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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all,

I really appreciate your opinions. This is not the typical "three-bar" problem. As I cannot figure out what really happens on my Smart (451 '08 US Cabriolet version), please let me give a rather lengthy description (I apologize my English in advance, I'm not a native).

I installed MDC 451 Cruise Control about a year ago. Those who install this may know that the controller often engages the kickdown (from 5th to 3rd) in hills. One morning when I run the car on a freeway, the controller engaged the kickdown. As it was sudden, I was completely confused and reacted wrongly; I mistakenly geared down to 2nd. By listening the revving noise, I realized what I did and quickly geared up to 5th. So, within a matter of a second or so, the car engaged a radical gear change (from 5th to 2nd, and from 2nd to 5th at 60mph). I thought this might damage the car, but the rest of my trip (about 100 miles on the freeway) was just as normal.

However, by the night, the car started behaving weirdly. Gear shocks got sharper and abrupt (though its shifting pattern -i.e., at what speed the auto engages gear changes, was normal), and even at a cruising speed (say, 60mph), I feel subtle, but sharp decelerations as if the car tries to engage another gear change (though from the sound I think the engine keeps the same revving level).

This symptom disappeared shortly, and next couple of weeks, I did not have any trouble. However, eventually the car started behaving jerkier, and even the engine stalled while I was waiting at a red light. I decided to remove the cruise control (though I did not use it after the incident). Unfortunately, when the controller was removed, the car died completely. When I tried to pull over, it just jerked violently in situ.

So the car was towed, and my local Smart dealer told me the clutch actuator was busted. Although the replacement of it gave back the car normal, within in a few weeks (a few hundred miles), the same symptom reemerged; sharp shift shocks and some "ghost" gear changes (but no engine stall) at a cruising speed. This time, the dealer said there was no record on the diagnosis, but did the latest transmission update (I guess to 2.03). Well, it still persists.

The problem is, this happens occasionally, and I cannot replicate at the dealer. I'm aware verbal descriptions would not be sufficient to spot the cause. I personally doubt some on-board computer problems, but I cannot be sure.

If someone experiences a similar trouble, please let me know. Or any suggestion/opinion is truly welcomed. With my inability to communicate with people from the dealer properly (and failure of replicating the symptom), it is really frustrating.
 

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A couple questions:
1. Have you reinstalled the cruise control?
2. Was the Cruise control still installed when the transmission update was done?
If so the CC could have been flashed when they did the transmission update was done and it could be causing problems even if you are not using it when you are noticing thse issues. We had that happen to us. Taking the CC out cured the problem. We then had to get a new CC. Smart Madness was great about exchanging it even though they didn't have to.
 

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I had a similar problem early on. It was a bad clutch plate :(

I was lucky enough that it was "replaced" under warranty ..... no problems since.

Some of the 08's and early 09's had a rash of "bad" clutch plates that would not slide on the output spline correctly and dealers replaced them :)

Since you are out of warranty, you would be on the hook for the whole thing :(
 

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Have you tried taking the negative battery terminal off for half an hour, it does a system reset and it may or may not cure it, so it's worth a try, it won't do any harm
 

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I tried replicating your shift problem with no luck. I can shift more than two gears at once (I got it to shift 2nd-5th with a triple shift to the gear lever) so that doesn't sound abnormal...

The problem I see is that redline for second gear is lower than 60mph and no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn't drop any lower than third at 60mph. If for some reason it shifted into second at 60mph, that might be the cause of your engine issues...

I'd agree with headless and the others, disconnect your battery first. If no workie try reinstalling the CC, or try getting a new CC, heck you could explain to the dealer about your MDC possibly causing this and maybe they'll better understand to help out...

Good luck!
 

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If you put the MDC cruise control on, it is not too difficult to take off and eliminate that as the cause.
 

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I tried replicating your shift problem with no luck. I can shift more than two gears at once (I got it to shift 2nd-5th with a triple shift to the gear lever) so that doesn't sound abnormal...

The problem I see is that redline for second gear is lower than 60mph and no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn't drop any lower than third at 60mph. If for some reason it shifted into second at 60mph, that might be the cause of your engine issues...

I'd agree with headless and the others, disconnect your battery first. If no workie try reinstalling the CC, or try getting a new CC, heck you could explain to the dealer about your MDC possibly causing this and maybe they'll better understand to help out...

Good luck!
Usually, that'll give them an excuse to blame everything on the C/C, including the middle east problem.
 

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Meh, he's out of warranty anyway and the dealer is no help to begin with.

My second gear redline is somewhat close to 40mph. If he downshifted to second at 60mph I'd say his engine might be damaged...
 

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Sorry if this is a stupid question, and I don't want to high jack this thread from the op but, I am getting ready to purchase this cc unit from smart madness. Will it void any part of my warranty? Is it a good, safe , reliable unit? Would most people recommend it or do you think it will cause problems for the car? Thanks so much for the help and sorry if I posted in the wrong place for this. :eek:
 

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It is a good safe reliable unit. A few, very few have had issues that they could not get resolved. The rest have had no troubles during and after installation. Its' one quality that I learned to compensate for was using the unit in hilly areas. The car does not have adequate power in fifth gear to accelerate up many hills. If you are using the cruise control, it is best to anticipate the hill and downshift manually into fourth or even third if the hill is really significant. If you leave it in fifth and top the hill, the car may begin to over compensate and may over accelerate for a few seconds and may exceed the desired speed by about 5 or seven miles per hour, especially if a cop is parked just over the crest of the hill. :D
 

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It is a good safe reliable unit. A few, very few have had issues that they could not get resolved. The rest have had no troubles during and after installation. Its' one quality that I learned to compensate for was using the unit in hilly areas. The car does not have adequate power in fifth gear to accelerate up many hills. If you are using the cruise control, it is best to anticipate the hill and downshift manually into fourth or even third if the hill is really significant. If you leave it in fifth and top the hill, the car may begin to over compensate and may over accelerate for a few seconds and may exceed the desired speed by about 5 or seven miles per hour, especially if a cop is parked just over the crest of the hill. :D
The Area 451 does the same thing :D
 

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I had heard that the software had been corrected on the later units of the Area 451. If anyone has experience with that it would be nice to know. It is the one thing about the MDC that I would improve if I could, but I am fine with it now that I know how to deal with it.
Thanks Chief for the feed back. Back to the regularly scheduled programming. Sorry,:eek:
 

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The software has been corrected for this on the AreA451 units. You can verify this by shutting off one of the DIP switches and it will speed up after cresting a hill, then with the DIP switch turned on , on the same hill, will act correctly. It also adds the pedal mapping feature which is fun to play with.

It does require you to remove the unit and use a computer to load other pedal maps, where the MDC unit can be done in the car. I wondered about that but once I decided on the map I wanted, I haven't changed it since.

The dealers will want you to remove the cruise as they do not have any way to verify if that is the problem or not. It won't void the warranty, just like installing a different radio would void the warranty. If a problem is traced back to be actually caused by the cruise, I believe the CC company would stand behind their product. Both Cruise companies have an excellent track record.

As does Smart Madness for helping out IF an install has problems.
 

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The software has been corrected for this on the AreA451 units. You can verify this by shutting off one of the DIP switches and it will speed up after cresting a hill, then with the DIP switch turned on , on the same hill, will act correctly. It also adds the pedal mapping feature which is fun to play with.

It does require you to remove the unit and use a computer to load other pedal maps, where the MDC unit can be done in the car. I wondered about that but once I decided on the map I wanted, I haven't changed it since.

The dealers will want you to remove the cruise as they do not have any way to verify if that is the problem or not. It won't void the warranty, just like installing a different radio would void the warranty. If a problem is traced back to be actually caused by the cruise, I believe the CC company would stand behind their product. Both Cruise companies have an excellent track record.

As does Smart Madness for helping out IF an install has problems.
I have the programmer and the software (and the bypass plug), but I'm happy with the original. I placed the very first order and have the first one off the production line :)

It came in an unmarked box with bubble wrap and NO instructions :eek: (had to get them off the website!)

OH, THE GOOD OLE DAYZ :p

:sorrysign: about the
:eek:

Now back to topic :D
 
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