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It was so fast right before it blew up. Pt. 2

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booneylander
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I thought for this installment, I might go back in time a bit to when I first got the blue Lada you see in the pic here. So the story was, I had been driving the yellow Lada for a while and it was needing some little repairs, but I had big plans for it, so rather than just fix it I thought I should get another Lada and drive that mother trucker for a winter. So I actully started out picking up the grey Niva you see here, it had some small issues but I tweaked it a bit and had it running nice with a cool Weber 32adfa carb off a Fiat and some other fun things. Unfortunately though, when it came time to pass a safety, the structural integrity field generators were offline and the mechanic put a hammer right through one of the front "frame rails". Le sigh. Back to the drawing board.

The blue Niva was for sale locally, so I negotiated a deal and drove it home. It had been a meter maid vehicle in Gatineau and was quite bagged. But no stress.

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First things first! I started out by swapping out the stock exhaust which sucks and made up a new kit, for maximum flow and HP. The stainless high flow muffler was an eBay find, which I adapted by cutting off the twin-DTM looking fugly tips that were on it and welding on a nice big single stainless tip from Canadian Tire.

One important note to be made here. The Nivas actually did have a really bad pinch-point right at the front of the catalytic converter. There was a flanged connection here that reduced down to almost just 1" dia, and really killed flow. I had replaced the catalytic on the yellow Niva with a high flow stainless unit, but as this was a budget build I just cut the inlet to the cat, back until the diameter was sufficient, then welded on a bigger pipe to match the factory header which was IIRC 1.75". This mod really did make a big difference on all my Nivas. I think this particular catalytic must have had a leak because I seem to have added some material on the back side

You can see I went to 2.5" pipe all the way back to the muffler, which kind of makes up for the tight pie-cuts necessary to make this work... right? Right.

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What's that number on the back glass you ask? Why, that's my run number from the local dragstrip. IIRC I think I ran like an 18.5 @ 74mph or something like that. Slow.

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Now let's talk about the stock heater in the car. It sucks. Like, really, badly, sucks the big biscuit. The fans were super weak, the coolant flow-control valve was tiny so didn't allow for much heat, and they were prone to failure resulting in coolant leaking all over the passenger's feet. Now as I recall I think this Niva had suffered a heat control valve failure and was leaking. Good time to come up with a whole new solution. Some people had fitted ball valves under-hood and straight piped the section where the old heat control valve was. But Sophie always had cold feet so I decided to come up with something even better.

1-2. Here's the stock valve.

  1. Stock there is a big plastic airbox kind of thing here with the fan in it, which commonly gets wet and fails, and also a flapper door that switches from outside air to recirc. I've done away with all of that (racecar) and replaced with 5/8" fiber composite filler panel.
  2. You can see here the filler panel also holds the heater core in place, in the spot where the heater controls used to reside. No need for controls anymore (racecar).
  3. Now just for getting around initially, I had direct-plumbed the heater core to the feed lines.

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Now to complete the install I ran the lines down through a heating loop on the floor, to heat Sophie's feet. You'll notice the full-port ball valve for heat control. For fans I used a couple 12V computer fans from princess auto with a switch in the dash. You'll notice I made a decorative aluminium block off plate, with adequate wood screws for holding it in place, and applied high-grade sealant to make everything "airtight".

Laugh all you want, but in -40 I'd start the car and it'd be almost instantly toasty and de-fogged. Sophie loved the floor heater pipes, and temperature control was mint. Open valve in winter, closed in summer. The computer fans were also significantly quieter than the stock setup and pushed a TON more air. For being so crappy/ugly, this setup worked mint.

Lastly, there's a pic of ll the junk I was able to remove with this mod. Can you say weight-savings!!!

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The next thing on my plate was to throw some fresh paint at the Niva, because it had some rusty areas that needed protection, and it was just generally rough. It was a custom blend of Tremclad light blue and Tremclad Royal Blue. I call it "Blue". It was applied by brush/roller. Sweet.

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Great stories, keep them coming. - q20v April 7th 2016
Yo that was a good rig legit. Lots more to come. Writing now. - booneylander April 6th 2016
holy fuck that things personality just oozes Le huff. - ripcurl April 6th 2016

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