24th Jan 2006, 07:03

South African Lada owner. I own a 1998 Niva. Has the same problem with fuel smell and fuel light. Will fix as mentioned. I thought I bought a bargain as is, but to my disapointment had to redo the whole drive train and front suspension at the agents. Cost me nearly as much as the vehicle so I won't go back. Then I had a terrible vibration when going over 70. Came out of office and found a big pool of oil under vehicle. Jacked up and started out of gear, the gearbox, viewing from underneath the vehicle, moves in an oval shape. The rubber mounting has been renewed. Could this be an internal fault?. Secondly I cannot get the back brakes to work. The handbrake also has no effect. Is there a way to replace the drums with disks?

28th Jan 2006, 05:57

Get the 1.7 L - it has more power and torque, and is just as easy to turbo charge. The difference between the 1.7 carburettor model and the 1.7 E.F.I. model, is negligible. Suppose it depends whether you like a manual choke or not.

23rd Apr 2006, 18:23

I have a 1986 Niva which was converted to diesel in 1992 (Nissan 2l). I originally bought it as cheap wheels, and it has fulfilled my expectations admirably. Noisy and slow on road, but excellent off road... it has a few little quirks (like the the fuel indicator light coming on when you go round corners, the windscreen wipers only working most of the time, and stuff like that), but it has always started first time and has never broken down (except when the brake pads fell out)... it smells of oil and diesel, but what the hell, I absolutely love it. A great car... you just need a bit of a sense of humour!!

22nd Jun 2006, 14:34

Well brother, you should buy a Lada Niva. It`s a great car, and even better as off road vehicle. I own a Niva 1.6, but I`ve changed the engine (Fiat Punto 1.9 TD). It`s noisy, but it`s very economic (only 6 l diesel at 100 km), and it`s very fast. Enjoy with Lada.

25th Jun 2006, 10:45

To the person making comment regarding th "simple" process of fixing the rear seat and the "novice" use of a Lada at water crossings.

I am the original reviewer and made the review to assist the average consumer with deciding whether to purchase a Niva. When most people buy a car, they don't expect to have to start making small adjustments/fixes from the first day, something I had to do. You defended the faulty back seat by saying you never experienced it and it is easily fixed. Well I experienced it (that's why we have numerous reviewers, some for, some against) and would prefer a car that I didn't have to continually fix up. The fact that it is fixable is no excuse for the problem.

Your second comment, insinuating that I must be a novice for fording a deep river, was absurd. I am a very experienced 4WD driver, having had experience with Patrols, Landcruisers and Landrovers. I have forded with each of these vehicles with the water to the bonnet level and have not had flooded headlights. If you think that water to the headlights is excessive, you need to get out a little. By the way, I don't ford rivers for fun, I undertake extended remote patrols as part of my job, and I'm trained to a high level.

You obviously love your Niva, but your defence is hardly impartial or in the best interest of readers. If someone is going to buy a Niva, you need to give them the good with the bad, which is all I've done. Not everyone finds fun in constantly fixing up a new vehicle.

27th Jun 2006, 04:28

Fording through water to the top of the bonnet (in any make of 4X4) is hazardous - to put it mildly. Experienced 4X4 drivers would not attempt such a crossing, unless it was a matter of urgency. Point taken on your other comment[s].

27th Jun 2006, 16:52

My Niva is new one, 18000km, and I can hear some new noise when driving above 80kmh in 4th, or 100kmh in 5th (above 3000rpm), its from drive-train in front, or machine, I guess. I've heard it before, but at higher speeds and in case if unflatness of road. That mechanical noise, no vibrations. What is that, can someone help?

29th Jun 2006, 23:45

Difficult to diagnose just on your description of this noise - however it may be a whine from the gearbox, which is more audible at higher speeds. The Niva has 'straight cut' gears which can be a bit noisy.

It may be bearing noise - from either or both front wheels - or it may be bearing noise from the front axle (diff) - unlikely.

Also, check the grease nipples - there are two on the drivetrain - and make sure you fill them with grease. If they are dry, this will cause a noise from the drivetrain.

If need be, get a qualified mechanic to test run your Niva - he should diagnose this noise straight away.

Another suggestion, is to look up the technical factory manual on the following site: Lada Niva Online. This is a very helpful website, provided by Niva enthusiasts from South Africa. Look up the relevant chapter - it is most comprehensive. It will provide you with a list of possible problems e. g various noises, knocks etc. which may occur - and will provide diagnosis, and how to fix these problems.

Nivas generally have very few serious mechanical problems, and you may find that the noise you refer to is not due to anything serious. As you know, parts for the Niva are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Hope this helps. From a 1997 Niva enthusiast. Cheers.

15th Aug 2006, 00:28

Re- smell of petrol fumes, as reported by some reviewers: Check your petrol cap, and make sure it has a pressure relief valve - which is working. If it`s the wrong type (off an earlier model Niva), chances are it`s sealing tight, and not allowing the emission system to "breathe". I checked the expansion tank (fuel vapour separator), and it was fine. The problem was the wrong petrol cap - which came off an early model Niva - which didn`t have a closed emission set-up with a charcoal cannister etc. Simple mistake - easily fixed.

16th Sep 2006, 11:50

If the odour of gas comes when you fill the tank, it could be a loose connection (a rubber hose) between the filler pipe and the gas tank. This hose is only clamped. It is necessary to remove the rear seat to access the tank and this connection below the floor panel.

15th Oct 2006, 02:06

On occasions, Niva owners report the faint odour of petrol fumes in the cabin, and often it is difficult to locate the cause. O.K., you`ve checked the separator (vent) box - located on the side panel (inside the car) next to the rear seat - and it has no leaks and the three nozzles (to which vent hoses are attached) are all firm and intact. You`ve checked all hose clamps for tightness - especially the filler and breather pipes - and they are all fine. You`ve checked the petrol tank and the sensory unit on the top - and there are no leaks, and everything is nice and tight. You`ve checked the fuel cap and it`s fine too. Yet the smell of petrol is STILL there, either all the time, or on occasions! What else can you do, other than starting to pull your hair out? Well, I have the ULTIMATE SOLUTION - which is fool-proof and guarantees NO MORE petrol odour. I`ve just done the procedure in my `97 NIVA, and the nagging problem has been completely fixed. I am ecstatic!

The procedure is as follows:

1. Inside the car, remove the rear seat and the plastic trim along the side wall.

2. Undo the two Philips screws and remove the separator (vent) box, after disconnecting the two plastic vent tubings (on the bottom of the box) and the larger hose on the top - this hose returns petrol vapour back to the motor via a one-way valve (which you will see) and then via a charcoal cannister (up the front, in the engine bay).

3. Attach a short length of rubber hose (approx.3 mm.int.diameter and approx. 7-8cms. long) to this top nozzle on the vent box, and then attach a T-piece to the other end of this short hose.

4. Now attach the original hose to one end of the T-piece, and to the other end, attach a (new) length of rubber hose (approx.30-40 cms. in length) and run this hose to the OUTSIDE of the car.

5. To do this, look inside the filling well (outside the car where you put petrol in), and you will see, up the top right-hand corner, a rubber sealing grommet which covers a (factory) hole in the bodywork. Remove this grommet and drill a small hole through the centre of it. Now insert the new length of hose through this hole, so that the hose now runs from the T-piece (inside the car), out through the rubber grommet, and to the outside of the car.

6. You only need 1-2 cms. of hose to protrude, so trim off any excess hose. Apply a small amount of silicone sealant around where the hose runs through the grommet, and now re-fit the rubber grommet back into the hole in the bodywork. The hose is obviously not visible - as it is inside the filling well (which is covered by the petrol flap) - but effectively it opens OUTSIDE the car - so that any small build-up of petrol fumes is now eliminated to the outside - rather than to the inside, as before.

7. Before putting the car trim and rear seat back in, secure all the hoses and pipes against the bodywork (inside), using adhesive cloth tape. This will prevent annoying rattling of these hoses when the car is in motion.

The reason why fumes built up inside the car may have been due to a faulty ONE-WAY valve - the one referred to earlier. It may not have been allowing ALL the petrol fumes to pass through effectively. Consequently, a proportion of fumes was being dammed back, and being under pressure, oozed out via multiple connections into the cabin - thus causing the problem of petrol odour. My technique doesn`t disturb the original emission control system - which is still fully intact. What it does, however, is provide a by-pass, or relief system, when there is an excessive build up of petrol fumes. The whole job can be done in a couple of hours.

Hope this improvisation helps other Niva enthusiasts. Greetings from a 1997 NIVA enthusiast from Down Under (Australia).

1st Dec 2007, 21:39

Funny and strange. I've had same issues with fuel odour in the cab, but they only lasted a couple of weeks and then mysteriously disappeared... hey, I'm not complaining.

28th Sep 2009, 19:05

Does anyone have any experience dealing with rear wheel bearing adjustment?