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About fortow

  1. When you purchase a product you own it and should have with that product all the information required to maintain and repair it. Repair manuals need to be included with the the vehicles as they once were. It's unconscionable for manufacturers and dealerships to withhold repair information from either owners or independent repair facilities. This law is only related to mandatory disclosure of information to repair facilities, not to owners. The same problem that owners have been having will continue. The issue that really needs to be addressed is to disclose servicing information to owners of vehicles.
  2. Driving in the city is actully harder on the engine than a constant highway ride. Of course it depends on how fast you drive. Speed limits are no problem whatsoever.The hardship will not be on the car, it will be on you. Some claim this car is comfortable for long drives but that depends on what you're used to and the types of roads you're driving on. I find this car suitable for short to medium length driving but drives longer than several hours are tiring for several reasons - seats are not the most comfortable for long periods of time, the car tends to wander in side winds and also tramlines, the suspension is harsh, it is not the quietest car on the road. It also leaves a little to be dsires as far as luggage capacity is concerned. It will do of course, but my choice of for long drives would be something else.
  3. Although the basic message if that article might be suitable, but somewhat confused, it is a mixture of information and misinformation. The writer may not know exactly what he is talking about. Some of the qoutes were accurate and factual and some are not or are misinterpreted or may be taken out of context. A line-by-line critique is not suitable for the forum but in general - knock (DETONATION) is not "prematurely detonating" and "pinging" is not a thing of the past. This is obviously a misunderstanding. Pinging is an indication that knock may be present and Knock occurs after, not before, regular spark ignition has occurred and is caused by fuel that tends to autoignite in the advancing flame fromt of the already ignited fuel. This creates an effect that the engine cannot deal with without damage since the burn becomes too rapid. Knock sensors can detect the vibrations produced from this sort of event and if they do the computer will retard ignition so that the engine can deal with the more rapid burn instead of it applying pressure on the pistion too early and causing damage. Note, that this has nothing to do with the burn rate of the fuel itself. It is due to more than one flame front occurring at the same time. The real damaging effects from knock, other then melting effects of aluminum piston tops, come from the increasing heat and resultant tendency for actual preignition which will put holes in piston tops and damage bearings. Nontheless, a distinction must be made between knock and pre-ignition. High octane fuel deals with knock by reducing the tendency for fuel to autoignite in the presence of an advancing front.There are added and increased percentages of additives in higher octane fuels. That is necessary for several reasons - to prevent the build up of deposits which will add to the tendency to knock and to counter the increased deposits resulting from the higher octane fuels.If a manufacturer states that more power is available from higher octane fuel then it really does require the higher octane. The only reason why regular gas can be use is because of knock sensors. But, if regular is being used, then the engine is running at a decreased efficiency, more fuel will be used, and there is still apossibility of engine damage under some circumstances. Manufacturers stating that regular can be used in these cases is only for the benefit of marketing to people reluctant to use higher octane. The increased cost of using high octane is less than the difference in fuel cost since the engine will be running at decreased efficiency.The statements that high octane does not provide more energy than regular fuel and that if the engine was designed for regular fuel you won't get any benefit from high octane are correct. If there's is no reason to use high octane you are wasting money if you do - on the other hand if the car is designed to use high octane and you use regular fuel you may not be saving as much as you think, and you could be subjecting the engine to damage. The savings of $200 a year in fuel cost by using regular when high octane should be used may be a foolish thing to do, particularly when taken in the contest of all the other things people spend money on that they don't have to like; cigarettes, and extra coffee, driving when walking or riding riding a bike might do, or any of the other thousand incidentals or unnecessary purchases that we all make.I think that it was wise for the factory to specify high octane and not leave owners thinking that it would be OK to use regular grade fuel.BTW as engines age they tend to require higher octane fuel due to deposit buildup in the combustion chambers.
  4. Wider tires won't solve the problem but they might reduce it somewhat, and that may also be brand specific.As others have said, don't get tense and try to fight it when this happens because that will just tire you out and can make the situation worse. Relax, go with the flow, have a loose grip on the wheel, compensate for side wind if it is relatively constant, let the car move within your lane, and try this - hold the steering wheel at the top - if the car is blown to the side the reaction will naturally tend to make you turn the wheel to the opposite direction because of inertia without any concious effort which minimizes the sideways movement. That was a favourite trick I used with an Econoline van many years ago - it works. Slow down as well. The effect is worse the faster you go.
  5. Yes, thanks - I did think that that was the motivation for this sort of nonsense reporting at this particular time.They're plainly trying to discredit small foreign automobiles and hoping that the public is dumb enough to fall for that and buy the large American cars sitting on lots gathering corrosion. Not that I object to large cars since I do own a pickup and a family sedan as well, and a 10 ton vehicle too, but this type of silliness is just too blatantly obvious.It's a last ditch attempt to reinforce the motto that "bigger is better". If people can't grasp the concept that there is always something bigger than what they are driving then it is hopeless.BTW, what are people going to do when the credit crunch is over but the U.S. manufacturers (if still around) and everyone else has reverted to producing smaller more fuel efficient automobiles? No more Hummers - what a pity.
  6. This is absurd. What do people expect? I knew when the car was purchased exactly what the chances were of the smart colliding with anything that is bigger and heavier. I also know when riding a bicycle, or motorcycle that I will fair poorly if colliding with any four wheel vehicle, or any othe bike for that matter. I know when walking across the street that I don't want anything to hit me too.If people are that dumb to think that they are as safe in a small car as they are in a large one then all hope is lost. For those who want to be fully protected, buy a tank, but hope to god that there isn't another larger tank on the road at the same time.What is the point to all this?
  7. Just a point of information - the Optima is not a gel cell, it's an AGM battery - also, it is still a lead acid type but the acid is absorbed into a glass matt. These AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) batteries are sealed, valve regulated, recombinant batteries.
  8. Not really - it still shifts at revs that border on lugging the engine, shifts are still slow, and all the other faults of the auto mode are still evident.The only real changes are the ability to change between auto and manual by using the paddles, and the creep function is modified.If people are going to be using the paddles to change between the different modes then why not just use the paddles to shift in the manual mode? It works much better, you can be in the right gear at the right time, and with proper throttle manipulation the shifts can be very smooth. This reprogramming of the auto mode is more window dressing than anything else. It will take time for the novelty to wear off but when it does people might just be using manual more, and the fact that people will get used to using the paddles may actually be the best benefit to the reprogramming.
  9. The automatic mode has been programmed to deliver the best gas mileage, not the best driving behaviour or the best gear to be in for the good of the engine. 5th gear should not be used below 80 kph or if you try to accelerate you can be lugging the engine. If the engine seems like it's labouring, or there is unusual vibrations, then you need to shift down to continue driving or accelerate. If you're in auto mode, don't just press the gas pedal harder - press it to the floor quickly to shift down - or better yet, shift to manual mode and downshift before trying to accelerate. If you keep the revs above 2500 rpm in any gear you should be fine - but to get the best out of 5th gear you really need to be above 3000 rpm.Shifting at under 2000 rpm is ridiculous - unless you're in first gear. Using 5th gear under 2000 rpm is mechanical abuse. Learn to use the manual mode and keep an eye on the tach. To get a smooth shift in manual mode - shift, then immediately lift the throttle and reapply throttle. If you get the timing right the shift will be quick and very smooth. In manual mode you can also use the appropriate gear for the situation - something that the auto mode is not programmed to do.
  10. Yep - but wasn't responding to your comments at all - sorry if it seemed that way.I guess you interpreted the initial oil fill as being the "break-in oil" even though it is as you say, exactly what can be purchased off the shelf.There actually is such a thing as "break-in oil", however, and it is different from the oil you normally buy off the shelf. I believe that is what has been referred to in this thread. It's unlikely the car would be delivered with that type of oil for some of the reasons I mentioned.
  11. There's too much misinformation being bandied about.Spin-on oil filters may be called full flow but they don't filter all the oil that flows through the filter all the time. Oil by-passes the filter element when it is cold and viscous and when the engine is at high rpms. If it didn't there would be oil starvation. Since by-pass does occur, particles in the oil can also by-pass the filter element. The "silver" particles are not silver. They may be aluminum, brass, iron, or steel.Although there is such a thing as "break-in oil" it doesn't have to be left in the engine for very long, and there is no assurance that the smart does have such oil as delivered from the factory. Break-in oils use high levels of zinc and phosphorous (ZDDP) to prevent "scuffing" on surfaces where shear will take place like camshafts. These "break-in" oils are used only for the initial operation of a new or newly re-built engine for the first few hours of use, and that may be done at the factory. They certainly wouldn't be left in for thousands of miles. Modern oils have low levels of ZDDP because zinc and phosphorous have negative effects on catalytic converters. For that reason the engines are broken in at factories with high levels of antiwear additives and oil is then changed to synthetic before delivery.Modern low viscosity oils have high levels of anti-friction additives.Oils will turn dark for a variety of reasons, some of which are due to chemical changes with additives. The colour of the oil is not an indication that it has to be changed. The only way that can be determined with accuracy is by doing an analysis. Generally speaking, the factory change intervals are conservative. The days of 3000 mile oil changed are long gone. It is better to change filters more often than to change oil and leave filters in place. Stories about cars being delivered with break-in oil and advice to not change early really have no merit. If that was the case the owner's manuals would have information stating that the car is delivered with a break-in oil and warnings to not change the oil for a specific number of miles of operation, and if it is changed then the warranty would be voided. That is the information that needs to be provided, not hearsay or assumptions.
  12. Imaginations are running overtime in relation to this software programming. Yes, the Canadian cars are getting the re-flash done as well.No, it has no effect on engine power or quicker acceleration, and the stories of quicker shifting are exaggerated too. There are a few marked changes however - you can use the paddle shifters to change from auto mode to manual mode and back again when the shifter is left in "D" position. If you use manual mode that is not of any consequence. There is also a change in the was the "creep" function works. The dealer that did mine did not have an info card to explain the changes, nor did they know what the changes were in fact. It seems there's inadequate information about this being circulated, even to dealerships. I believe owners should eventually be getting a letter telling them about this service campaign.
  13. You've been misled. The warranty is maintained and honoured if the maintenance work has been done according to the maintenance schedule as set out by the factory (not dealerships). The work does not have to be done by a MB dealership. Mercedes cannot refuse other people maintaining it - it is not their car. An owner, for instance can maintain his own car. Also, Mercedes dealerships do not necessarily have the most experience with these cars. Warranties only cover faulty materials and workmanship from the factory. If a part fails, it is not difficult to tell if it failed due to lack of or faulty maintenance or because the part itself was faulty. Also, there is generally a track record of faulty parts or mistakes made in the assembly of the vehicle. Of course if you abuse the car or do not do the specified maintenance then warranty of parts that are affected by such will not be covered under the warranty program.If a windshield wiper motor failed, that would have little to do with having the oil and filter changed at a specific interval. The maintenance recommended is only applicable if a part failed that was dependent on the fluids being changed at the required interval or an adjustment being made if required. For instance, if a tire failed because it was underinflated then the warranty would not cover a replacement. If it failed due to an internal fault then it would be replaced regardless of any other maintenance, or lack thereof, with the vehicle.Modern vehicles also have On Board Diagnostics that display codes if something is about to go wrong or has gone wrong with the drive train components and some other safety and emissions equipment. Change fluids at recommended intervals, keep all systems that require adjustments properly adjusted, replace parts that require replacement when worn like brake parts or filters, and you're good to go.If you don't know much about your car(s) and rely on dealerships to tell you what you need to do, then perhaps you should begin to educate yourself and do some of the work on the car yourself. Regular maintenance is not difficult to do and by doing it you will get to know your car and discover when it is in need of special care. The fees being charged by dealerships for regular service are exhorbitant.
  14. Actually, I brought up the thought that it doesn't rev match because of the behaviour when up shifting. There may be some attempt at rev-matching by the computer when downshifting however. This may seem logical to the designers and perhaps it is - however, the lack of rev-matching on upshifts is the direct cause of the lurching and that is what irritates most people with the automatic shifting - and the slowness of the process compared to the customary torque converter automatics, as well. Smoothness can be mitigated by throttle control however, and that by the way, was prompted by the post which discussed getting good mileage. The author advised not changing throttle position during the shift because it wasted fuel - he was wrong about that, and not changing throttle position makes for a rough upshift as well.There's another factor that hasn't been discussed. I bought the car for towing four wheels down. Before buying it I requested a written statement from Mercedes stating that it was approved for 4 wheeldown towing. They said it was and intimated that the transmission had been re-designed to allow that. I don't know if there actually was a redesign or not but assuming there was then there could be other changes as well that make the behaviour different from the 450 transmission. Somehow, however, I do think that they behave the same - it's just the problem conveying information and experiences over the internet that may be interfering with a resolution of all of this.
  15. It doesn't matter what they pay in the U.S., the price for these 'maintenance' services is far too expensive. The rationale from MB is that if they make these services at longer spaced intervals that drivers will be willing to pay more for the services and that will be a benefit for both the drivers and the dealerships. Baloney. But it has convinced some people that the exhorbitant pricing is justified. MB, at the same time, also frowns on owners from either knowing much about their cars or doing their own servicing. Is a service manual available to owners? I have service manuals for almost every other vehicle I have ever owned. Sometimes it's a factory manual, sometimes it's an after market manual. Neither is available for the smart.Logically, an owner should be provided a service manual with the vehicle. The buyer of the vehicle, unless leasing the car, owns the vehicle. Neither MB nor the dealers have any ownership in the driver's car nor should they control who is doing the servicing. If specific maintenance is required to warranty the vehicle then it should be included in the cost price as is the warranty itself and be done free of charge during the warranty period. That way, both the owners of the cars, the dealerships, and the manufacturer will be happy - provided the original cost of the vehicle is within reason and competitively priced.