Thursday, September 12, 2013

Still in a Quandary ..... But on Other Thoughts and News ....

10:30 AM

Not much new to report on the saga of Petunia.  I talked with the service manager at MB of Portland and he did say that, so far, it's "just the clutch" as far as they can see.  They won't know for sure until the work is completed, they turn the motor on and put it in gear.  To say the least, I'm nervous about that moment!

For me the quandary is:  What should I do when it's fixed?  Should I attempt to tow it?  Should I look into other means of carrying it along on my travels?  What happens if I do tow it and the same thing happens again?Questions, lots of questions.  Not many answers.  Kevin, at MB Portland, did tell me that since the Owner's Manual says, in no uncertain terms, that the vehicle can be flat-towed, I should go ahead and do that.  My brain keeps reeling - I don't believe in my heart of hearts (!) that I did anything wrong with the towing process.  I'm thinking that if I'd driven it in "Park" there would be visible wear and tear on the tires(!) and I've asked Kevin to check the tires for me.  He performs as a good representative of his employer and has been most polite; I think he's really trying to help me; but I'm not feeling very calm - to say the least.

I wrote a long email to Paul, the salesman in El Dorado Hills, at the same email address I've used for him all along.  But, now my emails are returning with "no such address" information.  Hmmm.  What's that about?  I'm going to call the dealership today.

ENOUGH FOR NOW - I'm really using these blog posts as therapy sessions.  I apologize  to readers - but it does help!

I've just paid for two more days here at Milo McIver SP; it's very relaxing and pretty.  Many of the sites are unoccupied and it's serene and quiet.  When I spoke with the ranger this AM however, he told me that I'd have to vacate my site on Saturday as they're completely booked with advanced reservations.  That'll be my 7th day and even if my car isn't ready I'll move in towards Portland - about 12 miles or so.   My good friend, Renate, let me about an RV park that's located right on the Willamette River in Oregon City.  I called and they don't take reservations, but the lady said she thought there'd be sites available.

Later I'll post some pix of this park - talk about green!  It reminds me more of the State of Washington with its verdant undergrowth, moss and greenery.  Almost everywhere one looks there're squirrels, birds, spiders, etc.  When I'm not walking Lincoln on a leash, I secure him here at the site and he 'hunts' while tethered.  Lacy loves meeting new dogs even though some, mostly smaller than her, scare her!  Eleanor continues to languish around the 'house' with no desire to do any exploration of the great outdoors.  I do take her outside from time to time; she sits on my lap and just looks with no interest in doing more than that.

That's about it for now.  As we say in Mexico, "Más tarde!"


  1. My gut reaction has always been to trailer a toad to avoid all the wear and tear, electrical etc. problems. But, since you already have an investment in tow bar etc. it makes it a tough decision.
    best, ron

  2. My gut reaction has always been to trailer a toad to avoid all the wear and tear, electrical etc. problems. But, since you already have an investment in tow bar etc. it makes it a tough decision.
    best, ron

  3. I'm pretty sure that RV Park you are referring to is Clacamette RV Park. It's right across the highway from the Oregon City Shopping Center and There is a McDonalds with in Walking Distance also. We have Full timer RV friends that stay there every year and have never had a problem having a place to park. It would have been better if you could have arrived before the weekend, but I agree, you will probably be able to still find a parking spot. The managers there are really nice people too.

  4. Mary-Pat, you go right ahead and use this blog as a therapy session about Petunia dilemma. It helps to write things down that bother you and think. It also helps other readers for suggestions. All of my research including the Smart Car Forum say the smart car can be flat towed. The manufacturer is rewriting the owner's manual according to folks who own a smart car. The majority of owners have been flat towing their smart cars. The Britons have been flat towing the smart car for quite a while now. I still don't get why the steering wheel needs to bungie corded. Nothing on that so far in my research. Hang in there...I'm sure everything will turn out alright and it will be behind you once and for all. Is it possible to trade in your smart car for another small vehicle that can be towed? I can't see investing more into a trailer to tow the smart car after it has been fixed. I'd use the money to invest in another smaller car.

  5. Kevin has always said that if we were to ever tow we would use a dolly. As Sancho said, it saves a lot of wear and tear on the car. I am sure that you could sell the tow bar and all that goes with it on Craig's list without losing an arm or leg and then you would have better piece of mind in the future without worrying if it will happen again. Just my thoughts. Also no problem using the blog as a sounding board, we do it too and it's a way to give you other ideas or options that you maybe hadn't thought of.

  6. Mary-Pat, it is a hard decision. What advice are you getting from the Smart Car user group? I have seen many postings about bungee cord the steering wheel just enough to bring the steering wheel back to the "straight" position after you turn. Perhaps someone in the user group can send you a picture of how they do this, that might help. I did find this on Google Images:

    Hope this helps.....good luck. --Dave

    You have probably found this site already.

    We towed a Subaru Forrester for six years and are now towing a 2011 Ford Edge. No problems!

    The Smart Car, because of the weight, might get more wear and tear over a regular small car.

    I wish you the best with your decision!

  8. Keep on trying to talk with that salesman Paul.

    That is why you have a blog, to share your thoughts and feelings and we your readers are here to listen and to help with suggestions if we can. YOu have comforted many of us at other times. We are your blog family.

    We have towed 4 tires on the ground, a small Suzuki X-90 for 3 years, a Grand AM for a few and now for the past several years a Chevy HHR. They all have different rules on how to be towed, fuses out, etc. There is nothing wrong with towing on the ground if the car manual says you can. I think towing with a dolly would be much more difficult for you plus you then have to find a place to store the dolly.

  9. Don't apologize, for goodness sake! My husband was talking about getting a smart car the other day. Because of your openness about your problems, we will do a LOT more research before we take the plunge! Thank you!

  10. Another friend had a Smart Car that didn't live up to his expectations, and he had to replace it. They're just so darned cute and cuddly! ;-> So I think spreading experiences around amongst us is a good thing.

  11. A dolly is very difficult to handle/maneuver by a one person and especially most women Same for a trailer. I would not go to a dolly or a trailer.

    Since you wish to travel the country and there are few MB dealers to service the Smart Car, if it were me I would seriously think about selling the car or trading it on something else that is very common. An older Jeep would be an excellent choice. We have the old boxy 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport. Craigslist in Portland might work out well to sell it. Or, possibly the Portland MB dealer would sell it for you as a consignment sale or, for a percentage or flat fee. I doubt they will get involved with a refund from the original dealer in CA but I may be wrong if his not being employed there now is due to anything with your problem with the car And you may not get any help in any form from that dealer. or.. you may after months of haggling and attorney fees