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Noll's '82 Lada Niva

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Thanks guys! They're not perfect by any means, but should fit the bill nicely for the intended purpose.  Not sure what I'll work on next, as the majority of the body panels can't be unbolted to work on inside, but I'm sure I'll figure something out. Maybe I'll rebuild the carb or something.


@aibast - Yeah, they're supposed to cover a dirt trap, but seem to just keep mud trapped in there unless cleaned out regularly. Once I rebuild the rusted area on the car itself I'll be sure to clean it out consistently.

Happily the original owner undercoated the car, which has prevented a lot of rust, unfortunately it's all gooey and coming off in places now though. I'm thinking I may just bedliner the whole underside after scraping off the old stuff, am undecided as to if I want to paint bare metal under the bedliner first or not though.

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Had a nice day yesterday (+7c in feb, woo), so got some more done. All little things, but it adds up and slowly gets closer to completion.


Replaced the fuel filter so I can get an idea of how much sediment is in the tank, as well as if there's actually any fuel flow:






Unbolted all of the front and rear tow-hooks:







Cleaned 'em up:





And bedliner'd:




Did the same for the engine-bay fuel vapor canister mount:





Finally also got a picture of the front skidplate I bedliner'd a few months ago:





Removed the rear trailer hitch too.  I'm undecided as to if i want to put it back on, as this'll never really be hauling a trailer (with that 82hp), may come in handy if I wanted to  put a bike-rack on or something though.




No picture of it, but happily the area where the rear valence and underside floor meet is pretty much free of anything but surface rust, so that's nice. There are a couple "pockets" right by the rear tow hook mounts that have some flaky paint/rust in them, so I'll probably sandblast up in there then brush-paint when I get to that point.

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Had a go at starting the Niva today, as it has sat for quite some time (~10 months) since the last time I started it. A nearly-dead battery didn't do any favors, but it caught for a second with some starting fluid, and (before the batt died completely) the fuel pump got fuel up to the new filter that I had installed. No real evidence of sediment, which is nice; I'll charge the battery properly tomorrow and have another go at getting it started again then.


The headlights seem to have mysteriously stopped working since I last gave the car a battery too (no wiring has been touched since then), but I'm sure that's a simple fix. The rest of the lights and indicators are working flawlessly, even the dash-light brightness knob.

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Turns out the original fuel line had cracked a bit inside the fabric sheathing after I pulled it off of the old fuel filter (was leaking a LOT when I cranked the engine over), so I went to NAPA and got some new line and clamps. Much better.





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A little more work and it is alive again :) .When I was looking for a new project car I looked @ Nivas - ended with a Vulva 740 hears, but had a tought of building dakar replica niva.

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Yep, getting there for sure. Current to-do is brakes, clutch, rust, fluids and tires, and it'll be back on the road.


Yeah, I saw your thread on that, pretty cool oddball car for sure! a dakar replica niva would also be cool, might be something to consider if/when I get another niva at some point (going to keep this one pretty original).

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Being an early Niva, mine unfortunately does not have any cupholders. I can see this being annoying, so I decided to rectify the problem myself.


There is a rectangular hole in the dash, where the ashtray normally goes; I don't smoke (and wouldn't in a car anyway), so I decided to start there for the cupholder creation:






Designed up a simple cupholder to fit in that space. this will be 3d-printed with ABS filament on my printer.







I'm currently printing the piece that mounts into the ashtray hole, and if that's a good friction fit like I planned, I'll print and assemble the rest. if not, I'll keep adjusting until it is.


I'll also make a faceplate to cover the ash tray front panel once fitment is good.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have always wanted one of these cars. I bet they are harder than shit to find parts for.

 Surprisingly not; I can get pretty much everything (including body parts) pretty inexpensively from ladapower.com and other europe based stores. I was expecting there to be difficulty when I first got the car, but happily not the case  B)  .

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright, I decided to have another go at welding, now that the weather is getting a bit better. Found a YouTube video a little while back that featured someone welding sheet metal with flux core and a re-branded version of the welder that I have, so I used his settings as a baseline for tweaking. Ended up with heat 2 (out of 4), and wire speed of 1 (of 10).


Started with some sheet metal I had lying around:




As the metal above was a little thicker gauge than what's on the Niva, I found some scraps leftover from cutting the replacement fender section to fit, and had a go at welding them to make sure I didn't burn through:




Good penetration:





With that test completed, I cut out a section from my replacement rocker assembly, and had a try at welding it in the car. Great Success!




Ground the welds down a bit. I'll need to go through and fix all the missed areas, but it's securely attached to the car, which makes me very happy!




Good penetration round back, despite me forgetting to clean off the undercoating. Thhere's still two areas at the ends of the panel where I'll want to add some minor patches for better fitment, as well as to remove some pitted metal at the left side.




Obviously my welds aren't great, but they seem plenty strong, and I have a grinder. Can only really get better from here B) .




EDIT: and a wider angle. I still need to hammer out the side near the wheel so it lines up better before welding it.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I made a 400km round-trip yesterday to trade a spare fender that I had for some brake parts that I needed for the niva. As I had the rebuild kits sitting around already, I got the front brakes rebuilt today, now with new (to me) casings.




And back together:




I still need to get the little pin/springs that hold the caliper brackets onto the calipers themselves, but they're otherwise ready to go back on the car. (after I clean up and paint the front suspension).

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Did a little slicing to make the front of the panel that I welded on fit better (gotta love OEM parts not fitting right), and also fixed a couple spots where I burned through due to being a bit overzealous with the grinder after welding previously.




I'm thinking I'll make a little piece like so to eliminate the gap, while also letting me cut out the area I filled back up with tackwelds after burning through. Luckily most of this repair panel won't be seen, so I just need strength, not prettiness.





And to make me feel a bit better about my still crappy welds, this is some factory welding on an interior gusset (under the dash):



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  • 2 weeks later...

Tine for another update.


While the exterior repair isn't done yet (need to cut/weld in a couple of sections as mentioned in the previous post), I decided to get some other parts of the repair made as I didn't feel like welding much today.


Started by hammering, slicing, and tacking the outer rocker repair until it was fully inline with the rest of the rocker:




Cut and hammered the middle rocker section into shape:





Mocked up:





and a wider angle:



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Cut up the rest of the replacement rocker panel:





and test-fit:




What it'll be replacing:





Going to need to rebuild the inner rocker here at some point:


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  • 2 weeks later...

Decided to see how bad the pass. side floor was, so I removed the carpet and sound deadening. Looks like water got under things at some point, and the primer put under the sound deadening panels is all but gone:




a bit of wire-wheeling later, this is the only spot that needs replacing (about the size of a postcard). The rest of the rust was just surface.




I was a bit surprised by that , as the subframe outrigger directly below the floor looks like swiss cheese:







I will eventually get around to removing the seats and all floor interior trim to check for additional rust (despite not seeing any from the bottom), as I came across this under the sound deadening (that's the floor/trans tunnel joint); just surface for now, but I want to eradicate anything else like that before it takes hold.



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Not niva specific, but I've been doing a car restoration/metalwork course at a local college to improve my bodywork skills. Much happier with my welding skills now (done on one of the college's gas mig welders):






Going to bring in my flux-core welder next week to practice and get some tips. Side note, I really should get a die-grinder now, it made cleaning the above weld up so much easier.

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  • 6 months later...

So, I've been a bit absent from this thread for a while, but for good reason.


This past summer, I circumnavigated the world, mostly by (ludicrously small) car, and got to see 25 different countries doing so.


It was quite a good time:










In doing so, I also got to see quite a few Ladas, including an entire dealership:










Since getting back, I've been preoccupied with other projects (namely my subaru justy and a '00 Impreza OBS I got out of a ditch for 600$ as a new daily):




Now that that's all sorted for now though, I'm going to try to get back to making progress on the Niva. I've ordered some more misc bits from the Ukraine, and am hoping to make more progress on the front rust repair this week if time allows (new metal at last, with any luck).



Edited by Noll
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9 hours ago, Aibast said:

I like the trip pics. Good job. 


A friend of mine and my parts guy made a "bucket list" trip in a RAF van. From Riga  to Vladivastok.


Thanks! It was one hell of an adventure.


That's quite the journey as well! I actually ended up in Vladivostok for a day after taking the train from Ulan Ude  (and from vlad, 4 flights to get home to canada). Pretty cool city!

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4 hours ago, MikeRL411 said:

That Lada front wing window looks [without measurements] to be a possible replacement for the Datsun 410 and 411 units.  Not surprising since both vehicles have distant descent from Pinin Farina designs.

It's possible! The 2101's (white and green cars in my above pics) are based off a fiat 125, and I believe the doors are interchangeable.

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Alright, little update for today. Cut out part of the front rocker that I've been meaning to replace for a while, and test-fit the replacement part in place. Just need to weld this in and fix the burn-thru on the front edge of this panel, and then I can move on to putting the rest of that corner back together (center section, floor, inner rocker, subframe outrigger, fender section).



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I went out to the garage to tack the new piece in, and ended up welding up that rocker entirely. Pretty happy with my progress! My welding skills are still nothing fancy, but I'm miles better than the last time I tried to weld on this part of the car.








Should need very minimal work to be ready for actual paint, especially as I'll be bedlinering the lower rockers. I didn't bother cleaning up the bits that will be hidden as much.








Next up will be to fit and weld in the rocker strengthening piece, then the floor and inner rocker.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I've been on a bit of a hiatus from lada work again, as the cold weather and a lack of a heated garage makes doing anything really suck.


My Ukranian parts order from a month ago did arrive today though:




Clamps for the front brake softlines:




new heater valve and rear brake t-fitting. I'll probably get the new valve in at some point before the spring, just to get it done.




New p/s fender section. Looks like it'll need a little hammer and dolly work to be perfect, but for the $19.25 it cost, it's a good start.




I still have one more order to make for sheet metal, but I have a lot of work to do with the front and rockers before I get to that work.

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