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Old 24th March 2008, 17:06   #1
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Red face Birthday off-roading bash on Grand Vitara goes sour...

On my birthday last Friday, I figured I'll do some off-roading in my office grounds. The idea had dual purpose, (1) Thorough testing of the new custom skid plates. (2) A small off-roading demo to my colleagues, most of whom haven't heard of the term off-roading.

Those of you not familiar with my new skid plates story, check here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-of...id-plates.html

It has been raining regularly since 1 week, very odd for March. The ground looked little soft. So when I scouted in the morning, I figured it was Ok. The show was scheduled for 5:30PM, after the weekly company meeting. But I noticed dark rain clouds by 3PM. By 3:30PM it started pouring pretty hard.

It was lightly drizzling when we started out at 5:30PM, all the audience were carrying umbrellas and my wife joined me in the GV. The trail had two sections, first one was simple climb on a semi-hard rocky (latrite stone) incline. Here is the video of that:



All were very impressed, and thought it was the end of the show.

Anyway, I told them it was a very simple part and then pointed to my next obstacle. Some gasped at that.



Some of you might recall that this was the same incline which Gurkha had failed to climb during the test drive. Now, I went further than than and reached the top, but was unable to break-over and land my front wheel on the level ground thanks to the reduced GC. At first, I thought I was not having enough torque or traction to make it across. After two attempts, my wife got out and watched from outside. She confirmed that the skid plates were banging against the ridge of the incline and stopping the GV cold. After 3 attempts, I gave up and turned around.

Defeated by skid plates
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As I reversing, I forgot to sidestep a crevice which I had noticed while driving in. But with the failed attempt in mind, it slipped my mind while backing out. None of my colleagues had ever seen anything like this, so when they did notice me backing out into the crevice, they didn't understand the danger, so nobody warned me. The soft mud easily gave way and the rear right tyre sunk deep into the crevice. The whole custom skid plate surface sat smack on the soft muddy ground. I had lost traction in practically all wheels, people reported seeing 3 wheels spinning sometime. Without the custom skid plates, I wouldn't have got stuck this easily, but the lowered flat platform was begging for it. But at the same time the custom skid plates protected the under-body very well from any damage. It took on the entire weight.



When I tried to get out of the driver side door, I couldn't. The bottom edge of driver side door had sunk too. I had to get out of the passenger side, which isn't an easy thing to do with a heavily muddy shoe.

We all spent the next 2.5 hours trying in vain to dig the GV out of the mud. Couple of us actually dug mud while lying down next to the vehicle. Pulling the GV with rope in any direction didn't work, even while using 8-10 people. We even got a 4x2 Gypsy to pull the GV out. The GV didn't even move a millimeter and the Gypsy was spinning it's wheels royally. The Gypsy guys from the local driving school were stupefied as to how the GV ended up there. I told them I drove to that place, but they couldn't understand why.

All the while it was raining lightly, but we had stopped noticing it. The area was lit by GV headlights and couple of torches. At 8:30PM we gave and got back to office, some of us completely covered in mud. The birthday cake was cut and we all had light snacks and cold-drinks. My father-in-law collected us from work at 9PM.

After reaching home, I was too tired for dinner. I took a hot shower, watched a movie with the whole family and then went to sleep. It rained whole night.

Next day I tried to get a crane to come and pull the GV out. But the crane owners we knew, didn't pick up their mobile. So I went to a local car garage and asked them come with their hydraulic jack which has a three ton load capacity. It was still raining non-stop, and the mud pile around GV had changed considerable over the rainy night, and the GV had settled snugly into the ground.

Looks very innocent and normal, isn't it?
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Lifting it with a hydraulic jack
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After an hour of work, we raised the GV by few inches and put lots of dry stones under every tyre to improve traction. But we still couldn't get the GV underbelly off the ground. The only improvement was that it would shake a little from that position.

You can see how much stones were filled here.
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Next, we got a Tata 407 and try to pull the GV out. The 1.5inch coir rope snapped after some attempt. Then we got nylon rope from the office. At first even 407 spun it's wheels. Then we got few people to stand in the cargo area right above the tyres. Then I too put the GV in 4L reverse and we combined our efforts. The GV finally moved and got out of the mess.

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Notice the low mounted skid plates seen under the body? I think that should not be permanently mounted all the time. It basically protects petrol tank and exhaust pipes which have very low risk of getting hit. I should use these rear plates only in rare rocky road safaris. For most off-road situations the front plates should suffice very well.

Some of the things I understood about GV are as follows:
1) GV has enough torque, so I'll have to stop complaining about that.
2) The mud I encountered needs proper M/T or mud offroading tyres, I shouldn't try this with H/T or highway tyres.
3) The GV has limited GC as it is, I shouldn't further reduce it, even for protecting it. It is similar to how a warrior wears armour. Too much armour may inhibit the warrior from using his weapons. A compromise has to come out between protection and ground clearance.

The various village folks who came to pull out the GV must be making up lots of the theories about the whole incidence. None of them bought my story that I went there intentionally. They all saw these tracks and concluded that I came down the mud hill accidently, turned and then got stranded. (Psst: You know, these things happen when people with big imported vehicles get drunk.)

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When I told them that those tracks are from going up and I drove in here for fun, I got that same look from everyone. The look that one would give a person who after having been rescued from the well claims that he jumped in intentionally, for fun....

But here is the proof though, the tracks the end right at the ridge. Now explain that!
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Old 24th March 2008, 17:18   #2
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yikes! quite an adventure- but- as they say there are learnings from everything. So, will the GV be coming to kelambakkam?
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Old 24th March 2008, 17:19   #3
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Phew, Samurai. that was scary, Just wondering, would keeping some metal sheets with some grip(as wide as a tire) in your dicky help i.e. you can put this plates under the wheel & get some grip for tires.

And yes I dont think anyone would believe that you went there deliberately
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Old 24th March 2008, 17:24   #4
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what an experience. get your new tyres asap

and happy birthday too
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Old 24th March 2008, 17:29   #5
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woah, whatay! It happens wonlee with Samurai!

and yes, same koshun as techno
/who is recalling his dakar vids!
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Old 24th March 2008, 17:32   #6
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Great adventure!!
What matters is the learning. Keep going. When the going gets tough only the tough gets going. All the Best!!

I can imagine the gossip by villagers.The villagers would not understand off-roading.

Last edited by PatienceWins : 24th March 2008 at 17:39. Reason: spelling
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Old 24th March 2008, 17:49   #7
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After looking at the video titled defeated by new skid plates. GV looked quite helpless to make that climb. Incidentally the incline does not look to be very high ( maybe 6 ft or so, correct me if i am wrong) and if a GV cannot make it then i will be damned which car can make it?
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Old 24th March 2008, 17:59   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
After looking at the video titled defeated by new skid plates. GV looked quite helpless to make that climb. Incidentally the incline does not look to be very high ( maybe 6 ft or so, correct me if i am wrong) and if a GV cannot make it then i will be damned which car can make it?
Boss, did you even read the article or watch the video at all? If you watch the video, you will see that GV did reach the top. But the reduced breakover angle thanks to skid plates made the GV sit on the ridge, stopping it from completing the climb. It would have completed the climb if the skid plates hadn't stopped it abruptly.

Breakover angle: Ramp Breakover Angle on carlist.com
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Old 24th March 2008, 18:06   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Boss, did you even read the article or watch the video at all? If you watch the video, you will see that GV did reach the top. But the reduced breakover angle thanks to skid plates made the GV sit on the ridge, stopping it from completing the climb. It would have completed the climb if the skid plates hadn't stopped it abruptly.

Breakover angle: Ramp Breakover Angle on carlist.com
My bad, i read the article and saw the video in its entirety. So the skid plates was the party pooper
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Old 24th March 2008, 18:32   #10
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You can try to find out if someone makes a height adjustable suspension kit for the GV.

Will help solve some of your problems.
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Old 24th March 2008, 18:33   #11
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Great going Samurai. I know that you are going to treat this incident as a learning than anything else and you will only be better of with the education.
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Old 24th March 2008, 18:41   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplythebest View Post
You can try to find out if someone makes a height adjustable suspension kit for the GV.
Yes, it is available. But it does come with certain compromise on handling and warranty gets void.

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Great going Samurai. I know that you are going to treat this incident as a learning than anything else and you will only be better of with the education.
Surely. No more lone-wolf off-roading, it is better to have another vehicle around that is capable of pulling you out.

The way I got stuck is very similar to what happened to the Land Cruiser in Kelambakkam off-roading event. There the winch equipped Jeep could pull it out in minutes, here it took forever for lack of right equipment.
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Old 24th March 2008, 18:53   #13
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Quote:
Samurai : No more lone-wolf off-roading, it is better to have another vehicle around that is capable of pulling you out.
You could get yourself a winch till then.
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Old 24th March 2008, 18:55   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
You could get yourself a winch till then.
Very difficult to install Winch on a GV, I have seen an installation, but it may not be safe.
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Old 24th March 2008, 19:08   #15
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LOL Samurai, reminded me of Massa's situation in Sepang. Good thing you were not in a jungle in the middle of nowhere.

I once rode a dirt bike in mud and rain and swore never to mix the two ever again.
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