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Niva technical resources & modifications.
When I first bought
my Niva I started collecting helpful do-it-yourself maintenance and modification
resources off the ’net. Sadly within a year or so, many useful Niva sites
& resources, especially English language ones, started disappearing —
hence the creation of this website to save such knowledge and keep it easily
available to the world.
The site is focused
on Niva 1600s, but much of it also applies to later Nivas.
If you have
a resource that would be helpful to other Lada Niva owners and would like it
added here, please contact me.
can not vouch for the trustworthiness of all of this info and
see the disclaimer below.
are an eclectic mixture of web-pages, Word docs, images, and PDFs sorry. Most
are in English language.
a fan on Facebook -
Advice for Newbies -
Welcome to the world of Lada Niva ownership, now here's a couple of things I
wish I had known... Essential
Also see Buyers
Guide (UK) - magazine article (4x4Mart, May
Also see Buyers
Guide (Aussie) - magazine article (Australian
Also see Niva
as a Daily Driver? (Baxter)
Also see Niva
Rejuvenation article (French) (4x4 Mondial,
Lada Niva 1600 Owner's Manual
- handy resource (1.1M)
Niva Workshop Manuals
- 1600, 1700, injected, & Diesel Highly
- part numbers for every single part of your Niva 2121/3/4/5/7, and specs for
every bolt etc.
Drawings and Numbers (AvtoVaz/Cloggy)
- text in Russian, but
quality photos of of almost every job, including: gearbox strip-down, CVs, brakes
& suspension disassembly, etc...
May Reviews Niva - Nivas
are on sale again (TopGear Magazine, Jan 2011)
Development History (Ivan
Shevelenko) - a comprehensive history of the
development of the Niva with lots of prototype and pre-production images (1.3M)
Longest Production 4x4 (Baxter)
- Land Rover? G-Wagen? Nope, it's the Lada
Oddities (Baxter) - a hand-full of
odd things you probably didn't know about Lada & the Niva.
- the USSR may have become a "revolution betrayed",
but what was the Soviet Union originally trying to achive? Further
General Niva Improvements
Handy Modifications - make your Niva more versatile,
comfortable, & easier to live: door pockets, raised seat brace, tighter
turning circle, water-proofing, etc...
door-mirrors - like to be able to see when
reversing or changing lane? (Mk 1).
the lightswitch - make sure you never switch
the lights off instead of the heater (Mk 1 only).
Swap (Baxter) - mount the seats from a Honda
etc in the Niva.
the Seats into a Bed (various) - My conversion,
some badly translated Russian ones (images look simple to follow), and pics
of a couple of others.
Gauge Calibration (Szentirmai) - yep, I panicked
too the first time I looked at my oil gauge at idle (200K).
(Andrei/Baxter) - yes, it can be done relatively easily
& Indicator Protectors (Patrick Sandre)
- stylish looking homemade tail-light and side-light guards for Mk1 Niva.
Steering (Cloggy) - Toyota Cressida steering-box
into a Niva.
Upgrade (Jack, 400K), Heater
Upgrade2 (crb247, 1.5M) - replace
your tired old fan with a modern one.
Niva Engine Upgrades & Service
Adjustment - dead easy and Essential.
the Niva (Baxter
et al) - grades and volumes for the engine,
gearbox, TC, and diffs etc.
guide to more power
(Alejandro Gabatel) - tips to ringing a few more hp out of the Lada lump.
Carburetor Swap guide (Baxter et al) - cheapest
and easy mod to up your power and drivability; if you can find a good Weber
these days. Popular
to Injection Swap
(Mats Ahlberg) - convert a carburetor Niva
to single throttle-body injection.
(Torok Imre) - convert a Carburetor Niva to multipoint-injection using junkyard
Ignition Swap - swap in an electronic distributor
from a later model Niva (500K).
Compression Cylinder Heads - Riva 1200 head
swap and head planning.
Engine Rebuild Part 1 (2M) and
Part 2 (1M) (Alejandro
DOHC Engine Swap - Need more power or torque?
Cloggy's full write-up of a DOHC swap,
power-steering, and more.
a Niva More Grunt - Fiat DOHC swap article
(International Off-Roader, March 1993), and photos of various DOHC swaps
Niva Gearbox & Transfer-case
Over-fill - easy & Essential
protection for your gearbox.
- how to remove the gearbox (2.6M)
- with handy pictures
& Rebuilding the Gearbox (Volodjushka &
others) - fixing the Niva's only real weakness .
Bearing Alternatives (Ahma)
Gearbox Swap info - it's 90mm longer, but handily
it's bell-housing bolts to Niva engine (30K).
Alignment - mysterious tranny vibrations (ew,
er)? Try these fixes. Popular
Doughnut tricks (Various)
Gearbox Swap (Baxter
et al) - includes magazine article (International Off-Roader, Feb 1993).
Transfer-case Modifications - lower
your TC's low ratio gear; includes the "French Crawler Mod".
joint Double CV Substitute (Stief) - replace
the doughnut and universal with 2 CV joints (100K).
CV Joint - more of the same (200K).
Braces & Mount Upgrades (Baxter)
- Beefed-up TC mounts or braces to minimise damage and vibrations.
Transfer box, Tyre and Wheel Ratio Calculator
Niva Tricks, Tips & Replacements etc
Parts that fit Nivas (Baxter
et al) - please feel free to e-mail
me (address above) substitutes you've tested that work - and ones that don't
Fiat 124 Based Cars (Baxter
else can I crib other bits off?
Removing the Starter-motor
- it's fiddly on
a rhd, best to do it from underneath with a ratchet, long extension, and uni-joint.
Tracking, Camber & Castor Adjustment (Hoodoo)
that Crappy Steering - feel like '50s truck
steering? Sort that weaving, wooliness or bucking bronto...
- common Niva rust traps
Pump Overhaul (unknown author) (2M)
Crank-start Handle (Huffman et
1600 (2121) Wiring Diagrams - good copy with
colours of the wires visible, and a guide.
1700 (21213/4) Wiring Diagrams
diagram cyrillic colour guide
Improvements (Giovanni) -
an automotive electrician's electrical upgrades
Wiring & Removal (Ahma)
Alternator Swap (Huffman) (100K)
an Internally-regulated Alternator into a 1600
Electric Radiator Fan
- with kill switch for water-crossings, see below
in Off-Road Mods
Raised Alternator Brackets
- keep your alternator out of the river,
see below in Off-Road Mods
Niva Wheels & Tyres
(Baxter) - how big can I go?
vehicles with Niva PCD / wheel stud pattern (Baxter)
- what can I borrow rims off?
Trimming (Baxter) - dolly or cut back
your wheel-arches to fit larger tyres.
Niva Brakes, Diffs, & CVs
Brake Adjustment (Baxter) - do it
once (well, once every 6 months or so) and do it right.
Brakes (GM404) - freeing sticky pistons
and replacement seals.
CV Joint Disassembly & Rebuild (Alejandro Gabatel)
Disk Conversion (Niva Nuts) (400K)
Rear Disc Conversion - lots of photos (1M)
Self-adjusting rear brake
upgrade - Content needed; Anyone
got pics and write-up of this swap?
Diff into a Riva Housing
Diff-lock options (Baxter)
- fitting notes and report.
Brake aka Poor Man's LSD
- a twin handbrake set-up that can simulate aspects of an LSD (1.3M).
Niva Off-road Upgrades & Modifications
Niva (Baxter et al) -
Niva lift options for better ground clearance or to fit bigger tyres; includes
world famous DIY Hoodoo 2 inch wedge lift. Very
Lift Fitting Instructions (Jonno)
Lift (Dalibor Lon) -
a variation on the Hoodoo, using tubes instead of wedges (1M).
Mk2 (ring) Prototype Install (Baxter)
- all around rubber ring lift (avoids raising coil
Niva Gets a Lift -
coil lift magazine article (International Off Roader, October 1992)
Lift - Simon Allen's guide to a Niva x-member
Lift - a Spanish guide to cross-member lifts
Articulation (Cloggy) -
remove 40mm from all of the front bump-stops and remove the front anti-roll
Mounts - Cloggy's 50x50mm box-section solution
to the Niva's lack of a "chassis"
to mount hooks.
Snorkels - aftermarket snorkels used to be
difficult to source; PVC drainpipe can make a fine DIY alternative.
Power-train Breathers (Alejandro)
- keep water out of your diffs, gearbox and transfer-case.
Raised Alternator Brackets (Hoodoo/Vipenzas) -
keep your alternator out of the river (6M).
output alternator swap - see above in Electrics;
a bigger alternator will be needed if you're running a winch or high wattage
additional lights, etc.
Rock-sliders & Sill Upgrade - protect your
sills from off-road damage.
& Diff-guards, and other Armour
Reinforcement - see Paris-Dakar rally preparation
Tyres & Wheel-arch Trimming - see
above under Wheels & Tyres.
Transfer-case & Low-ratio Gearbox
- see above in Gearbox & TC.
Diff Swap - see above under Brake & Diffs.
& Fiddle-brakes - see above in Brakes &
Cheap Sand-ladders - heavy, but look cheap,
effective, and easy to make (100K).
Radiator Fan - with kill switch for water-crossings
Front Shock Mounts - stronger mounts for the
front shocks (necessary if stiffer dampers are used).
Well Sorted Nivas
Full Hoodoo - A well thought out and prepared
Niva for green-laning etc. Before going bananas with modifications this is a
must read (1M).
Nuts - a highly developed Niva built for exploring
Australia's Outback, including LSD, disc rear, power steer, etc (1.3M).
Hawk - magazine article about Nissan V6 powered
racing Niva (Overlander, Nov 1989).
Hill Rally Niva - was once a great sounding
bit of kit (1.4M).
Niva - article on Simon Allen's Ford V6 conversion
(4x4i magazine, Nov 2009)
Build your Niva to survive
the Paris-Dakar Rally —Part
1 (1M) and —Part
2 (1M) - Poch's preparation
manual (thanks greatly to Hoverfrog for the translation, French
original here, 2M).
(AutoMecánica, 1982). New
- images of a European trials Niva.
Can't find what
you need above?
Also try searching:
Facebook Niva groups
There are many, this A-to-Z might help, or may not given the
rapidly changing nature of Facebool (FB
groups can evolve so quickly I can't say which is best or biggest at any given
Niva Forum ,
are the main English speaking
Niva forums (like many forums they are dying since Facebook,
however they are still a searchable
gold-mine of previous information, and Lada UK has been
made password access only and many of the useful contributors banned but the
archives are useful if you're lucky enough to get access)
(English/Spanish language section)
Russian Niva FAQ
(Russian language — lots more content than above)
Mods & Accessories section of Baxter's Niva Gallery
After-market Goodies section
of Baxter's Links page
Become a fan
post a picture of your Niva in 4x4 action, your restoration project, your
expedition to Ulan Bator, your engine swap project, your daily beater
Niva, or your trailer-queen, or whatever
— it's all welcome :)
other Niva owners could benefit from being hosted on this site?
Credits, & Copyright
These resources were originally
saved just for personal use, so unfortunately
I haven’t always collected authors’ names.
If you can give me the credit details for a piece
here please contact me.
Much of the resources here are not mine.
Unless otherwise stated, please consider them under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
or similar licence (ie basically you can't use them to make money without
the owner's permission). They are reproduced here in the spirit of keeping
hard-to-find Niva information online and available, and as far as I'm aware
is not a problem with the authors or owners. If a
resource here is yours and you don't want it on my site please let
me know and I'll remove it.
I can not vouch for the trustworthiness of all of this
the infomation posted is from mostly reasonably reliable or reliable
looking sources, I am not a mechanic and I have not tested much
of it myself. If you see something here that
is misleading — or just plain wrong — PLEASE contact me.
I take no responsibility if you do something suggested
on this site and ruin your car, hurt yourself, or break laws of your country
(however, if this does happen then please do tell me so
I can update things). The information in this website does not hold its
authors, owners or hosts liable for any damage or injuries sustained.
No liability is expressed or implied for any use of this information. Beware
that mechanical work, off-road driving, and life in general can be dangerous.
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the most up-to-date copy.