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Old 4th January 2013, 00:11   #1
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Default The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India

My Unimog Ownership Thread : Link (My '87 Unimog U1150)

Since I last posted a thread about our journey from Ladakh to Manali, my partner and I have taken Moggy (our 1987 Mercedes Benz Unimog 417) from home base in Manali out for a bit of a spin through Himachal, down through the Punjab to Rajasthan and now into Gujarat. Having only had Moggy since October, I’ve been on a steep learning curve finding out what she is good at, and where her limitations are. I won't cover all the mundane stops, rather just some of the points of interest we’ve discovered along the way.

Moggy may have one of the world's best 4x4 diff lock systems, but she does weigh around 7 tons loaded up… and that has quite an effect when trying to get through soft stuff like mud and sand.

I've driven a number of 4x4 vehicles (such as Ford Explorer, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Hilux, Suzuki Vitara and Subaru Forester, amongst others) all of which would have little trouble on the soft sandy beaches of Australia where I'm from. Moggy, however, needs a little extra care when hitting the soft stuff; letting down the large tyres from the 2.5 bar highway pressure down to 1.5 bar is essential, as well as being very selective about the grade of slope and the softness in the ground.

Our first bit of fun came when we hit the Beas River down near Pong Dam, south of Dharamsala. We decided to camp on the wide rocky expanse of the riverbed and found a track being used by tractor drivers to collect stones. It was a rainy day, and mud was all over the place, so by the time we got through to the river itself, I decided to drive straight in to the shallow edge to give Moggy a quick wash. I was surprised when the wheels started slipping on the smooth stones and the rear started digging in. I had been having trouble with the air hose that activated the 4WD and diff lock, so I had not engaged it till this point. I knew I needed 4x4 to keep going so I flicked the lever and sure enough, the air hose blew off. Time for a cup of tea!

While my partner was making a brew in the back, I set to work with my feet in about 30cm water repairing the hose. It took about 30 mins to do a quick fix and this time when I flicked on 4x4 diff lock, was able to drive over the slippery stones in the river with ease.

We camped the night, and the next morning set about exploring the fantastic landscape, a mix of mud, sand, smooth polished river stones and multiple streams forming the Beas River basin pouring into the Maharana Pratap Sagar (commonly known as Pong dam). This area is well known as a bird watcher’s paradise, and we were not disappointed. Many species of migratory birds greeted us at every turn.

Careful to stick to tractor trails so as to not disturb any breeding or nesting areas, we explored the riverside, crossing over small streams until we were on an island in the middle of the river system. Feeling confident at this point, I decided to head across the main flow of the Beas so as to get to the northern shore. Looking across the wide expanse of flowing river, it seemed not too deep, so I down to low range first and full diff lock and out we charged into the rushing water. The river water was at least up to the top of the rims, so about 60cms or so deep, and we were driving on polished slippery stones with the water flowing fast.

I was holding my breath… if the air hose for the 4x4 gave out here, we would be in serious trouble. The crossing was wide, perhaps 100 meters, and with a sigh of relief we made it out the other side. Only 5 minutes later, on a sandy track heading for the forest, there was a loud bang and whoosh… the air hose blew out completely. Time for lunch!

I knew it was time for a proper fix, so I dug into the supplies on the roof, found a good length of high pressure hosepipe, epoxy resin, hose clamps and tools and made sure the air pipe would last. (Note: since that repair, it has been working perfectly).

We eventually continued on our way, finding ourselves in Dharamsala for a few days after a few nights of camping out. After recharging our supplies, we were keen to head out again, and the deserts of Rajasthan were on our minds. With no obvious camping locations in the Punjab, we made a beeline for the deserts of Rajasthan. We managed one camp on the banks of the Sutlej river, where we were interviewed by curious police in the morning. The captain turned out to be friendly and when he found out where we were from, he called his daughter in Australia for us to talk to.

That same day we made it through to the desert, and finally managed to camp out in the sand dunes. The strange thing about the shrubs in the desert, they’re all incredibly thorny! Trying to collect sticks to make a fire was a painful process of getting stabbed and jabbed repeatedly.
The next day we made made it through to Bikener for dinner at the Lallgar Palace. Seeing enough dead tigers on the walls to restock a large wildlife reserve, had we the gift of life, we decided to get out of town and drove through the dark to Gajner ‘Wildlife Reserve’ (as stated on Google maps) only 30 kms further down the road.

At this point I should explain our navigation is solely via Google Maps, using the normal mapping for roads and direction, and the satellite imagery to locate potential campsites. The satellite shows up details that the maps don’t, such as buildings and small tracks that are not marked on maps. Using the satellite imagery on my phone, I was able to see that there were tracks that led off the main road into the scrubby bush near a lake in the desert… a perfect place to camp!

We found the track we wanted, but someone had taken care to dig a large trench across the entry, hoping to deter sightseers no doubt. Most would have had no choice but to keep going, but after surveying the situation by torchlight, I found a spot where I could drive through a rut and over a mound to get onto the track… it was a challenge made for Moggy and she effortlessly crawled through the deterrent and we were inside the wildlife sanctuary!

Feeling a bit cheeky, but justified knowing our intentions were good, we drove onward to the lake, just wanting a quiet scenic location to spend the night and to wake up to a peaceful sunrise in nature. Using the satellite image, I navigated through the low scrub and trees, finding small tracks leading towards the lake, down into a deeply rutted gully that had not been driven on for a long time. We seemed to be getting close, and the ground was dried out mud that had cracked into ornate patterns. According to the photo on my phone, we were still about 200m away from lakes edge, so I decided to try and get a bit closer, winding around larger trees and shrubs in the way.

For some reason, possibly because the ground was perfectly smooth and due to the earlier troubles with the 4x4 air hose, I had the 4WD turned off just as we hit a soft patch and the firm ground gave way to slippery mud and the rear tyres dug in. Feeling a bit cocky after our recent escape from the slippery rocks of the Beas, I flicked on 4x4 diff lock and tried to drive forward… no luck, just deeper in. I tried to reverse out… still deeper in. Oh well… this will do for camp!

Next morning, long story short… we ended up arousing the attention of the staff at Gajner Palace, who came and assisted in digging us out of our pickle. After a few hours of heaving and puffing, Moggy finally got a tug from a tractor and we were out of the hole we had managed to dig ourselves into. In the light of day, we could see that the lake was only a few meters from our mud bath, and the image on the satellite must have been taken in the summer when the water level was lower! So even satellite photos on Google Maps have their limitations, we discovered!

The manager from the Palace was initially perturbed by the fact we had entered what turned out to be the private grounds of the palace (no signs anywhere!) but after we paid a camping fee (with no charge for unbogging the Mog) we enjoyed a splendid lunch at the Palace before heading off for more Moggin Adventures!

I've attached a few photos to start, with more to come...
Attached Thumbnails
The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-tsopemasunrise1.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-mogbog1.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-riverstonesmog.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-morningcampfirepongdam.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-moggy-goes-rajasthan.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-tea-stop.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-l1110611.jpg  


Last edited by GTO : 4th January 2013 at 15:32. Reason: Adding link to the other Unimog thread
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Old 4th January 2013, 06:49   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siddhartha_YT View Post
Since I last posted a thread about our journey from Ladakh to Manali, my partner and I have taken Moggy (our 1987 Mercedes Benz Unimog 417) from home base in Manali out for a bit of a spin through Himachal, down through the Punjab to Rajasthan and now into Gujarat. care when hitting the soft stuff; letting down
the Mog) we enjoyed a splendid lunch at the Palace before heading off for more Moggin Adventures!

I've attached a few photos to start, with more to come...
Very enjoyable write up. What a fantastically versatile monster the Unimog is! Amazing indeed
& practically indestructible!
Enjoy your sojourns! Keep the write ups coming!
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Old 4th January 2013, 13:33   #3
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Default re: The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India

Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further.

Last edited by GTO : 4th January 2013 at 15:34.
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Old 7th January 2013, 16:38   #4
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Default Re: The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India

A few images here as homage to our Mog Boggin at Gajner Lake, 30kms outside Bikener. We were seeking the ideal campsite at night, using the imagery from Google Maps to try and locate the lake, in order to awake as close as possible to the water... only to find the apparently firm ground we were driving on suddenly give way to slippery clay like mud. Even the diff lock only dug us in deeper, the winch couldn't get us enough lift to climb out of the holes, and by the time I got the balloon out, the mog was already in too deep to get the balloon fully under the rear diff. Luckily we had the good sense to get bogged on the private grounds of Gajner Palace, and were soon helped out of our predicament by the staff and palace manager, to whom we remain very grateful!
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Old 8th January 2013, 14:25   #5
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Default Re: The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India

Since the images didn't come through last time, here are the photos for Gajner Lake:
Attached Thumbnails
The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-l1110480.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-l1110505.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-20121219-15.05.29.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-20121219-15.05.51.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-20121219-15.07.11.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-gajnerlakea.jpg  

The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India-gajnerlakeb.jpg  

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Old 11th January 2013, 15:18   #6
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Default Re: The Adventures of "Moggy" - A Unimog in India

U are living a life most of us can only dream of. From Acquiring the Mog to actually touring the states. This is the stuff dreams are made of.
I have seen quite a few people who end up buying that 'Dream SUV' for long journeys but sadly most of them end up making less than one trip a year.
Kudos to you and hope to see pics and writeups of many more journeys of yours in the Mog.
Cheers.
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Old 11th January 2013, 20:59   #7
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Just finished readin Moggy ownership thread.

Amazing journey. Understanding the kind of terrain Moggy's is capable of covering, I am sure each and every journey of Moggy through the mountains would be an amazing one.

Moggy could take/make routes/paths/tracks which no one else could imagine, like the crossing of river Beas as mentioned in your opening post.

The tag line from the Tata Safari advertisement - "Make your own road" aptly suits Moggy.
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:51   #8
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News Flash! Unfortunately for me, and great news for someone... I've got urgent business affairs to attend to, and so have reluctantly decided to sell Moggy if I am offered a decent price for her. I will continue driving to Pune and be there by last week of January and will be happy to show her off to anyone seriously interested. Contact me privately for more information. (yaktrak@gmail.com)
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Old 15th January 2013, 15:08   #9
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Originally Posted by Siddhartha_YT View Post
News Flash! Unfortunately for me, and great news for someone... I've got urgent business affairs to attend to, and so have reluctantly decided to sell Moggy if I am offered a decent price for her. I will continue driving to Pune and be there by last week of January and will be happy to show her off to anyone seriously interested. Contact me privately for more information. (yaktrak@gmail.com)
Siddhartha if you are selling Moggy due to lack of space to store her while your away, i am more than willing to store her for you, till your return.
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Old 15th January 2013, 21:27   #10
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The one thing I would like to say is the photography is excellent ! Kudos to that



cheers
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Old 16th January 2013, 12:45   #11
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And, I see this being put up for sale in the classifieds section!

I remember seeing a lot of guys queuing up to buy it (in the ownership thread), if it was on sale. Lets see how many of them were serious!
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Old 16th January 2013, 19:56   #12
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Spares would be an issue plus the parking space. Also the price. Has the registration been transferred to HP?
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Old 17th January 2013, 06:48   #13
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News Flash! .. I've got urgent business affairs to attend to, and so have reluctantly decided to sell Moggy if I am offered a decent price for her. (yaktrak@gmail.com)
So whats going to happen with these future tours ?? Are bookings still open ?

here http://yaktrak.com/yak/journey/categories/unimog-2/

http://yaktrak.com/yak/unimog-expeditions/

Sudarshan

P.S. I too have a huge parking space in & near Pune -- In case , Plus a W shop to maintain odd vehicles -- in case

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Old 18th January 2013, 17:03   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siddhartha_YT View Post
Since I last posted a thread about our journey from Ladakh to Manali, my partner and I have taken Moggy (our 1987 Mercedes Benz Unimog 417) from home base in Manali out for a bit of a spin through Himachal, down through the Punjab to Rajasthan and now into Gujarat...
You have a great way of writing, and the photos are lovely! Moggy may go on to someone else, but please do continue with the travelogue! Or lots of photographs at the very least!

All the best with the sale (must you, really?).

Cheers,
Rahul
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Old 27th January 2013, 18:04   #15
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Spares would be an issue plus the parking space. Also the price. Has the registration been transferred to HP?
Many spares are transferrable from Tata, who based the 713 4x4 army truck on this model of Mog. The engine is a universally recognised OM352 which is used all over the world. Many spares are included... whatever is not, will almost certainly be able to be sourced locally or imported if necessary.

Parking... well, it has not really been an issue for me but sure, you will need to assess your own prospects there.

The price is certainly an issue for those who can't afford it... for those who can... what price for the ultimate 4x4 camper in the country!?! (as far as I know... :-)

Registration is still MH-12 Pune.
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