GPS NAV System for the Dash of Smart 451

GPS Nav in Smart 451It was a busy busy weekend but we installed the GPS system, some more smart accessories and a couple other items but here I’ll introduce you to the GPS system that I built into the 451 smart.

So while adding in a double din navigation unit that plays DVDs was my first idea once I released they still haven’t made a multi-disc double din nav unit and the pricing was still around $1,500 for a good unit I looked for other options. The first thing was to just use a windshield mounted GPS unit and while that was easy it didn’t look good in the car and made a great big break my window and steal me sign.

Cradle of GPS NAVI looked and looked and found what I was looking for, which was a windshield mounted GPS unit that had a nice desktop cradle. This only is available in 3 GPS units, TOMTOM 720, TOMTOM 900 and TOMTOM 920 they are all about the same but the 900’s having voice recognition software, a remote and a case. So now that I had a GPS unit with a dash mount I started to look at the software on the TOMTOM and I have to say I got lucky again. The TOMTOM 720+ series has full iPod support, built in MP3 player that plays while navigating and thanks to some fancy software it plays movies/videos via SD cards.

So it might have been hard to find the right unit the hard part was to come in trying to get it all installed nicely. It took about 4 hours of work and figuring things out, we spent about 30 minutes trying to find center on the dash to drill all the holes and the rest of the time was spent drilling holes, removing dash pieces, running wires and then putting things all back together.

What needs to be done to get this to work in the smart is the following: Taking apart the Smart 451 dash

1) TOMTOM 720, 900, 920

2) Use of a drill, screwdrivers, sandpaper and 2 screws & nuts.

3) Take apart the desktop cradle, remove the rubber base to expose 4 screws, take them off and then remove the metal plate. Remove the mini-usb cable from the cradle.

4) Drill 2 holes into the metal plate near the front so that the bolt heads have clearance.

5) Remove the dash, first remove the button console by simply pulling up on the sides, it pops off. Then there is a screw in the middle that you need to remove in order to remove the dash top. Once the screw is off simply put your hand on either side of the top of the dash and pull, it will pop off. TOMTOM 720 Parts

6) Remove 4 screws from the factory CD player and remove the CD player and unplug the wiring at the back of the cd player.

7) Drill 2 holes into the remove top dash to secure the cradle to the dash.

8) Drill 2 more holes, one larger hole to run the usb-mini cable up through the dash and one smaller hole to run the power cable back down through the dash.

9) On the usb-mini end of cigarette lighter version sand down the back top and back bottom of the usb-mini end. On the back top sand down till almost level with the cable and on the back bottom sand down slightly. This allows it to sit properly in coming step. Drilling Hole into the Dash

10) Remove the bendy protective part of the wire housing that is at the usb-mini end.

11) run the usb-mini end up through the dash, starting at the OBD plug point and then going up behind the stereo and out the side of the vents, you can use the middle of the vent area to keep the excess cable length.

12) Run the usb-mini end of cigarette lighter version of the TOMTOM cable through the bigger hole you made in the dash.

13) Put the usb-mini end into the top part of the cradle. You will need to push/use a hammer/screw driver to get it to fit securely. Dash with the Holes for the GPS Wires

14) Put the 2 bolts into the holes you made on the metal bottom of the cradle and then screw the metal bottom to the top part of the cradle using the 4 small screws.

15) Double check to make sure that the usb-mini plug is level with the metal plate, it not further sand down the usb-mini plug, but be careful not to sand any of the edges of the cradle.

16) Secure the 2 bolts onto the dash with the nuts. If you used long bolts you like us might have to grind off the ends of the bolts to ensure clearance.

17) Almost done, now reverse steps #5 and #6 and your OEM GPS system is almost ready, just a couple setting changes on the GPS unit and your done. Sanded Down USB-Mini Plug

18) On the GPS unit, if you want to play either the navigation part of what I opted for just the music/movies part via your smart stereo select on the TOMTOM the broadcast via FM radio option. You can do another step in adding a hard wire from the cradle to the AUX in jack, we where going to do that at first, still might, but the super clean look of leaving the cradle factory was going to be hard to reproduce with a 3.5 plug sticking up.

19) To get movies/videos on your TOMTOM 720, 900 or 920 you will need an aftermarket software program. There is only one that works, I’ve tested, bought and love it. Its available from Mobilnova and even if you don’t do the above install you should get that software as its really nice to be able to watch movies and in my case music videos in your car. Underside of the Dash

20) Last thing that I was on my TOMTOM 720 I selected turn off if loss of external power. This is great option as when the TOMTOM is on and I park to go get something and don’t want to take out/turn off the TOMTOM it will turn off for me. This keeps the big steal me sign to a minimum and to eliminate it simply put the TOMTOM in the glove box.

Here are some more things that I liked about this setup:

Keeps the factory CD changer, mp3 player and smart logo when I start the car.

Keeps factory styling within the cars interior as with the TOMTOM the cradle or off the cradle colors and styling matches perfectly. Test Fit

GPS unit sits a little higher and in better viewing point while driving as looking down at the cd player area would cause loss of view of the road and possible problems.

Virtually* eliminates the big steal me sign you get from using a windshield mounted GPS unit or in dash nav unit. (*say virtually as if you leave the TOMTOM on the cradle its still a steal me sign, you need to tuck it away to remove the sign)

Never falls down or gets in the way like a windshield mounted version. Cold/hot weather plays games on those suction cups and that damn cable is always in the way.

GPS Cradle on DashCost was $396.75 (tax in from Best Buy) for the GPS unit, 20 Euro for the Mobilnova software and the nuts and bots where leftovers from pervious projects but let’s say $2 for them, so for $427.65 Canadian ($434.83 US) you can have a really nice GPS unit that looks factory, plays movies and you can even use the windshield mount and use this GPS unit in 2 cars, so it’s a 2 for 1 special.

I’ll do some video of video from the unit and post that soon. Its really amazing as watching Fast and the Furious is amazing while driving the smart and its going to make the car so much more fun at the car shows and on those long long trips from here to Vancouver which is 12,294 km (7,639 miles) round trip.

If you have any questions do ask and I’ll be posting more about all the other little goodies I’ve added to forfiveone shortly.On Dash GSP NAV for the Smart 451

forfiveone to appear as a comic book character

comic smartIt would seem that I've been a good boy all year as Santa was good to me and my smart this year and I wanted to share my wonderful Christmas news I received today.

Rob Tokar the Editor-in-Chief at TOKYOPOP confirmed today that they will be going ahead in creating me and my smart car (forfiveone) into cartoon characters for the upcoming issue of Grand Theft Galaxy (volume 2).

I knew that I was going to be part of the cartoon world but today was completely floored with excitement when Rob let me know that they will be also including my smart car as part of the story. Rob did have some ideas in his email I will have some discussions with the creator of the comic in the New Year to work everything out.

Grand Theft Galaxy MangaGrand Theft Galaxy (volume 2) will be in comic book stores November 2008, so it’s a ways off but will keep you posted and with the timing it probably will end up being what I send most people for Christmas next year. So if you want a copy you better be nice all year or Santa won’t send you one.

For those who have never heard of TOKYOPOP it’s the US company that bought rights to reproduce and create English versions of Japanese’s comics, which are not actually called comics but “manga”. Manga simply means comic book in Japanese, but most people refer to even the English comics created as manga due to the fact they share a unique visual and drawing style.

I am a fan of manga and comics in general and I originally talked with TOYKOPOP to be part of the Initial D comic series as they own the rights to that and since I was a big racer and car fan it was a really great tie in, but they don’t produce Initial D comics frequently and Grand Theft Galaxy was a wonderful selection by Rob.

While you might be thinking Grand Theft Auto when you see the name Grand Theft Galaxy as that is what first came to mind when I saw the title, but after review of Grand Theft Galaxy I found out it is about a girl who basically becomes an intergalactic thief. You can actually read part of Grand Theft Galaxy (volume 1) online here:

http://www.tokyopop.com/Grand_Theft_Galaxy/tp_manga/287333.html

TOKYOPOP
Wondering why someone like me gets the wonderful opportunity like this, it actually comes from my philanthropist background and my support of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. While I have no children of my own I do what I can to help those who are fortunate enough to have children but require the help of St. Jude to ensure the long and happy life they deserve.

More information about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital can be found here: http://www.stjude.org/ and below:

Sunglasses Holder for the 451 smart fortwo

451 smart fortwo sunglasses holderWhile the armrest was a great aftermarket addition that smart forgot to put on the smart 451 this sunglasses holder is something they forgot to have on the smart but are nice enough to let you pay $55 to have this feature.

I paid the $55 and took the time to install and while its easy to install you might find it difficult to get the screws in as the steering wheel is somewhat in the way. After taking the time and installing the sunglasses holder I was really happy with the further growth of my smart.Before Sunglasses Holder

Some people said they're sunglasses didn't fit but mine even though they are bigger then the normal sunglasses fit perfectly. If you have the big bling bling type sunglasses they might not fit but then again you probably wouldn't be driving a smart if you like bling bling style sunglasses.

Opening and closing the container is easy thanks to a magnetic latch. After Sunglasses Holder They also made a little lip on the top so when its closes its easy to open up again. When opened it doesn't interfere with anything on the tray below.

Overall I really like this addition and having little holders/container/pockets on the car is fun. I hope that I can get more little holders, maybe something can be added to the lower part of the dash.Sunglasses Holder with Sunglasses

451 smart fortwo Passion Review After 200km

451 smart passionDriving around the city and out on the freeway for the last couple weeks has given me some more things to praise the smart on and things that should be mentioned to future owners.

There is really no complaints about the car as while the shift delay is there and isn’t going away after just 200 km’s I’m used to it and able to control where/when it has the shift delay but I still wish it would go away completely.

Something that I should mention to people buying the new 451 is that you will notice a burning smell coming from the intake vent and from the rear of the car. This for my car was really strong for the first week but has almost completely disappeared now. So don’t worry your car isn’t burning its just cooking off the residue that’s left on the engine during production.

Hide Away NeedleSomething that I didn’t notice at first but one of the mechanics at the smart dealership pointed out is the needle on the speedo actually drops down and out of view when you turn the car off. This gives a really clean and professional look to the speedo as it means when you turn the car on you see the speedo come to life.

It has gotten very cold here in Canada often minus 5 or below so I’ve had the chance to put the car’s heater and heating seats to test. The heater on the car can get warm within 3 minutes but within the first minute you’ll be nice and warm thanks to the heated seats. The seats warm up really quickly and on the full setting, so much that it is actually hard to keep it on the full setting.

Every morning I have to cross a very high and long bridge that has major crosswinds and while the smart does move around a little nothing that makes it hard to drive. The real issue in terms of floating around is doing 120+ on the freeways as while it has enough power to get there the power steering is a little effective for my liking. At high speeds the steering movements become far too easy and it feels like if you let the wheel go it would just spin around in a circle. Maybe I can remove the power steering belt, but judging by the manual it’s on a serpentine belt.

ding ding the door is ajar ding dingI do have the upgraded stereo package which does have a sub under the drivers seat but you’d never notice it and its at a point when I do some of my work on the car next weekend I’m going to remove the seat and see if its actually connected. Oh I’m also removing the seat as I dropped an SD card down the side of the seat and there is absolutely no way to get it out without actually removing the seat as it is really packed in under the driver’s seat.

Something that was a pleasant surprise was the smart alarm system that I opted in for. When I ordered it I knew nothing about what it would be, didn’t even know the price. But the price was cheap $210, which is cheaper then I paid for the brabus pedals and well worth the money. The alarm system has your standard if someone opens the door or trunk it will go off but the part that really shocked me was it has a motion senor for the interior. This means if you happen to leave your window down on a hot day and leave someone on the seat or in the glove box they’re somewhat safer as if someone puts their hand in the window the alarm goes off. In my test I put my hand in about 4 inches and the alarm went off, so it is nicely sensitive. This should also mean that if someone breaks the glass the alarm would go off, but I don’t know and not going to test that out. smart alarm sticker

I’ve done 300km on the car and I’m still on my first tank of gas, so no idea what the gas mileage will be but its far better then my old X5 and I’m sure that I’m not going to take $100 to fill the tank as it did on my X5. I really didn’t buy the car for ultra low gas mileage so I’m happy with what ever results I get and won’t be meticulously keeping track of my mileage.

The best part of my smart is that it’s my smart, I’ve wanted one for so many years that like a new born baby its perfect even with the little imperfections it has. I really think I made the right choice with silver on silver as it’s the most neutral yet sport design but I will probably end up buying a yellow panel set to bring some color to the smart once and awhile. The other color combination that I really like is black on black as it makes everything match so well and if it wasn’t so hard to keep clean I’d probably think about buying a black on black, but if you like to wash you car then I’d say black on black is a really great color combination.
smart forfiveone in the snow

Smart Car Dealership Now Selling the Smart 451

smart Tower and smart 451I’ve opened up the first International smart dealership, that’s right I have the 451, fortwo, forfour, and crossblade all in stock in my very own smart tower. Be one of the first people in the US to own a 451 smart car or grow your smart collection.

If you are confused you need to take a look at the photos a little closer as yes those are just smart 451 toy cars and that smart tower is a model of the smart tower’s they have in Europe. As for the cars being available for sale, their not but if you drop me an email and have been a good boy/girl maybe Santa will send you one for Christmas.

If you haven't noticed I'm a smart fanatic, so far I've gotten a bunch of the toys, smartware shirts and accessories. I have even gotten some really cool smart books (yet to arrive) and will be posting details on the rest of my smart collection in the coming months.

smart 451 toys

Armrest for the 451 smart fortwo

Smart 451 ArmrestWhile smart on the new 451 did include many of the items people requested they didn’t include an armrest option but have no fear the aftermarket was listening. I searched for a few weeks and ended up finding a company in Europe that produced an armrest for the 451. The armrest is fixed to the center console area and while I know there are some that bolt to the side of the seats this unit is what I preferred.

The armrest comes in a leather finished top and has storage area that is closed/secured with a magnetic lock. The color matches well with my factory leather seats and since all seats have the black inserts I would say it would fit well with all color interiors.
Before
Installing the armrest was not that hard but it did take a little bit of planning as it doesn’t come with instructions. They do have a couple pre-drilled holes on the front that I made use of but in the back I tapped my own holes and I would recommend you doing the same. You will need to move the seats a round a little to get at the back to do the screws but overall it’s not a big project. Took about 15 minutes and no power tools where needed as the screws were self tapping and they held pretty well.
After
Having driving the 451 for a couple weeks without the armrest I did miss it as I’ve never had a car without an armrest and it does feel strange not being able to rest your arm while waiting in traffic or just driving lazily. So the first day that I’ve had the armrest installed I could really notice a difference at first it was a little weird but 2 or 3 drives later and I was loving it.

The extra storage is nice, while not big enough to hold CD’s its great size for paper, pens, cell phone, mp3 player, garage opener or anything else that would fit into a 6 L x 3 W x 4 D. It also folds up so if you want it out of the way it tucks just right along side the seat. Overall it does look like it was an OEM option and in my opinion something well worth adding to your smart.

Passanger Side Armrest
There are a couple downsides to adding in the armrest. The first one is that it will be a little harder to do up your seatbelt as the armrest and seatbelt latch are very close together and the second one is that it’s a little harder to recline the drivers side seat. That is also because the recline latch is close to the armrest on the passenger side its not as bad because the passenger seat goes further back then the drivers side.

I paid just around $150 with shipping for the armrest and I actually ordered from 2 different suppliers, the other armrest hasn’t arrived but once it does I’ll see if it is any different and will post the options where to buy. I’ll be also selling off one of the armrests, probably the one yet to arrive, so contact me if your interested in an armrest for your 451 smart.

Armrest for Smart 451

Carbon Fiber Trim for the smart 451

Carbon Fiber Dash TrimCarbon fiber is always a great way to give a vehicle a hint of aggressiveness and this dash trim added to the smart does just that. Once installed you wouldn’t even notice that it wasn’t factory as it matches in so well with the gray/black mixed fabric. On cars with other fabric it might not blend as much, but it should still look like it belongs.
Close Up of Carbon Trim
Installing this made me a little nervous as this was a hand made part and the creator hadn’t installed or even seen a 451 before he did this for me and his instructions where simply to pull the old one off. The trim had a dozen clamps and I didn’t know if simply pulling would take it off without damaging anything but I pulled and pulled and then click the factory trim came off nice and easily.

Putting the new carbon fiber trim on was just as easy, simply line up with the factory holes and click the trim into place and your done. It was all of about 2 minutes to install.

Before
Cost of the trim was something a little harder to figure out as these are hand made parts so they’re not mass produced but the part with shipping and duties cost less then $150. The creator of the part will have this as well as other items ready for sale shortly on his website, which will be added to the aftermarket/tuner section here.

After
Along with the piece that I did install there was end caps for the wiper and light stacks as well as rings for the REV and Clock pods. I’ll be giving the rings for the rev and clock pods away later in January as there are a few odd parts that will just be included with other items that I’m not using for my smart.

Coming soon is the carbon fiber door handles and once I figure out how to take off the factory caps I’ll install the caps on the stacks, photos will follow.
Carbon Fiber Dash on Smart 451

451 smart Brabus Gas & Brake Pedals

Brabus Gas and Brake PedalsOnce I went to install these pedals I could see that smart has always planned to have these pedals as part of the car because the design of the stock gas pedal is setup to have the brabus gas pedal added.

These items while costly are available at the smart dealerships and if you buy them with the car you might be able to get the cost of the pedals added to the loan/lease on the car.

AfterBeforeInstalling the pedals took less then 5 minutes, the brake pedal took the longest as you have to remove the factory rubber by peeling it off and then snapping the new pedal on. The gas pedal takes all of 10 seconds as you just simply slide it on and it clips into place. Both pedals require no tools, no screws and no mess to install. I mention that as there are some aftermarket pedals, some even claim to be “brabus” but they require you to screw into the factory pedals and would be far less stable.

While no performance increase I will say that the pedals look so much nicer and give an extra sportyness to the interior. Also the rubber grips on the face of the pedals do give more traction so in some way this could actually improve performance in that you might get more braking power due to better grip.

To buy the brabus gas and brake pedals simply contact your local smart dealership as they’ll be able to order them in for you.Sporty Look with Brabus Pedals

451 smart fortwo 6 Spoke Black Rims

Spy Smart with RimsThose of you who followed the redesign of the smart into the new 451 might have remembered those spy photos of the smart driving around on black 6 or 12 spoke rims. Well if you didn’t get a chance to see those photos I’ve included one from WorldCarFans.

The rims where the standard factory rims power coated in black to make them less noticeable. So in the sourcing for parts for the new 451 smart I came across someone in Germany who got his hands on a couple sets of these black rims.

Spy Photo of the New 451 Smart
While I had never seen the 6 spoke or the 12 spoke rims in person the photos looked amazing and I really didn’t like the factory 9 spoke rims, so I bought both the 6 and 12 spoke rims. Along with the rims I decided to have them mount some winter tires as my dealer already said they have limited supply of snow/winter tires and I didn’t want to be driving around on all season radials.

My contact in Germany ended up sending them air freight as it wasn’t too costly and ensured that they arrived quickly but I had not thought of the customs/importing aspect of things. When the rims and tires arrived in Front WheelsCanada I had a little problem, turned out that you are not allowed to import “used” tires into Canada from Europe. While my tries were new they were mounted on the rims and could be considered used. I ended up have a little chat with the customs officers and they did a manual inspection along with the fact they where smart fans they ended up looking the other way and allowing both sets into the country.

As soon as I saw both the 6 spoke and 12 spoke I feel in love with the 6 spoke as the long spokes gave the wheel the illusion of being larger then the 12 spoke rims. So I have the 12 spoke rims and will post some photos and information on those later, but they’ll be sold please contact me if your interested in buying them.

Figured after the customs issue everything else would be easy but it turned Rear Wheels out there was a few more problems. In my initial review of the smart 451 I said that the tire pressure sensors where based on tire rotation but it turns out it’s based on a system built into the rims. So I had 2 options, option 1 was to not install these sensors into the new rims and live with a warning light and not have the benefit of the tire pressure system. Option 2 the one I went with was to have the sensors installed into the new rims. That option was a costly install but for me the peace of mind was worth it.

Installing the sensors was further complicated due to the fact they are part of the valve stem and are silver metal so I had to get smart/Mercedes to paid the tire pressure sensor black, they didn’t want to do that at first but money talks and in the end I got a all black rim. They even helped me out and painted the wheel bolts/nuts black and while the photos look good you have to see them in person to really see the beauty.

Smart 451 with Black Rims

2008 smart Pricing and Accessory Guide

smart pricingThis is the Canadian price guide for the 2008 smart, while its missing a few recent additions to the accessories catalog it does have all the factory and dealer installed options listed.

I myself wasn't able to get any better deals then the prices listed, some have said they can get 15% off but the pricing is still reasonable enough and if you can get them to add it to your car loan then might as well stock up.

There are a lot more accessories that will find there way into Canada and the US over the next year and I found out recently that smart Canada plans to import as many of the options from Europe as possible, hopefully that means it will be cheaper then going directly to European dealership to order parts (which I've been having to do at this point).

Photos from smart - Frankfurt 2007

IAA Frankfurt 2007While I have had this press kit for a couple weeks I'd forgot to upload the photos till today. Sorry about that as know many of you have request more high res photos.


If you've already looked at the Geneva photo's these will not be much different, but they do have some nice action shots of the the Brabus. Again if you are looking over these and if you find one that you like you can download it from Picasa or contact me for a high res version.

Here is my favorite from the batch, I really love the Brabus headlights and looking forward to when they arrive from Europe next month.

Silver on Silver Brabus 451
IAA Frankfurt 2007



Photos from smart - Geneva 2007

International Motor Show Geneva 2007The good people at smart created a wonderful kit full of information on the smart 451, which I received today.

It contains a 108 amazing high quality photos of all the models and even has a inside look at the different parts that makes up the new smart.

The kit also had all the technical data for the models that are sold here in North American as well as in Europe, but for the site what I've done is upload all the photos from the kit.

You can take a look at the many photos at the link below and here is my favorite photo out of the kit:

Inside look at the 451

International Motor Show Geneva 2007



2008 smart one of Playboy's 2008 Cars of the Year

2008 smart one of Playboy's 2008 Cars of the YearThis will go a long way in helping show that the smart while small and often referred to as "cute" is definitely something any man can be proud of owning.


I'm far from ashamed that I own and drive a smart daily, in fact before I bought my 2008 smart I was driving a $70,000 BMW X5 and very happily switched into the smart. As it's not about the price or the name on the car, it's about what you get and with the smart you get one amazing vechile.

Owning a smart is something to be proud of as not only are you making an environmental and culture statement but the styling is very sporty and elegant at the same time. I love cars and have owned a few but my smart is definitely one of my favorites.

While style is always subjective to different view points, if you are still undecided about the smart all you need to do is drive it for 5 minutes and you'll become a smart enthusiast. thinking of the smart as a "car" is like thinking of Vegas as a "city" yes the smart is a car but its much more then that and until you've actually driven/seen one its hard to understand what the hype is about.