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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
:( Since September our 2009 Smart Cabriole has been in the shop over 65 days. Each time they return it, the check engine light comes on within a day or two of normal driving. The dealer says it has replaced the engine control module twice and a wiring harness.

Frankly, I want to trade the car in now but I can't get a fair price with the check engine light on. All this started before the warranty ran out but the Penske dealer that sold the car to us appears to have never turned in their service reports to Mercedes so there are no records for the car's first year. We are certain the check engine light had been on in the first year, too. Without proof the problem started in the first 24 months Smart is saying I am out of luck since they are not obligated to fix it or buy it back under the lemon law.

The Mercedes dealer has only their records which show the problem started before 24,000 miles. They have done everything that Smart has said to do. So I am now at my wit's end. So I am hoping that someone has had a similar experience and knows what eventually turned the check engine light off for good.

Please, don't make obvious remarks like the fuel cap being lose. All the obvious stuff has been checked and rechecked. And I am not so dishonest as to disable the check engine lamp.
 

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What error codes are they getting when they plug it in? Ask for the printout. If they don't cooperate, take it to a good mechanic with a good code reader. That's what I did after a runaround from the dealer. Dealer's service department was way too vague for me. All they told me was to bring it in next Monday and leave it, because there are a lot of problems to fix. (Total B.S. They're the ones that tried to charge me over $1200 to replace a brake switch). Independent mechanic pinpointed the problem and it was fixed the same day. I had to run to the dealer to pick up a part, but that was it.
 

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Your repair order should have the error code number listed on it, otherwise next time the check engine light comes on, stop in at a local auto parts store and ask them to read the code. Most will do it for free. Once you have that number, someone may be able to help.

Another thought would be to stop at the Penske dealer and ask for a copy of your car's records. They probably have them in a computer or something but should be able to get you a copy. If they don't want to give them, casually mention that you are still having problems and you are going to discuss it with a lawyer. with the records, it could keep them out of the suit. I'd think they would be happy to give you what you need.
 

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Jim said:

"......next time the check engine light comes on, stop in at a local auto parts store and ask them to read the code."

Something I recently learned is that if you have a malfunction, you don't have to show up with it still malfunctioning to get the error code read. Even if it clears by itself (warning light goes out), the error gets stored in the car's "brain." They can pull it up months later. It stays there until cleared and on the printout, it tells whether it's new or stored. The stored ones are clearly marked.....what else?......"STORED."
 

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By the OP's comment the dealer had changed the ecu and wiring harness I would venture to say the light is coming on and there are no codes being given... JMO
 

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If the light is coming on and there are no codes, yet they have replaced the module twice, then I would point towards a short to positive, but they have replaced that too?

This all sounds a little hokey. It could be as little as a short to positive in the Instrument Panel turning the light on. But I agree with Jim, I need to know the DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) before we can help. Otherwise I would need to see the car and measure stuff with a multimeter.
 

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What part was the culprit for your issue, kensandyeggo?
I HATE COMPUTERS!! Just typed a 15 minute reply, I blink and it's gone. Here I go again. I had the yellow triangle coming on once a day or every other day and the car going into the limp-home mode. If I stopped and restarted the engine 2-4 times, it would clear and I'd be good for another day or 2.

Was near the dealer last Friday and the light came on and we were "limping," so I drove in. Service advisor had a mechanic put it on the scanner ($97.00) after an hour wait. Came back and said there were all kinds of problems and I should bring it back on Monday and leave it so they could figure out what's wrong. I asked for a copy of the readout and he printed one for me. There were only 2 new error codes. There were 2 sheets of previously stored errors that I was assured on previous visits had been cleared. I needed a new instrument panel shortly after I got the car. Extended warranty covered it minus my deductible. As I left, he told me the mechanic cleared all the error codes.

The next day I drove over to EuroWise. The mechanic J.P read the codes with his scanner and came up with bad communication from the accelerator module. The other error code seemed related. All the old error codes were still there. The advisor clearly lied to me. J.P. wasn't sure where the module was and even came here to help locate it. He spent several hours researching several things. Decided it actually was the accelerator module, which is a complete unit with the pedal assembly.

He called the dealer and shock of shocks, they actually had one in stock. I drove over and bought it ($160.00 with tax) and brought it to J.P. He installed it. 3 days now and all is O.K., no triangle and no "limping." J.P. then "ripped me off," are you ready?......for the grand total of $79.00, and that included the scan/diagnosis that I paid $97.00 for at the dealer. I was expecting 2 or 3 times that. I think it costs $79.00 at the dealer for the greeter to hold the door open for you.

I also got a bonus. I found a gift card on the passenger seat when I got home. I figured J.P. dropped it. He said he didn't, that he found it under the seat when he removed it and assumed it was mine. I phoned the number on the back, punched in the card number and it's still good for $100.00! Must have been from the previous owner. I bought the car from CarMax over a year ago. More than covers J.P.s "exorbitant" labor charge. I once again love my smart.

If I caught on fire and the dealer was the only one in Charlotte with a fire extinguisher.....maybe I'd go back.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, I'll get the code read by another shop

The dealer says they get a code but I don't know what it is. I'll call and ask but this afternoon I'll go my a shop close to my house and see if I can get them to read out the current error codes.

It's an interesting idea that the problem might be in the display itself. I'll ask the dealer if they have checked that. You say "short to positive". I'm an engineer so I would appreciate a bit more of an explanation about that.

The old dealer in the Austin area was owned by Roger Penske. That's the dealer who sold us the car. I've talked to them and they claim they gave all the records to Mercedes. Both the local Mercedes dealer and the Smart office say they don't have them. So its a finger pointing game on the first year's records.

By the way, I believe the Mercedes dealer is doing everything they can and they should be experienced with Smart Cars. In addition to local owners Cars2Go has a fleet of about 400 cars that can be rented by the hour. The Mercedes dealer services all of those too.

Right now, the Smart national customer service rep "Carol" is saying the car is out of warranty and it's not their problem. The dealer has asked for Smart to send a specialist to work on the car, but I don't believe anyone has ever come to the dealer.

So despite 1 day at the shop in Sept., 5 days in the shop in Oct., 18 days in the shop in Nov., 24 days in the shop in Dec., and 18 days in the shop in January the car is still not fixed!
 

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"So despite 1 day at the shop in Sept., 5 days in the shop in Oct., 18 days in the shop in Nov., 24 days in the shop in Dec., and 18 days in the shop in January the car is still not fixed!"

Have you thought of roasting marshmallows over an open bonfire under your car? JUST JOKING!! Really.
 

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At the risk of sounding like an "I told you so" (which this is not intended to be) - I have run up against this sort of thing many times in the past, and been burnt on it a number of them. I can only say that ultimately, the fault is mine, because I never saved receipts, etc. to prove what I said. This is the case here, too - I cannot believe you were not given a copy of the completed work orders after each maintenance cycle. Those are all the documentation you need to prove your case. If you still have them, problem solved (unless you encounter problems with the dealer saying that they don't count, in which case you escalate).
For the future, (and this is to any/everyone who hasn't accepted this practice yet) - always save your receipts, especially under warranty situations - for several years, at the least. It will ultimately save you lots of money.
 

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Little addition to my "War and Peace" type post. When the service adviser first came out with the error sheet, he held it in front of me and flipped through the pages of errors and telling me to look at all the things that needed repair. He even said that I had a lot of things that needed fixing and to bring it in Monday for them to start. Like I mentioned, there were only 2 related error codes. In other words, he wanted me to look at the sheet in his hands and be alarmed by what I saw. Luckily I asked for a copy and then saw the 2 errors and that the rest were never erased from previous times. Lesson? Don't trust anything you're told. Ask for printouts and documentation. I bet that if I dropped my car off they would have run the bill into the thousands, as they did before with my brake light switch
 

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Funny ever time, I had my smart car in for any service, since 08. I gotten a printed receipt of the warranty/or paid service work, that was preform on my vehicle. I wonder why OP didn't get any receipts of the warranty work that was perform. The service dealer should have given him something!!!! All dealership do. That just crazy!

I feel sorry for the OP, and his car issue. I would just trade the car off. Who are you going to fight if you don't have any proof of service while in warranty?
 

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Someone has to pay for the overstuffed chairs, wide screen TV's and the FREE drinks & munchies . . . :wink:
What dealer do you go to? I never saw a TV, free drinks or munchies. The chair I waited in sucked too, and the newspaper was yesterday's. All I saw was a guy at the counter ringing up invoices like crazy. Oh wait. I did notice a 40-ish female salesperson that was smokin' hot, but that's about it.
 

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First, Kenny is correct, all codes which "extinguish" themselves are generally intermittent conditions which are stored in memory until they are cleared.

Second, a short to positive is what it sounds like.

A short to ground is when a "hot" 12 wire touches a grounded wire, that may be inside of a control module, another grounded wire, or the chasis itself (situations such as chafing). This usually results in either a blown fuse or worse in unfused wiring (read: car is burnt to the ground).

A short to positive is a little trickier. I can also be a "hot" 12V wire touching another "hot" 12V wire or an internal module "short to positive". For example, your headlight recieves 12V through your Light switch so your headlights should only come on when you switch it on. But say it chafes through the wire for the Brake light circuit 12V wire. Now every time you apply the brakes, it also lights up the headlight. (This becomes even more freaky when it happens inside the module on the circuit board).

Now if the light bulb behind the SES light had this condition, you should still recieve a Error code in your ECM.

I need to have a diagnostic starting point before I can help. :/ That or I need your car.
 

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What dealer do you go to? I never saw a TV, free drinks or munchies. The chair I waited in sucked too, and the newspaper was yesterday's. All I saw was a guy at the counter ringing up invoices like crazy. Oh wait. I did notice a 40-ish female salesperson that was smokin' hot, but that's about it.
Felix Sebates' smart center South Charlotte . . .

You needed to go to the "other side" of the driveway as there is a very plush lounge just inside the door.

And yes, she is a lovely lady but wouldn't sell you a smart for fear of getting dirt under her perfectly polished MB finger nails.
 

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Felix Sebates' smart center South Charlotte . . .

You needed to go to the "other side" of the driveway as there is a very plush lounge just inside the door.

And yes, she is a lovely lady but wouldn't sell you a smart for fear of getting dirt under her perfectly polished MB finger nails.

Every time I tried to cross over to the other side, 3 large goons with MB shirts on got in front of me and blocked my way. Said I wasn't eligible to go to the "promised land" on the other side of the driveway. One told me that the only way to get over there was to talk to the foxy saleslady and break out my wallet. How did you sneak over? Just because you look distinguished?
 
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