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October 2011 - 5 months of trying everything possible to start my grey market 2005 450 Smart for TWO.........not so smart

at least if it got stolen, my insurance would have paid.
they dont pay for stolen keys

My keys were stolen at Starbucks....
had a Locksmith make a Dry metal key.....no help
used a coat hanger to open the doors after it was towed home

Took out the computer and sam module sent it to Oregon .....no help

reinstalled it.......still no help

Sent it back to Oregon...they fried the computer.....
sent a used one......No help


Then had the car towed to Smart Madness...( car repair ) in Signal Hill CA
from Arizona....400 miles

6 weeks later, faxes and emails to Germany........still no help

A dealership in Colexico...( Mexico )...has the one and only machine to program the computer and immobilizer while in the Car
they had to travel to California with the machine

Whalllllla....the car starts

I recommend Smart Madness in California......great Job Guys !!!
A least someone was Thinking...and really tried to solve this nighmare.

the immobilzer Security is a lot of over kill for security on a sub compact car...and ridiculous.....

for those who are seeing this...because your in the same position of lost keys......

The problem is the SMART dealership will not help because these cars are not in their contract and violates their contract if they even change the oil

so dont look to any new car dealer for help.

You cant even get a second key made without the computer being programed, and it has to be programed IN THE CAR with codes from Germany...ridiculous

I hope this helped...a very expensive experience

All RIDICULOUS !!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Oregon no help

SOS in Oregon did try, and was able to supple the key Blanks and the new remotes at a reasonable cost......however when I installed the parts back in the car...they would not sync up....and I had exactly the same problem with the LOCKED KEY SYMBOL on the dash
the Immobilizer was locked

SOS never mentioned that the system had to be lynked with the computer in the car and took a very special machine to force the new codes from Germany

Apparaently when the computer is changed it doesnt recognize the original codes..and a special "Factory Instrument " has to sync the system all together.......not an easy fix

I bought this car to save money.......on Gas.......ahhahhhhhhaa

Can buy a lot of gas for $ 2000 in lost keys

A NIGHTMARE
 

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SOS in Oregon did try, and was able to supple the key Blanks and the new remotes at a reasonable cost......however when I installed the parts back in the car...they would not sync up....and I had exactly the same problem with the LOCKED KEY SYMBOL on the dash
the Immobilizer was locked

SOS never mentioned that the system had to be lynked with the computer in the car and took a very special machine to force the new codes from Germany

Apparaently when the computer is changed it doesnt recognize the original codes..and a special "Factory Instrument " has to sync the system all together.......not an easy fix

I bought this car to save money.......on Gas.......ahhahhhhhhaa

Can buy a lot of gas for $ 2000 in lost keys

A NIGHTMARE
Could they have done it with the car? Also, if you have one good key, can a copy be made off the good key?

Anti theft is one thing, anti owner is another. It is a pretty convoluted and ridiculous system!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Copy of keys

The keys are not the problem

Actually any locksmith can make a key for the 450
Models made prior to 2008

There is no CHIP in the key of the 450
the Chip is in the REMOTE

Models made after 2008 do have some type of chip in the key
they are the 451 model series

Its the remote that operates the immobilizer ....that is the problem

the 450 has no door locks other than the rear hatch
it does not even have the " Hole" under the outside doorhandle
as Ive seen mentioned on this site

the key has two functions, rear hatch...and ignition

an extra key alone will do you no good

THE REMOTE IS THE BRAINS OF THIS MESS
 

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This car had some interesting issues. I had the SAM and ECU with the keys shipped to me by the request of SOS in Oregon. I tried them in my car and they worked fine. The parts were then shipped back to her in Arizona and they would not work. The car started up just fine in my cars but some reason it would not start up her car. That is why if the outside of the car programing does not work then you have to program in the car. I have been programing lots of SAMs and ECUs for years outside the car and I have never had the problem. But it can happen under certain circumstances. i.e. bad black box or even a bad new or used FOB.
If you need programing there is no need to go to Mexico and get someone to program the keys. This is no problem because there are a lot of people in the United States that have the equipment to do it. I have even taught people how to use the test equipment over the phone and got the cars running. There is no need to contact Germany to get spacial codes to do the job there are code generators that will do it for you at no cost.
I am in Kansas City and it is such an easy job to program everything. When I program keys, I go ahead and program everything that is programmable just so if they want to add more things to the car in the future they have it ready to go.
If you have a mechanic or yourself that is willing to buy the equipment, about $600.00, I can teach them how to use it over the phone free of charge.
All you have to do is just PM me and then make the call.

Leroy
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Not easy

Lets see..I live in ARIZONA,
I sent it to OREGON,
they sent it to you in KANSAS,
the car was towed to CALIFORNIA,
and the dealer in CA had to bring in a Factory rep from COLEXICO-MEXICO to reprogram a car for keys...with a special machine and knowledge to force the codes from GERMANY

are you kidding me...

and it took 5 months and a 1200 mile search

I searched all over the internet and made a hundred phone calls for anyone with knowledge and the correct equipment
I didnt see your name or company anywhere

Only one dealer SMART MADNESS had the knowledge to find the solution
and I am thankful they did
 

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So the two morals of this sad story are...

1. Never buy a car that you can't get serviced IN ALL CATEGORIES, not just oil changes and ring jobs. Cutting a new key set may not seem like service, but it is, particularly if you lose the one that you have. That smart doesn't support the 450 is unfortunate, but it is an established fact, has been that way for years now, and it isn't going to change any time soon. Buyer beware, and all of that...

(Along these lines, I have seen a considerable number of cars offered for sale (of all types, but primarily Toyota, Scion and smart, since that's where my interests lie) that only offer ONE key. If you buy one of these, you are automatically inheriting a problem, and unless you address it first, you are putting yourself in (financial) harm's way.)

2. Make sure that you always have a working key (or key/remote combination) put aside in a safe place IN ADDITION TO THE ONES YOU USE ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS. Seeing all of the "security information" about the immobilizer prompted me from purchase to put extra keys into the original purchase. We used the car until they arrived from the old country, but we always had one of the two keys put up in the key box at home until the extra units arrived.

I've been through lost keys for modern cars in the past, and I thank my lucky star that I had the sense to follow this policy. There's no question that it costs a bit of money, but when your wife loses her set of keys (about $400.00 all in, remotes and sensor keys included), you will feel a lot better knowing that you still have that set stashed away in the box on the wall.

(When we travel, we each have a key/remote for the vehicle, with a third set stashed in the luggage (this is usually our "garage key", kept by the garage in the house for convenience), and at least one in the "master key set" in the box on the wall. Even if we are both mugged and lose our keys, we have a backup set so as to not be immobilized. And, if things get to the point that the luggage is looted, we still have that master back home to recreate the whole setup again.)

I know it's not right, and that it's overkill - who wants to steal a smart, after all? But, put those emotions aside if you want to own a car (greymarket or not) that comes with the problem pre-installed. Like it or not, you have to deal with it, and the best way is to prepare ahead of the potential problem.

I looked at the 450 smart when it was first being hawked in the Saint Louis area, but the lack of a support network was what put me off of it at that time. What we have now is minimal, but at least it's still there (or, still there for those of us fortunate enough to live near a service location). Your local mechanic may be capable of doing an oil change or a reluctor ring change, but when it comes to stuff like these wacky keys, it's a different thing entirely.
 

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Wash it thoroughly first and use rubber gloves while give it a shove.....
NO FINGER PRINTS!
but don't throw the gloves away there , they'll get the prints from the inside! LOL

I knew my 450 was an orphan, and I knew there might be issues, my other car is a 50 year old Italian car that sold only 300 examples in the US. That's not THAT big an issue, I just want to get a spare key made as soon as I get back to the states. I'm trying to figure out what the best way to do that is. My understanding is that you still have to have the car (or ECU) when you do it. I was hoping that I could just send the key somewhere, and they could 'copy' it (clone really). I'm in TX, so maybe I got to take a trip and see Leroy! I'm not sure anyone in TX can redo the 450 key.

I don't doubt Leroy's part of the tale one bit -- he's ALWAYS been a straight shooter here and in probably one of the most knowledgeable 450 experts in the states.
 

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I had one person that was so scared of misplacing a key that he had me make 4 of them.
If you ever louse all your keys just remove the tailgate lock and have a locksmith re-key it. Just tell them it is a 85 Mercedes and they can cut you a key. Then the next step is to program the FOB and to do that you will always need the SAM and ECU and all the FOBs to be programed.

Leroy
 

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Not only that...Leroy has a CROSSBLADE!!!!

I'll give you $10k for it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Not that easy

leroy makes it sound so easy...Its NOT

I have 20 years in the car business, and this "smart car" is
one for the records.

It took the best locksmith in Arizona, a Mercedes specialist 3 days to make a dry key from the rear lock
Leroy doesnt know the metal lock is housed in a plastic housing, and can only be made by hand, one tooth at a time, the cylinder does not slide out and has a special (non ) pins that cannot be removed without ruining it.

and lets see....

You can have the car programmed in Kansa City with Leroy,
Chad in Oregon
or Smart Madness in Signal Hill CA.....

and thats if the codes work, otherwise you need a specialist from Mexico

In any case......A security system that is not anti theft -
but ANTI OWNER

the rest of the USA...too bad
2000 miles apart
and an expensive tow bill

Like i said ........Not that easy
 

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Discussion Starter #16
rear lock different than ignition

Leroy didnt mention.......

the Rear hatch uses 9 pins in the key system
the ignition uses 10 pins

that one extra pin, will prevent you from turning the ignition key
even if you make a rear key

then..... in order to make the final cut you have to dry mark the key
by entering it into the ignition and gently make the final cut by hand
over and over again

I truly got an education from this car
and i hope this TRUE information will help others
 

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If you are in the northern USA, take your smart to a Canadian dealer.
If you are in the southern USA, contact a Mexican dealer.
Both countries have sold 450s for many years and can service them, including keys.
For Mexico, where you can't bring in two vehicles, you'll have to put the smart on a dolly and find a friend, or use a motorhome to take your 'toad' into Mexico. The motorhome can get a 10 year permit and the 'toad' can get a 180 day temporary importation. You'll have to stay in Mexico with the smart on your 180 day tourist permit.
 

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About 18 months ago, I only had 1 key for my 2003 450 passion, my second key had gone through the washing machine and that toasted the FOB electronics. So I sent Leroy my one good key, a replacement key fob bought off eBay with my second cut key installed, and the ECU and SAM units from my car. A few days later I was in KC and met Leroy and brought the parts home with me on my flight home. Installed it all again the next day and I once again had two functional keys for my smart.
 

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So the moral of this sad story is... (condensed version)

If you buy a car with a FOB-based ignition AND the car only comes with 1 key, bite the bullet and immediately pay the going rate for a 2nd FOB/spare key and the programming to activate it.

-----

Last March I bought a used 2009 Passion with 18k miles on it. It came with 1 key. Before I left the dealership I ordered a 2nd FOB and blank. I paid about $160 USD for: the FOB, 2 blanks (they come as a set of 2), and the programming to add the 2nd FOB to the car.

Total turn-around time - after ordering and paying for the 2nd FOB - was about 3 weeks to a month.

I now have 2 working keys and a blank with which I can use to key the drivers door.
 

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Thanks for all your input Leroy, your posts have helped me through a few issues with my 450. Since I can’t PM yet, I’m interested in being able to program keys, cruise control etc for 450’s in my area. What all do I need?
 
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