Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mahindra Classic - Major Service

After many successful OTRs and Rescue operations during the last flood that happen in Velachery, Chennai due to the rain the Jeep was crying for attention.

I really thank to my jeep for saving us during the last rainfall, our house was flooded with 5 and half foot water and the only vehicle to take us out from the flood is the Mahindra Classic. It did really heroic action during the critical time.

Right from water mixed oil in the differential to broke components under body, I decided to address all of them at one stretch. So my future offroad plans will not have any interruption at the last minute.

At first we stripped the Jeep to an extend to see what are all the stuffs required attention

After careful investigation, found

1. Differential oil and Gear oil needs to be changed
2. Steering components (most of the joints) needs major replacements
3. Break career plate, cylinders, oil, disc break pads & caliper, drum break shoes and converter TC valve all required to be changed.
4. The suspension also been worked out so I will have comfort drive again
5. In addition few engine related items such as shields and valve door washers are also required attention.Hence we decided to change them all including king pin bearings and few other components. I hope to see the music system will have a change too in the Jeep.
My mechanic's team is fully aware of the importance that I have in my jeep hence they do have careful lookout of individual components for any attention that is required. I'm guessing the jeep will be delivered in a day or two before I make my debut drive after service.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ubbalamadugu forest exploration

Friends, This time I'm starting the blog with a video clip. Press the play button to watch my TADA forest exploration fun.
It was another off the road weekend, this time some friends joined together to explore the TADA aka Ubbalamadugu (Remember my TADA stunt post) little deeper than the last visit which happened to be solo offroading.The trip turned out as good as a picnic as families joined for the off road event. One of the families brought us delicious food for the lunch.We had enough water crossing and steep incline and decline route on boulders this time; the vehicles ranged from Mahindra CJ340 to Toyota Land Cruiser.

In one of the streams, I had to really go parallel with the CJ340, oooh! I wish I had removed my soft top and gone open.

While we were resting after couple of obstacles, I found a giant sized butterfly sitting just next to me.

I wanted him to flip his colorful wings, but no help even after long waiting.

In another steep incline I got to go really slow, however the engine breaking idea of Diesel engine helped me a lot.

Most of the day's activities were around many water bodies in the forest ; hence lots of water crossing.

For me it was not so difficult, as I did my exploration to an extent in my last visit at the same spot.

While returning we were traveling through a green paddy fields.It was a great experience driving in the middle of paddy fields. One of the Gypsys was running out of coolant and the engine stopped at one stage . We had to do little cooling treatment before we could start the vehicle. The picture below was taken while we were fixing the engine temperature issue.

Given a chance, I wish to award the man of the day title to Vivek who co-ordinated with all of us and did a great Jeeping today with the CJ340 he drove.

Anyway it was gala time today as we all got our hands put on the rugged toys.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

RECCE one at Jawadhu

It’s been my dream to do OTR in a forest, but doing it in a forest is no easy task. First of all, no one is clear on which is the right path and what may be the obstacles.After my couple of visits to Jawadhu Hills, I called the folks in Jeep Thrills for a RECCE trip. Thought it took some time to materialize but we could succeed it by doing nearly a 50kms offroad trail.

Bad roads, No road, Off road, Slushy path, Water crossing, Boulder crawling – we did all these during the RECCE.
At around 6 AM, my jeep roared from Chennai after couple of my calls to fellow Jeepers Dr. Jones from Kanchipuram and Rajmohan from Trichy. Another talkative friend Satheesh also came in my jeep to keep me some company in the long 230kms highway drive ;-)

We had breakfast at Vandavasi and Lunch at Jamunamaruthur & in between we had highway and offroad exercises. After fueling the monster jeeps our trip started climbing up hills in Jawadhu. With 2 short breaks for smoke and discussing about our jeep building histories our third stop was directly on the offroad terrain. Jawadhu hills has around 270 mountain villages, people in these villages needs to walk for 4kms to 20kms to reach the main road.

We rolled up our stuffs in the jeep to visit one of the villages that is 9kms from the main road, but people said only by walk we could reach them. But we had our machine and started rolling the wheels down to the path, and with in seconds the path was covered with boulders going steep into the jungle route.
We made some preliminary plans and each one of us started crossing the boulders in dark jungle and hurray first success was written on the jungle.

Dr. Jones did some extra stunts by driving the prowler in reverse climb. I saw a spark of interest in the tribal people’s eyes who gathered to watch our offroad activities. I think this is the first time they have seen an automotive piece coming near to their abode.

The next obstacle we found in our way towards the village (Patraikadu) was couple of steep turns and slushy land.. ohhh Rajmohan crossed it first with his MM540, we witnessed his NDMS doing action perfectly.The entire route was too good; if there would have been rain prior to our trip I’m sure the OTR would have been more thrilling too. After some times we reached the village and U turned to face the challenges we experienced again, however during the slush action in the return trip I felt that my jeep started loosing power. He he he but no cause for worries… It was my mistake, as I was not driving it in the correct gear.
After a while we reached the guesthouse and got appreciation from the jeepers for the accomodation. It was clean and neat; we took the air-conditioned accommodation and had our lunch (Parathas and Chicken Curry). Jeepers seemed totally tired after the long drive and offroad and they took quick nap. Then in the evening we went to the waterfalls discussing about interesting jungle experiences we had ourselves. My friend Satheesh made the trip hilarious by his questions and face expressions in the jungle.

We did take a break near the waterfalls with moon light reflecting on the water, four people inside the thick jungle in a late evening with moon light enjoying the water falls sound.. We really had our fun

Our return to the room directly pushed us with couple of bottle beers and dinner, oh yeah long discussions then we hit the bed. (End of Day one)

The day two started a little delay as we had our break fast late. Then our stop for shopping wild honey pushed us 3 hours late. Dr. Jones also got some tow cable from the village shop for the jeep. Though we couldn’t get the jack fruit as this is not the season, we kept moving towards Athipet village from where our actual bad road travel towards Mettupattu village initiated. It was really struggling roads and in between we reached the mouth of Cheiyar River where we did our river crossing and fun filled jeep stunts. An ex-postmaster from Jamunamaruthur fell in lust with the jeep after watching Rajmohan’s machine playing in the river.
Oh… god I did my attempt to get into the river’s same path as others but the riverbed got digged little deeper after two jeeps crossed hence my attempt directed me to hit the river bed with my front bumper. Dr. Jones’s Prowler with his newly purchased tow cable came in first hand help. Effortlessly in a moment I was out from the struggle. Later I took another easy way to play in the water and came back to the road.Our trip from here towards Mettupattu was in the roads of beautiful scenic mountain villages and we really enjoyed the drive. In the whole trip, I didn’t get my eyes crying of stress as we witnessed various shades of green everywhere.
After crossing couple of villages we started seeing the roads going worse and worsen leading a great of jungle travel. On the way we found a tree… Opps more than 30 ft circumference standing along with path, Dr.Jones marked our presence in the tree by sculpting “JEEP THRILLS” with an axe.
That’s all our somewhat comfortable drive the rest of our day was filled with boulder and boulders crushing our energy very fast as we really lost the lunch time. After 6 hours in the 42kms stretch finally we reached the downside of the Jawadhu Hills which is called Paramananthal Village. The final 14kms stretch was in the jungle and deep slopes in our sideways showing a dark avenue of trees.
We drove towards Chengam town and picked up our Briyanis and Mutton towards my farm where we had our lunch with tender coconuts for our dehydrated tongue.
After lunch at 6:00 pm we started our travel towards home and we expressed farewell to each other and the RECCE 1 was written as success in our books.

Here is the Video of Jawadhu Hills RECCE

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bathing Mahindra Classic

I haven't done water wash of the jeep after it was restored. About two weeks back I have done a slush offroad with folks from Chennai. Though the terrain was too good, I missed my opportunity to click pictures that stopped my writing blogs about my trip. Since it was a slush offroad, loads of mud caught into my jeep's under body and badly wanted to do a water wash, but subsequent rain made the whole Chennai city into a larger water pool, so didn't give bath to the Jeep.

Last week Thursday turned out to be a perfect day after the rain for water wash.
I could manage to spray some oil in the under body portion of my jeep, I hope that will prevent any rust formation as it prevents the metal from directly exposed to the moisture and salty air (I stay close to sea shore.)

What else, the water service also paved way for greasing the Jeeps parts, hmmm I really felt the changes in the last weekend trip.
Last weekend was a great JEEP weekend, as I drove the jeep for about 750kms out of which about 20kms were offroading at my farm.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mahindra Classic - Service record

After the TADA incident, I'm very much convinced to fix the clutch issue. The issue is that the clutch arm under the body got worn out and requires replacement.I also noticed some minor wobbling whenever I hit something on the road while speeding up the jeep. So my mechanic observed couple of things that requires attention. Today I did the purchase of spare parts to fix the problems. By next week the jeeps minor issues will be fixed.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

TADA Stunt - Mahindra Classic

Indian Jeepers pride Mahindra Classic and me had a great experience yesterday in TADA. I was with Chennai Photography Club (CPC) guys for photo trip in TADA.Photo Courtesy: RajeshAfter crossing the forest check/toll post for entry fees, we were driving in 1 jeep and 2 cars(SX4 and WaganR). As a jeep enthusiastic, I had all my plans set for an solo offroad done at the forest range. While everyone was in cars, we four guys accompanied in the jeep already got to know the essence of open top jeep.

I noticed a civil work to create new water channel on the way towards parking lot in TADA. The canal was around 25-30ft deeper and they cut the water channel live V shape. One side of the V cut was filled with loose soil and other side was white colored rocks. That is what attracted me, I remember the lessons learned during my Kelambakkam trip with Jeep Thrills. So, no more further thinking and my jeep was all set descending into the deep channel, The people around thought it was accident and I had a big crowd around. Some people said(thought?) it was some shooting as all of my CPC team guys had cameras.
Photo Courtesy: Mr. PrabhakaranJeep went well on the descending path which was loose soil, after which the water crossing then I have to climb up on the other side, you know what it was too steep.. Once I was really afraid if I can make it, also none from the group know offroading fundas(otherwise I don't have option). Somehow I made my mind and started climbing upwards. once during the climb in a place my tyres started spinning hence I put on reverse gear and went little back and came up again and again three times and the third time the jeep picked up and I was on the right movement. Ohhh my luck didn't stay with me for very long when my jeep about to reach to top the clutch was suddenly became dead and I was totally out of the clutch but managed to reach the top. I'm in the forest side without clutch and no one can help.. I couldn't figure out the issue on that location. hmmm so I made my mind to try the real hard offroading now steep descending and ascending without clutch. The whole team started seeing the scene with climax effect.. If I can't make it, the jeep will be left in the water channel till I can bring a mechanic from 20kms outside the location.
Photo Courtesy: Ramesh JSI put the jeep in 4WD low and 1st gear, and cranked the engine and started moving, Listen carefully I just engaged the gears before starting the engine and started moving down no issues and everything went well on the descend path. While crossing the water channel I noticed the loose soil side near the water channel was too high for the tyre to climb and I had no clutch, so no much time to invent alternate path. so I rushed the jeep accelerator, the wheel started spinning in the loose soil and water made my way to get traction, wow jeep is on the ascending path.. I felt the thrill now and started pushing the acceleration little high. Probably now that is made a negative effect as the wheels started spinning on the climb, The spinning wheels made me go down on the back side in sliding mode, I was about to hit the water with the jeep and before the last second again the wheels gained the traction and started going upwards Ohhhhhh ooooohhh jeep is now going smooth and reached the top.

After coming up.. using the same technique I drove the jeep towards the parking lot and you know what, I became half mechanic with one more mechanical engineer's assistance (who was part of our CPC). We both went under the jeep finding the issue and found the yoke rod that is fitted between gearbox and the chase rail lost the nut and it was hanging. That is the issue, as i tcouldn't provide required tension to the clutch assembly to work. So we tried ourselves to fix the issue and hurray .. We were on the success path after an hour long under body mechanical work.

There were lots of videos and photos of my TADA offroading taken by folks traveled with us, as I was driving all the time, picture and videos were made out my CPC friend's cameras, will update the pictures and videos as soon as getting the emails from my friends.

Have Fun!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mahindra Classic - Tools collection

Time is running like the light, the most awaited offroad challenges that I have been waiting for the past three years are nearing soon. I asked myself and the offroading related clubs that I'm associated and got some answers. Hence the whole exercise of building the essential, enhancement and recovery tools for offroad challenges. Do i need a binacular yes who knows if i visit a good green hilly side, won't I need a binacular? (Never mind I have the Nikon Binacular as part of my Jeep accessories)
The first and and for most thing is my mandatory tool kit as suggested in the user manual of the Mahindra Classic. (You all have noticed that I have already stated in my previous blog about the hydraulic jack, hence I have not included in here but it is part of my jeep)
Since it is a jeep anytime anything can happen ;-) hence I wish I shouldn't stand in the dark night or on a highway without few things. Classified them here, A head strap attached tourch, a blinking flash light, reflective jacket, work glows, a hazard flag and compass. (A GPS device and maps are also found and it will be show cased when I start using them in the jeep as currently I don't find any map suitable for all the land in India)The mini axe and shawl tool is the import from Singapore. It could be folded and put it on the waist belt with the cover provided. (see the green colored cover under the tool)I found it when I was visiting a trekking accessories supplier. I remembered in my last quarry offroad where I had to switch off the engine due to a hindrance created by a plant with lots of needle like stem. I had to protect myself from the needles while handling the open top jeep with windshield folded.Hence a mini axe and few cutting objects are necessary on offroad ground also a shawl to do something on the ground under the tyre.Now comes another thing which I thought I need when I was first floated on the beach sand. I heard my jeep mates saying I should deflate the tyre to get broader surface to float on the sand. I asked myself what happens when I come out of the sand ? will the deflated tyres help me reach my destination, who knows? running the deflated tyre on the hard surface may cause fatal to the tyres. So needed something handy to inflate whenever required. Thus, I asked my friend who was returning from US of A to bring me a good inflator that could work in the jeep's 12v adaptor.

I'm not so fit and confidence to use hand or foot pump to inflate the tyre, so the electrical compact compressor with 250psi capacity. It took around 15mins to fill my empty tyre to fully inflated one. The electrical wire is length enough to pull the box around the 5 wheels in the jeep(including stepney). The box is too good as the wire and hose are tied around the compressor box.

I still need to buy a hand tow strap with hooks attached (Currently I'm using a heavy steel cable but looking for something lightweight), A highlift Jack, A good strong tool box and A Winch to fill up the whole recovery kit. Hmmm they are big budget grabbers so will take some time to bring them under the jeep's hood.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mahindra Classic - Service for better driving

Its been some times since I started observing few issues from the Jeep for settling down. I have categorized them in 3 options and few parts got changed for this categories too.

1. Enhancement

Since the wiper blade was keep on slipping during the rain, I found the factory fitted type milling on the wiper assembly where the Wiper arm connects got issue. Got is replaced with the ones comes with HM Ambassador cars. They are screw tightened and gives better grip to the arm.

2. Repair work for Security

I had issue with the oil circulation pump which comes in the rear side of the alternator which caused oil leak in the air vacuum rubber tube and subsequently spoiled my new break booster. Also noticed oil leak in the break booster MC cylinder stem. Already my break pedals got stiffer due to this issue, so i have replaced the whole booster kit with a brand new one.

3. Riding comfort

As I have seen the steering play and minor shake while applying break found few issues in the steering as one of the nut was missing and got replaced. The shaky ride during break is due to some issue with the tie-rod ends. So the original RANE steering tie-rod ends were replaced too.