Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Swimming in the rust pool

Ilsa, laid bare for all to see.

It's been a little while since my last post, but I don't really feel as though I need to update every time I remove a screw, or unplug a connector.  Also, it's a little hard to work on the truck every night with the little one and 'husbandly duties' that need attending.  I've made decent progress over the last two weeks, removing the bulk of the interior trim.  I had a couple of challenges removing the front seats, due to the fact that the screws were totally seized into the floor and I had to bring my impact driver home to get them out.  Over all though, the project is moving along quite nicely.  I've been spending a lot of time online trying to find good examples of fixed up Ladas for inspiration.  I haven't really found any that I thought were particularly my style, but I guess I'll just have to be the first then.  One really cool site I found had an old BBC special of three british fellas who got to take a tour of the plant where Ladas are built in Togliatti.  The link to it is on Adam Curtis' blog here http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2010/10/.  The main reason that I decided to tear my beautiful little truck apart in the first place is that it leaked.  Not oil, or coolant (okay maybe a little coolant),  or brake fluid (a bit of that too), but water.  Water has been leaking into my drivers floor ever since I got my first bit of body work done (the windshield).  This was a concern because I thought my floor was going to rot out.  Not only was I worried about my floor, but the ECU is located very low and I didn't want the harness to short out in the sludge where my feet go.  It's also kind of embarrassing going to work as a mechanic and leaving a trail of rusty, wet foot prints from your truck to your bay every morning.  Not that I really care anyways (you have to have pretty thick skin to drive a Lada).
ECU with wiring harness going down into rusty sludge pool

The good news is, the damage due to rust is really isn't all that bad.  It's mostly cosmetic, which is good.  However, most of the more serious damage is along window seams, which sucks, because it means I have to take the windows out.  This is the real reason that I'm just rebuilding the truck from the ground up.  Why not just rip the damn thing apart and build it up just how I want it.  Well, that's exactly what I'm doing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Humble beginnings

Lada sans hood.

Broke-ass intake hose.
Well, I haven't done all that much but I figure it's still worth posting.  Took the hood off today, which was a real joy to do by myself.  Pretty heavy and greasy (the previous owner had undercoated the vehicle every year).   I also ended up removing the horn which was attached to the prop for the hood.  I did find a leak in an intake hose which will need to be repaired.  I don't think that will be a huge deal.  Next step is going to be draining all the fluids and start ripping out this engine.  Short post for today, but didn't have all that much to report.

Monday, November 15, 2010

In the beginning

Ever since I was first aware of Lada Nivas, I have wanted one.  I'm not sure exactly why I was so enthused with them, however I had to have one.  Perhaps it was the boxy lines, or the utilitarian design without bells and whistles.  Whenever one drove by, I would make a point of making sure everyone I knew was aware of it.  In October 2006 my prayers where answered.  One of the several Lada Nivas I kept tabs on in the city came up for sale.  I had to have it.  I have been driving it daily ever since.  Mechanically, it works great.  However, from day one I have talked about how it needs body work.  Well the time has come for me to put the old girl away and rebuild her from the ground up. I am a licensed auto mechanic, so hopefully this will go pretty well.  Over the next few months, I will be disassembling my Lada.  I will keep posting regularly, with updates on the tear down.  For now, here are some pics I took in the fall of 07.