Saturday, October 23, 2010

Floor fixed and car back together.

Painted the floor today in its original 'Papyrus' colour and it turned out really well. With the rust treatment, 2 coats of primer and final painting, it was slow going but it's a good, thorough job and should never reoccur again.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The work is in progress

Started work on the Trabi.
It was air-locking occasionally in the fuel lines that go from the petrol tank to the carburettor.
There are 3 fuel lines in this simple, gravity fed system.
One fuel pipe had to be shortened and one replaced with a longer pipe to ensure better flow and rectify the problem. Sounds  simple really, but of huge importance.
Hopefully this will now do the trick.

Next, I vacuumed  out the whole interior of the car, but would still find dirt and dust in places.
So, I took out all the seats and all the carpeting and trim, which only took about 30 minutes as these cars are so easy to work with. I thoroughly cleaned all the seats and upholstery with appropriate cleaner and mopped and washed the whole interior shell of the car.
Result, everything is cleaner than it was since new and the whole car smells fresh and clean.

Next, the driver's and passenger's footwells were rusty and needed to be sorted before they worsened beyond repair and would end up needing sheet metal replacement.
They were only rusted on the inside and not through to the underneath of the car, so a rust remover ( deox C) was employed here to great success.

Then two coats of Lowes Rust primer was put on this area, which leaves it ready for paint.
Once painted, the whole interior can be put back together.

now solid, primed and ready for paint.
you can see the problem that needed fixing
the rust removed satisfactorily.
Next job then is to get someone to cut out the old door sills and weld in the replacements I received with the car.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

' Bruno ' The Trabant!

My Trabant was named 'Bruno' by its owner, before the one who sold it to me.
A German Professor ' Lew Schnurr' owned it since 1991 and traveled back and forth to the Uk a number of times in the car. It also went to the Alps I believe.

Prof Schnurr some trabi enthusiasts might know as he translated the 'Trabant Owners Handbook' from German to English. I got a copy of the book, supplied with the car and it's an excellent manual, full of easy to understand instructions and well illustrated with diagrams and sketches.

Today, I started to do 'Bruno' up a little.
The carburettor was running slightly slow as the engine sometimes would stall on idle, so I took the front grill off to get access to the carburettor and turned the idle screw. It's running better now.

I took all the carpets, mats and underlay out of the car and have them soaking in the bath.
I believe this is the first time they have been removed from the car and in dire need of a good soak and scrub.
Depending on how they come up after a clean, I'll decide whether or not to buy a new set or refit them in the car.
The driver side and passenger side foot-wells have some rust on the inside ( the other side underneath the car is fine) so I have scraped them clean and ready for some deox c which is basically a rust eating compound and de-oxidant.
I've never used this before but have heard only good things about how effective it is.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Got the Trabi home/first impressions

Well, It's been a busy few days!
Flew with my son to East Midlands Airport on Tuesday last, where the Trabi awaited us, courtesy of it's previous owner who was kind enough to drive it there.
We got there about 10 am.
We then had to drive approx 170 miles to Holyhead, Wales, to get the boat back to Ireland and the car never missed a beat. We arrived in plenty of time for our crossing and had a lot of fun too.
We took our time, drove about 90 miles and stopped for coffee and a sandwich.
Then we made our way to Holyhead and got to have a nice stroll around the harbour and do a bit of shopping  as we had about 3.5 hours to kill before boarding our ferry.
We bought some lovely fish and chips and ate them overlooking the Irish sea.

I'd never driven a Trabant before and was surprised at how good they are to drive.
The Trabant has had much criticism over it's long  lifespan, from Western critics, but I can now say those critics have been wrong and their criticism unjustified.
The steering is tight, accurate,  responsive and the turning circle is fantastic.
My car had recent new brake shoes fitted all round and the car stops up pretty sharp and in a straight line.
What surprised me most was how good the little car handles as negative criticism seems to attack that characteristic more than anything else. You can really chuck the little car around and its tyres stick to the road admirably. I can now understand how the Trabant won so many rallies in the sixties and early seventies.

My car is a November 1989 model and has the rear coil spring suspension set-up and electronic ignition.
November '89, of course is the same year and month that the Berlin Wall opened and this car is one of the last two stroke models produced, before the 'Sachsenring' factory switched to a Volkswagen derived, 4 -stroke engine in a failed bid to make the Trabi attractive to home-grown buyers. ( who could now buy cars cheaply from the West)
My car has only covered 62000 kilometres, just under 40k miles, so the tightness of the drive, like all cars is somewhat due largely to it's relative freshness.

Most surprising thing is the fuel economy I've gotten.
When I picked the car up, it had 22 litres of fuel in the tank.
I later topped it up with 12 litres, to fill it.     That's 34 litres.
I've done 438km(270 miles approx) since I got the car and it still has 11 litres of fuel in the tank.
So, the car has done 270 miles on 23 litres of fuel, which roughly equates to 54 mpg.
I drove the car at 80-85 kmph according to the speedo on the motorway and obviously mixed speeds on lesser roads. I would say that the motorway miles I've done would be no more than 180.

The paintwork on the car, like most Trabis I've seen is pretty flat and there is small surface rust here and there on the steel bits. Might try a T-cut and see if it does anything for the paintwork.

More to follow: