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  • used car advice

    Hi everyone, I'm looking to buy a fourfour 1.3 passion semi auto. took it for a test drive today and loved the car, and surprised how much space they have. Does anyone have any advice on what to look out for when buying a used smart. any help would be appreciated, and hopefully I will be a new owner by next week.
    cheers

  • #2
    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    I actually have a 2004 1.3 Semi-Automatic ForFour which I bought last year. The engine in this is pretty bulletproof, it vary rarely goes awry and when it does, it normally down to lack of maintenance.

    The semi-automatic (or AMT) gearbox is normally the big bugbear with the ForFour. It is better to think of these as a automated manual as it used an actuator to work the action of the clutch. Problem is that over time + age, the actuator does get worn and can fail, causing a number of symptoms, such as 0 appearing on the dash as you change gear and slamming into gear. Normally in the first instance, I would recommend lubricating and getting the gearbox + actuator retaught on a STAR machine (and only a STAR machine will do this). However, if that doesn't help, a new actuator (and new clutch, depending on mileage) would be required and that can get pretty expensive. I have just gotten mine back from the garage for a replacement of both and it cost nearly £700 and that was with sourcing the parts myself!

    Other than that, if the car you are looking has a panoramic roof, you'll find the front section will be hazed (they all do that) along with the rear quarter windows, which are plastic. The headlamps are prone to clouding up but are easily cleaned and, a little more uncommonly, the rear wiper can stop working. Cosmetically, the front wiper arms can corrode, lifting the paint off but doesn't affect the operation of the wipers.

    However, none of these are car killers really, the ForFour is a all together perfectly pleasant Smart that should serve you well for a long time to come

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ocracoke View Post
      getting the gearbox + actuator retaught on a STAR machine (and only a STAR machine will do this))
      STAR found at MB/smart dealers and costs upwards of £100/hour. Independents also have STAR and make more sense on account of charging much less. But you haven't revealed your location so no way of knowing if there is an indy close to you or not. Sick cars can require being trailered to STAR - and it gets inconvenient and inconveniently expensive when that occurs.

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      • icantbuycars
        icantbuycars commented
        Editing a comment
        thanks for the advice, I live in Fakenham , Norfolk. car gearbox does seem fine, although the gear change on auto seems a little slow compared to a standard auto box, is this normal. change through the semi auto seem pretty good, so fingers crossed. lovely little car to drive though

    • #4
      although the gear change on auto seems a little slow compared to a standard auto box, is this normal.
      As I mentioned, the car isn't a real automatic with a torque converter, it is a robotic manual that acts as if it was a automatic gearbox. However, being in full automatic doesn't change the speed of the gearshift per se. It does hold onto gears longer than you might expect though (I can get the car to pootle around in 6th gear at 30mph in manual mode but auto wants 4th).

      Just come back from a round trip around Cheshire, Having not had the car for 2 or 3 weeks owing to a issue I created, I love the AMT box paired to the 1.3.

      As for local garages, try helpmysmart.com to find a garage. Not being from the area, I couldn't advise on any I am afraid.

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      • #5
        to be honest a decent garage with a Snap On Modus should do the same as the STAR. the place we sub-let MOT's had a Snap On Modus and that can do more than a normal code reader, it can reset service lights, adjust and reset actuators as well as read air bag lights, basically anything the dealer can do other than program modules

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        • #6
          Your nearest specialist is probably Fudgesmart who are at isleham. Fudge & Shawn have been on the scene for many years & know Smarts inside out.

          http://fudgesmart.co.uk/

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          • #7
            thanks for all the advice again, that fudgesmart isn't very far from us, so will be handy in the future i'm sure. The car I'm getting doesn't seem to have any of the faults above apart from the misting in headlights and the paint coming off the front wiper arms. Drives lovely for a car that had done 110k on the clock, so will keep my fingers crossed, especially as I don't normally have a lot of luck in buying cars, I always seem to find the bad ones.

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            • #8
              If you didn't know the history, the car was platform-shared with the Mitsubishi Colt of the same era

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              • #9
                Misting on the lights is common and a bit of spit and polish should bring them up like new and its the same with the wiper arms, rub them down and a bit of black paint should do the trick.

                I sold my 55 plate 1.1 about 18 months ago and that had 133,000 miles on the clock and it was still going strong. The 54 plate 1.5 SB3 that i now have has 92,000 miles and again feels just like my 1.1... Other than the fact it has 45 bhp more

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                • #10
                  Cheers again everyone, finally picked her up today, and apart from a battery needing replacing on the keys, the only other issue I have found was with the rear wiper not moving, tried to help it along a bit but it's definitely struggling a bit, so I might need to replace that, and also ordered some new tailored mats for the interior. Very pleased with her, and drives lovely. Am sure I might need more advice later though, so thanks.

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                  • #11
                    The rear wiper is known to seize up on the ForFour though it is fairly uncommon from what I have read.

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                    • #12
                      Smart is not entirely abandoning its eccentricities with the aptly-named Forfour, though. There will be three-cylinder engines in the range (a 1.1 petrol rather than the pint-pot affair that powers the company’s other models, plus two 1.5-litre diesel triples) and a two-pedal semi-automatic ’box remains an option. The outer body panels are again made of plastic, though here they are bolted to a conventional steel sub-structure rather than the Tridion safety cell that’s a core feature of other Smarts.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Rickb140 View Post
                        Smart is not entirely abandoning its eccentricities with the aptly-named Forfour, though. There will be three-cylinder engines in the range (a 1.1 petrol rather than the pint-pot affair that powers the company’s other models, plus two 1.5-litre diesel triples) and a two-pedal semi-automatic ’box remains an option. The outer body panels are again made of plastic, though here they are bolted to a conventional steel sub-structure rather than the Tridion safety cell that’s a core feature of other Smarts.
                        What ?!

                        I am not a troll


                        You sure ?

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