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Noll's '82 Lada Niva

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No pics, but I got the new heater valve in today. What a PITA that was. barely anywhere to swing a wrench, pipes that didn't quite want to line up, coolant dripping everywhere, and doing it essentially outdoors while lying upside down on the footwell wasn't fun. Still, it's done now. Just need to figure which of the cable clamps has come loose and the whole system will work again (currently when you try to turn the heat off it's just moving the cable sheath, something behind the center console must have come off.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Not progress per-say, but got the car out of the garage for an hour or two (cleaning out the garage in preparation for insulating it), so figured I'd take some pictures out in the light.






And here is all the rust repair that needs to be done for this thing to be completely rust-free:





















Edited by Noll
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2 minutes ago, Aibast said:

still some work to do, but not so bad


Yeah, not bad at all! The only bits I don't have replacement metal for is the rear quarter areas and the bits inside the rear arches, but that's no biggie.


Still need to figure out why the clutch is stuck, hopefully that does not require the motor to be pulled.


I think I'll prioritize the floor repair once spring hits; that way all the interior welding will be done and I can put things back together (sound deadening, floor-mats, trim pieces, etc).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Alright, progress! Got the center panel welded in, and also welded on most of the outer fender patch! Pretty big milestone, as this corner of the car has been cut apart for years waiting for me to weld it back together. I still need to fab/weld the floor patch and inner rocker, but from the exterior it looks like it should again!






As you can see here, I had to cut up the replacement fender patch to get it to fit properly. I'm thinking I'll fill the large gaps using some copper bar as a backing plate for welding, but if anyone has a better suggestion, let me know!




I'll seam sealer and primer everything once I've finished the welding, which shouldn't be too long.

Edited by Noll
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14 minutes ago, sebpv said:

add a filler piece. make the gap as little as possible. It will save you time on the grinding/sanding step


True, although a 60 grit sanding disc on the 'ol death wheel chews through metal pretty fast regardless.

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  • 1 month later...

Been focused on my 260 for the past while, but with the nice weather I figured I'd make a little headway on this.


Drum hardware back in place on the driver's side; I couldn't do the passenger side as I'm missing some hardware for mounting the wheel cylinder (will order shortly).




Dug into the rear inner arch rust, and of course there is more than it initially looked like.  This'll be a job for another day; will need to remove that outer reinforcement plate to fix it properly.




Got the front bumper back on:




And generally cleaned up/painted stuff:




Got it running again too! Battery and priming the mechanical fuel pump was all it took.




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Also what kind of car is that? Pretty small!




I lurk in this thread every now and then. Gotta post up and show some love. I do really like Lada's but parts availability kinda put one out the question for me. I'd probably be on some sort of watch list by ordering parts from Russia.

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Sorry for the multi-post.. Also great job on the metal work. That takes a lot of time.. and it looks like there is a bit of metal work needed on this car. The salt nearly claimed this one.

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5 hours ago, Draker said:



Thanks! Yeah, metalwork has been a learning experience for sure, the end result should be good though I hope! And yeah, while the metalwork required on it isn't TOO bad, all the little patches add up fast. It's especially a shame as the paint is perfect otherwise.


That pic was at the Davarza Gas crater (link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darvaza_gas_crater) Soviet scientists accidentally created it while trying to burn off a pocket of gas in the 70's, and it's  been burning ever since. Was one of the highlights of the trip (or just life in general), to get out there (8km from anything even remotely resembling a road), see it in person, and camp ~10ft from the edge.


Car in the pic is our Opel Agila; it was pretty cramped with 4 6ft + guys in it and all our stuff, but we made it work. 1.2L, FWD, and it took the 25000km of terrible and non-existant roads like a champ. We put a massive dent in the gas tank, put a strut thru the hood (paid someone 50$ to weld it back up), and cracked the oil pan (found the only TIG welder in mongolia, and fixed it for 37 bucks), but otherwise no real damage.


For the Niva, parts availability is actually pretty simple; as they're still making them new in Europe, stuff is dirt cheap to order from the Ukraine (new front OEM fenders are ~90 bucks, and rear quarters are about the same) - Just have to wait a few weeks for it to arrive.



Edited by Noll
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2 hours ago, Draker said:

Man, that sounds like quite an adventure! So fun.


Yeah, it was an amazing trip. 25000km, 25 countries, and ended up circumnavigating the world into the bargain (finish line was near Lake Baikal, and I took a train to Vladivostok from there then 3 flights to get back to canada).

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11 hours ago, Aibast said:

You should come visit us in estonia in february and join us in the oldtimers winter rally :D. Keep up the progress.


If I had the cash I'd totally do that, that sounds pretty awesome. International flights aren't cheap though lol. Yep, slowly plugging away, will get it done eventually 🙂 .

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  • 1 month later...
On ‎12‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 6:32 PM, Noll said:



Gates of hell.  Crazy place been on fire for 46 years!  Article below.




Nice Lada.  Found one in my travels awhile back:






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On 6/24/2019 at 7:17 AM, 4perrev said:

Gates of hell.  Crazy place been on fire for 46 years!  Article below.




Nice Lada.  Found one in my travels awhile back:




Yeah, being able to see it in person was quite the experience! Definietly a bucket-list thing, and even the drive from the road to the crater (8km of desert, no road) was an adventure.


Nice! Once my 260 and the Niva are done, a 2106 like that is going to be my next project.

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  • 9 months later...

So, this thing has been languishing under a tarp all winter. I felt like a bit of a change of pace from the Z today (and the Niva isn't really that far from roadworthy), so I dragged it out of the field yesterday and started doing stuff today. I honestly think that letting it sit was the best course of action, as I've learned a hell of a lot about metalwork over the last year, so I can now hopefully fix everything to a standard that I am OK with.


I used way more spray primer than I needed to whenever I put it on 5-6 years ago, so I experimented with using polishing compound on a rag to take it off. Worked like a charm, will do it all properly when it's time to paint/make the car look nice:







Then, on to rust repair. Started with this:





made into this:






and started fixing stuff:







I definitely need to redo a good chunk of this:







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  • 2 weeks later...

Did some more on the Niva today.


needed  to get the jackpoint un-bent, so welded on a bar and used the power of leverage. Worked a treat.







Cut out all the bad in behind:




Started fixing it. Not my cleanest work, welding upside down SUCKS.





Outside pretty much done:



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  • 5 months later...

I really should work on this car more than once every 6 months, jeez.


Wasn't feeling datsun work yesterday, so pulled the Niva out of the weeds and did some stuff to it.









When I left off last I had the rocker all cut out to replace, but hadn't done the final fitment or any welding yet.  What is encouraging is that the car has been out in the elements with only the zinc primer to protect it, and there is zero rusting having formed through the paint (one tiny spot where I missed spraying a bit). This bodes well for it actually doing its job of protecting cavities etc that I can't get at later.





Did some more cutting and welded the rocker on. It needed some slight persuasion at the back for all the body lines to match, but nothing major.




Looking whole again! I still need to cut out the rear arch to fix rust between the layers, so no point fixing that gap in the arch just yet.









Inner arch fixed too. Ugly welds, because that spot is a bear to get into, but it does the job and will be seam-sealed etc.





I really should work on this thing more often.



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