Saturday, November 27, 2010

Got doors sills painted.

bad as these top sills were, the corresponding sills underneath these are perfect.
Got the door sills finished and they look really good. Really solid job that should hopefully last the life of the car.
spot the difference?
well pleased with how they turned out.
one job never to be repeated
I painted them myself with aerosol can in one hand and hairdryer in the other! Definitely hard to recommend but the end result is one I'm happy with.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This article is taken from ' The Zwickau Journal' titled 'The little car that couldn't find love. Printed 07 Oct 1995

ZWICKAU, Germany, Oct. 4 — With their two-stroke
 engines, they sputtered along the roads of the former
 Communist East German like souped-up lawn mowers.
They were boxy and homely. Their plastic bodies came in
 four drab colors. They were so light, a handful of college
 students could play pranks on teachers by carrying them
away to unknown spots. But East Germans had to wait 15
 years and pay more than a year's salary for the privilege
 of owning one.
This, of course, was the Trabant, a clattering, bone-rattling
 heap of socialist technology that was the principal mode
of personal transportation for almost four decades in East

 Germany and that by the fall of Communism became
despised as representing everything wrong with the system.
Once East Germans had the opportunity in 1990 to buy
an Opel or a Volkswagen made in the West, orders for

more than 1.5 million Trabants fell to zero in three months.

But how things change. The Trabi, as it is affectionately
 known in Germany, has developed a cult following.
There are Trabi owners associations. There are Trabi
rallies every summer. Trabis have been turned into stretch

 checkered taxis, dune buggies. Owners can convert their
trabbies into convertibles for $1,300.
And for the ultimate socialist-capitalist mix, change the
 front grill,  put on some chrome trim, and you get a Trabillac.

In this town, where all the 3,096,099 Trabants were built,
 the last 444 new ones go on sale next week, at the
 equivalent of $13,600,

 nearly 20 times the original price.
Ulf Rittinghaus, managing director of Sachsenring
 Automobiltechnik,  which produced the Trabis, says
 that the Trabi sale has generated 600 inquiries, including
 one Japanese auto maker that offered to
 buy the entire lot.

"It is absolutely unsafe and terrible, but it is one
 of the nicest old legends we now have in Germany,"
 Mr. Rittinghaus said.

 "It is the last product that exists intact as it did
 during the socialist times."
Some rather strong social and emotional currents
 underlie this new love for the Trabant.
  Five years after German reunification,
 many in the east are caught in a deep melancholic
 funk in which they long for the former days when
everyone had a job, rents did not rise,
 no one was dismissed, child care was free
and food was cheap and always on the table.

Though the last five years have brought remarkable 
prosperity for many, it has not brought an even 
distribution of wealth, and many of the 18 million
 East Germans have felt the insecurity of unemployment,
  competition for jobs, evictions, rent increases
 and social stratification. The longing for the Trabi, 
many say, reflects a desire for the simpler life as 
they knew it in Communist times, and an attempt to
 hold on to what they see as the good things 
about the old system.
"After the war the Russians took all our automobile technology
 and equipment, literally 32,000 pieces of machinery, and we
 had to build the Trabant up from nothing," said Frank
 Bretschneider, a technical engineer in the Sachsenring plant.
 "So we have something to be proud of. The only trouble was
 the political system stopped technological development of the
car, so at the end we were producing cars in 1990
 with a 1960's design."
To be sure, sitting squeezed into the front seat of one of the
 new Trabis that will go on sale next Wednesday,
 with its thin door panels, plastic strap door pulls
 upholstered map shelf underneath the simple black
dashboard, reminds one of Volkswagen beetles of the
 early 1960's.

Ever vigilant security!

Found out yesterday, my parts were returned to Trabiuk as the contents were deemed a security risk.
The pressurised spray can of 'Papyrus' must have been the problem. Isn't that ridiculous?
I've had paint sent before in the past and had no problems.
So, the package was resent minus the paint and I will get it by Friday (hopefully).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Still waiting on hinges and paint

Hinges and a spray can of 'Papyrus beige' paint were posted to me on Nov 13 and I am yet to receive them.
Sometimes, postal services can be a disgrace and this is certainly one of those times.
 The package is only coming from England to Ireland. Should only take two working days by airmail, which is how it was sent, I'm told.

By contrast, I ordered a new boot lock and key, from Germany, last Wednesday evening and received it yesterday morning, after only three working days.
Always the same when you're waiting on something.
'A watched kettle never boils'.

Will report more and take pictures when i get the door back on and do the touch-ups to the bodywork.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Slow progress!!

Bloody fuel problems are driving me nuts at the moment, but after many false dawns and more illusions, I FEEL I HAVE FINALLY FIXED the fuel starvation problem.
As I last posted, I left the trabi over to welder to get sills fitted.
Well, I picked the car up and didn't get 250 yards before the engine slowed and stopped on me. AGAIN!
new joining T piece in place and connected.

I got out, fiddled with the fuel hoses and it started and away i went. Again, 200 yards down the road, stopped on me. This continued for 3-4 miles then suddenly drove fine for another 3-4 miles home.

I took the 'mauskino' off and blew through it to ensure it was clean, which it was.
I considered bypassing it altogether and just running one long hose from fuel tank to carb, but after putting new hoses all round, I didn't think there was anything hindering the mauskino, or fuel from it to the carb.
So, I took the three fuel hoses off the T joining piece and looked at it.
I did this before and noticed that one end ( the air breather end that goes to top of petrol tank) was severely pinched inwards., but done little about it as trabiuk didn't have a T piece in stock and I didn't want to pay 18 euros postage (from Germany) for an item that cost 6 euros!

So today, I took the T piece and went around hardware places looking for something similar, that would do the job and the third place I went to had something. It's made of copper too and much more substantial than the original.
So, I got home and connected it up, tightened the clamps and took the car out.
Did 15 miles over plenty of hilly country and had no problems whatsoever.
It didn't ever feel like it might stop.

one door sill ready for painting!

I always felt that the problem was a simple one, merely an air lock/ fuel starvtion, but with  repeated stoppages I was beginning to think, as some suggested that the carburettor was the problem.
There's nothing worse than coming to a complete stop in awkward places and knowing the problem is a simple one, yet failing many times to fix it.

So it seems that all that was wrong was that the T piece was causing an airlock, due to one end being pinched in. I never thought that the air breather pipe would have had such an effect, but I'm learning!

So, all fuel hoses have been changed and positioned to facilitate gravity flow. The inline filter has been dispensed with and all filters have been cleaned with air.

I'm confident now the problem is sorted, until the next time anyway. :)
If it stops again, the sledge hammer will get an outing. :)

So next thing is to get the tailgate hinges fitted ( whenever they arrive!) and spray the new sills ( welder primed them, ready for painting). There's also a number of touch-ups to be done around the car to tidy it up.

The car is a very good original motor, which drives probably as it did when new and as well as a trabi can.
on top is the old one, where you can see how pinched in it is at one end. New much better one below.
other door sill done.
every bit of carpet and trim was taken off, washed and in some cases turned over before being  put back on the car. Doing this has made a huge difference to the interior of the car. The interior is as good as you will see.
The best thing about this car is its originality. So often cars are restored and they look good and are ok for a while before their inactivity comes back to haunt them and they develop one problem after another.
This car has never been off the road and always well maintained. I think an original car that's always been running is always a better bet than one that's been inactive and undergone restoration.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Well, Good and bad to report!

The fuel starvation wasn't cured, so further effort and thought was required.
The fact that the inline filter would often be empty when the problem occurred, signaled to me that maybe the filter was blocking and sending the fuel back towards the petrol tank.
So, I removed the inline filter altogether and ran a fresh fuel hose straight from the joining piece to the carburettor.
Then I took the car out for a spin and it drove really well for a number of miles.
Just as I thought I'd cracked it and sorted the problem, the car stopped on me.
Fiddling about with the fuel hoses, restored flow and off I went again.
Although much better than it had been, I still had a problem.

I noticed from the start that the short, final piece of fuel hose, that runs from the mauskino ( the wheel that measures the fuel economy and relays it to the fuel economy gauge on the dashboard) to the carburettor wasn't in a great position to facilitate gravity flow, so at the suggestion of John Short, I removed this and replaced it with a fresh hose that was as short as could possibly be( no pun intended John :)), so that it had to be stretched onto the connectors to make it fit. This resulted in a more downward position with no slack in the line.

I also replaced any other fuel hose that hadn't been renewed and made the whole line as tight as could be, so it couldn't bounce out of place, as it might do, when driving,  if there was any slackness present in the lines.

I also replaced the plastic fuel tap bowl, under the tank as the one I had was ringed and wouldn't tighten properly, which resulted in a small drip/leak when the fuel was turned on.

Result, I drove the car about 15 miles the other day and it ran brilliantly, with no problems in fuel flow.
Lest I speak too soon, I feel it's well sorted now.

The other night I opened the tailgate of the kombi and closed it, thinking to myself it seemed very stiff.
So I opened and closed it again, well attempted to and the whole door came off in my hands, held on only by the wire that sends the heat to the rear window demister.

The hinges had seized and snapped cleanly off!

So I had to snip the wire and set the door to one side, while I unbolted the parts of the hinges that remained on the car and the other bits from the door itself. So, I'm ready for two new hinges that have to be ordered in from Germany as trabiuk couldn't locate any in their stocks.

Next morning, I had to deliver the car to the panel beater/welder who is fitting the new door sills for me.
After a couple of unsuccessful tries and disinterested tradesmen had shown no interest, I finally got someone who acted like he wanted the job and also quoted me a reasonable price.
Of course, as luck would have it, it was absolutely pelting down with rain and me with no back door!
Anyway, I got a tarpaulin and made it fit to shield us from most of the rain and drove to the garage.

I saw the new sills fitted yesterday and they look great and should stay that way for years to come.
The Panel beater sprayed them with primer, so I will spray them in papyrus when I the car home.

More pics and info to follow on Monday when I get the car.