1. Dominic Hall

    Dominic Hall Newbie

    I have a few questions about owning a Trabant.
    Will it be reliable enough as a daily driver and my only car?
    How will the air cooled engine cope with days that frequent temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius?
    How well would a 6 foot 4 tall person fit in a Trabant?
    I've seen posts about problems with unmarked ethanol fuel and synthetic oil reacting with each other and causing engine damage is this a big issue? how can it be avoided?
    Just out of interest how high does the engine rev?
    Can you mix oil into the tank by rocking the car on its suspension? (Go Trabi Go style)
    Is the engine block aluminum? I thought it was steel but posts here suggest otherwise.
    And finally is there any way I can test drive a Trabant in Victoria? I know there are not many here but if possible I would like to give on a drive (if you think I am up to it still on learners but I am learning with manual).
  2. Andrewwoey

    Andrewwoey Loyal Comrade

    I can answer a few of the questions.
    A reliable daily driver? Yes, once you have sorted out all the bad service/repairs of previous owners.
    Mixing oil? I firstly turn off the fuel tap. I then use my dipstick to see how much fuel i need. Put in the required amount of oil then fill with petrol. I just swirl around the nozzel when filling the tank. Modern oils mix very easily.
    Aluminum engine block/case? Yes.

    Dominic Hall likes this.
  3. Dominic Hall

    Dominic Hall Newbie

    Huh I had figured due to its age that it would be steel but then again I guess they had a steel shortage. As for the oil good to hear that its so easy to mix.
  4. Zausel

    Zausel Genosse Forum Donor

    I'd have reliable back up until you sort all the issues out. My car has been reliable enough to get me 80km round trip daily, but now other issues.
    Dominic Hall likes this.
  5. trondd

    trondd Loyal Comrade

    How long can you be without a car while you wait for parts?
  6. Austinpowers

    Austinpowers Loyal Comrade

    I’m 6 foot 2 inches and I fit in mine ok. But I have fited a smaller steering wheel which helps.
    I mix the oil and fuel the same way Andy does. And have been for the last six years, and have had no problems.
    The Trabi that I have over in Hungary gets used when I’m out there in summer. And it is regularly over 40 and have no problems with over heating.
    The motor revs up to 5000rpm and funny enough max power is achieved at close to that. So if you want it to go reasonably quick you have to ring it’s neck.

    Dominic Hall likes this.
  7. A Spooky Ghost

    A Spooky Ghost Loyal Comrade

    If you find a "good one", as in it has always had good work done- or had all of the major things fixed. Then they are a wonderful car.

    Now if you get one, that needs one of everything(like mine did). Once it is straightened out- you'll love it! :D

    Sort it all out first, and don't wait till huge problems suddenly pop up. These are REALLY easy to work on....

    The above goes towards any old machine, car, scooter, motorcycle-Etc. I start with rebuilding/ checking the brakes, steering, then engine and trans. Usually the brakes will royally screw you over first, unless all is new/ rebuilt. Brake master cylinder seems to be the first thing to go, especially if the car sat for years, and now suddenly goes down the road.

    Aside from gentle tweaking, and using a grease gun. The car is a joy to live with.

    As for the fuel mixing: Get a even number of gallons(or litres) and add the oil with a measuring cup, and stir with the dip stick.

    The car mixes it all up going down the road, no real chance of the oil to clump together.

    In other words, a old car can slowly suck you dry(constantly breaking). If it has been well sorted, then you have no worries!
    Dominic Hall likes this.
  8. Dominic Hall

    Dominic Hall Newbie

    A fair while probably 6 months or so until I am off my learners, which means I should have some time to get it ready for regular use.
  9. Dominic Hall

    Dominic Hall Newbie

    Good to hear that the engine should be able to take the weather. As for the rpm thats about what I figured it would be but I am surprised that the power band is up that high.
  10. Dominic Hall

    Dominic Hall Newbie

    Thats also good to hear. I don't mind working on the car, it looks like a bit of fun to work on. Still glad that they are more reliable than what most people say.
  11. trondd

    trondd Loyal Comrade

    I meant while it's your daily driver and only car. Things will wear and break.
    RogerDerSchrauber likes this.
  12. VADOC

    VADOC Premium Member Forum Donor

    dominic, i think it would depend upon you're circumstances
    If you are mechanically inclined and do all of you're own work, most of the car is straight forward. I think there is an English translation of the workshop manual on the forum, although I can't recall where.
    as for a daily drive, I think this also depends. For me, I live 22 miles from my work, the first two miles are in town, but then I drive a 4 lane interstate where the speed limit is 70 mph (113 kph) but in actuality every one drives 80 mph ( 128 kph) with a lot of semi-truck traffic. So i have been lured to the decadant life with a 2013 Chevrolet with heater, air conditioning, mp3 player, cruise control etc, and just use the Trabant for local around the town drives.
    When you decide on a car though, beware of rust, of course the body panels are Duroplast, the under pinnings are pressed steel and prone to rust. The mechanicals can be fixed, rust may be beyond or impractical to repair
    good luck searching for the right car
    Dominic Hall likes this.
  13. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    That's my main problem owning a Trabbi. Three weeks is usually how long it takes to get parts from Germany to the US.

    I've been meaning to check out that supplier in Hungary. Ordering stuff from Hungary is about twice as fast and twice as cheap.

    Also as mentioned, be prepared for allot of shoddy repairs and lack of maintenance. It took me about 6 years off and on fixing stuff. When I got mine, mine appeared to have the original fuel line and V-belt.
    Dominic Hall likes this.
  14. Dominic Hall

    Dominic Hall Newbie

    I enjoy engine matinence (hence why I am about to begin training to become a mechanic) however I am not so sure about repairing a rusted or damaged frame. So my plan is to make sure the Trabant I get has at least got a solid frame. As for parts shipping from England to Australia generaly takes about a week so I don't think shiping should take too long.
  15. Dominic Hall

    Dominic Hall Newbie

    I look foward to working on the car so thats not an issue. As for the drive from home to town it's about 20km at the moment on hilly windy roads with a speed limit of 100kms (not sure how the limit is that high no one can drive that fast on those roads). Also traffic is pretty light where I live so that makes things easy. I have also read up on where to look for rust don't worry about that, I am not keen to do frame repairs.
  16. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I wouldn't be too concerned about driving these cars in hot weather. It generally get's around 35 C here in East Tennessee in the summer. From my understanding these air cooled engines actually run cooler than water cooled engines. The reason for water cooling is it's easier to control the engine temperature using a thermostat. Like to around 90 C so they will run more efficient.

    I'd be more concerned about winter time driving. I don't know how cold it get's where you live.

    I don't drive my Trabant or Citroen 2CV in the winter due to their heaters. Unless it's a sunny day. The radiant heat coming through the windows on a sunny day will warm the interior way more than the heater can.

    As far as mixing gas. I typically buy several 5 gallon (~20 liter) cans of non ethanol gas in the spring and mix up batches, 5 gallons at a time. Then transfer those to 1 gallon jugs and just top the fuel tank off when half empty as needed. I think I've only filled the fuel tank 3 times in the 6 years I've owned mine. Just something I got used to doing.
    Dominic Hall likes this.
  17. Dominic Hall

    Dominic Hall Newbie

    Thats good that the engine can manage the higher heats, I had just figured there may be some issues as Germany's climate I imagine would be cooler than here. As for the winter tempretures on the coldests days its about 0 or 1 degrees C in the morning with a max temperature 10 degrees C. Mind you tempreture doesn't bother me I am used to riding everywhere in tempretures anywhere between 0 and 40 degrees C. As for mixing gas I figure I will refill at petrol stations, take note of how much I have put in and then mix in the appropriate amount of oil.
  18. Bill

    Bill Smoking Along

    I live in Kansas- Trabants can definitely handle temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit!
    Actually. I had zero problems with the temperature bothering my Trabants in any season.
    Dominic Hall likes this.
  19. Dominic Hall

    Dominic Hall Newbie

    Very capable engines it seems. I have seen them start in snow and now as it turns out they have no trouble with heat.

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