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fumoon

transmission problems?

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I was on my way to work this morning when suddenly the speedo went blank and it feels like the transmission went into neutral. I shifted it to neutral and let the car roll to a full stop. But when I tried to shift it in gear this '3 bars' came up. The car was moving ok by then but the '3 bars' were there thur out the next 5 minutes until I reach my workplace. After work (6 hours later) I try starting the car again.....nope.....the car would start but still having this '3 bars' and the transmission refuse to shift into gear. After moving the shifter back and forth a few times, the transmission finally starts to response. And the '1' came back on the display along with the check engine light.. :( On my way back I notice something really wrong....whenever the RPM is around 1800 the downshift symbol will come out. And after a full stop at the lights, once the car starts moving and after maybe 3 sec the speedo will go blank and as if it's in neutral again for 2,3 sec and then engage in gear again by itself. And after that the car will run normal again thur out the rest of the gears.I tried using the Auto mode, and the car won't have that 'first gear' problem, BUT....when I was making a sharp turn the speedo went blank again and went into neutral....until I shift it back and forth, then the car starts to move again.....arrrrrHope this is not going to cost me an arm and a leg....... :skull:

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Thats wierd I just had a similar problem today comming back from work.I was in the fast lane when the gear indication went blank and there was no comnnection to the driving wheels. I managed to coax the car to the slow lane after some scary moments and the geras came back but kept quitting. I stopped at a garage to shut down and see if the computers would reset. When i started up again the ESC kept flickering and after getting about 2 secs of power the gears would fail and i would be out of power again. I limped towards home and managed to get into 3rd gear for some time. Eventually I was down to 1st gear no gears, 1st gear, no gears in about a 3 second cycle. I was making about 5kph. When I got off the highway service road the gears came back at least as far as 3rd so I limped up to the dealers lot so they can see it on Monday.Of course this all happened in a snowstorm so it was more than usually hairy!It felt like the ESC was kicking the clutch out whenever some power was needed or we went over a bump that gave some vertical G. The gear window was going blank and the lighting was changing in intensity although that may have been due to the emergency flashers.This was very scary and could easily have been fatal given the weather.Does anyone have any ideas? :huh:

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I disconnected the battery and recharged it. Now after 4 hours the battery is full. Went out for a test drive for 10 minutes, everything looks normal except for the engine light which is still on all the time. I'll goto my garage tomorrow and ask them to check what codes it's in there and reset the light. See what happens, hope it's just a mis-reading. I'm starting to judge the reliability of this little car.....:(

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If the battery is original then it is probably due to be replaced (like most cars - 5 years is about the norm for a battery) - with the transmission and a lot of other functions being electronically controlled having the battery at the right voltage is critical to operation more so than older cars. You will find this in a lot of newer cars not just the smart.Other thing to look for is alternator not charging - apparently the winter salt plays havoc with them eventually. Another point is when did you get the clutch adjusted last? They will give shifting issues if you don't get the actuator adjusted once in a while to account for wear on the clutch (more for the other guy's issue).If you are going to a garage tomorrow chances are it is not equipped to deal with the engine warning light but you can try - some items need the dealership to reset (also common on a lot of newer cars). You have to maintain these cars if you want them to behave properly - they are not like an old 1/2 ton pickup or older Toyota or Honda - and yes that means taking them to a dealer or a similarly equipped shop and following the factory maintenance schedule, not just throwing new oil in them and calling it good.Cheers,Cameron

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Re Speedie questions.The voltage was fine at about 14v on the Scanguage. Strangely it didn't seem to fluctuate with the dimming/brightening of the speedo.The alternator is new (replaced early winter) but the battery is old and probably needs to be changed.The only other symptoms that may be related are that I had been having increasing snags with the paddles not working. The normal fix of pulling both back together usually resolved the snag.It feels like there is a bad electrical connection and I wonder if intermittant problems from the paddles might trigger a gear change that wasn't completed. I am not sure where the connectors are or I would have a look myself and clean the pins. Does anyone know if the gear change signals route through the SAM (Canadian Box)?I am going to the dealers today to disconnect the Scanguage and the cruise to eliminate them. (a possible theory was that the cruise was interfering with the throttle pedal signal but I dont see why that would cause the Gear window to show nothing).The scanguage shows no engine codes stored so it must be in the SAM, the ECS or the clutch actuator?My wife says we need to get rid now as we cant trust Grany Smith to get me to and from work. Bummer.

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Have you consulted Evilution?

Possible causes:

Faulty SE Drive

Stuck gears

Weak battery

Faulty brake lights

Faulty gear motor

Faulty gear position sensor

Faulty clutch actuator

Chaffed wires

Stuck clutch

Faulty relay

Split reluctor rings

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A scanguage and ASAIK all aftermarket readers won't show any codes other than the engine-related ones. Transmission codes won't show. There are one or more set, count on it. Mercedes or an independent with the STAR machine will do a read and printout for a semi-reasonable charge, armed with that, evilution and here you can narrow it down and possibly fix it yourself or know that you can't. A code reading is the first step, no point wasting time on things that can be eliminated as possible causes by the codes.I'll toss this one in the mix, during my recent trip to -20 in Calgary I had an odd one. Quite often starting on ice the car would disengage the clutch with an abrupt jerk when it started to lose traction. Never felt that sudden jerky release before. The gear display went blank. No gear number, no three bars, just blank. It would stay blank until I backed off throttle blow 2000 RPM or so, then it would engage normally again. After returning home I had the codes read, it indicated a shift motor or position sensor problem. As a first step I cleaned and reseated the connector to the shift motor. (includes the sensor.) No repeat since, but also no -20. Dunno, but all is well now. Fingers crossed.

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Thank AlexThat sounds very similar except that mine appeared to be more related to the load on the drive system.Tolsen,I didn't have the 3 bars of death at any time and so its not quite the same.I went back to the dealers lot today and disconnected the MDC cruise control so that they could claim it was that. I then took her for a test drive and there was no repetition of the problem. However the day was clear and dry rather than the snowstorm of Saturday. We decided to bring her back home and use her for local trips until we get a recurrance or a reasonable time with no further problem. If it reoccurs Ill get the codes read and go from there.I will probably look at the shift motor connector and see if there's any evidence of chaffing or corrosion. Thanks to Tolsen/Evilution and Alex for this idea.2seat

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Went to my garage today.....code P0715. Got the light reset and everything looks normal now. :D

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P0715 Input/Turbine Speed Sensor A Circuit Malfunction. So, a sensor or wiring issue.

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I have been having the exact same problem with my 2005 smart. It started in December - in one week the car was towed 3 times. All the same signs you had except when the engine light came on I lost all power and could not drive the car. We finally disconnected the cruise control and everything was fine until 2 weeks ago.I just got back into Canada from a trip to Kentucky. I stopped to refuel and when I tried to star the car the dash displayed the 3 dashed lines and the engine light came on. Prior to this happening about an hour earlier as I left a friends home the car suddenly showed 0 on the gear display and it was like the car suddenly went into neutral and then went back to 1.I pushed the car from the pump hoping that would somehow re-engage the gears. But nothing changed. Because I was so close to the dealer ship I decided to try and drive the car. I drove about a 1 km with the 3 dashed lines and engine light showing then suddenly the gear display came back but the engine light stayed on.The dealership changed the spead sensor and everything was fine again. Until today. The exact same scenario has taken place note for note.I am taking the car back to the dealership tomorrow but I have lost all faith in this car.I'll let you know what the dealership says this time.

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These cars are too complicated for most experienced grease monkeys. An automotive electrician with a mind like Sherlock Holmes is who you need to sort out a Smart with this kind of problem.

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And I thought I was lucky....I guess not....:(On my way downtown just now, that 3 bars came on again....transmission losted....every time I went to a total stop it'll disengage and I'll have to re-start again. And it won't go over 60KM(if I do it'll disengage again).Restarted over 20 times....hope I didn't ruin the starter this time. And to make matter worst, at one point after re-starting the car I heard about 3 "bang" noise coming behind me, sounded like some kind of misfire from old cars....:(See how much this is going to cost me this time....maybe time to say bye to this little car......

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You have to take this car to a dealer. Frequent /hard starts can ruin the starter motor,then THAT will cost you $1400.00 to replace,on top of the trans problem!It sounds like your clutch actuator needs to be adjusted/replaced,or maybe the actual clutch is shot. Your trans nay be jumping out of gear.

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Sounds like a sensor has gone. Clutch sensor or speed sensor costs about $250. Do you happen to have an aftermarket cruise control on your car? I did - disconnected and the first problem went away.

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I have now changed the Battery (too cold earlier in the month) and the car seems to be back to normal. I am giving it at least a week to see if the sympotoms reappear. If they do not then I will reinstall the cruise control.Being both busy and lazy I haven't yet checked the clutch solenoid connector for wear and tear.Still hoping the OEM battery has fixed it.

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Sometimes a faulty battery will cause all sorts of problems on these cars,for some reason.

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Well my wife has driven Granny Smith for a week without any problems.I took her out Saturday and had another episode. The weather was damp with snow flurries but wasn't as bad as the first episode btu as my wife had also driven her in snow I didn't expect any problems.This time I was almost home and when I started of from the last set of lights the drive went completely and then returned. You get about 3 secs of power in first and then it disengages with nothing on the gear inducator. This cycle then repeats over about a 5 or 6 second period. This gives enough power to creep along at about 2kph! It is extreamely worrying when crossing a level crossing.I stopped and switched off and waited for the relays to drop.Switched on and got first gear all the way home.Checked the scanguage for codes but nothing (same as last time). Took her for a test drive - completely normal!Used her yesterday to pick up son from work - no problems.It's looking more and more like an intermittant electrical problem, wire or connector.I think she's going to have to go to the dealer because I don't want to be lying in the snow on the drive trying to diagnose this problem!Money!

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I think I'm having the same problem.

Got my car back from the garage lastnight. They changed the thermostat, intake o-rings(3 green rubber band thing) and cleaned out the EGR.

But they couldn't see problems about the "3 bars", and they even unpluged all the plugs(I think he said 6 of them) and checked, and nothings wrong with them.

Now I'm finally getting 'real' heat the first time and the temp. gauge will go up to the third.

Vibration on the engine is down to the minimum (only a tiny bit from starting off and in reverse) and the best part is that it will downshift calmly at the lights other then jerking down every gear.

My love with my Smart went up to highest level.....

and then......

while doing a quick left turn @ about 35km.....gear display went blank.....and disengaged......have to roll to the side and turn off the car......try starting......3 bars.......then driving normally again.

Called the garage just now, will have to leave the car and let them look at the clutch now.....:(

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If you haven't had the clutch adjusted (both mechanically and with the star unit - sometimes the dealers just do the star bit) - that is a good place to start. From there look for failure of the shifter motor - after that internal bits to the transmission (not a good thing).Cheers,Cameron

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Just dropped off the Smart to the garage, hopefully there will be an answer in the next 2 days.Something off-topic......I found out recently the previous owner went back to MB for this 3 bar engine light thing 5 times during the past 5 years......I'm start wondering if those people at MB were just resetting the engine light and let the car warm and dried up then gave it back to him...... <_<

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Our green 2005 cabriolet had a P0705 today, CEL and three bars, intermittent loss of drive, on its way into UVIC. Sean T dropped it off in Duncan and carried onto his exam in Snowball the white BRABUS and the green car was flat bedded (thanks, BCAA!) to TPM.I hope they can repair it while we're away in Alberta later this week and all of next week, as this is the car that does the heavy lifting for the commute. I am expecting a hefty bill.km at fault: 186,260.

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Thanks Roy!It WAS a small bill. A wiring harness was chafing and the repair cost $140. Thanks to TPM for the fast diagnosis and the decent pricing. We're in Vancouver now and off to Alberta Saturday.Good news!

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