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AJR

ABS BS

49 posts in this topic

I finally got to checking on the ABS idiot light which has been annoying me, especially at night. Thanks to info from the gang here, I found both rings on the driveshafts cracked, one ring became two halves, so to even it up, I managed to snap the other one and completely remove both. I'm thinking of avoiding the hassle and expense of the dealer fixing, at least until my next inspection, Apr 2013. The ABS has been off for the last few months anyway and my last cars never had it. Now if someone knows of an alternative, (do they have to be metal?), (perhaps non-rusting wood), something that could be fastened on without a big deal. Has anyone else has penny-pinched in this fashion.

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The problem is not just the ABS, but the whole ESP system relies on input from those reluctor rings. A smart fortwo without ESP is dangerous to drive, especially on wet or slick surfaces. If you are comfortable fixing things yourself, you should acquire replacement rings and install them ASAP. There are multiple threads on here about this, and both www.evilution.co.uk and www.fq101.co.uk have How-To articles dealing with it.

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A smart fortwo without ESP is dangerous to drive, especially on wet or slick surfaces.

That is a bit of an exaggeration. With the correct tires for the road conditions, a smart works just fine without the electronic nannies.

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I hope it's not as dangerous to drive as my 2 wheeled non-ABS Kawi Versys with 50% more mule power. Maybe I haven't driven on any slick surfaces this summer. Hmmm, where's my old oil can, gotta test this out.

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That is a bit of an exaggeration. With the correct tires for the road conditions, a smart works just fine without the electronic nannies.

I hope it's not as dangerous to drive as my 2 wheeled non-ABS Kawi Versys with 50% more mule power. Maybe I haven't driven on any slick surfaces this summer. Hmmm, where's my old oil can, gotta test this out.

Take it out on the first frosty or snowy day without ESP and report back to us if you made it more than a few feet out of the driveway. Even with Blizzaks or Hakkas. Let us know.

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Been there done that on several occasions. No issue making it the 55km to work and then back again in the evening.

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Consider yourself damn lucky, then. If the ESP is truly off, the car is a bear on any slick road. When My ESP failed, leading to an "off" situation (solid ESP light), the car had a mind of its own on anything but dry pavement. Unintended 360s are not what I'd consider "just fine."

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I run narrow ice radials(WS-60) and the driving at speeds up to the speed limit was comparable to my 97 Saturn on X-Ice tires. Icy roads, snow covered roads, the biggest adjustment was to slow down going through drifted sections.If you are having that much of an issue with winter traction I would question your choice of tires.

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I'll repeat because perhaps I was not clear. My car works flawlessly in winter on winter tires. I feel as confident in winter with the smart as I've felt in any normal-sized car with good winter tires, maybe more so. Except for when my ESP failed due to a faulty connector at the module. The ESP fails to an off state, as we've seen before. For the day I was stuck without ESP, it was nearly impossible to drive safely on anything but dry roads. Period. If you are telling me you run in winter without ESP all the time, I'm telling you you've been damn lucky not to have an off-road experience, that is all.

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I will say that the transition from having ESP to not having it is more unnerving than simply remembering how to drive in winter. I am with SameGuy on this one. The car has enough torque (combined with the short wheelbase) to spin you around faster than you can react to the fact that you have broken traction. With only one brake pedal you cannot brake only the important corner like the esp can... If you are used to driving without the ESP it may not be a big issue, but your first drive without it could be a treacherous one.

Edited by pinhead19

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I will be the first to admit I am far, far, far away from the best winter driver out there, I have the written-off 98 Malibu to demonstrate that very point. Running ice radials on the icy and heavy snow covered roads I travel daily in winter has made driving very sedate these last 6 or 7 years.I am not sure how several times(3-4 weeks in the last 3 winters) magically becomes all the time in your mind.... If you are experiencing that drastic of a difference in performance between having ESP/TC/ABS and not on your winter setup, I personally would be looking at buying some better winter tires in 145/65/15 sizes. Or possibly a winter driving clinic.

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I understand that you and I have different opinions WRT tread width in winter on the smart. That is not the issue at all. But please don't question my driving abilities.

Are you confirming that your ESP has been completely off, several times (3-4 weeks in the last 3 winters) without any perceptible effects on how your car behaves? Do you have an ESP disabler and choose to drive with ESP/TC/ABS disabled for more than a single trip on icy/snowy/slick roads? Sorry, I'll continue to disagree that the smart is "safe" in sub-par conditions without ESP -- regrardless of the driver's skill level.

FWIW, when my car's ESP failed it was on relatively-new Conti Winter Contacts, the same tires that most fortwo drivers use in winter. As I said above, assuming an average smart fortwo on normal smart winter tires (even if they are new), the OP should address the failed ESP issue ASAP, as it is simply dangerous. Or not fix it, have a collision, and see who the authorities and insurance companies finger.

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Quick Question...with ABS/ESP Lights on will that reduce engine power? Because the computer could think the car is in a skid. We've got a broken reluctor ring, will be changed Saturday, and the car doesn't seem to have power past 85km/h; it gets there fast but then just goes flat as if the gas pedal wasn't being pressed

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That's probably another issue, like a clogged EGR.

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I've only ever had the ESP kick in once when I wasn't half-expecting it to. Usually I know I'm about to break traction, am ready for it and would react quickly enough to control it. That one time when it surprised me due to black ice... I would have been spinning into the ditch for sure. With such a short wheel-base, rear-biased weight balance and rear wheel drive it can get sideways so fast you don't have time to react unless you are expecting it.

Edited by Alex

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this will be my first winter WITH ESP, when I bought the car it had a cracked reluctor ring and drove it for 35K with the ESP/ABS light on. Honestly I prefer without the ESP, as long as you know how to drive there is really no need for that crap. The only problem I had with Albert in the snow was when he was cold he'd down shift in "auto mode" too soon and then sometimes lock up the rear tire in first coming to a stop.Now that I have replaced both rings I will be looking into the ESP disable switch for winter driving to get outta the snow in certain situations

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Sorry about opening a 'can of worms', for some of you guys. I must admit to having a front wheel lock up, (gravel), quite easily in the past few months, although no problems in a torrential downpour on an airport run, (50km), on original tires, still plenty of tread, (30,000km?). Also with a 15 ft canoe on the roof racks, (300+km), no prob, highly conscience of wind though. All that being said, I am going to order a set of reluctor rings from the UK and install, with Evilution site directions, hopefully without a major goof-up. I'm sure for the most part, winter driving would be all right, Sameguy, but I certainly don't relish the unexpected, which is really what ABS/ESP is for, not a substitue for stupid driving, especially in such an oddly designed and potentially unstable car as a Smart. In my youthful days I would've suggested a couple of you get together, smoke a joint and debate/laugh off your polar opinions. Cheers!

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Consider yourself damn lucky, then. If the ESP is truly off, the car is a bear on any slick road. When My ESP failed, leading to an "off" situation (solid ESP light), the car had a mind of its own on anything but dry pavement. Unintended 360s are not what I'd consider "just fine."

Amen to that.....when my brake switch failed last winter I decided to "test" those electronic nannies in a empty lot that had sleet on it & got up to 50 kmh then gave the accelerator pedal a little goose....not much at all...& was really impressed by how quickly the front changed positions with the back.....with brand new winter contis.My 78 chevette with all season tires would've just waggled it's rear end a bit....

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Short wheel base and heavily rear-biased weight balance will do that... There is some inherent stability in a front wheel drive and forward weight bias, and a lot more time to react with a longer wheel base. No fun or performance, but stability. The smart really wants to be traveling backwards.Same with older Porsches, as well as a good many sports cars. Tons of fun, drive them right and they are fast, but a real handful to control in a skid.

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FYI. I have just ordered two reluctor rings this morning (www.ukpartsdirect.com) and lo&behold the price had just dropped 7pounds/ring, sweet. So far $60 CA on my credit card, no doubt there will be other fees/taxes, but still a huge savings over dealer installed driveshafts.

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Short wheel base and heavily rear-biased weight balance will do that... There is some inherent stability in a front wheel drive and forward weight bias, and a lot more time to react with a longer wheel base. No fun or performance, but stability. The smart really wants to be traveling backwards.Same with older Porsches, as well as a good many sports cars. Tons of fun, drive them right and they are fast, but a real handful to control in a skid.

Yup, right up to the threshold of their handling limits an older BMW would give little indication that it was "there"..... over it & all heck would break loose....pun intended

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FYI. I have just ordered two reluctor rings this morning (www.ukpartsdirect.com) and lo&behold the price had just dropped 7pounds/ring, sweet. So far $60 CA on my credit card, no doubt there will be other fees/taxes, but still a huge savings over dealer installed driveshafts.

I've done mine too & no problems with the information available online.

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FYI. I have just ordered two reluctor rings this morning (www.ukpartsdirect.com) and lo&behold the price had just dropped 7pounds/ring, sweet. So far $60 CA on my credit card, no doubt there will be other fees/taxes, but still a huge savings over dealer installed driveshafts.

When do they show you the updated price? I'm checking this out and they are still showing up as £17.98 each plus shipping...

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But please don't question my driving abilities.

Once you stop questioning the validity of my statements about how my winter setup performs with out the electronic nannies, I will be overjoyed to comply.

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Are you confirming that your ESP has been completely off, several times (3-4 weeks in the last 3 winters) without any perceptible effects on how your car behaves? Do you have an ESP disabler and choose to drive with ESP/TC/ABS disabled for more than a single trip on icy/snowy/slick roads? Sorry, I'll continue to disagree that the smart is "safe" in sub-par conditions without ESP -- regrardless of the driver's skill level.

First winter(2008) I had the car the brake lamp switch failed, as soon as I could it was into M-B to be fixed. Running on old Conti winters that came with the car, the car had to be driven under the speed limit on potentially icy roads for safety.

2nd winter, brake lamp switch failed again, with the WS-60 tires still very safe to travel on icy roads at the speed limit. Slowed down for heavy drifts. Drove the car like this for several weeks until I had starting issues, had engine wiring harness replaced and brake lamp switch at the same time. This was when London M-B dropped my car off their hoist.

With the Contis is was quite easy to upset the car with the electronics down, I think I even have video of it. The WS-60 setup I run is hard to get out of shape at in town speeds, parking lot spin outs are near impossible.

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