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once again, as always you are COMPLETELY missing the point. An engine with 30K on it shouldn't be losing the coolant through the head gasket! The outlandish repair prices is really only a secondary issue.  Horrible as Ford is, at least they stepped up on the 3.8 liter (which had awful head gasket issues). Fact: a fair number of cars have overheated due to an improperly installed coolant hose (MB fault), or a faulty head gasket (also MB fault) expecting the customer to pay full shop rate to fix a known issue is short-sighted, and ultimately self-defeating. IF and when MB starts to be customer-centric, we will know they are interested in having the smart in the US long-term. Really Kamaal, treat us to a little MB-like muteness.

Kamaal Peterson said:

How much do you believe a factory brand new engine, installation, labor, etc, should cost in relation to industry standards?




I'm not missing your point.  You're just trying to rewrite the history of your argument and I believe you're also confused about what causes head gasket failure.

You very very specifically stated that smart engines have a reputation of "losing coolant through the bad head gaskets" and they "grenade" themselves.  You weren't talking about Ford and you weren't talking about a leaky hose.  You weren't talking about the cost of an engine replacement.  You also weren't talking about customer service.  

You threw all those additional comments in there to muck up my argument and run through all these tangents.  

There is NO evidence that head gasket failures in the 1.0L smart engine are caused by poor oem gasket design, or poor cylinder heads.  Like Ford's 3.8L V6.  

The distinction you keep missing is that the few failed smart car head gaskets you've heard about failed AFTER overheating.  After coolant loss.  Not the other way around.

If you still don't understand the distinction then I'll bow out of this discussion because you will never be convinced.

Kamaal, Thanks for bowing out -- it's really appreciated! check back in another 6 months

Kenny,

I know you have done a lot of research in this area (overheating engine), and as a 2010 owner, I want to get an idea of how much risk I might have in driving my car long distances.  Can you answer a few questions to help me?

1.  Is the problem mainly in early US models (2008 and 2009) or is it in all years?

2.  Is the problem just in the US or is the problem also in Canada, Mexico, or Europe?

3.  Is the blown engine caused by the bad head gasket or is there some other root cause to the overheating (hose problem of the 2008's, etc)?

4.  TrueDelta.com lists the smart as fairly reliable, with a low probability (<1%) of getting a lemon.  Do you have data to suggest that website is wrong?

5.  If I installed a Scan Gauge, would this eliminate the problem by detecting the overheating, or does the head gasket blow, and then I am just detecting a symptom after the fact?

Any answer would be greatly appreciated.

Dave

All I know I learned in Kindergarten and on SCOA -- you can do a search on coolant, head gasket, overheating and probably turn up most of the information that is known. The hose problem seemed to be confined to 2009 (and maybe some earlier cars?), so they seem to have gotten that sorted out.  One member posted that the new hose he got was slightly different than the original, and some commented that the hose wasn't snugged up on one end all the way.

The head gasket issue, from what has been reported hasn't been pinned down to exact model years, but as far as I know there is no difference between early and late cars. The real problem, or so it seems is that the damage is done before the light comes on (if it does) -- there is no low-coolant level warning.

Only MB knows how wide-spread it is because obviously the number of people who post on SCOA is small compared to every smart sold, and it may or may not be the case that percentage-wise it is higher or lower than the general populace. Also, I don't think there is any difference between the Euro and American models with regard to this issue. Anyway, the root cause the head gasket going bad is not known, that I know of.

The scan gage doesn't sense the problem as it doesn't indicate what the temp is when there is no fluid (I think) -- same as the smart warning light (if someone knows different, please post!)

Having said that, even a BAD car should go 30K without losing the head gasket! If that happens it's a SURE sign of a defect (IMO). 

As you stated, the car is statistically reliable, but some have had issues and there have been a LOT of people who have drove them 100K miles with few if any issues.  OTOH there have been some that have had more than their fair share.  I suppose that is no different than any other car. Drive it, enjoy it, and don’t worry about it.  But, I’d check the fluids periodically (once every couple of weeks), or if I was taking it on a trip.

Dave Levin said:

Kenny,

I know you have done a lot of research in this area (overheating engine), and as a 2010 owner, I want to get an idea of how much risk I might have in driving my car long distances.  Can you answer a few questions to help me?

1.  Is the problem mainly in early US models (2008 and 2009) or is it in all years?

2.  Is the problem just in the US or is the problem also in Canada, Mexico, or Europe?

3.  Is the blown engine caused by the bad head gasket or is there some other root cause to the overheating (hose problem of the 2008's, etc)?

4.  TrueDelta.com lists the smart as fairly reliable, with a low probability (<1%) of getting a lemon.  Do you have data to suggest that website is wrong?

5.  If I installed a Scan Gauge, would this eliminate the problem by detecting the overheating, or does the head gasket blow, and then I am just detecting a symptom after the fact?

Any answer would be greatly appreciated.

Dave

Hi All,

I have a 2009 Smart Passion cabriolet.  The hing on my fuel door is broken, any ideas on how to get a new one how hard it is to install?

Thanks,

Laura

Check with your smart center or smartonlineparts.com for the door assembly - don't think the hinge is avaailable separately....  Should be a simple remove and replace.

Laura Hausman said:

Hi All,

I have a 2009 Smart Passion cabriolet.  The hing on my fuel door is broken, any ideas on how to get a new one how hard it is to install?

Thanks,

Laura

Cars are cars.  Check any of the car forums (Ford, Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda - doesn't matter) and you'll find all sorts of threads about various problems, failures, service costs, dealer service, etc., etc.)  No doubt these problems occur; the doubt in the smart's overall reliability is misplaced IMHO.  As pointed out, there are many high mileage 451 models out there, more every day as people keep driving them.  Again IMHO, the coolant hose and head gasket issues have been blown way out of proportion; if these were in fact inherent design problems there would be dead 451 smarts all over the roads (and the automotive press.)  That's not the case.  I can only speak from personal experience as the owner of three 451 smarts (currently with a 2011 Passion) that have been driven all over the USA (Texas, Key West, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc.) and to Ontario several times with zero problems.  My suggestion for Dave is to drive your smart as you would any other car and, should a problem arise, take that up with your dealer - as you would with any other car.  Enjoy!

Kenny Andersen said:

All I know I learned in Kindergarten and on SCOA -- you can do a search on coolant, head gasket, overheating and probably turn up most of the information that is known. The hose problem seemed to be confined to 2009 (and maybe some earlier cars?), so they seem to have gotten that sorted out.  One member posted that the new hose he got was slightly different than the original, and some commented that the hose wasn't snugged up on one end all the way.

The head gasket issue, from what has been reported hasn't been pinned down to exact model years, but as far as I know there is no difference between early and late cars. The real problem, or so it seems is that the damage is done before the light comes on (if it does) -- there is no low-coolant level warning.

Only MB knows how wide-spread it is because obviously the number of people who post on SCOA is small compared to every smart sold, and it may or may not be the case that percentage-wise it is higher or lower than the general populace. Also, I don't think there is any difference between the Euro and American models with regard to this issue. Anyway, the root cause the head gasket going bad is not known, that I know of.

The scan gage doesn't sense the problem as it doesn't indicate what the temp is when there is no fluid (I think) -- same as the smart warning light (if someone knows different, please post!)

Having said that, even a BAD car should go 30K without losing the head gasket! If that happens it's a SURE sign of a defect (IMO). 

As you stated, the car is statistically reliable, but some have had issues and there have been a LOT of people who have drove them 100K miles with few if any issues.  OTOH there have been some that have had more than their fair share.  I suppose that is no different than any other car. Drive it, enjoy it, and don’t worry about it.  But, I’d check the fluids periodically (once every couple of weeks), or if I was taking it on a trip.

Dave Levin said:

Kenny,

I know you have done a lot of research in this area (overheating engine), and as a 2010 owner, I want to get an idea of how much risk I might have in driving my car long distances.  Can you answer a few questions to help me?

1.  Is the problem mainly in early US models (2008 and 2009) or is it in all years?

2.  Is the problem just in the US or is the problem also in Canada, Mexico, or Europe?

3.  Is the blown engine caused by the bad head gasket or is there some other root cause to the overheating (hose problem of the 2008's, etc)?

4.  TrueDelta.com lists the smart as fairly reliable, with a low probability (<1%) of getting a lemon.  Do you have data to suggest that website is wrong?

5.  If I installed a Scan Gauge, would this eliminate the problem by detecting the overheating, or does the head gasket blow, and then I am just detecting a symptom after the fact?

Any answer would be greatly appreciated.

Dave

Your right, Kamaal, the main difference is they have a dealer close by should they run into difficulty.....can';t say that about Smart. Here in Mn we have 13 Honda dealers, 7 Scion dealers, 0 Smart dealers....In IA, 8 Honda dealers, 7 Scion, 0 Smart. In SD 3 Honda, 2 Scion 0 Smart. NE 5 Honda, 4 Scion, 1 Smart. Wy 0 Scion 4 Honda 0 Smart(At least Smart tied somewhere). So there is a large swath of the country where, if you blow a head gasket , you'd be better of in a Scion or Honda.

Kamaal Peterson said:

There are many Scions and Honda's running the streets with only a temp light as well, without a full temp gauge...

And thanks Kenny for chasing off a valuable asset with ties into the dealerships. 

Kenny Andersen said:

Kamaal, Thanks for bowing out -- it's really appreciated! check back in another 6 months

LOL, No problem -- he hasn't been missed one bit on SCOA, he wouldn't be missed here. He HAD the potential to be a real advocate for smart car owners and COULD have been a real help, but in the end he's simply a talking head.

Jim VW said:

And thanks Kenny for chasing off a valuable asset with ties into the dealerships. 

Kenny Andersen said:

Kamaal, Thanks for bowing out -- it's really appreciated! check back in another 6 months

IYHO, of course...

Kenny Andersen said:

LOL, No problem -- he hasn't been missed one bit on SCOA, he wouldn't be missed here. He HAD the potential to be a real advocate for smart car owners and COULD have been a real help, but in the end he's simply a talking head.

Jim VW said:

And thanks Kenny for chasing off a valuable asset with ties into the dealerships. 

Kenny Andersen said:

Kamaal, Thanks for bowing out -- it's really appreciated! check back in another 6 months

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