Smart Car of America Forum banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was changing the oil on my 2011 smart and was shocked to see heavy rust damage on my drive shafts. Cannot believe I never noticed this before. If you have any experience or knowledge about the durability of drive shafts can you look at these photos and give me your thoughts? I expect they are engineered with rust in mind but yikes. Is this now dangerous or unsafe to drive? I plan to sand and paint them if it's likely they are still OK. The one Mercedes dealership in Michigan is about a 2hr drive away.

Any help/guidance evaluating this situation is appreciated.

Doug
 

Attachments

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
17,697 Posts
Most of it is surface rust. However I am concerned with the end of the axle on the other side of the sticker, that is NOT just surface rust. I only reckon it hasn't snapped because the car puts out so little torque.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,310 Posts
I have seen rust similar to that on sway bars and I have had them break. I would replace them. Amazing that this would happen
 

·
Registered
2009 451 Rally Red, Pennzoil Platinum Euro 5W-40, Wix XP 51356, 185/55R15 tires, 44 psl
Joined
·
1,073 Posts
Smack them with a hammer...

Smack them lightly with a hammer.


Rice Crispies sound, crunch, replace


Ringing sound, they should be OK...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Resolved: Surface rust

Thanks for everyone who gave me some feedback on this. This is a wonderful helpful community.

Final diagnosis: Local mechanic who worked on smarts said "looks horrible but is fine". Apparently after a few winters in Michigan all smarts look this way (since so much salt used on roads = salt water spray).

His prescription was directing me to this "Paint Your Driveshafts" entry at the Evilution website
-> https://www.evilution.co.uk/index.php?menu=Engine&mod=425

After very light sanding they looked just like in the photo on Evilution. Smooth and homogenous. What came off was the black coating/shell on the shafts which I guess was there to protect/slow corrosion. Now painting them flat black to replace that coating. I think checking and painting them each summer is a new task to be added to the list.

Also tried the suggested "tap with hammer" and both made "bong" liberty bell sounds. No rice crispy crunch sounds.

Thanks again.

Doug
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,204 Posts
That same rustiness may well be on all your pivot points. So while you are at it spray some lube on all pivot points and bushings to loosen up the suspension again. I intend to remove my rear belly pan to take a look and before winter have my Smart sprayed with an oil based under coating. Smarts are so under lubed, thank goodness the body panels are plastic.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
17,697 Posts
Not sure about lube as a long term solution for my car. Softened the suspension, but now all those pivot points are caked with a ton of mud from offroading. Seemed the lube attracted all the crap from my driving activities! lol :shrug:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
Luckie, This may be somewhat unrelated, but first of all I agree with the other folks - have the drive shafts replaced and anything else that is involved with replacing the drive shafts. Another matter of concern and I say that is worse than the drive shafts is having the tubular swing axle of the rear subframe get very rusted to the point of rotting away because obviously replacing that along with replacing all the other stuff like the drive shafts/wheel bearings/and etcetera because the ends of that tube axle are OPEN to everything. A cheap and affective way to stop that or even slow it down once rust started inside is simply install caps to keep the elements and debris out of there. I put rubber caps on mine ages ago. But now I have plastic caps that are also decorative with either the Smart Logo or just the word "SMART" on them in yellow. I'm selling them for $21 a pair shipped/mailing included.
Contact me if you would like a pair. Thanks, sykes05
PS: I have pictures of both, but I guess I'm in my limit for attachments and don't know how to get rid of old ones.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
17,697 Posts
Another matter of concern and I say that is worse than the drive shafts is having the tubular swing axle of the rear subframe get very rusted to the point of rotting away because obviously replacing that along with replacing all the other stuff like the drive shafts/wheel bearings/and etcetera because the ends of that tube axle are OPEN to everything. A cheap and affective way to stop that or even slow it down once rust started inside is simply install caps to keep the elements and debris out of there.
No no no no, please don't do that. You know what's worse than having a metal tube that's open to the elements? Having one that's mostly but not really closed off to the elements. That means any moisture in it is now trapped. Ask any pickup truck owner what happens when moisture gets trapped between a bed and bedliner or in a door because the door drains are clogged with mud. My Ranger's bed wouldn't be twerking on every pothole right now if the previous owner allowed the bed to have proper drainage. This is also why you don't do rubberized coatings as rust protection...any imperfection in the coating and you're signing your frame's death warrant.

Want DeDion caps? Get them. They're a simple mod that gives your rear end some flair. But please don't seal the tube off. If you're super concerned about rust on the DeDion, coat it in something that will actually work like POR-15.

I haven't given my 451 an underbody wash since December 2017. The car regularly goes in the dirt, offroading, on salty roads, you name it. The only corrosion on the tube is absolutely normal and very minimal surface rust. Even my unprotected 450 cabrio has an awesome looking DeDion and a previous owner actually dented it highsiding the car on something.
 
  • Like
Reactions: paulbob

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Guys and gals - there's nothing wrong with those axles! I've been under hundreds of cars here in the salt belt and unless it's the first few winters a car has been on the road almost ALL axles look like this. Often axles are powder coated and the coating comes off in sheets as they rust. Totally normal.

More of a problem is bent axles or nicks in axles that can cause breakage. But most problems with axles are caused by the CV joints on the ends of them on front drive cars. Being a rear drive car, the fortwo doesn't flex its outer CV joint as far as on a front drive car so the axles last longer because the boots stay intact. CV joints usually fail because the boots break and water and sand etc. get into the joint and grind it down.

Paul
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Thanks, Miss Mercedes! This was going to be my next post! One of the design goals on cars is to keep certain areas well ventilated to avoid corrosion. When I first saw those caps I thought they were pretty cool. But when I thought about the condensation and moisture that could build behind them I decided that I would not take the risk.

Paul
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
Well, Yes, Before you cap them off, clean it out and dry it out. Then cap them. I mean it isn't a vacuum tight seal, they are put there to keep out the majority of everything and anything you would want to enter in there to minimize problems. By all means do what you can to clean and dry the best one can before capping the open ends.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
17,697 Posts
So the problem I have with caps that don't vent is that they possibly promote oxidation. The DeDion tube has two tiny holes up front and the two big ones in the back. Capping off the back holes doesn't stop water and condensation from getting in and may actually make evaporation take longer.

For the purpose of rust protection (which smartville claims isn't a problem and it appears to be supported by a lack of complaints), something like POR-15 will work far better. :)

Of course, I'm all for getting caps for style... just I don't buy the supposed rust benefits.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Smart Bob
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top