Jump to content
COFLTravler

Driving 453 up on Deck

Recommended Posts

So got a question.....bought my used 453 Smart and had Marc & Jack put a great basic deck on....thought I could be like many others and drive up the little guy onto the deck.  Well in a real short time, it would no longer "drive up",  the clutch burned out.  Luckily for me Smart replaced the clutch under warranty but was very clear in informing me "not to do this anymore".  

For all those with a 453 driving it up - have you had any problems?  Do you smell the clutch at all when you load?  And no, I don't sit on the ramps riding the throttle and emergency brake....I'm confused....

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While we were at 9,000 ft this summer, the Smart had a very noticeable struggle moving again when I stopped on the ramps to fold the mirror in.  The turbo had to spin up quite a bit to overcome.  Not good for the clutch.  No performance issue as long as I don't stop on the ramps.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We reduce the load on the driveline.  Susan drives it up.😀  Plus, we look for a place to load where the terrain is in our favor, making the ramps less steep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could reach out to Roger (rdickinson) he had a custom trailer hitch made  for his 453 and he winches his up.  Maybe he can send you some photos and you can have someone make something similar for you.  Best to send him a pm as he is not on the forum all that often.

Link to Roger’s post on his hitch.

http://www.rvnetwork.com/topic/126030-2017-smart-hitch/?tab=comments#comment-879943

 

Nigel

Edited by Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put a Blue Ox baseplate on our 453 and winch it up.

One time of the clutches overheating and shutting the car down completely convinced me.

 

ShortyO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried backing mine on a couple of times from wet grass and stopped part way up then tried to go the rest of the way.  The throttle can't over ride the brake so you can't feather it like a clutch.  For the brief part of a second when the brake is released and before the throttle kicks in the car rolls fwd a bit then the throttle kicks in and the car shifts sideways..not much, but there isn't much room to spare laterally anyway.

So contrary to the naysayers, the car can take a hitch and contrary to Jack, there is meat in behind to accommodate adequate fasteners on both sides.

We did it 3 yrs ago and the hitch is till holding strong. 

So, it CAN be done...we did it.

Pics were posted and are on the internet, posted by someone else.

If you want them posted again, no problem if I can get decent reception.  If not, I'll be back home next Sunday and post from there.

It is frustrating to see incorrect info posted in spite of them knowing it is wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We loaded our first smart in 2006 and are on our third - 1-450 and 2-451's. I have always winched up using the rear tow eyes with no issues. Not sure what the tow eye config. is on the 453. I do drive off though.

Edited by Dennis M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I know about the hand brake, I forgot to make reference.  Winching is safer for me.  I'd rather not wind up on Utubes epic failures.

Dennis, there is only one towing eye externally but after digging in a couple of layers there is solid material to get adequate fasteners bolted into or thru.

Mine has 6 bolts fastening the hitch to the frame.  There is only about 700 lbs dead lift at that angle so 6 bolts is more than adequate.

Mine comes out thru the middle of the bumper not under so no loss of clearance.

Herrin put a 2 ton Warn winch  in the passengers side storage box and a couple of receivers just below deck level above the winch. Winch has wireless remote, wired control and a switch on the winch...so 3 ways to run winch.  Kevlar cable on the winch.  The A frame fits into the passengers side storage box.  I use a snatch block on the rear of the car to slow the winching process down also less jerky.

The A frame legs going into the 2 deck receivers were extended away from the ruck sides so the top A frame pulley and snatch block on the car wouldn't clash.

I've also changed the way of fastening the ramps to the deck when loading and unloading.  No more bolts to cross thread.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, rdickinson said:

 

So contrary to the naysayers, the car can take a hitch and contrary to Jack, there is meat in behind to accommodate adequate fasteners on both sides.

It is frustrating to see incorrect info posted in spite of them knowing it is wrong.

Roger I don't believe I ever said a hitch could not be put on a smart 435. I DID say a hitch was not available for the 453. And I did say that a second bung was not on the back or front, even under the body panel. At the time the hitch statement was true - I don't know if that is still the case. Your fab shop built one, David Henegar built at least two, and I know of at least two others that have personally built one. I know of no one that has a business installing these...although you indicate your shop would do it. We won't, simply because it is too expensive to do "one off" jobs like that. If someone made a kit, we probably would do it. 

We do install the missing bung on the back of the car so that you can winch identically to a 451. We routinely do this job and it is not hard to do, assuming you have the skills. You can get some extra utility, if it is valuable to you, by having a hitch fabricated. You can winch from a hitch or from the crossbar between the bungs. Either works - it just depends on what you need.

As far as driving the car up, that is a personal decision. Done CORRECTLY it does not "seem" to harm the clutch. But if you sit on the ramps and rock back and forth using the throttle (even a little) then you obviously are straining the clutch. You MUST either back down or properly use the handbrake. Even using the handbrake is not optimal - it is best to go up the ramps in one smooth motion. If you have to stop then it is always "best" to start over, although proper use of the handbrake is the second best scenario. That is just the way it is. Some people do not wish or like to drive up. Nothing wrong with that....I was one of them for a LONG time. I don't think it can be disputed that winching is safer.

I've probably driven my 453 or others up on a deck hundreds of times. I've never really smelled the clutch if I was simply driving it on and not experimenting. I HAVE smelled the clutch when experimenting with the car partially up the ramps. Which is why I try not to do that.

Edited by Jack Mayer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I have always driven mine up ,the first time I hesitated and took my foot off the gas part way .- it refused to restart up the ramp .

So drive it up but ......DO NOT  back off the throttle  ever   at all   not even a little ,because the clutch will disengage  and then you got problems ,remember it  is not a torque converter so you don't want it to slip .

My method is once  the fronts start up  increase the throttle steadily  but just enough to maintain  momentum ,release the throttle  as the car 'brakes over'. 

Original clutch and I have been doing this for 6 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/9/2019 at 7:03 AM, rdickinson said:

I've also changed the way of fastening the ramps to the deck when loading and unloading.  No more bolts to cross thread.

I am seriously interested in what your solution was.  I purchased several lever controlled, stainless steel pins and have evaluated various locking pins. 

You are the only one I've found that has used something other than bolts to secure their ramps.

Please tell me, and others, what worked best for you, and why.

Thanks,

Dan

Edited by DanZemke
clarity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roger,

I have built and installed 3 hitches for the 453 and have one more to go for some friends of mine when they make it to my shop. Like yours, I have a total if 6 bolts, utilize factory holes and mounting points and it takes about 45 minutes total to install. I have no desire to do them commercialy as the liability is too great if someone abuses the design.

Each to their own but I built that hitch to be able to winch our car onto the truck as I didn't then and still don't like the idea of driving the car onto the deck.

I know that others drive up and that is a personal decision for the amount of risk you are willing to take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no pins or other hardware holding my ramps, and they are very secure, and perfectly parallel, while loading.  Big Boy II ramps.  I'll be at the rally, blue Volvo with ugly steel homemade bed.😁

Edited by rickeieio

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, here goes.  I'm sitting in a hotel room getting ready to fly back to Victoria Saturday.  With time to spare, I'll post this.  When I get back to YYJ, I'll take pics of the method I use to attach the ramps to the deck but in the meantime here is an explanation..probably poorly worded as I'm on my second Dr Pepper, still have half a sack left.

I'll also post pics of the trailer hitch on the car and post all the mounting info. Internet here is not the best.

Re the ramp attachment to the deck, the old way was to use 2- 3/4 bolts on each ramp down thru the deck. The holes were drilled and tapped after ramps were checked for being parallel.  After that, there is no need to measure at the dirt end.  This worked until a helper cross threaded 3 bolts then they had to be re drilled  and  helicoils put in. Bolts needed to be kept lubed...generally a huge PITA plus it gobbled up time. 

So the new method does not require bolts.  On the foot of the ramps that sits on top of the deck, I fastened a piece of stainless angle iron running crossways. It was bolted under the foot that sits on the deck.  This was  similar size to the angle iron dropped into the hinge of the ramps to reduce the breakover angle.  1/8" thick by 1.25" ish wide by 12" long.

On the outside of the truck sides at deck level, we made up a slotted track to drop the angle iron into but still keeping some of the foot of the ramp on top of the deck.  This slotted track was made out of1/4" stainless  with 1/2" spacers to stand it off the side of the truck.  This allows the angle iron to drop into the slot and still have foot support on top of the deck.

Because we are not always able to load on a flat and even surface I needed to make sure the ramps wouldn't jump out of the slots so a 5/16" hole was drilled from outside thru the stainless track slot strap, thru the angle iron and thru the truck side.  Then I put one of those pins thru the ball in the end thru the whole works.

There is some lateral slop or movement at the bottom of the ramps but al l I do is swing the dirt end of the ramps all the way left then al the way right and drop it on the ground in the middle.

I'll post some pics Sunday when I get home.  This method is a huge improvement over bolting the ramps to the deck and saves time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am considering, when I have some time off and no projects going on, to build a loader for car and bolt to deck. Have looked at Mountain Master's loader and it rather simple design. Not that ramps aren't fine, my DW can't handle them. I may need her too load it sometime. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked at those a dozen years ago and scrapped the idea.  The loader beams add at least 8"  in ht, so add that to your truck deck ht. 

I bought one when getting into this, it was a custom made trike loader cost me 1k$.  Herrin didn't like the idea so he bought it from me and destroyed it and made the deck as it is now.

Depending on what front end you have it may come close to overloading the front axle 'cus that thing was heavy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, GeorgiaHybrid said:

Roger,

I have built and installed 3 hitches for the 453 and have one more to go for some friends of mine when they make it to my shop. Like yours, I have a total if 6 bolts, utilize factory holes and mounting points and it takes about 45 minutes total to install. I have no desire to do them commercialy as the liability is too great if someone abuses the design.

Each to their own but I built that hitch to be able to winch our car onto the truck as I didn't then and still don't like the idea of driving the car onto the deck.

I know that others drive up and that is a personal decision for the amount of risk you are willing to take.

 "I have a total if 6 bolts, utilize factory holes and mounting points."

Well, at least someone believes me..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, rdickinson said:

I looked at those a dozen years ago and scrapped the idea.  The loader beams add at least 8"  in ht, so add that to your truck deck ht. 

I bought one when getting into this, it was a custom made trike loader cost me 1k$.  Herrin didn't like the idea so he bought it from me and destroyed it and made the deck as it is now.

Depending on what front end you have it may come close to overloading the front axle 'cus that thing was heavy.

My deck is lower than most so it won't be as bad as you think. We bolted 3/4"6x6 angle iron to chassis and welded crossbraces to that. So I am 4 to 5" lower than Volvos. Winching won't change the fact since ramps are still needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Dan, this is targeted for you.  After a week of monsoon weather her in Victoria, here are some pics with an explanation.  I can provide more pics and a more in depth explanation if you want.

It may be better to send them thru regular mail or PM if that will work.  Pics will gobble up a lot of space and people will complain.

Strap or space with tape measure to give reference

I9Ex57Vl.jpg

Bolted to side of truck

K8405aWl.jpg

Plan view also location of old and new chock footprints

YDT1DMGl.jpg

Angle iron used in the hinge, pin plus wireless remote for 2 ton Warn winch.

VU1IzEYl.jpg

Pin thru spacer

EIRnrtil.jpg

Next 2 show angle iron fastened to bottom of ramp deck plate.

t1XUXwml.jpg

D87LhCKl.jpg

Ramp on deck

mvJD5Cal.jpg

Ramp with angle iron in the hinge.  It raises rt side of ramp by about 2.5"

c4WJvLtl.jpg

Next 2  show the hinge pin trimmed back, space was tight.

GYc8TLml.jpg

4CcHDndl.jpg

Aircraft cable and heatshrink to pull ramps out without pinching your fingers.  Also put plastic under ramps to reduce stickiness.  Ramps weigh 58# each as I recall.

Kgc0moQl.jpg

Load binder corner to eliminate the Kevlar cable from rubbing on the deck for the first 2-3 ft going up the ramp.

Q1ltVlbl.jpg

Tire cage jammed into a stuff bag, they don't wrap neatly and I don't have patience to mess around trying.

OrdbJgwl.jpg

I have other pics showing different elements of the process if you want then or more info let me know.

Everything was done for a reason

Last 3 are of the hitch done 3 yrs ago.

I really get weary of those saying it can't be done or there isn't adequate backing when clearly there is.

The only thing different I'd do re the hitch is round off the outside corners because they came very close to the inside of the bumpers

F5SWfItl.jpg

d4kchDRl.jpg

338lvqql.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...