Disaster towing Smart car

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Reallyretired, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    We towed our smart on A-frame down from the Tunnel to an intermediate stop in south Belgium. (place called Ave-et-Auffe try saying it:Laughing:)

    On arrival would not start. Problem is clutch has 'exploded' taking the gearbox and starter motor with it. It is now in our local garage but probably be beyond economic repair.

    The only theory that has been advanced is that somehow it put itself into gear while being towed although ignition was off and the key removed.

    I suppose may be feasible given that clutch and gearbox are electrically controlled .

    Upshot is that we are now without our toad.:cry:
     
  2. JayDee

    JayDee Funster

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    No toad!!

    Blimey, that's a bummer :Eek!:. I'd knew that there were some cars that couldn't be towed, but I hadn't heard the Smart was one of them.

    Are you covered by insurance?

    Pat'll be be upset for you when I tell her.

    Sympathies for the probable loss.:Sad:

    John
    As an aside...
    Do you plan on doing Malvern? We've signed up for it.
     
  3. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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    Really sorry to hear that. Is it possible to leave the car in gear when you turn off the ignition and take out the keys, or do Smarts automatically shift to neutral when turned off??
     
  4. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    A Smart should never, ever be towed with the key out and ignition off - the manual warns about this too I think, and there are lots of threads on the subject all over the web. Needs to be in Neutral with key in ignition, or else you will blow up the transmission . It isn't a "true" automatic, but nonetheless the transmission overheats badly when towed in gear and blows up eventually:Eeek::Eeek:

    You can't remove the key and tow in neutral, but lots of people have a plain key made without a fob so the car can't be easily stolen when towing like this.

    So sorry to hear about the demise of your Smart:cry: you live and learn, I guess, do you take it to a dealership or an independent? We use a good independent for ours -it may be viable to fix from an accident-damaged one, so please PM me if interested and I'll give you the details of the indy we use.
     
  5. itexuk

    itexuk Read Only Funster

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    YES You can tow a Smart Car.
    I have towed mine for thousands of miles without any problems. What you MUST do is make sure it is in neutral as you can get a FALSE neutral and it is still in gear.
    What I do once the A Frame is connected to Motorhome is:
    put gear leaver in neutral
    check that the gear selection symbol on the dash is on N
    If not, put foot on foot brake and move gear selector to Neutral again
    Once you have the N symbol on the dash start engine to make sure it is in neutral ( Wont start if not in neutral.)
    Turn off and take the key OUT as this locks the gear selector in Neutral
    Make sure hand brake is off and do not lock the doors otherwise the alarm will go off when towing.
    It is also worth checking the level of engine oil before you tow on an A Frame.
     
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  6. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    It's particularly important to make sure that the 'N' on the speedo panel is evident. With my Smart, at least, if I forget to move the selector to neutral before stopping the engine, and move it into neutral afterwards so that I can remove the key, the gearbox actually in 1st gear.

    There are often major components for sale on this forum:

    http://www.smartz.co.uk/

    Good luck in getting it sorted out.
     
  7. gazznsam

    gazznsam Read Only Funster

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    i'd deffo agree, you prolly had it in gear without realising unfortunately,

    i dont a-frame my smart yet, but i have noticed loads of times that when i get back in the car and try to start it, it wont, as it wasnt in neuteral, when i was certian i shifted to neuteral with my foot on the brakes before i turned the engine off.

    even if the ignition was on and the box not in neuteral, once the road speed reaches 14kmh the clutch wil engage, this is how you can bump start a smart, the official way is to hold the gear lever forwards, it then goes into 2nd, but without it held forwards, it'll go into 1st, but still let the clutch up once it's rolling faster than 14kmh.

    The uk smart manual warns against flat towing, the usual 30mph 30 miles thing that all modern cars get,
    but the american smart has an A-frame as an option from the dealers, with the lights wired up to a socket on the front panel etc,

    they are the same car, but slightly different software for the gearbox... the american smarts have a programmed 'auto' creap, with an auto box the torque converter will make the car move forwardsvery slowly at tickover, the smart being a manual box electricaly operated dosent, so they program the clutch to engage and slip a bit when the brakes are off at idle!!!

    the american box also has a park position, as they dont see the handbrake as a parking brake, to them it's an emergancy brake never to be touched unless the service brake has failed,
    when parking they shift the gear lever into park which locks the gearbox, i believe the park feature on the american smarts just puts it into reverse gear and lets the clutch up... same as how we can do it, but we need to pull the stick back into reverse, then you can take the key out and it's locked in gear... which is the equivelent of the steering lock on the smart.

    anyway, hope you get your smart fixed for not too much cash, there are plenty of indipendant smart garages about who will be able to get second hand parts much cheaper than smart who will only use new.
     
  8. Shore-is-Good

    Shore-is-Good Read Only Funster

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    This is what I dislike about forums. You get 'Camcondors' and his like espousing their personal (or received) opinion, totally without merit, probably never touched a Smart car much less towed one...and their word becomes Urban Legend for ever and a day!
    Quite evidently, many, many people tow Smart cars, me included, and can therefore speak from ACTUAL experience. YES, indeed, they CAN be happily towed for thousands of miles and then driven under their own steam without any ill effects from the towing. Jeeze!
     
  9. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    You are quite right as a generalisation but in this instance can you fault the facts stated ?

    It seems you indulge in the other great problem with forums, folk who reply to a message without reading it properly.

    It all adds to the fun.
     
  10. oldun

    oldun Read Only Funster

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    The verification of information is always a problem anywhere on the Internet and there is no answer to this dilemma.

    One person says something and another person says something quite contradictory - who's right?

    The fact that one person says he/she has towed many thousands of miles with their Smart car means nothing as we have no idea whether that fact is true or not.

    The only solution is to follow information of posters with a known reputation or to follow the advice given by a large number of posters.

    Having said that I have found the answer to many of my problems on this and other forums - just be a little cautious before accepting advice especially if it make cost you a packet if it is wrong.
     
  11. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    I think she is most likely to come back and rebut your assumption .. if you read the post correctly she didn't say it can't be towed .. but there seems to be a difference of opinion on how it should be done without damaging the transmission.
     
  12. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    And from what I know of her she has most defiantly got and towed a Smart, and her research will be quoted almost verbatim, from official resources you picked a wrong un there mate:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
    Geo:BigGrin:
     
  13. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1: been there, got the whip marks to prove it .. :Laughing::Laughing:
     
  14. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Is she expensive, my mate Max may be very interested in low cost options since he soon to lose his job.
     
  15. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    Hell hath no fury..............hardhat
     
  16. shell&tell

    shell&tell Read Only Funster

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    We recently looked at the "new smart" and told "must not be towed unlike the old one"



    Tell
     
  17. DJP

    DJP Read Only Funster

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    A Smart should never, ever be towed with the key out and ignition off - the manual warns about this too I think, and there are lots of threads on the subject all over the web. Needs to be in Neutral with key in ignition, or else you will blow up the transmission . It isn't a "true" automatic, but nonetheless the transmission overheats badly when towed in gear and blows up eventually:Eeek::Eeek:

    Prey tell, what difference does the key in the ignition make?
    It may add to the trailer weight, but after that I cannot thnk of any reason why it should make the slightest difference.
    Just make sure if you do take notice of this confusing advice, make sure the ignition is NOT switched ON or damage WILL be caused, not to the gearbox but to the electronics.

    An ex Smart owner with over 10000 miles towing experience all over Europe without any problems. Some towing covered over 300 miles almost none stop in a single day at motorway speeds. No sign of any overheating.:RollEyes:
     
  18. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    cant speak for a smart, but having towed a frames for over 30yrs i would always leave the key in the ignition on any vehicle . if you take the key out most cars the steering lock comes on . always switch on lose the steering lock then switch off leave key in ign. maybe the smart doesnt have a steering lock .
     
  19. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Pity that "Shore-is-Goods" and their like can't read then - maybe you'd like forums better if you did...:Rofl1:
    I did NOT say a Smart cannot be towed - of course it can - I have towed ours for 1000s of miles without incident. Can't see much merit in your opinion as it seems to be based on a very inane intrerpretation of a perfectly clear response.....:Eeek:

    Actually, we have owned a Smart for years, so that knackers the senseless (and untruthful) allegation about me never having owned or towed one one, now, doesn't it? :RollEyes::Eeek:

    The Smart has a software operated transmission, not a true auto box as I understand it, and has to be in Neutral for it to be towed without damage to the transmission etc. , so to those who claim that the key should be out the ignition.....by all means do that to your own Smart, but the risk of damage is high. All the Smarts I have ever seen have to have the key in the ignition turned to the first position, in order for the car to be towed in Neutral. It means the car has to be towed unlocked if used in this way, but you can always lock it for security when stopping somewhere. You will NOT DAMAGE the "electronics" as someone else has claimed, if the car is towed in this way, prey be told....:Eeek::Eeek::Eeek:

    When forums get very big and successful, there is inevitably an influx of know-it-alls who don't or can't read posts properly before spouting off ..........:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2009
  20. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Prey be told then, that I and thousands of other Smart owners CAN think of a very good reason to travel with the key IN THE IGNITION, TURNED TO THE FIRST POSITION, CAR IN NEUTRAL when towing, as this is the safe way to tow a Smart without damage according to the Smart forums, the Smart independent garages I have spoken to, and to Towtal, who fitted our, and many 100s of other, A Frames to Smart Cars. There will be NO "ELECTRONIC" damage to the car if towed in this manner. :RollEyes::RollEyes:
     
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