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Everything posted by DesignerDave

  1. Hey guys, now that I'm back with my new smartie diesel that still needs some work to get back on the road, I figure what better time to finally get an old project finally finished up? We have plenty of CNC machining equipment in house as well as both 3D scanning and 3D CAD software. I've been wanting to build a nice little kit to allow for manual sequential shifting and clutch operation for the Cdi. There have been maps made that improve the car from stock but I still think a manual would be even better. What do you guys think? Dave
  2. Activity in general with Smarts seems to have dropped considerably, this website included. At least it seems to have anyway. Dave
  3. Thank you very much for your feedback. I agree with you that really the electronic shifting isn't nearly as important as the manual clutch, the only real problem is you can't really have one without the other. Mercedes could easily do it but without the ability to make drastic changes to the ECU software it really isn't practical to keep the entire OEM shifting configuration. I could interface with the electrical motor and add a solenoid to the shift lever assembly, it is important the driver have feedback as to the exact moment the gear is engaged. Even so, to keep the gauges showing the gear is still unlikely. You couldn't have the ECU trying to shift for you on it's own because you need to press the clutch to do this. The ECU still needs to think the car is in neutral or it'll show three bars the second it requests for clutch movement and it doesn't happen. At least this is what I assume it would do if it didn't have clutch movement within a certain time allowance. This first design has an external slave and external cable operated detent/shift unit. We'll see how that works out and if we need to go back to the drawing board that is okay too. I'm trying to make this as cheap as it can be both from a manufacturing and installation standpoint. Hopefully this will not require any sheetmetal cutting, that will be confirmed next. We'll probably build a bunch of other smart widgets along the way. Would anyone find tapered plates to slightly widen the rear wheel spacing and take out the camber angle useful? I could whip those up like hotcakes, better than cutting, welding and painting, especially for the average owner? Thanks again for your helpful perspective! Dave
  4. Would anyone care if we just ditched the carpet around the pedals and put in a vacuum formed thermoplastic mat instead? As you can see in this image of the same pedals with only the sheet metal shown, there is much more room when you ditch the carpet. I'm thinking something similar to a weathertech mat style material. I consult and machine for a plastics company here that uses the same vac forming machine WeatherTech does, it wouldn't be too hard to make a new custom mat for that area. This would not only really help with the space down there, but also make it easier to keep rain and snow away from everything. Also it would be easier to install the clutch master cylinder below the floor and make a new "box" that bolts on from underneath to attach the brake and clutch to. My understanding is that the existing unit isn't perfect anyway. Not sure if people would hate the idea of cutting a hole in the floor if a template was provided? I'll see how far I can get without resorting to any of that. I'm open to feedback as always!
  5. I've been spending a little time getting a feel for what is reasonable in the world of racing pedals, in terms of spacing between them. As I mentioned earlier my racing background is on the motorcycle side so I don't claim to be an expert in what works best in the world of pedals. What you see below is the preferred pedal spacing used by some drivers. The Lotus Elan came from factory with actually a tighter spacing than this, so this isn't actually as bad as it looks, and this is with the carpet still in place. If I ditched the carpet there would be plenty of extra space, but that isn't the plan. (Although the carpet is heavy and I would love to ditch it) The location and width of the throttle is the same as stock. The really wide (ugly) brake pedal tread is gone, instead is a racing setup sized pedal used on all three, which is common. I think the wide brake pedal makes it look impossible to install a clutch pedal with any reasonable amount of leftover space. I'm going to make the pedals adjustable on the arms to adjust as needed once it's together. Also I'm getting rid of that annoying offset between the pedals from the driver, flat across will be much more comfortable I think. Obviously since the dead pedal is also the wheel well, that will still be there.
  6. Yes, can be used not matter how bad the fork is, unless you have made something else and totally messed up the fork. The typical hole left by the actuator is not a problem, this is one of the major advantages to the concept. Worst case: Fork gets hole in it and car is now immobile. Pull actuator, install tip and replace. Other than having to calibrate the actuator, you are good to go, forever (Until something else breaks)
  7. Tolsen: The cost of the fork is irrelevant in this case because of the cost of labor to change it, and the sad fact the new fork will have the same problems the old fork did. It is not a fix, just a consumable at that point. A consumable that is very time consuming to change. Thanks CANMAN for confirmation of the adjustment. Adding the acorn isn't really a fix either because the problem is primarily the relative motion between the tip of the actuator and the fork itself. What really doesn't help things is how low the hole is for the actuator. If you ever go through a puddle or dusty conditions everything will be introduced to that point and just make the "grinding" even worse. The other pivot point doesn't see the wear and tear because of how shielded it is, because it has a spring to keep it fully engaged and lastly because it sees quite a bit less angular displacement due to it's location. Anyway, I spent far too long designing a little replacement tip for the actuator, the profile exactly matches the socket of the clutch arm so you can remove actuator, place tip on actuator, install and the problem is gone for good. The motion and friction is now between the special heat treated and coated insert and the tip of the actuator in a sealed environment with the appropriate grease. The arm only sees the pushing force of the actuator, not the "rubbing" as before:
  8. Very interesting for sure. Thank you for your feedback, I'm certain that if you would prefer the less labor intensive installed unit and you are already capable of doing the more labor intensive install, that easily holds weight with anyone who doesn't actually work on the car themselves. 10 hours worth of labor (likely more by the time it's all said and done) is a lot of money to be saved and easily justifies a little more cost on the kit itself. Dave
  9. No need to guess, I have a low-ish mileage clutch arm right here. Now I can see the exact radius of curvature they used in both sockets, it isn't constant. (Don't worry, eventually I'll stop posting shots of 3D scans and CAD files and start posting pics of actual machined parts, but since this is the start, this is what you see first!) More to follow soon on this little fix. Could save all of you quite a bit of time and money fixing your smarties! By the way, if you are thinking of modifying your actuator, please wait! Dave
  10. I think I have a solution for this problem that can be done in-situ that will last the life of the vehicle. As many of you know, I've been working quite a bit on transmission & clutch actuation related items on this car lately and I didn't want to invest the time in an external clutch actuator until I solved this ball socket wear problem. I'll post pics of the new design shortly. I have a high precision CNC lathe here so I can whip these up like hotcakes. - Quick question, and this is important to my design: Is Anyone's actuator anywhere near the limit of travel in the bolt slots AWAY from the bellhousing? Both of mine here are near the middle. Middle or closer is perfect, further and I need to know. I would think MB can hold close enough tolerances that everyone is in the same ball park. I assume as it needs to be adjusted over time it keeps getting closer to the bell housing right? Please let me know if you know! Dave
  11. Thanks! To answer the question about just swapping transmissions: The transmission the car has now is a manual transmission in every way. No need to change it, it has the right ratios, right clutch, everything. Just need to take the actuators off and put "adapters" on it to allow direct mechanical control, that is what I'm doing. I'm going to finish the shifter and pedals tonight hopefully, but I'm stuck on the shifting actuator. I'm getting prices back on all the purchased parts, the external unit will automatically increase the whole price of the kit by at least $250. I'm trying to keep the cost of such a kit down because I know Smart car owners, especially the cdi group, are very conservative with their pennies (nickels now I guess?) Another question for all of you: Which matters more to you? Lightest and best performing package at the expense of having to drop the transmission, split the cases and install the kit or, Higher cost, bolt on solution at the expense of more inertial resistance while shifting but hopefully much less labor cost to install. To be honest I've never tried to drop just the transmission alone with the engine in the car, I assume you still have to drop the engine/transmission assembly to do this, just to get access to all the bolts around the bell housing? Any time I've worked on my smarts I just drop the subframe. I don't want to assume most owners are comfortable with doing this. Once I finish the pedals and shifter I'll need to decide before cutting metal. I personally don't mind pulling the transmission and going that route, but I want to run with whatever most people would want to go with. Dave
  12. Quick update on this: After designing everything to fit inside the transmission to make the car shift manually I couldn't help but think that no one would want to invest the amount of time and money it would take to install those parts just to have the smart a true manual car. So, set that design aside, here is what I have now. Although mechanically simple and rugged, this is a geometrically complicated unit. It is a cable operated detent unit that bolts on in place of the electric shifting motor, being very similar in both size and weight. To install, you remove the old shifting motor, making note of what gear the car is in. The best would be to leave it in reverse before you take the motor off, but that doesn't really matter. Then you shift this unit in the same gear and bolt it on. Run your cables, install the shifting stick, pedals and external clutch slave (changing so you can do this without dropping the engine), install dummy electrical connectors and your done. The hardest part of the whole job will likely be dealing with the frozen bolts holding on the electric clutch actuator body. At least that will be the last time they need to be touched, as the hydraulic slave is self adjusting. This shifting unit has a very unique detent that changes the rotational output per shifter stroke depending on the gear. To shift into Neutral you just row down to 1st and then it's a half shift, with the shift into R being a difficult tall detent well over half way through the shifter travel, the only shift that is like this. This will be very obvious to the person shifting just by feel, and I don't think anyone will shift into R by accident. The shift from 3rd to 4th is still two shifts offset internally because the drum doesn't get changed, you just perform the action in the same angular displacement of the shifter arm that you do all the other shifts, so it will take a bit more effort to complete that shift, but the transmission is not at risk of any mashing of gears. One thing that is nice about shifting the car manually is not only that can shift hard and fast when you want to, but you can actually take it really easy on the transmission when you like, shifting really slowly when it's cold for example. I really appreciate comments and feedback on this project. I hope I'm not the only one that finds this idea to be worth doing. I've wanted a manual diesel smart since I first was in one! Dave
  13. A Smart car is a great "single owned vehicle" if you were debating between it and a motorcycle. It carries more cargo than a motorcycle and keeps you drier, but it doesn't carry more passengers. When I was a young man all I had was a motorcycle at one point, so this does actually apply to some people. The Cdi also gets better fuel economy than most bikes. When you compare it to other cars, it only makes sense if you have to drive in very tight areas with hard to find parking, or if you want to put decals all over it, they get more looks than many vehicles. If you can't work on it, think hard about whether or not you should just buy a new electric or something. Any German vehicle that is old will cripple you if you don't do the work yourself. Especially a German diesel. Having just said that, I say you should go with a VW Golf TDI (1.9L ALH) with a manual tranny and don't look back. Easy to work on and get better fuel economy than even the cdi does if the speeds are frequently on the highway. I've owned three and I've owned three smart cars and I love my smarts, but for an only vehicle the Golf is a hatch with a ton of versatility and relatively cheap parts for what it is. They also have the best crash test ratings in the business. Dave
  14. Thanks for your feedback! I've almost finished designing the new drum with the pattern just like you suggested. I can make the lockout optional so if people want to add the lock to go into N or R they can. After getting all the geometry input and playing with each syncro and the new detent design I can say you will know just by feel when you shift into N. I'll have a green and red light that come on when you are in N and R, obviously the car needs to know R for the back up lights, so we'll see how I have to go about that, whether I just bypass the existing wiring to the bulbs and just run my own discrete circuit, time will tell. Anyway, when the syncros are disengaged, it takes almost no effort, they practically help you, so the only resistance you have to overcome is my new star detent for half the shift, the original side ball detent no longer does anything. When you shift into gear it takes a little effort to slide the syncro in. You will be able to feel that although you did overcome the detent, you didn't actually engage a syncro, mind you the detent will do some of that work for you. It'll be fine That 3 to 4th shift will be interesting. By using 8 positions (A full shift for N) I can only have 45 degrees of barrel rotation for each shift, so I can't really offset the syncro engagement of the two sets of syncros. The design of the shifting forks prevents you from having too steep of a ramp on the drum. It's actually very clever, those inserts are what allowed them to make the barrel out of aluminum and still have good life.
  15. Ahh typical Tolsen post. Your right, I should look into it. What do your local laws say about you messing with your EGR system, or your wheel bearings, or your alternator pulley... What would your insurance company say if you told them you figured you had a better setup for lubricating the front WHEEL bearings on your smart car? I mean, it's not like a locked wheel could ever be a liability. I think my insurance asks if I have modified the car for performance. I can honestly say no, because as you pointed out earlier the transmission already shifts as fast as possible, so clearly this mod will lower performance. I'm good! Thanks though. Really.
  16. For option D, you go with A, but hold the lockout button. R and 1 are directly next to each other. The only time you use N is when the car is putting away in the driveway warming up for a minute defrosting the windows or idling while you go pickup your pizza. (Ultimate car for pizza pickup in my opinion) - Basically running when you aren't in it. The only reason I actually do think a lockout would be nice is for those days you didn't bother to pay attention to what gear you were in before that cyclist decided to swerve in front of you and cause you to slam on the brakes. With a lock out you do the same thing as you do on a motorcycle, tap down (ahead or reverse depending on how you set your cables) enough times to make sure you must be in 1st. No need to worry about being in N or R. It is true with a gear indicator you can always see what gear you are in, but this way you can look at the road and still know your in 1st. Thanks very much for your feedback. Very good point about rocking in the snow, this is why I ask. Then again, just having a clutch you can modulate yourself will help plenty in these situations. I'm also doing away with the key ignition. Just two switches and a button, maybe even one two position switch plus the push button start. You can't start the car without the remote no matter what anyway. When I have the concept ready I'll get your guys feedback on the design too. I'll bet you all have thought of nifty things that would come in handy that never occurred to me. One more question too: Would you rather have a short length shifter like what is there, or a longer one that isn't as far of a reach from the wheel like more racing oriented setups? I'm already placing the pivot much lower than the stock location, so it will feel more natural than the piddly plastic OEM setup:
  17. Quick question for everyone! If you were driving a manual sequential smart car, how would you like the shifting to be? A. (Bike-like) Neutral: Half shift between 1st and 2nd (like a motorcycle), with a lockout for R (Have to press a button on shifter or console to shift into R, which is a forward shift past 1. B. (Darwin system) Neutral: Full Shift below 1st and then a full shift into R with no lockouts. Would have to keep count (keep eye on gear indicator, which likely will not be the one on the gauges, at least at first) C. (Sort of like OEM?) Neutral: Locked out full shift below 1st, with R after that using the same lockout process. The insures no false Neutral ever while driving, but you have to use the lockout more often unless you don't bother with Neutral much. I can custom build the shift drum to suit all three depending on what the driver preferred. I have to make a new drum anyway, so I can make any pattern I want. As it is, the transmission has to shift out of 3th before it shifts the differential range from low to high, then it shifts into 4th. I'm reducing angular displacement on the drum to do this task. They will still be offset, but will be both occuring at the same time unlike now. If you ever wondered why that shift takes longer, the drum actually rotates 57% more on that shift than on all other forward gear shifts on the 6 speed. No matter what I do, that shift is going to take more effort. Dave
  18. Update on the manual shift project: Here is the design for the custom hydraulic throwout bearing assembly. The pedal and center console sections have been scanned with and without carpet as well as the whole interior floorpan. Pedal and shifter designs will be finished next. I've been on the fence as to whether I would try to make this all bolt on without having to drop the transmission and the benefit of the switch is more fully realized with the extra labor involved in a direct hydraulic throwout bearing, and a direct shifting assembly that actuates the shift drum direct. The transmission shifting assembly design that will be installed in the transmission itself is almost finished. I hope after the car is proven others will be interested in this mod. It gets rid of the clutch arm that likes to wear out at the pivot, and it gets rid of all the electric parts that are on the transmission. It literally will be like a motorcycle manual transmission that also has reverse, and best of all, you will have a manual clutch. The pedals will be flat across them too, not that major offset it has now between the brake and throttle. More to follow soon! Dave
  19. Hello everyone, I just posted recently in the "introduce yourself" section of this forum, and I've put a poll in that post with a couple questions for the diesel Smart drivers out there.Just to bring the topic over here so it is in the proper section:I'm a professional mechanical designer and I have noticed most of the engine problems with the diesel Smart engine comes back to the chain and sprocket setup used on those engines. I'm putting together a new design that I hope will solve all the chain related problems these cars have. I've been racing motorcycles for many years and have dealt with the silent chain the Japanese like to use for the camshafts and I think that design will be much more suited to this engine than the bushing chain currently in use.I've already measured up most of the components and once modeled up I'll attach some images of the proposed "kit". I have my own machining equipment so it is just a matter of getting the right cutter and I can get some machined for use. I have a buddy who has an induction heater I can use for treating the tooth profile for hardness, so I think long life is not going to be a problem. Any feedback on this would be great! As I said in my other post, if I can keep more of the cars running longer, that would be awesome. The world needs more little cars!!Regards,Dave
  20. The new oil pump drive is here. Interesting - Crank sprocket for oil pump drive is made in Germany, oil pump sprocket is made in Switzerland (Chain in France, Tensioner in Switzerland.) My new oil pump sprocket appears to have the smooth surface on one side, and the light "lines" on the other side. I'm going to get them hardness tested before install. If the oil pump sprocket is the same as the damaged one in terms of hardness, I'll be getting it case hardened to match the crankshaft sprocket. Either way I'll post the results of the tests soon. Dave
  21. Measure? I can 3D scan it for you! I even have it torn apart at the moment. I'm in Calgary, not that it matters. Do you use CAD perchance?
  22. One more point, I think they did change the part but they kept the part number and revision the same. You can simply do a QC change with your supplier/manufacturer and get the part changed without updating your drawings, we have done that before. This way there is no proof it needed changing and owners may have more difficulty with a lawsuit showing Mercedes knew there was a problem. When I pick up my new gear, if it has a different finish I'm going to get a hardness test done on both, and if it has the same finish, I'm not even taking it. For kicks I'll also get the driving sprocket hardness tested too, though I already know it's of better material, it's obvious to the naked eye just by the wear. Dave
  23. I'll take pics later but the oil pump gear is like so many we have already seen. Smooth finish on the sprocket like all the failed sprockets have, teeth pretty much gone. I think I caught it just before it started to seriously cause harm to the engine. The turbo feels good, very little scoring on the walls of the oil pump, the main damage was to the aluminum casting where a bolt runs through the cover. Ground down until it was rubbing on the steel bolt, that was the crazy noise it was making. I'm going to pull the oil cooler and filter assembly and ultrasonic clean all those parts to make sure to get all the particles from that gear. Get some new oil pump sprockets, tensioner and pump gears and she'll be good to go! Once again, driving sprocket was fine, chain wasn't even that bad, all the damage was on that potmetal gear, and the oil pump gears. (Not literally potmetal, but not far off). This engine was very near oil pressure failure, and subsequent turbo/engine failure. Dave
  24. You said you determined that the engine will stop while the alternator is still spinning by shutting off the engine. I wonder, by shutting off the engine are you de-energizing the alternator? Maybe? One thing I absolutely know for sure is that when an alternator is made to work, it takes all the effort I have to keep it spinning at all. I don't have the gear ratio I was using though... but it was intended to keep it spinning around the same speed it would in a car at lower engine RPM. Once it gets to a low enough speed it shuts off and spins but that is slower than it will see with the engine running. I think the clutch starts to bite a little sooner than that crossing point in the graph, basically when the almost linear deceleration starts to take a dive. Adding the clutch doesn't hurt anything, that much is certain. As for the rest of the claims, especially faster acceleration, I think we need more isolated data. (Such as my MyChron data logger keeping all aspects the same except that pulley). Belt life tenfold is tough to prove. Improving the smart driving experience? While we are already at the very peak of adrenaline and excitement? How can this be?
  25. If I read that chart correctly, the ECU isn't waiting for rpm's to match before engaging the clutch. It has already started engaging the clutch a while beforehand, it just waits until they match before fully letting the clutch go. No different than what we do when driving a manual with a clutch. This does nothing to suggest the clutch sprag will speed this process. The transmission gets to proper RPM faster than the engine because, no surprise, the moment the gear is actually selected the transmission input shaft has to be rotating the new speed (it is coupled to the tires/road surface), it is mechanically decelerated (via syncro) to that speed which no engine could ever match. The clutch is what brings the engine speed back to the transmission speed, you can literally see the moment the clutch starts to rub on the flywheel and the engine rpm starts changing drastically. If it were actually waiting for the engine speed to match only by the natural deceleration of the engine alone, that line would be perfectly linear. I'm not convinced that the clutch is slowing the alternator faster than the alternator would all by itself at that rpm. When I was building a human powered helicopter for a competition a few years ago I built a recumbent bicycle that had a VW Bosch alternator attached to it as a means to produce a certain amount of power over a certain time. When it kicked in it wasn't like riding up a hill, it was like hitting a brick wall (It was really funny really to watch people try to ride it). The brutal force it takes to run an energized alternator is more than enough to slow it down all by itself, trust me on this one. I've experienced this directly. If anything that alternator will slow the engine down FASTER if it is connected, actually now that I remember that bike setup, I'm positive it would. The idea of a sprag on the alternator was already being implemented on VW TDI's back in the late 90's, so the pulley was invented already, unless the original OM660 sat on a shelf for over half a decade before they decided to use it. I have a locked up pulley in my basement now off a 1999 ALH, they are both Bosch alternators, I wouldn't be surprised if it is similar in dimensions. Just the saving on wear and tear on the belt may warrant the switch itself, if a guy had one laying around. My belt on this smartie I've torn apart is pretty toast, and the car didn't even have all that many miles on it. This sprag isn't for faster gear changes, it's to help NVH from high frequency cycling of the power/compression pulses. Not a performance mod at all, only a comfort mod. Dave