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Prototype

Preparation
Poch Lada Prototype

Translated by Mary Waller

Years of experience have allowed Lada From 1986 a complete restructure of


Poch’s competition services to make their the car was decided on. Carbon-fibre
own Dakar prototypes. replaced the glass-fibre, the 280
horsepower Roc engine appeared, the axels
Until 1983, the prototype was still gained self-locking (diff-lock?), the brakes
close enough to the original vehicle. The were at last worthy of a race car. Disk
self-bearing shell kept the same brakes all round, with four pistons on the
dimensions. The lightening and front caliper. The Carbon shock-absorbers
strengthening of the whole were starting to were replaced by Bilstein ones.
make the car competitive. In spite of all
this the engine was at the limit of its The rear axle guidance was improved
possibilities. The reinforced original axles by mounting a Watt’s parallelogram (no
coped well with the rigors of the course, more Panhard bar.)
but the original brakes were on the limit.
The little original Lada has thus
The 1984 Dakar was to change become a magnificent race car with a good
everything. Indeed, the body was to future (and it can still evolve) and who can
undergo the largest transformation. still assert the Lada name because the shell
The short wheelbase of the Lada was no – even if lengthened, is still the same, the
longer sufficient. 20 extra centimetres took axles and transmission are faithful to the
the wheelbase from 2 m 20 to 2 m 40, and original, and last but not least, certainly the
gave the car a new start. most fabulous part of the car, the transfer
box has evolved but is totally original.
The “Maurelec” engine went to 240 Originally thought of as an 80 horsepower
horsepower, but the lightened shell kept car, it now exceeds 290!
its glass-fibre parts.

No drastic changes for the 1985


Dakar, but a particularly careful honing.
The general characteristics remained
unchanged.
The car is lengthened to the front by 8 cms
just after the apron. The wheel arches and the
chassis are cut, shifted and securely fixed.
The gap is filled with a sheet of pre-formed
plate. The internal chassis reinforcements are
welded before final assembly.

The floor is cut under the seats. Unwelded on


the sides, it slides 12 cms backwards. The
door pillar doesn’t move but it is cut out,
reinforced and made ready for the carbon-
fibre parts. A 12cm strip of plate bridges the
gap created by moving the floor back.

The rear is cut out to keep the original


dimensions of the car. The wheel arches and
spring supports are reinforced.
Body Doors, bonnet and tailgate have their uses,
This type of self-bearing bodywork,
and hours of research are needed to replace
designed for a saloon, has the
or eliminate them.
advantage of being light. It’s true that
The lengthening of the car is particular in that
when used for extreme off-road the
it is done in two different places – 8cm at the
workload results in little cracks and
front and 12cm at the back.
broken welds. This problem was easily
At the front, this increase is done just after the
fixed by a system of reinforcement.
front apron (the front apron is the part where
For the prototype, things are a bit
the dashboard, steering wheel, pedals, etc
different.
come from.)
The wheelbase is lengthened by 200mm
Chassis and wheel arches are therefore cut
for better road-holding. This work is
with a chainsaw. The apron and chassis
much more difficult than lengthening a
members are placed on an immovable surface
chassis.
and the 8cms between them are filled with a
A self-bearing body is an ensemble of
series of specially formed plates.
folded and shaped plates, welded one
Reinforcing plates are welded inside the
to the other, making a rigid box that
chassis, on both sides, and the whole is semi-
keeps a certain amount of give and has
automatically welded.
a certain number of parts grafted on. In
This electric welding under neutral gas
a body, all parts contribute to the
reduces deformations. Reduce doesn’t mean
rigidity.
eliminate – it’s down to the skill of the welder
to adjust and compensate to avoid deforming
the front block.
The roll cage makes a second tubular frame. The rear lengthening is probably more
Welded to the body, it gives rigidity and makes complicated than at the front. It is made on the
it almost unable to become misshaped. The rear three-quarters of the doors, just in front of
central aluminium tube serves as a mount for the door pillars. The floor-pan is cut and moved
the two spare wheels. For better weight back by 12cms.
distribution the battery is mounted on the right
and the oil tank on the left. The door pillar is cut in two vertically and
reinforced.

The windscreen bay horizontal structure (up to


the door pillar) and floor pan with the rear wheel
arch are kept. All the rest (roof, horizontal
structure behind the door pillar and the tailgate)
is removed in order to lighten the car. The rear
part is recut (almost at the wheel arch) to regain
the original dimensions of the car. In brief, the
car is transformed into a pick-up on which a
carbon-fibre hard-top will be stuck and riveted.
Doors, bonnet and tailgate are also in carbon-
fibre.
The front and rear wings are enlarged to A mechanically welded structure
compensate for the greater track (the distance reinforces the pressure points of the roll-
between the two wheels on the same axle), not cage and also the mountings of the rear
to be confused with the wheelbase (distance shock absorbers fitted in the two plane-
between the two axles.) parallel shapes. The tube centres the
spare wheels and the belt holds them.
A carbon-fibre lower bodywork links the front The container, left at the back, serves as
and rear wings. an oil reserve for the engine with dry
casing. The pipework in is on top. The
The roll-cage is an integral part of the body. A fuel tank is that used at the “Pharaons”
six-point roll-cage, it becomes a tubular frame rally. For the 1988 Dakar it was flatter
welded to the body in fourteen places. The and came up to the rear apron and the
aluminium is replaced with 25 CD 4S steel which two spares wheels were stored on it,
is easier to integrate into the whole. In any case, one on top of the other.
it is now preferable not to use aluminium due to
security reasons (forbidden in the 1988 Dakar
rules.)
Once the lengthening is done and the roll-
cage welded, the carbon-fibre parts are
riveted and glued. Windscreen and
horizontal bays are glued. The track increase
has necessitated a widening of the wings
but the aesthetics are kept. Note the tube (in
the engine compartment) welded on the roll-
cage and on the body. It will take the
mounts for the front shock absorbers. Two
air intakes in the roof will allow the cockpit to
be ventilated.

A cross-bar mechanically welded in


aluminium allows the chassis members to
keep the same gap (in spite of shocks), and
the lower protection (in carbon-fibre) holds
the front axle. The entirety becomes a very
robust front axle.
The fixing of the roll-cage is done in
strategic places on the body. The principal
Suspension
rear load point is situated by the shock
The principles of the suspension are
absorbers. Two rectangular boxes serve as
retained. Triangular suspension in front
the upper mounts of the shock absorbers.
with helical springs, and rear axle with tie-
These two parallel shapes are welded on
bars, Watt’s parallelogram and helical
the floor-pan on each side of the spring
springs. The biggest modification is to
support, the length of the wheel arch, and
replace the original steel springs with
reinforced by plates. A strut welded on the
progressive ones in titanium.
roll-cage allows the wheel arch and rear
wing mounts to be strengthened.
The new steel springs specially made for
the new characteristics of the car had a
Two diagonals (one is obligatory) crossed
tendency to break. Choosing titanium
in the middle make the rear of the roll cage
resolved this problem.
immovable.
The lower triangles are mounted on Teflon
The side parts of the roll cage match
rings instead of the traditional silentblocs
perfectly the door and side pillars. The
(rubber bushes.) Two arms welded on the
entirety is welded with strips of weld every
middle of the crossbeam take the front
10cms.
fixing of the pivotal axis of the suspension
arms.
On the front, an additional tube – coming
off the roll-cage at the apron level, crosses
the apron and joins up at the front shock
absorber placement. This allows
shocks/knocks to the suspension to be
sent on.

At the seat level, another tube is welded on


the roll-cage and joins the front apron
opposite the chassis member.

This tubular trelliswork of the body makes


an unbendable cage. An aluminium
crossbeam at the front keeps the two
chassis members apart. At the same time it
acts as mounting for the carbon-fibre
armour plating, which in turn holds the The axle guidance is achieved by a Watt’s
crossbeam of the front suspension. parallelogram. All the articulations are done
with silentblocs. The central axis is
The laminated glass windscreen and mounted on an elastic ring. The axle tie-
polycarbonate windows are glued to the bars are also mounted on silentblocs. Note
bodywork. This technique also contributes the shock absorber mountings secured by
to the rigidity of the whole. balljoints (unibal type) protected by a foam
washer on each side. The floating rear
caliper is one from a 505.
In the middle, the original steel springs. The spring is positioned between the lower
On the left, the new front titanium spring. arm and the (upper) bodywork support.
On the right, the rear titanium spring.
Slightly lighter, the titanium springs have The anchoring points of the shock absorbers
the advantage of being completely are found on each side of the springs.
reliable (they don’t break and they retain
their properties.) The upper forged steel triangles are
mounted on Teflon rings instead of
silentblocs. The principles of the rear
suspension are the same as the original,
except for the axle guide which is a Watt’s
parallelogram. The springs are in titanium,
recalculated and adapted for the new weight
on the rear axle. There too, the choice is
made to have reliable springs that don’t
break.

The second advantage concerns the weight.


Titanium springs are half as heavy as steel
ones.
Shock Absorbers The front shock absorbers have balljoints at the
lower mounts, with silentblocs retained for the
Two Bilstein shock absorbers for each
upper mounts. The differing position of the front
wheel. At the front and back, the lower
shock absorbers is due to their anchorage on
mount is done with a ‘Unibal’ balljoint
the lower triangle being shifted upwards. This
and the upper mount is done
traditionally with rubber chocks. The mounting is necessary to keep the same
body of the shock absorber is in clearance. The front brake is a four piston one
aluminium and the adjustment is from AP.
specific to the attributes of the vehicle.
The light alloy Bilstein shock absorbers
mounted on either side of the springs are
Axles mounted with balljoints below and silentblocs at
The principal of independent wheel the top. An aluminium spacer allows the track to
suspension is of course retained. The be increased and the use of Porsche rims. Full
ensemble consists of an aluminium disk brakes (as at the front) and floating brake
body and two universal joints. The ratio caliperss from the 505 make the rear brakes
of the conical coupling is changed to certain.
4.44 to 1 for the moment. This choice
was made for all the existing axles at
Lada. This particular coupling, the
shortest of the range, is still too long.
The front axle and transmission remain the For the front axle, the big difference from the
same. The mounting of the axle on the Roc original comes from the ZF differential box,
engine is done the same as for the Lada with slip limited to 10%. The 10% comes
engine. from a box already used and retarded.
The rear axle, although keeping the same
The rear axle is a superbly crafted part. size, is fundamentally changed. The old
Reinforcement of the trumpets, new shock fixing of the centre onto the body is cut off.
absorber mounts, even the support in the In its place a thicker ring is welded. This
centre is reinforced. Taken during work is done by a specialist, who is able to
fabrication, it lacks the axle guidance (Watt’s perfectly position the centre of the axle on
parallelogram) welded on the banjo. the body (the differential exits must be
perfectly aligned with the wheels.)
The trumpets are reinforced along their
entire length with U shapes welded to the
body. The tie-bars are re-welded.
The new mounts for the shock absorbers are
welded on either side of the bracket.
The axis of the Watt’s parallelogram is completely original diameters of the
welded on the banjo, and the original brake disks.
Panhard bar is removed. All of the parts In this case, the master vacuum
constituting the axle guidance are (vacuum brake mounted in series with
reinforced and mounted on silentblocs. the brake pedal and the master
Only the central part of the system turns cylinder) gives little extra weight
liberally on the axis (without bearings) by compared with the driving comfort and
using a silentbloc. efficiency it offers.
Two arms welded on the body hold the Transmitters and repartition make up
Watt’s parallelogram levers. The lower part of the improvement to the braking
tie-bars are reinforced by an angle system. At the output of the master
welded to the bar with each ring taken vacuum, the push-rod is relayed to two
back at the two extremities. The small Girling master cylinders who feed the
upper tie-bars are strictly original with no front and rear calipers. The linkage is
reinforcement. established by a system of adjustable
As for the front axle, the ratio of the levers that allow more or less force to
conical coupling is 44.4 to 1 (with tests be applied to the pistons of the master
for a shorter report/ratio for Dakar, cylinders and to share out the braking
and ZF differential box with limited forces more to the front or rear. (see
slip is at 4O %). chapter: Brake AP)
For both the axles, the original The adjustment is done using a knob
bearings are changed to European on the dashboard, which allows the
ones. driver to modify the share depending
on the load (fuel) and the terrain. This
can be done while the car is being
driven.
Brakes The brake fluid is type Dot 5 – high
temperature (see chapter: Brakes).
The evolution of the braking system has On the latest vehicles the steel brake
allowed the original rear drum brakes pipes are replaced by aviation type
and front calipers to be done away with. pipes. This improvement has more to
Due to the increased performance of the do with safety than performance.
car, and the differences between the The original limiter has been
original car and the race car (the top removed (it was doing double time with
speed is about 200kph), the brakes had the mechanical sharing system of the
to be improved. pedal).
Unlike other teams, the choice was The brake shoes are Ferodo ones,
made between a mix of parts from the with the shape adapted for the
road model and those issued by diameters of the disks used.
competitors.
First of all, the four brakes are disk ones.
At the rear, it is the original front disks
that have been adapted. The front
calipers are those from a 505 SDI. At the
front the original disks are used with 4
piston AP Racing calipers (Lockeed).
None of the disks are ventilated.
The original power brake booster
(vacuum brake) is retained and produces
an efficient braking, in spite of the
Wheels

Lada remains faithful to the Porsche


rims (made for Lada). These are certainly
the best rims for off-road. They are
made from forged aluminium, which
allows light rims due to the metal used
and are almost indestructible due to the
way they are constructed.
Two sizes are used depending on the
race (15 or 16 inches). Inconvenient
nonetheless – these rims are horribly
expensive.

Steering

The main ideas behind the steering are


retained. The steering box, the rods and
the balljoints are the same. The choice
of parts is very important. The balljoints
are tested one by one, X-rayed and
tested with Magnaflux to find the The transmission necessitates a shape in
slightest flaw. Only those without any the middle that divides the tank in two
faults are taken. In spite of this they are when it is half-full. These two valves are
changed regularly. positioned between the two seats in
The connecting rods hanging down reach of the two teammates.
from the steering box and relay are Under the driver’s seat are found the
replaced by titanium connecting rods two low pressure fuel pumps, that work at
(lighter and more robust). The steering the same time and suck fuel from the
column keeps the same placement. The tanks via two little filters. The petrol is
intermediary tree is lengthened to sent into a buffer box (which allows
compensate for the lengthening of of the elimination of air bubbles and avoids
front bodywork. failure). From the buffer box the fuel is
sucked by two high pressure pumps (one
is a spare), filtered, and sent to the
Fuel and Feed tanks Kugelfischer mechanical injection pump.
For the 1988 Dakar, there is now only
one tank moved back about 10 cms to
Two flexible tanks (superflexit) placed allow more adjustment of the seat. Tall
behind the seats, with a capacity of 170 drivers had trouble finding a comfortable
and 130 litres, feed the petrol engine. driving position with the present
A valve allows the tank to be changed, implementation. The tank is also slightly
and a second allows the fuel to be raised to reduce the separation in the
sucked from the right or left of the tank centre of the transmission tunnel that lost
that is found under the floorpan. the use of potentially about 30 litres of
fuel.
All the fuel circuit is placed under the The gearbox is a BA 10/5 fitted on the production
driver’s seat and the valves between the 505s. Reinforced and made by Peugeot, it can
two seats. Two low pressure fuel pumps, exceed 50 mdaN. The original transfer box is not
two high pressure pumps, of which one is a modified. The differential is free, the small and
spare, feed the engine via three filters. A large ratios are the originals (2.135 and 1.2) and
buffer box avoids failures. the difflock is kept. The link between the two is
with the original gear coupling.

Gearbox, transfer box, The transfer box is the original (in relation to the
transmission latest boxes improved for the series). The only
thing that is changed are the wheel bearings
The gearbox which had kept abreast up to changed for European ones. The lipped sealing
140 horsepower is replaced with a box gaskets are also replaced by more resistant
fitted to production 505s made by Peugeot gaskets. The major modification of the old boxes
and sold by the preparer Danielson. consisted of re-machining the ranges of the
It consists of a 5 box, whose ratios are planetary gears to insert bronze wedges to
well adapted to the engine and to the diminish the friction speed. This modification is
development of the wheels. now already done in the factory.
The link between the gearbox and the
transfer box is made by an original gear- are spares in case one of the ignition systems
coupling (flexible link). It limits too violent fits breaks down. A switch on the dashboard
and starts in the transmission. allows their feed to be quickly reversed.
The front universal joints are the originals,
without reinforcement. The front and rear The dash instruments are laid out on an
transmissions are lengthened by 8cms at the aluminium dashboard painted matt black. Pre-
front and 12cms at the back to compensate wired, it can be fitted rapidly due to its ¼ turn
for the lengthening of the wheelbase. fixings and electrical plugs.

Cockpit

The steering column and the pedals are the


originals. The whole gives a good driving It only takes 2 minutes to fit the dashboard. All
position improved for the 1988 Dakar by a the lights and switches are within reach of the
driver. The co-driver looks after the petrol
new seat position, until now a little too close
to the dashboard. A false floor at the pedal gage and the navigation, he can change fuses
level gives an additional possibility of and relays very quickly. Double ignition system
adjustment. The wheel arch serves as a in case of breakdown. Well protected from
foot-rest. The “Modplastia” seats are bad weather inside the car, it limits problems
adapted to the teammates. arising from crossing a ford a bit too deep.
Two tubes go from the roll-cage to the point
Under the dashboard are two ignition control where the chassis members are mounted on
modules and two ignition coils. One of each the front apron (necessary for rigidity!)
Bore: 93 mm, stroke: 90, it is an
Dashboard Setup honest/forthright engine of 2445cm3. The
four and one exhaust is perfectly in tune
All the instruments and commands face with the input. The four trumpets support
the driver. Pressure gages, fuel gages, oil the mechanical injectors. A guillotine
pressure gage, temperature gage, rev- assures the opening and closing of the
counter, along with battery and oil four input vents.
warning lights, and all the switches
necessary for the good running of the car The Roc engine has been used in
(ignition, fuel pump, electric fan, etc) are competitions for nearly 18 years now (NB:
regrouped within reach of the driver. this document dates from 1989!). It has
been used on a large number of cars,
Two fuse boxes, a gearbox oil robust and weak, yet its engine torque is
temperature gage and a transfer box oil nevertheless placed too high in the revs.
temperature gage and a speedometer are For an off-road vehicle this is a big
placed in the centre of the dashboard. handicap. The Kugelfischer mechanical
injection system has the advantage of
Opposite the co-driver are grouped the being simple and of an excellent reliability.
navigational devices, the fuel pump The principal inconvenience is the fuel
switches, warnings and a series of consumption and the lack of flexibility.
electrical relays.
An electric injection, still being developed,
Even though reduced to a minimum, there will certainly give a greater flexibility in use
and reduce the fuel consumption.
is little space left for the addition of
additional elements.
The fuel consumption is very important,
because it affects the volume of the tanks
which will affect the weight on the axles.
Engine The heavier the car, the more the parts
need to be reinforced.
The needs of the competition in terms of The Roc engine is particular in that it has a
power have, once again, made things dry casing. In this case, the oil used to
evolve. From 140 horsepower in 1980, the lubricate the elements falls back into the
Maurelac engine has gone to 180 engine sump, is sucked up, cooled, and
horsepower, 200 horsepower, 230 sent back to a tank in the rear of the car.
horsepower and ended up at 240 Another pump sucks the oil out of the tank,
horsepower. It is obvious that the cc for and sends it under pressure into the
the latest versions has risen to 2.5 litres. engine via an oil filter.
The possibilities for this engine have been
maximised, so it was necessary to find a A hydraulic ensemble with three stages
more powerful one. The decision was (two emptying pumps and a pressure
taken for the “Roc” engine. The base of pump) is brought about by the crankshaft,
the engine (the block) is that of the N9T with a notched belt.
engine of the 505 turbo. The four valves
per cylinder and the double overhead
cams allowed a power rating of 280
horsepower at 7.200 rev/min and 27
mdaN.
There are many advantages that bring the Inconveniences all the same: the oil tank is
vehicle preparers to use dry casings. The bulky and often difficult to put in, and the
volume of the casing is kept to a minimum long pipework multiplies the risk of leaks.
and helps lower the centre of gravity. The
amount of oil needed is increased, as this The 4 in 1 exhaust is in “Inconel”. This alloy
leads to a reduction in temperature. The of nickel (80%), chrome (14%) and iron
oil sucked up in the tank has had time to (6%) has the advantage of holding
rest. The tank has a series of chicanes temperature differences very well and
and decanters that allow the oil to de- being particularly reliable in terms of
emulsify (the small air bubbles in the oil mechanical resistance.
due to the mixing induced by the suction
pumps come up to the surface) and stops The cooling is assured by an R20 radiator
the risk of the pressure pump being and two electric fans than can work
damaged by cavitations, which above all automatically or by a manual switch on the
lower the oil pressure and mark the dashboard.
bearings.
An aluminium water box allows a good
This also avoids a filter, often fragile, that removal of air bubbles from the circuit, and
could potentially break in the oil casing. avoids the cavitation phenomenon. This
phenomenon has the tendency to create
hot points in the engine potentially fatal to
the pistons. An expansion tank serves to
compensate for the volume differences in
the water circuit depending on
temperature.

Two track rods mounted in front of the


engine and on the wheel arches by Unibal
balljoints limit the clearance of the engine
under shocks and fits and starts and go
some way to protect the engine mountings.

The silentblocs (bushes/mounts) were


particularly studied for the new engine.

The oil radiator placed next to the water


The Roc engine retains (at least until 1988) radiator is perfectly exposed and allows a
the Kugelfischer mechanical injection. good cooling of the engine oil.
Trumpets and guillotine ensure a good An excellent engine, the Roc nevertheless
replenishment of the engine. The pressure remains a bit specialised for this type of
and suction pumps (dry casing) are use.
worked by the crankshaft via a notched
belt (rectangular blocks surmounted by oil
pipes). The water radiator (R20 diesel) and
the oil radiator are perfectly placed. Two
electric fans are controlled mechanically
and manually. The division of braking,
controllable from the cockpit, is realized
by two Girling mast cylinders mounted on
the master vacuum (vacumm brakes).