Tales of my Trabi #5

Significant progress has now been made. My Trabant now has working brakes and can hold its own against the force of gravity in a hilly street. In your face Newton! Superb, but any attempt to start the blighter usually ends in itself burping itself to sleep.

In all fairness though, since the mechanic’s attempt at rebuilding the carb’s float chamber, it would now run for marginally longer. Presumably, the tendency to cut out was the same result as you would have were you to return to your freshers’ week’s most hardcore game of ring of fire after a decade or more of maturity – passing out due to flooding yourself with cheap spirits.

Scenes reminiscent of Trainspotting aside…

In the grander scheme of things, racing cardboard was definitely alive, just not particularly well. Back to that issue another time.

“Ring ding ding da ding ding da POP!”

– My Trabant

I had sourced a new supplier in Germany, by the name of Martin, who runs IFA Service Heinz. The first care package had arrived from him, to fit some niggling little issues.

A new air filter, a replacement indicator lens, the rear fog light (equipped with wiring and switch), glow plug leads, a brand new Sachsenring bonnet badge and a hinge for my driver’s seat all arrived.

First up was to fix the problematic driver’s seat. Most owners are aware of the common tendency for one of the front seats to just decide that it can no longer take the strength of its fellow comrade anymore. After all, in Soviet Russia, seat sits on you. For anyone reading this and suffering from similar symptoms, it is important to remember that it is not a disease. The first step to overcoming this problem is to purchase the piece below for a couple of measly Euros and replace the old unit. Needless to say, the teeth on the former piece was about as tooth filled as your typical British grandmother.

The battle scared front passenger indicator was proving the unsightly eyesore, so after a little action with a screwdriver, the new unit was fitted. In true East German fashion, it was botch fitted and required drilling out a screw and fitting a better suited one. The first of many of these poor maintenance jobs. This is why communism failed.

It was now the turn of the rear fog light, which I attached to the rear bumper and wired into the car. As I did not own a power drill at this time, I decided to create a ghetto repair with a piece of metal attached to the bumper. This will later be rectified!

In addition to Martin’s supply package, I also fitted new tiny windscreen wiper blades and replaced the deceased windscreen washer pump. Due to the obscure cost for the genuine article, I instead opted for a cheap universal eBay unit. Needless to say, it functions absolutely fine. Somewhere right now though, a purist is losing sleep.

With some small maintenance work complete, my Trabant was looking ever-more closer to completion. The smell of victory was becoming nearer, and it reeked of two-stroke exhaust fumes.


What was next on the agenda? Find out next week.


by Mike Armstrong


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