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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I am still having trouble with the transmission and specifically shifting into 3rd gear. It's a 2008 with the original clutch, 107k miles, and I believe the 2.0 updated software - touching the shift paddles goes to manual and pulling and holding the right paddle goes back to D.

Here is what I have done so far:

1) Checked the battery - read 12.4V with the car off.
2) Pulled the clutch actuator and found the screw actuator sheared off and jammed. Replaced with new actuator. Did the reteach with battery off in neutral and going through the gears. Replaced transmission oil with Royal Purple 75W90.
3) Test drove and shifted good for a few miles, then when going into 3rd gear got wrenches and 1-2-4 only.
4) Pulled shifter motors and cleaned and re-installed. Used dielectric grease on connections.
5) Test drove again and same after driving a few miles - shifting to 3rd gear and wrenches then only 1-2-4.
6) Adjusted actuator in 1 notch and made it about 10 miles before the same issue.
7) Pulled all connectors on the transmission and cleaned and re-connected with dielectric grease. The actuator connector, connector above actuator with spring clip, and connector below the shifter motors.
8) Adjusted actuator out 1 notch and still make it about 5-10 miles before the same happens shifting to 3rd gear. Tried to take it to Autozone to read the code, but it clears after the car is shut off a few minutes. When the car is warmed up it will shift into 3rd gear about 3-4 times before going to the limp mode. Sometimes it makes an audible crunch sound going to 3rd and other times there is a long delay and it will either catch 3rd or go to limp mode.

Any ideas?:(
 

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Third gear grinding would suggest that the clutch is not fully releasing. If the clutch plate is binding on the trans input shaft or the release bearing is not sliding freely on the trans bearing retainer it will take an excessive amount of force to release the clutch. That itself could damage a clutch actuator. There are other causes as well but anything to do with the clutch itself will pretty much require one to pull the trans to inspect it. Once the trans is out there is no reason not to replace the clutch kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I brought it to the MB dealer and they said it is "Mechanical Fault of shift point 3" and only way to fix it is to replace the transmission for over $4k. The car is only worth half that at the most and I've already spent $800 on an actuator. Think I may have to go back to daily driving my '05 MINI Cooper S for a while.
 

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I brought it to the MB dealer and they said it is "Mechanical Fault of shift point 3" and only way to fix it is to replace the transmission for over $4k. The car is only worth half that at the most and I've already spent $800 on an actuator. Think I may have to go back to daily driving my '05 MINI Cooper S for a while.
Maybe, maybe not. I would get a second opinion if I were you. A mechanical problem with a trans would be unusual. Not unheard of, just unusual. Problems with the clutch, clutch actuator and trans shift actuator are more common.

My question is, did the shifting problem and the clutch actuator problem occur at roughly the same time?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Maybe, maybe not. I would get a second opinion if I were you. A mechanical problem with a trans would be unusual. Not unheard of, just unusual. Problems with the clutch, clutch actuator and trans shift actuator are more common.

My question is, did the shifting problem and the clutch actuator problem occur at roughly the same time?
Yes, was slowing to a stop at a major intersection and the actuator broke. Had to push it off the road and tow it home. The worm gear was sheared and jammed between the actuator housing and the plastic half moon sprocket. Since the new actuator was put on it has been acting like this. It only has trouble and errors out in 3rd gear. Never had any problems with any of the gears before this except the typical sometimes it didn't want to go into reverse. After a reset it shifts about 5-6 times to 3rd gear, but eventually it will error and skip to 4th and I lose 3rd and 5th. It would be more useable if it could skip 3rd and keep 5th, but don't think that is possible with the computer. If I can make it to a freeway before it errors it has 5th, but any city driving and it errors in the 5-10mile range. Made it to the dealer about 15-20miles away without any error, but mostly took a route that was highway. On the way home I lost the gears a couple of red lights from my neighborhood.

Tried cleaning the shifter motors, connections, and adjusting the actuator in and out and none really made any difference.
 

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Yes, was slowing to a stop at a major intersection and the actuator broke. Had to push it off the road and tow it home. The worm gear was sheared and jammed between the actuator housing and the plastic half moon sprocket. Since the new actuator was put on it has been acting like this. It only has trouble and errors out in 3rd gear. Never had any problems with any of the gears before this except the typical sometimes it didn't want to go into reverse. After a reset it shifts about 5-6 times to 3rd gear, but eventually it will error and skip to 4th and I lose 3rd and 5th. It would be more useable if it could skip 3rd and keep 5th, but don't think that is possible with the computer. If I can make it to a freeway before it errors it has 5th, but any city driving and it errors in the 5-10mile range. Made it to the dealer about 15-20miles away without any error, but mostly took a route that was highway. On the way home I lost the gears a couple of red lights from my neighborhood.

Tried cleaning the shifter motors, connections, and adjusting the actuator in and out and none really made any difference.
The only way I can think a broken clutch actuator can damage the trans is if the actuator broke and the trans control unit was attempting to shift to third gear while the clutch was still engaged due to the broken actuator. When the clutch actuator broke it was still extended so the trans control unit thought the clutch was disengaged. I suppose it's possible.

The estimate you were given is just nuts. Even if you have a trans problem, you can buy a used transmission complete and a new clutch kit to be installed by the shop of your choice and be back in business. Used smart transmissions are all over ebay for $300 to $600.
 

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The estimate you were given is just nuts. Even if you have a trans problem, you can buy a used transmission complete and a new clutch kit to be installed by the shop of your choice and be back in business. Used smart transmissions are all over ebay for $300 to $600.
+1 to this.

I helped my Dad replace the engine in his smart. We pulled the entire rear subframe to do that. Time consuming, but not a terribly hard job. The larger, reputable yards will even deliver the trans to the shop of your choice, if you don't want to do the work yourself...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The only way I can think a broken clutch actuator can damage the trans is if the actuator broke and the trans control unit was attempting to shift to third gear while the clutch was still engaged due to the broken actuator. When the clutch actuator broke it was still extended so the trans control unit thought the clutch was disengaged. I suppose it's possible.

The estimate you were given is just nuts. Even if you have a trans problem, you can buy a used transmission complete and a new clutch kit to be installed by the shop of your choice and be back in business. Used smart transmissions are all over ebay for $300 to $600.
I saw one there for like $450 that looked decent and even had an actuator on it. It doesn't look that hard, but not sure I could get it done on my own. There was a thread on here with a bunch of pictures of the steps. Need to change the thermostat on my Cooper for the fourth time first though.

Looks like it would be about $700-$800 for a used trans and a new clutch kit.

It felt like it was downshifting and probably jumped between 3rd and 2nd when it broke. I don't think it had shifted to first yet because I was still rolling.
 

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pretty sure you can do it .. it's really not as hard as it seems but if it's your first time take your time and spend the afternoon doing it if you have to.. you will learn new stuff and save a lot of money!!
 
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