The history of LuAZ utility SUVs dates back to 1967. It was then that the order of the USSR Ministry of the Automotive Industry was issued to organize the production of cars on the premises of the Lutsk Machine-Building Plant (LuMZ), which was soon renamed the automobile plant. Over the years of its existence, the company has been assembling several models of civilian vehicles and an army transporter. All cars had a high degree of unification among themselves and used power units from the cars of the Kommunar plant.
Army transporters are not often found on sale, it is much easier to purchase common civilian versions of LuAZ. Early examples of cars with a 30-horsepower engine and front or all-wheel drive are rare, and they can be equated with museum pieces. These machines were designated 969B and 969 and were produced until 1975. In the photo below you can see a sample of an early model of the LuAZ SUV with a booth from IZH "heel".
Much more common are 969A and 969M machines equipped with a 40-horsepower MeMZ-969A engine. The upgraded 969 M was produced until 1996, andyou can find copies in perfect condition. In the 90s, cars of projects 1301 and 1302 were produced in limited quantities, equipped with liquid-cooled MeMZ engines from a Tavria passenger car.
Potential buyers are attracted by the design of the car, which allows the car to operate on land and on water. Due to the even lower weight, the vehicle's throughput is higher. But when the TPK leaves the water on the muddy shore, it is easy to get stuck. The reason lies in the narrow native tires, which are in short supply. Therefore, owners are trying to replace them with wider tires with a developed tread pattern. TPK with a makeshift cabin and a roof rack transports cargo.
A big plus of the TPK is a regular winch with a pulling force of up to 200 kg, which, according to reviews, is quite enough to free the machine from the mud on its own. A huge disadvantage of the TPK is the regular interior, which, according to reviews, is completely unsuitable for long trips. Cars are often equipped with other seats and soft or hard tops.
The first problem that the owner of LuAZ will face is the lack of spare parts. For the same reason, it is very difficult to find a car in a decent technical condition. The awning rots in 8-10 years, so cars are equipped with either a home-made awning made from improvised material, or a hard top made of metal sheets.
Among the obvious advantages, the owners highlight high cross-country ability. In many reviews, LuAZ-969M is called one of the most passableSUVs. High off-road performance due to the low weight of the vehicle. A noticeable improvement in cross-country ability can be achieved by installing wider tires. Most often, rubber from "Moskvich" is used.
The machine is equipped with a torsion bar suspension, which provides huge ground clearance. The car has no bridges in the classic view, so there are no protruding crankcases and suspension units. A blank protection sheet is installed under the engine, which has an upward bend in the front. According to reviews, LuAZ moves on this protection through mud, like a boat through water.
In the event of a difficult road situation, manual connection of the rear axle with the possibility of differential lock comes to the rescue. The lock should be turned on only when slipping and avoid turning the steering wheel at a large angle. The LuAZ-969M body has ample space to accommodate four passengers and luggage. But the most comfortable car for traveling together.
The air-cooled MeMZ engines used on the machines, according to the reviews of LuAZ owners, do not shine with reliability. At full load, there is a lack of engine power and torque. If you can put up with this on the highway, calmly moving at a speed of 70-80 km / h, then on the roads this drawback becomes critical. The car has to be unloaded and only then begin to get out of the mud. But here the light weight of the LuAZ-969M car helps. According to the owners, in order to pull out the car, the efforts of one person and a cheap manual winch are enough. Pictured is one of the steps.restoration of the LuAZ body. The machine is equipped with non-standard disc brakes.
The design of the machine requires regular and painstaking maintenance, which is time consuming. It is necessary to constantly monitor the condition of the seals on the wheels. The car body does not resist corrosion well and has a lot of hidden cavities where dirt and water accumulate. But car owners get out of the situation simply - replacing rotten sections with ordinary sheet metal. This has little effect on the appearance of the car, since the factory body parts have a simple rectilinear shape.
Field for improvements
The main modification of the machine is the replacement of the Melitopol motor with a more powerful liquid-cooled unit. True connoisseurs of LuAZs recommend using the VAZ-2101 engine. Such an alteration must be registered with the traffic police, which takes a lot of time. But with such an engine, LuAZ, according to the owners, becomes a completely different car. In addition to improving off-road data, the use of a liquid-cooled motor solves the problem of interior heating. Below in the photo - LuAZ-969M with an installed engine from a Zhiguli and a home-made hard top. A radiator is located in the elongated casing at the front.
There is no technical possibility of installing an engine-driven winch on the civilian version, so many owners, according to reviews, install an electric winch on their own.