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Like many vehicles the Niva has room for improvements.
From an automotive electrical background I have dealt to the electrics in one way or another on all the 5 pre-1992, 1.6 litre Nivas I have owned. Reminder mine is a right hand drive Niva so some things mentioned may not apply to your Niva.
Firstly the Niva factory must have been short of insulation tape or who ever was taping the looms collected it. Where ever possible re-tape the loom. Not only does this make it look better but it is much safer.
When working with vehicle batteries wear safety eye glasses, always disconnect the negative terminal first and replace last.
When working on any vehicle electrics
make and allow access to the battery. Have a fire extinguisher or garden hose
Loosen or better still disconnect the negative - battery terminal.
I always try to disconnect the battery earth - terminal and clip on a thin wire between the battery - and ground.
Should there be an electrical melt down or fire start when working on the vehicle the battery can be isolated without having to remove the spare tire and or scrambling for spanners.
Improve the rear window heater warm up time and efficiency.
Cut off the push on wire female terminals that connect to both side of the window heater element.Tin and solder the wires directly onto the heater element side rails.Run a separate earth wire directly to the rear door or better still direct to the negative heater rail.
Instrument wiring earth upgrade by running a fresh earth (-) wires direct to the instrument cluster.I have found the earth (-) wiring in many circuits lacking i.e. high in resistance. By wiring in an additional earth wires improves many things. My gauges do not flicker up or down now when another appliance is turned on or off.
If you ever remove the alternator and or starter motor consider re routing the battery to starter positive cable after shortening it or better still upgrade to a shorter but heavier cable.
Fit an auxiliary heavy gauge earth strap direct to the engine from the battery negative terminal.If you have a master battery cut out place it in this earth line.This will assist engine starting when battery voltage to the starter is needed most i.e. cold climate, low flat battery voltage.
Improve the voltage sensing to the voltage regulator by supplying the regulator true battery voltage via a after market mini relay. Rather than rely on the original ignition + supply it gets.This will cure the battery voltage fluctuations which most early Niva suffer from i.e. especially noticeable at night time as the lights flare up and down in brilliance.
Remove and discard the original voltage regulator.
Replace it with a Bosch RE56 voltage regulator.
Cut the 'HI Volt' link on the regulator.
At idle I read 14 volts on the voltage display of my Yaesu FT8800R VHF/UHF HAM radio.
Due to the 'HI Volt' mod the battery electrolyte may need topping up with clean water more often.
The front side amber indicator repeater lamps are now across the park and indicator for each side.That is wired negative black wire to the front indicator + supply wire and positive to the front park lamp + positive wire.
Following this mod the side repeaters now illuminate on park and flash out of sequence with the indicators.
The same can be done to the rear side indicator repeater lamps if fitted.
This mod only works with side lamps fitted with insulated above ground bulb holders which the factory Niva ones are.
An accessory permanently live fuse would burn out irregularly. The issue was finally traced to the factory brake lamp switch. Being a metal caged switch it would irregularly short circuit internally causing the fuse to blow.
Same as above traced to the internal door pillar lamps either working loose and or wired wrong and shorting to ground.
Another fuse that would burn out.The fault traced to the reverse lamp wires broken/pulled away from the reverse lamp switch and either shorting out to the under body of the vehicle and or melt on the exhaust pipe and short out.
If at night time the instrument gauge cluster and any warning lamps bother you replace with 24 volt bulbs. I have discarded and bypassed the gauges' dimmer control.
Very common fault on the Niva, if one does not tie the wires out of the way prior to refitting the steering column covers.
The steering column switch gear wiring rubs through on the steering column shaft and or universal knuckle joint [causing all sorts of weird electric faults -Baxter].
If not already fitted install a fuseable link in the wiring at the battery for the wiring loom main positive + battery supply.
For vehicles with fuse boxes containing early time open ceramic fuses.
Mine has two fuse boxes under the glove box on the far left hand side next to the bonnet release lever.
I removed all the old style factory fuses. I then re-tensioned all the fuse termination clips so the next lot of fresh fuses would connect properly.
INOX or WD40 everything.
Red 16 amp fuses serve everything now. Spares fuses in the glove-box.
For Niva electrical diagrams and schematics see the Electrics section on the Resources Page
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