1. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    As I half expected, the brakes on my nice Trabant have started leaking. The tell tale weeping from the brake backplate, that distinctive aroma, I guess that the rear right wheel cylinder seal(s) have gone. It could be a cracked pipe I suppose but as far as I could gather from the previous owner the car had been standing still for a while. Which in my experience usually leads to leaky wheel and/or master cylinders. If one has gone then the rest will follow soon. Time to order a full brake repair set, wheel cylinders and brake shoes. Even if the other cylinders are fine, the chance of getting the bleed nipples to open is rather small.

    I had kind of hoped that the brakes would last long enough to get the car through the "EU kontroll". The deadline is the end of January but I could have submitted the car for test from the 1st of November. That Trabant of mine has excellent timing.

    Ho hum...

    Better crack on with welding up my Dyane and get that out of the garage tent and back on the road.

    I assume there is nothing particularly unusual about Trabant drum brakes? Any gotchas such as you cannot get the drum off without a special puller? DOT 4 brake fluid will do fine?
  2. Ron

    Ron Premium Member Forum Donor

    The earlier cars do require a special puller I'm afraid, and even then they can be extremely tight! I made up a puller at work, you can see pictures of other people who have done the same on Google. After applying an awful lot of pressure, the drums let go with a very satisfying (terrifying!) bang! I have no experience of the later type hubs, apparently they are a lot easier...

    This will help: http://www.trabantforums.com/threads/rear-brakes.1556/

    Good luck, be careful with the cylinders as well, they all look the same at first but they are handed. They might be marked by the supplier, mine came from Trabantwelt and were.
  3. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    Thanks Ron! I saw the puller on Trabantwelt and guessed that there was probably a reason they were selling it :)
  4. Comrade Norwegen

    Comrade Norwegen Puttering Along

    I have a puller as I just changed the brakes on mine
  5. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I drove mine around with dodgy brakes for awhile! I probably shouldn't have.

    Mine would pull to the right when cold. The rear on the passenger side started leaking fluid all over my newly painted wheels. Then eventually one of the liners broke loose on the other side on the back and jammed causing lots of smoke! So it was time to do a break job.

    There is a guy in Germany who goes by the name Old Tobi who sells mostly DDR antiques and sometimes tools who sold me my early style hub puller who ships world wide.


    I think I paid $85 for it. I first tried the "other method" which involves removing the 36mm nut while leaving the wheels attached to the hubs. If you are strong enough you can use the wheel as leverage and wiggle the wheel inwards and outwards while pulling outward at the same time to get the hub off. Sort of like removing a steering wheel.

    I tried this but was not strong enough. You may more muscle than I do!

    As far as the components are concerned. I've done drum brakes on Fords and Fiats but this was by far the hardest brake job I have ever done in my life! I think I spent 5 hours a day for 7 days.
    I'm sure if I had to do it again it wouldn't take me so long.

    The components are not symmetrical (or obvious) like a typical car. I did not know this. I ordered a complete kit from TrabantWelt or Danzer and everything was in little baggies unlabeled. I had no idea what went to what. This is the cheapest route. You get everything except the master cylinder and brake drums. The kit comes with new brake lines going to each wheel as well.

    My best advice is to start on one side, remove all the parts and lay them out, then take a look at your new parts and make sure they are the same thing before you install them. Unlike me where I had to tear my brakes apart a couple of times.

    Phil in Switzerland helped me out a bunch. Here is the thread I started about 2 years ago


    Things to keep in mind:

    Front wheel cylinders are not symmetrical.

    I *think* the wheel cylinders that fit the bottom passenger side fit the upper driver's side. And the ones that fit the upper passenger side fit the lower driver side.


    I can't remember if the front shoes are symmetrical or not. Notice the angle the shoes make contact with the wheel cylinders.


    The front and rear self adjusters are different length:


    Rear shoes are not symmetrical. One shoe has a shorter liner than the other. Make note which shoe goes to the parking brake mechanism before driving the rivet into it!

    What I did to correct this. I removed the same amount of friction material from the opposite shoe. So I have four shoes with short liners on the rears. I don't know what effect this has on the braking but I do know that I have better brakes than I did before I rebuilt the system!

    I would also invest in a new master cylinder. Mine eventually started acting dodgy. Like it would go to the floor then the next time I had a firm pedal. First time I ever had that happen before.

    I have rebuilt several Fiat master cylinders with no issues but Trabant master cylinders are a bit tricky. I broke one of the seals trying to slide it onto the plunger.

    I think Danzer does not require a core charge.
  6. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    The "wheel on - wiggle" method is also suggested for 2cv rear hubs which have the same arrangement. I have yet to try it as I have been putting off going through the brakes on my Dyane since I bought it. They work fine just that there is air in the system somewhere and the rear bleed nipples were already rusted solid when I bought the car. The Trabant brakes look very similar to Mini drum brakes. Leading shoes at the front, leading/trailing shoes at the back. I managed to put one of the rear shoes on the wrong way round on my Mini and drove it like that for a couple of years before I realised my mistake. The brakes worked a bit better after that.

    Trabantwelt sell a puller for an OK price (about the same as a small rucksack of food from a Norwegian supermarket) ;) I plan to buy a master cylinder and a complete brakes set including all the brake lines and flexible hoses. Just in case all the brake lines are rusted together and have to be sawn off. One day I will buy a brake line flaring tool and a set of connectors but not just yet. I might get a master cylinder seal kit and practice on the old master cylinder as they are "not expensive" (about the same price as a coffee and a bun at Gardermoen airport...). :D
  7. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    Presumably it is a good idea to have a spare set of wheel bearings as they can get damaged as you pull the hub?
  8. Comrade Norwegen

    Comrade Norwegen Puttering Along

    As long as you pull the hub off as you should, it shouldn't damage the wheel bearings.
    Mine were stuck on, so trying to lever them off with the wheels would only result in something getting damaged.

    Changing the brakes shoes was easy and straight forward with the kit from Trabantwelt.de. I've never changed drum shoes before and did all wheels in less than a day.
    Just do one wheel at a time and make sure to take some pictures a long the way and you should be fine
  9. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  10. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Bant, I remember you saying you had a hard time finding stuff in Norway. Can you get a product called PB Blaster from hardware or autopart stores? It's the best rust penetrator I've found. I sprayed all of my brake line fittings on my Trabant and they came right off. I recommend spraying them down, letting them sit overnight then going back and hitting it a second time before trying to remove them. I did not attempt to remove the bleeder screws because I was replacing the wheel cylinders anyway.

    Fiat brake calipers are notorious for seized bleeder screws because the bodies are made of aluminum and the bleeder screws are steel. You would think a steel bleeder screw would be more prone to seize in a steel caliper but it must have something to do with dissimilar metals causing them to corrode worse. Since then I always make sure I put some anti seize compound on the threads.

    I'm sure you are familiar with Gunson tools. This by far is one of the handiest tools I have in my garage. I used to have to get someone to pump my brakes but this tool seems to work faster than the pumping method. Only downside is the tool leaks like hell so I have to wrap allot of Teflon tape around the threads on the bottle.

  11. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    So, I have been looking at the exploded line drawings of the front axle/hub that are on Trabiteile.de. As far as I can see from the drawings, and from looking at the front drums on my car you can just take the drums off to get to the brakes. Like an old Mini.

    I cannot see why I need a hub puller to change the brakes as the hubs (bearing carriers) and drums are separate. What am I missing?
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  12. Comrade Norwegen

    Comrade Norwegen Puttering Along

    You need the tool to remove the drum in order to get to the shoes
  13. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    I have two Ezibleeds already. One for cars with DOT4 brake fluid the other for cars that use LHM.
  14. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    Why? Are the drum and bearing carrier a single unit? As with older VW buses.

    Or is the bearing carrier diameter so big that you have to take it off to get to the brakes?
  15. Comrade Norwegen

    Comrade Norwegen Puttering Along

    You're not removing the wheel bearings, only the drum.
    The drum sits quite tight onto the hub, mine were impossible to remove without the puller.
  16. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    OK, I am used to that. Usually a bit of heat and a lump hammer do the trick. Then applying some copper grease before assembly.

    Lucky I didn't order that puller from Trabantwelt as it is the one for removing the hubs, not the drums.
  17. Comrade Norwegen

    Comrade Norwegen Puttering Along

    I tried heating then as well, didn't work.
    The drum is fixed directly on to the axle and needs to be pulled straight out to get it off.
  18. Comrade Norwegen

    Comrade Norwegen Puttering Along

  19. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    But this means a Biltema 2 leg puller of the right size should work? Or is there something special about the puller you used?

    EDIT your pictures shows both the hub and bearing carrier have been removed?
  20. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    The line drawing shows the "Bremsetrommel" is a separate component from the "Radnabe" which holds the wheel studs. Both front and rear hubs are like this.

    See https://www.trabiteile.de/bib/Zeichnungen/pages/F17.htm

    There is just a single small screw to "hold" the drum onto the "Radnabe". You only need to remove that to get the drum off not the big nut in the centre. Unless I am missing something really really obvious.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015

Share This Page