1. RogerDerSchrauber

    RogerDerSchrauber Premium Member Forum Donor

  2. Buckeye601

    Buckeye601 Loyal Comrade

    Thanks for the link Roger.
  3. Buckeye601

    Buckeye601 Loyal Comrade

    I had a few hours today so I gave it a try to see if I could get it started. No joy for the first attempt.

    I gave it a good soaking with anti fog spray a few days ago down into the heads. Today I gave it some more there and also put some thru the carb while hand turning the engine today. It was not easy to turn but it seemed to move. Side note: There was a fair amount of debris in the 90 degree intake pipe at the carb due to the hose being disconnected at that end so I removed that elbow and cleaned that with some of the anti fog spray and some carb cleaner spray. I also sprayed a bunch of the anti fog into the carb to flush any junk out prior to turning the engine.

    I put a couple gallons of fresh mixed gas (ethanol free gas) in the tank and turned the gas shutoff under the dash to the down position which I believe is how it is supposed to be for “on” but it is not labeled. Hooked up a fresh 6 volt battery, and found that all the lights and flashers seem to work which is good.

    I gave the key a turn in the ignition and sometimes nothing but a small clunk happened. Other times it turned a very few times very, very slowly and stopped. It never spun fast enough to even come close to starting. After about a minute of off and on trying I figured it was a no go. When I looked at the starter motor, it looks quite old. I touched the wires to see if any were loose and the cable from the battery was quite hot to the touch. Indeed, both battery cables were hot near the battery so I disconnected them.

    Based on the above, it appears most likely that the starter is bad and is drawing a large amount of current. Since the engine did turn some, or it seemed to anyway, I don’t think it is bound up. At least I hope not. Fortunately, in the trunk was a spare starter (and a spare generator too) so I have one to swap. And it appears that replacing the starter should be a fairly easy operation. Perhaps the starter was going before the car was stored thus the new starter being on hand. It that is the case then the generator may also be bad but that is secondary at the moment.

    Do you all think it is more likely the starter than the engine? I’m going to swap it out next week sometime and see what I get. One start attempt my foot slipped from the clutch pedal and it was in gear and the car moved forward just a bit which means the engine turned and attempted to drive the transmission, which should mean the engine is free, right?

    Of course, I have no idea about if there are issues with the ignition system yet, which I am expecting but one step at a time.

    Thanks to everyone who has shared their knowledge with me so far. I hope I replied personally to everyone but if I missed someone, thanks to you too.

    Berlin89 likes this.
  4. RogerDerSchrauber

    RogerDerSchrauber Premium Member Forum Donor

    If it has the original aluminum battery cables, would replace them first with modern copper ones. They never send enough power to the starter. Second, hit the body of the starter with one good rap using a plastic-head hammer. Might jog loose any crud keeping the solenoid from moving the starter.
    BillB likes this.
  5. BillB

    BillB Loyal Comrade Administrator Forum Donor

    Roger has written exactly what I first thought after reading your post.
    Those starters are pretty robust and the original/aluminum battery cables were terrible.
    Additionally, check/clean all connections.
    Corrosion is the enemy and always attacks connections.
  6. Buckeye601

    Buckeye601 Loyal Comrade

    I will definitely check and clean all the connections, which are very conveniently located so that is an easy first step. I have some Deoxit that is a fantastic contact cleaner, especially after using a brush to clean any gunk off them I will also see if the battery cables are the aluminum ones and if so, swap them out. My guess is that the battery cables are original since pretty much everything on the engine looks many decades old. If that does not rectify the issue, I can swap the starter out for the spare that I have on hand. It looks like the easiest to access the starter of any car I have worked on.
  7. A Spooky Ghost

    A Spooky Ghost Loyal Comrade

    When you take that starter off, try testing it with some jumper cables-just to see what is going on. With a cheapy multimeter, you can check the resistance, and voltage drop of the cables. You should see the same batt. voltage at the starter cable, and up on the battery. If it is not the starter, cables,connection or batt. Then either it is a 12 volt starter, and or your engine is kinda stuck.

    On mine, you can rock the fan back and forth fairly easily-by hand(until it hits some compression). Often do this at car shows, while explaining how it all kinda works...

    If you can't move it like this, there may be some motor issues.... At best the rings have some rust, and will loosen up once running.
  8. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    If you haven't already replaced your cables, buy your battery cables from AutoZone. Reason? They seem to be the only autopart store that sells battery cables with lead connectors. Those cables with steel connectors Advance and O'Reilly's sells corrode too easily. It seems all modern cars are using these plated battery connectors. My 2003 Subaru has steel battery connectors. I haven't had any issues with that car but at least with lead you can scrape any corrosion off.
  9. Buckeye601

    Buckeye601 Loyal Comrade

    Thanks for the advice. Autozone was closed today and I just couldn’t wait, so I got cables at O’Reilly’s. And they are definitely steel connectors. If they go bad, I will get something better later. They’re super easy to swap out at least.
  10. Buckeye601

    Buckeye601 Loyal Comrade

    It seems the aluminum cables may have been the problem. I swapped out the starter since I had a spare on hand (what better way to celebrate America's independence than by working on my communist car, right?), cleaned all the connectors but I had the same issue with the cables getting hot and the engine barely turning at all. I did spin the engine by hand with the plugs removed and the pistons move freely so it is not at all bound up.

    I swapped the battery cables with new copper ones and the engine turns. Still not super fast but it is probably as it normally is with a 6-volt system. I was not able to check for spark since I was by myself.

    Next problem up was found when I turned the valve to turn the gas on. I had a nice leak streaming from the fuel line right near the cutoff valve. I turned it off and disconnected the line, reconnecting and repositioning it so that the line was above the valve to see if I could determine if it was the line or the valve, which I understand is quite likely to leak too. It certainly seemed like it was leaking from the hose itself, maybe an inch from the tank end connector. So, I need to start ordering parts it seems. I probably will see about getting both the valve and the line, assuming I can determine the correct part. I will also see what else I think I might need to save on shipping. I might get new coils just in case I need them, and I need to evaluate the brakes to see what I may need to get them safe.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  11. Buckeye601

    Buckeye601 Loyal Comrade

    Since I think all of this is relevant to the topic of getting a car that had been sitting for a long time, I thought I would list the items that I ordered from Trabantwelt yesterday. At least for my car, these are things that I suspect I may need now or not too long down the road, so as long as I am paying for shipping, I may as well place a big order.

    First, I ordered the fuel shutoff valve (though it appears to me that mine is OK for the moment) as well as the metal braided fuel supply line which seems to have a nice hole in it somewhere under that braiding.

    I assume that the brakes are going to need overhauling based on the length of time the car has sat idle. So, I ordered the kit that includes all the brake lines, cylinders, shoes, hoses, and other miscellaneous hardware for the 601. I also went ahead and ordered four new brake drums and the master cylinder "kit," since I figured as long as I am redoing the brakes I may as well do everything.

    I ordered two new ignition coils and a new set of ignition cables. I also ordered the carburetor intake rubber hose since mine has a big split in it. I have on hand a used (just removed from the car but probably still OK starter), a new starter installed in the car, and also a spare (rebuilt) generator that came with the car. I also have four brand new tires to mount. There may be more things that I find that I will need, but hopefully the above can get me up and running and relatively safe on the road.

    As a side note, I jacked up the car while replacing the starter (not really needed but made it a bit easier to see things) so I was able to evaluate a bit better the undercarriage of the vehicle. It really looks quite rust free from what I saw. I also pulled up the carpet and looked at the metal under there, and there appears to be no rust at all in the places I could easily see without removing seats, etc. so at this point, the car looks to be pretty solid. I know the shock towers are often trouble and those look good. I am not sure what areas under the car I should perhaps inspect more closely - I presume that there are certain areas that are more prone to rust than others, but nothing jumped out at me so far.

    It will be a bit before my parts arrive so I will be limited in what I can do with the car until then. Maybe I will be able to figure out what is wrong with the car lift installed in the barn I am using in the meantime. Getting that back working would make the brake work much easier to get done I would assume.

    Last question for now: Does anyone know where I can find a dipstick for the gas tank, or have any idea what the measurements should be to indicate the amount of fuel left in the tank? It does not seem that they are sold new on Trabantwelt (or I could not find them if they are there), and I don't know that it would be worth having one shipped over here used. It would be pretty easy to make one if I know how far up the stick each liter (or better yet, gallon) should be, assuming that the tanks are all pretty standard which based on pictures I have seen they seem to be.

  12. A Spooky Ghost

    A Spooky Ghost Loyal Comrade

    Here is a link to that tank stick:


    Since yours is a older car, you will need the trabi specific wheel hub puller, to do the brakes.. You'll have to look around on places like Ebay.de


    Would be a damn good time to pop in all new wheel bearings too. Sealed units are the way to go. Just look at the size in the parts books). Some new wheel hub lock washers/ tabs would be a good idea.

    Also if you have points ignition, get a new set, and condensers too. The little advance springs as well

    Maybe some cylinder heads, with the right size plug hole... They sell new heads, though might be best to see how it runs. Who knows you may need cylinders.. I have a few sets of heads, If I can find them.

    Carb kit, well- I could go on.... :rolleyes:

    I did this exact thing to my car(it came in pieces, and boxes).

    If it was me, I would do my best to get it running-if only sputtering, before a large parts order is made.

    That way, at least you kinda know what you have. A small ketchup bottle from dollar tree, hooked upside down to a hose to Herr. Carburetor would be easy.

    You can clean that carb out really easily, and use some simple gaskets to get it running. The gasket paper can be bought at most any auto parts store.

    If there is no spark, take some sand paper-and clean the points. They usually get corroded when sitting awhile.

    Before a large parts order, and after you get it running well enough to idle. Remove the carb metal elbow, and while idling- put your hand over it. If it instantly dies, this means your engine seals are good. If it continues to try and run. You are sucking air in somewhere....

    If a car has been sitting a while, it is nothing for crank seals to dry up..

    I'm saying all of this to give you a few ideas, and or areas to look at. In the end, it's all up to you-how, and when things get fixed. I like having things as a daily driver, so more gets fixed up front... :cool:
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  13. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I've got the hub puller if you need to borrow it. I live in TN so not too far from Ohio, so if I don't get it back I know where you live and will be coming back for it! I paid about $100 for it. For some reason none of the vendors sells repros but it's nessssary to get the hubs off.
  14. Buckeye601

    Buckeye601 Loyal Comrade

    Thanks for the offer. I purchased one of these from Germany and it is on its way here, assuming I got the correct one for my car (it seems there are two different types of pullers but I think I got the right one). The one I purchased looks like the picture attached.

    Attached Files:

  15. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    That's the puller that separates the drum from the hub. I actually have one of those but have never used it. You need the other one that pulls the hub and drum off together.
  16. Buckeye601

    Buckeye601 Loyal Comrade

    Thanks for the link (I will put that on my list for my inevitable next order) and of course the advice on what parts may be needed. My plan is to try to get this thing running and evaluate what the priorities are from there based on what is working and what is not working, or not working well. Only time and getting the thing started will tell on that. I did briefly consider trying to start the car by connecting an alternate fuel source (like a hose and funnel) to the carb, but I don't have anyone else to help with the car at this point, and I am concerned that whatever I rig up may decide to spill itself while I try to get the engine going. I do have a fire extinguisher in the garage with me, but I really would like to avoid setting anything alight at this point :). Plus, I have work that needs to be done on my dissertation for school, plus my full-time job, so waiting on parts from the Fatherland may not be all that bad for me overall, though I really want to see this run!

    I made note of your suggestions, and I agree that the wise thing to do is to wait until I get things running to decide what to do next. Replacing those heads seems to be a simple procedure, and would likely be worth doing, but as you said, there may be more needed than just that so, for now, I will see what luck I have getting this "sputtering."

    I am certain the brakes will need serious attention, so that is the big thing to take care of to make it safe to at least take on the road even if it does not run perfectly, so getting those parts on hand will allow me to get that all taken care of as time permits. I really hope I can get the car lift working because I am not sure I am patient enough to replace all the lines etc. while crawling under the car. If the lift is a no-go, it might make sense to see if I can find a reliable shop that would be willing to do that part, assuming I can find anyone who is willing to work on a car model they certainly never touched before.
  17. Buckeye601

    Buckeye601 Loyal Comrade

    That being the case, I may end up taking you up on your offer. :) Would you be able to post a picture of yours so I can see what it looks like?
  18. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Here it is.

    Attached Files:

  19. Buckeye601

    Buckeye601 Loyal Comrade


    This one looks a bit different than the one you posted but is listed as a Trabant puller. Any opinions as to whether this is the correct puller or should I keep looking?

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  20. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Yeah. That's the same tool.

    You just back the threaded piece out, pull the collar off to separate the two halves, stick the threaded piece against the end of the hub, stick the two halves around it then tighten away.

    I tried this once (without success) just to see if it was possible but some people say if you remove the hub nut but leave the wheel attached to the hub, you can jiggle the hub off. I've also heard you can lift the engine out without using a hoist. But I never had any luck with that method either!

    Someone made their own hub puller and posted photos of it on here. I've also never tried this but wonder if a 4" gear puller would work? I used a 4" gear puller to remove the rear hub on my MGB with no issues and it uses a really large nut. Like 1 5/16".

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