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Actually, I discussed just such a mod recently in a thread about the newer models of Smarts vs my older model. I also attached a YouTube video which showed the beveled cut to the front edge of the engine bay that I was addressing. I thought of doing that very mod and was tempted once I did my first plug change on my own Smart. I thought better of it though, as I have long since given up my old Lincoln welder and equipment, plus my array of body tools and paint equipment. I didn't want to alter any structural integrity items or panels and I didn't want to devaluate any resale value of my car, either. It is certainly doable, but having now completed my first plug change, I feel the future ones will not be as difficult as the first was. Any welds of cuts to this area for mods would need to be sealed up to prevent any leaks of exhaust or such, I suspect.


Check out the engine bay edges in this video where it is shown and you can see that the area is now beveled for easier access to the plugs. It would work as a model for a possible modification to be done, I suspect. I believe my video is linked to where it actually begins right where a clear view of that beveled area is located.


Apparently it is easier in some models than others to have access to the plugs, but I am not certain. My Smart is a 2010 Passion model and I have to admit, this is an area that was lacking in easy plug access, for sure. Good luck in what you choose to do on your own Smart If you make such a mod, please take pics to post and let us know how it turned out for you.


https://youtu.be/xkdGb1lEKio
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes saw that video, at about 8.30 in is the engine bay reveal.

Was thinking about cutting in an inch and folding the edge - don't think it will need welding or cause any structural integrity issues.
 

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As coupe1942 said, once you perform a plug change or two, you learn how to get around the edge and I don't think it is worth the hassle of modifying the compartment. The only down side is when you drop a plug or socket and i doesn't come out the bottom.
 

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As coupe1942 said, once you perform a plug change or two, you learn how to get around the edge and I don't think it is worth the hassle of modifying the compartment. The only down side is when you drop a plug or socket and i doesn't come out the bottom.
I lost my cover fastener that way, never did come out !! :eek:
 

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I actually thought about this, as I was afraid if I ever lost that key, it would be difficult to replace. I considered simply putting in a self-drilling screw and attaching a piece of fish line to it with the key so it never really gets lose in the depths of the never ending pit down below. :)


At present I have made it a habit to simply take that blasted key and placing it up front in the little cubby hole beside the steering wheel when I work on anything in the engine bay area. Sort of irritating to have to retrieve it like that when I am through, but so far it has helped me ensure I didn't lose it. I'll likely do the fish line trick later at some point.
 

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there is supposed to be a retainer on it so it doesn't come off the cover. Lost mine a few years ago and I replaced the J nut with a threaded nut, now I use a thumbscrew and is easily replaced at any hardware store.. Also added a clip on the bottom to hold it in place when the cover is removed
 

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Oh, good grief! Why do people hack up their cars like that? Does everybody want everything easy these days? If you are having trouble changing the spark plugs you are not doing it right. It is tedious but not that hard. It is not a flathead Ford with the plugs standing up looking at you.

Nothing personal. Just ranting out loud. I'm old and cranky so I am allowed to do that. It's the law.

:D
 

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I agree, if I can change my spark plugs in heels, a push-up bra, and with long nails; the rest of you have this on easy mode. :x :p
 

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Try changing sparkplugs on a 1.5 liter Fiat X 1/9. OR 4.0 Ford Ranger. Humans don't have enough skin on their knuckles to survive the ordeal..... smart plugs are a cake walk to do.....


Oh let's go hack up the engine bay so there's no longer a good seal between the car's occupants and the engine....Where's my gas mask????
 

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I'd be more concerned about rust. I'm pretty sure there's an adequate way to make sure the holes won't rust, but not worth the risk IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for everyone chiming in - especially the afternoon people, seem to be the most vocal.

As to ingress of fumes into the cabin, the lip on the boot cover would still seal the area.
As to rust, yes a thought, and anti-rust paint would be used the coat the exposed metal.

This was a thought since I like to do mechanically what I can on the smart; due to severe psoriatic arthritis in my hands I wanted to make it easier. And no intention was to Frankenstein the car.
 

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Sorry Steven, didn't mean to go off a little on ya.....
How about the possibility of drilling small (1 inch or so) holes in the metal above the spark plugs and the later sealing them holes with rubber body plugs?
I have a slight bit of arthritis in the hands as well so I kinda know what your dealing with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sorry Steven, didn't mean to go off a little on ya.....
How about the possibility of drilling small (1 inch or so) holes in the metal above the spark plugs and the later sealing them holes with rubber body plugs?
I have a slight bit of arthritis in the hands as well so I kinda know what your dealing with.
No worries, my arthritis is an old friend - do what I can to work 'with' it.
 

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Try changing sparkplugs on a 1.5 liter Fiat X 1/9. OR 4.0 Ford Ranger. Humans don't have enough skin on their knuckles to survive the ordeal..... smart plugs are a cake walk to do.....


Oh let's go hack up the engine bay so there's no longer a good seal between the car's occupants and the engine....Where's my gas mask????
Put dual carbs on a VW bug and try to change the front two plugs. I always put a 1-1/2" hole on each side through the fender well. Put a piece of sheet rubber over it and attach it by a screw on top. When you go to change the plugs, rotate the rubber up out of the way and insert the plug socket on an extension through the fender hole and it's a piece of cake. Of course this doesn't have anything to do with the inside of the bug so no problem with fumes. Try the plugs on a 450. There's 6 of them and the rear panel and fenders need to be removed. Still, it's not that hard.
 

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1975 Chrysler Cordoba with the 400 motor, the left rear plug had to be changed from underneath using a box end wrench, and be careful not to short out the power cable going to the starter, the rest of the plugs required removal of the front tire to get to them through the wheel well. (for you old guys, yes it did have the rich Corinthian leather seats)

my 2001 Astro van took a NTB shop 4 hours to replace the plugs and wire... Guess they know why I brought it in. The mechanic got a big tip from me afterwards...I think they charged me about 1.5 hrs labor according to their shop rate book. \I think they changed it now...
 

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there is supposed to be a retainer on it so it doesn't come off the cover. Lost mine a few years ago and I replaced the J nut with a threaded nut, now I use a thumbscrew and is easily replaced at any hardware store.. Also added a clip on the bottom to hold it in place when the cover is removed
The retainer clip was missing on my engine cover fastener when I bought the car used. Got a nylon washer at the hardware store which I pressed on over the bevel on the shaft of the fastener, re-securing it nicely to the cover.
:)
~toaster
 

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Try changing sparkplugs on a 1.5 liter Fiat X 1/9. OR 4.0 Ford Ranger. Humans don't have enough skin on their knuckles to survive the ordeal..... smart plugs are a cake walk to do.....


Oh let's go hack up the engine bay so there's no longer a good seal between the car's occupants and the engine....Where's my gas mask????
The X-1/9 plugs are no big deal. As long as you can do it by feel. You certainly can not see them. Try setting the ignition points on the older carbureted ones. Easy once you pull the distributor out. In the car, not so much.

Ford Ranger? Don't know. Don't work on foreign cars.
 

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Put dual carbs on a VW bug and try to change the front two plugs. I always put a 1-1/2" hole on each side through the fender well. Put a piece of sheet rubber over it and attach it by a screw on top. When you go to change the plugs, rotate the rubber up out of the way and insert the plug socket on an extension through the fender hole and it's a piece of cake. Of course this doesn't have anything to do with the inside of the bug so no problem with fumes.
Dangit.. stole my idea :) I have a 1600 DP with dual Empi 34's. I now have it down to a science. But it took a while and some custom made extensions with wobbles :)
 

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Anyone thought about or have modified the front engine bay edge just in front of the spark plugs - by cutting into the opening lip and bending it down to create easier access to the spark plugs?
maybe you can put notches in it to get more clearance for the socket extension.

:2cents: i learned a trick from TRUCKS, about using a segment of garden hose to maneuver the plug when the plug socket won't fit.
 
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