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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I added a switch to good ole fuse 11 to disable the ESP on my car. Here was the process if anyone wants to duplicate it. The switch I got from www.dirtyparts.com. The switch cover is part #OTR-VVPZCVS500 and the switch itself was #CLT-V1D1J66B . The switch came assembled and not in two pieces.

First step was to drop the fuse box down by removing the two silver screws at the rear of the box-



Once the box is dropped down unclip the grey connector from the left side of the box. The wire we're interested in is the RED/PINK which is four positions from the rear side of the connector. That needs to be cut and then wires run to the switch-



Wires soldered and heat shrunk on-



Now to cut the hole for the new switch. I made a paperboard template then traced that onto the plastic. The plastic cuts very easily with a sharp razor blade-





The two wires run to the switch pins #2 & 3(order doen't matter) and then clip the switch into place. Tada like it was from the factory this way!



And a youtube video showing the results-
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Should be fixed now.

Yes this also disables ABS. I wish that stayed on. I'm a big fan of ABS, not so much ESP. All though I have to give this car credit. The ESP is very "delicate" when it intervenes. Every other car I've owned when it kicks in it kicks in hard and abruptly really unsettling the car and your nerves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Some updates after driving around with this for a bit.

Braking- The stock system is extremely unbalanced. It is completely dependent on the ABS system biasing the braking power front to rear. The rears will lock way before the fronts under hard braking. This makes the rear of the car want to be the front(it wants to spin). To drive this car with out the ABS engaged requires a proportioning valve added to the rear. Minus that it is extremely unsafe!! Adding a proportioning valve is on the short list now. I really like the way the car drives with the ESP disabled but this braking thing is more than a bit scary.

Steering- This disables the self centering of the steering at speed. It also provides less assistance at speed. I found both of these things to be a good thing and made the car drive better. The steering is way over boosted at speed IMO and this solves that.
 

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Just a word of warning to anyone who tries to duplicate this or any other modification... Be sure you are aware that changing the way your car handles requires you know exactly how and what it all affects. You are responsible for what happens once you change things, and thus are responsible for the results. Tampering with any safety device will void the warranty and absolve the manufacturer from any and all liability if something goes wrong.

I'm not making a judgement as to if this should be one. that is up to you. Just be aware of the consequences of those actions. A short wheelbase vehicle can get away from you pretty quickly in adverse weather and driving situations.
 

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Yep, way back when I made a disable switch that plugged into the fuse panel that I used for one thing and only one thing......for winter to help get unstuck or up steep deep snow covered hills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Agreed. That's why I posted up how the car drove. The braking is just down right dangerous in a panic situation. I probably went a week of regular driving with no concerns at all. Went to hard brake after almost missing a turn and it got really exciting really fast.

Honestly I'm surprised how bad the braking is biased from the factory. Typically you try to size the brakes for even braking minus any electronic nannies or mechanical proportioning valves. Then use those for fine tuning.

Part of this may have to do with the rear being drums. They are self energizing. As in they can pull themselves harder into the drum of their own fruition. It's one of the reasons they were used way back in the day before power brakes were a regular thing. With rear discs the braking power is totally dependent on the pressure applied which would make biasing them much more consistent.

Just a word of warning to anyone who tries to duplicate this or any other modification... Be sure you are aware that changing the way your car handles requires you know exactly how and what it all affects. You are responsible for what happens once you change things, and thus are responsible for the results. Tampering with any safety device will void the warranty and absolve the manufacturer from any and all liability if something goes wrong.

I'm not making a judgement as to if this should be one. that is up to you. Just be aware of the consequences of those actions. A short wheelbase vehicle can get away from you pretty quickly in adverse weather and driving situations.
 

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The car is not meant to be driven with ESP disabled. Mercedes has installed the equivalent of a fly-by-wire system on the smart. Just as the F-16 is unflyable without an operational computerized flight control system, the smart is essentially undriveable (safely) with the ESP disabled. Proceed at your own risk...:)
 

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Your warning is appropriate, but in the case of the F-16, it is designed to be unstable so it can be highly maneuverable when needed. The smart's misproportioned braking is just lackadaisical engineering that could have been solved by other simple means, with only slightly added cost. But maybe that added cost was the issue.
 

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Again, the smart is not designed to be driven without the ESP - that's why there is no "ESP disable" switch on the car. Coulda, woulda, shoulda doesn't matter at this point. Disabling the ESP is asking for trouble. :)
 

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Again, the smart is not designed to be driven without the ESP - that's why there is no "ESP disable" switch on the car.
jwight is spot on!

Although there is a little "thrill seeker" in all of us, at speed, with such a short wheelbase if you happen to lose traction the outcome may not be pleasant without ESP (Electronic Stability Protection) on your side. :shrug:
 

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Only reason I haven't done something like this is that braking issue. I drove my old smart "spiritedly" a few times with ESP/ABS disabled and it was pretty sketchy. I haven't even tried it in my current car. I rely on ESP at the limit to keep things from getting out of hand, which is easy with squared 195's...
 

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There's a number of folks here who actually drop into Neutral on hills. They have high mileage so I assume the computers are actually smart (zing!) enough to prevent damage in such scenarios. :) I usually try to rev match if I have to drop to Neutral and then back into a gear again while moving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
With the self centering disabled on my car it pulls to the right at speeds over 40mph. I've had it aligned with no improvement. Not sure what exactly causes it since it doesn't seem to be a mechanical misalignment.

I also tried just unplugging the power to the rack and it disabled the ABS and traction control also.
 
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