lot simpler if you just fabricated a mount onto the jerry can holder. I had something like that on an old Jeep.
 

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Awesome, I'll be following this with much interest. I've wanted to build a lifted, off-road Smart since I saw pics of the one SmartMadness did way back.
[/IMG]
 

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We've been a two smart apartment since October now and personally, I love it. My girlfriend doesn't drive so both cars are mine. Not long after getting the 453, I also got an incredible increase in my income that has allowed me to go back to my crazy hobbies.



Since then, I've been buying iPhones, repairing them, then keeping or selling them...and so on. I haven't been this happy and free in a very long time.

However, I still yearn to get back to my long dormant hobby, modding smarts.

When I first got Phil (the 453), my plan was that I was just going to restore Tucker to factory condition. For the most part, I'm finished with that. He's running like a champ, I cleaned up the damage from last year, I even gave him a heavy detailing.

When I got my 453, I told myself I would keep it mostly stock. At the most, I would get cosmetic stuff, lighting mods, a blow off valve, and of course my signature shift knob:



My 453 is perfect just the way it is, no need to ruin it!

So, that leaves us with my trusty 451 that's somewhere near 130k with plenty of life left in him. Well, what should I do with him? Finish the projects I stopped in 2014? Try an engine swap? Turbo? No, I think I have something more fun and hopefully not incredibly invasive for him.

Last winter, I took little Tucker out ice racing a few times. I even got him out on some trails. I had a blast. Everyone else had proper cars for the job, but Tucker did his best...better than anyone could expect.

I want to capitalize on it. I want to make Tucker into a rally smartie. I've gotten together my parts list and even a phase structure so I don't bankrupt myself with excitement. I know, I could just fully restore Tucker to factory condition and be done with him. But seeing as I plan on keeping Phil close to factory stock, maybe I should do something fun and unique with Tucker? Modding has always been a draw for me.

So, with that out of the way, here's my plan.

Phase I - Cosmetic and Emergency parts.

In this stage, Tucker is going to get:

- Rally lights! :D I’m finally going to get rid of that ugly front license plate box like I’ve always wanted to.
- Tow hitch spare tire carrier (with a spare, of course).
- A winch (if I can figure out how to make it work in a non-invasive way, still working on it).
- Roof rack? Not sure about if I want one yet or not.
- Maybe a jerry can and a tall antenna to compliment the look.

Phase II - Lift! Lift! Lift!

- Lift kit.
- Replace worn suspension parts.
- Alignment.

Phase III - Rubber.

- Getting all terrain tyres, or offroad tyres if I can find them.
- Shaving the bumpers (if necessary).
- Other finishing touches.

I think I could totally do something like this and have it done before the end of the summer. Thoughts? Advice? Am I crazy and should just keep my little Tucker nice and stock?
You speak my language...one day soon my life will afford such lux. Been wanting to do similar to my '89 rabbit convert, but I'll think I'm going to let her go since my recent score.

Today Will Soon Be Yesterday, Choose Wisely...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Awe! :) I ball hard on a budget. I mean, the only reason I have two smarts is because the awesome deal I got on the 453 (super thanks to Mister_smart_LA on that!). Otherwise I'd have just the 453 and this wouldn't be happening.

One of my biggest stipulations about this project is the price tag. While I do have the income to mod my cars again, I don't have the disposable income to go all out on an offroad conversion. Thus, I'm setting my max budget of about $1,000, spread out over about 2 or 3 months.

That's not a big deal though, I'm used to inventing my way around issues like cost. I have no idea how much the SmartMadness and Daystar offroad builds were, but I'm not going to spend anywhere near that. For me, I finance my projects through eBay. It's amazing what parts you can get for cheap through eBay. Sure, you sometimes get what you pay for...but usually I get an incredible deal for something that should be much more expensive. It's how I can basically flip phones on a dime!

Due to the developments in another thread, I may be buying a new door panel for the new smart before I start this project. Though if the panel is cheap enough, I can do both at once.
 

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Awe! :) I ball hard on a budget. I mean, the only reason I have two smarts is because the awesome deal I got on the 453 (super thanks to Mister_smart_LA on that!). Otherwise I'd have just the 453 and this wouldn't be happening.

One of my biggest stipulations about this project is the price tag. While I do have the income to mod my cars again, I don't have the disposable income to go all out on an offroad conversion. Thus, I'm setting my max budget of about $1,000, spread out over about 2 or 3 months.

That's not a big deal though, I'm used to inventing my way around issues like cost. I have no idea how much the SmartMadness and Daystar offroad builds were, but I'm not going to spend anywhere near that. For me, I finance my projects through eBay. It's amazing what parts you can get for cheap through eBay. Sure, you sometimes get what you pay for...but usually I get an incredible deal for something that should be much more expensive. It's how I can basically flip phones on a dime!

Due to the developments in another thread, I may be buying a new door panel for the new smart before I start this project. Though if the panel is cheap enough, I can do both at once.
In my hemisphere, affordability often does relay to funds, but also other factors. I can make something happen with little resource. However, my biggest resource is patience (& making a nickel scream), lol.
I think your plans are AWESOME & will be so excited to live vicariously through your posts as it comes along! Wish we lived closer bc I would so be wanting to hang out, ha!

Today Will Soon Be Yesterday, Choose Wisely...
 

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You know you'll have to fabricate a snorkel as well! ;)

Should be easy since there is an air intake already cut into the side of the smart!

 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don't think I'll be going into THAT deep of water now! :eek: I mean. I have taken the smarty swimming once. That one time caused my right side skirt to blow off.

BTW - A year later, my zip tie hack is still holding strong!
 

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Cibié Super Oscars on the front would do the trick - excellent lights, with a pair of steady bars to keep them stable. Halda Speedpilot and Twinmaster won't work on a car without a mechanical speedo drive, but modern equivalents would be good. Sump protection plate...that's a start.
 

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Awe! :) I ball hard on a budget.

I'm with you on that. eBay, Craigslist, forums, and car clubs were my biggest source when I built my PT Cruiser. Took it from ~175whp/195wtq to 227whp/281wtq for about $1,500. It was a blast. Wish I still had that, but it would NEVER pass emissions here.

Best of luck with your build. It sounds like it will be a fun smart. If I could find a cheap enough turbo kit and supporting mods I'd have one already. Oh well, goes on the dreamer list and may one day be a reality.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update on this project:

I just purchased my first part of the lift kit, the 2011 ED springs and shocks. These will give me 2-3 inches in lift alone, and that's before the 2 inch Daystar lift gets involved.

Tyres will be General Grabber A/Ts in 205/75/15 size.

In all I'm looking at $1k in parts and maybe a few hundred in installation. Finished product will have more ground clearance than a Wrangler and better towing abilities to boot! The best part is that everything should be reversible should I not like it. I'm not cutting into the tridion or hacking my panels like other builds do.
 

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Update on this project:

I just purchased my first part of the lift kit, the 2011 ED springs and shocks. These will give me 2-3 inches in lift alone, and that's before the 2 inch Daystar lift gets involved.
The ED springs and shocks are good for that much? That's good to know.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wanted to give an update on this project. So this is still my "flagship" project and if I'm honest, I've temporarily shelved it. My big problem is that I want to keep Tucker going as long as possible. I know that there may come a day I ask that car to do something it simply cannot. So far trekking across entire states while towing trailers so close to its weight hasn't killed it, however maybe this project will. At least when you're towing a trailer you are on smooth ground. Further, I've realized that further changing tyre sizes and lifting it will hurt its ability to tow trailers.

I amended the plan to require a donor smart, preferably a 2008 with some damage. This way I can offroad the bugger and not feel bad if/when it gets beat up.

With that said, in two weeks I will be attending the Gambler 500 Navigational Rally. The vehicle I have for the Gambler is a Chinese scooter. I fear I won't be able to get it running in time and I'll have to be forced to run Tucker. If that happens, I'll move forward with my offroad build and make probably the first Overland smart in the world. Stay tuned, things may get really fun real quickly! :)

 

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I contacted Daystar about a lift kit for the 453 but they don't have plans for making one. Does anyone know if the ED springs from a 453 would achieve the same result? I'd like to raise the car 1 to 2 inches.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I contacted Daystar about a lift kit for the 453 but they don't have plans for making one. Does anyone know if the ED springs from a 453 would achieve the same result? I'd like to raise the car 1 to 2 inches.
Probably not.

The springs I have from the 451 were from the Phase II Tesla battery powered prototypes. The Phase III 451 EDs have a different suspension (rumored to be the Brabus suspension) that when applied to an ICE probably wouldn't change ride height.

If you really want to lift a 453, you can always stick rubber spacers into the springs or maybe even make a sort of hockey puck lift.

Speaking of this project...I did sort of achieve my end game with it!









Sadly, due to how harsh offroading is on various parts, this navigational rally was a one time deal for this car. Ultimately I will do more offroading in a smart, but it won't be my beloved original 451.
 
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