10

It was so fast right before it blew up. Pt. 1

By
booneylander
840

It's been a little dull around here so I figured I could share a story of early forages into modifying my cars, doing things that made no sense, and just general hoonery/hack-abilities. Now to set the mood, imagine yourself, or more accurately, me, back in the early 2000s, having just gotten my driver's license, and rolling around in a Lada Niva. It was a simpler time, and by simpler, I really mean, more complicated. Because back then the internet was just barely a thing, and didn't offer up all the knowledge it now does. Learning about stuff came from books, some yahoo guy at a car meet, or from your own imagination. This is Part 1 of my story.

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So let me show you first the sweetness that was the back of this particular Lada. It is plain to see that the Nivas suffered from horrendously loosey goosey chassis, being that it was a very solid and light monocoque design with torsional stiffness comparable to refabulated amulite. So clearly it needed a rear strut tower. Keep in mind! The Fast and the Furious had just come out! Everything was needed because racecar! I didn't bother with a fancy bolt-on strut bar, oh no. I went for a section of thin-walled square tubing from some old gym set that somehow ended up on the farm (this is a common occurence). Oh, and I just welded it right to the top/side ish of the rear spring perch tops. The car obviously gained 20ish HP from this mod alone.

You'll notice the rear interior trim panels need to be clearanced to accept this mod.

You will also notice the complex 1x2 spruce framework necessary to locate the subwoofer solidly such as to withstand the intense lateral G loads encountered while cornering this beast.

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'refabulate amulite'! hahahahahah i almost choked on my beer! - ripcurl April 6th 2016

Next up was to get more air into the motor for even more HP.

Now, as you'll notice, the stock hood is already pre-fitted with ram-air type vents, which in the stock configuration were necessary to feed the cabin-air heating and cooling system. But I've heard from top Russian factory racing teams that the vents were originally intended for the race-only intake system, but the cabin air system had to be fitted in it's place to meet strict CCCP road regulations.

Fortunately, we're not bothered by such creature comforts, so the kit spruce-composite block-off panel is fitted to cover the stock cabin intake, as shown. This allows re-routing of the intake to fully take advantage of the ram-airyness of the vents. Now as you'll see I somehow got my hands on a K&N filter, so I set about to create this monster 4" short-ram intake to the stock GM TBI system. This replaces the stock round air filter element reminiscent of old fashioned carburettors. Now one problem with fitting this extreme intake system is that you need to clearance the hood accordingly. To do so, just go right ahead and cut the hood supports right out, then cut a hole big enough to let the hump through, and finally, inflate a balloon, put it on top of the TBI with the intake removed, and close the hood. This should give you a nice roundish shape on which to lay some fiberglass cloth+resin. When that has hardened, simply bondo, sand, blend the paint, and away you go.

Now it's important to note that with this intake, the car actually did pull MUCH better on the top end over stock, and also sounded pretty friggin awesome if I do say so myself. The lack of fresh air intake into the cabin did suck, but more on that later!

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There is mention of a GM TBI, I believe that was the primary reason for the massive gobs of power gains and juicy noise feedback experienced. - ripcurl April 7th 2016
I always knew they'd come in handy. The stock airbox actually was quite restrictive, but there were much cleaner workarounds, there was a particular air filter that was slightly taller and so raised the lid of the airbox about 10mm for more flow which worked great, and on another I had cut the entire lower portion of the aibox off so the round filter was fully open 360deg around, this was a slick setup for sure. - booneylander April 6th 2016
I dont know whats more impressive, the workmanship or the fact that you took all these photos and still managed to find them like you were planning to use PB 16 years later! - ripcurl April 6th 2016
all by butt dyno feel? - ripcurl April 6th 2016
Those of you with a keen eye will notice the wiring for the intake air sensor takes a detour towards the car's interior. I had a dash-mounted potentiometer that allowed me to fine tune the voltage the intake air sensor was sending to the ECU, thus enabling me to fine-tune the mixture for maximum HPs. - booneylander April 5th 2016
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Here is a teaser for the next installment of "It was so fast!", where we'll talk about the early beginnings!

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