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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I'm brand new here - never posted before so I hope you'll tolerate my naivete and general lack of knowledge.

I have a 2003 Spyder that I've owned for 12 years and have always loved this car. Over 80K of ownership (it has about 117K total), aside from standard maintenance I've only had to replace the water pump and tighten a tension rod. So mechanically it's in fantastic condition...until the SMT failed a couple of weeks ago. The clutch won't engage in 1st, 2nd, or R from a N position, so in short it won't shift from N at all. The transmission warning/check engine lights are both off, but I haven't tried to see if there's an error code anyhow. I had the transmission fluid changed perhaps a year ago, and less than 5K miles have been driven on it since.

I've read plenty on these transmissions and the consensus is to scrap it and swap in a manual. I understand they are notoriously difficult to repair and any attempt will likely result in headaches and lost dollars.

If I'm not getting a transmission warning/check engine light, is the first step still to run a diagnostic?

Any help would be very much appreciated!
 

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Are you saying that the cabin shift lever is locked in the neutral position? or moving the shift lever into the sequential or reverse position doesn’t engage the gear?
If there are no cel or gear ligh, there shouldn’t be any codes to pull but...
You could get Techstream to see. Anybody with an SMT should have this diagnostic tool anyway. You could try removing the negative battery terminal, manually put the trans in neutral, but that will erase any codes stored.
I dislike the idea of converting to manual for many reasons but a lot of folks do it. Often it can be something minor but figuring out the problem is the hard part for most people.
One thing neglected is changing the SMT fluid, not to be confused with trans/gear oil.
I’m trying to limit my time troubleshooting the smt system on the internet anymore unless it’s something obvious and simple but there are a few others here that can help. I would suggest reading in the SMT section since I think most everything has been covered.
 

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Are you saying that the cabin shift lever is locked in the neutral position? or moving the shift lever into the sequential or reverse position doesn’t engage the gear?
If there are no cel or gear ligh, there shouldn’t be any codes to pull but...
You could get Techstream to see. Anybody with an SMT should have this diagnostic tool anyway. You could try removing the negative battery terminal, manually put the trans in neutral, but that will erase any codes stored.
I dislike the idea of converting to manual for many reasons but a lot of folks do it. Often it can be something minor but figuring out the problem is the hard part for most people.
One thing neglected is changing the SMT fluid, not to be confused with trans/gear oil.
I’m trying to limit my time troubleshooting the smt system on the internet anymore unless it’s something obvious and simple but there are a few others here that can help. I would suggest reading in the SMT section since I think most everything has been covered.
The shift lever moves freely in the gate. The console display shows the correct gear. It's just as if the clutch doesn't engage.

I don't have any plans on converting to manual. If it's not a fairly simple solution I'm going to sell the car as I don't have the time to work on it.

I may check the SMT fluid this weekend and try resetting the brain via the battery disconnection.

Thank you very much for your time!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Are you interested in trying to repair the broken parts, or do you plan to convert to manual shift? If the latter I won’t waste the time and energy trying to help diagnose the problem.
I'm not going to convert it to a manual. I don't have the time or energy or money. If there are a few things I could try that would not involve serious repair bills I will do what I can to fix it but beyond that I will sell it. I have a friend who might be interested in purchasing it and converting it to a manual but he already has several car projects so I'm not counting on it.

I do very much appreciate any advice you have. As I mentioned in my other reply I'm going to at least check the SMT fluid.
 

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While you’re doing that, take a look at the GSA, the cable, fork for any obvious damage. Have someone working things in the cabin while watching for clutch movement (fork moving). Also check GSA hoses. Make sure the HPU (pump) is coming on.
Also, at the GSA, check the electrical connections for the clutch stroke sensor and notice if there’s fluid on it.
 

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When you place the shifter in first gear or reverse (and it doesn’t shift), is the green neutral light flashing? Is the beeper...beeping? Can you have a friend look at the manual shift stub on the back of the transmission and determine if the transmission is engaging a different gear?
 

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This car does also. The problem is that the SMT transmission is a one-off, and very few people actually understand the internal workings of the controller. It is not like a conventional auto, where everyone understands the basic function.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
While you’re doing that, take a look at the GSA, the cable, fork for any obvious damage. Have someone working things in the cabin while watching for clutch movement (fork moving). Also check GSA hoses. Make sure the HPU (pump) is coming on.
Also, at the GSA, check the electrical connections for the clutch stroke sensor and notice if there’s fluid on it.
Sorry it's taken me so long to reply - I have about an hour a week to work on this. I have removed the air filter assembly and checked the SMT fluid. It seems low. The fluid doesn't reach either of the fill lines; it comes up to just under where the top half of the reservoir is attached to the bottom half. I've attached some pictures. I purchased some DOT-3 brake fluid and will fill it this weekend. I'm unsure how far to fill it - I seem to have read something about disconnected the battery terminal so the pump doesn't come on...I can't find the thread now.

The pump does come on and runs for about 23 seconds.

I'm going to check the clutch movement if I can get the car jacked up and have a friend over. I also need to research the GSA. A lot of this terminology is new to me. IMG_3662.jpg IMG_3663.jpg IMG_3665.jpg IMG_3662.jpg

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Discussion Starter #12
When you place the shifter in first gear or reverse (and it doesn’t shift), is the green neutral light flashing? Is the beeper...beeping? Can you have a friend look at the manual shift stub on the back of the transmission and determine if the transmission is engaging a different gear?
The lights/indicators/beeping all seem normal but I will double-check tomorrow.
 
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