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:)

I think they were wrong about the "sunroof motors".....

The graphic was probably designed for the transition between the 450 and prior to the 451. That's why the graphic is from automotivenews.



The Getrag gearbox in that 451 shifted just fine IMO. I know it's like beating a dead horse, so many masses of people will disagree, but doggone it I won't concede my argument. There was never anything "wrong" with it, and it was just misunderstood by many (particularly Americans), and the 999cc was held to far too lofty of expectations. 70hp and 68 lbs-ft of torque was plenty of power relative to its design and relative to cost. The transmission was very high tech for an $11k gas car. I'd argue it was high tech for any car, regardless of price.



An opening/closing sunroof was likely under consideration at that time, and the plan was probably axed for weight/center of gravity reasons and ultimately, perhaps cost concerns.
 

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The graphic was absolutely for the new fortwo - the 451 at the time. The transmission changes mentioned are improvements over the 450 six speed AMT. :)
 

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The graphic was absolutely for the new fortwo - the 451 at the time. The transmission changes mentioned are improvements over the 450 six speed AMT. :)

That's what I mean. For the time, the transmission DID shift fine enough. It did provide quick shifts, and the "faster" on the graphic was comparing it to the shifting of the 450. But the largest criticism of the 451, particularly by Americans, was that the smart 451 had "slow" shifts.
 

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Not that it matters at this point, but part of that criticism was due to smart USA and many dealers referring to the transmission as an "automatic" - so that's what most customers expected it to shift like. Just shows how poor communications can hurt any product. :)
 

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Not that it matters at this point, but part of that criticism was due to smart USA and many dealers referring to the transmission as an "automatic" - so that's what most customers expected it to shift like. Just shows how poor communications can hurt any product. :)
Woulda shoulda coulda. FWIW though, I don't believe it would have made much difference at all, if any. While your point is valid and certainly well taken, smart car critics were going to complain about that transmission regardless. My personal fondness and appreciation for the shifting crispness, directly-controllable gears, meant nothing to far too many folks hellbent on whining. Especially if it was their money potentially being spent.

For example, I'll never forget one of my epic test drives with a "soccer mom" hellbent on complaining. She kept calling it a stupid transmission while she's test driving the car, even to the point of making sound effects during each shift. I'm sitting in the passenger seat totally keeping my laughter to myself, the 999cc/1.0L three-cylinder engine is performing sprightly at that moment, and here she is completely exaggerating her complaints about the transmission.

I'm watching her poor foot pedal technique as she's confusing the heck out of the car's transmission control unit. Now, her habit in a standard auto (i.e., transmission with far less precision) won't translate into the poor results she was achieving with smartshift (i.e., transmission with pinpoint precision), because each foot motion was dictating a TCU decision.

I tried, I really tried to help her, not for the sake of "making a sale" but for the sake of trying to teach her about the mechanics of a manual transmission and how the computer is analyzing the driving speed, throttle pressure/load on the engine, and the uphill/downhill vehicle position, to determine whether to hold gear, upshift, downshift, etc,. The automated control DEPENDS on input from the driver, and she just couldn't comprehend that concept. Her wildly alternating pedal stabbing and releasing she was doing was embarrassingly awful, but yet it was the cars fault to her. All 999cc's are going to have all the torque she needs to overcome all her poor gear choices. :crying:

But, it didn't matter. Nothing was going to convince her that maybe she was the problem, her expectations were out of whack with the reality of what would be economically feasible in a microcar with a 999cc engine in 2008 or 2009 or 2010.
 

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The 451 Getrag trans got a lot of disses over the years. But, you could adapt to it. The indicated gear number on the dash would sometimes lag the actual engaged gear by a second or more and the paddle shifting felt slow. The secret to getting the Smart to go fast was to keep the RPMs high. 5th gear is just an overdrive. I often cruised at 4KRPM+ in 4th, just to have more torque immediately available while in traffic. For what it was and for what the car cost, it was a notable achievement. Today, less than 4% of the vehicles sold in the USA have a clutch pedal. Soon, shifters and clutch pedals may become a distant memory for typical cars.
 

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Moderating the gas pedal helps with shifting. Quickly sprinting from the stop light improves the 1st to 2nd lag. That Mitsubishi engine likes to spin fast.

I have found driving like this, over time the shifts have become smoother during normal automatic style driving.
 

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Moderating the gas pedal helps with shifting. Quickly sprinting from the stop light improves the 1st to 2nd lag. That Mitsubishi engine likes to spin fast.

I drive mine with the stick in the manual position and use the throttle pedal as more of an on-off switch. :)

Yes it does hurt my gas mileage, but it makes the car so much more fun to drive by keeping it in the power band. Jack rabbit starts have me beating other cars across the intersection as well as not having to deal with the horrible and poorly timed 1-2 automated shift. :(

I just need to remember to not use so much throttle when in the truck! :eek:

~toaster
 

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<snip> not having to deal with the horrible and poorly timed 1-2 automated shift
:( <snip>
This is where I jump in to clear the air. The 1-2 shift is not "horrible and poorly timed." If you want a later shift, all you have to do is delay the 1-2 with increasing amounts of throttle pressure. If you want an earlier 1-2 shift, give solid throttle pressure and then begin to decrease pressure. Once you decrease pressure you triggered the 1-2 earlier. YOU are in control of the shift timing. :)
 

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I've long argued that people who don't like the smart's transmission just don't know how to use it. However after owning all three gens, I am a bit more sympathetic to those people who don't like it.

The 451's transmission isn't a bad transmission, however it definitely is flawed. At least to me (and anyone who has ever driven my 451), having the US version imitate a traditional automatic sets the expectation that the car will drive like a traditional automatic. Then when the car doesn't because it isn't, it freaks people out. To me, the transmission shines when you embrace the fact that it isn't a true automatic. Slide that shifter into Manual and have some fun.

99.9% of my miles have been in Manual and I don't regret it one bit. And since I choose my own shift points, I don't even need to do the lifting thing with the accelerator pedal. Every person who has driven my 451 hates the car until I tell them to have fun choosing their own gears. Wanna redline every shift? Do it. Wanna rip around corners like you're in a 'The Fast And The Furious' movie? The car is happy to comply. No needing to learn how to master the questionable programming of Auto Mode, no needing to do tricks to make shifts feel better, no modulating the pedal; just choose a gear whenever you feel like it.

Conversely, I actually drive my 453 in Auto Mode all the time. The Auto Mode in the 453s is infinitely more intelligent and when paired to the dual clutches, never leaves me feeling like the car doesn't have power when I need it. If I punch it, the car instantly downshifts and follows suit.

That said, the 450s remain king to me. The short gearing, the engine note, and the spooling turbo noise really makes me giggle. If you think the 451 is a go kart, oh you gotta try a 450. The lack of creep mode is worth the price of admission alone. :D
 
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This is where I jump in to clear the air. The 1-2 shift is not "horrible and poorly timed." If you want a later shift, all you have to do is delay the 1-2 with increasing amounts of throttle pressure. If you want an earlier 1-2 shift, give solid throttle pressure and then begin to decrease pressure. Once you decrease pressure you triggered the 1-2 earlier. YOU are in control of the shift timing. :)


I emphatically disagree! It is horrible and poorly timed! It is also why I never use the auto mode.

The 1-2 shift (in a 451) normally occurs at the absolute worst possible time... pull out from a stop sign, making a left turn onto a busy street... the transmission decides to lazily upshift in the middle of the intersection, temporarily leaving the vehicle powerless during the slow shift and unable to then adequately accelerate in 2nd... all the while traffic bears down upon you.

I understand why many people hate their first driving experience in the smart.

Of course, pressing the accelerator down practically to the floor will delay the upshift, just like it does in most automatics... but one does not always want to pull out so fast.



The 451's transmission isn't a bad transmission, however it definitely is flawed. At least to me (and anyone who has ever driven my 451), having the US version imitate a traditional automatic sets the expectation that the car will drive like a traditional automatic. Then when the car doesn't because it isn't, it freaks people out. To me, the transmission shines when you embrace the fact that it isn't a true automatic. Slide that shifter into Manual and have some fun.

I've long ago solved the poor programming of the 451 transmission by selecting the manual mode and mostly keeping the engine in the power band. I prefer the sportier acceleration it affords me, and without unexpected shifts.

The smart selects its shift points for fuel economy, not for performance or safety or even the ability to get out of its own way. It always strives to be in 5th gear and consequently many who drive it declare it a dog. My inspection mechanic, who has driven practically everything, really hates it... I have to emphasize the need to use manual mode and keep the revs up.

Since I drive the smart most of the time, sometimes it catches up to me when I'm in the truck, I forget and use too much throttle and squeal the tires.

~toaster
 

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I emphatically disagree! It is horrible and poorly timed! It is also why I never use the auto mode.

The 1-2 shift (in a 451) normally occurs at the absolute worst possible time... pull out from a stop sign, making a left turn onto a busy street... the transmission decides to lazily upshift in the middle of the intersection, temporarily leaving the vehicle powerless during the slow shift and unable to then adequately accelerate in 2nd... all the while traffic bears down upon you.<snip>

~toaster

You completely ignored and disregarded the most important point that I just made. All you paid attention to was when I said "it is not horrible and poorly timed," but then you skipped the rest of what I explained. The transmission doesn't "decide" to shift until the driver commands that shift. If you aren't ready for the 1-2 shift all you have to do is keep your foot down/ __INCREASE__ throttle pressure, and keep strong pressure until you are ready to shift. That shift only occurs once you lighten pressure on the pedal or if you are pretty much at redline. It shifts on command, at your decision communicated with your foot on the gas pedal.

The distinctions are very important here. The shift "decision" is based on foot-pedal input. You just have to trust me next time you make a left turn in traffic. Stop relaxing on the throttle at times you are saying are the worst possible times. Use your calf and ankle muscles and don't relax on the throttle when you are turning in traffic!! :nerd:
 

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You completely ignored and disregarded the most important point that I just made. All you paid attention to was when I said "it is not horrible and poorly timed," but then you skipped the rest of what I explained. The transmission doesn't "decide" to shift until the driver commands that shift. If you aren't ready for the 1-2 shift all you have to do is keep your foot down/ __INCREASE__ throttle pressure, and keep strong pressure until you are ready to shift. That shift only occurs once you lighten pressure on the pedal or if you are pretty much at redline. It shifts on command, at your decision communicated with your foot on the gas pedal.

The distinctions are very important here. The shift "decision" is based on foot-pedal input. You just have to trust me next time you make a left turn in traffic. Stop relaxing on the throttle at times you are saying are the worst possible times. Use your calf and ankle muscles and don't relax on the throttle when you are turning in traffic!! :nerd:

sigh... I don't need a driving lesson.

You may think I ignored or disregarded your point re throttle position and transmission shifting... but you only stated the obvious... ALL (non-racing) automatic transmissions operate like this... in the old days it was done with a vacuum modulator, now its the computer and in this case an emulated automatic.

You overlook the fact that one can't simply keep their foot down to prevent upshifting without running into traffic ahead, while letting up results in such a sudden change in acceleration (due to a slow 1-2 upshift followed by no acceleration) that one is likely to be hit from behind... and cuss words from other drivers. Defensive driving is especially important in a small vehicle.

The auto mode programing allows for only two methods of pulling into traffic, very slow or very fast... there is no middle ground in the auto mode, as is often demanded by traffic conditions. The auto mode strives for the highest gear possible and holds it unless there is a large throttle input or the kick-down switch is activated.

On those occasions when I forget to shift it into manual mode, it reminds me just how terrible it is.

I understand your reluctance as a dealer to recognize it as a problem and instead offer a workaround to your customers, awkward as it may be. Why do you think the pedal remappers are so popular? Because they somewhat mitigate the problem.

But as an engineer, I know there are better ways to design these things, I have no hesitation in calling the TCU programing piss poor engineering. Yes sometimes (often times?) crappy engineering comes from management decisions (dieselgate?)... but that doesn't change the end result. Horrible!

Yes I still like my smart, yes I've adjusted, but that doesn't fix what most people in my experience find to be a problem with the 451. Take a survey... you might just be surprised.

We sure have drifted a long way from the title of this thread... so if I can attempt to steer it back on topic... I noticed the initial graphic gives the names of the parts suppliers which could be useful in locating aftermarket repair parts.

~toaster
 

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Note for newcomers to the smart 451:


The car should not hesitate at inopportune times. For most people, practice (+willingness) is needed to achieve desired results. More throttle pressure = downshift, Less pressure = upshift, Steady Pressure = remains in gear. Knowing how to 'yo-yo' your pressure + or - throughout the pedal range will communicate to the TCU to override its planned up or downshift.

It's a fluid program that waits for the driver's input. Missing your opportunity with passiveness will mean the car makes decisions that may not correlate to the traffic around you. The TCU is a computer. It doesn't know that you made a right turn in front of a speeding driver. So the key is not to be passive with your foot. And communicate what you want the transmission to do prior to jumping in the middle of an intersection.

Keep practicing and you'll get better results! :nerd:
 

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In the defense of the transmission, I doubt any notable amount of crashes have been caused by the 1-2 shift. The cessation of acceleration is about equal to that of a standard manual. If someone gets pissed at the 1-2 shift, they're following too closely. I've nearly been rear ended in the 453 and that thing is lightning quick.

On topic: It looks like the graphic is listing all of the manufacturers for parts in the car, regardless of trim level. I bet the roof motors bit is referring the the convertible top. I still think the 451 should have had a glass roof. The change in center of gravity is negligible, especially considering that the cars are designed to understeer heavily anyway (unless you correct it with some equal sized rubber :wink:). Shoot, the 450s even had an optional motorized glass roof. I NEED me one of those one day ♥. YMMV on using the graphic for replacement parts. These cars have had a lot of rolling changes through the years and I wouldn't expect the same manufacturers throughout.
 

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From what I understand the experience with the glass sunroof on the 450s was not great - prone to shattering. :)
 

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The shattering roof issue was mostly limited to the pre-facelift 450s. When smart facelifted the 450 (2002+) they reinforced and added extra support to the glass and the issue became pretty rare. That said, I'm not surprised they went to polycarbonate. MB went polycarbonate for a lot of models with clear roofs panels that don't open.
 
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451 transmission ....short comings

OK, Let me start with my automotive experiences... I am close to 60, I have owned 133 cars (not including motorcycles, scooters or off road toys). I REALLY prefer a small car, with a large engine ( V8 57 bug, V8 Corvairs, V8 Vega, V8 Miata, BMW Isetta 300 with a Honda V45 transplant, Berkeley roadster with a 900 Ninja for power etc.)

I have owned one, two, three, four, six and eight cylinder cars, Also, an electric City Car, that barely qualifies as a car (no five cylinders to date, not planning on one either) These cars had automatic or manual shift, even a Pre-select transmission in a Goggomobil.

I really like small cars and I REALLY like fast cars.... :burnout:

BUT...in 2011, I bought a 8,700 mile 2009 Brabus Cabrio. The plan was to drive it for six months, and move on...

This was my ONLY car. ... I instantly LOVED this car.

I owned it for five days, and took it to my first Tail of the Dragon. That is when I learned that that this little car actually handled GREAT !

In the beginning, I was disappointed in the way the car shifts in automatic mode. (It is like riding with your elderly Grandmother in a stick shift car, It shifts VERY slowly, and at odd times). One of the smarties on here had a Daughter that called her smart transmission "Mr.Bucky". What an appropriate nickname ! (I laughed out loud literally when I first read that :rofl:)

Well, I started using the paddle shifters exclusively, and wow, what a difference ! As much as I was disappointed in the auto mode, I loved manually shifting ! The way the engine rev matches , makes it awesome downshifting into curve and powering through.

I enjoyed driving it so much....I drove it for over SIX YEARS , (NOT Months) and sold it with over 70,000 miles.

As you can imagine, for a muscle car, hot rod kind of guy like me to keep a car that long, I must have enjoyed driving it !

Am I happy with my 2017 Proxy Cabrio with paddle shifters ????

Does a Bear s_ _t in the woods ? :D
 

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OK, Let me start with my automotive experiences... I am close to 60, I have owned 133 cars (not including motorcycles, scooters or off road toys). I REALLY prefer a small car, with a large engine ( V8 57 bug, V8 Corvairs, V8 Vega, V8 Miata, BMW Isetta 300 with a Honda V45 transplant, Berkeley roadster with a 900 Ninja for power etc.)

I have owned one, two, three, four, six and eight cylinder cars, Also, an electric City Car, that barely qualifies as a car (no five cylinders to date, not planning on one either) These cars had automatic or manual shift, even a Pre-select transmission in a Goggomobil.

I really like small cars and I REALLY like fast cars.... :burnout:

BUT...in 2011, I bought a 8,700 mile 2009 Brabus Cabrio. The plan was to drive it for six months, and move on...

This was my ONLY car. ... I instantly LOVED this car.

I owned it for five days, and took it to my first Tail of the Dragon. That is when I learned that that this little car actually handled GREAT !

In the beginning, I was disappointed in the way the car shifts in automatic mode. (It is like riding with your elderly Grandmother in a stick shift car, It shifts VERY slowly, and at odd times). One of the smarties on here had a Daughter that called her smart transmission "Mr.Bucky". What an appropriate nickname ! (I laughed out loud literally when I first read that :rofl:)

Well, I started using the paddle shifters exclusively, and wow, what a difference ! As much as I was disappointed in the auto mode, I loved manually shifting ! The way the engine rev matches , makes it awesome downshifting into curve and powering through.

I enjoyed driving it so much....I drove it for over SIX YEARS , (NOT Months) and sold it with over 70,000 miles.

As you can imagine, for a muscle car, hot rod kind of guy like me to keep a car that long, I must have enjoyed driving it !

Am I happy with my 2017 Proxy Cabrio with paddle shifters ????

Does a Bear s_ _t in the woods ? :D

The '09 BRABUS shifts slower than the other models, but it's also programmed differently. Try revving the car up and ***removing*** your foot 100% OFF the throttle and watch how the car remains in gear without an upshift or downshift. That's a cookie for you to go play with and you'll learn something about how it's programmed. It's not designed to race its way up and down the gearbox, it's designed to let you methodically work each gear throughout its powerband (primarily 3k rpms through redline). The standard programming doesn't allow this, but the standard program attempts to shift as quickly as possible, most likely to appease the critics.



It's a more difficult program to master, but I'm encouraging you to hang in there.



On another note, my '09 Pure was *slightly* faster on straight line and uphill than my '09 BRABUS. The 17" wheel slows the car down on acceleration and is slightly more difficult for speed development. But the stability is on LOCK with those 17" rims + BRABUS suspension. Vast improvement over the stock models. :nerd:
 
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