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How reliable are the Smart cars?
Michaello
post Jan 28 2011 - 12:31 PM
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Hi,

I am wondering how reliable the Smart Cars could be. I know that on the forum we have a number of owners who have had their Smart Cars for years. Here is a survey, how many kilometers did you have before something really serious happened (mention the problem please) - technically wise (accidents are not counted).

Best regards,

Michaello
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Mike T
post Jan 28 2011 - 12:38 PM
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Ordered our first smart in 2002!


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The worst thing that happened to mine (the 2005) was a holed intercooler at 125,000 km. That would have cost a fair chunk had I paid for the repair myself (Thanks, TPM!). The clutch actuator failed or at least was slowing down (it was never lubricated) at 85,000 km so it was replaced at my cost. I still have the old one which - now that I have lubricated it - may still be usable. Neither of these problems caused the car to break down or stop working in any way, so as far as I am concerned they're expensive irritants, not "really serious" failures.

The car now has 185,000 km on it. It seems to be very healthy indeed, ready for another 100K or more....I hope.


--------------------
2006 smart BRABUS Canada 1 cabriolet 450 B-remap
2013 Ford Fiesta SE 5 speed, 203A pkg, Winter pkg.
2008 Mercedes-Benz B 200
1966 Peugeot 404 Coupé Injection
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Leadwing
post Jan 28 2011 - 01:51 PM
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I have an '05 Pulse with 131,000 kms on it. I have no idea about the problems or lack of them before I owned it, but other than oil changes (included in A and B services), the only repair expense was a glow plug. It had 94,000 on it when I bought it.


--------------------
You are what you drive

'05 smart pulse "Bruised" (bought used with 94,000kms on it, Sept. 23/09)

'06 smart Passion Cab. "Silverwing" (bought 'gently used' with 4,800 kms on it, Nov. 22/10)

'95 Jeep "winter-beater" (bought used in 1996 with 6,000 kms on it) Sold... June 30/12 with 297,900 kms on it.

'96 Honda Civic, "Dimples", that serves as my wife's bus

'89 Civic "Old Faithful" (bought new in the fall of 1988) Still waiting for the first light bulb to blow. A/C has never been serviced and still chills the cabin area in less than 3 minutes.

and a gaggle of motorcycles including the 35th GoldWing ever made with over 591,000 miles on it. "yeehawww"
.. List of all 15 upon request
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FinallyGotOne
post Jan 28 2011 - 03:15 PM
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I would say that they are fragile. Read the forum. People say to baby them so they last.

At 56 000 the driver door latch broke. Serious? It was for me haveing to climb out of the passenger side door everywhere I went. Lol That's common with every 450 though.

S.W.I.M plugged in a obd2 scanner at 59 000 and had the
Odometer jump to 71 000 smile.gif Serious? I think so. The manual says " here is where you plug in your obd2 scanner" (paraphrase) "We won't fix that under warranty" is the answer you get from the dealer.


--------------------
>Skylar


Please check out my Custom Light Duty Trailers and Hitches

Here

http://clubsmartcar.com/index.php?showtopic=23187&hl=

===========================================================

2006 Smart Fortwo CDI Passion ~ 500 RMS 10" Type-R subwoofer by Alpine in a ported Baseworx sub box powered by a 600 RMS JBL amplifier ~ iPod dock ~ Vynal trunk devider/cover ~ Custom trailer hitch and harness ~ Rubber floor mat ~

I sold the Ranger aka "old faithful" the other day.
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Alex
post Jan 28 2011 - 05:24 PM
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I've had two turbos replaced under warranty for an exhaust leak. Out of warranty one could get the seal needed aftermarket, but Mercedes don't have them in their system so if they want to buy me a turbo so be it. Other than that ball joints at 95K and normal maintenance. At 135K now, bought new just over four years ago.
The CDI is very unsuited for city use in a cold climate, a great many problems are due to that. The new gas engine is proving to be reliable, and far less problems with short city trips. Fuel consumption is rather a shocker compared to the diesel, though. It is a light-duty vehicle that responds poorly to neglect and misuse, but looked after and treated suitably they are fine, and such a delight to own.
Hard to beat a Corolla or Civic for reliability, but the fun factor is rather limited with such a bland car. Websites such as this tend to talk about problems more than non-problems. "Ho-hum, another 20K kilometers, three oil-changes, an air filter and oh yeah, a headlight bulb" makes for a boring post, after all. Go onto a Toyota enthusiast's site and you'll think Toyotas are problem cars. At least until you visit a Chrysler site...
I love mine, it has been good to me and I plan on keeping for many years to come.
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smart142
post Jan 28 2011 - 05:38 PM
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My girlfriends smart( Lilbit) just turned over 230,000kms. We bought it at at 170,000 kms and the original owner had just replaced the turbo, intercooler, and ball joints.
This smart has been super reliable. Besides brakes and tires I have had to replace 2 injectors(used from Germany). The car has paid for itself in the last 2 1/2 years with all the fuel savings.


--------------------
Glenn.
2005 Passion coupe Bay grey-silver ''Gina'' (deposit 1Nov02,delivered13Dec04)Brabus paddle shift wheel/oem cruise/remap/old skool clock&tach/heated black leather seats/sound&6CD/locking drawer/pollen filter/cupholder/cd holders.Mods tinting/euro turn signal#1/s mann air scoop,skirts/brabus grill/alum fuel cap/spangenburg pedals&handbrake, leather gaiter/alum ignition ring/custom leather armrest/alum drivers footrest/key mod/led side markers /blue led interiorlight/rear brake led's/silver front spoiler/wiper arm mod/rear marker led/oil pan heater/Eibach springs/vortex generators/window vents/headrest speakers/euro tail lights/Michalak fogs

4.4
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Coast Steve
post Jan 28 2011 - 05:52 PM
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Wow Glenn, I hope we will be so lucky wink.gif

Good to know.


--------------------
I once owned the "GT" Smart

2 3/4 ton 1992 ISUZU NKR58E cab forward, 2 ton Crane, 3600cc diesel, 5 speed RHD, dualies, 8'x6'box,
2005 Pulse, first brand new car!, Brabus this"N"that, racey stuff too, big fat tires, crazy expensive rims, shiny custom "GT sport" muffler, 2 1/2" silicone and aluminum bellmouth "GT MAX" intake kit, some neat decals, heated leather seats, stacked and ready to race, but then I sold it.
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smart142
post Jan 28 2011 - 07:41 PM
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On the other hand my Gina was super relable up to 185,000kms. The EGR was replaced by the dealer at 85,000 for free. Did go through 2 sets of discs & pads and a front lower ball joint. But last July she stranded me in the USA . This week I finally got around to working on the engine. Looks like the far left rocker arm is defective. Hopefully next week I will be able to strip down the engine further to determine wether I need to replace the rocker arm on its own or if I have to do valves, head, etc.
I'm not deterred. I beleive it is all repairable and I will be able to use that engine in another smart.
Gina has had a new engine since November and has added another 2000kms on the odometer.

Still loving my smarts biggrin.gif


--------------------
Glenn.
2005 Passion coupe Bay grey-silver ''Gina'' (deposit 1Nov02,delivered13Dec04)Brabus paddle shift wheel/oem cruise/remap/old skool clock&tach/heated black leather seats/sound&6CD/locking drawer/pollen filter/cupholder/cd holders.Mods tinting/euro turn signal#1/s mann air scoop,skirts/brabus grill/alum fuel cap/spangenburg pedals&handbrake, leather gaiter/alum ignition ring/custom leather armrest/alum drivers footrest/key mod/led side markers /blue led interiorlight/rear brake led's/silver front spoiler/wiper arm mod/rear marker led/oil pan heater/Eibach springs/vortex generators/window vents/headrest speakers/euro tail lights/Michalak fogs

4.4
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ETHICAL BEEF
post Jan 29 2011 - 03:44 AM
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Hello fellow Smarts!

I hope I don't "jinx" my car with this comment but I have 110,000 Kms with only a set of rotors and pads plus a few other minor things as listed.

Had to replace the soft touch shifter knob and a few front bulbs (4 in total).

DIY reluctor rings have been the biggest repair so far.

My runs tend to be mostly 100 + k's @ time which probably helps on some components.

It has been a GREAT little car!

E.B. biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by ETHICAL BEEF: Jan 30 2011 - 09:37 AM
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g_rant
post Jan 29 2011 - 07:59 AM
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I have had Albert for 6mths and put on about 12K (143K total)

so far;
- Replaced Turbo: poor design, unwise size, bad location (the exhaust side was so rusted it was scrapped), and most importantly no on seems to idle these cars after driving causing oil to cook them
- ABS reluctor ring: I knew this when I bought it just haven't got around to doing it because I prefer the car with not traction/stablility control to the few times it actually works
- Wheel bearing: Rear right toast
- A/C: MOST smart drivers would agree that this part of the car SUCKS! bought a DIY kit and top it up every 2-3mths in the summer
- Intercooler hole: if you see the trans covered in oil, 90% chance it has a hole in it, JB weld it and on your way, but its the time getting the bastard out that sucks!
- EGR valve: TWICE, first due to wear/tear, second due to turbo seals
- Door handles: Design SUCKS. .

all this in the last 6mths, and when I thought its about time for this due to its age/K's I decided to go back into the full service history to see what was done under warranty. . HAH, its longer than my list! oh ya, that not a good thing.

I own an automotive based business, I have a TON of customers come in and ask me what I think of the car, I sometimes use it as a shuttle car.

I stress to them DON'T BUY unless, three things;
1. its under warranty/new
2. you are mechanically inclined or someone you know well enough to give you great deals on labour. $180/350 dealer oil changes are a load of *$@!, and don't get me started on the replace instead of fix technique they use
3. you should have second car, this thing is basically useless for space! and at least you have a ride when its in the shop
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neilt6
post Jan 29 2011 - 08:48 AM
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Bought my CDI last summer with 59,000km and have put about 20,000 on it since then. Here's what I've had to do so far:

-New battery. The OEM is of the stupid maintenance kind, so check it often. I was told it was new when I bought it, but now it's toast. A better replacement was $300.

-New alternator. The old one gave out without warning, and it wasn't a pretty bill.

-New starter. DO NOT buy one if you hear a bit of a noise just after the car starts, or it seems to turn over a bit slow. It should be silent as soon as it fires. Mine wasn't, and the starter started to crap out after a few months. Along with the alternator, it cost $1600 to replace.

-Stock wiper jets are crap at least on the 450's, so be prepared to spend about $40 and 20 minutes of effort to replace them with the older wiper arm mounted ones.

-Beware of 05's with no block heater. The factory one costs about $500 installed, and I had no success with a 100w pan heater. I'm not saying they're all like this, but mine was.

Other than that it's been ok. A few months ago it had some of the signs of a plugged EGR valve, but after using softouch for a while and reving it higher (3500 sometimes 4000) it's smoothed out nicely again. I was able to get under 3.9 l/100km in summer (Usually around 80MPG), but in winter I find I'm regularly getting 5+.

EDIT: According to Gas Cubby, since November my best tank has been 3.98 l/100km, and my worst tank has been 5.59 l/100km, and my average so far has been 4.88 l/100km, so not bad.

This post has been edited by neilt6: Jan 29 2011 - 08:58 AM
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Ti welder
post Jan 29 2011 - 08:51 AM
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QUOTE (g_rant @ Jan 29 2011 - 07:59 AM) *
I have had Albert for 6mths and put on about 12K (143K total)

so far;
- Replaced Turbo: poor design, unwise size, bad location (the exhaust side was so rusted it was scrapped), and most importantly no on seems to idle these cars after driving causing oil to cook them
- ABS reluctor ring: I knew this when I bought it just haven't got around to doing it because I prefer the car with not traction/stablility control to the few times it actually works
- Wheel bearing: Rear right toast
- A/C: MOST smart drivers would agree that this part of the car SUCKS! bought a DIY kit and top it up every 2-3mths in the summer
- Intercooler hole: if you see the trans covered in oil, 90% chance it has a hole in it, JB weld it and on your way, but its the time getting the bastard out that sucks!
- EGR valve: TWICE, first due to wear/tear, second due to turbo seals
- Door handles: Design SUCKS. .

all this in the last 6mths, and when I thought its about time for this due to its age/K's I decided to go back into the full service history to see what was done under warranty. . HAH, its longer than my list! oh ya, that not a good thing.

I own an automotive based business, I have a TON of customers come in and ask me what I think of the car, I sometimes use it as a shuttle car.

I stress to them DON'T BUY unless, three things;
1. its under warranty/new
2. you are mechanically inclined or someone you know well enough to give you great deals on labour. $180/350 dealer oil changes are a load of *$@!, and don't get me started on the replace instead of fix technique they use
3. you should have second car, this thing is basically useless for space! and at least you have a ride when its in the shop

Is that "Prince Albert"??? Verry well named 'smart'


--------------------
TeckTard
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John & Angela
post Jan 29 2011 - 12:53 PM
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I can't add much here as we have only had our smarts for a couple years and they are relatively low mileage. 2005 and a 2006. Haven't had any problems with either. But the question needs to be asked, COMPARED TO WHAT. Every other car or truck we have owned have had continous problems with everything from mass air flow sensors to CV boots to out of round disks, EVERY FREAKING YEAR. Seriously I doubt the smart could ever be any worse and to date has been flawless. JMHO


--------------------
2005 Pulse CDI Cabriolet. 64000 ish KM
2006 Grand Style CDI Cabriolet 35000 ish KM
2006 Passion CDI. 34000 ish KM

"La vida no se mide por el número de respiraciones que tomamos sino por los momentos que nos dejan sin respiración"

Visit My Website
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robm
post Jan 29 2011 - 05:02 PM
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a co worker of mine is trading in his 05 cdi....he cannot handle the treatment from MB service. He will never have anything to do with MB again.

I have a 05 cdi 2 years now and so far it as been good. although only 91k on it now. both door latches were replaced free after I got "very pushy" with MB Canada. That should be a safety recall. I believe others when they say these cars cannot be abused service wise. I change my oil between 7 and 8k km. I let it idle for a minute before shutting down or driving. I tend to use for 45km commutes so mostly highway 90-100 kph. The car is great for this. I love this car as long as it remains reasonably reliable and as long as MB does not treat me like crap when I do have to bring it to them. would I buy another? if it were the EV maybe there would be less to go wrong....but that is about 4 years down the road so we will see.


--------------------
2005 black/black pure
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Alex
post Jan 29 2011 - 05:21 PM
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The service from MB is a big factor in some peoples experience with the smart. Some dealers are great if a little pricy, some are outrageous in cost and incompetent in workmanship. Replace turbo, EGR and intercooler when really it needs a one hour clean-out of EGR and instructions to keep the oil level a bit lower.
One would expect more consistency, but no.
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smartzuuk
post Jan 30 2011 - 08:43 PM
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Have owned 5 smarts... still own 2

Drove my first from 10 to 119,000 kms, no serious issues save the clutch actuator motor

Second from 250 kms to 43,000 kms, no issues

Third is our 451, from new to just under 30,000 kms
It has a transmission issue to be resolved

Fourth was a used diesel from cold weather, had that from somewhere around 60,000 kms to a bit over 70,000 kms
It ran great when I had it

The fifith is a 2006 canada1 diesel, which is a collector car to be sure... got it at 850 kms, now has only 3500
had some cabrio roof seals replaced

My general experience tells me these cars are very reliable, but you can expect issues in COLD climates
Best advice is use a block heater and keep the oil really clean - if you can DIY, I would urge all cold weather folks to change the oil at 5,000 kms to be safe

Warmer climate cars (ie: southern BC) seem to do really good if you don't abuse the car


--------------------
I once was found, but now I'm lost.
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Schwalli
post Jan 30 2011 - 09:02 PM
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Great read! Thanks for the infos.

I have to agree, most cars have some type of issue, no matter of brand new or used. Saying that, I just sold my 1995 Eurovan camper. Sad to see it go but as reliable as it was, there was always something that needed attention! Just stuff... The fuel economy of made me sell it. We also had a 2003 Toyota Echo. Excellent car! If anyone is looking for a car that only needs gas, tires and oil changes, go for an Echo!
I only bought my 06 Smart last Sunday. I'm still in the honeymoon stage biggrin.gif . Because I bought it from a dealer (Toyota) they offered me a 5year bumper to bumper warranty (including EVERYTHING!) for a couple of thousand bucks. Reading your guys stories and me not knowing if I got a lemon or not, I went for it. Therefore I'm not really concerned about big repair bills rolleyes.gif . But the best thing: if I don't make any claims to the insurance, I will get a full refund in 5 years! I like deals like that!

Anyhow, good luck anyone!

Andreas


--------------------
2006 CDI Passion Smart.
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FinallyGotOne
post Jan 31 2011 - 01:52 AM
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63 000 kms

Turbo's leaking oil.

Clutch actuator's going.

My odometer does not read anything now after jumping several thousand km's at a time. It reads "-----------"


--------------------
>Skylar


Please check out my Custom Light Duty Trailers and Hitches

Here

http://clubsmartcar.com/index.php?showtopic=23187&hl=

===========================================================

2006 Smart Fortwo CDI Passion ~ 500 RMS 10" Type-R subwoofer by Alpine in a ported Baseworx sub box powered by a 600 RMS JBL amplifier ~ iPod dock ~ Vynal trunk devider/cover ~ Custom trailer hitch and harness ~ Rubber floor mat ~

I sold the Ranger aka "old faithful" the other day.
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g_rant
post Jan 31 2011 - 05:10 AM
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QUOTE (Ti welder @ Jan 29 2011 - 11:51 AM) *
Is that "Prince Albert"??? Verry well named 'smart'


Nope. . it was after Albert Einstein. . because he was "smart" biggrin.gif

and 1+ for an echo, in hindsight I really wished I would have bought another. . oh well, when Albert is good he is good, when he's bad, he deserves being pushed off a cliff after lighting him on fire!! haha
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lamimartin
post Jan 31 2011 - 06:12 PM
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I bought my 2005 CDI passion cabriolet last year with 26,000km at the end of a lease with OEM warranty expired. It had been towed every winter behind a RV in Florida, so it had never seen winter and looked like new. 32,000km and 14 months later, I'm pretty happy.

So far:
- A/C lines and compressor and CD changer (replaced under extended 2 year warranty I took at the used car dealer).
- Front brakes and one tie rod end replaced
- Fuel filter remplacement after I got contaminated fuel, but other than the warning light, It never stalled.

At 1.20$/liter I'm consistently saving over 3200$ of fuel every year compared to the VW Jetta (gas engine) I did use previously for commuting to work. I'm hoping to keep my Smart in good shape for another 5 years/160,000km, so fuel savings should represent far more than the purchased price and loan interest. Based on comments I've seen on this forum, it looks quite possible, expecially since I'm quite careful with preventive maintenance. I don't see any other car on the market that can match such budget plan.

High cost of dealer parts and service dept is not unique to MB, but I'm quite pleased with the quality of the service of my local dealer (Blainville, Qc).

This post has been edited by lamimartin: Jan 31 2011 - 06:20 PM
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scwmcan
post Feb 5 2011 - 07:30 AM
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Bought my 2005 cab. in March last year with 65,000 km, I am now up to 115000km, in this time I have cleaned the egr three times, recharged the A/C and replaced one glow plug, and two front tires, so to me it has been a very reliable car. I do drive it 110 km each way to work and back every day so it has time to warm up and be happy. I seem to be avraging about 4.8 km/l in the winter driving, not too different overall than the summer for some reason (I think it is mainly my route, half higway and half backroads, seems to keep things pretty consistent). The car has done well in the few times I have driven in the snow (I got a subaru for days when it calls for bad snow- not that I don't think the smart can do it, but other drivers tend to tail gate etc more with the smart, and in bad weather I really don't need that). I also have to say that any little things that might concern you tend to dissapear when you can put the top down on the convertable, I got it more by chance than choice, but after having it wouldn't even consider a coupe, I thought I would use the top a couple of times a year and wound up using it almost every day in the spring/summer/fall, I just love it. All in all I would consider another one without question.


--------------------
Scott Martini
2005 Fortwo Passion Cabriolet
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PrairieBoy
post Feb 5 2011 - 10:27 AM
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I'm glad you like your smart car.
I'm also one of those driver's who is botthered by those Damn tailgaters in the winter.It's mostly while driving the smart car,that i feel a bit more vulnerable,or bothered by tailgators. It never bothered me near as much when i had my Suzuki Grand Vitara.I'm not sure why that is,exactly.
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logge2
post Feb 6 2011 - 04:42 AM
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my 2005 CDI Passion Cabrio with 112000km needed:
- new Front-Brakes
- new Oil-Pipe from Turbocharger to Oil-Pan.



Pics are from here


--------------------
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FinallyGotOne
post Feb 8 2011 - 04:06 PM
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About 64 000 kms.

My cluster is dead. I have no fuel gauge or temp gauge. I don't know my kms and I can't tell what gear I am in.


--------------------
>Skylar


Please check out my Custom Light Duty Trailers and Hitches

Here

http://clubsmartcar.com/index.php?showtopic=23187&hl=

===========================================================

2006 Smart Fortwo CDI Passion ~ 500 RMS 10" Type-R subwoofer by Alpine in a ported Baseworx sub box powered by a 600 RMS JBL amplifier ~ iPod dock ~ Vynal trunk devider/cover ~ Custom trailer hitch and harness ~ Rubber floor mat ~

I sold the Ranger aka "old faithful" the other day.
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smart142
post Feb 8 2011 - 04:46 PM
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I thought you have a warranty on your smart. Did you call the dealer?


--------------------
Glenn.
2005 Passion coupe Bay grey-silver ''Gina'' (deposit 1Nov02,delivered13Dec04)Brabus paddle shift wheel/oem cruise/remap/old skool clock&tach/heated black leather seats/sound&6CD/locking drawer/pollen filter/cupholder/cd holders.Mods tinting/euro turn signal#1/s mann air scoop,skirts/brabus grill/alum fuel cap/spangenburg pedals&handbrake, leather gaiter/alum ignition ring/custom leather armrest/alum drivers footrest/key mod/led side markers /blue led interiorlight/rear brake led's/silver front spoiler/wiper arm mod/rear marker led/oil pan heater/Eibach springs/vortex generators/window vents/headrest speakers/euro tail lights/Michalak fogs

4.4
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Mike T
post Feb 8 2011 - 04:50 PM
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Ordered our first smart in 2002!


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About reliability, I gritted my teeth when I approached 117,000 km, because it is the km at which Eddie in Eddiemonton managed to deep fry his engine. Now at 185,000, there is some more gritting going on, as that's the km when Gina's Prime Mover died. Hoping for the best out in sunny BC!


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2006 smart BRABUS Canada 1 cabriolet 450 B-remap
2013 Ford Fiesta SE 5 speed, 203A pkg, Winter pkg.
2008 Mercedes-Benz B 200
1966 Peugeot 404 Coupé Injection
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FinallyGotOne
post Feb 8 2011 - 04:54 PM
Post #27





Group: Regular Members
Posts: 365
Joined: Nov 19th, 10
Member No.: 8,987



QUOTE (smart142 @ Feb 8 2011 - 07:46 PM) *
I thought you have a warranty on your smart. Did you call the dealer?



My SAM and cluster were replaced due to another issue but I think they had the apprentice do it.

I was getting the 3 bars and my cluster died.

It spent all day there yesterday. They are stumped, so they sent me home. They are contacting the mothership I mean head office lol to try and work something out. Their star computers are not working with my car so they are in the dark. The mechanic just shrugged his shoulders when I was talking to him about it.


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>Skylar


Please check out my Custom Light Duty Trailers and Hitches

Here

http://clubsmartcar.com/index.php?showtopic=23187&hl=

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2006 Smart Fortwo CDI Passion ~ 500 RMS 10" Type-R subwoofer by Alpine in a ported Baseworx sub box powered by a 600 RMS JBL amplifier ~ iPod dock ~ Vynal trunk devider/cover ~ Custom trailer hitch and harness ~ Rubber floor mat ~

I sold the Ranger aka "old faithful" the other day.
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