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Meekles

2005 450 CDI cold starts

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I just bought a 2005 450 CDI with <100k km on it. As far as I can tell the previous owners just used it for summer driving as it has no oil pan heater or battery warmers or anything.

 

The cold start is pretty awful currently as it took 3-4 attempts of triple glowplug warming to start it yesterday in +5C, and this morning at -5C it took about 6-8 full cycles, and me holding a foot on the gas pedal and keeping the engine at 2k rpm for about 3 minutes. Once it's warm (+1 bubbles) it runs and starts again like a dream with zero issues, it just doesn't want to stay on before that. Any tips? 

 

I'm planning on doing some work this summer but I'm missing the front plug adapter for the car and I'm not having any luck finding one at the nearby wreckers. It's getting into summer now so I'm not as worried about it, but I'd like to do the work myself to save on shop time (I have a fair amount of experience with automotive electrical from working on electric pumps in a previous job)

 

My question is - I've seen mention that the block heater plug is routed to a plug near the battery on the passenger side - I've also seen mention in the newer models (06') that they have a block heater. Are their TWO plugs that work off that same harness from the front plug or is it just a single plug? I might just be getting confused as that is what it is sounding like. But the separate mentions I've seen makes it sound like there is a cord access in the front and in the back closer to the engine, am I just misreading into this?

 

Does anyone know the load capacity (watts) for the front plug and harness? The reason being I'm looking at hopefully hooking a battery warmer, a polar pad for the oil, and I'm looking into a ceramic heater for the cab as well. It should total out to 1500-1600 watts at the top end (9ampish maybe?)

 

Any ideas would be great... Tips for cold starts are welcome as well.

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Welcome to the site....under 100,000 kms, nice find.
IMHO, I would find a commercial type plug to install in the front of the car somewhere. Then run heavier than normal extension cable wiring under the belly pan at the front coming into the passenger compartment through the rubber grommet in the middle tunnel towards the battery well. Install a split way divide and run one to a battery blanket, another for a ceramic heater then the last one back out and under rear belly pan to the oil pan where you'll attach a polar pad. 125 Watt is good. Now if you wish to get a bit warmer you could split the cable again and send one to the radiator and install a polar pad to the bottom rad tank, they make a long thin pad 75 watt or so, maybe less...?  My thinking was, you will not lose any heat when the engine does fire up as it now starts to send coolant around the system. There is a long way for it to go from engine to rad where it will cool down before engine can generate enough heat to keep it warm. This is what i have on my winter beater. It works well. 

Next you should replace your glow plugs or at least yank them out and look at them to see if they are cooked. Test them also for voltage....   .9 is the number you are looking for if I recall correctly...? If you do not get this they are junk. 
Then you get to the slippery slope of constant upgrades or maintenance items to do. But once done you'll definately notice the benefits of doing the work.  The car should get on a good day somewhere near 80 mpgs or 3.5 litres per hundred kms driven.  On flatish ground and within 10 over the speed limit. I could go on forever about what i think you need to check and do...but I'm sure you can research it all here.....This is the best 2005-2006 CDI Smart Car site on the planet....imho.

Again welcome.

Also you are close to Stickman007, someone you should get to know.....he knows all.....seriously!

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Are your glow plugs even working? Any check engine light on? Car should fire pretty easy at +5.   

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I suspect a bad glow plug or two.  Mine will start down to at least -5c with a good battery.  If it is colder than that I stay home, I’m retired.

 

And Willys Lethbridge is about five hundred km for Izzy 

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change the glow plugs 

 

mine started just fine down to -30c ..rarely did i ever have to cycle glows twice 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Meekles said:

1 - I just bought a 2005 450 CDI with <100k km on it. As far as I can tell the previous owners just used it for summer driving as it has no oil pan heater or battery warmers or anything.

 

2 - The cold start is pretty awful currently as it took 3-4 attempts of triple glowplug warming to start it yesterday in +5C, and this morning at -5C it took about 6-8 full cycles, and me holding a foot on the gas pedal and keeping the engine at 2k rpm for about 3 minutes. Once it's warm (+1 bubbles) it runs and starts again like a dream with zero issues, it just doesn't want to stay on before that. Any tips? 

 

3 - I'm planning on doing some work this summer but I'm missing the front plug adapter for the car and I'm not having any luck finding one at the nearby wreckers. It's getting into summer now so I'm not as worried about it, but I'd like to do the work myself to save on shop time (I have a fair amount of experience with automotive electrical from working on electric pumps in a previous job)

 

My question is - I've seen mention that the block heater plug is routed to a plug near the battery on the passenger side - I've also seen mention in the newer models (06') that they have a block heater. Are their TWO plugs that work off that same harness from the front plug or is it just a single plug? I might just be getting confused as that is what it is sounding like. But the separate mentions I've seen makes it sound like there is a cord access in the front and in the back closer to the engine, am I just misreading into this?

 

4 - Does anyone know the load capacity (watts) for the front plug and harness? The reason being I'm looking at hopefully hooking a battery warmer, a polar pad for the oil, and I'm looking into a ceramic heater for the cab as well. It should total out to 1500-1600 watts at the top end (9ampish maybe?)

 

Any ideas would be great... Tips for cold starts are welcome as well.

 

1 - The 2005 smarts imported into Canada didn't come with a block, battery or oil pan heater.   My '05 has a small oil pan heater installed.  All the wiring is already there with the plug at the front which ends in the battery cavity under the carpeting in the passenger foot well in the form of a female plug.  From there, a power line can be routed back to the oil pan heater.Smart Plug.jpg

 

2 - I would suspect glow plugs.  Even in minus 25C temps with no oil pan heat, mine starts just fine by turning the key on, waiting for the glow plug light to go out then starting the car.

 

3 - I have a spare.  I have sent a PM if you are interested in the adaptor cord..

 

4 - My original plug pins rotted from the salt.  I changed the front plug and left the remaining wire intact.  I also have a spare replacement plug which accepts a standard three-prong plug.

smart plug good replacement 01.jpg

 

I have both the oil pan heater and a small ceramic cabin heater hooked up to the single plug at the front of the car.Smart Heater.jpg

 

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12 hours ago, Nigel said:

I suspect a bad glow plug or two.  Mine will start down to at least -5c with a good battery.  If it is colder than that I stay home, I’m retired.

 

And Willys Lethbridge is about five hundred km for Izzy 

Closer than us...lol

 

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Between our two smarts, one was always good starting in the cold; the other hated it.  Fortunately, the one that didn't mind was the all season beast, and the other was pampered.

That said, our remaining smart is quite rough when it starts (is yours the same?), even when temperature is fairly warm (like today at 10 degrees).  It smooths out after the engine warms up.  Might be the same symptoms; so I'd be interested in hearing if you find a solution.

 

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1 hour ago, cheapohubby said:

Between our two smarts, one was always good starting in the cold; the other hated it.  Fortunately, the one that didn't mind was the all season beast, and the other was pampered.

That said, our remaining smart is quite rough when it starts (is yours the same?), even when temperature is fairly warm (like today at 10 degrees).  It smooths out after the engine warms up.  Might be the same symptoms; so I'd be interested in hearing if you find a solution.

 

 

We're sending it into the shop on Monday for new glowplugs/fuel filter/oil change and I'm going to replace the air filter myself. I'll report back and let y'all know what the verdict was - The next step after that is injectors according to stickman, but at $1180/injector from BM, or $560/injector Remanufactured and ordered in by a local diesel specialist that doesn't go through MB, I'm hoping that these other things fix the issue. I'm also going to jump in while he's got the underpanels off to run a pan heater for it. I'm hoping that this solves it because I'm not looking forward to spending more than half the value of the car replacing injectors when so many other things can decide to go. 

 

I don't have access to injection cleaning equipment - but from talking with the diesel specialist he said that likely you could pull them and test them and find that general wear/tear and microabrasions cause the issues, not so much gunked up injectors - he did recommend trying a bottle of injector cleaner in the fuel tank as it would be essentially the same as pulling and cleaning/testing them . (he laughed when I mentioned that I only have a 22L tank - he said I could use one $10 bottle for 5 fills) Basically he said if you're sure its injectors you're better off putting the $75/injector fee to test it towards new ones rather then paying $225 and finding out which one needs replacing.

 

It's honestly brutal to start-  Sunday we went to start it and it had gotten down to -10 overnight - I think I spent 10 minutes starting - every attempt was heating the glow plug 3x - then attempting a start, it took like 6-7 attempts with each one getting 'closer' to starting - on the last one I finally peeved out enough that I gave the pedal some feed and held the tach at 2k for 3-4 minutes until I finally got a heat bubble filled. After that no problems. Even today it was 6 degrees and it took me 2 glow plug cycles to start it - and again i just fed fuel and kept the tach at 2k for a few minutes - when doing this on start-up I can feel a very small rumble until the engine gets warmer. That to me makes me think its glowplugs - because I believe they turn off after the car gets up to tempt and can hit compression without the plugs helping out. Once the thing is warm there are literally no issues/weird rumbles or anything.

 

To be fair I bought this car off a guy who had put 1500 km on it over 15 months - and this will be the first oil change since he purchased it last Dec/Jan. So I'm thinking the parked time - low KM, likely all in-town short trips. I also have absolutely NO idea of service history from past owners which grates on my nerves(I get the smart car has little storage space, but I've always kept at least 3-4 years of minor service work on every vehicle, and big stuff for up to 5 - it makes selling to people a lot easier because they can see that you do your due diligence with your car)

Edited by Meekles

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Meekles, don't buy new injectors, just buy new nozzles and get someone like me that owns a sonic cleaner to clean them after you take them out yourself.....it is a simple thing usually to remove the injectors. Research it here or over at Evilution.uk.co. Pay their minimum donation, well worth it for the information you will learn there imho.  OR you can buy a sonic cleaner from either amazon or ebay for $200 and do it all yourself. Then it's just $50 ish for each nozzle again from one of the two places. It is noted here somewhere, sorry memory is a bit slow now a days. There are a few dedicated threads on injector nozzles and cleaning. No need for a special test, just clean what you have and slap some new nozzles on them.  IF you have a vise and some simple wrenches you can do this yourself....OR you can get again someone like me to do a set for you and send them to you with core replacement.  Do not waste all that money at a stealership WOW..!  Crooks...!
PM me if you need more info on what and where to get these items from if you can't find them on one of the threads here. I'll dig up that info from my past purchases.

 

I also use Diesel Kleen from Canadian Tire every other tank full to help keep my injectors and fuel system clean.  Works well. Must be measured out, roughly 50 ml per tank if again memory serves me well...? lol

 

 

Edited by Willys
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@Meekles did I say injectors? I thought I swear I said nozzles...sorry. Like Willys said, you can clean and replace the nozzles yourself (or a competent diesel shop should be able to do that). MB dealership will not do that, they rather do swapnostics at your expense. If you want to change your injectors, you can look up the Bosch number rather than MB number - might be cheaper.

 

Izzy

 

PS - just send the injectors to Willys and have him do the dirty work!

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10 hours ago, stickman007 said:

@Meekles did I say injectors? I thought I swear I said nozzles...sorry. Like Willys said, you can clean and replace the nozzles yourself (or a competent diesel shop should be able to do that). MB dealership will not do that, they rather do swapnostics at your expense. If you want to change your injectors, you can look up the Bosch number rather than MB number - might be cheaper.

 

Izzy

 

PS - just send the injectors to Willys and have him do the dirty work!

LOL.....

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13 hours ago, stickman007 said:

@Meekles did I say injectors? I thought I swear I said nozzles...sorry. Like Willys said, you can clean and replace the nozzles yourself (or a competent diesel shop should be able to do that). MB dealership will not do that, they rather do swapnostics at your expense. If you want to change your injectors, you can look up the Bosch number rather than MB number - might be cheaper.

 

Izzy

 

PS - just send the injectors to Willys and have him do the dirty work!

 

AAAAH you did say nozzles, but I read injectors just before that and in my own little world of mass hysteria went with the worst. That makes me feel a lot better!

 

 

 

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Update: oil change/fuel filter/glow plugs were not the issue, mechanic thinks it's probably the injectors. 

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35 minutes ago, Meekles said:

Update: oil change/fuel filter/glow plugs were not the issue, mechanic thinks it's probably the injectors. 

Buy new nozzles and clean the injectors using sonic cleaner deep enough to submerge the entire injector all but the top electrical section, or remove that part.....but pay strict attention as to where all the bits go and only do one injector at a time...lol.
You do not need to calibrate the injectors to get them to work perfectly, imho as I have done many already this way without any issues at all.

 

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Update of the update:

 

The battery is a bit weak and could use replacing according to a battery test this morning after trickle charging it for 14 hours. HOWEVER I plugged in the oil pan heater this morning at 5am and it started instantly an hour later with a single (Not even triple glow plug procedure) glow plug start. Like literally turned the key and it was running. 

 

If the injectors were the problem would I be experiencing other issues besides a bad start? Like once this thing is going it purrs, it just makes me think it might not be injectors but the low pressure fuel pump or something else - and my budget is stretched now so I don't want to keep throwing money at stuff if it isn't going to solve it.

 

I have no diesel experience and no garage access so taking apart the injectors myself is a bit daunting, I also don't have a sonic cleaner and my wife has pretty much told me she is done spending money on the car at this point. She also doesn't trust it to start and is worried she'll be stranded so she won't drive it which was the whole point of purchasing it in the first place (I have a 10km both way commute to work, she drives around town and to a small community off the highway a couple minutes away constantly and does 50+km a day in driving)

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Follow the check process for the glow plugs.....electronically, check for correct voltages and such.....it's easy once you get to the correct instructions...lol.   I'm sure LLNs knows exactly how to check them and can recite the procedure off the top of his head...lol

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

i didnt even bother checking mine...they were cheap enough for three i just swapped in new ones  (and 2 of them were already busted off by the last owner anyway)

i also remember reaming out the passages to make them work better

 

 

 

one time i owned a 7.3 diesle ford and was cheap i remember checking them by taking them out and using booster cables,,,you found out quick which ones were still good 

Edited by LooseLugNuts

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OK, here it is, stolen/borrowed from Evilution, thank you very much....the process how to test your glow plugs.

 

https://www.evilution.co.uk/index.php?menu=engine&mod=948

 

I will say Evilution is the best technical site for our or any Smart Cars but unfortunately they do not have a chat section or there would be no reason on earth to use another site imho. That is why our site is the best...we can chat and discuss what we need, know or wish to learn about. And we basically specialize in the CDI version it seems. Which is a good thing...lol.

 

Anyway I hope this helps and is OK to post.

 

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23 hours ago, LooseLugNuts said:

how did you determine the glow plugs were not the issue?

 

Hi guys,

 

We had them replaced completely and it didn't fix the issue. 

 

I'm replacing the battery next week as it is pretty weak (11.9-12.4 volts on a good day, I've seen as low as 10.5)

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It needs to be 12V for a good solid start I have found. Especially if you use glow plugs to warm her up.  This car is super sensitive to voltage drops and ground issues.

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