DieselAllTheWay

Video of Smart trying to start (but it won't)

20 posts in this topic

Posted (edited) · Report post

Hope the community can help me with this puzzling issue. Here's a video of it trying to start: 

 

 

 

Just bought this 05 diesel Smart a couple of days ago. It started fine (must've started it over 20 times with no issues) and drove fine. Brought it home and the next day it wouldn't start. 2 days later it still refuses to fire up. Seller did warn me about this but in his case it would fire up occasionally, sometimes after 3 tries, sometimes it wouldn't start at all. Car had been parked in his garage for over 2 years. Took the chance as I got a good deal on it (or so I thought) and now this issue.

 

He put a new starter in it in the spring. It has a full tank of diesel. Don't think it's bad glow plugs as it's summer and hot outside. I replaced the 10A the fuse no. 16 (as some claim this fixed their issue) and still no go. Now I see the wrench icon blinking on the dash, something that wasn't there 2 days ago. I have pressed the brake pedal, put it in gear, back to neutral and it cranks for about 3 to 4 seconds then stops. I also see that there's a yellow warning light (right beside the seat belt warning light) that resembles a gas pump or something. Suppose this is related but not having the owners manual I have no idea what that warning light means.

 

Anyone seen anything like this or know where I could start to look? Again, this car run so well the previous day that I didn't think it would be this bad an issue. But having a car that I spent money insuring and plated not starting is no fun. Appreciate any feedback/suggestions.

Edited by DieselAllTheWay
spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick note: had someone turn the key on as I stood by the engine bay with the lid off. I could hear the fuel pump buzzing, so it is getting juice. Suppose this eliminates possible SAM causes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

try changing the filter

 

 

i think that dash light is for the filter or water separator 

 

also diesel fuel is organic...it grows mold as it sits..

 

if it was my car id at least change the filter and run the hose into a clean container while its off to grab a sample and see what the fuel looks like ...maybe add conditioner or just drain it and start with fresh fuel

 

 

the wrenches show up according to mileage ....its a factory gimmick to get people into the dealer for ripoff "services"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sometimes weird things with those lights are due to rotten connections on white connector that is forward of battery (have to remove battery to see it)...but shouldnt cause a no-start

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably not related to the non-start issue, but the "B" service (two wrenches) seems to be overdue by about 3,600 kms.  Have you checked the oil level?  If it's low, the engine might be trying to save itself by not running.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

Thanks for the quick replies. Yes, good idea to replace the fuel filter and possibly drain the water separator. Not having even the basic owners manual means I have no idea where these'd be located. Is there such a thing as an online owners/service manual available here by any chance? Or possibly a DIY for basic maintenance in this site? Suppose I could start searching for these but I'm as new at this forum as I am to Smart cars.

 

As for the oil level I did check it and it is full. Although the PO did say I should do a change since it's sat for so long.

 

Btw could a clogged up EGR cause a no start? Hmm then again the car did appear to run well when I drove it home, even hitting just past 110km/h. If the EGR was clogged up I suppose the car would be super sluggish. 

 

Oh and thanks for clarifying what the blinking wrenches are. I'm staying as far away from my local Merc dealers as I possibly can. Is there a way to stop it from coming up?

Edited by DieselAllTheWay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DieselAllTheWay said:

Oh and thanks for clarifying what the blinking wrenches are. I'm staying as far away from my local Merc dealers as I possibly can. Is there a way to stop it from coming up?

 

The blinking two wrenches means that a "B" service is needed.  A single wrench blinking means that an "A" service is required.  An A service is basically an oil and filter change, but any reputable service person will at least, but not limited to, doing a visual check to make sure lights are working.  The "B" service is more involved and should include battery condition, lights check, all fluids, lub door latches, check the condition and measure the brakes, tires (wear and pressure), suspension and steering components. 

The service indicator does a count-down starting at 8,000km and drops in 100km increments.  Yours is showing that it is waaaaaay overdue.  Once your service has been done, you can reset the count-down back to 8,000.  There is no way (that I know of) that the service reminder can be shut off.  It should only show up for the first few seconds that the key is turned on and disappear after that.

 

Perhaps someone in your area can suggest a non-Mercedes service shop that is competent in handling smarts.  Take a peek at the grey bar near the top of this page and click on "Service Options".  Perhaps you will find someone in your area who has been recommended by other club members.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the site......you are very lucky that you are within distance of Stickman007 on this site, PM him and talk to the GURU.....he is the best guy imho we have here.  

Now to get down to my usual rants...lol
Research all issues here using the search feature, not sure if you need to post so many times before it allows you all access or not, it's been a while...
Then start checking all grounding pins you can find near battery, SAM , ECU and E-Box that is the little silver box near the battery. Open every ground pin location and check between each eye loop for corrosion. Open up the Ebox and check inside that for the dreaded green or white fuzzies. Open SAM up and check the row of pins relating to well documented issues, remove ECU plugs on the right side of air box two of them and check for corrosion...BUT beware DO NOT TOUCH two pins together on the ECU as it has strong enough capacitors to fry itself...ask me how I know!. Change the fuel filter and check the fuel seperator switch or sensor for corrosion. There is also a grounding pin under driver's seat location near fuel filter under undercar panels,a bitch to get down when car isn't lifted far enough off the ground sometimes. Check main ground strap running from engine to bodywork, also there is a grounding pin under trunk lip that is also well known to go bad. 
Check high pressure fuel pump for leaks. but if you got her up to 110 it shouldn't be bad but you never know? The EGR is always a known issue and well documented how to deal with that. Also check oil around inter cooler fan and rad, shouldn't stop it running but just another known issue to look for.   What did it run like when it ran? Smooth or choppy? Was 110 it's limit? Was it slow off the mark? OK, slower than what a smart normally is...lol. What RPMs did you take it up to? It protects itself with rev limiting and also same down below. Smarts also like or demand oil to be at 3/4's full not full or over full.  I have run mine at full plenty but some have had issues when full or over full....the damages are expensive.  Does the oil light go out when it's trying to start? IF not maybe the oil chain and sprockets are stripped and it's not getting oil pressure?

I don't mean to scare you from ownership at all, they are great little cars and both mine get 80 mpgs or better so imho well worth the few niggles of ownership here and there. 

Spend some time researching to get the general drift of what is to come i regards to simple maintenance issues or known issues that are semi to easy fixes so you know what we are saying when we suggest  solutions.....if you can hold a wrench you can fix these cars with patience.

Again welcome......remember Stickman007......he's close to you I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, after listening again to it, lift car right rear wheel, remove, take off plstic guard for alternator, get adjustable and see if you alternator is siezed, if so use WD-40 and unsieze it......bet ya!  There is also a plastic spray guard in front of the alt that imho keeps dirt and debri or allows it to get into the alt which causes it to get full of crap. I took mine off and then hung some runner mud flat material and made sure no road crap could get splashed up into the alt.   IF you can get into the WIKI section I posted pics of my rebuild....there are pics of that gaurd I made and where it mounts or bolts to.  IF you can't get into it, I'll find pic and repost it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First off, I really appreciate you guys extending me the welcome mat. As someone that first test drove the Smart 15 years ago and have been dying to get one ever since I feel like I'm a part of the family. It's so refreshing being in a Canadian forum. Will definitely be sticking around.

 

Wow such great tips. Very plausible that one or a combination of these may be the issue. Regardless, these are all very valid maintenance tips and glad that it was brought to my attention. These cars do seem finicky so preventative maintenance is clearly a must. I'll try to respond to some of the questions asked above as it will help you figure out what the issue could be. But for now please consider the new info I'm posting here.

 

A neighbour heard me trying to start the car and his comment was that it sounded like one of the cylinders wasn't responding. We looked at the engine and saw one of the bolts securing the glow plugs was missing and some of the hardware had fallen loose, like a bracket. Please see pic below. I should also point out that I run my OBSD code reader and it brought up the code for a glow plug. Could it be that the middle cylinder isn't firing, possibly cause it's not secured in place? Glow plug/fuel line seems tight, despite the bolt not being there. But could it be losing compression due to the missing bolt, thus not wanting to start? I can't locate the round bolt, suppose will need to find a replacement. Either this came loose on its own or someone had messed with the glow plugs and didn't properly fasten it. 

missing-glowplug-bolt.jpg

OBSD-reading.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

those are injectors

 

 

if i remember right the glow plugs are deep in...on the other side of that plastic mercedes trim...there are little half circles on the edge of the plastic where each plug is located

 

the control module for glow plugs is on the top of the frame piece between cam cover and top of right rear wheel

Edited by LooseLugNuts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone has been in there and even replayed the fuel line in backwards as they all go in the same way from what I have seen. Plus that hole is deformed and yes missing the part of the clamp around that block. I'd want to take that injector out and really study it for damges also. Maybe the last owner took it to get work done and they buggered it up on him etc, never said anything?  Looks to me that's what happened. Maybe they couldn't pull injector out?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

Good eye on the fuel line Willys.  Should look more like this.  I’m surprised it’s not dripping with fuel around that centre injector.  I seem to recall someone getting towed home because a hold down was a couple of turns loose and fuel was spraying between the injector and the bore.

 

 

1617D339-EE9D-4C2F-A70E-61A8DA6961AF.jpeg

Edited by Nigel
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would remove the injectors for a start.

The copper sealing rings are not that expensive and you will have to replace that missing bolt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

That's terrific. We are making progress here. And no, the PO did not disclose that he had monkeyed around with the engine. He said that he paid someone to drop the engine to install a new starter (and thus the reason for the AC not working). I took a better video showing more details of the injectors. And a new question: should the engine vibrate this much during cranking? Did they forget to install the engine mounts or is this much movement normal?

 

https://youtu.be/vpDsNY9oD48

 

Edit: during the test drive I did see a bit of smoke coming from the engine and a bit of diesel around where the injector bolt is missing, sitting at the engine. He gave me some BS excuse that didn't make a lot of sense but now it has me wondering if he did something to get the car started (possibly spraying starter fluid?). So yeah, there was a bit of diesel leaking out but not much. I drove the car some 15km home that night other than a bit of smoke there was no diesel dripping. This is all beginning to paint a picture as to why the car won't start, possibly due to air getting in due to the poorly sealed injector? Regardless this clearly needs to be addressed and that'll be item no. 1 in my list. 

 

Where do I go from here? Should I remove all injectors? A friend mechanic knows diesels well and if anyone can tell if an injector is good or bad that'd be him. Then try and track down the missing parts. If that's a good plan of action could someone please guide on safely removing the injectors?

 

Edited by DieselAllTheWay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

Here, allow me to put a face to the name:

 

Across the street is his cousin, a 84 Rabbit with a 1.9L turbo diesel off a 93 Golf. The Smart needs a good cleaning, inside and out as it sat with the top down inside a messy garage for over 2 years. Has two new winter tires in the back, which likely helped to slow the car down during the long drive home but still managed to hit 110km/h. Sure I could've gone more but didn't want to force things till after I got home and gave it some love. Then the next morning it wouldn't start and here we are.

The-Diesels.jpg

Edited by DieselAllTheWay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, both right hand side injector lines are backwards showing me someone has messed with them trying to fix this issue. I'll bet it won't start simply due to no compression on the middle cylinder. I may have the clamp bolt and extra steel part of the clamp missing on the centre injector. BUT the cost of postage will hurt.......contact Stickman007 to see if he has these parts also, he's close to you and is very very knowledgable. He works on Smarts as a side business I think...lol.  Pm him and see, I think he's closer to Edmonton but still far closer than I am to you, in the Toronto area. You could always get some soapy water in a spray bottle and spray the injectors to see if they bubble when you try and start the car......it may try and suck some in but it'll also try and force it out. You'll see if the other two are leaking besides the centre one.  Just a thought, get a pic or something to stick down into the missing bolt hole to see if it has been snapped off or not?   IF it has been, DAMN....you are into a bit more work than you were expecting.....drilling out broken bolt and retapping hole and such...not the end of the world but maybe easier to replace engine with another known runner? Again not the end of the world but more work and money. Again if so PM Stickman007 here.  He is capable of repairing this type of issue  for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great info there. Thanks. 

I just took a closer look at the threads, it isn't clear but they do seem to be OK. With the other stuff in the way it's hard to get a clear picture but it does appear to be mostly intact. Since there's no chunk missing, if tapping becomes necessary I don't see why it wouldn't work.

 

I have contacted a friend mechanic that I hope will be able to stop by to take a look. Everyone's super busy these days so it wouldn't surprise me if it he takes him a bit of time to come by. If for some reason he absolutely cannot help me then it is good to know that Stickman007 is a possible option. Trust me, I'm not about to contact a garage for this.

 

Since the main reason for getting a Smart was to park it in the alley hooked up to my trailer, if I have to wait sometime to get this figured out then no biggie. The part that sucks is, wife really wants to drive the thing - especially on a hot day with the top fully down. Yes, she misses our old VW Cabriolet. I suspect she'd enjoy driving the Smart that much more. 

 

Note: the PO may not have been the one to have messed with the injectors. He doesn't strike me as A: that mechanically inclined; B: as someone with mental retardation. I mean, who the hell puts a line backwards, let alone 2. As is, the engine cover hits the top of the line. That right there should have been an indication that this isn't the way to fit them in place.

 

We will get this thing going, eventually. Since everything else works great in the car other than a good cleaning and the starting issue, it did drive well. I'm actually looking forward to working on it, going over all of the items listed in this thread. Best way to familiarize oneself with a vehicle. As long as I can hook it up to my trailer then it's already doing its job. Which reminds me: better start a thread looking for a hitch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A hitch is best built and attach it directly to end of frame rails so to speak as they stick out and attach bumper now, remove bumper and make solid tow hitch attached there.  Then the tricky part is to get hole cut into rear bumper bodywork in the correct place.  I have one on my summer car, if you find someone who welds, it's an easy job. Not sure what sized trailer weight wise you are thinking but it won't be big by any standards!...lol.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the promo! @Willys, guess I'll have to pay for this somehow? lol

 

Injector bolt, copper washer is cheap from the dealer. I do have a diesel compression tester here that you can borrow if you ever get the chance to come up this way. I also have a STAR system on the way from Aliexpress, (should've been here over 2 months ago, but hasn't shown up yet - my last system was stolen right out of my garage!) I might also have a contact that might be interested in selling his "Bilgladstone" design hitch if you're interested. IHMO, like the others have mentioned, building one yourself is probably best. Let me know if you need any help.

 

Good Luck!

 

Izzy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

    Chatbox
    You don't have permission to chat.
    Load More