Using the Gear Levers
For those who are unfamiliar with the Niva, the first thing they notice is the number of gear levers:
no less than 3, for such a little Niva!
Let us see what all these levers do.
The gear lever is quite simply a lever like on every other car.
Old Nivas had 4 gears, but since 1986 there are 5.
Using this lever is exactly the same as using the gear lever on any other vehicule.
- The medium sized lever, at the back :
This lever has 3 positions :
- low box towards the front,
- neutral in the middle,
- high box towards the back.
Low box is used to drive slowly whilst keeping the power of the engine.
First gear is much lower than a normal first gear.
It is used primarily for off-roading.
Neutral is primarily for installing accessories that take power from the box - a bit like on agricultural tractors.
Usually this position is not used.
High box is used for driving on the road, it allows the car to achieve respectable speeds.
This lever should only be used once the car has come to a complete standstill!
This is why one should always engage it before taking to the road, because top speed in 5th is lucky to top 70 km/h!
An option exists (rare nowadays) to reduce the low box to go even slower.
- The smallest lever in the middle :
This lever has 2 positions :
- to the front
the difflock is disengaged,
- to the back the difflock is engaged.
The difflock can be used with both the high and low boxes.
It is used a low speeds.
Warning, never engage the difflock on hard ground!
Sometimes it is difficult to disengage the difflock.
Hint : at very low speeds a small pace backwards or braking usually does the trick.
An option exists called Promolada that gives a third position, allowing disactivation of the front axle and hence non-permenant 4-wheel drive.
Of course, you should always use the clutch to use any of the levers.