1. Stuart-C

    Stuart-C Puttering Along

    Hello there, I have had my trabant around a month. When I first got it I could barely turn the wheel. I replaced the top swivel mounts and most of the bottoms apart from the threaded metal as I could not get the pin out. I also reattached the rack gaitor as it had come loose at one end. I have just driven the car on a 350 mile trip and while the steering seems better it is still quite stiff and the characteristics change continually. The steering wheel makes all sorts of creaking noises too. Any ideas where I should look next. Any help greatly appreciated.
  2. Ron

    Ron Premium Member Forum Donor

    Have you greased the rack? It can make a huge difference. The nipple is on the top of the rack.
  3. Stuart-C

    Stuart-C Puttering Along

    No I was unaware you could. I am completely new to trabants. Apart from greasing it is there any special technique or just grease it from the nipple? Thanks for your help
  4. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    when you rebuilt the kingpins did you shim them correctly . You need to add shims until they just turn with absolute minimum of up and down play
  5. Stuart-C

    Stuart-C Puttering Along

    I bought the full kit from ldm and swapped everything over and tightened it all up. There was no play as far as I could tell.
  6. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    You need to shim them until the king pin turns freely with a fraction of up and down play . You can buy the shims in various thicknesses from the usual suppliers . Unless you are very VERY lucky simply swapping everything over won't work and could be the reason your steering is heavy
  7. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    I assume you reamed the new Bakelite/nylon bushings ? They need to be reamed out to be a nice sliding fit using an adjustable reamer
  8. Ron

    Ron Premium Member Forum Donor

    As far as greasing goes, I just gave it a few pumps, turning the wheel from lock to lock... eventually grease will ooze out of the hole in the end of the rack on the driver's side. I really didn't expect much the first time I did it, but it transformed the steering ease/feel. However, mbeamish is very knowledgeable on these cars so perhaps he's more likely on the right track. Keep us posted, you'll get it sorted!
  9. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    I'm with Ron try greasing the rack first as it will only take a couple of minutes . However I reckon you might need to redo your kingpins ( try grease first) . The other thing you can do is jack up front of car on axle stands and disconnect the steering track rods from the hubs . This should let you feel if rack is stiff or hubs
  10. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I was going to mention this yesterday but wanted to verify that nipple that was an actual grease fitting on the rack! See nipple below the punch in this photo.

    [​IMG]

    I should probably grease my rack now that you mention this. My steering is a bit tight in places but I think the tow-in is off and just needs an alignment job.

    Also worth mentioning. If the rack needs lubricating, I'd say the swing arms/CVs (which model you have) need greasing as well. When mine was particularly cold, the steering wheel would move left and right rapidly on it's own when pulling out from a dead stop. I greased the outer swing arms at the hub and it fixed the problem.

    That grease fitting on the hub: Anyone know if that greases everything or just the lower ball joint? It's location looks as if it greases the ball joint, wheel bearing and outer CV joint/swing arm all at the same time.
  11. RogerDerSchrauber

    RogerDerSchrauber Premium Member Forum Donor

    Don't forget, the manual I have says: turn the wheel to the driver's side (left) before you lube the steering box.
    'bant likes this.
  12. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Thanks for mentioning that. I would have just pumped it full of grease otherwise!
  13. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I'm glad you mentioned this because I noticed yesterday my Trabbi was doing the same thing. So I took my own advice and shot the rack full of grease. WOW! What a difference. My steering felt like it was binding about 15 degrees in either direction and tended to want to go in either direction and not return to center. Sort of like the tow-out was out of adjustment. Now it feels more normal and easier to turn.

    Just one of those overlooked maintenance items. I don't know why I didn't check it until now. Just like when the steering wheel would move left and right from a dead stop turned out to be the swing arms needed lubricating.

    Question. If you shoot the rack full of grease and it oozes out between the gear box and steering column, does that mean it's fully lubricated? Or should the "boots" be full of grease as well? Like the accordion boot on the passenger side and the long nipple on the driver's side?

    I squeezed them and I can feel they have grease in them, they are just not packed with grease. if that makes any sense.
  14. Stuart-C

    Stuart-C Puttering Along

    Thank you for the advice. Naively I thought the kit was ready to just put on. It was an absolute pig getting everything apart again but after reaming the plastic bushes and greasing the rack it is a million times better. With regards to adjusting the rack, I assume this is trial and error?
  15. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    Aha, thanks, I didn't realise that either! RTFM. I just tried this and managed to pump in a considerable amount of grease in without any coming out anywhere. Previous attempts at greasing have resulted in some improvement but grease coming out of the LHS of the rack and where the steering column enters the rack.

    I will take the Trabant for a spin tomorrow to see if it has made a difference.
  16. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    The result is a noticeable improvement in the steering :D
    RogerDerSchrauber likes this.
  17. Jeff

    Jeff Puttering Along

    Yes just been out and done my steering rack I did it before but the steering wheel was straight and now on full lock and yes it has made a difference thanks for the tip Guy,s
  18. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Greased mine awhile back. My steering turns smoother as well! Glad someone mentioned this, otherwise I would have overlooked this maintenance item!

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