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Old 05-21-2015, 06:53 PM   #1
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Smart Car brakes blown using Blue Ox Patriot

I recently installed the Blue Ox Patriot system onto my Solera Forest River 2013 motor home towing a 2013 Smart Cabriolet. After a few hours of intermittent test driving, all was well- systems did what they were supposed to do, we set out on our first real trip. A few hours of driving down the freeway and an error light spontaneously appeared in the console in the motorhome- we were cruising otherwise uneventfully on the freeway but had to take a few minutes to be able to pull over.

The brakes were smoking, and the calipers were destroyed- brakes must have seized and stayed that way. Although the Smart car is wired from the motorhome, including for the battery, because the Smart ignition switch must be in a neutral position for towing, the Patriot was not being charged for those 4-5 hours of driving (ie the sole Smart 12V power port is inactive in neutral towing mode therefore not charging the Patriot). I did afterwards check that the Patriot was still well-charged, since the set up routine with the brakes pumping three times was OK. In any event, when the Patriot battery goes flat, the brakes are supposed to relax, not seize.

Any one else had a similar experience? I havent contacted Blue OX yet- unit is still very new- but I am curious as to whether others have experienced anything like this, so I can best assess what the next step is. If we screwed up, I sure don't see how.

Thanks

Steve
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Old 05-22-2015, 10:56 AM   #2
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I'm in process of finding a Smart Car for flat towing. When I find one, I think I'll make pages 202 - 207 into a check list.

Apparently you have to disconnect the battery completely otherwise, upon reaching 8 mph, the brakes will lock up. This is described on page 207 of the 2013 Smart Car owners manual. For flat towing, Benz requires that you install a battery disconnect for that purpose - accessing the battery and removing a cable beneath the floor board is a pain.

Just a guess ... if your Smart lights are operated by the tow vehicle, perhaps the wiring has energized the system that locks the brakes after 8 mph.

PLEASE update when you find the root cause of this problem. Thanks.
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:25 AM   #3
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Sorry for your dilemma, One of several reasons why I chose to trailer my Smart Car. "GOOD LUCK!"

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Old 05-22-2015, 12:36 PM   #4
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That's why we choose a 2 door wrangler. There built to be towed, plus room for my 2 golden labs.


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Old 05-23-2015, 01:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. FYI, I posted the same issue on the Smart car forum, under the towing section, for those who are interested in the thread. ( Smart Car brakes blown using Blue Ox Patriot - Smart Car Forums)


I got one very thoughtful reply, which seems to me to be closest to the mark. The poster mentioned his distrust of the Smart car "waking up" during towing- he uses wireless only for brake control of the Smart. The manual recommends switching off the Smart battery during towing (I assumed that putting the ignition key in the off position would suffice, and indeed all the various forum posts seem happy with doing just this). He also recommended charging the Patriot from the motor home, and not from any 12V power port from the Smart (I have ordered a Roadmaster 12V auxiliary power port to do just this), but now I think that switching off the Smart battery, plus powering the Patriot from the motorhome may be the answer. It is true that the manual states that the brakes can lock up at >8 miles /hr if the system is towed incorrectly, and that does seem to be what happened to us, even though the ignition was indeed off. So, if the computer wakes up- and it can because the battery is not switched off- then trouble could ensue.

Anyhoo, this is where I am at, and at least feel that there is a feasible cause, or sequence of events, that could explain the whole shebang. If any one else is flat towing a Smart car, wish us all luck!
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