it works within its tolerances. Problems begin when you stop paying smart's extortionate
prices and go to a 3rd party specialist. Some specialists don't have the hardware needed
to adjust the clutch so it is often overlooked.
Wellsmart (Shepton Mallet)
Mastertech Assist (Manchester)
If you use them for a service, ask for your clutch to be adjusted.
Most will do it free as part of the service but some will charge you.
Clutch adjustment problems are easy to determine. Pulling away up hill can cause
the engine to sound like it's choking or bogging down. You may also notice that the
car over revs during gear changes especially when cold. If you leave it, you will
eventualy find that the revs rise but no power is being transfered to the wheels
as the torque eventually causes the clutch to slip over the friction plate.
Clutch adjustment can be done in 2 ways (preferably both).
Look under the car, just off to the left near the intercooler scoop you will see the sight below. Using an
With all 3 bolts loosened, slide the unit towards the centre of the car (to the right).
The actuator will only move about 2mm or 3mm before you feel it hit an obstruction.
Stop pushing the actuator and it will move a fraction back to the left by itself.
Give it a 5 seconds to settle and tighten the 3 bolts back up
With that simple task completed, the actuator is in the perfect position to allow the car to fully open and close the actuator and allowing the clutch to move properly.
With that done, it is a good idea to 'teach' the car the new clutch position. This is called the bite and release point. With the actuator pushed in, the face of the clutch is moved slightly inwards as well. Ideally, the car should know where the clutch face is.
This electronic adjustment needs to be done on specific equipment like a Mercedes Star machine or the portable version called Win-Star. Booking in with smart or (more sensibly) the any of the companies mentioned above will get the clutch electrically adjusted in under 10 minutes. Both systems plug directly into the OBD port.
Watching the Win-Star system in action isn't particularly interesting but listening to everything moving in the engine is fascinating. Teaching the bite and release points moves the actuator through a few movement with the engine off. You can hear the clutch moving and working out where the clutch is and where the actuator should be sitting.
The adjustment is over in a few seconds but makes the car so much better
than what it was. Try not to leave an un-adjusted clutch too long as it can
cause glazing which reduces friction which will cause it to slip further. Slipping
causes heat and heat will kill your clutch stone dead.
If you do kill it dead, you have a few options. If you have a standard car then just have the normal clutch fitted, slightly modified for power you should get a Roadster clutch. All out power smart owners should consider the Brabus Roadster clutch. Each one can handle slightly more power than the last.
If you consider your smart to be 'race spec' then consider contacting Smartarse Design regarding the Bonalume performance clutch. Many attributes have been tagged to this 3rd party clutch which I won't go into here. Needless to say, it's better than a standard, costs £650 fitted (almost the same as a clutch from smart). With that you get a lighter fly wheel installed.
A lighter flywheel will allow the engine to rev quicker, will slightly increase the BHP transfered to the wheels but will slightly reduce torque.
Had The Clutch Adjusted But Still Not Happy?
Have a look