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29/06/2005 Coming soon:
GadgetBoy and Yerman buy a Lada!
Yes! You read that right! We've actually paid good money for one of the much maligned little Russian blighters! However, over the next few months we'll be doing a photo-essay here on Turbo-Nutter of it's restoration and transformation into something that will both surprise and impress you doubters. Come back soon for more.
Cheers, GadgetBoy and Yerman.
Yup! We did it! And here's our little komrade as picked up from the Lada shop. (ebay)
Click on the pics for a larger version. Look at the mileage ....... 23K!
I decided to drive it home but half way down the motorway the brakes seized so it ended up being delivered to my door by the AA! All those years I've been a member and when I finally need them I'm in a Lada! Turned out the driver of the recovery truck does 4x4 events so I didn't get the piss taken out of me! :-)
09/07/2005 The ATL (All Terrain Lada) is in intensive care ....... is there any hope Doctor?
As you can see, the car is totally stripped. The brake problem was just crud in the fluid preventing the fluid returning to the master cylinder. Mechanically, the car is spot on. The rust moths have been having a nibble but nothing too serious. Front valence is holed at the offside bumper post hole, Drivers door bottom is holed and the mounts on the roof for the tailgate are rotten ..... all easily fixable. The underbody is grand.
The strip down was reasonably painless. Had to use a nut splitter on the top nuts of the front shocks and the flexible for the rear brakes from the underbody to the rear axle was seized ....snip! The gas axe was in a bad mood coz he only got used for heating stubborn nuts and didn't get to kill anything!
Every boot at the front end is banjaxed so Alan Bird of Lada UK got a good order yesterday. The main problem is dozing of the rubber but the nearside lower ball joint was seized solid ..... that explains the heavy steering.
So far we've got the rust treated on the front and all down the drivers side apart from the gutter. Mr Mig is out tomorrow to do the holes and then we'll flat down the drivers side. Should get that and the passenger side done in the next week. Need to get the bits from Alan and the lift kit (thanks to HooDoo) and get it rolling again and up to my mates barn to blow the whole car over with high build primer for a good wet rub down. Then we'll blow on a few coats of the original colour.
The plan is to get it roadworthy and MOT'd within 6 weeks in more or less standard form and then tackle the mod list over the autumn and winter.
More soon .......
PS ...... does anybody think the front end looks like a Disco without it's grille and lights?
13/07/2005 Not much to report ..... it's been a holiday here!
The rear axle has been totally re-furbished. See above for the original as taken off the car. Mechanically it was fine so it was left alone. I only had to weld on new tabs for the brake pipes. First task was to chip off all the obvious deep rust. Thankfully there wasn't much as it's a tedious and mind numbing job. Next was a serious de-manking with Jizer to get all the weeped oil off. Next was a detergent soak and steam clean followed by a dry off with the air gun. Last job before blowing on the paint was a blow down with thinner and a wipe off. The paint is Black Smooth Hammerite. Lovely stuff. Mix at 2:1 paint to thinners and blow on at 30psi (2 Bar). Get yourself a really good spray gun (not a cheap Korean/Chinese copy) and treat it like you would your nadgers. It'll serve you right for life. The Hammerite peeps tell you to spray with the widest fan, don't 75-100mm at 200-300 range is perfect. I'm quite happy with the result anyways.
All the suspension arms and bumper posts were done on Sunday/Monday. De-rusted with the wire brush on the bench grinder, cleaned as above and Red Smooth Hammerite brushed on.
Only other job done was removing the Anti-Roll Bar mounts from the front lower spring seats. These are spot welded on. The drivers side appeared to be spot welded on with pure titanium. Took me a good 45 mins with the club hammer and chisel to get it off. The passenger side seems to have been spat on by a friday afternoon Russian welder. Two bangs and it was off!
Ordered the Lexan to replace the side windows and the Renobond to make all the internal panels.
Hope the postie delivers the lift kit bits tomorrow so as I can crack on! More soon .......
14/07/2005 No real update today ..... back to work.
No pictures I'm afraid. Mostly sorting bits today. Got a roll of brake pipe all new brake unions and ordered replacement braided hoses ... all an extra 50mm longer.
Somebody asked me about this today and I thought maybe it'd give some of you Lada lovers a chuckle so here it is.
17/07/2005 Why do I bother? It's destined for a muddy field!
And so to the front suspension/drivetrain. Bugger there are a lot of bits! So .... after about a week of wire brushing with the bench grinder, angle grinder and a quaint little wooden one (some old fangled invention I believe) we finally have the offside ready to paint. What? Only one side? Yes. Try it yourselves you worthless lot! Anyways ..... here's the before picture.
I bought these ladder thingummies for doing house stuff like washing windows ..... they're much more useful for stuff like this. Brazing rods make great hooks BTW.
Is this not sexy as f*ck?!!!!! Note HooDoo's lift kit fitted on the lower spring seat. The more observant of you will hat noted the absence of an upper wishbone. This is because I haven't got around to taking it off yet. It will be cleaned and painted!
On an aside. I had to degrease the hub carrier, CV's and various other bits so I thought to myself ....... I need a parts washer! A quick peruse on eBay showed they were at "Buy it now" prices of between £20-30. I'd clocked them in my local Partco/Unipart so I thought they couldn't be that much dearer and no postage. How wrong could I be ...... £56 ex-vat! Bugger that I said to myself, I bet I can make one. A trip to Makro unearthed a plastic bin thingy, 2 for £4.99. I already had a windscreen washer pump and some spare tubing. A trip to Maplin resulted in a foot switch for 99p ( and a little box for it at 75p. Bit of wiring and plumbing later, some cable ties and adhesive mounts and there it was. and by buggery it works a treat. Total cost ...... about £5! Here it is! (Apologies for the pic .... it was taken with a phone.)
19/07/2005 Quick Mid-week Update
This having to do proper work is seriously eating into garage time so there ain't much to report. 10/10 marks to Explorer UK for very prompt delivery. Pro Comp ES9000's arrived in today. Thoroughly recommended. Only other bits that have arrived is the armoured 40mm flexible hose to make the snorkel. It's actually flexible drain hose, looks like hoover hose - as my highly amused other half pointed out, but you can literally jump on it.
For the rest of this week I'll crack on with replacing all 4 CV boots and cleaning up the exposed bits of the drive shafts. Some words of wisdom. If you're trying to split one off the Niva's CV joints you'll find the maintenance manual uses the word "tap" to remove the inner part of the joint off the splines. I have come to the conclusion this is Soviet propaganda. A "tap" from steroid boosted Russian shot-putter might shift the bugger ..... for the more svelte of us it requires one hell of a smack to shift it over the circlip and several more spirited blats to get it off the splined shaft.
Saturday morning the nearside front end bits get sprayed and we hope to get the underbody of the car sorted over the rest of the weekend.
25/07/2005 What a waste of weekend.
Well what with there being a Grand Prix on the TV and my angle grinder taking ill we got nowhere near as much done as we would have liked. However there are a lot more shiny bits.
Finally got round to getting the upper wishbones off so they're done now as well. When I sprayed the offside suspension bits I got told off for getting overspray on the wall. Uppity wimmin! This time I used a dust sheet although as far as I'm concerned it's only a feckin' wall!
Got playing with a great new toy today. This is how the wheels looked when they came off the car. Rather tatty don't you think?
This is how they look (well .... one of them) after the new toy. A blast cabinet!
I can tell you're impressed. I should add it took about 4 hours to get the wheel to this stage! It's an exceptionally footery job! The result makes the time spent well worth it though. The most important aspect is the use of the cabinet and the grit is free ...... woo hoo!
31/07/2005 Week 5 in the Big Lada House
Finally some things are going back on the car. The back axle has been treated to new brake pipes and new slave cylinders.
The tailgate has been wire-brushed, rust treated, filled, wet'n'dryed, primed and is half way through being re-sprayed. This would have been done much sooner but for the recent rain. Managed to get the outside finished today. If it's good tomorrow evening I'll get the inside done.
We did a lot of thinking about what to spray the car with. For a start we had no idea what the original paint was so I blew the tailgate over with grey cellulose primer to see if it would react and (thankfully) it was fine. So ..... do we get the original Lada colour mixed up or do we get radical. We decided to be radical and blew the tailgate in with smooth white Hammerite. Absolutely excellent job even if I do say so myself. It's about the same price as trade mixed cellulose but it's available off the shelf anywhere anytime. It's a bit slow to cure/harden fully but the compromise is worth it.
Got started on the bodyshell today. These two photos don't seem to show much but the black bits round the bumper post holes are all new metal welded in, ground down and then treated with Loctite 7503 - wonderful stuff but it looks like shit when it's working right.
When this is rubbed down, filled and rubbed down again it'll be fine.
Now! Here's a quandry. We unbolted those inner front wheel arch bits. On the passenger side about half a gallon of water came out but both the inner wheel arch panel and the cavity were fine. On the drivers side the panel was rotten for about the bottom 100mm.
We cut all the bad metal off and shaped a new bottom bit, welded it on and treated the internal face with Bodyschutz. I was using the Mig at the time so Yerman did it with the gas which he hasn't used in about 15 years. It shows (as he admits himself) but it's serviceable. Be fair, he joggled the edges manually with body tools. None of yer "Mark Evans" - I've got a tool for everything and Discovery pays for it here!
There was quite a bit more done but I haven't photographed it yet. Everything we need parts-wise is in except the braided brake hoses. Hopefully, now, this'll be much more of a rebuild than a stripdown. Back soon chums.
08/08/2005 Finally the corner is turned!
At long last it seems there might be light at the end of the tunnel. We've actually got to the stage where things can start going back on the car. So, I hear you ask, what's happened.
Right. Pictures below. All the wheels are now shotblasted, etch primed and painted in hammered silver Hammerite. Springs also shotblasted, primed and painted, yellow for these. Usual Hammerite procedure, thin 2:1 paint to thinners, spray at 40ish PSI (2-3 bar).
A really good prod with a pointy screwdriver round the nether regions of the car revealed a number of holes requiring attention. Nothing serious but definite MOT failers. These were sill between front wheel arch and front jacking point and connected transverse chassis rail on both sides. Near side sill and rear wheel arch. Lower front of nearside rear wheel arch inner. Nearside rear wheel arch inner just in front of spring seat. Small hole on rear lip if nearside rear wheel arch inner. A total of 6 patches were needed. All relatively straightforward but it required welding upside-down in enclosed places which caused great amusement to all and sundry when spatter landed in delicate places and burnt its way through to sensitive areas. It's amazing how quick you can move when there's a small glob of hot steel in your hair! The only other welding done was a little patch on the slam panel and cutting and extending the brake bias/rear axle link to take into account HooDoo's excellent lift kit.
With all the welding done it was time to start under sealing the body. This led to the examination and subsequent removal of the brake bias valve, this was because it transpired the control arm and it's pivot in the bias valve were completely siezed. Turned out the valve itself was spot on. Good rub down with wet 'n ' dry and some moly-grease on the pivot and the mounting bush sorted things out. Gave the blighter a lick of paint while it was on the bench too.
The car is now under-sealed with Body Schutz from the rear valence to the rear jacking points and wonderful it looks too. The rear axle is fully re-assembled and ready to lift into the car. The new back box is in place but the whole exhaust is completely out of line so it's coming out from the rear joint of the Cat to get it properly aligned.
14/08/2005 I want my mummy!
Loads of progress today - YAY! The back axle is back on! And .... the front is partially. The newly painted and newly booted wheels are on (well 3 of them ....... shhhsshh ..... don't tell anyone!) It looks absolutely wonderful, incredibly mean and I'm scared! The tyres are Colway 205/16 MT's. Feast your eyes but beware ...... you might go a bit wibbly!
Re-fitting was a breeze but it really needs two people. One to jack, push, pull, wiggle etc and one to shove bolts through holes. Remember, don't tighten anything until the weight of the car is on the axle.
Fitting the front was slightly more troublesome. Bolt on wishbones, re-fit drive shaft, seat spring. Now jack it up via the lower wishbone which works file until about 20mm before the top ball joint slots into the steering knuckle. At this point the whole car starts lifting! Solution ...... A sturdy friend and a ratchet strap. Wrap the ratchet strap round the upper and lower wishbones and get a sturdy friend to stand on the wing. Tighten up the ratchet strap and it pulls the steering knuckle and upper ball joint together just enough to get the ny-lock nut on. Hey presto.
You gotta admit it's starting to look the dogs nadgers!
More soon my komrades.
21/08/2005 Brake - or to be more correct - FECKIN' BARSTEWARD BRAKES %£$*@**^!!!!!!
Apologies no piccies for this update yet!
Friday and most of Saturday were wonderful. The sun shone in the trees. Little birds sang. My cats and dog didn't fight once. My daughter didn't run off to join a commune in Azerbaijan. The final attaching of the front suspension, pre-loading of the car and tightening of all the suspension mounts went smoothly and without stress or major mishap. No knuckles were skinned! (A first!).
Friday was spent re-attaching the nearside front suspension which I did in a relaxed, methodical manner and had to improvise in places coz it was only me there. It's fiddly but with two ratchet straps, a trolley jack and a bottle jack it is possible to get the spring on single handed.
Saturday morning was spent filling the drivetrain with oil (bugger those Russians put things in some awkward places!) and torqueing all the suspension nuts and bolts that aren't involved in suspension travel.
Saturday afternoon. Reading the manual (as every good home mechanic does - yeah right!) reveals that the car has to be loaded with 340kg of ballast (approx 4 people). Easier said than done ....... I already had a 150 litre water butt that I use to test my outboard engines so a trip to Homebase and I procured another 190 litre water butt. Adds up to 340 litres or 340 kg - that was handy! The inside of the car is stripped so it was easy to place these where the driver and passenger seats would go. I added a concrete block to make up for all the missing trim panels and two in the boot to make up for the missing tailgate and the 40kg they advise you have it the boot. The existing front seats are stored in the rear loadbay so I didn't have to calculate for those. All in all we reckon we were pretty close.
It took a good hour to fill the two butts and the car settled by 30mm on the suspension. Torqued everything up and emptied out the water. Car sits just lovely now.
In the final couple of hours we reconnected the brake system and attempted to bleed it. Open rear left bleed nipple. Press pedal. Air. Good. Press pedal again. Air. Good. Check reservoir - hmm fluid at same height. Not good. After about 7 - 8 presses we ceased to get air, didn't get fluid either. Definitely not good. Leave it for a while and try again and exactly the same as before. Try the right rear. Exactly the same. Still no fluid (or marginal fluid) leaving the reservoir. Try front left upper. Same. Front right upper. Same again. What the feck? Try front left lower. Fluid in 3 or 4 presses and bled within 7. Front right lower the same - bled no problem. Huh?
Take out master cylinder and reservoir. Mount in vice. Plug secondary outlet and one of primaries and plumb spare wheel cylinder in. Attach reservoir and try on bench. 2-3 pumps. Fluid at cylinder, reservoir draining. Two the pumps more - no air. Close bleed valve and firm master cylinder. Huh? Wheel cylinder was mounted in a G-Clamp BTW.
Put master cylinder and reservoir back in car. Try again. Exactly as it was last time it was in the car. IE bugger all!
Throw tantrum and decide beer is more promising.
Sunday. Wet drizzle. Day started with dog chasing cat, cat stopping and turning round. Dog applying brakes on laminate floor, colliding with cat and having his nose shredded. Minor wounds but did not bode well.
Decide to be methodical. Drain secondary circuit so as were at the state recommended in the manual. Check every joint. Try again. Same as before. 7-8 pumps. Air then no air and reservoir not emptying. Bench test again. Fine! Arrrggghhhh!
Decide to do the same as the bench test but in the car. IE master cylinder and reservoir installed but all outlets sealed except one primary to the spare wheel cylinder on a quickly made up bit of pipe. Doesn't work. So on the bench it works but in the car it doesn't. What's the difference? Answer. Brake pedal and servo. Check actuator. Seems fine. Huh?
Teeth have now been so gnashed I need to go to the dentist for a new set. Hair has been pulled to near baldness. Arrgghhh!
Ok. On the bench it works. On the car it doesn't but everything seems right. What is this? Gnomes? Gremlins? Djinns?
There has to be a reason.
Try secondary circuit again. Perfect. Sorcery is afoot! OK so either we have to perform pagan rituals or we're missing something. Being of atheist stock we err to the latter. When pumped air is expelled. When the pedal is release fluid gets drawn back up the bleed tube. Aha! The fluid should be drawn from the reservoir. Why isn't it? Poke outlets of reservoir with a piece of wire. Shit, bugger, feck, arse, bollox! One of the outlets is blocked!
Turned out everytime we'd bench tested it we'd used outlet A of the reservoir. Everytime we'd put it in the car we'd used outlet B. Within minutes the whole system was bled!
Leave to settle and bleed again. Air at back. None at front. Settle, bleed - same again. And so on. Inspect.
The union between the new braided hose and T-piece on the rear axle was leaking. This proved to be much more troublesome to fix. The braided hose came with both a conical seat and a copper crush washer. However, when you screwed it in without the washer it didn't reach the internal seat so I used the crush washer. What I didn't take into account was the horrendous state of the aluminium round the hole for the union. There was absolutely no way the crush washer would ever seal. We milled a couple of mill off the T-piece and tried again but by this time the crush washer was so banjaxed it was knackered. Plan B. Mill more material off the T-piece so the conical seat would come into play. Fine in theory except the standard fitting has approx 5mm unthreaded at the end so to the hose was running out of threads to screw into. Adapting a tap by hack sawing a bit off the end allowed us to cut the additional threads into the T-piece. Quick pressure test with the compressor and a jug of water looked promising. Back to car and things went swimmingly.
Moral for the day. When you think you've checked everything there's something you haven't checked!
Pictures for last weekend and this weekend. 28/08/2005 A good weekend!
After the fiasco of the brakes last weekend this weekend was pretty good.
Friday was taken up getting the window back into the tailgate. This required much washing up liquid and a little hook made up from brazing rod with all the sharp edges filed off. I found after much faffing about that a motion a bit like using an old fashioned lever-type tin opener did the trick. The plastic trim locks the rubber gasket to the flange on the tailgate. After try various manual methods and pushing a various angles I discovered hitting it with a large rubber mallet did the trick!
On an aside, Hammerite has now been consigned to the bin! It doesn't harden fully and chips like a drag queen's nail polish. Having checked the piggy bank I bit the bullet and got 2.5l of Lada code 233 Max Meyer cellulose mixed up. The tailgate has now been sprayed with this and such a difference. Not cheap but on par with Hammerite. The thinners are about a 1/5th of the price so I'll save in the end. I'm also very happy with the finish. The top right picture of the pictures immediately above shows the finished tailgate.
Didn't do much on Saturday. Threaded the tailgate wiring back down the rear window pillar and worked out what way the wires went back into the connector I'd de-wired for the wash-wipe.
Next task was to adjust and finish the front wheel bearings. Referring to the manual showed you torque them up to 19.6Nm, turn the wheels 2-3 turns in both directions, slacken it off, tighten to 6.86Nm then slacken the nut off 20-25 degrees and crimp the nut there. Fine. Except ...... my little torque wrench which works at that range is 1/4" drive. The wheel nut is 24mm. I only had a 1/2" drive 24mm socket! Bugger!
Scuffling about for a solution I realised I had 4 1/2" drive universal joints so I split on of these an welded a 1/4" drive socket into the arms. Hey presto 1/4" - 1/2" adapter. After that doing the wheel bearings was a breeze.
The next task was to grease the new ball joints and the drive train. Easy peasy. Bollox! It is is if you have a grease gun that works! I had bought a really good (alledgedly) Draper high pressure (6000psi) grease gun a while back. Piece of crap! Spring cap wouldn't seat right and eventually (ie Saturday) it completely refused to pump grease. Stripped it, cleaned it, checked it, re-assembled it. Nothing, niet, nada! Yerman was coming round for a quick visit so I texted him and got him to pick up a grease gun. He arrived with a Wesco cartridge, side-pump grease gun. Immediately on removal from the box it was apparent this was several leagues ahead of the Draper in quality - and cheaper too! Brand names do not necessarily impart quality! That said the Draper was on the organ donor register and gave up it's applicator arm so now I have a slightly angled arm and a right-angle one. Called it a night at that.
Sunday. Back to ball joint greasing. Top ones are a doddle because of the recently donated right-angle applicator and the grease nipples on them! Bottom ones ..... hmmm ..... no nipples! Here's a tip get a small length of old brake pipe with the flare on one end. This snaps into the collets on the end of the applicator of the grease gun. The other end can be slipped under the rubber boot of the ball joint. Ta dar!
Next job was all the grease points on the drivetrain. All bar two were inaccessible! Greased those and noted on the to-do list. Bar those few joints and the wheel alignment that's it. The mechanical bits are done! The car has moved, forwards, backwards, left AND right. Hi-lo box, diff-lock and all gears have been checked. It's ALIVE!
Air and oil filters, oil and plugs are there for an engine service but we'll do that just before the MOT.
The car has to be moved for the body respray so for the rest of Sunday I put the interior back in and Yerman finished undersealing it with Bodyschutz and then started to cut out the new interior door panels. With the last of the sealer we did the bit that'll be behind the grill because once the headlamps and grill is on we don't particularly want to have to go back there again. Underbody looks spiffing!
While doing the front valence/slam panel we had a look at the headlamp adjusters. Turn knob - bugger all. According to the manual this is a non-serviceable hydraulic unit. Nothing like a challenge!. Strip from car, dismantle - hmmm - no fluid. Re-fill with water ..... yes water! ..... if it leaks you don't want brake fluid everywhere do you? Water is a perfectly acceptable hydraulic fluid for non-critical applications. Lo and behold it works fine. That said we've left it mounted in the vice to see if it leaks although we're both pretty sure the heat in the engine compartment evaporated the original water. When you turn the knob on the dash it basically screws two pistons into two "master" cylinders behind the knob. This is a sealed unit. It can be opened but you'll break the rim on the outer bit. Solution ..... pop it back on and cable-tie it. Sorted!
Back soon .........
04/09/2007 The ATL (All-terrain Lada) has it's face back!
There's not a whole lot visual going on right now. All the work is concentrated on small fiddly things to get the car roadworthy to get it up to Yerman's place for the respray. As well as that we're in the process of rust-proofing all the body cavities. Having done some research on the interweb Dinitrol (pronounced DIN-IT-ROL) is the stuff to use. Waxoyl apparently dries, cracks and shrinks after about 2 years, Dinitrol doesn't. However, getting this magic brew is another matter. My local motor factor (Fyfes) didn't do it but they did suggest Brown Brothers (A Unipart distributor). Tried them and they proffered me Bodyline Cavity Wax - a generic Unipart product. I told them this wasn't what I wanted and a little voice from behind a rack somewhere said "Dinitrol make it for Unipart". Further checking on the interweb proved this. Bodyline Cavity Wax is actually Dinitrol! There you go. Guaranteed for 2000 hrs constant exposure to salt spray too! That'll do for me! A word of warning. It dribbles out everywhere! And it stinks! If you have a compressor get a schutz gun. They're only about £13 (€19/$19). The 1l cans screw directly on to the gun and you get a 500mm probe for doing down chassis rails. Well worth it. Spray at about 60psi/4bar.
Anyways ....... what else has happened. Oh yes - the new face. I can't say I liked the original grille. Big horrible, lumpy, black plastic thingy. So - I decided to make my own. Much measuring later and several hours of jig-sawing and drilling Dibond (Aluminium-composite sheeting) I arrived at the picture below.
It still looks a bit untidy, I still need to sand and smooth all the edges but all in all I'm fairly happy with it.
Part of the reason for dumping the original grille was to get better clearance for the winch.
Here's the winch mounted. It looks like it's mounted to the bumper but there's an 80mm x 4mm steel sub-frame hidden behind the bumper. The winch is mounted on this through the bumper. The winch is a 2000lb/900kg dead pull, 6000lb/2700kg rolling. Should be enough but only time will tell.
The other thing I did this weekend was build an interface for the ECU. This allows you to monitor the engine management with your computer or Palm compatible device. The circuit diagrams for the interface are available at: http://www.techedge.com.au/vehicle/aldl8192/8192hw.htm It's relatively easy to build and the parts cost about £6 (€8/$8). I'm no star with the soldering iron but it worked first time. Here it is:
The coloured wires go to the car and diagnostic connector in the left hand footwell behind the plastic cover held on with Velcro. Blue and yellow go to the diagnostic port as per the above webpage, red is 12V from the fuses beside the diagnostic connector and white is ground. (This is is my version anyways.) The thick black wire is the RS232 to my laptop. Note: My design differs slightly from the one in the webpage in that I take the power from the car and not the RS232 port of the computer.
If you visit http://www.lada.co.uk/ and join the forum Truck666 has an excellent software package that works with this interface.
09/07/2005 Of bits, bytes and cool software.
Having played around with Truck666's wonderful little software package I realised I needed more! More data, more displays, more graphs, data-logging, data-replay. I needed to plug my ECU straight into my brain! Unfortunately I don't have an RSR232 port behind my ear! (Probably a good thing!)
Hunting round the internet I found a commercial software package from Starr Performance in Australia called EFILive V4 For ODB1, GM-ALDL interfaces. I downloaded the demo version and wow! This is the puppy dog's dangly bits.
Prior to going into the package in more detail I need to explain a few things. First, this is a commercial software package designed for garages and professional mechanics. Second, the package requires a separate definition for the specific vehicle or vehicles you want to analyse. Understandably, there is no definition for the Lada Niva.
Bearing the second point in mind I loaded it on the workshop laptop, connected the car via my home-made interface (which now has a nice long cable so I can sit at the work bench in comfort rather than balancing the laptop in the from of the car) and fired the software up. There is excellent documentation with the package (you have to download this separately) and following this it suggests starting with the ignition on but not having the engine running. Not knowing a huge amount about the ALDL protocols or the specifics of the Niva's version I decided to load some of the default definitions (mostly for Australian cars) to see if any of them produced anything. As luck would have it the first one I loaded produced a data stream. What I also noticed was the abbreviations for the various parameters were quite similar to the abbreviations on Truck666's Hex and Decimal displays. After a lot of fiddling later I discovered Truck666's Hex and Decimal pages are displayed exactly in the order they are received from the ECU. Credit where credit is due. This enabled me to produce a basic raw definition for the information being received from the ECU. By a raw definition I mean displaying the value of the bytes or words received. 0-255 for bytes, 0-65535 for words (2 bytes).
Next came the fun bit and the infuriating bit. Trying to convert the information to real world values and getting it to display visually in EFILive V4. I tried copying conversion factors and display values from other vehicles with limited success. One of the things I noticed about the other vehicle definitions supplied was they were mostly V6 and V8 automatics. I checked back to the EFILive website and found a definition for a Daewoo Nubira 4 cylinder manual. I had a look at this and it was noticeably more similar to the Niva. Using the conversion factors and display values for this definition was much more successful. Interestingly the Daewoo is made in Romania. I assume VAZ and Daewoo share resources and components.
At this point I was finding the reduced capabilities of the demo version of EFILive V4 very limiting. Although I had a reasonably complete definition it will only display the 1st 8 defined values, 4 visual displays out of a possible 25, 4 graphical values out of a possible 16, the 1st 8 defined MALF codes and the 1st 8 defined status bits. I could only display about 15% of the information I knew I was getting!
On the website it stated that you might be eligible for a free copy of the full software if you provided a vehicle definition they didn't already have. I emailed them explaining I didn't want to use the software commercially but as an aide to keeping my car in tip top shape in a situation where I have no local dealers and as far as I know it's the only Niva still going in Ireland. I sent them a link to the website, explained I had a "work in progress" definition for the Niva and asked was the offer of an upgrade still valid if I supplied a definition.
Lo and behold I got a reply today from the author of the software saying he had enjoyed reading the site and enclosing a registration code for the full version on the proviso I provided the definition when I got it finished.
I would like to thank Paul Blackmore of EFILive for his generosity and I will certainly honour my end of the bargain.
Now on to the fun bit! With the full version loaded I was able to see what this package can do. It is absolutely, stonkingly, fantastically wonderful! (Ed: "You liked it then Dave" GadgetBoy: "Just a tad")
Here are some screen shots:
Screen 1: This is the display of the decoded ALDL data in both raw and (where appropriate) scaled form.
Screen 2: The dashboard display. This is from my actual Niva! Need I say more?
Screen 3: The Graph display. I haven't really done much with this yet.
Screen 4: The MALF (DTC) Display.
Screen 5: The Status Bits (various Mode Words) display. I still need to work out what most of these are!
Screen 6: Part of the vehicle definition page.
As well as the realtime displays you can also record/log the realtime data for later playback and analysis, for example, you could take a car for a test drive, log all the data and analyse it at your leisure over a cup of tea!
This really is an excellent piece of software and, working in the IT business, I don't say that very often.
The package retails (on-line) for $US 175. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is working professionally on a lot of OBD-I / ALDL cars. The later versions of the package connect with newer interfaces and vehicles.
I'm having a ball just playing with it.
Work in progress Niva definition for EFILive. <Click Here>
11/09/2005 Fiddly bits and bobs.
Not a whole lot to report today - the Belgian Grand Prix was on. Ah Spa ....... the finest circuit on the planet bar none. Alonso's a little closer to his well deserved title. Mind you it's not settled yet. Good to see McLaren back on form. Excellent 3rd place by Button too.
Anyways ..... on to Lada stuff.
Top Left. The Cabin Air Intake is now sealed. Eventually, the 2nd snorkel will attach to the passenger side of the intake. The sealing plate is an off cut of my Dibond aluminium-composite sheet attached with a couple of self-tappers and silicone mastic. You can also see the remote for the winch in the background. The winch is going to be changed. I bought a 11'000lb one off eBay today. I'll put the little one on the back. Decided it was much too wimpy.
Top right and bottom left. New interior door trims in Dibond. Don't they look wonderful? Let's face it. The car is going to get wet inside and out. The hardboardy/vinyl originals would just fall to bits.
Bottom right. Inclinometer now fitted. Lovely little oil-damped unit of eBay for £20. Shows pitch and roll with little adjustable indicators to show when you're in "Oh shit!" territory! Look at the mileage again. 23151! This puppy ain't even run in!
That's basically it for this week. Spent a lot of time getting EFILive set up. Getting the door panels just right took a lot of time as well. The car's ready to move now for re-spraying. We're getting close and I can't wait!
18/09/2005 She cannae take anymore Cap'n.
Fitted the new winch yesterday and today. It's a 3'500lb/11'000lb (1590kg/5000kg) unit. That's 3'500lbs dead lift and 11'000lbs rolling. Seeing as it's considerably heftier than the original it required a much more solid mount. The mount is made of 80mm x 6mm steel bar.
I tested the winch and mount by pulling my daughter's Citröen AX up my 1:4 driveway. Neither even broke a sweat! The winch had a remote but I dismantled it and the Out/In switch is now mounted on the switch panel below the heater control. I'm going to mount the little winch on the back.
An experiment in articulation!
I decided to test the articulation today and the easiest way to do it was to drive the car up ramps. Offside front and nearside rear! I nearly got to the top of the ramps before a problem surfaced. If you look at the bottom left picture you'll see the tyre is jammed on the rear lip of the wheel arch. Bugger! Some adjusting required! Basically we need about another 15mm clearance. Bit of cutting and welding will sort it out. Apart from that it's pretty impressive! Look at the top right picture ...... the spring is out of its seat. Try doing this in your X5 or Cayenne! Pah!
Back soon my Lada chums.
25/09/2005 A bit of T-Cut will sort that out.
It's finished! Well ..... it still needs a good rub down and a re-spray but bar that it's done! A lot of fiddly, footery things were done yesterday and today but things that needed sorted before the re-spray coz of holes it bodywork etc. There is more to do like the rollcage and roof rack but these can wait. As far as MOT-ing is concerned it's ready.
Top and centre left. Tow bar, rear winch, high level lights and all associated electrics installed. The high level lights and wiring were kindly donated by a trailer board.
Top right. View of twin snorkels. The ends of them are the original nozzles that went on the air intake - hence my need for an extra one (must remember to send Alan his root vegetables!)
Bottom left. Grayston Bonnet Catches installed. The original cable release has been removed, it was banjaxed anyways.
Bottom centre and right. Internal views of the snorkels. These aren't permanently installed yet. We need to take them out again for the re-spray. When finally installed there is a rubber sealing ring to go round the two holes cut in the bodywork and much silicone mastic to seal everything up.
The continuing brake saga!
When moving the car last week to test the articulation on the ramps it seemed very "tight". Further inspection revealed the brakes were seized! Again! This was the problem experienced when I picked the car up way back when. As the entire system has been cleaned, flushed, inspected and generally pronounced healthy a little head-scratching ensued. Then I remembered a comment from the previous owner when I collected the car. "The only thing I've done is change the master cylinder." So the master cylinder was inspected and lo and behold ..... that's a very un-Lada-like part number! Wrong master cylinder! Bugger! Alan was phoned and a brand spanky new master cylinder was teleported directly to my greasy mitts post haste! He is good!
Comparing the two master cylinders showed how extremely wrong the old one was. It was very wrong indeed! It would be like taking the dilithium crystals out of the Enterprise and trying to run it on Marmite! Put the new one in yesterday (you can just see it in the bottom right pic) and we have brakes that work and release! Yay!
Is that light at the end of this tunnel?
01/10/2005 Light and sound.
Every time I say it's ready to paint I think of other things that need done before it can be painted. Every single addition and accessory has to be fitted so as any holes needing drilled can be done before painting to discourage the rust moths.
I've added a little extra lighting on the front. Just a smidgin! The four lights on the roof bar are Ring driving lamps and the two on the bumper are Ring Rally Giants. With this lot on the people on the other side of the street think the sun has come up! Little children several miles away were shielding their eyes! I still need to find a large flat area with a light coloured wall at the end of it to align them properly.
This amount of lights needs some serious wiring. The top right pic (sorry about the quality) shows the relays and a separate 30amp fuse. As per the law the lights are switched, the roof lights and the bumper lights have each have switches on the dash. The last thing I want is Plod pulling me! The 100amp circuit breaker is for the winches.
That was light ...... now sound!
Having removed all of the rear fittings from the Niva I have discovered there is absolutely nowhere to put speakers. Now I like a nice bit of Handel when I'm driving so this lack of speaker locations had to be solved. I like a bit of oomph as well!
Top left. I had one of these cabinets a few years ago in my Saab Carlsson (Now that was a car! Only problem was the fuel gauge was directly linked to the boost gauge! 0-60 was average ..... 60-140 was mind numbingly good! Sorry, I digress!) Anyways, speaker thingies. The cabinet shown is designed to sit in the boot taking up minimum space but providing a little extra kick .... well quite a lot of extra kick! The purple jobbie on the top is a 200W 2 channel amp. This is driven from the rear line-out of the head unit.
Centre. Seeing as the Niva has nowhere to put speakers I put the normal four speakers in the back of the cabinet. These are two-way units from Maplin. Now none of these speakers are yer Bose/Jamo/Wharfedale/B&W high fallutin' stuff however ........ the original cabinet has 2 8" bass units and horns, excellent at low and high ranges. The Maplin units are two-way and very good in the mid-range. The whole lot together is not bad at all! Total price about £50 including the amp ...... I kid you not! The stereo separation is non-existent but I'm not gonna be listening to Jean-Michel Jarre whilst tripping on shrooms so I don't give a monkeys!
Right. The head unit (used to be called a radio in my day!). Looks ordinary doesn't it? Oooooohhhh nooooooo! It does FM, AM, CD's and then it does MP3 CD's. "Pah!" I hear you say. But ...... if you look at the right hand side you'll see a little slot at the top and a little rubber cover. The little slot takes an SD-Card and the little rubber cover hides a USB port. Spend a little time at night downloading some funk. Stick it on your USB memory stick. Pop out to the car in the morning, plug it in and those sounds you downloaded mere minutes ago are blasting from your speakers making your journey to work much more pleasant. It's an absolutely awesome piece of kit. Best of all it's only £99!!!!!! Completely unknown manufacturer, H&B. Just as a matter of interest I tried my 40gb USB hard drive in the USB port and it worked too! How much music can I handel? (See the pun there?) Never liked I-Pods anyways!
More soon kiddies.
09/10/2005 The end is nigh!
Not a whole lot to report today. Very little visual. On Friday I took the car to get the tracking done. This is an absolute must if you fit HooDoo's lift kit, even moreso as I put new track rods on. These computery, laser alignment systems are a tad impressive! It took about 10 minutes all in all. Such a difference, the car drives in a straight line now! That said, the 205 MT's make the driving experience ...... interesting! That said, I've driven a lot of Landies in my time and it's similar so I knew what to expect.
Saturday. Car was given a mini service. Plugs, oil, oil filter and air filter. Did the cam chain tensioner as well. She sounds as sweet as anything now. Didn't realise now much the cam chain was slapping about until I set it. It now sounds like the 23K there is on the clock. The other thing I did was take the steering wheel off and set it (a) to the centre of the steering box and (b) to cancel the indicators properly. The steering wheel is an Astrali leather rimmed jobbie. I have no idea if this is original or not (perhaps someone will enlighten me) it's a nice wheel anyways. The steering wheel can be separated from its boss and this was 60° out so the left indicator was on a hair trigger and the right indicator never cancelled. Silly thing I know but intensely annoying!
Sunday. Made tread plate door protectors today and fitted them. You'll like these!
This is 2mm tread plate. I think these look sexy as f**k. Complete pain in the arse to make though! Aluminium and jigsaws are well known adversaries. Jigsaws are a pain at the best of times and the only way you can get a good straight cut it to clamp a straight edge to what you're cutting and run the blade down that. I had some of the steel bar I used to make the winch mounts left over and that did the job just nicely. However, the aluminium welds itself to the sides of the jigsaw blade eventually making the blade thicker than the slot it's cutting! Regular blade changing needed. Then you get to the point where the frequency of the blade is a harmonic of the metal you're cutting and the whole lot starts to leap about like a mad thing. Grrrr! Anyways, got them cut out and riveted to the bottom edge of the door. I thought I'd just pull the tread plate to the contour of the door and rivet away. Oh noooooo. As I pulled the top edge in the bottom of the door simply bent outwards! Had to clamp the tread plate to the work bench and batter it into a rough curve. Several blats of the sand filled mallet sorted the door out. After all that I think it was worth it. I'm going to transfer the cardboard template I made to Autocad and put the file on here so as anyone can print out the template.
Music Many moons ago in the past when Turbo-Nutter was an F1 and motorsports news site this was the theme tune. Thought you might like it. It's called F1 Drum and it's by my mate Steve aka BoneIdol. 16/10/2005 Prep and paint.
Can't say today's update will be terribly exciting. Prepping and painting is not, by any means whatsoever, exciting.
Saturday. Took the doors and the bonnet off. I decided to paint these off the car because of all the lips, edges and awkward bits. It also means, as the tailgate is already painted, the body shell can be painted in one go. Drilled out all the rivets holding on the tread plate door protectors and totally stripped the doors. A word of advice, read the manual! I know it's not much for a whole day but I had to do parenty stuff as well.
Sunday. First thing to do was thoroughly clean everything. Warm soapy water and a sponge. God I'm bored! Next, wet sand all the surfaces to be painted with P240 Wet-N-Dry. Bored bored bored! Next, try and get everything reasonably dry. Tedium tedium tedium. Next, treat all rusty bits with Loctite 7503. Wait for Loctite to dry. Yawn. Apply filler to aforementioned rusty bits - wait for it to harden. Oh look ..... slugs mating! Rough sand filler with sander, wet sand again! I wonder does Boyd Coddington find this stuff as humdrum as I do? Wait for it all to dry yet again!
Yay! Finally we can paint! Well actually no! :-(
I wasn't entirely happy with the finish of the tailgate so I decided I'd use high build primer on the rest of the car. The filler/primer is Max Meyer 9290 acrylic one-pack. Mix 1:1 with cellulose thinners and spray away. It's a very distinctive orangey/mustardy colour so it's very easy to see the cover density. I sprayed at about 40psi with a conventional suction gun. It's a Kestrel A7005 with a 1.6mm tip and needle, this is a very good spray gun I've had for quite a long time. The trick with getting a good result with any spray gun is practice and scrupulous cleanliness! That said ..... this gun will only be used for primer and general work from now on. More later!
The darker photos are without flash to show the colour of the primer/filler. I've already wet sanded the bonnet with P600 Wet-N-Dry and the finish is, quite simply, astonishing! Definitely the way to do it!
Back to spray guns. Watching things like Overhaulin' (don't you just want to slap that bint?) and American Hot Rod I noticed they always use gravity fed guns. So I prized the last few pennies out of the piggybank and splashed out on a new gun!
It's a DeVilbiss GTi and it's absolutely, stonkingly gorgeous. It's one of the most beautifully engineered things I've ever seen! The difference in quality between it and my older gun are like chalk and cheese. I've only run thinners through it and the spray pattern and delivery are perfect, atomisation is much finer and the control is superb! It's so good I'm going to take tomorrow off to topcoat the doors and bonnet! God I'm a sad git!
23/10/2005 A Wired Niva!
Having got thoroughly pissed off with wire brushes and Wet-N-Dry I decided to give myself a slightly more interesting task today. Get the laptop into the Niva! Now.....here's the quandry. It has to be easily accessible by both driver and passenger (when the driver's not driving of course!) It can't wobble or slide about. It has to be easily removable to stop thievin' little scoundrels making off with it! And it has to be in such a position so as it's not in the way! Easier said than done!
This is what I came up with.
Basically I've made a tray that sits on the glovebox lid. You'll see I started by adding two chains to support the weight. These are attached to the mountings on the bulkhead that holds the dashboard on. Two pieces of extruded aluminium are then attached to the glovebox lid and the tray then sits on these rails. The huge advantage of the aluminium extrusion is everything you bolt to it uses T-nuts which slide up and down a channel until you tighten them fully. In total there are only 4 bolts holding it all together. Two through the glovebox lid and two through the tray. It takes about 30 seconds with an allen key to either attach or remove the tray. It's also designed so the tray can be locked either facing the passenger or angled towards the driver. With the tray not there the glovebox still closes and all you can see are the two allen bolts, the tray rails slide off and fit neatly inside the glovebox. The tray itself is made out of treadplate and aluminium angle. You'll see I've stuck a rubber strip on the upright bits on the angle so as it doesn't dig into or scratch the laptop. The upturned tray picture shows the T-nuts.
The long cable coiled up inside the glovebox is the cable for the interface to the ECU. It's so long so as I can use the laptop in the garage if I want. The eagle eyed of you will also have spotted the GPS just to the right of the steering wheel and the Nokia hands free kit. The laptop is connected to the Aux-in of the radio so we can play MP3's, DVD's etc. The radio mutes when you use the phone. The laptop can use the phone for GPRS internet access via Bluetooth when there's no wireless availability and the GPS can be connected to the laptop for route planning. The laptop is currently powered by a 300W inverter but I'm gonna get a 12V laptop power supply (£29.99 from Maplin) which frees up the inverter and I can keep the original power supply in the house. Now you'll understand how I got the nickname GadgetBoy!
All I need to do now is make a little lockable compartment behind the seats to store the laptop out of sight when I can't or don't want to take it out of the car.
30/10/2005 More prep and paint! Arrrrggghhhh!
The car is now up in Yerman's barn for painting. Drove it up on Friday in a monsoon! I kid you not this was rain like I've never seen. Right in the middle the driver's side wiper blade decided to detach itself, slide down the arm and jam both wipers!
Saturday was spent taking the doors, bonnet, tailgate, side repeaters, bumpers, winch mounts, rear light clusters, wipers, aerial. Oh! I forgot to tell you about the aerial! There was a silly chrome one up the driver's windscreen pillar. This was consigned to the bin very early in the build. The new one is a combined Radio, Mobile and GPS one and it's fitted on the roof just above the tailgate. Loverly piece of kit. Anyways, I wandered there. Basically everything was removed to leave us with the bare exterior shell. The only thing we didn't take off was the rear roof light bar because it's wired through the roof. It's been disconnected though and can be moved around and out of the road. The rest of Saturday and half of Sunday was spent, wire brushing, patching a couple of holes we found and wet sanding the whole body shell with 240 Wet-N-Dry. Not terribly exciting. Fortunately, today was blustery, warm and sunny. Pressure washed the car to get rid of the sanding residue and the sun and the wind did a pretty good job of drying it. Good blast around it all with the air gun off the compressor sorted out all the awkward bits.
Masking. Masking is boring and tedious in the extreme. It's more boring and tedious than watching paint dry!
Primer. I'll let the pictures do the talking. It's looks wonderful!
Taking tomorrow afternoon off to do the top coat. Bugger! It'll be finished! What will I do?
06/11/2005 Shiny Lada anyone?
The car was painted last Monday afternoon and quickly re-assembled to get it back down to my place. It's been sitting since then to let the paint cure fully.
Yesterday (Saturday) I took the bumpers off again to stoneguard the sills and valences. The involved masking the lower half of the car again! No matter ... it was worth it.
Today (Sunday) the whole car was washed, T-Cut and polished. It looks, quite simply, fantastic. By the time we were finished it was dark so sorry about the pics. First sunny day during the week I'll get some more photogenic shots. Before you look at the pics have a look at the original pics to give you and idea of the transformation.
What am I going to do at the weekends now? I know what I need .............. MUD!
18/11/2005 Daylight pictures ....... at last! 27/11/2005 You do all that work and .....
There's my lovely Niva rebuilt and back on the road. Turning heads and exhibiting a sort of retro-chic. The young pups in their Citroen Saxos and Pug 106s with drainpipes sticking out the back are too young to know what it is and Nivas were rare enough in the Lada days that most people to know what it is anyways. Best of all, with the lift and the 205/16's I can look down on X5s and Cayennes. Yar boo!
So there I was, basking in my Lada glory when it happened ....... the funny noise! Feck! What's that? Sort of rumbly mechanical noise that comes and goes. Definitely under the bonnet. Open bonnet, oh look .... the fan and water pump pulley are wobbling about, that can't be good! Yup, naffed water pump! Bugger! Anyways, there's one on the way but we're off the road for now. Right when the snow arrived as well. Is there no justice?
Now car is back together and back on the road (well nearly!) it's time to tinker. One of the things on the mod list is high-level diff breathers. The original one on the rear diff is very easy to get at so I removed it and popped off the little spring loaded cover. This revealed something that looked like a large bleed nipple. The Mark 1 breather consisted of a bit of hose crimp clipped over this which then joined a length of 8mm urethane pneumatic hose which I clipped along the fuel lines and is clipped to the bulkhead under the bonnet. This looked really ugly and cumbersome so I redesigned it by drilling out the centre and brazing in a small length of brake pipe. I then slightly flared the other end of the brake pipe to make a push connector for the urethane hose. Here's what it looked like before it was fitted.
Once this was screwed back into the rear diff I was able to bend the brake pipe forwards and attach the urethane hose. Works a treat! Haven't tackled the centre or front diffs yet but I think the same principle will work just as well.
Au revoir mes amis.
Contact me If you want to contact me ....
Due to horrible amounts of spam I've taken the direct email link off the page. You can contact me at:
david at ladaniva dot co dot uk
A lot of people have been asking about manuals for the Niva so here they are. They're PDF's so you'll need Adobe Acrobat.
1600 Drivers Manual
1600 Maintenance Manual
1.7 Carb/i/Si/1.9 Diesel Repair Manual Part 1
1.7 Carb/i/Si/1.9 Diesel Repair Manual Part 2
1.7 Carb/i/Si/1.9 Diesel Repair Manual Part 3
1.6 Repair Manual - Contents
1.6 Repair Manual - General Data
1.6 Repair Manual - Engine
1.6 Repair Manual - Power Train
1.6 Repair Manual - Running Gear
1.6 Repair Manual - Steering Gear
1.6 Repair Manual - Brakes
1.6 Repair Manual - Electrical
1.6 Repair Manual - Body
Colour Exploded Drawings
Niva 1600 Parts Catalogue
Niva 2003 Parts Catalogue (1.7 Carb/TBi/Early MPi)
Niva 2009 Parts Catalogue (1.7 Later MPi)
2101 Parts Catalogue
2106 Parts Catalogue
2107 Parts Catalogue
2108 Samara Parts Catalogue
GadgetBoy's Niva TBi
Throttle Body Fuel Injection Service Manual Index
Throttle Body Fuel Injection Service Manual Chapter 1
Throttle Body Fuel Injection Service Manual Chapter 2 Part 1
Throttle Body Fuel Injection Service Manual Chapter 2 Part 2
Throttle Body Fuel Injection Service Manual Chapter 2 Part 3
Throttle Body Fuel Injection Service Manual Chapter 3
Throttle Body Fuel Injection Service Manual Chapter 4, 5 and 6
1600 Engine Rebuild by Alejandro Gabatel - Venezuela
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