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Troubleshooting and FAQ

The answers to some Frequently Asked Questions!

Modification Details




If you have any questions and/or answers then let me know and I will update this FAQ.


Engine
1 Are dumpvalves a good idea, should I get one, what performance increase will I get?
2 I have heard about dumpvalves spraying oil into the engine bay, surely this isn't good is it?
3 I seem to be refilling my oil a lot and the dumpvalve seems to be spraying a lot of oil.
4 I have had my car remapped and now when I change gear I can hear a strange fluttering noise.
5 After a spirited drive my car suddenly lost power and now refuses to do any considerable speed,
have I broken it?
6 I have heard tales of adjusting the wastegate arm, is there any point?
7 I hear talk of remaps but I don't know what they are, pray tell.
8 I am getting smoke coming from my smart exhaust!
9 Will the gear change switches ever break as they do get a lot of use?
10 What sparkplugs do I need?
11 My smart has started cutting out while driving, is there a fix?
 
Electrical/ICE
12 My headlights don't seem to want to turn on first time or flicker as I drive.
13 When I try to unlock my car the indicators flash 9 times.
14 As I drive I occasionally get a triangle with an ! in it flashing, what does it mean?
15 The Trust Plus light is constantly on, what does it mean?
16 I get 3 horizontal lines appear where the gear number should be and I lose drive.
17 I have the sound upgrade but it sounds rubbish, infact no better than a normal smart.
18 Where is the battery on my For2?
19 When I start my car, for the first minute I can hear clicking and the headlights seem to dim.

Miscellaneous
20 My smart won't go into reverse/come out of reverse.
21 The skinny tyres on the front aren't conducive with the manner in which I take corners, can I put a pair of rears on the front?
22 How much is my road tax going to cost as it seems to vary a lot?
23 Why is it I can do over 100 miles before the first blob disappears but the rest go at about 60 mile intervals?
24 My steering has become very stiff, do you know why?
25 Why does the back of my smart get so dirty so quickly?
26 I need to get my air-conditioning re-gassed, what are the specs for this?

Engine
1 Are dumpvalves a good idea, should I get one, what performance increase will I get?
If you are considering a DV for performance gains then don't, you won't get any on a smart but if you like the noise they make then get one.
2 I have heard about dumpvalves spraying oil into the engine bay, surely this isn't good is it?
Relax, the oil that is released would be in the pipe if you had the DV
fitted or not, its condensed burnt oil vapour from the crank case breather pipe, emissions laws insist that the oil vapour is sent back into the engine to be burnt in the next combustion cycle.
3 I seem to be refilling my oil a lot and the dumpvalve seems to be spraying a lot of oil.
OK, that's a different matter, chances are your turbo oil seal is damaged, get it looked at if you have warranty.
If you don't, take the pre- and post- intercooler pipes off and check to see if the IC is full of oil. If it is, remortgage your house.
4 I have had my car remapped and now when I change gear I can hear a strange fluttering noise.
What you can hear is the waste gate opening to release the extra boost that the remap gives you, nothing to worry about, sounds good doesn't it.
5 After a spirited drive my car suddenly lost power and now refuses to do any considerable speed, have I broken it?
It sounds like your car has gone into safe mode, this can happen for a few reasons to protect the engine but more often than not the MAP sensor has detected too much boost and has protected the engine by limiting the amount of power available. In some cases turning the car off and on will reset the problem but if not simply disconnecting the battery for a very short time will rectify the problem.
If the problem continues go to smart.
6 I have heard tales of adjusting the wastegate arm, is there any point?
Initially people have found it can increase power by keeping the wastegate closed but as it only opens to vent boost when the plenumn is shut this boost is wasted and could stall the turbo and possibly damage it.
It has also been noted that the ECU soon learns the arm has been adjusted and adapts making the whole thing pointless.
7 I hear talk of remaps but I don't know what they are, pray tell.
The entire engine is controlled from the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) (or car brain if you prefer). Everything runs inside set parameters which control things like speed, boost and fuelling. A remap alters the code in the ECU to increase fuelling and boost etc to increase the performance.
Remaps generally require slightly more fuel and may reduce the lifespan of your engine but not by a great deal that you'd notice.
Bare in mind that your warranty may be voided by having a remap applied to your car.
8 I am getting smoke coming from my smart exhaust!
The answer depends heavily on the colour of the smoke.
White smoke indicates water and/or coolant is entering the engine, this is usually down to a damaged cylinder head. Water in the engine raises compression which is bad for the engine, not to mention the fact you are losing coolant and it may be mixing with the engine oil.
Black smoke indicates that oil is being burnt, it could be a damaged turbo seal on the compressor side.
Blue smoke usually indicates the turbo seal is damaged on the turbine side and oil is leaking from the turbo into the exhaust system.
9 Will the gear change switches ever break as they do get a lot of use?
No, they are non contact hall effect sensors, this means that there is no mechanical switch.
The switch measures an electrical flow which is altered by the introduction of a magnet, as the magnet passes by the switch the ECU changes gear.
10 What sparkplugs do I need?
* 599cc NGK BKR6EKE all cars mk1 - mk6
*698cc NGK RLKR8A all mk7 and roadsters
11 My smart has started cutting out while driving, is there a fix?
The 2 main culprits are loose battery connections or a loose fuse. As most RHD smarts didn't come with a fuse box cover it is easy for the passenger to knock them with their feet. Tighten the battery connection and reseat all the fuses.

Electrical
12 My headlights don't seem to want to turn on first time or flicker as I drive.
It's a common problem, the left hand light stalk is faulty, often a result of too much grease. The stalk can also feel hot to the touch.You can either get smart to sort it as there was a recall or you can clean it yourself. Hold a plastic bag over the stalk when you twist it off so you don't lose any of the parts, give it a clean and reassemble.
13 When I try to unlock my car the indicators flash 9 times.
2 possibilities here:
#1 If the car unlocks then you just need to change the battery in the key fob.
#2 If it stays locked then your key has gone out of sync with the ECU. Time to call smartassist or get your spare keys.
You will have to get the keys recoded at a smart dealer to make them work.
14 As I drive I occasionally get a triangle with an ! in it flashing, what does it mean?
What you are seeing is the Trust Plus/ESP signal letting you know it has kicked in, all it is telling you is you have lost traction to 1 or more wheels or the G-force sensor has sensed lateral movement, nothing to worry about, slowing down will help.
15 The Trust Plus light
is constantly on, what does it mean?
It means that either one of your ABS sensors is faulty or clogged up, the G-force sensor is knackered or there is a fault in the ECU/SAM unit.
If the light is on constantly it means the Trust/ESP system is not working, drive carefully to your local smart dealer.
16 I get 3 horizontal
lines appear where the gear number should be and I lose drive.
3 lines indicates that the car has had problems selecting a gear, this could be a number of things but usually to do with a stuck gear motor or gearbox sensor.
It can also occur if the gear lever isn't pushed all the way forwards or backwards during a gear change.
Turning the car off and on can resolve the problem as can disconnecting the battery temporarily. I have cured it on a few occasions by rocking the car backwards and forwards to free the stuck gear. If it happens regularly get it checked at smart.
17 I have the sound
upgrade but it sounds rubbish, infact no better than a normal smart.
It seems very common that the sound package enhancement isn't activated before leaving smart but it's something you can do yourself.
Turn your car on, make sure your stereo is off. Hold in the button with the 'note' symbol on it and while holding it in turn the stereo on by pressing in the volume button. The speakers should beep and the display will say 'Sound On' and your sound package is now activated.
If it says 'Sound Off' follow the instructions again so it's on and check under the dash to see if all the components are fitted. You should have 2 barrel shaped tweeters on the dashboard and 2 solid plastic boxes under the dash either side. Look under the dash, if you feel speakers you don't have all of the components.
18 Where is the battery
on my For2?
Pull back the carpet on the passenger side and remove the polystyrene block, the battery is situated underneath.
19 When I start my car,
for the first minute I can hear clicking and the headlights seem to dim.
What you are hearing are the relays supplying power to the engine pre-heater. Both the catalytic converter and the engine are way more efficient when hot so to comply with strict emissions laws the smart engine is heated. The lights will dim as the engine heater takes a lot of power.

Miscellaneous
20 My smart won't go into reverse/come
out of reverse.
The most likely cause is the brake light switch has failed, check to see if your brake lights are illuminating although this isn't a sure fire way to test.
21 The skinny tyres on the front aren't
conducive with the manner in which I take corners, can I put a pair of
rear alloys on the front?
No I'm afraid not.
The different offset front and back would make the tyres stick out from the car making it illegal, not to mention the extra strain on the bearings and the unusual characteristics the car seems to take on. Either fit Pulse alloys all round or fit 175 tyres to the stock front alloys for better grip.
22 How much is my road tax going to cost
as it seems to vary a lot?
Road tax really depends on the engine emissions, these can alter depending on the tyre sizes that were on the car at point of manufacture.
If you want to know how much you'll pay, look at your existing tax disc, it will say on it (unless it was paid for before the last budget).
23 Why is it I can do over 100 miles before the first blob disappears but the rest go at about 60 mile intervals?
Simple, the fuel sensor doesn't read all the way to the top of the tank so all the petrol above the sensor in the filler neck allows you to do the extra mileage.
24 My steering has become very stiff, do you know why?
On older models there have been reports of ball joints becoming faulty which causes this problem, if left, the ball joint will snap and the wheel and hub will break off. On models after 2003 it is more likely to be the steering joints.
25 Why does the back of my smart get so dirty so quickly?
All cars with flat backs are affected in the same way, it's all down to the Venturi effect which is explained here.
26 I need to get my air-conditioning re-gassed, what are the specs for this?
1G. 620g +180cm^3 comp oil
2G. 450g + 180cm^3 comp oil
Roadies. 648g +180cm^3 comp oil

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