1. notabmw1

    notabmw1 Smoking Along

    After attending the Trabant Parade a few days ago, got me to thinking of how to take it to the next "level". Being the hotrodder that I am, I thought a cool period mod could be putting the Wartburg 1000cc engine in the Trabant. I know it's been done before, all though I haven't been able to find a "how to", but it is my understanding it's a relatively bolt on affair. Has anyone done it, looks like the block would bolt to the trans, any special stuff to think about? Here is the one image I found, obviously fabricate exhaust from the header as well as putting a front mount radiator, electric puller fan of some sorts, making up the hoses, etc. It would seem like a decent power upgrade... Thoughts?

  2. RHFabrications

    RHFabrications Loyal Comrade

    Whilst I've no experience of doing this conversion I understand that it's a pretty common and fairly simple thing to do, and also, LDM-Tuning sell kits with all the parts you will need, although they seem pretty expensive I guess they would be the people to ask.

    http://www.ldm-tuning.de/en/trabant_601 ... ts/engine/

    Power to weight, despite the engine being quite heavy I reckon a trabi would take off like a scalded cat with twice the power.
  3. Evan_S

    Evan_S Newbie

  4. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I've considered several transplants myself. I've got a couple of used air cooled Suzuki 550 engines I could possibly make a running engine out of. 550cc around 50 HP. It has three carbs but I'd probably use just one.

    A co-worker says he has a complete rebuilt Kubota water cooled diesel engine for $200 even with the injector pump. I think he said it's rated around 30 HP, but should have more torque being a diesel. Not much of a power increase but wonder what sort of MPG I could get out of that thing? It's a three cylinder so there might be a clearance issue but if a 3 cylinder Wartburg will fit a Trabant...

    Another idea was to use a jet ski engine. 2 cylinder 600ccs, about 70 HP. But it's water cooled. These are available on Ebay for about $700 but are just rebuilt short blocks. I don't know what sort of ignition for fuel management system they use.

    The Wartburg 3 cylinder sounds like a good idea and would keep the car East German correct but it would cost you out the nose to have a Wartburg engine shipped over to the US and the bell housing adapter from LDM is not cheap.

    In the long run it would probably be cheaper to source a power plant over here and have someone with a C&C machine make a bell housing adapter . I've seen people use plywood to make mockups when mating different engines to transmissions.

    Or this one:

    http://www.rotronuav.com/rotary-engines ... on-300rpc/

    Probably costs out the nose itself.

    Just a thought.
  5. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I can't access YouTube here at work but if it's the video I'm thinking of, your car sounds really sweet!

    What sort of exhaust are you running?
  6. Evan_S

    Evan_S Newbie


    I'm using a modified Wartburg 353 1st muffler and the stock 601 rear muffler. The 601 stock muffler will soon be replaced by a Simons 45mm Midi muffler. The K&N open airfilter also contributes quite a lot to the sound :)

    I have to go through my archive to find the pictures of the building process. Then I will post about the process.

    A tip; don't try to save money on the adapter. Some adapters are really worth scrap or even ill fitting. I used the 30mm Trabiteile adapter. With this adapter (fitting perfectly!), the engine is tilted +/- 22deg forward, so the intake manifold can be properly fitted without problems with the Trabant spring getting in the way. Also no adjustments are needed to the front chassis.

    So far, Vmax is now 150km/h with the standard 601 gearbox. I didn't have the guts yet to go any faster :)
  7. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I got to wondering if transplanting a snowmobile engine into a Trabant would be an easier power upgrade for a Trabant so I posted this on a snowmobile forum and here is what I came up with.

    Arctic Cat 570cc:

    Air cooled
    2 stroke
    2 cycle
    61 hp (with the Arctic Cat expansion pipe)

    The Arctic Cat's output shaft has a 30mm tapered shaft/center threaded and the centrifical clutch is held on by the nut and the taper prevents the clutch from spinning on the shaft.

    I believe the flywheel is held on to the Trabant crankshaft using a bolt and a keystock or Carter Key to keep it from spinning around.

    I have not measured the center hole of the Trabant flywheel to see if it's possible to mate the two together.

    Also there might be an issue of bolting the transmission to the Arctic Cat engine. There are four bolts that secures a plate or seal around the crankshaft and two on the cyllinder head which could support a bell housing adapter.

    The engine is laid out about the same as the Trabant engine. Just the carb inlets are on the opposite side of the engine. Everything else appears to be laid out the same.

    Here is my post if anyone wants to read it what has been posted. Feel free to debate or explain why this won't work.

    http://www.snowmobileforum.com/general- ... dvice.html

    The Wartburg conversion sounds like a good idea (if you already have all the bits and pieces) and I'm not knocking this conversion but considering how much it costs to ship anything from Germany to the United States would be cost prohibitive. For me at least.

    I bought a trunk hindge off a guy on Ebay and shipping was $22! The item itself was just $15. If you can imagine how much that item weighs. Half a pound if that?

    I have paid more than $100 on shipping alone!

    There was a Trabant parts dealer in the U.K. but I think they went under. Seems like shipping stuff from the U.K. is much cheaper than Germany.
  8. RHFabrications

    RHFabrications Loyal Comrade

    There's still a Trabi parts dealer in the UK, TrabiUK. I've been using him for all the parts on mine. Slightly higher prices than the german suppliers generally but for me (in the UK) postage is much cheaper, espescially on small parts. He doesn't hold huge stocks but keeps most common parts on the shelf. I've had good experience so far with him. Friendly service and good communication too.

    You're right though, if my local scrapyards were full of wartburgs and trabants then the swap makes sense, but nowadays engine technology is so good that its worth the effort fitting something more modern and probably vastly more powerful with easily sourced spares. There must be a multitude of bike engines that'd go in with a little more effort. Within the 2cv scene, the old 'standard' engine upgrade was the flat four from the Citroën GSA, but in recent years folk have started using BMW R1100 bike engines, twice the power, two thirds of the weight, fuel injection and modern refinements make the extra effort in fitting them worthwhile.
  9. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    While I was in the U.K. one of the big things people were doing was transplanting Fiat UNO 1400 turbo engines into Fiat X 1/9s. I asked a guy at Brooklands if he would take me for a ride in his and was blown away.

    Irronically a lot of people like myself here in the United States will install Fiat 1500 engines from scraped X 1/9s into Yugos since they are a bolt in conversion. Not that there are loads of either cars left.

    Here's mine:



    I looked into importing an UNO turbo engine but decided to just build my own system. Much cheaper but more time consuming.

    Hope to finally getting around to rebuilding the T25 turbo in a couple of weeks. It came off a wrecked Saab and it starts to leak oil into the exhaust. Looks a little bit like my Trabant on cold mornings!

    Is this the guy who are referring to?


    I'm not so familiar with the import duties ordering stuff from abroad.

    My order from LDM arrived the other day and there was no mention of import duties or Germany's 19% VAT on the invoice. And I thought Tennessee's 10% sales tax , one of if not the highest sale taxed state in our nation was high.

    Still don't know what the difference between VAT and sales tax is. There is supposed to be a difference.

    I do know that if I order something from Canada, they do charge import duties. That's why I seldom order from Canada. Plus shipping is high and it seems to take forever for it to arrive. I once ordered a Ushanka from a military surplus store in Quebec. Quebec is only a 700 mile drive. The hat was $20 but the shipping was $35 and it took about three weeks to recieve it.

    My wife collects those reborn dolls and I bought one from a lady in Quebec and had to pay $50 on top of what I paid for the doll just on import duties. That was an Ebay purchase and not through an actual business although the lady does make these dolls from kits and sells them on Ebay.

    I beleive when the person ships the item, they have to disclose how much the buyer paid for it then the post office collects the import duties and adds that to the cost of shipping. Is that the way it works?

    I've ordered stuff from the U.K. and shipping doesn't seem that bad nor have I ever seen them tack on an import duty fee. Yeah and the average wait from the U.K. is about 2 weeks. Canada it's about 3 weeks.

    The only thing I can think of is the US and Canada have an agreement where they have to keep up with stuff like this. While other countries may not.
  10. Evan_S

    Evan_S Newbie

    The adapter from Trabiteile, modified clutch disk (from Trabiteile, made by Sachs), and a thrust bearing (ball bearing in stead of graphite ring).

    Engine mount. Almost at the same place on the chassis as the one from the Trabant engine.

    Engine mount, adapter and thrust bearing in place.

    Expansion vessel from VW.

    Removing excess metal from the engine to make room for the axles (eg. mount for the Wartburg start motor is in the way). The Trabant start motor is used on it's original place!

    Clutch parts in place.


    Radiator is from a Golf 2 (1.6L I think..).


    Leveled the carburettor by alu-welding.

    Tadaaa! Using the K&N filter meant that the main jet of the BVF-40 carburettor had to be drilled from 125 to +/- 155.

    I also used a electrical fuel pump, Hardy 0,15bar (also sold by Trabiteile) the replace the mechanical one.

    Modified Wartburg 353 exhaust . The exhaust manifold used is from a Barkas. The Wartburg exhaust manifold will not fit in a Trabant nicely.

    Steini-KTZ optical ignition replacing the original contact points ignition.

    Later, I installed bigger coils by Beru for (way) better starting. The small coils gave starting problems, especially when the engine was warm.

    Finally! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AVdVAGZhUk

    Also, a lot of info can be found on http://www.wabant.de/
  11. RHFabrications

    RHFabrications Loyal Comrade

    That's a great video, what a neat little car you've built. Excellent clear pictures of your engine swap too, thanks! If a scrap wartburg comes up locally to me it'd be hard to turn down the chance to do this swap on my car.
  12. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    Any details on ignition system ''''''''Steini-KTZ optical ignition replacing the original contact points ignition.'''''' who sells it etc please. I have only been aware of the hungarian system ldm etc sell and the original DDR EBZA fitted to late barkas/wartburg at factory
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  13. Evan_S

    Evan_S Newbie

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