Jump to content
gogmorgo

Сделано в СССР

Recommended Posts

No, the Cyrillic text does not always indicate spam. I've been intending on starting this thread for a while now, so here goes.

 

This was my daily driver for most of the last year and a half. It's still going to be splitting duties with the MJ over the next little while. I just need to reoplumb the heater for the winter, and she'll be good to go. I picked it up early last summer after my MJ's engine started knocking. It came down to a decision of whether to fix the MJ or buy this, and I decided to roll the dice on it. Still haven't regretted it.

 

10998092_403124366531320_268858925122885

12118697_495349367308819_335657761819203

 

Most of you likely haven't seen one of these before. Some of you may have never even heard of it. But what it is is a 1996 Lada Niva. It was pretty well the soviet answer to the Jeep, or at least to the cheap asian Jeep imitations. Pretty well the Lada brand was developed to bring reasonable vehicles cheaply to the Soviet citizens, and as such Lada is pretty infamous for "borrowing" other manufacturers' designs and never discontinuing production. This is the first vehicle they designed entirely themselves, with the goal of a cheap reasonable vehicle that would be useful on the Siberian "roads", inspiring the enthusiasts' slogan "Built for Siberia, not Suburbia". It entered production in 1977 and it was only recently they announced they would stop building them. The chassis is still basically unchanged, although some things have been upgraded over the years.

 

It's a unibody vehicle, so fairly light weight. It weighs just over 2600 lbs, despite the 4x4 drivetrain. The engine is a 1.7L SOHC 4 cylinder with throttle-body injection that makes something like 85hp and 105lb-ft. It has a five-speed manual transmission, coupled with a divorced transfer case. The Tcase doesn't have a 2wd mode, instead having high and low range with a manual locking centre differential.

The front suspension is independant, with a long(ish)-travel SLA double-wishbone setup. The rear axle is five-linked. Coils at all four corners, of course.

The interior is spartan, to say the least. Factory stereos weren't an option yet in '96. Cloth seats, buckets up front and a two-seat bench in the back. Interior plastics make 90's GM stuff look luxurious, but then luxuries are for decadent capitalist pigs, right? I've got the highest trim level, the Cossack package, which means I have a leaky sunroof and a sticker on the back.

 

12118697_495349367308819_335657761819203

 

So far it's been pretty good to me. 45,000 km (28,000 miles) when I bought it for $1000. It's now at 57,000km (35,000 miles). I had to replace some blubs, the horn, and some wiring to pass a safety inspection just after I bought it, but since then I've only had to replace the starter. Well, I've also had to address an issue with the brakes (a banjo bolt jiggled loose) and I also had a plastic nipple between the clutch master cylinder and the remote reservoir break and suck air into the master (which sucked but was a pretty easy fix). I also had to disconnect the daytime running light circuit because for some reason it was causing a fuse to blow every time I hit the wipers.

That's not to say everything else is in A1 condition. A popular saying among Lada owners is "always half broken but never broken down." The transmission has been hurting since I bought it, the brakes could use a bit of tweaking, the engine runs pretty rough below 2000rpm, and there are a couple rust spots that need addressing. I also still have some minor battle damage to repair after getting clipped by a B-train changing lanes (not entirely his fault, he got cut off by an idiot in a white Lexus), so that's a mirror to replace, a small dent to pull, and I've already replaced the tire which needed replacing anyway. I even had the alignment checked when I got the new tires and it was still spot on. This thing's a friggen tank... that or it's light enough it just bounced off.

This was taken just after the collision.

10923221_425881507588939_173423922706541

 

Even with the $#!&ty tires I had on it all winter it cut through deep snow like no one's business, and it'll drag itself up hills the MJ would struggle with. On road it's more engaging to drive as well. I'll admit that might just be because it's a manual, but it almost seems to enjoy getting tossed into corners at speed while the MJ seemed to do it begrudgingly. Lots more feedback through the manual steering as well, and the suspension leads to much more predictable handling, even with the front sway bar missing. I honestly thought it never had one, although I've recently discovered what some vacant studs were for.

 

Parts are also dirt cheap due to the immensely long and very recent production run, although they're all on the other side of the Atlantic. There's a limited used-parts market here in Canada as well since they were sold here up until the late nineties.

 

I'm hard pressed to say which one I like better, this or the MJ. This has more of a cool factor for me in that you don't see them all the time, but the MJ is almost as unique (it just blends in better or gets dismissed as just another old mid-size truck) and is much better put together. It's almost in better shape, too, despite the fact it's got almost 10 times the mileage on it.

 

Future plans for it? Fixing all the piddly little things. I'd like to get into SCCA rally cross. I've been a Badlands region member for the last couple years, if anyone else is, although I haven't made it down to an event yet. I've also got dreams of putting a Jeep 4.0 into it, although it'll be a fairly major project to squeeze something that long into it.

 

11960276_478192445691178_884194663992660

 

And some more random pics.

 

10418487_375306929313064_800042768408818

 

11203709_431234837053606_350354798182012

 

11205593_435348959975527_656775624912282

 

11223609_469226603254429_714439115932798

 

11896113_475242812652808_365602470236554

 

12106832_495426627301093_554528974796480

 

Hard to believe this thing took a hit from a big rig on this side even though nothing's been repaired.

12108787_495430087300747_585535019395555

 

12079622_495430263967396_639501626385134

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those wondering about the title of the post, figured I should add something. It's Russian for "Made in the USSR". As I mentioned, these things were produced pretty well unchanged. And by that I mean despite mine being built five years after the Soviet Union collapsed, most of the parts still have Сделано В СССР stamped on them. There's probably still parts coming off the assembly lines with with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for sharing. I know you have mentioned this....car before and it intrigued me. What a unique rig to own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup. Also has the crankshaft nut to accept it, and should have had the crank start handle in the tool kit with the tire-changing jack, along with a basic road-side repair kit that had wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and everything needed to put a proper patch on the inside of a tire.

Unfortunately none of that stuff made it's way into my hands. Crank starting it is the kind of thing you really want to try, at least once, but I haven't found something yet I can use as a handle, or one for sale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read it all. ;) I've become very familiar with Baxter's site in the last 15 months or so.

I've wanted one since I was like, 14 years old, and I grew up with the internet. I'm pretty sure I new more about this one before I went and saw it than the guy selling it.

 

But I appreciate the gesture, all the same. :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm 6'2" and 220, so... Yes? Lots of head room although I might appreciate a little more distance between my seat and the pedals, maybe another inch or two to unbend my knees a little. But I've taken it on 6+ hour drives and not had seating position be an issue.

Real estate is at a premium though with only 8' between the firewall and hatch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always had an interest in these, don't think they ever made it to 'Murica though. Definitely not something you see every day. Like a tiny, Russian XJ. Bet it would be a blast in rallycross.  :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's kind of an ugly cute. Do me a favour and go to Home Hardware, buy a couple cans of KL-73 (it's green, in the tiny automotive section). Spray inside all panels and anywhere you see rust. It stops rust from getting worse. It's like Fluid Film but half the  price ($8/can). Not listed on their site but it is in-store.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'll have to do that. Assuming my local Home Hardware even carries it... It's a strange one that mostly sells groceries and booze.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope, didn't see it there. I asked about dielectric grease and the lady hadn't heard of it. I wasn't very optimistic about a number.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Krown is the company, it's also sold online with other companies as T40, I've bought it from eshine.ca

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think I did see a couple Krown cans there. I ran out of rye so I need to go back anyhow. If not I have to make a shopping trip into the city on Thursday, so I might be able to find something at a better HH.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is one sweet little rig! looks like a blast to drive! for some odd reason it somewhat reminds me of a early 90's cosworth awd escort...??? :dunno:   don't ask me why. But I have always wanted one. Although the thought of a 4.0 swapped into it is super cool, I think a little diesel would be just as cool if not cooler. If you wanted to go real big but realistic the benz OM617 5 cylinder would be a awesome swap. rolling coal in that little thing would be the bees knees. And not to mention those are easily 500,000 mile motors. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is pretty fun to drive. Just re-plumbed the heater so I can use it this winter. I'm excited, cause I actually have decent rubber on it now.

 

I've thought about diesel swapping, but it's almost at the point of being overplayed. There are even commercially available kits for swapping to a VW or Peugeot diesel. They were even equipped with a diesel from the factory, although no diesels were sold in this market. People have swapped in small V6's and the odd V8 as well, but I have yet to see a straight-six in one. And I like straight sixes. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Took this pic at my local Home Hardware. Fluid Film works too but notice the price difference between the two products. Not to mention the can size (value).

 

KL-73 is da bomb.

 

22402584904_d05d433118_c.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it's a spray bomb...

 

I totally forgot about this. My mind is a sieve. Lol. I think I remember seeing cans like that. I'm on a road trip right now (currently in kamloops) so I'll have to keep my eyes out for a Hh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, my quest to find this stuff had failed, but I think I've made a decision to park it until the snow melts.

So the night before last my roommate didn't plug her 2012 Mazda in properly, so she had trouble starting it yesterday morning. It didn't really want to crank, and then when it did catch it stalled a couple times. So I laughed at her, and bet her that the Lada would start better, even though it had sat with the block heater unplugged for three weeks. It was -34 when this happened.

So at first it cranked pretty slowly, but then it sped up, fired and idled for about fifteen seconds. Then it backfired, died, and I couldn't get it to fire after that. I hooked jumper cables up to the MJ, but when I popped the hood on the Niva, I noticed a nice stream of fuel running out the bottom of the throttle body. Oops

It looks like it's just a bad gasket (I.e huge vacuum leak) but I'll wait till it warms up a bit outside before pulling it apart to find out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...