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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Transmission noise (whine)? [updated]

After 48k of blissful ownership, my smart has suddenly begun to exhibit that not all is good with the drivetrain. I bought the car to commute, and it sees 110 miles each day, M-F.

I routinely maintain the car, with OCI every 5k miles. As of last week, the car started to develop a whine when cruising between 60 and 70. Under acceleration or deceleration, the sound goes away. Specifically, the car will whine in 4th or 5th. If I were to guess at what's going on, the bearing (or bushings) on which gears 4, 5 reside are starting to wear. I did replace the trans fluid at 30k, and its been approximately a year until this noise shows up. I used Redline MT90, and before the BOT 328 gods come crashing down on me, I don't buy the fact that my use of a GL-4 (non-BOT) equivalent brought this condition about.

I am bummed, because a little sound like this now, grows into bigger problems down the road. Do I rid myself of the smart, keep driving until the tranny gives, or take it into smart and welcome the $__k bill of repair? I really like the car, but I need to be assured it can get me to work. Any thoughts or "what would you do?" would be welcome.

updated 10/20/11 - click here
 

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I would personally just refill the transmission with fresh BOT 328 and keep driving it.

Also, while what you're experiencing sounds like a different situation, it's worth mentioning that a very slight whine in 4th gear is completely normal and every smart I've owned or driven has exhibited it.
 

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Mine does, too. It clanks and clunks trying to figure out which gear it wants driving around any parking lot like an old pickup. There's a faint whine in all the gears. They're gears, you know, right behind your seat, which makes it louder.

Has anything leaked out of it? I don't think there's anything wrong except it's getting older. Gear whine is good. GROWLING bearings is bad! Driveline snatch and clunking is just a standard transmission that has no forgiving torque converter to smooth it out.

Mine only has 16K on it and whines, too. Sure beats the deathly silence it had when Fuse 16 opened up, stopping the fuel pump all the stupid computers have no way of measuring....(c;]
 
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First example of transmission fluid being needlessly changed, against recommendations.^

The scheduled maintenance guide recommends "activated charcoal filter for a/c, engine oil and filter, spark plugs" at 30k miles. All the way up through 120,000 miles and still no recommendation for transmission fluid exchanges.
 

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I would personally just refill the transmission with fresh BOT 328 and keep driving it.

Also, while what you're experiencing sounds like a different situation, it's worth mentioning that a very slight whine in 4th gear is completely normal and every smart I've owned or driven has exhibited it.
+1
I asked the service guy about that whine in 4th and he said it was normal.
 

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Of course Penske smart WCovina had to step in and blame Red Line! OF COURSE a BOT loyalist would come in and say something!

I would just change out the fluid and put fresh Red Line in. I would also send a sample out for testing from Blackstone. I don't believe it was anything caused by the Red Line.
Don't think any blame was intended; he just pointed out the fact, as many others have done, that smart USA does not require changing the transmission oil. :)
 

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Don't think any blame was intended; he just pointed out the fact, as many others have done, that smart USA does not require changing the transmission oil. :)
As discussed in every other oil thread, I do not believe in a lifetime thread.

As Barney O has also stated in my BOT 328 Blackstone test, I would not want the solubles washing around in there for the lifetime of my transmission.

Also, in general, a lifetime oil means typically 100k miles, but that mileage varies depending on how hard you beat on your transmission.
 

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As discussed in every other oil thread, I do not believe in a lifetime thread.

As Barney O has also stated in my BOT 328 Blackstone test, I would not want the solubles washing around in there for the lifetime of my transmission.

Also, in general, a lifetime oil means typically 100k miles, but that mileage varies depending on how hard you beat on your transmission.
Each owner can decide what they want; however, smart USA does not require a transmission oil change up to 120K miles. :)
 

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Each owner can decide what they want; however, smart USA does not require a transmission oil change up to 120K miles. :)
In perspective of where I'm coming from, I wouldn't keep my oil in my block for over 5k miles and transmission fluid over 15k miles. Cheap insurance IMHO, but each to their own. :)
 

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hidesertmlb, I'd change the transmission oil, and see what happens. You got nothing to lose. Cheaper then a new transmission or buying a new car, if that works.
 

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After 48k of blissful ownership, my smart has suddenly begun to exhibit that not all is good with the drivetrain. I bought the car to commute, and it sees 110 miles each day, M-F.

I routinely maintain the car, with OCI every 5k miles. As of last week, the car started to develop a whine when cruising between 60 and 70. Under acceleration or deceleration, the sound goes away. Specifically, the car will whine in 4th or 5th. If I were to guess at what's going on, the bearing (or bushings) on which gears 4, 5 reside are starting to wear. I did replace the trans fluid at 30k, and its been approximately a year until this noise shows up. I used Redline MT90, and before the BOT 328 gods come crashing down on me, I don't buy the fact that my use of a GL-4 (non-BOT) equivalent brought this condition about.

I am bummed, because a little sound like this now, grows into bigger problems down the road. Do I rid myself of the smart, keep driving until the tranny gives, or take it into smart and welcome the $__k bill of repair? I really like the car, but I need to be assured it can get me to work. Any thoughts or "what would you do?" would be welcome.

The whine might be a rear wheel bearing going bad . Doesn't show up until the higher axle rpm's (lack of sufficient lube in the bearing)
Unfortunately you have to replace the wheel hub & bearing as an assembly from MB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the responses. The SCOA community has a lot of helpful members.

I plan on putting on taking the car to the smart dealer (Penske of West Covina); they indicated they will have a techinician take it for a spin to see how serious the sound it is. I'm not yet convinced that dumping out the fluid and putting BOT 328 in will make it go away. If there's damage, it's been done. I will pop the fill plug and see what state the MT90 fluid is in (i.e: check for any obvious metallic particles or viscosity breakdown).

@ Barney O: I would like to think it's the rear hub bearing, but the whine starts very distincly when in 4th gear (can hear the faint beginnings at 45MPH or so). If I use 3rd to get it to the same speed at 45 or so, no whine is heard. I don't think its matched to the rear wheel RPM or final drive.

@larryw4csc: nothings leaked out of the gearbox that I can see

@Penske_smart_WCovina: Yes, I know. It's hard to imagine ~2.5 quarts as a lifetime fill under the rigors of a transmission environment. I guess I questioned the smart engineers in the white lab coats, didn't I?

@jwight: I'm inclined to take that trade-in route if things don't work out
 

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...per post 13...make sure if fine cut red cedar or it will not work...


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First example of transmission fluid being needlessly changed, against recommendations.^

The scheduled maintenance guide recommends "activated charcoal filter for a/c, engine oil and filter, spark plugs" at 30k miles. All the way up through 120,000 miles and still no recommendation for transmission fluid exchanges.

If there's no recomendation for transmissiion fluid exchanges , then why are there plugs for draining and refilling the trans? No such a thing as a "Lifetime" fluid.
 
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