Not a lot to add, but here's Mini Me!
DSC_0561 by cianhanrahan, on Flickr
Right, time for the first of the Springtime updates. The original Socialist era 12V socket is a lot smaller than its modern equivalent, so I took a look at what was involved in fitting a more modern unit. Like everything else in the Trabant, it is a really simple solution. I've seen more complicated house plugs! The red wires are positive, and the bottom screw hole grounds the connection to the monocoque. I ran the wires from the new socket in to the same screws, and clamped everything back down. This way I can remove it without changing anything else and revert back later.
12Volt socket by cianhanrahan, on Flickr
Using a scrap bracket from a Mini DV camera, and a couple of ties, I now have a flexible bracket for a phone charger, or an FM transmitter (for maximum 90's style points!)
Modern 12V socket wired inline. by cianhanrahan, on Flickr
I've had a couple of day trips, to the Jumpstart 2014 show in Loughmore, and a more casual meet at the Vee, both in Co. Tipperary. About 100km or so away from my house, so a pretty long roadtrip in Trabi terms…
Coming back from Jumpstart I had trouble starting the car, a problem I traced back to an inline fuel filter I had fitted a few months ago.
They're designed for systems with fuel pumps, but as the Trabi soesn't have one, it gets airlocked. So I removed it, and replaced the spark plugs at the same time, and she's starting 100% better now.
New Toy: Spark Plug Socket by cianhanrahan, on Flickr
Turning heads at Jumpstart 2014 by cianhanrahan, on Flickr
Trabant at the Vee by cianhanrahan, on Flickr
I have been looking for this photo you posted for some time but could not find it in any of your posts:
My doors won't shut all the way. The driver's side sags a bit when closed. I can shut the door but grab the door handle and the door will move in and out maybe 2mm.
I'm wondering if the star like thingy is worn. Also the striker plate on door jam looks like it has been adjusted as far down as it will go. There is an inprint from dirt or something where it had been for decades.
I'm just wondering if I need to order a new door catch and striker plate for both doors or if this is matter of adjustment. Still sorting out bugs with this thing!!
By the way, one day I went to shut the door on my Fiat 124 Spider and it would not shut. The spring inside the mechanism broke just like yours did. I ended up pulling the mechanism from a Spider I had parted out. Glad I saved that door!
I don't think the worn ratchet would affect play in the door once it's closed. In my case it wouldn't shut at all. Can you hear the catch knocking off the striker plate if you wiggle the door?
I know that two of the screws are gone on the passenger side. I discovered this the other day. But the driver's side seems worse!
The stars just look a bit worn and I think this is what's causing the door to not shut all the way.
I originally thought those were unique to the Trabant (because I had never seen one) until I started doing research and they are actually called a "Hella" style power point (as in Hella the lamp and electrical manufacturer). I bought an extra power point to go on the passenger side and some female connectors from a guy in the UK who deals with motorbike parts. So far I used one of the female connectors to power a portable DVD player off my 6 volt car battery!
Or you can replace the Hella unit with one of these:
I also have one of these for charging my cell phone using a USB adapter. You can charge a cell phone off a 6 volt battery! I wanted to keep the Hella style connector because I thought it was cool and is powered all the time and the only way to power a 12V device is with the ignition switch on through my converter. Plus I have an IFA flashlight (torch) and a map light which are handy in case I need to work on the car without the engine running.
Indeed, I'd never heard of the Hella fitment, I thought everyone had standardised. After I mentioned this particular hack on my own forum, I got this recommendation:
I'd like to improve the output of my headlights, both on the high beam and the dipped. Can I just replace the bulbs with brighter/more power bulbs, or do I need to install a relay/relays. Would I then need to replace all the lights wiring while I'm at it? I was also thinking of just wiring in spotlights on the bumper instead.
With all the great work you're doing, I'm almost tempted to move this thread to the restoration section
She's taxed and on the road for the summer. New tyres to come in the next couple of weeks, but I'm more occupied with getting my other car through its test on the 15th.
Trabis:Great for picnics! The eageleyed will notice there's slightly less crud on her, I gave in to the temptation, and washed & polished her.
Picnic Patrol! by cianhanrahan, on Flickr
Looks like enough room for 57 soccer balls! (57 Fußbälle)
Oh, wait… wasn't that the Wartburg commercial?
Well, maybe 57 baseballs?
Washed, polished and waxed her ahead of her show appearances, and took her out on a tour of Limerick's street art, Achtung Baby style…
And on Sunday I took her to a local Cars and Coffee meet, where I was stunned to be presented with the "Car of the Month!"
Congrats on car of the month!! Also Limerick looks amazing!
Cheers Justin, there's a lot of work ongoing in the city at the moment, it's a cool place to be.
Angela started getting noisier than usual recently, but I quickly narrowed it down tot the bolts on the manifold, a quick toque up and she's purring again.
Finally tackled preparation for this year's Retro Rides Gathering in earnest at the weekend. packed the boot, lashed down the airfilter housing with cable ties, until I can get a dab of weld on the mount. I've just put the new tyres on the front, so all that's left was to pack the popup tent properly, and remind my brother to get the spare fan belt and camping gas… And to put the spare spark plugs in the boot. And bulbs. And Irish IPa for one of the lads. and disposable camping chairs (long story!).
We have a proper 4 man tent for the weekend, but it's a bit of a faff putting it up and tearing it down each morning for the single night stays at each end, where we're not on the RRG site. So Popup for Wed/Thur/Tue night instead. Just as soon as I've figured out what incantations are required to get it back in its box each time.
I also looked at fitting these. The adjustable lower bar won't clear the curve of Angela's roof, so they're staying put for now.
Turns out the Trabant boot is pretty spacious. Better than the MX5's was last year!
My co-driver like to test the controls occasionally. I think she honks the horn more often than I do!
Added this, it's got to be worth 5bhp, no?
If you haven't had enough #TrabiOnTour and #RRG14, I've jotted a few notes on the trip here.
There's a school of thought that says you've never really owned a a car until you've either taken it on a long road trip, or slept in it.
When my brother, Mikey, and I planned on going to the Retro Rides Gathering for the third time, (which usually starts a week after I return from the previous Gathering) I dismissed the idea of taking my Trabant, Angela. It's not just that she's old(ish) and slow (cruising speed is about 85kph) but there's still so much I didn't know about the car, I was certain that something would break and I'd be left stranded on the side of an A road.
But in the year between, I did a few jobs that needed to be done, like putting her through the NCT, which she sailed through the first time, with praise for the state of her undercarriage. The previous owner had undersealed her well, and my confidence started to grow.
I put her away for a few months over the winter, but when the weather improved, and the evenings lengthened I started taking her out again, slowly increasing the range I was comfortable with taking her. Soon I was in such far flung locations as Loughmore and Loughrea.
We had a couple of breakdowns, mostly down to driver error, but the more I drove, the more I started to relish a UK road trip. By February it was time to arrange ferries, with Angela's registration on the booking form to seal the deal.
To mitigate the boredom of an 85kph slog along the motorway (requiring sustained periods at wide open throttle, which isn't kind to two stroke engines) I decided stay off the motorways where possible, taking the old Dublin road to the ferry, and to amble along the scenic A55 and A5 roads through Wales, and avoid the M5 corridor once I got to England. Taking three days to get to the Gathering gave us the chance to tick another item on the bucket list, and see the Morgan Motors factory in Great Malvern.
After a few shakedown runs to shows in Ireland, and a even a wash, polish and wax to bring out her shine, we declared her ready for her trip. The real question was; were we?
We brought two tents, a 2 man popup for the overnighters, and a 4 man for the longer stay over the weekend.With the Out of Office email set, I headed out on Wednesday 27 August to collect my co-pilot, and we hit the road. Time to take the #TrabiOnTour
Quickly (well, as quickly as one can in a Trabant) we discovered three things. The speed doesn't matter, it's really not as noisy as you might think, and there a good chance that the weak link is the nut behind the wheel.
I was worried about Angela, I was worried about missing the ferry, (we skipped the "old road to Dublin" idea, and went to Plan B, the M7) I was excited, I was slightly overcaffeinated. Result: stopping at all the motorway services along the way.
The stretches between stops were filled with our best loved driving games, "That's Your Car", "Spot the Garda Traffic Car", and my personal favourite; "Drafting for Fun and Profit".
This had the added bonus of taking a load off the little Two Stroke, as our fuel consumption/economizer gauge would usually drop two bars whenever we did this. As an added challenge, thanks to the flat floor and offset pedal layout of the Trabant, the passenger can also take control of the throttle pedal, making this a game for the entire front row!
We made the ferry with about 10 minutes to spare, which I'd like to think was down to my planning expertise. I'd like to think that...
We secured Angela for the crossing. Mostly just so one of us could bellow "Chocks Away" when we started her up again.
After what seemed like three weeks, we reached Wales. Mikey forgot to shout "Chocks Away!", and I forgot to switch on the fuel tap, so I stalled Angela on the off ramp, to the amusement of the ferry staff.
Eventually, Wales beckoned, foreboding and dramatic. We were soon caught by a Crossfire.
And with it, a complete lack of phone coverage. No Google Maps, and not even the trial Garmin app that wanted to connect to the Internet before letting us use it. Mikey scrambled through phone menus and ran network scans, but nobody wanted to talk to us. I'd checked with my carrier a month previously, who confirmed roaming was enabled, but it was a case of "Computer says No" as we trundled along the North Wales Expressway, under darkening skies, with only the printed receipt for the campsite to guide us. Time to improvise. We crossed the Menai in search of maps, fuel and coffee.
We took in the sights, the road signs, the little things that reminded us we weren't at home any more.
Map, coffee and fuel acquired, we headed east, Mikey taking his first stint behind the wheel and column shift. Our first campsite, located between St. Asaph and Rhuallt, was just off the edge of the map...
But we found it! I'd like to think that is was more to do with my expertise in mapreading and navigation. I'd like to think that...
And what a site it was! I hadn't camped anywhere but RRG the past few years, and this was miles ahead of the portable facilities I'd associated with camping. Great view, too...
Our second day touring was far more relaxed, I switched on my phone to find I had roaming coverage again, and after our first Little Chef breakfast (What do you mean, "the tea is extra"?) we noticed our first casualty. At some stage during the trip a front bumper cap had decided to make a break for the border.
We were soon back on familiar roads, our top speed not quite as important any more as there's a roundabout every mile or so for most of the road between Chester and Worcester. Not even the steep inclines of the Shropshire Hills could stop us, though there were a few times when even second gear seemed too high. Nonetheless, we got to our second campsite, (Mill House Caravan & Camping Site)with plenty of time for photos and a beer or two. 535km done, two tanks of juice, and a couple of driver changes. We may even have found the remains of the Bridge ofKhazad-dûm. #TenuousLOTRreference #WhenIntheShire
Day three dawned bright sunny. I know this because after a night and a half sharing the cramped tent with my brother, I decided Angela's front seats were roomier. The close seats, flat floor and low handbrake make for a decent bunk. I even gained a roommate.
No time to chat, we had a date with some Morgans to keep.
No description here can convey the magic of the Pickersleigh Road factory. From the stacks of wires wheels in one room, to Alfie the factory dog snuffling around the new visitors, there aren't many places like it. I could talk for ages about craftsmanship, and the skills involved, I'm still amazed by the sight of two members of the Classic bodywork team run a single sheet of aluminium through a set of rollers and make a rear section in a single pass, all done by eye, by hand, by craftsmen.
Feeling very privileged with our peek into the world of Morgan, we departed in our little wagon, to the Shelsleys, and Friday night's hijinks at the Retro Rides Gathering. If you've stuck with me so far, thank you.
The drive from the Morgan factory to the Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb takes about twenty minutes, and I couldn't help think about how many new M-cars would have been driven along this same road down the years. As we pulled out of the car park, a team was loading a GT3 racer onto a covered trailer, and a slinky Aero 8 sat in the car park. Little did we know, we would seem both later on the Hill!
When we arrived at the campsite, an orchard usually used by marshalls and club members on event weekends, we were told by Event Safety to park our car at one end and camp some 500 metres away, as they were afraid of the cars churning up the soft field. Given the going was "good to firm", and Angela weighed about 800 kilos with both of us and our gear onboard, we thought we'd chance our arms and took her with us and parked about halfway down the field.
Accommodationsorted, we started out tour. This beast greeted us in the Paddock, I don't know how much base is left, but it's an absolute monster going up the hill. The car's pretty quick too.
Gradually the campsite filled up, friends old and new arrived in various styles and degrees of style.
The next 48 hours passed in a haze. There was a trip to the breaker's yard, one to LiDL. This year's world famous Tat Auction was a roaring success. There was much roaring and £1200 was raised. Mr. Blobby made an appearance.
In an attempt to keep this vaguely Trabant related, we considerd these lots, amongst others, for the auction. We were outbid on both. This confused Mikey so much that he spent the rest of the evening bidding against me. Thanks, Mikey!
You'll get a much better idea of what went on by jumping over to my photo albums on Flickr:https://www.flickr.com/photos/cianhanrahan/sets/72157647150353376/
Sunday (about 500 photos,take your time!)
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