This morning I purchased the first lift kit for my build. I bought shocks and springs from a 2011 Electric Drive. These cars were technically prototypes. They were never supposed to end up in a scrap yard or in the hands of private people. But when these cars were retired after just a couple years of service, they didn’t get back into the hands of smart USA. Oops. The Tesla batteries in the things were stupid heavy, requiring smart to design an incredibly beefy suspension.

Given that these weren’t supposed to be for public eyes, they have the same part numbers as the normal suspension and installation is direct replacement without modification. These springs will give me a 2-3 inch lift (Pic isn’t lift installed).

I also gave my towing hitch a health check last night. It seems to me that Curt hitches for smarts are notorious for rusting very quickly in the rustbelt. Before I got my hitch 3 years ago, I saw some fellow smart owners have their hitches begin rusting out as quickly as a year. I didn’t want that to happen to me. I especially don’t want the hitch to fail while I’m towing either because of rust.

Curt’s “rust protection” was basically bare metal with a thin coat of paint and a thin coat of clear coat on them. Obviously that’s bad for Chicago winters.

I thought that if I coated the thing in about 10 layers of Plasti-dip that it would resist rust. I gave it a check last night by peeling off some of the dip...And it’s good! Not a speck of rust in areas the Plasti-dip was still intact. The rust I did find was some surface rust from when I accidentally scraped the hitch bottoming out my suspension while trying to park on a really broken surface. I found some surface rust near the subframe bolts too, but that wasn’t an area I originally plasti-dipped. The plasti-dip itself was in exceptional condition considering it’s been on a very exposed part of the car for 3 years straight. All it needs is a touch up coat.

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I cleaned up the surface rust with a couple coats of Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer (the same stuff I used on Chelsea’s successful rust repair) then I’ll add coats of plasti-dip once that cures. Looks like my formula should give me many years out of this hitch.

(Those bubbles are dip, not rust)

And finally, that exhaust you see on the back is going to meet its end tomorrow. I bought a custom-made exhaust from another smart owner. I miss the old loud exhaust I had before I decided to go OE again. I thought I’d like a quiet vacuum-sounding smart (I know Miss Tesla did), but after a while I remembered why I had a louder exhaust in the first place!

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This new one will have better sound and won’t wake up the dead when I leave in the morning, the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, while that factory exhaust is in exceptional condition, the bolts are rusted in place. I’ll have to get a muffler shop with better tools than I have to get them off. Plus, my centre exhaust cutout will have a purpose in life once again. xD

Bonus: Buy-Here-Pay-Here R Class!