“Niva” VAZ-2121 and it’s versions

In my opinion, a name of this car – not simply certain name on «agricultural motives». NIVA is an abbreviation, (so as any abbreviation, to be written it should exclusively capital letters), meaning neither it is a lot of nor a little, and «the Best Invention of the Volga Car factory»! And, by the way, it is valid so. Cars, with a minimum of constructional changes endured on the conveyor, all over the world it is possible to count quarter-century anniversary on fingers. The majority turns to moral stuff where faster. And “NIVA” and remains today claimed by buyers. Moreover, it is enough to open any newspaper of announcements, and it will be found out that “NIVA” also the most popular off-road car in the secondary market…

Lada Niva 2121

Lada Niva 2121

In April, 1977 the Volga car factory has made the present revolution. Its new model, VAZ-2121 “Niva”, practically had no analogues in practice of world automotive industry! It today the scheme with a spring suspender, a constant all wheel drive and an integral body is perceived as norm for a compact off-road car. And in the late seventies all it was opening. The new off-road car has appeared is practical, komfortabelen and is cheap. Such set of qualities earlier had no any car with the formula 4х4. The majority of go-anywhere vehicles of those years were utilitarian vehicles with the military past. The constant all wheel drive and high-grade rideable comfort actually could offer only Range Rover, appeared six years earlier. But absolutely other dimensions, weight, frame presence, and the main thing, a price niche did not allow to speak about any imitation from outside “vazovtsev”. Yes, comfortable off-road cars those years existed, but among models with a connected drive gear: Exclusive magnificent cars like Monteverdi and expensive versions of “Americans” altered from pickups. But it was absolutely other way of development. “Niva” stood independently. Actually it has based absolutely new class of go-anywhere vehicles.

No other Russian car and close had such success on international scene. Demands came to “Autoexport” from the most different corners of globe. There were also two special export versions: VAZ-21211 with the 1.3-litre motor (for the countries with expensive fuel and heavy taxes on engine volume) and VAZ-21212 with the right wheel. Last, by the way, used very good demand in England.

The base version for home market was initially completed with the engine with carburettor VAZ-2121 in volume of 1.6 l with chain drive gear GRM. Actually it was “the sixth” motor (the most powerful in “Zhigulevsk” scale) with a crankcase oil pan, allowing to place under it a reducer of the front bridge. But at all simplicity, unpretentiousness and reliability the given power unit had one lack essential to the go-anywhere vehicle – the peak of a twisting moment considerably shifted towards high turns. It did not allow to take heavy sites vnatjag. But thanks to a proper correlation of capacity and weights the car was capable to “fly by” effectively a course obviously zasadnye sites.

Complete with the 1.6-litre engine on “Niva” it was established standard four-stage KP. The main steams at first were applied To increase in traction qualities with number 4,44. But less than a year later them have replaced on 4,3, and in the mid-eighties for the sake of increase in profitability and have at all stopped on 4,1. In such kind “Niva” also has existed till 1994. Then the car has undergone the most serious modernisation for all history.

Within 1994 the huge number of transitive versions with various indexes has been exhausted, but the version VAZ-21213 with the engine with carburettor of 1.7 l (it and makes today a great bulk of cars in the secondary market) eventually became base. After a year have appeared inzhektornaja model VAZ-21214 and two “stretched” on half-metre “trehdverki” with indexes 2129 and 2130. The last did simply: cut the short car half-and-half and in the midpoint vvarivali an insert with windows. Depending on an index long cars were completed with engines in volume of 1.7 and 1.8 litres. In 1996 them has replaced “5 doors” VAZ-2131, and almost simultaneously light was seen by””Odds”– the three-door version extended on a doorway on 300 mm (it has received an index 21218).

Body

When we tell a body about “Niva” first of all on mind the three-door short version (in popular speech “hippopotamus” comes). It is necessary to notice that it is most adapted off-road and by right is famous for magnificent flotation ability. At least, will be cars which without special preparation would make”it in conditions off-rouda a little. But thus it is impossible to forget that safety factor of the car is not calculated on constant operation on heavy impassability. The body suffers first of all: some years of intensive loadings – and here already on power elements of the bottom appear indents, and then and cracks on longerons in an interval between a spring of a front suspension and a bracket of fastening of the absorber. Before their sale, of course, could and make, but that”put”the car, probably to define to indirect signs. First of all characteristic convex camber speaks about it (in size with a five-copeck coin) on vyshtampovke a front fender (more close to its rear part). In a city the body longs for other reason. Corrosion firmness of “Niva” at all at height also is comparable with VAZ classics. That before «high landing» it interferes with rust formation on thresholds only a little. The most problem places – all joints of panels, an edge of a door of a luggage compartment and a windshield framework. However, at cars of last years of release because of poor-quality painting the rust centres can arise on any place. For this reason the annual anticorrosive mixture and a constant preventive podkraska fresh are desirable having chopped off and scratches. Promotes corrosion and the become wet noise isolation of a floor, to dry which extremely hard. In the rest – both on strength, and on ruggedness on torsion is best of VAZ bodies. Especially restorer – with a short door of a luggage compartment. But today to find the car till 1994 with decent iron – the big good luck. And if they where have remained, is exact not in Moscow.

In 1999 of a bumper have decently dumped in weight and became “soft”. And before a dural channel it was possible to bring down fences it (is tried). That the extended cars possess the worst geometrical flotation ability, but the best roadability quite naturally. But about long-wheelbase bodies terrible legends go. Ostensibly they from time break in half, and on impassability them in general braids the screw. Food for these conversations of a distance three-door “crocodiles” and the very first “pjatidverki”, really not differing special strength. Cars which have absolutely collapsed on a separate part, the truth, nobody saw, but cracks on welding on separate copies meet, and an obvious rust on seams in the middle of a body for them a commonplace. However, quickly enough ruggedness five-door “crocodile” have improved, and the majority VAZ-2131 of any efforts from this party does not deliver. Srednebaznaja “Odds” VAZ-21218 and at all does not concede base model.

Engine

Complete with the new engine a working volume “Niva” has received of 1.7 litres and a little increased radiator of system of cooling. Become to the core 10 years ago the carburettor motor VAZ-21213 in volume of 1.7 l and capacity of 79 h.p. On the design it is similar to the predecessor and too differs reliability and unpretentiousness. Besides, it has received the contactless ignition system. At it pull-rod on bottoms (in comparison 1.6-litre) is much better. As to a resource of both motors it is declared by factory of all in 90 thousand in km. However, this figure is rather conditional. On the one hand, the engines which have easily jumped dvuhsottysjachnyj a boundary, with another – demanding partitions already after fifty are known. The lottery – created still fiatovskimi engineers the quality monitoring system on VAZ does not work for a long time already. And, as it is sad, but the great bulk of the motors which have been exhausted on a boundary of millenia, gravitates more likely to the second figure. Together with new motor “Niva” has received also new, more powerful generator. It has one weak place unknown to the old car: the built in voltage control box – it demands in due course replacement. And to reach it, it is required to remove and partially to disassemble the generator that at narrowness of configuration of a motor compartment occupies a lot of time and forces. On VAZ-2121 the voltage control box was a separate detail and fastened on the top surface of a wheel arch two nuts. Inzhektornye 1.7-litre could equip both monoinjection GM (1997-1999), and distributed Bosch (since 1999) . Since last year they have completely superseded carburettor power units from the conveyor (they continue to be delivered in spare parts and on long-wheelbase the versions which are exhausted OPP). The inzhektornaja version is slightly more powerful and thanks to the detonation gauge is capable to digest a low-rank gasoline in case of need. But it as it is strange, is more exacting to quality of oil, than carburettor (in a block head hydrocompensator bars of valves are established). As to monoinjection it is reliable, but in case of failure of any electronic component search spare parts can be tightened.

The engine developed in 1995 VAZ-2130 in volume of 1.8 litres and has not reached “the big” conveyor. It is issued on OPP and is regularly established only on long-wheelbase cars. But thanks to presence of these units on free sale, in the secondary market meet and korotkobaznye cars this motor. The feed system on 1.8-litre units basically carburettor, and the distributed injection meets only occasionally. Characteristics of this engine more approach an off-road car – at it the highest twisting moment from all scale “nivskih” motors. However and instability of quality too the highest …

Transmission

Transmission a rumble and the vibrations inherent in each “Niva”, completely it is impossible to eliminate. It is design feature. A gear box and razdatka make two various units and are connected by very short lay shaft with rubber gasitelem shifting jerkss. The rear cardan works at the greatest possible corners of a break krestovin, and at the slightest unbalance too aloud vibrates. But as a whole vibrations of the serviceable car are insignificant. If they have amplified, it speaks about malfunctions. The needling SHRUS promvala or the broken sline joints can be the reason soured krestovina in a cardan. Can be broken and transfer box centering. Owing to vibrations at it fixing eyelets sometimes burst. Fortunately, they demountable and in case of breakage do not demand replacement of the case of a transfer box. If the car never moved down from asphalt, at it from inactivity operating levers RK can sour. Since 1999 in razdatku began to establish melkomodulnye pinion gears that has essentially reduced noise, but … has increased marriage percent. An old four-speed transmission also almost eternal unit, but, alas, it it is impossible to tell about “the five-mortar” regularly established since 1994. Especially many efforts deliver the block of the fifth drive. Quite often already after 30 thousand run KP demands a partition (it manages approximately in 3000 roubles). How many it will work then – depends exclusively on quality of spare parts and conscientiousness of the master. SHRUS of forward controls are reliable enough, however rubber boots wear out and at driving on impassability are torn often. And as replacement takes away a lot of time (it is necessary to assort all drive gear) at the first repair it is better to put at once import “elastic bands” approaching on the size. They are, of course, more expensive, but is more elastic and stronger. If on “Niva” there are disks with smaller, than it is required (ET 50), a start, prepare for replacement front stupichnyh bearings (they are not intended absolutely not for perception of console loadings). Besides, konusnaja the design of these bearings demands delicate adjustment.

Lada Niva 2121

Lada Niva 2121

Running gear

“Niva” Suspender is simple, strong and reliable. Thus it provides decent comfort and very worthy for korotkobaznogo the car roadability. Quite often it provokes fans of active driving to transform any trip in «a World Cup stage on rallies-spot-checks». Really, the suspender adequately bears blows of tram ways, «lying policemen» and «low flight» over a bumpy first coat. But, uvlekshis such driving, it is possible to get into a mess. Absorbers first of all die and springs give, and also longitudinal levers of the rear bridge in due course bend. Separate “sportsmen” manage to bend even an axle beam. And if it is bent slightly and it imperceptibly visually the bridge will continue to work indifferently. Here only stupichnye bearings should be changed very often. And it is the whole history which services very much do not love. There “throw” a half shaft in gathering that manages around 1800 roubles.

In front from “races” trunnion balls and steering tips will start to break. Fortunately, “Niva” trunnion balls never, unlike same “Zhigulis”, suddenly do not collapse and long before the death start to warn the driver knocks and the opposite peep arising at rupture pylnika and hit of a dirt inside. For the cars constantly going on impassability, this commonplace. Soshki a steering reducer and an idler arm of cars till 1994 and after differ. Thanks to replacement the wheel became easier, but it was necessary to pay off for it with increase in diameter of a sharp turn. Besides, in idler arms plastic barrels have been replaced by bearings. The braking system of “Niva” since 1977 essentially has not changed. One circuit in it operates only on front wheels, another – on both shafts. On VAZ-2121 rear brakes demand a periodic adjustment of spacings.But if working cylinders from “copeck” to replace on self-brought from “five” (put since 1994), one tiresome operation in car service becomes less.

Lada Niva 2121

Lada Niva 2121

Result

So is represented today by””Niva”? Yes the same, as twenty years ago … the Compact and dynamical multiple-purpose off-road car allocated with magnificent flotation ability. An excellent variant both for the beginning subjugator of impassability, and for skilled (especially when it is capable to estimate adequately perspectivity of”road”and it is compelled to move much on a city). Well and at last, it is worthy transport for« romantic travel ». Ability quickly to go on any roads, a volume luggage compartment (in a double variant), possibility to repair anything you like in any settlement of our immense native land and … Europe. And all it – for rather moderate money! However, for last three years”Niva”has risen in price practically twice. The reason is covered in an agiotage caused by promises to lay off of it, having replaced more expensive and less off-road”Chevy”which design, by the way, has much in common with”old woman”. As a result for the three-year car today ask more than it cost initially! Occurrence of “successor” was reflected also in the technical image. Recently the factory constantly changes a design of classical “Niva”, unifying it from “Chevy”. As a result from sale “original” spare parts disappear. So, now in deficiency drive gears of the front bridge, a nave of front wheels, half shafts and a stocking of the rear bridge. As to other spare parts the unification put in a design with classical “Zhigulis” can play with you a joke: the part of details at them is very similar, but is not identical. And sellers know about it not always…