Ownership Verified: One for the other foot? A French Impostor? - 2005 Smart Roadster Coupé

MXM

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The Chinese docs seem to have some descriptions. I'll give it a try :)
 

Matt2000

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A bunch of things happened today. The 1A fuses I ordered turned up, the hydrogen peroxide I ordered to do the front bumper arrived and so did my arm rest plus bracket, I hadn't mentioned these but there were a last minute buy as I thought I would need some kind of armrest for the drive to VS. The armrest is one of a pair that I bought on eBay, a retrimmed VW T4 item in cloth and (apparently) real leather. I bought two in this country for the price of one from Germany, apparently these things aren't sold much any more and I was in a bit of a rush so my options were very limited. The second arm rest has a broken fitting but I don't intend on using it as there is only enough space for one between the seats in the Roadster. Maybe I can modify it for Bob. It's also missing the cap that covers over the bolt hole on the outside, so I'll be 3D printing a replacement with the Smart logo on it. :)

The bracket is from Smartmods, I really should've bought it when I made the first order from them but whatever.

On the desk with the many other projects. The bracket was indeed only £20 and is laser cut. Ooh la fancy!


3D printed part will fill this 'ere 'ole.


6mm thick should be enough. I would question if there is another bit of 6mm steel in the entire Roadster. Fittings were included.


The 3D printer is doing the top part of the enclosure for the Bluetooth board and then I'll print the custom cap.
 
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Matt2000

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Well this weekend has been one of success and disappointment. I set out with three sub-projects:
  • Paint the new bracket and install the new arm rest.
  • Clean the front bumper, treat with hydrogen peroxide cream and finally apply the Gtechniq C4 coating.
  • Install the Bluetooth module.
First off, the bracket. I picked up some Hammerite spray on Saturday, direct to metal stuff. It went on nicely but I now remember why I don't like Hammerite, a day on and the stuff is still really soft; it not only scratched but picked up fingerprints as I was handling it and that's after being out overnight in our warm summer weather. Turns out that wasn't to be the only issue with fitting the arm rest...

The bracket I bought is sold as a way to install the particular VAG/Ford armrest in to the Smart Fortwo or Roadster, a guide to doing so is available here and presumably uses a Fortwo for demo purposes because it really doesn't fit a Roadster properly. There is no way the bracket could be fitted in the position they show in that guide as there is a tunnel in the way, even if that wasn't there the arm rest would hit the handbrake before it could be fully folded down. I had to fit the bracket as far up as it could possibly go while still being on the side panel of the seat frame, it still rubs on the tunnel carpet when being rotated and just can't be used in towns where the handbrake needs to be used. On the plus side it's now in and sits in a nice, comfortable position with the option of adjustment.

Folded up, looks like it belongs there. Sorry this forums is still refusing my vertical images.


Folded down, doesn't. Still functional though and I'll be thankful on the long drives coming up


Project the second, the front bumper. As soon as I got it I decided that the yellowing on the bumper was due to UV rays. I've been well aware of the retrobright process to reverse this yellowing on computers, even if black plastic was used so wanted to replicate the process on the Roadster bumper. First I cleaned the bumper using the Meguiars surface cleaner as it was covered in dead things again, then applied the cream. I had done a test and it showed no bad reaction and an apparent improvement after one hour, so this time I was going for two hours. The cream was covered with cling film to try and prevent it from drying out, and it was left in the sun. I removed the cling film after one hour, re-applied and agitated the cream and re-covered.

It's pretty horrifying with the cling film on.



After another hour I washed it all off, and to my disappointment saw that it really hadn't had the effect I was looking for. Yes it was no longer as yellow but now it was more of a faded blue than the blue-grey original colour. There was also a little blotching but this was only noticeable when dry. Clearly the retrobright technique doesn't work with this plastic in this situation so I accepted that this was the best I can do for now and proceeded to clean the whole thing down with surface cleaner again, followed by isopropyl alcohol and finally applied the C4 coating. It actually does look better than it did when I got it and the darkening caused by the coating (just like when it was wet) hides the blotching almost entirely. Good enough I say, you can judge for yourself at the Ringmeet.



Finally, project the third. Bluetooth. I had 3D printed a little box to house the Blutooth module and the 1A fuse protecting it, with just the wires poking out and a hole in the side to connect the 3.5mm plug.



Fitting would be a bit of trial and error as I hadn't planned a space for it, truthfully I didn't even know if it would fit in the space I had. Fortunately there is plenty of space behind the switches, easily big enough for the box and all of the 3.5mm aux cable. It quickly became apparent though that I would have to make some extensions for the wires that connect to the back of the switch, there simply wasn't enough space for the connections to the cars multi-pin socket and the switch with the original wires. With those made it all went back together very nicely.



However, testing revealed a problem. When the ignition is turned on, the unit fires up nicely and connects to my phone within a small amount of time. Great. I can start playing music no problem, and I can change tracks on the phone without an issue. If I press the button on the dash, however, instead of pausing the music the unit simply reboots. This never happened in testing so I'm guessing there's a short inside the box. I was careful in routing the wires to try and avoid this but I did have to make a last minute adjustment as the original routing blocked the 3.5mm socket. Never mind, it works great when the music is controlled from the phone or for navigation and the switch looks right at home in the dash. I might get the unit out again this week or I might just live with it.

I also removed the little drawer with the ashtray as it was blocking proper access to the 12V socket and removed the little cubby holes so I could wedge in my 12V splitter. The dashcam from Bugsy will be going in (once my cables for that arrive - I didn't want to remove the ones from Bugsy) so I need at least two 12V sockets.



 
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WDWBen

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Matt2000;n3551602 said:
However, testing revealed a problem. When the ignition is turned on, the unit fires up nicely and connects to my phone within a small amount of time. Great. I can start playing music no problem, and I can change tracks on the phone without an issue. If I press the button on the dash, however, instead of pausing the music the unit simply reboots. This never happened in testing so I'm guessing there's a short inside the box.
As a software QA engineer, I can safely say that this is a feature, not a bug. It is OBVIOUSLY a failsafe in case the unit ever stops working, you have a handy way of rebooting it on-the-fly without having to rip apart the dash or turn off the car ;)
 

Matt2000

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WDWBen;n3551613 said:
As a software QA engineer, I can safely say that this is a feature, not a bug. It is OBVIOUSLY a failsafe in case the unit ever stops working, you have a handy way of rebooting it on-the-fly without having to rip apart the dash or turn off the car ;)
I'll just leave it as is then, job done. :lol:

Just one photo for tonight, went out in it and got back after dark. The Bluetooth button looks right at home.

 
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Matt2000

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Some little quick things done to the Smart as I won't be able to do anything to it for the next week:

New plate holders installed, they arrived straight from the Germany. Whoever drilled these holes drilled them off-centre but that's why I like these holders so much.



After careful checking I got a 2m USB micro B male to male cable on eBay and carefully installed my dashcam in the Smart. The camera unscrews from the windscreen mount so I can easily transfer it back to Bugsy.


Finally it was time to work out the half cover I had, which I had wanted to do for a long time but never got around to it. I'll want to keep this on during Ringmeet to keep any rain off those precious roof seals. Turns out it wasn't that difficult to fit.


"Looks like a tramp's hat."
 
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Matt2000

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So the Smart survived Ringmeet, sort of.

The night before leaving for the Chunnel I checked the wastegate connection on the car, as I had been reading some posts on a Smart forum that suggested that mine wasn't actually making the boost it should be. Expecting to find a broken E-clip on the wastegate linkage I was armed with some replacements, only to find this instead:



I can only speculate as to why this is disconnected and I'm not sure if it was like that when I got it or has come off since. I don't remember the performance being any better, nor do I remember it making the squirrel mincer noise that returned once the arm was connected. The thread is clean though and rust free, which seems odd. As does the new-looking wastegate actuator. Did someone fit that and then forget to reconnect it? Surely not.

With it reconnected the thing was like a little rocket, other than seeming a little slow on the motorways I had never considered it particularly slow to start with. It was great on the drive to Ringmeet, with the extra power it was a pleasure to cruise in and fuel economy seemed to go right up. I got two laps of the 'Ring in, one with MWF and one with his son, 11:23 and 11:06 respectively. I have ordered pictures and will post them when I get them.

However, on Sunday morning just after Nicjasno left for home with his tools I found out that the car was considerably down on power with barely enough grunt to pull the skin off a bowl of rice pudding. Some resarch told me this was probably safe mode, something I had been reading about before even finding the original problem with the linkage, and that disconnecting the battery for 10 minutes would reset it and should give me full power again. I didn't have any tools but thankfully I borrowed a 10mm spanner from the campsite owner and disconnected it. Once powered up I had full boost again, but now it was going over the 1 bar it had previously stopped at. Something clearly wasn't right but with careful driving the car didn't fall back in to safe mode again that day.

I was hopeful that I could manage the boost on the drive home and keep it going with full power, but about 50km into the drive and still in Germany it kicked back in to safe mode, just as I was joining the autobahn. The rest of the drive was frustrating and tiring as I could cruise fine on the flat but if I hit an incline the thing would lose speed rapidly, to the point where trucks I had been overtaking were closing in on me again. Regardless, I successfully limped it home. On the way I also met the Roadster's big brother, a ForFour with a matching colour scheme.



I had Tuesday off work so in the afternoon I started to investigate the problem. The guide that I previously read to get information about resetting the computer also suggested that one of the causes of it going into safe mode is a failing boost control valve, or cycle valve as it's known. I actually ordered one of these in the morning as it's a cheap part, cheap enough that it wouldn't matter if it wasn't the cause. To remove it I first had to remove the rear body, so I did this and was immediately greeted with this sight:




Well that isn't supposed to be there. This hose had melted on the exhaust and was leaking. Tracing both ends revealed it was going from the turbo to the cycle valve, the hose that tells the computer what the boost level is so it can be regulated. With this leaking there was no way that that boost could be accurately controlled and with boost level readings not matching up (the gauge was still working and was showing up to 1.5 bar) it's no wonder it was going in to safe mode. I suspect that this was a GDPO situation, because that hose was far too long. Thankfully as it was so long I could cut it just before the melted section and still have it reach the turbo. After resetting the computer again a quick blast up the road showed that the boost was holding at 1 bar again. Success, hopefully. Time will tell.



I still have to get some body fixings sorted as a few more have broken, hopefully I can get most of those sorted this weekend and refit the rear body. I might polish the exhaust too, I'm led to believe that they were all stainless from the factory and can polish up very nicely.

While writing all of that I received one of the pictures, maybe not my favourite but I like the composition.

 
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MXM

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Had a chance to take it for a spin, so good... Love everything except the gearbox. A bit of a cliche opinion, I know, but it's true ;)
 
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Galantti

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loved being passanger around, and the squirrel was doing overtime.

and i did also not like the gearbox, but matt said that if you keep it in manual and eb ahead of the changepoint for 1-2 sec it'll be fine. :)
 

93Flareside

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I found that if you put it in manual but keep your foot down so it still shifts for you, it does a better job.
 

Matt2000

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It certainly takes some getting used to and no doubt everyone will have their favourite method to get the best out of it. I would still like a time bubble that puts the shifter two seconds ahead of the rest of the car though, so when I shift it was actually two seconds ago and has completed already...

Anyway, great news! The Roadeater is back together now and fighting fit again. I put her back together this morning, which was mostly about replacing those damn plastic inserts as they stripped out.

I replaced the crappy yellow things on the sides (the screws go through the fake side gills) with metal ones and stainless M5 machine screws. I know the dissimilar metals will eventually react but I don't see it being a problem any time soon.



I also polished her shiny bits. Well, what you can see is polished anyway. Roadsters apparently had stainless exhausts from the factory, this has seen better days but works just fine.


Went for a drive tonight and all is perfect in Smart world. The squirrels are being merrily minced while the boost gauge stays locked to 1 bar and no sign of safe mode. Success!

Oh yeah, I got more photos through too.







This is probably my favourite
 
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MWF

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That last photo is really cool. Can see why you bought it.
 

Matt2000

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Went for a drive out in the Smart yesterday to try out the new microphone for better engine noise recording, and to see how it would hold up after sorting that hose. I'm pleased to say It's running perfectly! I strung together a few clips, shame it wasn't a nicer day.

 
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Matt2000

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Ack, it hasn't been my day. First I find rust issues with Bugsy and then this little gem informs me that she has taken up drinking, and she can't handle her drink. Somehow, the car with a full cover on it has managed to collect enough water to get past the otherwise faultless seals and get in to the computer. The car was fine last week and the only rain we had was yesterday, I don't know if this has been building up since the appalling rain I drove through during the outbound and return trips to Ringmeet but it's entirely possible that the green death has been building up on the board in the last two weeks.

I noticed something wasn't right as soon as I uncovered the car, I planned to use it tomorrow evening and I needed to fill it up with fuel. When I pressed the unlock button on the key fob it just beeped, no unlock. Fine, I bet this key has picked now to give up, I'll get the spare. Same result, how odd. After fiddling around working out how the manual door release works I tried the unlock again and it just worked, with either key. Once I got in and turned on the ignition though it was like that scene in Short Circuit 2 where Number 5 is controlling all of the cars electrics at once: wipers going at different speeds, indicators going on and off randomly and even the odd pip of the horn. Clearly this wasn't right. I had read about it before

The unit was obviously wet when i removed it, and naturally it had collected in the most inconvenient place, on the most sensitive board. I dried it out and cleaned up the corrosion the best I can, however I've never seen a board like this before; It's wrapped around a central plastic core and has folded ribbon sections on each end, then the board containing the microprocessors is perched on the top and can't be removed unless you de-solder it. Anyway I tried it and while it cleared up all of the original issues it left a couple of new ones: The horn sounds constantly with the ignition on and the side lights don't work. Not a single one, not even the number plate lights!

I'm leaving the fan running on it at the moment and looking at my options. I could buy a remapped ECU from someone used, which would include a working SAM and replacement clocks...
 

Matt2000

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Well, fast forward a bunch of weeks and finally some progress. I sent the original Roadster SAM away to a company in Watford to see if it could be repaired and after a month I finally get the news that nope, it's dead Dave. To eBay I go then to pick up a replacement, settling on a SAM, ECU and clocks combo with ~73K miles on the clock for £240 all in. It has the silver face speedo and rev counter too which is a nice change. It isn't remapped but is already programmed for cruise control and probably for a paddle shift wheel, haven't decided if I should get one yet.

Those parts all turned up in the week and today I took the day off work to take Bob for an MOT (passed) and do what I could on this. First I had to remove the ECU and the guides I've read show that this is fairly simple but rust and tight spaces play a part. All the screws but one came out and I couldn't figure out a way to get to it. I didn't want to start taking the engine apart to get access, so in the end I removed the pipes from the air filter box and attempted to remove it. Nope, not enough space in the engine bay without taking bits off the engine. Fortunately I could twist it enough to access it and then lever it to break the head off the last screw.

I didn't get a photo of the old ECU in place but this is how I rotated the air filter box and the replacement ECU in the place where the old ECU sat as I removed it. It usually sits vertically.




The replacement ECU went in fine with the one missing screw, it's still perfectly secure. This is the correct position for it, with the paper filter back in place and the pipes reconnected.



The clocks were swapped in 5 minutes as they're only held on with four screws, the replacement SAM unit was plugged in, the battery was connected and it's alive! Everything works as far as I can tell, it certainly doesn't have the faults that the old one did. I now need to spray the board with conformal coating and seal up the wiper motor tray so it won't leak again, I'm getting ahead of myself here I suppose as I have pictures of my discoveries under the plastic scuttle tray to post, I'll do that at some point.
 
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Matt2000

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I keep forgetting to update this. Great news everyone, the Roadster is back on the road!

After fitting the replacement ECU and testing the SAM all was good, so the jobs now were to waterproof the SAM board and seal up the front end to hopefully prevent any water getting in ever again.

First off a little bit of history on the state of the water-keeping-out bits on the Roadster. The scuttle panel below the windscreen has a hole for the wiper motor and mechanism to sit in, and this has a plastic tray below it to catch water and allow it to drain back out again. Between this tray and the underside of the scuttle panel is a seal, well known it seems for being crap to start with and only deteriorating with time. The fix is to get this old seal out and replace it with a nice, juicy bead of PU adhesive/sealant such as Tiger Seal or Sikaflex, applying sealant to the screws and any various holes as everything is built up to make everything as watertight as possible.

So we start with the removal of everything blocking access to this tray: the bonnet, the plastic scuttle cover and the (incredibly tiny and simple) wiper mechanism. I could see right off that someone has made an attempt to seal up the screws with some nasty sticky sealant in the past, it actually got me thinking that I could be on a hiding to nowhere and find that the main seal had already been replaced. The stuff cleaned up well with some Goo Gone and isopropyl alcohol.






With everything removed I could finally remove the fixing screws for the tray and drop it down to access the seal. Thankfully I wasn't wasting my time, the original seal was still there. It's made of dense foam rubber and seems like it should work but it clearly isn't up to the job.

Now for the replacement. Sikaflex 221i is what I went for, sold as outdoor PU sealant. I've used Tiger Seal in the past but that stuff is so hard to get out of the cartridge it destroys the sealant gun. While still hard work, this stuff was much nicer to work with and I was actually quite impressed with the bead I managed to get around the seal channel. These sealants have a habit of setting in the tube before you get a chance to use them again, so I applied it liberally to the inside top edge of the tray once it was reattached.



I also added extra to the bonded plastic cover on the passenger side, it's already done from the factory but it can't hurt to add extra.



Finally everything was reassembled with a good blob of adhesive on the screws as they were inserted. I had to dig out the Torx head on a couple as it was lost inside the blob of sealant, I don't intend on every taking them out again but I would curse myself if I needed to and found the screw heads filled up.

Finally back together after far too long.



I've been out for a couple of drives since finishing it and the smile was right back on my face, it feels fast so I'm not sure if this ECU has been remapped, it could just be because I hadn't driven it for such a long time.
 
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Matt2000

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I forgot to add the pictures of the board having the conformal coating applied, silly me. This is the stuff I used:


https://www.electrolube.com/products...s/hpa/acrylic/

This was one side of the set of boards before masking:


With the masking complete and Blu Tack on the exposed connectors:


The other side with fuses still in place (I originally took this so I knew where they went, I'm not that stupid):


All masked up with more Blu Tack:


Hanging from the washing line outside after the coating was applied. Or before, it looks the same so there's no way to tell. I got hold of a UV LED torch so I could check the coverage and that really does show it up well.



In hindsight I should've used two lengths of string to hang it, the damn thing kept spinning around in the breeze and made spraying evenly a right pain in the arse. Still, it's done and with the other sealing on the Smart I should have double protection against something that was unlikely to happen in the first place!
 
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