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Tips and Tricks for Driving Your GAZ-52 in Any Terrain

GAZ-52: A Soviet Truck with a Long History

If you are interested in Soviet trucks, you may have heard of the GAZ-52, a medium-duty truck that was produced by the Gorky Automobile Plant (GAZ) from 1966 to 1989. It was a versatile and reliable vehicle that served in various sectors of the Soviet economy, from agriculture to construction. It was also exported to many countries, especially in Eastern Europe and Asia. In this article, we will explore the history, features, variants, and legacy of this remarkable truck.

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What is GAZ-52?

GAZ-52 is a Soviet truck of the medium-duty group of trucks of the third generation of the Gorky Automobile Plant. It had a payload capacity of 2.5 tons and a gross weight of about 5.5 tons. It was powered by a six-cylinder gasoline engine that produced 75 horsepower. It had a four-speed manual transmission, a leaf spring suspension, and drum brakes. It had a cab-over-engine design, with a spacious and comfortable cabin that could accommodate three people. It had a flatbed body that could be fitted with various types of cargo boxes, trailers, or special equipment.

Why was it developed?

The GAZ-52 was developed as a replacement for the GAZ-51, a light-duty truck that was produced from 1946 to 1975. The GAZ-51 was based on an older design that dated back to the pre-war period, and it had some limitations in terms of power, comfort, and versatility. The GAZ-52 was designed to meet the growing demands of the Soviet economy for more efficient and modern trucks that could handle different types of cargo and terrain. The GAZ-52 was also intended to compete with foreign trucks that were imported or produced under license in the Soviet Union, such as the IFA W50 from East Germany or the Zastava 640 from Yugoslavia.

How was it different from its predecessor and successor?

The GAZ-52 was different from its predecessor, the GAZ-51, in several ways. First, it had a longer wheelbase (3700 mm vs 3300 mm), which increased its stability and cargo capacity. Second, it had a new cabin that was more spacious, comfortable, and ergonomic than the old one. Third, it had a more powerful and fuel-efficient engine that improved its performance and economy. Fourth, it had a more modern and streamlined appearance that reflected the trends of the 1960s.

The GAZ-52 was also different from its successor, the GAZ-3307, which was produced from 1989 to 2011. The GAZ-3307 was based on the heavier-duty truck GAZ-53, which had a V8 engine and a payload capacity of 4 tons. The GAZ-3307 had some advantages over the GAZ-52, such as a more powerful engine (120 hp vs 75 hp), a five-speed transmission, power steering, disc brakes, and improved safety features. However, some users preferred the simplicity, reliability, and durability of the GAZ-52 over the more complex and sophisticated GAZ-3307.

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Main Features and Specifications

Engine and Transmission

The GAZ-52 used a six-cylinder inline four-stroke gasoline engine with overhead valves and water cooling. The engine had a displacement of 3.5 liters and a power output of 75 horsepower. It was coupled with a four-speed manual transmission that transferred the torque to the rear wheels. The engine had a carburetor fuel system and a water cooling system. The fuel tank had a capacity of 55 liters and the fuel consumption was about 24 liters per 100 kilometers. Chassis and Suspension

The GAZ-52 had a ladder frame chassis that supported the body and the cab. The chassis had a wheelbase of 3700 mm, a length of 6551 mm, a width of 2380 mm, and a height of 2350 mm. The front track was 1364 mm and the rear track was 1362 mm. The ground clearance was 220 mm. The truck had a leaf spring suspension on both axles, with telescopic shock absorbers and stabilizer bars. The front axle was rigid and the rear axle was floating. The truck had drum brakes on all wheels, with a vacuum booster and a parking brake.

Body and Cab

The GAZ-52 had a cab-over-engine design, which meant that the engine was located under the cab, saving space and improving visibility. The cab was spacious and comfortable, with three seats, a heater, a ventilation system, and a radio. The cab had a streamlined shape, with round headlights, vertical grille, and curved windshield. The cab could be tilted forward for easy access to the engine. The body was a flatbed type, with wooden or metal sides and tailgate. The body could be fitted with various types of cargo boxes, trailers, or special equipment, such as cranes, dumpers, fire engines, ambulances, etc.

Performance and Fuel Consumption

The GAZ-52 had a decent performance for its time and class. It could reach a maximum speed of 105 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 46 seconds. It could climb slopes up to 25 degrees and ford water up to 60 cm deep. It could tow trailers up to 2 tons and carry loads up to 2.5 tons. It had a turning radius of 8 meters and a braking distance of 40 meters from 60 km/h. It had a fuel consumption of about 24 liters per 100 kilometers on average. Variants and Modifications


The GAZ-52F was a modified version of the GAZ-52 that was designed for use in cold regions. It had a more powerful engine (85 hp vs 75 hp), a larger fuel tank (90 liters vs 55 liters), and a better heating system. It also had a reinforced chassis, a higher ground clearance, and wider tires. It could operate in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius.


The GAZ-52-03 was a variant of the GAZ-52 that had a diesel engine instead of a gasoline one. The diesel engine was a four-cylinder inline four-stroke engine with direct injection and turbocharging. It had a displacement of 3.9 liters and a power output of 90 horsepower. It had a lower fuel consumption (18 liters per 100 kilometers vs 24 liters per 100 kilometers) and a higher torque (240 Nm vs 200 Nm). It also had a five-speed transmission, a hydraulic clutch, and an improved cooling system.


The GAZ-52-04 was another variant of the GAZ-52 that had a diesel engine, but with a different model. The diesel engine was a six-cylinder inline four-stroke engine with indirect injection and natural aspiration. It had a displacement of 4.25 liters and a power output of 85 horsepower. It had a similar fuel consumption and torque as the GAZ-52-03, but it was less noisy and more reliable. It also had a five-speed transmission, a hydraulic clutch, and an improved cooling system.

Other versions and adaptations

The GAZ-52 was also produced in various versions and adaptations for different purposes and markets. For example, there was the GAZ-52A, which was an ambulance version with a special body and equipment; the GAZ-52B, which was a fire engine version with a water tank and pump; the GAZ-52V, which was an all-wheel drive version with a transfer case and front axle; the GAZ-52S, which was an export version with left-hand drive and metric system; the GAZ-5201, which was an electric version with batteries and electric motor; and many others. Production and Legacy

How many units were produced and where?

The GAZ-52 was produced from 1966 to 1989 at the Gorky Automobile Plant in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. It was also assembled in other plants, such as the Ural Automobile Plant in Miass, Russia; the Minsk Automobile Plant in Minsk, Belarus; the Kremenchug Automobile Plant in Kremenchug, Ukraine; and the UzAutoTrailer in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The total production of the GAZ-52 and its variants was about 1.5 million units.

How long did it serve and in what fields?

The GAZ-52 served for more than two decades in various sectors of the Soviet economy, such as agriculture, construction, industry, transport, trade, and public services. It was also used by the military, the police, the fire brigade, and the emergency services. It was a versatile and reliable vehicle that could handle different types of cargo and terrain. It was also exported to many countries, especially in Eastern Europe and Asia, where it was popular among local users. Some of the countries that imported or produced the GAZ-52 were Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea.

What impact did it have on the Soviet truck industry and culture?

The GAZ-52 had a significant impact on the Soviet truck industry and culture. It was one of the most successful and widely used trucks of its time and class. It was a symbol of the Soviet technological progress and economic development. It was also a part of the Soviet everyday life and culture, as it

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