I didn't post yesterday, just allowing things to ruminate around in my head. Petunia is in the Portland MB dealership shop with an "exploded clutch" plus who knows what else. The service department representatives, Kevin and Sean, have been very polite. However, after doing the beginning of the diagnostics on Monday, Kevin called with the news that at a minimum, it has to have the clutch replaced. And, he doesn't know if there's more damage than that. He said they'd need to 'remove the transmission pad' to check on the condition of the transmission, etc, etc, etc. The minimum bill will run $2600!
Kevin and I had a long conversation as to the possible causes of the problem; his guesstimate was: either that the car had been towed with the gear shift in the Park position or the car had been Raced!
I don't think so!!!!!
I've certainly not 'raced' it! And, I had written the instructions for preparing the car to be towed and I'm confidant that I've never towed it in the Park position. When I've disconnected the battery before towing, I've added a step to my prep procedure; that is, I try to remove the key and it CANNOT be removed from the ignition. If the car were in Park I would be able to remove the key. I've done that little maneuver just to make sure. Of course, I could feel his skepticism regarding my telling him that those things have not happened. Anyway, those possible causes exonerate Mercedes Benz or Lemon Law right there. He also said they "don't recommend flat towing" for another reason entirely [even though the Owners' Manual does say flat towing is fine and gives specific instructions as to how to tow]. He says that disconnecting the battery, which has to be done to tow, sometimes can interfere with the function of the computer system. I asked what the outcome of that would be; he responded that it's not dangerous but irritating because it can cause warning lights to come on when they're not necessary. He added that people bring in their cars because of the warning light activity and they get charged to have the computer 're-calibrated' (I think that's the term he used). I've noticed that after towing, I have to turn the radio off that comes on automatically when it's towed and I also have to re-set the clock.
I've authorized MB to do the $2600 worth of work they've estimated so far; they have to order parts and it won't be completed until at least Friday or possibly next week. And, that's if the clutch is the entire problem.
I have to admit I'm really bummed and feel so isolated as to how to progress. Here I am in Oregon, not sure whether I should even attempt to tow Petunia again. I've joined the Smart Car online forum to get information from other owners. There are lots of people flat-towing their Smart Cars and there are possible 'fixes' for the steering column issue [the unlocked steering wheel moves either right or left when turning sharp corners, then doesn't return automatically to a neutral position]; but I'm not sure if I should try them.
I feel less than confidant in my understanding of the mechanics of clutches, transmissions, etc. and the Smart Car is 'different' than lots of other cars so, for instance, my son is not able to shed much light on what I should do.
For now, I've paid to stay in Milo McIver SP until at least tomorrow; I'll need to make a decision than as to whether to stay put or move. Kevin, at MB, suggested it may even be possible for someone to drive out here and pick me up to go to the shop and bring Petunia back here, rather than driving Floribunda into a downtown Portland area to pick her up. I'm really feeling stranded.
Okay, as if that weren't enough of a problem, here's another ....
The insurance company has determined that my Toyota Camry is totaled! Recall that I've had it parked at my friends' ranch in Loomis, CA. My son and daughter-in-law were to pick it up there; it was to be a gift for my two granddaughters to drive when they're old enough. Well, my friend, Bob, checked and the battery was dead from non-use; he jumped it and decided to drive it around to charge the battery and rear-ended another car! The claim's adjuster said the car is totaled and will issue a check when he receives ownership papers. I thought I'd given the pink slip to my son in the Camry file I'd kept; he can't find it - so either it's somehow lost or it went into my storage unit and would be pretty impossible to guess where it is currently! It's not a big problem as I can have a copy made and sent to AAA; but it's a real drag at this particular time.
You know, friends, I'm using this blog to blow as a counseling session and I think I'll quit complaining for now. Thanks for reading; it makes me feel less alone.
For now I have to remember my own words of wisdom .... just put one foot in front of the other and live one day at a time.