Dewie

New member questioning sanity

51 posts in this topic

Well I may as well introduce myself as I've just spent a bit looking through some of the threads here and appears this is one of the few forums left which is still active... 

I just purchased (I'm still not sure why) a 2006 ForTwo, diesel, from a nearby seller who bought the car unseen from a seller in a nearby province (PEI - mentioning as I'm hoping maybe someone knows the car/situation). He bought the car with the expectation that it ran and drove, but had electrical problems. 

When the car got here it was determined quickly that yup for sure it had electrical problems; but he also couldn't get it to start. Everything lights up as expected but it's giving the "three bars of death" on the gear indicator. 

 

I drug the car home last evening and haven't had a chance to dig in to it yet; just looked it over. From what I can tell the main power wire between the starter and the battery chaffed through on a clip for the air filter box (which is mounted in aluminum) and shorted/burnt up. This burnt up some surrounding wiring and the PVC hose. I'd say it actually must have run for some time like this as it looks like it blew oil out everywhere (or has a leak of some nature; not had a chance to investigate that yet (do the seals go on the vacuum pumps like they do on old VWs of the same era?))

 

I come from working on VW diesels the past 20 years; most notably/relevant to this endeavor was an 02 ALH TDI Golf with 795,000 on it before it had to be retired due to rust. It was base model 2 door which I built harness for from 3 different cars adding most every power option but a sunroof and memory seats (I just didn't have memory seats to add). I am competent with vehicle electrics and have fixed numerous vehicles/built harnesses for various things (tractors, hovercraft, trailers, big trucks, etc) and I feel this is something I can get sorted; which is why I bought it. 

I'll likely create a new thread with regard to my woes; not entirely sure where might be best to do this though as you folks seem to have things pretty well organized. 

 

From what I've determined the member "Sydney" is the go-to person in NS for these cars - I will likely be in touch as I'm likely to need a few things if/when I get the car running. 

Here's a couple of obligatory photos, and literally the only photos I have of the car so far haha:

photo_2021-02-28_19-25-04.jpg

photo_2021-02-28_19-31-12.jpg

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Hi.  Sydney here.   all i can say is OMG...  i am pretty sure i can see the reason why your can does not run.   you might have a bit of an electrical issue.

anything is fixable.  hopefully all the shorts did not fry your SAM and ECU.

if it was me,  the first thing i would do is remove the engine (cradle) from the car.   it will be much easier to get a complete look at everything and see what else is damaged.  (the engine drops out of the bottom of the car and stays attached to the cradle, coupe of hours job) and is the best and really only way to access everything you are going to need to get at.

i do have a crap load of parts and would gladly hep you the best i can.

where are you located.   I'm in Cape Breton  (Sydney)

 

Edited by Sydney
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Welcome to the site, I also agree with Sydney as to lowering the sub frame to get a far better peek at what wiring is actually damaged. It looks like the last owner was digging after the EGR system and thought that opening up the entire wiring harness was required....?   Again agree, about the ECU and it getting fried easily, been there done that!  That mistake is expensive unless you can find someone with a STAR system to reprogram a used ECU into your existing electrical family. All 3 computers can be swapped out using a STAR. Takes a while but can be done. The ECU houses capacitors that will discharge and fry the whole unit.  That large cooked wire is simply the ground strap that is junk any way and needs replacing with, I use welding cable from Princess Auto, rubberized and far better...imho.  You will be chasing ground pin issues until you clean and dilectric grease them all. The main one for the engine compartment is under the left forward lip right where the cluster of wiring is routed to....

I'll bet the inter cooler rad is punched if you have a massive amount of oil towards the left side of the engine bay. Search that out, it is repairable or you'll need to replace the inter cooler rad. Junk the EGR and install an emulator, best option found here...stickman007. 

Good luck and again welcome.

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7 minutes ago, Sydney said:

Hi.  Sydney here.   all i can say is OMG...  i am pretty sure i can see the reason why your can does not run.   you might have a bit of an electrical issue.

anything is fixable.  hopefully all the shorts did not fry your SAM and ECU.

if it was me,  the first thing i would do is remove the engine (cradle) from the car.   it will be much easier to get a complete look at everything and see what else is damaged.

i do have a crap load of parts and would gladly hep you the best i can.

where are you located.   I'm in Cape Breton  (Sydney)

 

 

I can actually see all (most?) of the damage from the top. My hope is to get it running first then drop everything down and fix it properly - this may not be realistic... .

I am located just south of Truro, bit of a piece away unfortunately. I do know I could stand to have a new rear bumper rebar and bumper skin. It looks like they tore the tow hook out trying to get the car removed from a snow bank in order to ship it to buddy from the island here a couple of weeks ago. Not exactly a high priority though; even if I do get it running. 

 

Any chance you have an engine harness and/or the main starter wire? I figure I can just run a new wire for the starter regardless but the proper thing is sometimes nice. I'll also need a front coil spring. Haven't really looked the car over very well as of yet. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

15 minutes ago, Dewie said:

 

I can actually see all (most?) of the damage from the top. My hope is to get it running first then drop everything down and fix it properly - this may not be realistic... .

I am located just south of Truro, bit of a piece away unfortunately. I do know I could stand to have a new rear bumper rebar and bumper skin. It looks like they tore the tow hook out trying to get the car removed from a snow bank in order to ship it to buddy from the island here a couple of weeks ago. Not exactly a high priority though; even if I do get it running. 

 

Any chance you have an engine harness and/or the main starter wire? I figure I can just run a new wire for the starter regardless but the proper thing is sometimes nice. I'll also need a front coil spring. Haven't really looked the car over very well as of yet. 

the starter is a real bitch to get at on these cars  (and you are going to have to get to it to replace the main power cable).  to get to the starter you have to lower the engine (starter can'y be accessed from below)  then at best remove the AC compressor then you will be able to see the starter.

if the main power cable burnt that bad , that is came detached from the starter, i would imaging it also melted thru the coolant lines that it runs next to.  also you should remove the plastic belly pans and see what else it might have melted thru  (there are a few fuel lines running to the filter that could have been damaged my a red hot power cable.

yes i have a spare complete main harness.   

if you want to send me a PM,  i will give you my number.  i have 6 450's all in a different state of repair.  it might be worth a drive to sydney on a weekend just to see what you might be looking at to get your running.

 

Edited by Sydney
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25 minutes ago, Willys said:

  That large cooked wire is simply the ground strap that is junk any way and needs replacing with, I use welding cable from Princess Auto, rubberized and far better...imho.  You will be chasing ground pin issues until you clean and dilectric grease them all.  

Good luck and again welcome.

 

i think the large burnt wire is actually the 4 gauge power wire from the battery.   

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11 minutes ago, Sydney said:

 

i think the large burnt wire is actually the 4 gauge power wire from the battery.   

Damn!!!    I didn't think it was long enough to get it to the rear of the car like that, but I never have had this issue thankfully either....!  I agree, if you need to work on the starter or easily get at the alternator, it's far easier to lower sub frame than spend hours messing  twisted up going in from the side as some prefer to do...it's basically 4 main bolts and a few screws on the intake pipe to loosen it from body panels and unclip a few wires and hoses....then you can drop it 10"  and see and touch everything needed to solve this mess...Damn!
I think I'd also replace the entire length of the main power wire due to it getting over heated that much....wow..!   Lucky the entire car didn't catch fire..!

You simply leave sub frame on the ground and scissor lift the body up then jack stand it....the hardest part is breaking loose the sub frame bolts....sometimes they are a bugger.

To each their own.   Enjoy and document it all....we love a mess and a good mystery with a positive result.

 

 

IF the car is sound rust wise the rest is easily repairable....but electrical issues may require that STAR system , maybe.

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The large burnt wire is, for sure, the main power wire. The reason the harness is opened up is the main power wire melted in to that harness and made a real mess (check out the electrical tape on the various wires)

The cable is is not burnt off the starter, it burnt in the middle where it rubbed on one of the clips for the air box. I COULD actually splice in a piece to fix it (I have proper crimps and could put on a few layers of shrink tubing) but I would rather replace it. 

First step is getting the car running, second step is fixing it. I agree to fix it everything should be dropped and have 0 hesitation to do so. Though It looks like I may need an Etorx socket larger than my current kit has, I will confirm that this evening after the day job is done :)

Thanks for the heads-up about the intercooler possibly leaking; whatever is leaking has been doing so for a while judging by how much is there. I do know the rad fan on the intercooler is about seized. Again something to be addressed when the engine is dropped and I can get at everything. 

I enjoy documenting stuff as well so for sure I'll forward along some photos as I go haha

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This little car won't allow it to run unless enough of the issues are addressed, you'll find out. I think.  I hate electronics with a passion and this car has forced me to learn far more than I want to about it...lol. It forced me to make up my own STAR system to be able to solve many of the issues you may face in the future. The car also demands this system to resolve many of the electrical issues unfortunately. The good scanners and code readers can't do enough to solve the worst issues, that it looks like you may be into.  But everything is fixable with enough personal drive and money.  Plus there are many skilled people here willing to help solve anything.  This is the best site around for this model of SMART CAR...period.  imho.  There is a couple others but they don't have the chat set up like this site does which is what makes this far better again imho.  Evolution.co.uk is the best for technical issues but you must search well for the information and know how to deal with said information. So that site and ours should easily be enough to solve just about any issue you will come across. 

Once you get your CDI running and reliable again, you'll love it, especially when refueling...lol.   I get regularly 80 mpgs or 3.5 litres per hundred driven or less...!

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1 hour ago, Willys said:

This little car won't allow it to run unless enough of the issues are addressed, you'll find out. I think.  I hate electronics with a passion and this car has forced me to learn far more than I want to about it...lol. It forced me to make up my own STAR system to be able to solve many of the issues you may face in the future. The car also demands this system to resolve many of the electrical issues unfortunately. The good scanners and code readers can't do enough to solve the worst issues, that it looks like you may be into.  But everything is fixable with enough personal drive and money.  Plus there are many skilled people here willing to help solve anything.  This is the best site around for this model of SMART CAR...period.  imho.  There is a couple others but they don't have the chat set up like this site does which is what makes this far better again imho.  Evolution.co.uk is the best for technical issues but you must search well for the information and know how to deal with said information. So that site and ours should easily be enough to solve just about any issue you will come across. 

Once you get your CDI running and reliable again, you'll love it, especially when refueling...lol.   I get regularly 80 mpgs or 3.5 litres per hundred driven or less...!


My problem is I don't go anywhere anymore... I was doing 60k km a year for work but now I work from home and have been told I can continue working from home even when all this covid crap is over.... when I retired the MK4 Golf a couple of years ago I bought myself one of the diesel buy-back MK6 TDI wagons and LOVED it. The MK6 was a bit worse on fuel than my Old MK4 Golf but so much more of a car. In the middle there somewhere I bought a $800 Hyundai Tucson which a shop had determined needed a new ECU + Programming at the dealer... Within an hour or so I found the corroded wire which fed the ECU power and have been driving it ever since. I sold the MK6 Golf Wagon in the summer and I've sill only managed to put 15k on the Tucson since I got it haha

I debated a Smart Car years ago but I was doing all highway driving and honestly wanted more tin can around me. I picked this particular car up on a whim really simply because I had always wanted one. We'll see what this afternoon will bring. Hopefully I can get a few things figured out and get it running. 

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4 hours ago, Dewie said:

1 - Well I may as well introduce myself as I've just spent a bit looking through some of the threads here and appears this is one of the few forums left which is still active... 

2 - I just purchased (I'm still not sure why) a 2006 ForTwo, diesel, from a nearby seller who bought the car unseen from a seller in a nearby province (PEI - mentioning as I'm hoping maybe someone knows the car/situation). He bought the car with the expectation that it ran and drove, but had electrical problems. 

3 - When the car got here it was determined quickly that yup for sure it had electrical problems; but he also couldn't get it to start. Everything lights up as expected but it's giving the "three bars of death" on the gear indicator. 

 

 3a - I drug the car home last evening and haven't had a chance to dig in to it yet; just looked it over. From what I can tell the main power wire between the starter and the battery chaffed through on a clip for the air filter box (which is mounted in aluminum) and shorted/burnt up. This burnt up some surrounding wiring and the PVC hose. I'd say it actually must have run for some time like this as it looks like it blew oil out everywhere (or has a leak of some nature; not had a chance to investigate that yet (do the seals go on the vacuum pumps like they do on old VWs of the same era?))

 

4 - I come from working on VW diesels the past 20 years; most notably/relevant to this endeavor was an 02 ALH TDI Golf with 795,000 on it before it had to be retired due to rust. It was base model 2 door which I built harness for from 3 different cars adding most every power option but a sunroof and memory seats (I just didn't have memory seats to add). I am competent with vehicle electrics and have fixed numerous vehicles/built harnesses for various things (tractors, hovercraft, trailers, big trucks, etc) and I feel this is something I can get sorted; which is why I bought it. 

5 - I'll likely create a new thread with regard to my woes; not entirely sure where might be best to do this though as you folks seem to have things pretty well organized. 

 

6 - From what I've determined the member "Sydney" is the go-to person in NS for these cars - I will likely be in touch as I'm likely to need a few things if/when I get the car running. 

 1 - You have found the most active site in North America for 450 diesel smarts. It is loaded with enthusiastic people who, for the most part love their smarties. 

2 -  First impressions of a "cute little car" tend to be the selling point for first-time buyers.

3 - Ah, the 3 bars of death!  They could have many causes.  See the list attached.

Evilution says:

The smart gearbox relies on a lot of electronics to keep it working properly, it only takes one part to misbehave to call up an error code. Causes can be one or more of the following:


Fuse Blown
Secondary Fuse/Relay Box Corrosion (600cc)
Faulty SE Drive
Stuck Gears
Weak Battery
Poor Earth Lead
Faulty Brake Lights
Incorrect Brake Light Bulb
LED Brake Light Bulbs
Faulty Gearbox RPM Sensor
Faulty Rear Light Loom (Roadster)
Faulty Gear Motor
Faulty Gear Position Sensor
Faulty Clutch Actuator
Chaffed Wires
Damage Wires
Stuck Clutch
Seized Gearbox
Faulty Relay
Split Reluctor Rings
Worn Clutch Fork
Solder Joint Failure
Faulty gearbox RPM sensor 
Gearbox Reteach
Canadian E-Box Failure
ECU Component Failure

3a - Some people need a project to keep their sanity during the Covid-crap thing.

4 - Understanding diesels is a great start.  Being mechanically and electrically inclined is also going to be a huge asset.

5 - When the main page opens up, you can scroll down to "Operation and Maintenance: 450 Model, 2005-2006, diesel",  "Modifications and Performance: 450 Model, 2005-2006, diesel" or   "How-To: 450 Model, 2005-2006, diesel" .... depending on what you are looking for at the time.

6 - Sydney is definitely the go-to guy closest to you when it comes to diesel smart cars.

 

:welcome: to the club .. Enjoy your stay. We love to see photos and read stories, particularly about the "how to" end if it.

Ron :bike:

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my main power wire had been cut by previous owner (along with abs wires..firewall ...and extra bonus was broken easy outs in off center drilled busted off glow plugs)...

 

anyways i just wanted to suggest a quick fix for that cable..if you just wanted to get it running 

 

they make really strong brass and copper wire clamps for quickly joining thick copper wire..perfect for temporary uses (i wont say if mine was ever repaired permanently  )

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is what I mean by engine with cradle. It all comes out really easy actually.   This makes it extremely easy to work on the engine, access the starter and alternator.  This was an engine swap I did for a fellow smart enthusiast. Old steel rims made it easier to slide on my concrete floor.

IMG_20201031_013903.jpg

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Well I had a look at the car for the first time. I appear to have bypassed the 3 lines of death by shifting the car in to reverse then turning the key off/removing it. Insert key, turn to neutral and all seems happy. Turn to reverse before shutting off and it seems to go away. I doubt this is fixed but it bypasses that issue for now. 

 

The starter solenoid still isn't getting any power. I attached my own wire to the solenoid at the starter and can get it to whirl over (slowly). It certainly feels like something is dragging it down. I set about getting the alternator belt off when I realized I don't actually own any etorx sockets apparently... so I'm about to head to Canadian Tire and buy a set.

 

I'm hoping the E20 it comes with is big enough for the bolts holding the engine in but I can't seem to find any actual useful information stating the size. Lots of people asking, lots of answers along the lines of "what are you trying to do?" - not very helpful in my context where everyone is saying "drop the engine!"

 

I inspected the wiring some more, everything seems to be localized to where I can see it; what a mess though. Previous efforts have everything well separated and nothing is shorting. This doesn't rule out a fried ECU yet either. 

photo_2021-03-01_16-30-16.jpgphoto_2021-03-01_16-30-24.jpg

photo_2021-03-01_16-30-26.jpg

photo_2021-03-01_16-30-27.jpg

 


One other thing I've noticed is (not unexpected) the stud of the solenoid where the power goes in is semi-cooked. It just takes a few seconds of cranking to make it glow orange. I'll give trying to start it one more go once I get the alternator belt off it but I have a feeling I'm going to have to inspect/repair the starter solenoid. 

photo_2021-03-01_16-30-27 (2).jpg
One thing I haven't ruled out is that the engine is toast also. It does seem to have plenty of oil in it but I can see it looks like it has been leaking at the front seal now that I have the cover off/was under it taking the AC belt off. It sounds a bit odd to me turning over but I come from a 4 cylinder background not a 3 cylinder one haha 

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1 hour ago, LooseLugNuts said:

my main power wire had been cut by previous owner (along with abs wires..firewall ...and extra bonus was broken easy outs in off center drilled busted off glow plugs)...

 

anyways i just wanted to suggest a quick fix for that cable..if you just wanted to get it running 

 

they make really strong brass and copper wire clamps for quickly joining thick copper wire..perfect for temporary uses (i wont say if mine was ever repaired permanently  )

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haha yes I have some of the copper connectors and a proper crimp tool to go with them actually! Time will tell what I end up doing. 

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34 minutes ago, Sydney said:

Here is what I mean by engine with cradle. It all comes out really easy actually.   This makes it extremely easy to work on the engine, access the starter and alternator.  This was an engine swap I did for a fellow smart enthusiast. Old steel rims made it easier to slide on my concrete floor.

IMG_20201031_013903.jpg

 

Yeah I've seen lots of images of the engines pulled; I am by no means against doing it. I have a motorcycle lift I'm hoping I can make use of for moving the set up around - though my garage floor is only slightly better than working outside in the gravel driveway...

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15 minutes ago, Dewie said:

Well I had a look at the car for the first time. I appear to have bypassed the 3 lines of death by shifting the car in to reverse then turning the key off/removing it. Insert key, turn to neutral and all seems happy. Turn to reverse before shutting off and it seems to go away. I doubt this is fixed but it bypasses that issue for now. 

 

The starter solenoid still isn't getting any power. I attached my own wire to the solenoid at the starter and can get it to whirl over (slowly). It certainly feels like something is dragging it down. I set about getting the alternator belt off when I realized I don't actually own any etorx sockets apparently... so I'm about to head to Canadian Tire and buy a set.

 

I'm hoping the E20 it comes with is big enough for the bolts holding the engine in but I can't seem to find any actual useful information stating the size. Lots of people asking, lots of answers along the lines of "what are you trying to do?" - not very helpful in my context where everyone is saying "drop the engine!"

 

I inspected the wiring some more, everything seems to be localized to where I can see it; what a mess though. Previous efforts have everything well separated and nothing is shorting. This doesn't rule out a fried ECU yet either. 

photo_2021-03-01_16-30-16.jpgphoto_2021-03-01_16-30-24.jpg

photo_2021-03-01_16-30-26.jpg

photo_2021-03-01_16-30-27.jpg

 


One other thing I've noticed is (not unexpected) the stud of the solenoid where the power goes in is semi-cooked. It just takes a few seconds of cranking to make it glow orange. I'll give trying to start it one more go once I get the alternator belt off it but I have a feeling I'm going to have to inspect/repair the starter solenoid. 

photo_2021-03-01_16-30-27 (2).jpg
One thing I haven't ruled out is that the engine is toast also. It does seem to have plenty of oil in it but I can see it looks like it has been leaking at the front seal now that I have the cover off/was under it taking the AC belt off. It sounds a bit odd to me turning over but I come from a 4 cylinder background not a 3 cylinder one haha 

the glowing you are seeing is no doubt the copper braided connection between the solinoid and starter drive.  they get really brittle and corroded.  your starter is trying to pull current thru a connection that can't handle it.

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13 minutes ago, Sydney said:

the glowing you are seeing is no doubt the copper braided connection between the solinoid and starter drive.  they get really brittle and corroded.  your starter is trying to pull current thru a connection that can't handle it.

The glowing is actually the bus metal itself and the lock washer underneath the nut somehow. It would not surprise me if the starter wire burning did not burn the connector and everything there is kind of weak

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wow those wires look like a headache in the closer pic

 

those motorcycle jacks are perfect for this...thats exactly what i used on mine

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when buying a set of e-torx make sure its the larger set...

 

i think the biggest one needed is for the front caliper brackets and/or the rear subframe bolts

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Home again. Got the right set apparently. Alternator belt off (it's too small, alternator was already hard against water pump and there was 0 adjustment to be gained) and alternator is most certainly seized. Have it whirling over no problem now but it's just not starting. I don't see any fuel movement in the lines on top of the valve cover. With the VWs we always had a few air bubbles to indicate things were moving as they should but we also didn't have a lift pump (that came later than I was involved) so I'm not sure if it's moving fuel and I'm just not seeing it or what... Fuel gauge reads mostly full. 

 

I tried a bit of starting fluid to see if it would kick at all and nothing. I'm guessing some module somewhere is still preventing it from starting. May have to try to gear myself up a STAR system next. 

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Update: it runs! Just have to turn the key while jumping the solenoid and it roared to life haha

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Congratulations,   now at least you know it's runs. Shouldn't be hard to get it drivable now.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

10 hours ago, Sydney said:

Congratulations,   now at least you know it's runs. Shouldn't be hard to get it drivable now.

Well I messed around with the car a bit more before packing it in for the night. I am not certain but I'd say there is issues with shifting as I could not seem to get the wheels to spin at all. I assume I should be able to just shift from N to R or +/- and give it fuel and have the wheels move? 

 

Either way next step is to start cleaning up the wiring and drop the engine. 


I forgot to post a photo above of the bottomed out alternator and leaky seal:
photo_2021-03-01_21-29-59.jpg

 

Video of it running:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CL5RwcMBt3l/

Edited by Dewie
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Posted (edited) · Report post

how many clicks on the car?   i know you have a lot more to address before you take it for a spin.   but shifting could be something as simple as a bad wire to the clutch actuator.   does it make a constant clunking noise by any chance when you try to shift it to driver or reverse?   could be a bad clutch actuator or a punched thru clutch fork,  or a broken wire to the electric shift drum.

also the car will not shift out of first with the wheels off the ground.  ABS and traction control will not let it.  you should also have a look at the reluctor rings on the rear axles to see if they are broken.   one of my cars had a big piece of the ring missing and the car would not shift out of first  (speedo was screwed up also,  untill i replaced the rings).

Edited by Sydney

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