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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Greater Manchester
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    Default Re: Traction control light comes on and stays on until restart during motorway drivin

    Ok so this problem still continues. I had the B service done in March and they couldn't find anything wrong that was causing the problem at the time. However, the servicing came with a long list of faults/advisories of things I need to get checked/fixed in the future:

    - offside sidelight dim
    - offside indicator white (it doesn't seem to be to me!)
    - a/c needs regas (well that I knew, actually the muppets in Malta who tried to fix a slow leak in my a/c managed to puncture the radiator totally so now it has a very fast leak if it were regassed!)
    - top of gearbox damp (eh?!)
    - offside brake pipe slightly corroded (apparently a £40 fix, they make their own replacement pipes)
    - both front wishbone corroded
    - coolant well below min
    - 4% moisture in brake fluid (how? is this serious?)
    - manifold heatshield corroded

    I also know that the clutch is most certainly on its last legs, 2 years ago a star machine was reporting there was no further adjustment possible in the clutch and on a car that's done 128k miles the clutch must surely be due for a change by now anyway.

    All this has left me wondering if it's really worth getting the car sorted, are these things going to become expensive to fix/is the car now of the age where she just has issue after issue and would I be better trading her in and getting something newer (and non-smart, sadly, that decision has already been made, I'll never own another smart!)?

    Then a few weeks later, the ESP light came on as I was passing by the garage, they put a computer on it and sure enough, as I suspected, it was reading a steering angle sensor fault. They checked the values coming off the steering wheel and found that at centre position it was off by 6 degrees. This fits with my own experiences, to drive the car straight I have to hold the wheel off centre to the right by about 5 degrees.

    The garage feels that the corroded wishbones and the off centre steering are related, so to them replacing the wishbones will sort the steering and hence the ESP light issue. Another garage who I asked, but have not seen the car yet, disagreed and said there's no connection between ESP lights/off centre steering and wishbones being worn/corroded. I don't know enough (read: anything) about steering mechanisms to know who is right here, if either.

    So advice from those in the know here. What do you think? The wishbones probably do need replacing but would this affect the steering? Also what would you do with this car generally? Keep and fix or consider getting shot now? After 11 years and owned from new, a bit of me will be sad to say goodbye but she's done a sterling job and I've certainly got my £9k's worth out her! (do you remember when a fortwo passion cost £9k new?! )

    Thoughts please good people!
    Last edited by andrewh1973; 20th April 2019 at 18:41.
    Andrew Holland/

  2. #12

    Default Re: Traction control light comes on and stays on until restart during motorway drivin

    If the brake pipe is genuinely only lightly corroded it doesn't need replacing at all. Rub down carefully, and paint with whatever anti rust paint or ungent that takes your fancy. Perfectly safe and MOT compliant.

    This is all easy DIY stuff, and even if you paid someone to do the lot and the clutch you have very little hope of getting a decent replacement car for what this work would cost.
    Last edited by Chopper; 20th April 2019 at 20:01.
    2004 Smart Fortwo Passion Cabrio, low miles, relegated to summer fun.
    2019 Fortwo Prime SE 900 - Dacia powered commuting scoot.
    2019 Volvo XC90 T8, 400bhp hybrid insanity family wagon.
    1991 Yamaha FZR600 3HE7 Kocinski edition, owned since new.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Bury Lancs
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    170

    Default Re: Traction control light comes on and stays on until restart during motorway drivin

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewh1973 View Post
    ....

    - 4% moisture in brake fluid (how? is this serious?)
    ....
    brake fluid is hygroscopic ie it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. At 4% I wouldn't worry

  4. #14

    Default Re: Traction control light comes on and stays on until restart during motorway drivin

    Take the steering wheel off and move it anti-clockwise by one spline, that should fix both the non-centred steering wheel and the steering angle fault.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Greater Manchester
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    1,155

    Default Re: Traction control light comes on and stays on until restart during motorway drivin

    Quote Originally Posted by mikerj View Post
    Take the steering wheel off and move it anti-clockwise by one spline, that should fix both the non-centred steering wheel and the steering angle fault.
    but what caused this in the first place? How can it have been okay for 11 years then suddenly like this, surely this is a sign of something that is broken/breaking, no?
    Andrew Holland/

  6. #16

    Default Re: Traction control light comes on and stays on until restart during motorway drivin

    How long has the steering wheel been off-centre? A bent suspension component (e.g. from clipping a kerb) or a badly worn out rubber bush on the wishbone would will cause the steering geometry to shift which could cause the steering wheel to be off-centre.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    over here
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    13,828

    Default Re: Traction control light comes on and stays on until restart during motorway drivin

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewh1973 View Post
    but what caused this in the first place? How can it have been okay for 11 years then suddenly like this, surely this is a sign of something that is broken/breaking, no?
    Removing and moving steering wheel one notch on the splines is not best practice at all, as mentioned the shift in the steering wheel centrality is telling you something is amiss downstairs... as mentioned a suspension or steering component is worn or bent/damaged.
    All you're doing is fixing the symptoms not the cause.

    The steering wheel has electronics in it to tell the car's computer that it is actually dead centre (when the wheels are in fact also dead centre)
    It will not be dead centre with the wheels when parts wear or are damaged down below. (or someone has removed the wheel and refitted it inaccurately.
    fq101.co.uk

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Greater Manchester
    Posts
    1,155

    Default Re: Traction control light comes on and stays on until restart during motorway drivin

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAlmostInvisibleMan View Post
    Removing and moving steering wheel one notch on the splines is not best practice at all, as mentioned the shift in the steering wheel centrality is telling you something is amiss downstairs... as mentioned a suspension or steering component is worn or bent/damaged.
    All you're doing is fixing the symptoms not the cause.

    The steering wheel has electronics in it to tell the car's computer that it is actually dead centre (when the wheels are in fact also dead centre)
    It will not be dead centre with the wheels when parts wear or are damaged down below. (or someone has removed the wheel and refitted it inaccurately.
    Yup I totally agree with this, which is why I asked that further question.

    There's a local garage where I live that suggested that wishbones and the steering alignment issue are unrelated but they will give the car a once over FoC to see if what the other garage diagnosed is correct or not. I'll try and get Celerity in to them this week..
    Andrew Holland/

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Greater Manchester
    Posts
    1,155

    Default Re: Traction control light comes on and stays on until restart during motorway drivin

    Quote Originally Posted by mikerj View Post
    How long has the steering wheel been off-centre? A bent suspension component (e.g. from clipping a kerb) or a badly worn out rubber bush on the wishbone would will cause the steering geometry to shift which could cause the steering wheel to be off-centre.
    Not totally sure but I've started to notice it about 2 months ago, the problem with the ESP light started just before Christmas however, so maybe something is drifting out of alignment slowly? (but what?) When I have the steering wheel at 5 degrees off from center the wheels do seem straight though so I can well believe something physically is awry somewhere...
    Andrew Holland/

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Woking, UK
    Posts
    155

    Default Traction control light comes on and stays on until restart during motorway driving

    If you can find somewhere with a decent wheel alignment system where they will check all four wheels, they will set the wheels so they are pointing straight forward with the correct toe in and then adjust the track rod ends at both sides so the steering wheel is centred. From memory, I thought the steering wheel on the Smart only fits in one position so canít be moved a spline in either direction? Of course if the suspension bushes are worn on the wishbones, having the alignment done before fixing them will be a waste of money as it will shift the alignment when you do get them replaced. The ball joints might also need replacing if they are worn which could also affect the alignment. All minor stuff and not worth scrapping your faithful old car for!!


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