8footdieselpusher

Won't go into gear - just hear mechanical sounding clicking

17 posts in this topic

Recently, my grey Smart car (I presently own four Smarts - long story) threw me a hard curve ball: it drove to work just fine but would not go into gear 8 hours later.  I had it towed home and have so far done the following, to no avail:

 

- removed and lubricated the clutch actuator

- (as per Tolsen's online advise to others) removed the wiring harness and did both a continuity test and a load test on each of the 17 wires

- bought Electrical Connection cleaner (Canadian Tire) and exhaustively cleaned every connection, including the harness/ECU interface

- removed and checked the Gear Position Module (it was truly spotless inside, but thoroughly cleaned the engine block region before re-assembly anyways

- reset the P0702 error code (no other codes thrown)

 

Of importance, when I removed the clutch actuator, I put a thin screwdriver into the fork cup, inside the clutch housing, and noticed it was able to pass through (suggesting the dreaded actuator-rod-wear-through-fork issue).  Unwilling to drop the transmission (to change the fork), I firstly rammed and twisted a large crayon in the fork cup to get a good idea of the full fork cup dimensions.  I then "simply" tapped the end of the actuator rod with a 7/16" NC die and threaded on a stainless steel acorn nut (from Fastenal), which was just a bit narrower than my crayon mold.  After re-installing the clutch actuator, with its new acorn nut extension, I watched from underneath as my wife (carefully with foot on brake) shifted through some gears.  The actuator rod modification seems to work very well.

 

But, alas, I've made no real progress.  When I start the car and then select first gear, the car makes the same rhythmic clicking sound (and I think I sense a a very very slight forward rocking) that it did that fateful first day at work.  When I select reverse, the clicking is louder and about twice as quick.

 

I would be humbly grateful for any suggestions.

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Did you mount the actuator in the same place where it sat before?  You will have to adjust it.

Edited by Wild!

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No help here.  I just noticed you screen name.  Are you a RVer?  My smart rides on the back of mine.

 

Nigel

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14 hours ago, 8footdieselpusher said:

When I start the car and then select first gear, the car makes the same rhythmic clicking sound (and I think I sense a a very very slight forward rocking)

 

Yes, this is usually a symptom of the wiring to the Actuator Motor

 

14 hours ago, 8footdieselpusher said:

(as per Tolsen's online advise to others) removed the wiring harness and did both a continuity test and a load test on each of the 17 wires

 

The wires do not have to be broken. If bare wires are rubbing the engine casing you will get wonky results as well

 

but , try this and get back to us.

~ car not running

~ no handbrake

~ key in position 1

 

Did you hear the actuator extend ?

Can you roll the car forward/backward ?

Can you select R, N, 1 and 2 ?

Does the gear indicator follow the selections ?

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Wild!

- I tried placing the clutch actuator in the same place and I now have it moved ahead very slightly (basically just enough to take up all slack).

 

Nigel

- Yes, I'm an RVer.  In addition to my fleet of Smarts, I own a 38' 1983 Newell.  The concept of carrying one of my Smart cars on some form of a "motorcycle" bumper-mounted carrier is intriguing.  I'd appreciate hearing more of your setup and success (do we need to start a different post for this?).  I suspect some people out there, besides me, would be interested in how you carry your Smart car around.  Pictures would be most appreciated.  Name of carrier?  ...

 

Cadillacman

- I did exactly as you suggested and discovered the following:

a.  yes, the actuator rod extended (I could hear it and I carefully put my finger on the rod as my wife turned the key to verify)

b.  with the car in "N", I verified I can roll it back and forth no problem.  Could hear no weird noise while doing so.

c.  as requested, I then tried selecting R, N, 1 & 2.  All selected easily and I could hear things making the "right kind of noises" underneath

d.  gear indications inside appear to follow the selection perfectly

 

So, I then started the car in hopeful anticipation that it would behave as well now (for whatever reason) as when the engine wasn't running.  However, the clicking noise is unchanged and this time I let off the brake (after trying to engage a gear) and confirmed that the car rocks slightly in quasi-unison with the clicking sound.  I also noticed that, while the engine was running and I tried to engage gears, the shift indicator never changed from "N" (despite my attempts to engage 1 and R).

 

I'm a bit irritated with grey Smarty right now.  Can't figure out what gives.  It seems to me like the clutch/pressure plates only very barely start to separate when the engine is running, although I've verified full clutch rod movement when underneath.

 

Other thoughts/suggestions?

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55 minutes ago, 8footdieselpusher said:

However, the clicking noise is unchanged and this time I let off the brake (after trying to engage a gear) and confirmed that the car rocks slightly in quasi-unison with the clicking sound

 

I have had the rhythmic thrumming vibration before.

First time it turned out to be a worn wire at the actuator.

And a second time, it was a broken wire on the position sensor plug.

It felt as if the clutch was 'attempting to re-engage' but going nope nope nope ...

 

mine did not do any 'clicking' that I could recall.

So, when you reassembled the actuator to the tranny ... is the rod snug to the fork ? or is there a little 'play' ?

How much did the new amendment to the actuator rod change the actuators relative positioning ?

Is the rod 'set' in the socket inside the actuator ?

 

wild card ... have you disconnected the battery for 30 minutes to encourage a basic system reset ?

 

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Cadillacman,

 

Oddly glad to know others have experienced the weird clutch behaviour I'm enduring.  Clearly, almost any electrical anomaly anywhere within the 17 wires, multiple sensors and connections, which make this thing function, can result in 'issues'. 

 

Upon reassembly, the acorn nut on the end of the actuator shaft is snug in the fork cup.  There is very little play.  Curiously, when I re-assembled, I had to push the actuator to basically the end of the slots to get it tight enough.  However, on balance, this is virtually where it was before my modification.  If I had a perfect idea of the shape of the fork cup, I could make a better judgement on this reality.  I did indeed disconnect the battery and hope some "reset" would occur.  I even left it disconnected overnight to no avail.

 

I'm now wondering about the RPM module on the transmission.  As I see it, the transmission works perfectly when the engine is not running but won't shift when running.  By its name, this RPM module could be the one thing that senses the difference between a running and not running engine; however, I don't actually know the utility of the RPM module, and I could be way off.  Thoughts.

 

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Was the car in neutral when you were removing and reinstalling the clutch actuator?

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Sorry for the tardy reply.  I'm exasperated with the car and have just ignored it for the past week.  Regarding "neutral", in truth I'm not sure.  Not sure how I can be sure what position the transmission is truly (beyond what the dash indicator suggests).  Of note, the clutch actuator rod wore through the shifter fork and, I'm guessing, this could confuse the car computer as it tries to keep track of the selected gear.  

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11 hours ago, 8footdieselpusher said:

 

the clutch actuator rod wore through the shifter fork

 

There lies the problem! I had a machine shop make up some sleeves that fit over the end of the actuator rod. The increased circumference engages the clutch release bearing. Problem solved.

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14 hours ago, 8footdieselpusher said:

Regarding "neutral", in truth I'm not sure.  Not sure how I can be sure what position the transmission is truly

well, not entirely true ... when not running, and you leave it in 'N' , and the car will roll, you 'know' it is in neutral

 

14 hours ago, 8footdieselpusher said:

Sorry for the tardy reply.  I'm exasperated with the car and have just ignored it for the past week.

trying to guess what the problem is can be a real downer ... but, sad to say, you might be at the point where the only choice is a mechanic with a 'star' machine, to re-teach the tranny electronics

 

14 hours ago, 8footdieselpusher said:

Of note, the clutch actuator rod wore through the shifter fork and, I'm guessing, this could confuse the car computer as it tries to keep track of the selected gear.  

Statement does not make sense, sorry.

And your original evaluation in post#1 did not mention that the actuator rod DID actually go thru the fork, only that a small screwdriver could get thru it.

 

Remember, everything works when the engine is NOT running.

 

I would double-check the wiring harness again. Almost EVERYBODY misses something their first evaluation of it. Put an ohm meter on the gear position sensor and get it's readings as you manually rotate it.

 

The GearPosition Sensor seems to be 'ocasionally' monitored by the ECU, as if verifying what position the Gear motor is currently in. You could get to work and not know that there was a problem, since the last time a verification was done was a couple shifts previous.

BUT, now it wants a verification.

 

I had a situation, where the car would start, and run, and shift fine ... 4 or 5 times, but then would get 3Bars and not shift upwards anymore. Stop, timeout, retry, fine, until 4 or 5 shifts again, same shit.

 

Still bothers me what your 'clicking' sound is tho ...

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Have you solved your problem? If you did, would you please post the solution?

Edited by GRP151

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On ‎2017‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 10:05 PM, 8footdieselpusher said:

 the clutch actuator rod wore through the shifter fork  

 

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For those who may have similar problems, those who have helped, and those who are just curious, I've not touched this Smart car in about 2 months.  I'm suspicious that I'm going to have to pull the tranny and replace the shifter fork / throw-out bearing.  As we all know, these parts aren't that expensive but the labour / toil is kinda ugly.  With my extensive to do list, I may push this car into the back yard and look at it again in Spring (unless some handy Ontarian wants to buy a low mileage 2006 Smart car, that "just" needs a shifter fork...).

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Easy to remove transmission on a 450 diesel. I had mine out in 90 minutes. What takes time is the EGR bracket. 

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8footdieselpusher.... I have the same problem as you described. Bought a new to me actuator and still makes the same clicking noise...louder when in reverse. Shows also 2 wrenches on the dash after trying a couple times. The initial symptoms were a bit different - it started to shift rather harsh and when I stopped, selected reverse, the clicking/rocking motions started.

I have all the "other" electronic parts from a broken engine...thinking of just swapping these parts and then see....

Any other recommendation to solve this issue? I would love to have it running after buying it!

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Bothfeetin, it sounds like we may indeed have the same issue with our Smart cars.  Essentially, it obviously boils down to an electrical or mechanical issue and both options still appear to be in play to me.  With the luxury of "extra" parts, as you enjoy, I think I would start by swapping out the Gear Position Sensor.  Easy job.  Now check for resolution.  If no joy, carry-on.  You didn't mention if you checked to see if your actuator rod has worn through the clutch fork pocket.  I would certainly pull the actuator out and look / prod in this location to confirm status of the clutch fork pocket.  If, as I suspect, you have a hole worn through, I would suggest contacting Smart142 to buy a special actuator sleave he has cunningly had manufactured.  Please keep me posted on your progress.  

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