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Noll's '82 Lada Niva


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now you got sills that are not full of holes use hollow section wax in them and give it a nice thick coat on the insides. Should keep future rusting to minimum.  And old soviet cars have a built in car floor rust prevention - it is leaking engine oil seals 😉

 

Edited by Aibast
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6 hours ago, Aibast said:

now you got sills that are not full of holes use hollow section wax in them and give it a nice thick coat on the insides. Should keep future rusting to minimum.  And old soviet cars have a built in car floor rust prevention - it is leaking engine oil seals 😉

 

 That's the plan! Still more work to do before both sides are done, but it'll all be getting properly waxed once that time comes. It was done at the dealer when new, and while there obviously was still rust, the old wax saved most of the inner rocker panels which makes my job easier.

 

Also very true lol, my volvo 240 has the same. At 15 previous owners and no sign of an engine rebuild ever, it leaks out of a lot of places to say the least. Underside is pretty much rust free though 🙂 .

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  • 1 month later...

Figured I'd get some more done on this thing before winter hits. I've had a gaping hole in the driver's front floor for as long as I've owned the car, and it was time to finally fix that. Don't mind the super ugly stuff poking through the inner rocker on the left side, that's all getting cut off and redone now that I actually know how to weld lol.

 

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Much better. Didn't bother trying to make it super nice or seamless in any way, because, let's be real, it's the floor and I'm not going for a concourse resto with this car. Paint, seam sealer, undercoating, and sound deadening will go over all this anyway.

 

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All the old insulation will be getting replaced before the Niva hits the road, but for now it's nice to see it looking how it should again.

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Edited by Noll
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2 hours ago, EDM620 said:

My ex brother-in-law had one, kinda crudely made vehicle but damn they're tough.  Love the unprotected wiring, like the Brits they didn't believe in wire harnesses/looms. Have you cranked yours over by hand yet?

 

Agreed on both accounts haha. Manufacturing tolerances were more of a guideline lol.

Yeah, I'm honestly surprised there's no electrical issues, but everything works like a charm somehow. Mechanically the engine is in top shape, I've fired it off a few times and it's never failed to start immediately. I did have to change the accelerator pump gasket on the carb, but that's about it. haven't started it in the last year or so as the car has just been sitting, but I'm hoping to get it on the road relatively soon (bunch of parts on the way from russia for it as the moment) so that will change once they arrive - gotta pull the engine to do the clutch first as it's stuck.

 

2 hours ago, datzenmike said:

Like all Rooski vehicles.... crude but very effective.

 

Yup! they got a bad rap for it, but at the same time everything being so basic makes them virtually unkillable. Stuff can be half broken and still work fine.

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That little hole in front bumper lines up with the crankshaft. Your jack handle would then engage with the beveled cam on the crank snout enabling you to turn it over by hand, and with key on, hopefully fire up! The later Niva's no longer had that basic feature.

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21 minutes ago, EDM620 said:

 

That little hole in front bumper lines up with the crankshaft. Your jack handle would then engage with the beveled cam on the crank snout enabling you to turn it over by hand, and with key on, hopefully fire up! The later Niva's no longer had that basic feature.

 

Yup! Hopefully never need to use it for its intended purpose (dead battery and no hill to push start on), but it sure is useful for turning the engine over.

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  • 1 month later...

No actual progress, but I have acquired a bunch of goodies that will let me get a lot more done on this thing soon. Some misc. bits are yet to arrive, all the parts came in the back of a car that was being imported from Russia and there was a minor mix-up as to which bits went to which person, as some others had ordered some Lada parts too.

 

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Edited by Noll
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  • 3 months later...

Ok, finally got around to working on this thing again.

 

Pulled the old clutch slave cylinder out, was nice and easy due to how high this thing sits, no jack required lol. the 39-year-old hardline fitting where it meets the softline even came off without twisting off the brakeline, which was surprising.

 

You might be able to see the issue here, the bore was totally shagged:

 

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New one in and installed, with a new softline for good measure as I already had ordered it (a whole 8.40$ from Ukraine lol):

 

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Once its bled the clutch should be working for the first time in about 20 years. I actuated the clutch with a pair of vicegrips while the slave cyl was out, so I know that the clutch isn't stuck to the flywheel.

 


The rear hatch seal was also the worse for wear, so replaced with a new one I had also ordered:

 

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Will need to reinstall the hatch latch and leave it shut for a while to get the seal to conform to it nicely.

 

next up, brake stuff and welding I guess.

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On 3/25/2021 at 4:51 PM, Noll said:

You might be able to see the issue here, the bore was totally shagged:

I'll venture that the rubber seal on the new one might be as high-grade as the original. But at least replacement parts are cheap!

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1 hour ago, EDM620 said:

I'll venture that the rubber seal on the new one might be as high-grade as the original. But at least replacement parts are cheap!

 

Yeah, it's still not a perfect seal, i think the issue was more how long the car sat with the piston stationary though. In normal use it going down the bore would keep stuff clean I'd imagine. I'll probably also put some grease in there for good measure before the car hits the road.

Edited by Noll
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  • 2 weeks later...

Big headway on the Niva today! Bled the clutch, and decided to take it for a joyride offroad and across a couple streams. No brakes, but it did it like a champ. Fired right up on old gas and a battery that hadn't been charged in 2 years (I was amazed it was holding enough charge to crank the engine over), and only needed the choke for a minute before it would idle perfectly at ~500rpm. Restarts only took holding the key for a split second for it to fire right back up.

 

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Next up, brakes and rust repair I guess, then it's road worthy.

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Some more done today, put the rear brakes back together. Had to adjust the handbrake to get the drums back on with the new shoes, it stops on a dime with the handbrake set as it is now though 🙂 .

 

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Also welded on a new bolt to where the junction block mounts, and ran the softline. It's not connected to anything yet though as the hardline on the body snapped off when taking it apart, and too far back for me to simply re-flare it and go (plus, the car uses bubble flares, which is annoying as my handy on-the-car flare tool is for inverted flares).

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Had another day where I didn't feel like working on the Z, so got more done in the Niva.

 

Made a new section of line at the rear:

 

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And got pads, calipers, etc all in and hooked up up front. Opted not to replace the rotors as they're perfectly fine other than a little surface rust and I'd have to remove a LOT of stuff to take them out. I'll go back another time and wire-brush and paint everything, it looks gross but it's just old undercoating that's peeling off.

 

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That pretty much marks the end of the mechanical work as far as I am aware, other than:

-change engine oil, and check diff fluids

-bleed brakes

-change manually adjusted timing chain tensioner for a n automatic one out of a newer niva

 

Just rust repair otherwise and it's road ready.

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4 hours ago, datsunfreak said:

Is this some kind of funky two piston caliper? Just curious why two lines and two bleeders...

 

Even better, 3 piston lol. Honestly not sure other than redundancy - one of the 3 is a separate chamber I believe, so even if you blow a line you still have some braking at that corner.

 

My volvo 240 is the same way, upper 2 pistons are one circuit and lowers are another.

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48 minutes ago, Noll said:

not sure other than redundancy - one of the 3 is a separate chamber I believe, so even if you blow a line you still have some braking at that corner.

 

That definitely makes the most sense. 👍

 

Or if one brake line rusts completely through...    😄

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  • 2 months later...

Really small update, but finally got a nut on to the motor mount that was missing it and had really messed up threads. Not a fun time, enclosed area and deep in under the car. Ended up cutting the thread shorter and nicked the mount bracket in the process, so crappily welded it up (again, hard spot to reach and dark).

 

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  • 3 months later...

Now that the Z is done (well, no project is ever truly done, but y'know) and my motorcycle only needs 1 little thing for it to be road legal come the spring, I figure I should finally get off my ass this winter and try to get the Niva on the road.

 

Dug out all the metal needed to compete the driver's side. I'll be re-doing the half completed front fender repair; it was the very first welding job i really ever did and, well, it's not great as far as fitment or weld quality. I also put it on first for some reason, when it would make sense to do the inner rocker, middle brace piece, frame outrigger, and jack point first for easier access, so all the more reason to pull it off and go again.

 

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Work will begin soon 🙂 .

Edited by Noll
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It's nice to finally be getting back at it 🙂 .

 

Started with some small stuff today. Got the d/s rear jack point all welded in. The jack lifts the car up without the jack point crushing up into the rocker now, which is a great success compared to the previous rusty mess.

 

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And got the inner rocker replacement section cut to size and mocked up. It won't be going on for a little while yet, but once I chop off the fender section to re-do I won't have any point of reference as to how far forward the leading edge of the inner rocker should be, so had to get this part out of the way.

 

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Next up, a bunch of chopping and grinding, then I can start welding on the new bits.

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More progress! Inner rocker section welded in, and jack point + subframe outrigger on top of that. Next up will be to box the rest of the inner rocker in, then on to the front fender repair.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, more Niva work today 🙂 .

 

Finished up boxing in the inner rocker section; made the front cap, inner wall, and a threaded mount for the lower hole in the splashguard. Aimed for strength versus factory-correctness as all of this repair will be hidden, made everything from 16ga so should be nice and beefy.

 

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Next up will be the fender repair, and then this corner of the car will be 100% done as far as metalwork goes. From there, bottom edge of the door, and then the rear wheelarch.

 

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