1982 Lada Niva

GoceKU

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This is the little 4x4 that i've been fixing last few months ( almost a year). First thoughts buy it cheap and keep the repairs on the cheap, but it quickly turned in just trying to save it and dumping money in it to fix it right. Almost all the work was done by me lots of rust repair, structural and cosmetic. Lots of body work about 5 kg of plastic body filler most of it ended up on the floor, couple of cans of sprayable filler and a lot of sandpaper. The engine got some attention, the gearbox, transfer case and the diff got an oil change. I also did lot of suspension work, and protecting from rust. As an addition i did little improving, cooling system got an upgrade, transfer case got its own cage, secondary fuel LPG system, entire electrical system got an rework and up date. Now i'm at the end of the repairs, i'm finishing the last few things so i wanted to share the troubleshooting period and ownership on this thread.
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brino

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"watching" for updates and more pictures.
Thanks for sharing it!
-brino
 

Martin W

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Great job
I have been following along
Cheers
Martin
 

Winegrower

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Bravo, that was heroic!
You have an amazing range of talents.
Thanks for sharing the journey!
 

GoceKU

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Today i spend couple of hours welding grinding making brackets to mount the seats in the little niva. The passenger side was prefited, but the drives seat i just welded the mounts symmetrical to the passenger side. And what do you know it the seats them self are not symmetrical so the drivers side was about 2" more to the middle of the car, so i'll have to cut the mounts and redo them tomorrow. I also decided i'll buy black seat covers so the seats will match the rest of the black interior.
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GoceKU

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Today i had the day off work so i spent half of the day in the garage, installing aftermarket wheel liners and mud flaps. The liners are pretty crudely made and very thick. I used selfdrilling big head short bolts with black anodized finish. I used many bolts about 220 pcs, installing them mean removing the wheels one by one and after attaching the wheel liner and mudflap, putting them back on.
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GoceKU

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Yeah, i'm not a big fan of yellow but it is period correct and i've chosen this particular shade because in my opinion is the the best of all the yellows and is very close to the original that this little 4x4 come out of the factory with.
 

rwm

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Just checking in. I cannot believe you built this car from scratch...don't deny it! Great work.
Robert
 

GoceKU

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Last few days i've been working very hard to clean the big garage, but mid day today my parts that i ordered from russia come in, the biggest pieces are the two back interior plastics, they cover the rear quarters from the doors to the trunk, this got me motivated so i went out and bought seat covers so i can finish the interior. In 7 hours i managed to redo the front seat mounts install the covers and mount the back seat. Other things that come in was the chrome locking strip for the front and back windscreen, i drove it outside in the sun so the rubber is softer and install them. Last thing i did is take it for a drive to test it before the safety inspection so i can register it and the brakes fail, drivers side rear cylinder blow out. Nothing too scary the brakes have two circuits i still had brakes but at the very bottom. This will set my schedule back the rear drums are aluminium and they are very stuck i tried to remove them before so i'm in for a fight.
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GoceKU

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Yesterday's debacle with losing the brakes on the little niva made me stop cleaning the garage and focus on getting them fixed, so i started and ended with the drivers side rear that was leaking, i tried absolutely everything, i used heat, penetrating oil i used the threaded holes to the point where the bolts snapped even made a very big puller and only managed to bent the brake drum, having bent is and it still wasn't coming off i fired up my grinder and cut a circle on the inside and then a slot in the middle so i can use a screwdriver to spread it and then still took a chisel and a sledge hammer the get it of axle. This is why i hate drum brakes especially aluminium drums. In real world after two hard braking they overheat and are useless for the next 10 km till they cool down and that is not acceptable by me. So i'll be doing a disk brake conversion from scratch, i'll need to buy parts first.
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mattthemuppet2

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yep, drum brakes suck. Did you figure out why they wouldn't come off? I once had a multi-hour fight with a set because the drums were worn to the point that the unworn outer ridge wouldn't clear the shoes. I'm sure disks will be a vast improvement. What about the parking brake though?
 

GoceKU

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The aluminium drum had welded itself to the axle flange, the drum itself wasn't worn out, the brake shows also have lots of life in them and they may be the factory ones, the rear brakes have not worked on this car probably the last 20 years because someone had installed a nail in the metal brake line that acted like a plug i'll attach a picture.
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Latinrascalrg1

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Was that the desperate mans way for keeping his car rolling by stopping a leaking line to keep his family fed or was that some kinda sabotage??? Wow!
 

GoceKU

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Was that the desperate mans way for keeping his car rolling by stopping a leaking line to keep his family fed or was that some kinda sabotage??? Wow!
This Niva used to belong to the Macedonian government was bought at an government auction by the person i bought it from, the title still is in government's name, from the look of the brake pipes my thought is someone had install the nail to block the pipe from draining the entire brake system when he was doing repairs on back axle. When it still belong to the government.
 

GoceKU

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Today the little niva got the oldes form of hydraulic lift ( bottle jack), i placed two heavy duty jack stands under the frame and lower it on them. I'll be dropping the entire rear suspension axle, springs, links everything is getting redone. But for today i only managed to get the little niva back together enough to drive it in and out of the garage so i can switch places between the Octavia and the Niva. And prepare it for surgery. I also found me couple of brake calipers from a Ford Scorpio to use in this brake conversion and bought me a good quality brake pads for them, they were expensive but i'm never buying cheap brake pads again, i don't want to visit the ditch again.
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Latinrascalrg1

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What is your plans for adjusting the pressure balance between front to rear and left to right that would need to be done with the new disc setup?
 

GoceKU

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The plan is to use 42mm rear calipers, if my math is right and the front 3 piston preside calipers are working right should be right on the money no balancing needed. If i get unbalanced i'll be changing the master cylinder or installing a brake proportioning valve.
 

GoceKU

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Today i continued with the plan from yesterday, I removed the wheels and got to fighting with shock absorber bolts. Got them off and lowered the axle down and removed the springs then i went under it and remove the drive shaft, handbrake cables brake line, drain the oil from the diff. The bolts on the links are really rusty so i'm in for a fight.
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GoceKU

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Last few days i've been really busy also trying to buy second hand brake discs is proving challenging, i've contacted about 15 sellers who all say yes they are like new i ask for pictures they can provide one or show like this one, totally destroyed. So i've order new set from russia. i'll have to wait for them for few days, so i moved on to cleaning up the brake calipers, disassembling them changing the seals, wirebrashing them, sprayed them with anti rust acid clean them and painted them black. I still need to remove the rear axle assembly from the little niva and deal with it. the bolts are rusted inside the sleeve for the bushings.
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Latinrascalrg1

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Sarvin, you arent the only one, i read same thing if i quickly skim the site and it takes a second look to see as it is. The Mind is an Awfully Wonderful Thing to Loose!!
 

mattthemuppet2

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the bolts are rusted inside the sleeve for the bushings.
I've had that problem before. Only solution was to use a 4" grinder with thin cut off disk and cut the bolt either side of the bushing. I was replacing the bushings anyway, so it wasn't much of an issue just a hassle.
 

GoceKU

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think I must be suffering from Alzheimers as I keep reading the title as "Lady" Niva for some reason.
Maybe its because of all the new clothes shes getting.
I think is more of language thing, i've grown up seeing this LADA badge, also in my native language we do not have word that is that close only one letter difference. I do have to fight with auto correction on some sites it often wants to change Niva to Nova or Lada to Lala or Lady. Which to me seem strange because they are totally different things.
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GoceKU

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I've had that problem before. Only solution was to use a 4" grinder with thin cut off disk and cut the bolt either side of the bushing. I was replacing the bushings anyway, so it wasn't much of an issue just a hassle.
I'll be replacing the bushings anyway but some of the place are very tight also many of the bolts are 10.9 strength so they will be hard to find replacements, i'll try air hammer and turning them at the same time that has worked for me before. If not i'll cut them.
 

mattthemuppet2

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yeah, that's not going to be much fun, that's for sure. All that happened in my case was that the bushing separated from its outer sleeve and rotated in the suspension arm.
 

GoceKU

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Well yeah the rear axle really did put on a good fight and i still have one more bolt stuck in the frame. Some of the bolts have been on this little 4x4 from the factory and they come off not too hard but the ones that had missing washers someone mess them up also almost all has rusted inside the metal slave in the bushings, air hammer and a wench did get most of them off but i had to cut one and one still pending. I did managed to drop the axle and found all the old bushings are beyond shoot absolutely worn out. And when i finished fighting with the axle i found this video, how i should done it.

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GoceKU

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I'm waiting on the front discs to arrive so i'm doing small jobs around the little Niva. First of who was to change the oil light switch, i installed a new one this time last two failed from old age. Then i continued working on the rear axle, removing the link bars, i put the big electric impact to use, that thing is a beast, heavy to handle and definitely must be held with two hands. I removed the links and cut off the other drum and prepare the axle for pressure washing, i'm out of degreaser so i'll get some tomorrow and i'll start the clean up and disassemble then. The garage is getting crowded while i'm waiting on parts. Story of my life waiting on parts.
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