Greetings from USA! Sorry in English...

  • Hello! My name is James Seabolt (Siebold) and I live in the USA (Tennessee). I own a 1981 Trabant 601 "S" I imported from Hungary about a year and a half ago. There are about 100 or so Trabbis on American roads, not counting ones in museums that our registry does not know about.

    My main car obsession for the past 20 years has been oldtimer Fiats (124 Spiders, X 1/9s, 131s, and Zastava Yugos). I have wanted a Trabant every since I first saw them on TV on the "Trabbi road" in Hungary during the 1989 Exodus from the DDR. I had to wait almost 20 years before the car was old enough to register in the United States due to our importation laws. Once a car becomes 30 years old, you can register anything. You can import anything, you just can't drive it on public roads until it becomes 30 years old. Although some newer models like 1.1s have made it past customs having their registration plates replaced with ones from older models.

    Owning a Trabant in the USA is quite challanging. Virtually all parts must be imported from Germany and if shipped DHL takes 2 to 4 weeks and is expensive! Also this car is unlike anything I've ever worked on. So I was hoping you guys don't mind if I ask questions in English from time to time to help me maintain my Trabant.

    As I mentioned,my car came from Hungary and seems to have had no maintience at all! The owner must have just replaced parts as they broke and never bothered to even degrease the engine!

    So far I have rebuilt the braking system and replaced most of the electrical connectors. I was having a problem with the 28 HB2 vergaser so I rebuilt a 28 H1-1 from a spare engine I had shipped over with the car and think I have it finally sorted out.

    My breaker points have a considerable amount of arcing so I think the condensors are bad. I did not order new ones because I have this Hungarian electronic system I bought from LDM but I am having issues getting it to work. I have it wired up correctly, the ring with magnets installed on the cam lobe correctly, both cylinders are getting spark but the engine won't start. There seems to be some timing issue with this engine. The reason I suspect this is after I made my 4mm BTDC marks on both cylinders, in order to bring the timing marks together with breaker points I have to rotate the breaker plate all the way counter-clockwise, close the points gap a bit more, then rotate it all the way counter-clockwise. While using a timing light with the RPMs set above 1500.

    Here is some photos of my car:

  • Nice!

    I have no idea about your hungarian ignition system (that one?), but i think you need to check your markings for the timing light. When i was working on my ignition i used a Zunduhr Zundzeitpunkt Zundpunkteinstellgerat fur IFA Simson MZ Trabant Tuning oT (Affiliate-Link). If you havent checked the markings nobody knows if they are right.
    Maybe you need to set it on 3mm, because the newer ignition-system (since 1985, without breakers) needs 3mm. The hungarian one is a copy of that, but you doesnt needs the box like with the EBZA does. (lets wait, what other forum members think ... )

    Is the engine refurbished? If not, you maybe have to check the crankshaft and the pistons and cylinders first.

    The easyist way to solve your ignition problem would be, to install the EBZA but that wouldnt fit to the year of fabrication. Better would be the original breaker ignition, but its hard to maintain.

    Sorry for my bad english ^^

    Have fun with your Trabant!

    greetings from Germany, Marc.

  • Hello! Your English is much better than my German!

    The Hungarian unit I'm referring to is widely sold in and other IFA part suppliers. Here it is:

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    I have not determined if the crankshaft is out of sync or the advance mechansim is installed wrong (if possible). The first time I made my timing marks I made them wrong. So the next time I checked top dead center four times then 4mm BTDC four times then checked the other cylinder. I do not own a dial depth guage so I used a metal ruler like this one except in metric:

    [Blockierte Grafik:
    I placed the flat side of the piece that fits in the shirt pocket against the cylinder head and rotated the engine over and came up with 37mm, added 4mm the rotated the engine backwards, checked again (four times) then made my mark. The other cylinder measured 38mm so it's not out of phase too bad. Could be casting in the cylinder head. I figured as long as I was consistant I was OK.

    I installed the breaker plate (in the middle) and increased the engine speed to well over 1500 rpms to enagage the centrifical advance mechansim. Connected my timing light and checked both cylinders. The #1 was off so I retarded the breaker plate until I had no more adjustment but could not bring the marks within specs. So I shut the engine off and advanced the breaker plate all the way then reset the points gap and even closed them a bit to gain more retard. Reconnected my timing light to #1 cylinder and checked again. Then I had to retard the breaker plate so more! Then checked #2 cylinder but it was spot on so that set of points needed no adjusting. Finally I have the timing within specs.

    I'm not sure why the breaker plate needed to be adjusted twice to bring the timing marks together. I suspect the reason my electronic ignition will not work is because of the same reason. I was told just because the ring with magnets is "oblong" to match the cam lobe, the ring can be adjusted somewhat. I will try again.

    I am going to try again this weekend. What I would like to determine is a good stating point. Perhaps connect a test light across the #1 points and as soon as they open, make a set of temporary marks, then install the electronic system and try to match the second magnet on the ring that passes the "mole" on the circuit board together just enough to get the engine started.

    I really want to get this electronic system working because I believe the condensors are bad. I am seeing a lot of arcing across the #2 points and I believe this could be causing a misfire I am not feeling because the engine is a 2 stroke. Also I think this is effecting the engine speed at idle.

    I tried substituing a set of 6 volt condensors from a VW Type 1 but it caused worse arcing with new points! I'm not sure why.

    Here is a short video.…_714_zps9b7a2d61.mp4.html

  • Now german school-english!

    Your Trabant works with 6 volts, if i looked right.
    In the moment of the start the voltage turn down and the hungary-ignition doesn't work.
    Take a wire and connect directy the battery + with the + contact of the ignition circuit board and look what's happen.

    If you have to use the mechanic-breaker ignition, so this could be important.
    In Miami is a store with MZ-parts (east German motor cycles)
    The condensators of MZ-breaker-ignition are the same. And they works also in the Trabant.

    Hilfe mein Trabi läuft seit Monaten zuverlässig und störungsfrei. Was tun?

    Einmal editiert, zuletzt von TrabiJens ()