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Educate me on Smart Car's.


mr. cob

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I put this post here in the HDT forum as I think more of you folks can relate to my needs, that being a short, light weight car easy to use in our situations. My truck is not long enough to haul a Smart across the bed but I have plenty of room in the toy hauler to carry a Smart and a Ural or a couple of full size motorcycles.

 

So my questions are these,

( ONE ) Are there any particular years to beware of, major known problems of any kind?

 

( TWO ) I will be looking at used cars as I honestly don't think I would put more then a couple of thousand miles on it a year at the most, that being the case how many miles are these cars usually good for before they need major work done to them?

 

( THREE ) What is a reasonable price to pay for one of these cars, I know it all depends on mileage, over all condition and options if any, I am sure where its located will also have an impact on price, I am just looking for some ball park numbers so I have an semi-educated idea when I start to do some serious tire kicking.

 

( FOUR ) As I'll be tying this down in a toy hauler, I won't be able to tie over the wheels as most of you folks do when strapping them down to your truck beds, I'll need hard tie down points such as tow hook front and rear, I have looked on the net and haven't found such items for the Smart so information on where to find tow hooks or ideas on how to secure the Smart to the floor of the toy hauler will be most appreciated.

 

Thanks for any information you can share.

 

Dave

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So my questions are these,

( ONE ) Are there any particular years to beware of, major known problems of any kind? The smarts do not seem to be like other makes of cars. They are all the same. Very minor, cosmetic changes between the years models. The current 451 model was first imported in 2008. The first major change will be next year.

 

( TWO ) I will be looking at used cars as I honestly don't think I would put more then a couple of thousand miles on it a year at the most, that being the case how many miles are these cars usually good for before they need major work done to them? I traded off my 2009 with 75,000 miles and hadn't had any major work done to it. I just wanted a new one :) I am sure there are some out there with higher mileage than mine, but I haven't heard of anyone doing major overhauls.

 

( THREE ) What is a reasonable price to pay for one of these cars, I know it all depends on mileage, over all condition and options if any, I am sure where its located will also have an impact on price, I am just looking for some ball park numbers so I have an semi-educated idea when I start to do some serious tire kicking. No idea at all.

 

( FOUR ) As I'll be tying this down in a toy hauler, I won't be able to tie over the wheels as most of you folks do when strapping them down to your truck beds, I'll need hard tie down points such as tow hook front and rear, I have looked on the net and haven't found such items for the Smart so information on where to find tow hooks or ideas on how to secure the Smart to the floor of the toy hauler will be most appreciated. The smart comes with two rear and one front pre-drilled holes for tow hooks. I am "told" that there is a second one on the front but that the hole was just not cut through the bumper cover. The car comes with one straight rigid 'eye".

smart3.JPG

 

If I was using them as tie-downs I think I would buy some that swiveled like this.

$T2eC16F,!w0E9szNW4VFBQtcoeJOd!~~60_35.J

 

Thanks for any information you can share.

 

Dave

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1. The first generation cars, which are 96.5" long, were gray market in the US, all converted to meet EPA regs. All have a Mercedes 0.7 liter turbo charged 3 cyl gas with 6 speed trans. Most issues were around the emissions control mods. Fairly hard to find and usually pricy. From 2008 the cars were a bit more sophisticated, US approved and have a Mitsubishi sourced 1.0 liter naturally aspirated 3 cyl with a 5 speed, a bit peppier. The 5 speed is a little smoother trans as well, but still fairly primitive by todays standards. Both can be manually shifted. Both have traction control, anti-lock brakes, and stability control.

 

2. Hard to say, I know of ones with over 80k with no issues. We put over 30k on our gray market '05 before I wrecked it, have over 30k on the 2011.

 

3. $10k to $15k should put you in a nice, low miles or new smart.

 

4. smarts have one tow eye mount in the front and two in the rear. They come with one tow eye under the passenger floor mat, but you could get more from a dealer. Only caveat would be that the tow eyes screw into an aluminum bar (at least in the back) which can deform with side loads.

 

DW loves her smart, it is her daily driver at home and our primary transportation for 4 months of the year in Arizona. Like any small car the ride can be choppy and some of the OEM tires are like bowling balls. We upgraded ours with 185/55R15 Hankooks all the way around - OEM tires are 165/60R15 front and 195/50R15 in the rear with narrower wheels in the front. This was done to prevent oversteer in the European moose avoidance test. The Hankooks noticeably improved ride and handling.

 

Lots of info on Eviloution

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The gen 1's are Diesel not gas, may have been a typo. The Diesels are prone to self destruct engine wise. Running the fuel down low causes a wire to get hot and the fuel pump fails. Both are in the fuel tank, a $500 fix. Then then high pressure fuel pump goes. Another issue is the timing chain, oil pump, lifter assembly. Most people have problems before 100,000k. When the engine goes, generally the car is scrapped. There have not been any retro fits or mods to improve the problem areas. I have dumped a pile of money into my '05 and have been thru this whole thing extensively. Add to that a starter, $700, alternator $700 plus bushings, tires, ac unit, electric mirror.

The gassers are more refined.

There is a Smart forum, the link I can post on edit. Mike is a Moderator and is very knowledgeable.

We are fortunate in this area to have a proper Smart dealer, three Point Motors, all they work on is Smart cars. Have a look on their site for used and new Smarts and pricing. Like any other vehicle, changing bodily fluids is the main thing. The other issues can be dealt with one at a time.. I'd get a gasser of any year.

 

Also I don't like the idea of using the tow rings as tie downs. They were meant for horizontal pull not downward. My towbar uses both the rear tow hook receptacles. When I applied quite a bit of downward pull it bent the frame or whatever the towbar was fastened to on the rear of the car.

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The gen 1's are Diesel not gas, may have been a typo.

 

Nope, the 450s (gen 1) were available with either gas or diesel in Europe. Your confusion is coming from the fact that they only imported diesels into Canada. Neither one was imported to the states. App. 125 European delivered, gas engined 450s were federalized by G&K in California. The one we owned was number 64. If you come across a 2003 to 2005 GAS engined smart in the states it is a G&K conversion.

 

As I noted above, they were 699cc, 3 cyl turbo-charged Mercedes GAS engines.

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Nope, the 450s (gen 1) were available with either gas or diesel in Europe. Your confusion is coming from the fact that they only imported diesels into Canada. Neither one was imported to the states. App. 125 European delivered, gas engined 450s were federalized by G&K in California. The one we owned was number 64. If you come across a 2003 to 2005 GAS engined smart in the states it is a G&K conversion.

 

As I noted above, they were 699cc, 3 cyl turbo-charged Mercedes GAS engines.

Howdy Dennis,

 

There is a 2005 "European" Smart for sale locally for $6,400 with 25,000 miles on it, would this be one of the "gray" cars your talking about? Sounds like it might be a real bugger to get parts for if needed.

 

Dave

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We paid $12k for a 8,000 mile, 2013 Passion last March. Put close to 10k miles on it so far, no issues.

 

We too haul in the rear of a toy hauler, but intend to put it on the truck. I have e-track in the floor, so used 2" ratchet straps threaded though the wheels for tie down. Went to Alaska and back with no issues. Just use common sense and don't crank the straps so hard as to strain things.

 

Look for 1 (or less) year old demo models. They were the best deals we found. Trim level (Pure v. Passion v. Cabriolet) and options affect price too.

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We have one of the diesels. 2006 with 70k miles. It is the passion, new brakes, suspension coils, parking brakes, alternator, etc and in really good, clean shape. We paid $3500 cdn. (So with the current exchange rate, about $50 USD lol)

 

When we were looking, we only found 2 gas smarts used, both were well overpriced so we decided to do the diesel one and upgrade down the road if we ever need to. Wifey and daughter like it a lot. It is their drive car.

 

We are a family of 5, and yes, we have a smart car. The reason we bought a smart, we needed something small to fit on the back of the truck for if we needed to do a parts run/milk run, etc.. We plan on using the volvo for everyday use when in the states 6 months a year. We have access to other vehicles up here. We nay end up buying a vehicle down in the US and storing it at the parents each spring when we head back up here.

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Howdy All,

 

Again, THANKS for all the advise and the links. I agree its hard to justify paying half new car price for a 10 year old car, I also agree that buying a gray market car here in the US may pose problems as far getting parts and service, I only live a 100 miles from Vancouver BC so going across the border isn't that big a deal but it is a hassle. Leasing to me is not an option, I can't write off the lease payments and can't see renting a car on a long term basis for the amount of use I plan to give it. So it looks like finding and buying a 2010 or newer low mileage car would be the most practical approach to this dilemma. If I hadn't have gone to the National Rally, I wouldn't be going through all this, thanks folks. :lol:

 

Dave

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"If I hadn't have gone to the National Rally, I wouldn't be going through all this, thanks folks. :lol:"

 

There is a reason I avoid going to Rally/shows/dealers lots/etc....Monkey See, Monkey Want! :D:rolleyes: (Referring to myself...)

 

My latest toy, I mean "Farm tool" *ahem*, is a Polaris Ranger... :) Costs about the same as the Smart... :angry: Now how to get that on the HDT....

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Jeff

 

You can thank Dennis M for all the money that it is going to cost you. Dennis M was first to put the smart up on his HDT. Red Dog was second, Dave Toterman was 3rd. Dave had a 2002 Barbus, orange and black, I was the 4th with our Blue and Grey 2003 Cabrio. They have been a hit ever since Dennis M pulled the trigger first. There had been a lot of talk about it back in the day but Dennis M was the first. Back then a New G&K smart would run you $25,000 to $27,000. Lot cheaper now.

 

Dennis

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Mr cob

 

Back in the day when the Gas G&K smarts were coming into the US the MB/smart dealerships in Canada could/would not work on the Gas versions. I had one of my 2 key fobs become unprogramed and was in Olympia, WA. I called up to the MB/smart dealership in Vancouver and they said sure bring it up not realizing it was a gas version so we did and when we got there after 3 hours they said they could not do it as the codes were all different and they were afraid to change the ECM code that the whole thing would become a very large paper weight if they lost the code. Now this might have changed if Canada is now getting a gas version.

 

Dennis

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Jeff

 

You can thank Dennis M for all the money that it is going to cost you. Dennis M was first to put the smart up on his HDT. Red Dog was second, Dave Toterman was 3rd. Dave had a 2002 Barbus, orange and black, I was the 4th with our Blue and Grey 2003 Cabrio. They have been a hit ever since Dennis M pulled the trigger first. There had been a lot of talk about it back in the day but Dennis M was the first. Back then a New G&K smart would run you $25,000 to $27,000. Lot cheaper now.

 

Dennis

Howdy Dennis,

 

Thanks for this bit of history, its nice to have "someone" to blame for my expenditures, just like I blame Bruce, for pushing me off the cliff when it came to buying an HDT, I mean what are friends for if they can't help spend your money. :D Now have I ever told you folks how darn much fun a Ural is,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :lol:

 

Dave

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Mr cob

 

When ever there is a discussion about the smart/HDT marriage/cost I always try to lay it right at the feet of Dennis M. All the blame is his. Now Dave (Totertman) started taking the smart decks to a whole another level from where Dennis M, Red Dog and I were at. Dave loved to build neat stuff on his HDT deck. I think Dennis M is the last one on the road from back in the day.

 

Dennis

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Mr cob

 

When ever there is a discussion about the smart/HDT marriage/cost I always try to lay it right at the feet of Dennis M. All the blame is his. Now Dave (Totertman) started taking the smart decks to a whole another level from where Dennis M, Red Dog and I were at. Dave loved to build neat stuff on his HDT deck. I think Dennis M is the last one on the road from back in the day.

 

Dennis

 

 

Gee, thanks Dennis :D Always nice to get the blame credit.

 

I do stand corrected on the number, just looked it up and the best numbers I have say 1,026 G&K conversions '04 thru '07 (only 2 '07s) plus an unknown number of '02 & '03s that may or may not have been sold. Sorry for the bad number earlier, left out a digit!

 

As noted above, we paid $25k for our '05. Our '11 had 8k miles on it and we paid $13k in Nov 2011. Have to say the '11 is a bit more civilized than the '05, although the ride is choppier and the factory tires sucked.

 

Dave, the G&K conversions should have a G&K logo on the speedo and different projector beam headlights. Basically if it is a gas engine prior to '08 it is either a G&K conversion or an illegal import - there were a few of those brought in as parts.

 

As others have said, parts and service on the gray market models can be a problem. Biggest issues on mine related to emissions mods, a real PIA to get through the IL smog tests. Also had a starter issue early on. I had an independent shop that specializes in BMW/Mercedes/Ferrari and other exotics, they work on my BMW and were happy to tackle issues on the smart for $$! Got some parts from Fast Eddy at Flying Tiger, a fuel pump from Germany (died because G&K contaminated the system with RTV!)

 

Yup, my deck is still just the basic flat deck and still does the job. Only change I made was from a 2,500 lb. MileMarker winch to an 8,000 lb. XRC-8 SmittyBilt

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mr. cob

 

I am thinking your Voltage is like my Fuzion and has tie down points already in the floor. I have some on sides and down the middle. I used the following to tie the Smart down in my Fuzion. I don't have any room for anything else then the Smart car though.

 

http://www.uscargocontrol.com/Towing-Auto-Hauling/Wheel-Nets-Auto-Car-Tie-Downs

 

 

Part #: SMWN2R51CE18

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mr. cob

 

I am thinking your Voltage is like my Fuzion and has tie down points already in the floor. I have some on sides and down the middle. I used the following to tie the Smart down in my Fuzion. I don't have any room for anything else then the Smart car though.

 

http://www.uscargocontrol.com/Towing-Auto-Hauling/Wheel-Nets-Auto-Car-Tie-Downs

 

 

Part #: SMWN2R51CE18

Howdy Bob,

 

Thanks for the link. My toy hauler already has 12 hard tie down points mounted in the floor, each rated at 2,500 pounds. So it will be easy to tie the Smart down especially now that I know it has or can have tow hooks on both ends.

 

Dave

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Mr. Cob,

 

As Phil mentioned there is a tow hook receptical on the front driver's side also. There is just no hole drilled through the plastic. If you take careful measurements of the left side from the grill you can mark and drill up to 1" with a step drill. Start small so you can correct left/right, up/down as needed to center the hole. Lowes or HD has the black snap in caps to cover the hole when not in use. The OEM tow hooks can only be purchased from a dealer but the fold down ones like this can be purchased on line, I did drill mine since I front load my Smart.

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