Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mahindra Classic – Jeep Thrills Anniversary

The whole weekend was Jeepers weekend for Indians as the Jeep Thrills (a Premier Indian Jeeper's Club) celebrates its 4th anniversary. Same is the reason for me to be part of the Jeeping activity last weekend.
It was started with workshop on Jeep assembling and parts, Patrick was demonstrating the internals of Jeep to the members of our club and lunch on Saturday, myself and my two pals geared up in my Explorer towards the get together organized in the evening for the Jeepers. We all traveled around 90kms to reach a rustic village, where the whole team planned to stay over night.
For me the first attraction was offroading with Anjan the founder of Jeep Thrills, we have been known to each other for a quite a long time but never did offroading together.
Secondly my two pals (Sharon, I should say a total energetic girl who cheered all of us for the Jeeping exercise and Dominic, a gentleman from Germany as a guest to the event with me.)
I think this is one of the first Jeep Thrills events where a foreigner participated. I hope he enjoyed the offroad event today as he also floated on the Palar river bed with my Explorer.
Thirdly the offroading event conducted on Sunday was on the Palar bed (a dry river that runs across Tamilnadu a state in India); This rever bed is like any other place and just safety for your jeep so you don't damage any parts. Othewise Palar or any other river or desert offroading is not so great to talk about. Since I had my friend from German wanted to play safe today ;-)
Now the actual story about the 4th Anniversary OTR, after our dinner on Saturday we crashed into the bed and the next morning was thrilling morning for me as for the above mentioned reasons. There were ten offroad capable vehicles (mostly jeeps) participated as mentioned below here:

  • Mahindra Classic (1 no)
  • Maruti Gypsy (1 no)
  • Willys MB (1 no)
  • Mahindra CJ340 (1 no)
  • Toyota Landcruiser (1 no)
  • Mahindra MM550 XD (1 no)
  • Mahindra MM540 XD (1 no)
  • Mahindra CJ500D (1 no)
  • Mahindra MM540 DP (2 nos)
The City I stay in India is called Chennai and it has three climates: 1. Hot, 2. Hotter and 3. Hottest. This is the hottest season for Chennai, We really had toughest sand terrain as the river bed was dry, I guess sand offroading suppose to be the most stressful offroad terrain for the vehicle as the engine needs to be keep on pulling the vehicles.
I brought my tyre pressure to 20psi to float on the sand, this was suggested by Patrick. Those who have already familiar with this terrain didn’t wait for reducing their tyre pressure; almost all vehicles reduced the tyre pressue. Hot + tough with no air-conditioned drive made most of our bodied to get dehydrated. The event organizers did plan it well, we had good amount of water and butter milk on the jeeps so we were not down with dehydration issue.
We had powder like sand every where in the river bed which totally took our vehicle engines for a task.
The most difficult part was that we need to climb around 60 degree sand incline. I couldn’t cross this incline with my jeep I given up as my 4 attempts were failed already.
Here the challenges were: 1. Too steep, 2. this is sand incline, 3. the run on space for the jeeps to pickup the momentum is too less. Except the Gypsy, Land Cruiser and MM550 none of us could do it. The reason being the run on distance for Diesel engines was high but we had really little space on the bottom to pickup, but Gypsy being petrol vehicle it picked up really fast.
When we headed back, it was almost 1pm in the after noon and the offroad was really tough and everyone dipped their head into the cold water availed in the location where we stayed. Patrick's son Rufus (14yrs old) was also done a great offroad jeep driving today, Collective video graph of the Palar River bed Offroad event is uploaded to You Tube and same has been posted here:
The anniversary program was turned out good as I also met good number of jeepers and the veteran like Jeeper Patrick. All the participants (like a family) posed for a photo shot and ended the event with smile.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Treating the Trailer – Mahindra Classic

The long story short, My Explorer companion got facelift by adding color to it.

After long thinking, I decided to preserve the trailer’s body state by doing bit of body work. Initially I was not really sure if I wanted to do it now as the recession hit my work industry a lot. (Ok, who cares?)

It was on Saturday I started my trip to my home town, on the way I need to pickup my distant relative for farming ideas. Hence the one way travel extended to 350kms to my home town and 50kms for the farm.

It was fairly a decent drive and the trailer did well with the Jeep. Hmmm I noticed the brand new looked trailer's NDMS tyres started showing its face. Looks like the tyres were unused for a long time and the rubber in the tyres are dry leading the edges of the tyres get broken during the long drive.

On the way to my home town I visited East Cost Road for a minimum stretch and picked up my relative. My trailer visited the “Ayyanar Samy” temple to take pictures; since the ECR is full of beach sand I had engage 4WD in the explorer. Later in the same day I reached my home town with no big troubles and the dawn set to dark. The next day (Sunday), Me, Explorer and the Trailer started our work at 4:00AM in the early morning going towards my farm to pickup around 500kilogram of farm outputs (Rice, Black eyed bean, Chilli and Jack fruit). That was the first civilian load the trailer every carried in its life. I thought it will be a big stresses to the jeep, but my wonder no feeling of any addition.
I reached back home at my native to drop all the goods and took the trailer for the body workshop. This is the same place I did my jeep restoration. Since it was Sunday all of the laborers were on week off. I managed to knock the senior painter and called him to do my work, before that I also did bit of arc welding on the body to hide few small holes as the tinker said it need more time to do pucca job. So welding and metal pasting, though the surface inside the trailer was not made evenly with the way arc welding has done. But it solved my problem.We had tough time as it was sunday and no paint shop was open for us to buy paints. Though I decided to use low cost paint to the trailer, My painter managed knock a closed paint shop and got the paint items he required. Painter started his work by metal pasting followed by application of putty and inner painting (black) and outer painting (red). While the painter colored the trailer with red, the electrical power cut had happen and we had to abandon the job for about 2 hours. The trailer came out good but it was too late the job was completed around 6:30pm and I had to give 4 hours for the paint to dry.Since I went alone, 200kms of return trip without anyone as a passenger in the jeep during night trip with first time heavy towing experience was thrilling. Only I had bit of worry in my mind but the jeep or trailer didn’t show any symptom of the whole story and they sailed on the dark tarred road in the mid-night. First thing today I did was to click few pictures of the trailer for your eyes. The Jeep and Trailer looked as if they made for each other at my home in Chennai. Though the entire weekend was busy for three of us (Me, Jeep and Trailer) the complete plan was successful and we made the restoration of Trailer with time and cost constraints but relatively better job.

Registration number plate, electricals and T board are few missing items on the trailer and it will be carried over to forth coming weekends.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Trailer restoration

The trailer is undergoing minor restoration, though there is not power plant for trailer the body needs some minimal attention. As the trailer was parked in the open yards in military space, I thought will do some sand blasting and minimal painting job.
But after sand blasting I found the trailer also needs some tinker job, hence sand blasted and primer applied but no painting. As the recession hit the world and the symptoms are started showing up with me, I have decided to do the painting and bit of word at later stage.

Here is the picture showing my Trailer after sand blasting and primer painting. Njoy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Trips with Trailer - Mahindra Classic

I have been thinking that I will add a winch, overdrive and Peugeot XD3P 2.5L Diesel power plant to the Jeep. But never thought that I will be needing a companion to the Jeep itself. Though my farm and urban travels are always filled with my rear passenger area of the jeep, I never had an idea of trailer.

In the recent past, I wanted to give it a try to mate a trailer with the jeep. Few of my train travel via. Chennai, Avadi military scrap yard made me think like that. You know what today I own a trailer.

A month back I paid an token advance to take my trailer(Mahindra branded) from one of the army scrap vendor here, however I requested him to assist me for the paper work so the trailer is road legal.

I saw my trailer loaded in a truck, collected few pictures for future reference. Then my rush to know about the trailer gave me mind full of information.

1. Mahindra Trailers are equipped with Break assy. with the hook bar and emergency breaks.
2. Mahindra Trailers got cross bar to manually pull the trailer, this could be folded down when towing
3. Mahindra Trailers are got smalls hooks inside and outer side of the body
4. Mahindra Trailers got tools box on the right side of the outer body wall
5. Mahindra Trailers got Quadrilateral shaped mudguards and box typed mudguards

1. Bantam Trailers got no break assy but equipped with emergency break
2. Bantam Trailers got round shaped mudguard
3. Bantam Trailers got wiring for rear taillamp which could be attached with the Jeep (advantage)
4. Bantam Trailers were easy operatable when taking reverse as there is no breaks attached in the tow bar, the Mahindra's normally hit the break and makes bit tough for reverse operations.

Finally today, it was my towing experience. It was scary and exciting as I'm learning something new.
The first trailer towing experience was bit too long, as I had to tow the trailer for aroudn 30kms in Chennai's peak hour traffic. Unfortunately I had to drive the jeep with trailer during office close time and got stuck in the traffic. The issue came when I wanted to reverse the trailer, woah.. no way I could do the trailer goes on it's own path. I need to learn the tactics of driving the trailer now. Since I was not sure how to reverse the jeep with trailer finally I had to remove it from the hook and manually reverse then got it back to the jeep again.

The trailer has been dropped at my sand blasting unit, tomorrow morning the guys in the sandblasting workshop will do the required work for the trailer.

I hope to pick it up after 2-3 days as my office time realy prevents me going so far during week days.