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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

First I want to thank all for all previous advise. I have 09 Smart that began having gear select problems. I got just blank in the display and a chime. (This happened for a second time after being parked outside in the rain for two days) Had to turn the car off and restart. Called service in Walnut Creek and was told that it could be clutch. Was quoted almost 2,000 for parts and labor. My car has 29,000 miles and trying to decide if I should go ahead. I want to ask what other expensive problem have you have experienced that I should consider before spending the money. If possible please let me know the mileage when it happened. Trying to decide if to fix it or sell.
 

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If you do need a new clutch actuator - they cost around $600 [ebay] and can be owner installed.

You may try removing the electrical connection to the actuator and cleaning it, then re-plug back in.

YouTube has videos on how to access the actuator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The service is on 2nd st. they work on Smart and Mercedes only. I will try the update first but today it did it again. had to put in 1st and later in reverse. it worked fine afterwords. Hoping that it is not the clutch.
 

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The service is on 2nd st. they work on Smart and Mercedes only. I will try the update first but today it did it again. had to put in 1st and later in reverse. it worked fine afterwords. Hoping that it is not the clutch.
Peter81. I have an 08 that had to have the transmission update by the dealer not too long after I bought it. Had the actuator replaced 2014 ($900) & another update. It still doesn't want to go into reverse about 30% of the time. When this happens I put it in D then R always works. Pain in the rear but I've learned to live with it. Will be getting a new Cab when the arrive hope all of those type bugs are gone. Good luck
 

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sounds like another case of a shifter motor not getting enough current.

as I have said so many times here on this forum these cars are fussy when it come to the electricals.
so before you spend a DIME at the STEALER-DEALER listen up and check or do the following:
Battery. how old is it? over 5 yrs? replace it! if its close to 5 yrs get it checked for voltage AND current.
Battery Terminals, are they CLEAN? take them off and clean them anyways, then get some dielectric grease and cover them.
Battery ground terminal at body, clean that as well and grease it as well..
Ground terminal at engine... this one is especially IMPORTANT, if its braided, replace it period, they are garbage, and REPLACE with a good quality CABLE. terminals on both ends crimped (and preferably soldered) . clean and use dielectric grease on it as well BOTH ENDS> dont skimp out , clean it well.. body stud and engine/transmission.. then on to the clutch actuator, ... take the actuator electrical plug apart and clean it, grease this as well. wrap with rubber tape. if you have the ability service the actuator ,there are detailed instruction posted elsewhere if after checking all this and it still acts up, then get the service updated software....
99% of shifting issues can be solved with these simple maintenance tips.
let me know if any of this works, and if you find something I have missed, I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT.
steveg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I will start with new battery thinking of Optima 34 R since it still has the original battery so it is 6 years old. Hope that this is good choice. I will do all you have listed as well and will post my findings.
 

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yes check the battery FIRST, the motor driving the gear selector is basically a starter motor with detents. the current draw is rather high for ts size.. about the size of a motorcycle starter motor and similar in construction. combined with the transmission frictional losses just at the spool that drives the forks in and out through a gear reduction, it adds up quick.

why Smart just didnt use a gearbox similar to a motor cycle is beyond me.. even a box like any larger bike (goldwing automatic etc) would have been much better IMO.

the Smart gearbox uses a motor that drives a gear reduction something like 60 to 1.ratio. which turns a spool that has grooves machined into it that slide the selection forks in/out through the different gears .. and at the same time these gears have sycronizors that line the teeth up to prevent clashing made of brass.. on the larger gear in the reduction are detents, small dimples machined into the gear , with a small ball that is spring loaded in the case riding on the surface of this gear that is supposed to stop for the next shifting point. (lining up the gear).. the position of the spool and what gear it is in, is determined by the computer, engine speed, car speed, .. the computer determines what gear its in by a switch that sends a signal to the computer , some have hall effect switches, small magnets embedded into the spool that trip a small switch sending a signal to the computer.. it then calculates through software what gear its in , the speed it needs to engage properly and either increases or decreases the spool rotational speed to select the gear needed.. this all uses CURRENT. Current is the muscle, the voltage is the speed.. lacking of one or the other will botch the process up. mind you this process is done in MILLISECONDS...and at the same time activates the clutch actuator drivng it in and out de-clutching /clutching (engaging or disengaging the power) as needed ..this takes current as well , lots of it.
so when it doesnt have enough to do the job, the computer either tries (and fails) to select, or does nothing... which its programmed to do.
if i find a vid i will post it..
hope this helps explain the process..
steveg.
 
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