accobra100

No start smart

16 posts in this topic

Hello all. I'm stumped. 05 Smart CDI Cabrio.  Go to start the car, get nothing. No crank, nothing. As if the immobilizer was on or it was in gear. I have had this issue for a year or so now, intermittently. After my wife was left stranded a couple of times due to this (it always started when I got in....) I decided to take action(or face divorce).  Maybe its a solenoid thing? Painstakingly, and plenty of lost DNA, pulled the starter out. Car's getting on. I've had it twelve years now,230000km, might as well change it while I have it out. Don't want to face that ordeal again. New starter in. Same problem. What's going on???? Wait,it started again!!!! Maybe it was the starter all along. No issues for months.... until i ran out of beer. Off to the liquor store! "I'll be right back, Dear". Turn the key and nothing. Try it again,turn the key and after a three second pause it would crank and start. That was weird. Why the delay then crank? Odd. But all is forgotten because it never gave me any problems ever again(5 months) and I was out of beer! Ha ha ha! I beat you little smart. Who's Smart now? Karma! It's back. Now with a vengeance I'm sure. Jump in the little Smart-ass, turn the key and nothing. Not even the delay then crank this time. Nothing! Why you little.... Maybe the battery has dropped a cell or something. Battery weak? "Get a new battery!" exclaims my wife. So in goes a new battery. It too was getting on (7 years old). Nada! So..... Fresh battery, starter good, wiring appears nice,car goes in and out of gear with no problems,locks and unlocks(no "key" on dash display),no codes, and I am a seasoned owner. Any ideas? Could the clutch actuator send fault signals to the SAMS tricking it into thinking the immobilizer is on or it is in gear? On a couple of occassions, I would let the car sit for a couple of days ( you know, teach it a lesson and not let it play with other cars on the street) and it would start just like nothing was ever wrong. Is it my disciplinary actions or is this car playing games with me? Is this Keith Gordon's 58 Plymouth making a comeback as a Smart?

 

Thanking you all in advance for any suggestions.

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Immobiliser on will indicate in central display so you can probably rule that out. 

 

Fitting a new starter without cleaning and  adding protective grease on female spade connector to starter solenoid may not have cured the initial problem. 

Edited by tolsen

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I agree with Tolsen, that connector is usually the culprit.

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I'll take another look at the solenoid connection. But am pretty confident in my work and plenty of dielectric grease was used.  You never know though.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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I would probably look at the engine and battery grounds.  This sounds like the sort of gremlin that would come with bad grounds.  I had a truck once that refused to start but slamming the drivers door would some how fix the loose ground on the fuel pump.

Best of luck 

Alan

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I did check the battery ground, no issue there. The battery also is fine. Where is the engine ground cable?

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2 hours ago, cadillacman said:

 

It connects to the engine/tranny flange, at the point where the EGR valve mounts to the same flange.

It has a plastic routing attach point on the air intake tube as well. This is also a source of the fray/decay that ails it.

Get a cheap 'coated' replacement at CanadianTire

Ok i see the top end strap attachment point is readily available just inside the engine bay cover. looks like I have to remove the rear body panel to access the other end?

Can I test the continuity of this with an ohm meter? And further on this, when I did a continuity check on the negative battery terminal to ground connection it read as 'open" on the meter! Which doesn't make sense to me but I'm not very knowledgeable in this regard

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So when I turn the key I get a soft click sound from the dash, followed by ~5 seconds soft whirring sound from engine bay and then another soft click from dash. That's all

 

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So today I went out and the car started twice, both times on first try!!! i'm thinking that the wonky solenoid connector as suggested by smart142 and cadillacman is the most likely culprit. One reason being a critter has been chewing off the felt insulating pad material on the underside of the engine bay compartment in recent weeks. It is using this felt to build a cozy nest on the front side of the engine just above where the starter and alternator sit. This could have easily disturbed the spade connection or even the wire to the solenoid?

So I have made an appointment and hopefully it will start on that day allowing me to drive straight through and have that addressed.

Meanwhile need to decide on a plan to dissuade this critter from setting up housekeeping in the engine bay!! :(

Bonn & smartcar.jpg

Edited by BJSmart

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UPDATE: Got lucky and found that I had some intermittent starting! Which meant there was at least a possibility of a road trip to Glenn's shop in London :)

Made an appointment for last Thursday and off I went. Glenn replaced the spade terminal on wire to the starter solenoid, which was quite oxidized. Sounds easy peasy but involves lowering the engine to gain access, similar to when doing an alternator swap! For good measure we replaced the ground cable which also was rusty and oxidized. Actually we didn't replace, we added a second one and attached the lower end to a different location than what OEM is. Question for Cadillacman ...curious how you accessed the lower attachment point of the OEM ground to undo??? Glenn and I had a good look and there is no easy way in to undo even with rear body panel removed!

 

Glenn, thanks so much once again for keeping our smart on the road!! All good so far :)

 

 

smartXC108.jpg

Edited by BJSmart

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Ground cable loops around inlet duct from  air box to turbo. Attaches to bell housing. Quite easy to get to. 

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I recently replaced the spade terminal on mine due to similar intermittent starting behaviour of the car. Although the spade wasn't too badly corroded it was obviously making poor contact. I cut the spade off and soldered on a ring terminal which I bolted to the starter post using the bolt that holds down the flat terminal. Haven't had any issues since. I also took the opportunity to install a restrictor plug in coolant bypass line and clean up (get rid of) the EGR cooler hoses, since I had the motor lowered. 

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i had this same issue a few days ago in a parking lot...was able to tap on the spade terminal thru the trunk hatch with a flashlight and a long 1/4" extension 

 

im dreading getting in there to fix it right...just two years ago i cleaned it all and tightened the connector ...even covered it all in dielectric grease and still it only lasted a few years

 

kind of wishing id taken the time to make the hatch removable instead of welding it back on (previous owner had cut an access hole in the rear firewall to reach starter)

Edited by LooseLugNuts

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