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Thread: Life with a Russian car

  1. #1
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    NOW THAT IT'S HERE

    Ok ... now that my 1983 GAZ Volga 3102 is here, I have only to get it titled/registered and inspected to be able to legally drive it on public roads. I will be detailing that process in my where I describe my overall search process from start to finish. However I decided to begin a new thread in a different category to discuss the various issues surrounding what I have done now that I have this beautiful creature sitting in my garage. I encourage input from others regarding this issue too, especially from those of you who have a Russian car of your own.

    So why a new thread? My was long enough, right? Hahaha! The primary reason for doing this of course is so that we can all share information about how we solved a particular problem so that others can learn from it and perhaps use that information in the future. I mean let's face it, owning a Russian car in the USA - or anywhere other than Russia/the FSU - can pose certain challenges that you simply don't encounter if you own a car that was manufactured in your own country. And so the information shared here just might help someone someday. Or it might just make for interesting reading during a late night Internet surfing session...


    Like with most any project you undertake, I think that you have to have clear goals set from the beginning. Decide that and you decide what you will do next. For me, I would like to keep my 3102 as original as I can for as long as I can. This of course means that I will have to ship parts from Russia as necessary, and that of course means additional costs and time delays. It is important to note that this is expected when you set forth the goal I have mentioned. So be prepared.

    I plan on taking my Volga to car shows and setting up displays that tell the car's history, the history of the 3102 and the history of GAZ in general. But I want it to show well. More importantly than that however, is that I want my beauty TO BE well, ergo to be in the best condition that I can make it. So with that in mind I have a few plans for the car after getting it street legal but before entering it into a show. I'll itemize and document those in good time.

    Today though, I'd like to begin with the first item on my agenda, which is to make any repairs that are necessary to get the car running safely. When I first received the car in the warehouse, I noticed at least two, possibly three items that jumped out at me. They are:

    1) The fan belts need replacing (didn't realize just how badly until the other night)

    2) The parking brake lever won't remain in the up position and doesn't seem to have much braking power

    3) The clutch system was low on fluid, which suggests a leak

    Although I have briefly looked at 2 and 3, I have been focusing on repairing item number 1 as it seemed the most critical. This is of course after I had the battery evaluated and then charged it in my garage, which was after the basic safety check that I gave the car the day after it was in its new home.

    Thank you for reading,

    Jerry

    ps-Photo of my car is attached for reference for those of you who may not have read the
    Attached Images
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  2. #2
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    I'M A BIG FAN...BELT...WELL NOT SO BIG ACTUALLY BUT...

    Ok so problem number 1, the fan belts. As I mentioned at the tail end of my , the belts that were on my 3102 when I took delivery of it were in horrendously bad condition. Huge sections were missing on of one of the belts and the other had two serious cracks, not to mention the general wear that they both exhibited. The first three photos show what they looked like while still installed. If you look closely, the aft belt closest to the water pump is clearly the worst of the two, with maxmermer suggesting that it wasn't even the correct belt. Once I removed both of them, I discovered that what had actually happened was that this belt was turnedINSIDE OUT such that what you are actually seeing in the photo is the "V side" or underside of an otherwise correctly fitting fan belt! YIKES!

    More photos in the next post.

    Thank you for reading,
    Jerry
    Attached Images
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  3. #3
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    TIME TO GET NEW BELTS

    With them off of the car, it is easier to see the extent of the wear. The first photo shows both the incorrect orientation of the belt plus a closer-up view of its abominal condition. The second picture depicts the serious crack in the second belt and the last photo shows you the wear of the first belt again, but with it flipped into its correct orientation.

    'Not sure how the belt got reversed like that...

    Thank you for reading,
    Jerry
    Attached Images
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  4. #4
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    AND THE NEW BELTS HAVE ARRIVED...WITH A LESSON

    Ok, the first thing you need to know about Russian fan belts is that they are narrower in width than those we have in the USA. Only about 2/3 as wide actually. Or at least they are on my 3102. This makes the task of finding replacements a bit more tricky. Fortunately when I was in Ukraine over the Christmas break I had the thought that purchasing replacements for the commonly worn items such as fan belts would be a good idea. And that it was. Or was it? More on that in a minute.

    While there, I had purchased about 6 replacement belts in total from two different vendors. I asked both of them quite specifically, and repeatedly, for belts for a 3102 with the standard 4021 inline 4 cylinder engine. Both vendors assured me that they had sold me the right belts. Well they hadn't. Last night when I went to install the new belts, while beaming with excitement over improving the gem of my garage, I discovered that they were too small. WAY to small. Crap.

    So what to do? Well after visiting two or three auto parts stores today, all of which told me that they didn't have any belts with such a narrow width, I learned another lesson: the parts chain named "Car Quest" sells all types of fan belts, including those for non-automotive applications. Applications like compressors and such. Still of good quality, just not for vehicles. So I found one and in I went. I brought in the belts that I had just removed from my Volga and the guy told me that he would be able to find a couple of replacements. 5 minutes later he emerges with two identically sized belts, crisp and new. We compared the sizes and it looked good to me. Cost was about $15 per belt. I took them home, installed them and boy but they look and work great! See the attached photos...

    The obvious downside is that they aren't "Russian belts", but hey, what can you do? I can't exactly go back to the vendors in Kharkov and ask for a refund or an exchange, so ... I'll just have to live with it. And they're just belts. Maybe I can pursuade my contact in Moscow to send me a few the next time he sends over some other more-urgent parts! He'll be a great resource for parts should he be available to help.

    So the moral to the story is that if you need replacement fan belts for your Russian car, try going to Car Quest (CQ). They have all types. The model for my 3102 (and probably applicable to an M24) follows:

    CQ 7410
    11A1040
    13/32" X 41-5/8" OC
    10 mm X 1056 mm OC

    Thank you for reading,

    Jerry
    Attached Images
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  5. #5
    Senior Member maxmermer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by or anywhere other than Russia/the FSU - can pose certain challenges that you simply don't encounter if you own a car that was manufactured in your own country. And so the information shared here just might help someone someday. Or it might just make for interesting reading during a late night Internet surfing session...
    -av8or1
    So why a new thread? My search thread was long enough, right? Hahaha! The primary reason for doing this of course is so that we can all share information about how we solved a particular problem so that others can learn from it and perhaps use that information in the future. I mean let's face it, owning a Russian car in the USA
    what about a new category on the forum called "Our Cars" or something of that nature?



    back to belts, I wonder why two belts are used to run a setup of only an alternator and water pump/fan. Were there other factory options like A/C and power steering available on the 3102? or was it designed like that for reliability.

  6. #6
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxmermer
    what about a new category on the forum called "Our Cars" or something of that nature?
    I'm open, whatever folk would prefer. At this point the most logical place for my thread is in the Outside of Russia category, since my Volga is indeed outside of Russia and since the obstacles that I am encountering are specific to owning a Russian car outside of Russia. I'm more interested in sharing information and helping others, so wherever we wanna put it, that's fine by me.
    Quote Originally Posted by maxmermer
    back to belts, I wonder why two belts are used to run a setup of only an alternator and water pump/fan. Were there other factory options like A/C and power steering available on the 3102? or was it designed like that for reliability.
    From what I have been told, A/C was definitely not something that was done on these cars very often, especially back in the 1980s, though I'm sure that betauser could comment further on that. I will need to add it to my Volga at some point however because the TEXAS summers are almost unbearable without a working A/C in your car. I'll need to use Russian components too, mostly because of the unique shape/design of the blower and evaporator core in a Volga. The mounting bracket for the compressor does indeed reside on the passenger side of the standard inline 4 cylinder engine, which might seem to indicate that only one of the two belts would be used to drive it. I don't know that this is true however because I haven't seen any diagrams or pictures of the final A/C setup. Based on the narrow width of the belts I'd be inclined to go with the redundancy argument, though I am open to suggestion. Maybe betauser can comment on that too.
    Thanks,

    Jerry
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  7. #7
    Moderator betauser's Avatar
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    Russia Uzbekistan
    _There were special versions of the Volga GAZ-3102, with a V8 engine, power steering and an air-condition from the GAZ-14 "Chaika". Now many companies installing A/C on Volgas, but what components are used, I do not know:( Two belts is used for greater reliability, I think.

  8. #8
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3102, with a V8 engine, power steering and an air-condition from the GAZ-14 "Chaika" . Now many companies installing A/C on Volgas, but what components are used, I do not know:( Two belts is used for greater reliability, I think.</p>
    -betauser
    There were special versions of the Volga GAZ
    Ok thank you for the reply betauser. I was/am aware of the V8 3102s, technically the 31013 model if I recall that number correctly, and even saw one or two when I was searching. However the price they wanted for those cars was outrageous, so I opted to pass on those opportunities.
    Do you have a list of the companies who offer A/C components for a 3102? Or a link to a website that has a list?

    Thanks!
    Jerry
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  9. #9
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    DRIVE INTO POSITION AND HOLD

    With the fan belt problem corrected, it was time to turn to the parking brake issue. This needs to work so that my 3102 can pass the TEXAS state inspection. A parking brake is considered a critical safety item and is required to be operational. I spoke with my contact in Moscow to get a little history. He told me that the parking brake isn't really used in Russia because of the weather. Apparently if you apply it for a good length of time during the cold weather, you may not get it to release. Hmmmmmm...never thought of that because it doesn't get that cold in TEXAS. But ok...

    Anyway. Time to get to work. I first looked into the issue of why the button at the end of the lever wasn't working. You couldn't depress it at all. To my surprise, this button is threaded onto the parking brake lever, so with just a few turns it came right off. The spring came out of its cubby hole with good force, but not all of the way. Something appeared to be jammed. I sprayed some WD-40 (penetrating fluid) into the opening at the end of the lever, jiggled the spring and it came loose. I was able to look inside the opening clearly now and noticed a good bit of dirt and some rust. So I cleaned all that up, cleaned the spring and put everything back together. The button then worked easily. So that problem was solved.

    Next was the action of the lever. Normally when applying a parking brake you hear a ratchet sound as the cam attached to the lever works its way through the gear, clicking into each successive position. None of that was happening here and the lever would not remain in the up position without a bit of luck. I noticed that the gear itself was in good condition, as was the cam. A common theme of lack-of-use began to develop this night, so I decided to try the WD-40 again. Sure enough, with a little wrangling, I freed the cam and now it moved like it should, causing the familiar old ratcheting sound. So that problem down.

    Pulling the lever up still didn't keep the car stationary however. So I jacked it up, put in the jack stands, looked underneath and noticed that the cables were loose. Quite loose actually. On a Russian car, or at least on my Russian car, the parking brake cables are simply steel stranded cables that are exposed to the outside elements. In the USA, most all parking brake cables are encapsulated inside tubing composed of various types of insulating materials. This provides a shield to the outside elements and helps prevent cable fatigue. Which is exactly what I found to be the case on my Volga. The cables had simply "stretched" over time and with lack of use. So I cleaned off the splitter and tightened the adjuster nut to take up the slack in the lines. I had to do a fair amount of tightening to get the cables to where they would apply the brake shoes sufficiently, but in the end they did the job.

    So I now have a working parking brake. Essentially this was a case of an item not being used on a car and as a result it "goes bad." A little elbow grease, some cleaning and tightening and all is well.

    I forgot to take pictures, but I will go out tomorrow night and jack her back up again to do that, then post them afterwards.

    Hope this helps,
    Jerry
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  10. #10
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    THE SPLIT

    Here are a couple of photos of the parking brake splitter and cabling on my 3102. If you look closely, you can see a black mark near the end of the adjusting bolt. That is approximately where the nut was prior to my adjustment last night. As you can see I had to tighten it fairly considerably. Note the cabling too and how it is bound together. I couldn't help but wonder if it came from the factory like that....dunno. I don't like how the right rear cable hugs the drive shaft when the parking brake is applied, but what can you do. I'll have to live with it. For now anyway.

    Thank you for reading,

    Jerry
    Attached Images
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

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