GAZ-66, or as they call the model “swamp cone”, is a popular Soviet truck with a cabin installed above the engine. The wheel configuration of the truck is as follows: 4×4, and the payload is 2,000 kg. This vehicle is considered to be the heaviest four-wheel drive truck in the world. The entire GAZ range.
The top of its popularity car acquired in 1960-1980. The very first models were presented in 1962. This SUV was positioned as an upgraded version of the 1.2-ton GAZ-62, which already needed to be replaced. Interestingly, the GAZ-66 was able to replace another vehicle, which was produced by the Gorky Automobile Plant – the GAZ-63, the production of which was completed in 1968.
Serial production of the 66th model was started in 1964. Already in 1968 the car received the function of tire pressure regulation. At this time our hero was awarded the main prize at the exhibition of modern equipment held in Moscow. Auto was exported to almost all countries of the socialist system. The model enjoyed considerable popularity in the economy and the Soviet army.
A little later, the 2-axle truck was adopted by the Russian army. Mass production of 66 lawns was stopped in 1995. Another model of the Gorky Automobile Plant GAZ-3308 “Sadko” replaced the truck. The final production of the truck was stopped in mid-1999. In total, 965,000 copies of GAZ 66 were produced.
Interestingly, the truck was also recognized in Europe, having awarded it with the “gold” award in Leipzig. A couple of years later, the truck acquired the national quality mark.
The truck was built on the platform of GAZ-62 and GAZ-63. The basis for the formation of the “Shishiga” was the military, as they marked the small area of the cargo part near the lawn 63. In addition, the power plant had to be placed under the cockpit, which would reduce the size of the vehicle. Such advice was taken into account and used in the new 66th Lawn.
With this arrangement, the weight is almost evenly distributed over the wheels of the machine with its small dimensions. The powertrain can be operated by tilting the cab. The truck’s cross-country ability has been significantly increased. Many people are interested in the question: why is the truck called “Shishiga”? There are two variants of the name GAZ 66.
The first version: a couple of digits (66) are consonant with “six-six” “shishiga”. The second version refers to the Russian folklore, where “Shishiga” is called a creature from the family of kikimor – a naked, humpback and low female creature, living in reeds, small rivers and near water bodies. In reality, these places are native to the new GAZ 66 truck.
The GAZ-66 SUV is a maneuverable, unpretentious and powerful vehicle, so it was used in agriculture. In addition, the vehicle was often used by geologists to discover ores and minerals.
The first model of the car was made 53 years ago and was the evolution of the GAZ-63 car, which was assembled 4 years earlier. Those who speak of a purely army mission of “shishigi” are obviously wrong. In fact, great people, whose names are written in gold letters in the history of the plant and the entire automotive industry of the USSR, took part in the creation of the new car.
Among the designers are Alexander Prosvirin, Oleg Obraztsov and Rostislav Zavorotny. Pavel Syrkin was involved in the project of creating a new power plant for GAZ-66. The triumph of the new car was a super-automatic run along the complicated route Gorky – Vladivostok – Gorky, prepared in 1967. The lion’s share of the road ran along the Urals, Siberia, Trans-Baikal Territory and the Far East, where the fierce lack of roads prevailed.
And the new cars were able to cope with the severe task set on them. This SUV was used by the landing troops: when falling with a parachute, the truck lands on all 4 wheels and does not collapse. However, in 1980 the car was not used in Afghanistan.
The reason for this was the danger of being blown up by a mine. Due to the limited internal volume of the cabin and its location directly above the wheels, it was decided to abandon the GAZ-66 during the fighting in Afghanistan.
The body and cabin
The body of GAZ-66 includes a metal platform, high lattice sides and folding benches. The tailgate opens, the awning is stretched on 5 arcs. All-metal cabin has two unified seats – for the car operator and passenger, which are separated by the upper casing of the power unit.
In order to allow the driver to rest during a long drive, the designers provided a sleeper hanging type in the cab. To put it simply, it is a tarpaulin hammock with 4 hooks. The environment in the cabin of GAZ-66 can be called very brutal and spartan – everywhere there is one metal, there are no unnecessary elements or details.
However, if we compare the level of comfort with its predecessor, GAZ-63, the new cabin has become more comfortable. Now it has effective ventilation and heating, blowers and windshield washers. The height of the ground clearance is impressive 315 millimeters. The greatest depth of the ford to be overcome is 8 meters.
To inspect and repair the power plant, the cabin can be easily tilted forward on hinges. Between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat, the developers placed a fixed casing that covers the engine, resulting in a curved gearbox lever mounted to the right-back of the driver.
Operating a manual gearbox is very uncomfortable because of this, so it will take some time to get used to it. In winter it was hot enough in the cabin. Due to the high heat of the hood, its heat was transferred to the cabin. The cabin itself is located high, which improves the quality of view for such a cabover truck.
However, based on owner feedback, it is always difficult to work at this height. The cabin is very small, so when driving on a bad road there is a high probability of injury from impacts on the internal elements of the cabin GAZ-66.
The capacity of the power plant was 4,254 cubic centimeters. Such an engine operates on AI-76 and AI-80 gasoline. The GAZ-66 SUV has a powerful 120 hp engine. The engine was a V-shaped 8-cylinder 4-stroke carburetor “engine” ZMZ-66, which has liquid cooling.
The engine itself weighs 262 kilograms. Carburetor type: K-126 (until the end of the 1980s) or K-135 (all the remaining years of production). According to the passport, the engine consumes 20-25 liters of gasoline per 100 km. The GAZ-66 power plant turned out to be both shorter and more compact in size than the GAZ-63 version. The engine has a preheater PZHB-12.
There is also a small number of “shishiga” cars, which were equipped with a ZMZ-513.10 engine. It is an upgraded version of the “engine” ZMZ-66-06 with the same volume and power of 125 horsepower. There were also versions with diesel power plant GAZ-544, which is equipped with 85 “horses” and 235 Nm of rotating forces. There was also a turbocharged diesel version of GAZ-5441, which already had 116 horsepower.
Such versions of the truck had an index GAZ-66-41. The manufacturer informs about the maximum speed of 90 kilometers per hour. However, it is possible to remove the speed limiter yourself, which will allow acceleration up to 110-120 km/h. But this car does not need to drive at high speed. Its main trump card is a bad road.
GAZ-66 can carry cargo weighing up to 2 tons even on difficult terrain without damage.
The developers equipped the “shishima” with a mechanical, four-speed gearbox, which received synchronizers at the third and fourth speeds. “Handout” has two gears, with down and disengageable front wheels. Activating direct transmission in the transfer case does not mean deactivating the front axle.
It is activated by a separate handle and can function in any gear in the transfer case. The clutch has a single disc unit and is also hydraulically driven. As for the driving axles of the domestic truck, they are of hypoid type.
The construction of the tail axle is equipped with a crankcase, a gearbox and two axles. The gearbox was placed in the crankcase. It guarantees optimal speed transmission from the cardan gear on the axle and increases the torsional forces on the wheels. The cone gearbox has a drive and idler gearbox for the main gearbox as well as a pre-assembled differential and bearings.
The rear axle and the front axle have the same gearbox. The rear axle has a solid axle beam. The main gear is single, hypoid, semi-axle, fully unloaded.
The front and rear are longitudinal semi-elliptic springs with 2-sided hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers. Due to the use of single springs on the rear wheels and self-locking differentials in the main speeds, this vehicle may not be overloaded.
Such a large vehicle is not so difficult to drive with the help of a steering device supplemented with hydraulic power steering. The brake system has drum mechanisms and hydraulic structure, and also has a vacuum booster. This device does not allow the engine to turn off while driving downhill.
Production of all-wheel drive truck GAZ-66 was completed in 1999. But it is still possible to purchase this vehicle today. Very often there are “shishigs”, who took the Russian armed forces off the maintenance. Modifications of the vehicle, which have KUNGI, can be purchased from $6120 to $9,180.
Flatbed versions of the domestic truck are estimated at $3,825. Of course, it is possible to find separate copies of 1071 $, but it is worth to understand what condition they will be in. Also the price list will change depending on the technical condition and level of modification.
The all-wheel drive GAZ-66 has been specially developed for off-road applications, so it has a high cross-country ability. Despite this, the vehicle has a fairly large number of factory defects, and the level of comfort of the truck is very low. That’s why “shishig” is often subjected to tuning.
It is not difficult to guess that very few bodies of the domestic car were able to preserve their original appearance. Many cars need welding or painting work. Not all owners want to paint their cars in “native” paint, so drivers often use bright and unusual colors that differ from most.
Nowadays it is very fashionable to repaint cars in camouflage color. If the body is tidied, it is necessary to pay attention to the treatment with anticorrosive materials. The dodger is not installed so often on the truck, and it is not very necessary. The GAZ-66 owners most often use arches and kangarooks from the kit, and on the version with kungus they install a solid and solid trunk on the roof.
The native bumper of the all-terrain vehicle is quite powerful, but do not refuse to install a winch. You can think about improving the external lighting. Standard lighting is rather dim and it is obviously not enough for a clear picture on the road or in the woods, so it is worth to mount auxiliary lighting. Today, it is fashionable to use LED fillings.
And this option is very suitable for tuning GAZ-66, as the LEDs are economical and do not overload the electrical circuit of the car. Moreover, the LED filling is reliable and has a long service life, and such headlights stand out fairly robust design. Additional lighting can be installed not only at the front, but also at the rear of the car.
Thanks to the additional rear lighting, you can easily turn around even on a bad road in a dark place. In order to increase the ground clearance and give a more serious look, it is possible to use larger diameter wheels, which also allows you to raise the ground clearance. The best option for external tuning of the GAZ-66 is to buy and install arched tires. This will also increase the cross-country ability.
The native cabin of the “Lawnchik” can not be called adapted for convenient movement, because the vehicle was more viewed as an army all-terrain vehicle. Therefore, all the work of the design staff was aimed at increasing the technical part of the vehicle. Since the engine with a gearbox is located almost inside the cab (only the factory cover closes the engine), it is quite noisy in the cabin of the all-terrain vehicle.
Some people try to reduce the noise level by resorting to noise insulation materials. Good noise insulation will help to close all the gaps, which will help to reduce the ingress of dust, as well as reduce the noise level. Noise absorbing materials include:
Inside the lawn there are uncomfortable chairs, so it is very unpleasant and uncomfortable to be on them for a long time. Some people decide to make a tuning GAZ-66 by installing seats from modern cars. It is clear that it will be necessary to remodel the chairs’ fasteners, but in this case the comfort is in the first place. Aesthetic part in this case is not so important, but comfort and convenience are obviously important.
There are craftsmen who pull the ceiling, use a good expensive material, install nice and stylish covers on the chairs, as well as install the dashboard lighting with additional lighting. Again, it is practical and bright looks LED filling.
If there is nothing to improve the 66th Lawn’s onboard vehicle, there are many opportunities for a KUNG-type army van. Recently, GAZ-66 has been most often purchased by hunters and fishermen, as well as car tourism enthusiasts. It turns out that inside KUNG you can not only stay overnight, but also live.
Some owners of the domestic truck install sofas for rest, tables for cooking and eating, autonomous heating Webasto for a warmer stay in winter. To improve an interior of a body will allow also installation of multimedia system and additional illumination.
To improve the interior of the body can be for all tastes, as long as there are enough funds. There are craftsmen who install bourgeoisie, others carry diesel or gasoline generators. To make it easier to get inside or on the trunk mounted on the roof, it is advisable to install comfortable ladders.
No matter how great the data of our lawn was, the domestic engine is already seriously outdated and suitable only for off-road use. But it obviously lacks power, and “fuel appetite” is very good. Most often, the factory’s power plant is replaced by a diesel D-245, which is produced by the Minsk motor plant.
There is also a 4.5-liter version of ISUZU. If you do not have the necessary skills, you can use the services of many companies that install diesel versions of the MMZ. There are companies that dismantle the previous engine, install a new one and even provide their own guarantee.
Not everybody loves the factory’s lawn transmission. If the owner has decided to change the engine, many people recommend replacing the gearbox. Often the choice falls on the option of another truck ZIL-130. This type of gearbox has five speeds and allows you to feel more dynamic.
Experts advise that if a new foreign engine (for example, ISUZU) is installed, it is important to purchase and deliver a gearbox of the same manufacturer. In such a case, the power units will be fully compatible and there will be no need to adjust the gearbox to the “engine”.
Comparison with competitors
It is hard to name direct competitors of GAZ-66, as the car is original and unusual. Among similar models we can highlight ZIL-131, GAZ-63 and GAZ-3308. But still, it is the 66th model that has its own advantages, allowing it to be in demand even today. Small size, excellent cross-country ability, practicality and rich application – these are just some of the advantages of the off-road truck.
Reviews from the owners
Based on the feedback from the owners of GAZ-66, the car is just perfect for a bad road. Drivers note the excellent cross-country ability, reliability, confidence in the car. It is necessary to note the all-wheel drive, the possibility of blocking the differential, pumping the tires while driving, low weight and good weight distribution on the axles.
As an advantage, there is a maintainability and low cost of spare parts. The car is ideal for lovers of fishing and hunting. You can also use different tuning to improve the appearance, interior and technical part of the domestic truck.
On the other hand, the owners of GAZ-66 talk about high consumption of gasoline engine, low level of comfort, convenience of gearbox change, small cabin and low payload. Since the power unit is located inside the cabin, we have to put up with its noisy operation.
The pros and cons
- High ground clearance;
- All-wheel drive;
- Good cross-country ability;
- Excellent balancing facilitates the distribution of load on both axles;
- Inexpensive spare parts;
- Centralized tire balancing;
- Possibilities for improvement of a bodywork;
- In winter inside the cabin is very warm;
- Small dimensions;
- Good load-carrying capacity.
Cons of a car
- The cab is mounted above the wheels (this arrangement reduces the protection of the driver and passenger;
- Great noise inside the vehicle;
- Small and uncomfortable cabin;
- Uncomfortably located gearshift lever;
- High fuel consumption;
- Weak power of the power unit;
- Large turning radius.
What is the conclusion to be drawn at the end? The national “SUV” feels great on the off-road. All-wheel drive, together with high ground clearance allows the machine to pass in places difficult for simple machines. The weight of the car is well distributed on the axles, which allows it to be more stable. GAZ-66 is in good demand not only by the military, but also by the truck is often used in agriculture.
In addition, the car is actively used by geologists when discovering ores and minerals. Of course, in terms of comfort and convenience, the Shishiga salon is far from ideal. Inside it is very noisy, there is little space and there is an uncomfortably located gearshift lever. The engine is in the cabin, which also creates its own difficulties. The engine is not very powerful, but consumes a lot of fuel, which is also reflected in the finances.
However, it is necessary not to forget in what years produced this vehicle and for what purposes. If you want to improve comfort, you can do tuning of your car. Some owners actively use GAZ-66 “shishiga” as a wheel house.
Also the car is ideal for hunting and fishing fans, because often at such moments you have to get through a bad road. This car will forever go down in the history of the most passable trucks of domestic production.
We advise you to read the article: GAS – history of car production.