1. In order to combat the SPAM challenges we have been facing, I have chosen for the registration of new forum members to be manually approved. If you are registering as a new member, please fill out your profile as much as your comfortable doing. By doing this it shows us that you are not a spammer and will ensure that you’re registered to the form quickly. Should you be denied by mistake, please email justin@trabantforums.com
  2. I have received a lot of messages asking about the future of the forums once my car sells. Well today it sold and will soon be on its way to its new home. With that said, for the forums, there is more information under 'Announcements" titled "Future of the Forums' you could also copy and paste this link: http://www.trabantforums.com/threads/future-of-the-forums-donations.1762/
  1. Matthew Byrom

    Matthew Byrom Newbie

    Evening all,

    Time has come to sort out the old Trabant in earnest & there are a couple of holes in the engine bay that need sorting. One near the battery & one near to the left suspension. All on the front-left wheel-arch, basically. Small-ish but enough to warrant a decent patch.

    I've been learning to weld & doing OK with a MIG, according to my mate, but I'd like to ask those that do weld their Trabants, what thickness of sheet steel should I be buying in order to fabricate my own patches?

    The steel itself seems really thin, I mean less than 3mm, but I don't have a micrometer to be able to gauge the thickness accurately.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    RogerDerSchrauber likes this.
  2. RogerDerSchrauber

    RogerDerSchrauber Premium Member Forum Donor

    As somebody who has done too much body work / rust removal in his life, and hopes he never has to again, rout it ALL out. Check it all. You don't want to have to go back, since will be be doubly worse next time. You may discover the wheel boxes need a lot more work than you think. When the wheel boxes are in need of repair, almost always the sills under the doors are, too. Check the trunk and the rear inner fender areas, too. The Trabant steel isn't of the best quality, (not sure of the exact thickness) but, good news, you can order all these replacement parts to weld in: sills, wheelboxes, floors, etc.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
    Matthew Byrom likes this.
  3. Matthew Byrom

    Matthew Byrom Newbie

    Thanks for the advice. I see Trabantwelt offer replacement bits. From what you say I'm probably better off getting a full front left wheel arch just in case if the small hole becomes huge after cleaning. I'll be checking over all the body as I go.
    RogerDerSchrauber likes this.
  4. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    I would use 0.8mm steel ,1mm would do also but harder to shape and bend
    Matthew Byrom likes this.
  5. Matthew Byrom

    Matthew Byrom Newbie

    Thank you. Is it really just 0.8mm?

    I've been learning to stitch 3mm. More practice on thinner metal I think, then after Easter I'm buying my own welder.
  6. kev the builder

    kev the builder Loyal Comrade

    Yes it's 0.8mm or 18 gauge in old money it's easy to blow holes in so good clean metals needed to weld to
    Matthew Byrom likes this.
  7. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    If you are using MIG then you can reduce the chance of blowing holes by using thinner wire, turn the gas flow up a bit and use the lowest power setting your MIG set has. Don't try to lay down a long run of weld, do spots a centimetre apart and then go back and add more spots to close up the gaps (if you need a seam weld). It is all too easy when trying to weld a seam in one go melt a centimetre long hole in your car as, in trying to get a decent weld you move the tip too slowly. Move it too quickly and you won't make a good weld either but at least is easier to correct your mistake.

    If you want an easy MIG life invest in a decent quality welding set with a separate gas bottle and get a proper big bottle with a regulator. I have done a small amount of gasless MIG welding and it is much harder and slower. You cannot go back and re-weld a dodgy spot without first removing the slag from the top of the previous weld.
  8. Matthew Byrom

    Matthew Byrom Newbie

    Thanks for the advice. Going to opt for a gas mig and have been getting good at spot welds. Building up afterwards seems the most reliable way for me to stitch metal together without blowing holes in .8mm.

    It's in the engine bay so I'm not fussed about pretty, just want it solid. Going to take the precaution of removing fuel tank etc.

    Going to start prepping this weekend ahead of welder turning up. Taken lots of photos to remind me where everything goes back. :)
  9. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    Before I forget, remember to sand down the weld after you have finished. If the welds are good you should be able to take them back to (almost) the level of the surrounding metal. This is important as big blobs of weld weaken the structure. You get a big stress concentration in the corner where the blob meets the sheet metal. As this is also where the heat affected zone starts (which is weaker and more prone to corrosion than the weld or the rest of the bodywork) then it is a good idea to flatten the welds.

    I use angle grinder fibre sanding discs like these that need a plastic backing plate. It is much easier to sand carefully with these than with a solid grinding disc as the angle grinder bounces around less (makes a lot less noise too). 80 grit is coarse enough to flatten welds quickly 120 if you are worried about damaging the surrounding bodywork.

    If you have bought an angle grinder then go and get a spare set of motor brushes and tape them to the tool box. Especially if it is a no-name brand angle grinder. Invariably motor brushes wear out just as you are in the middle of a big rush job when the shops have shut o_O
  10. mati0921

    mati0921 Loyal Comrade

    +1 on the spare parts for angle grinder. :)
    I bought a cheap one that said 5 year warranty on the box. now i am on the third one and it is starting to make funny noises sometimes. this is within one year. :)
    They said that when i change it for a new one the warranty starts over at 5 years, so i will have free angle grinders forever. :)

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