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1982 Lada Niva with a Peugeot diesel engine swap


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I called around to find me a mockup engine for the lada niva, i don't want to take it apart before i have a unit to install. They are hard to find and pricey, not too many nivas are taking apart. I find and bought this block and cylinder head, this engine is meanly for taking dimensions. Also unexpected find was this Gearbox, is from a Ford sierra cosworth 4x4. The box was at a good price and they are know to take lots of power, i did measure it and is way too long to be used in my niva. Maybe for a future project.

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Today i finish disassembling the parts car, front end come off easy, supported the body with my engine crane. Then i remove the carpet insulation, wiring, fuel tank, lines, rear axle. Then came the dirty job of cutting apart the body. Anybody that has deal with that knows the struggles, unibody cars have 3-4 even more sheets of steel in every corner. It was a real workout to chop it up and move it by myself, my injured back is at the point where i can do anything i want, but i'm careful. What a struggle for an engine.

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My garage is still full of scrap. I'm waiting on the scrapman to grab it, but that did not stop me from looking for more parts and finally i found a seller that will guarantee that his gearbox is in great working condition. This is a Lada 5 speed gearbox. I order it from the other side of my country and this arrived. This is obviously from a car because it has speedo drive on the side which isn't a bad ting, they don't get as hard life. The shifter boot is ripped and in shipping it got turn over and leaked the gear oil. I stood it next to my spare 4 speed, they are identical in size, only difference is the rear housing and shifter mechanism.

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There is also a FIAT 5 speed that is almost the same but not as easy to fit, if I remember well it's a tiny bit shorter than the Lada 5 speed and you need to use the 4 speed mount with a custom crossmember.

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I thought should i really use a lada 5 speed, they are weak and i need to modify all the mounts anyway plus i need to modify the the bell housing for the peugeot XUD9, but they are very common and parts for them are available and cheap, i looked at using a ford type 9 gearbox that is stronger but also has problems with bearings and the shifter will be off centre in the hole, BMW and Mercedes gearboxes also wore a option but they have much bigger clutches and their clutch disks are very expensive, also all other gearboxes wore double the weight.

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I know that and that is why i chose to keep it lightweight, at this point is around 1 ton and if i can keep it at that it will be good with 100 hp and 200 Nm of torque, the transfer case and the slow diff i have are pretty strong. In the mountains around here if you see what those nivas take on daily basis and still keep going i'm not worried about breaking the driveline.

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Scrap man finally come, loaded the parts car body shell i throw out a lot more spare body panels, they are taking too much room and now days if a have a big enough cash to need body parts i'll probably get another car. Now i need to make couple more runs to the dump to get rid of the plastic and garbage.

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I needed to clean up the garage so i can start on making the adapter plate for the diesel, also i may need to do some emergency repairs on couple of other cars. After making couple of trips to the dump i dispose of the plastics and insolation. This left me with two engines, gearboxes in the middle of the garage. The first engine N/A has oil in coolant, so i took the cylinder head to see if i have a blown gasket or bad cylinder head. Thankfully the engine looks much better inside, the valves look like new also the pistons look new but they have masks where sometime in the past they had hit the valves, no big deal the fault is the head gasket, i found two spots were they gasket was blown and the head bolts wore pretty loose almost like someone torqued the head and forgot to tighten it by degrees.

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The cam belt snap, the pistons hits the valves, the head bolts extends a bit before the camshaft is broken...

Check the camshaft bearings caps, it's not hard to find some that fits but not all of them do as they are machined with the head.

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I've heard that broken timing belt can cause stretch head bolts, i've got the feeling the other Td engine will be worse, than engine won't turn over. The first engine looks to have new valves, let's hope the other one has some good parts as well so i can piece something together without spending lots of money. Tomorrow i'll be inspecting it, trying to turn it over.

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The second Turbo diesel was in much worse state, all the important parts wore in good condition, the injection pump is dry not leaking, the turbo seams good has some shaft play but they are know to last like that. But i could not get the engine to turn over, i lay it on its side and removed the oil pan, oil pump, and looked at the cylinders from there, there was no rust, but they wore some drag marks like overheated marks. I removed the bearing caps and remove the crankshaft, the bearings has some scratches but are still in good shape, the crank is good also. Try to move the pistons, 3 of them moved but number one was stuck good. Because of this i had to take the head off and there was rust and other marks in all the cylinders, i maned go remove all the pistons using a long bar and big hummer, those bores and pistons are junk, i'll have to get bigger pistons if i want to use this block, i have suspicion that this car was junked because of bad compression cause of overheating.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In preparation for winter beside a engine swap this little 4x4 needs a proper set of tires, i've been running it on a set of heavy duty van tires with 4 ply sidewalls that are not suited for it. The oem wheels are very bent, so i bought couple more that turn out to be as bad as the old ones. So i had all the tires dismounted i made a adapter for my lathe and checked marked , clean up straighten all the rims. Then i wire brashed them used anti rust acid and primer and painted them. Then checked them again chosen the best 4 and mounted a set of old oem lada tires, as you see the rims are made to tube tires. I almost lost few on the way back from the tire shop, my trailer open from one side.

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Today after work, i test fit ed the new to me rims. This meant i had to take off the wheel adapters. The van tires are very undersized so i decided i'll take them off the rims. The new rims are a good fit both on the hubs and the backspacing is right, for temporary wheels i installed the factory russian wheels that i had mounted few days ago, i'll keep them on till i get the the diesel engine swapped and certified. Then i moved them around loaded the wheels in the trailer to be ready to take them to the tire shop tomorrow. All this extra work is taking a lot more time than i thought.

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I got the new tires mounted, the van tires dismounted, parked the little niva in the side bay step out and decided i need to wash it and cover the paint so it doesn't get destroyed, so out it come again, i pressure wash the engine, and everything i could reach underneath, parked it up hill, then down hill in my driveway to the water can escape and just as i parked it, one meter form its final space it run out of fuel. I did wanted to use up all the fuel because is one less thing i need to drain when i need to modify the fuel tank. Its funny how pictures don't show how steep my garage entrance is.

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I'm planning, the second engine for this little 4x4. The turbo block needs new bores, looking at the cylinders from the coolant ports, they are very thick, i'm thinking perhaps i should get 85mm pistons from the 2.1td XUD 11 ate that way i'll have 2 liter engine, i have a 8 counterweight forged crank in perfect shape, turbo rods or i can get HDI rods. The turbo head and fuel pump, as for turbocharger, i'm still debating should i use old school wastegate style or variable turbo. Any knowledge advice is welcome, i've heard of people spinning stock diesels up to 5500 rpm is there any way to make it more suitable for higher rpm, also flywheel, i can use a lighter one from petrol or use 2,1td one that is few kg heavier.

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8 conterweight forged crank? I think they all have 4 except the one from the DW12.

The XUD11 has bigger piston pins than the XUD9 and the rods big end is wider so it's not easy to mix and match.

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5 hours ago, SRDT said:

8 conterweight forged crank? I think they all have 4 except the one from the DW12.

I was lucky to get one from shop that was going out of business, they were saving it for a special project, i also got 4 conrods, i'll take pictures tomorrow, from what i was told the 8 counterweight crank is more stable at high rpm under load, and with 23 bar compression plus boost cranks do flex alot. I've measured it it fits XUD9, it is 88mm stroke.

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I promised pictures, so here there are, firs one is the 8  conterweight forged crank, second one is the one from the TD, just looking at it looks weaker. 

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I can't see if your special crank is forged, with 88 stroke there are two factory cast iron 8 counterweight cranks: the early XUD and the XU9J4. There is also the EW10 but the crankpins are smaller.

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To be honest i don't remember if i looked at the cranks parting line when i bought it, to see is it cast or forged, but now you've mention it i look at it and you are right, it has a thin line which means it is cast, i'll probably use the turbo crank, that one has thick parting line and is definitely forged. Any advice for which camshaft to use, what manufacturer of head gasket to look for ?

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If the cast crank is a XU9J4 one the counterweights should clear the oil squirter bars, also it's probably not exactly the same material than the old XUD crank but I'm not 100% sure.

It looks like there are only two cam profiles: XUD7TE-XUD9SD and all the others but it is in fact wrong. Peugeot tweaked the N/A-XUD9TE profile and timing more than once but each time the new cam was deemed close enough.

I also had a better look at the valves and the post 07/92 exhaust ones are not really the same between turbo and N/A. Peugeot sold the same spare part but used cheaper valves on the N/A engine assembly line. The turbo valves have a (Y) identifier near the top and the N/A have a (Z).

The old valves have a Ø4mm hole on the head and the new ones a Ø12mm hole so they are easy to spot.

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I talked to a guy who worked in the shop that the crank come from, he doesn't remember they ever working on any 16v peugeot engine, they dealt more with diesels. He said i'm not surprised the ex owner probably used his word playing and said forged rods and crank, because of that he got closed and no one can find him now. During the winter i'll be disassembling the turbo head, i have couple more spare heads that i can use parts from, also one more engine showed up for sale, but it is a 1868 N/A with lucas pump, i'm not sure is it worth the hassle. I've worked for Vanhool buses, even there on the assembly line, buses for europe EX get cheaper parts and the CX buses for the US get better parts, not surprised that peugeot are doing it.

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1769cc, it's small for a 1.8 and not really usefull for you.

I think the cheaper valve is perfectly up to the job, it's when you buy spare parts that they are ripping you off.

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