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Old 15th January 2010, 16:21   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyobeb View Post
That looks like a small container for grease/oil for continuous lubrication. Usually fixed on machines that need to be oiled regularly on a drop bt drop basis. Looks like it has been attached to the nut to tighten the shackes and filled with grease.
Thanks, that's what I thought. I remember seeing such grease caps on our diesel irrigation water pumps.
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Old 15th January 2010, 17:55   #17
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Samurai..

Excellent write up, so crisp and clear. For one moment, I virtually felt the slush water from the stream on my face. Its really bad when I think of missing all these exciting moments in life, great to see that you guys had fun !

FYI. The entire gang in my office bay was along side me while I was reading this thread !

err..Mom-in-law and 4 months on OTR...that's some guts !

Last edited by s3va : 15th January 2010 at 17:59.
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Old 16th January 2010, 01:52   #18
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Samurai: There is this red MM540 with a lift setup given. Is it a SPOA and how did it perform? Comments?
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Old 16th January 2010, 09:43   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
....
I almost didnít write this travelogue because I didnít have good enough pictures to go with it. Eventually I decided to write one anyway just preserve the memories.
Good that you wrote this -- a very well written report that brings back sweet memories.

Quote:
...
At Choma Kunda, there is only one 50 meter stretch that is very challenging, rest is very manageable ..... From that experience, we knew a safe path that one could take. But a lot could happen in 18 months, the terrain can change, and it had. However, our ability to chart new path was very restricted because of the darkness. So I inspected the earlier path and it was ok enough to cross.
....

......

By this time we have decided to abort the drive, despite being 500 meters from the summit.......
It would have been a GREAT icing on cake if we had gone to Choma Kunda that night. However, with small kid and families around it was the best decision we took to abort going to the top.

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
.... He gave some explanation about the trail and then a word about hard-core trail for experts at the end of the day.....
That hard-core section was nice but not that tough also. If it were in day time & a limited crowd, I am sure several of us would have attempted it.

Quote:
Meanwhile, we are up against a very steep hill climb. Even Sibi Paul is not able to clear it in first attempt, but he finally clears it. Next Prithvi tries to go up the hill. But the gravel on the hill killed all the momentum.

Finally, Prithvi does it in the 3rd attempt I think.
This hill climb was a very innocuous looking slope :-) One that can fool people into easily getting stuck due to lack of momentum due to combination of slippery surface + loose gravel + light ruts. Siddhu was driving my Gyspy at this point and he asked me at the start of the climb which gear to be in. I said just use 1L and keep increasing the rev as you climb, and the lockers will do the rest :-)
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Old 16th January 2010, 10:58   #20
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As fate would have it, both sides reach the turnoff at the same time. None of us get down, but wave at each other from our rides. I and starter (Deepak) meet for the first time, we recognize each other only because of the vehicles we are driving. He knows my Jeep, I know his Gypsy.
Hey Sharath,
Brilliant writeup of the event. It was great meeting you.
I have read through most of your OTR accounts and those threads around your 340. I infact, met up with Jammy after reading your 340 ownership thread. So, it was easy to figure out
Btw, i read through your previous Chomakund thread a couple of times before the trip.
I learnt a lot from Shahnawaz on the Chomakund trail that day. I kept asking him on which gear to choose and i infact goofed up a couple of times there. Shahnawaz came over and told me to be easy on the clutch and i was asking him if it is ok to be on 4L+1 Gear all the time and he said, its fine. From then on, it was ok. But i still envy all you Jeepers. I too, badly want to crawl up on those rocks. I am reading through Shahnawaz's Crawler Gears thread already!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
But there was some bad news. Deepak’s (Starter) wife was not well, he was hoping to see his first OTR, but was now planning to return to Bangalore.
I so wish i could participate in the OTR and learn some bits from you all! Hard luck, i had to drive back home that day. It was nice to drive back in a small convoy with Sree & Family. Atleast, i had Sree's company.

Cheers,
Deepak
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Old 16th January 2010, 13:32   #21
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One by one vehicles started pouring into the ground.

Mohan and his full family in Tata Telcoline TL 4x4 (notice the bashed up front skid plate)

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Prabhuav in his MM540 (sister behind him?)

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Mr & Mrs Chandan in their MM540 (Chandan is driving for a change)

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Ah, I forgot to mention this before. When the above Jeep cleared the earlier water stream in a single stroke and came up to the parking area, there was stunned looks all around, to see a lady in the driving seat. She was the only lady driver in this event too.

This is a low bonnet Jeep, pre-1952 Willys or Ford I think.

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Sibi Paul in hisÖ MM550?

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Along came a spiderÖ wearing one shoe wrong? (A pattern on the right)

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Another low bonnet willys.

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Soon lunch packets were being handed out, chicken biriyani or veg biriyani depending on your preferences. It was pretty good too. The only bad thing was no respite from the sun, hardly any shade in the ground.

After lunch we hung around for 30 minutes more until marshals cracked the whip again. There was almost a pandemonium to get out first from the ground, too many Bangalore drivers, I tell yaÖ

Of the next two hours, I donít have a single photograph. That is because we kept on driving with hardly any photo break. We did stop once in a while, but in thick woods or narrow trails where no useful photography can be done. However, we drove in pretty tough terrain, I wouldnít call them hurdles where people got stuck, but you had to keep moving gingerly all the time. It was kind of a period what they call as graft in Test Cricket. Some places the trail was very narrow or had log bridges, I really wondered how the Scorpios and Telcolines would squeeze through/over them. Often we looped and came back on the same trail, only to take the other path of a fork.

About little after 5PM, we finally came back towards Jungle Mount camp. As we were just about to turn off the main road, I noticed the Scopios standing around there. Damn, does that mean they didnít complete the event? This is turning into a routine fiasco. Later I learnt that 2 of the Scorpios lost their 4WD ability in the middle of the trail. It was the usual culprit, the automatic 4WD system of Scorpio. The one on Tata Telcoline TL worked fine by the way.

Now it was time for the hardcore circuit for experts. Anybody who has done at least one OTR before wanted to check it out. I mean who doesnít want to be called hard core?

The killing fieldsÖ

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We had to drive over the slush, take a left turn and reach the Jeeps parked on the left extreme. Sounds simple right? Now consider this, those two Jeeps on the right side are not parked, they are sunk till the differentials. So donít judge the terrain by the photos, we couldnít judge the terrain while standing there in person, until we saw Jeeps getting swallowed by the ground.

So I am standing there, visually tracing my run through the slush, forming a strategyÖ and I see Jagat walking purposefully towards my Jeep, mainly staring at my tyres.

Jagat: I suggest you donít try this, your tyres canít do it.
Me: What? These are Yokohama Geolander AT-S, they are good in mud.
Jagat: (looks close at the tyres again) Whatever, these wonít do it. You need NDMS or mud pattern.
Me: But I bought these especially to deal with mud.
Jagat: If you go, you will get stuck.
Me: Well, I will go. Worst thing that can happen is getting stuck. I canít believe my Geolandar AT-S canít handle it.
Jagat: Ok. Give it a try. If you get stuck, we have a tractor standing by.

Now I was doubly committed to make it through. I wouldnít have cared if some ordinary person had made that comment. But JagatÖ Ab tho Geolandar AT-S ka izzath ka sawal hai. And I was not about to let Geolandar AT-S down due to my incompetence or inexperience. I was totally charged up now.

As I was about to jump into the driver seat, Viji drives up and prepares to take off ahead of me. He too traces a path with his eyes and takes off. But he had made a deadly mistake. He didnít realize that the Jeeps on the right were stuck, instead he thought they were parked after crossing the slush. So he aims for them, and parks and then sinks right behind them. My jaw just drops seeing this turn of event.

Meanwhile, marshals are getting agitated seeing so many Jeeps getting stuck. Couple of them suggest I avoid the slush and slink by the rear to the other side. But what about Geolandar AT-S, I had a point to prove here.
So I took a deep breath, traced a slightly different path than Viji and took off at 2nd low. Now I know one thing, momentum is my friend. If I stop anywhere, I will sink like a stone. So I kept the throttle up, even though the terrain was making the Jeep fly off the ground every 2-3 seconds, I kept up the tempo. And the CF leafs ensured that the rise and fall didnít jolt my back too much. It was like riding a wild horse. I donít think the whole ride lasted beyond 30 seconds, but I had crossed the bad lands, including the 3 sunk jeeps. At first I thought about stopping to help winch out the guys, but the marshals asked me to move forward. They had a tractor right there for all the towing duties.

When I moved on, I saw marshal Devaiah (Dev) giving a big thumbs up, he had seen my slush drive. After parking the Jeep I dragged him along to look for Jagat. He was near the stream looking over the final hurdle, I interrupted him and told him that my Geolandar AT-S could clear the slush field without a hitch. And I produced marshal Dev as official witness, who concurred. Jagat nodded with a distant look, I guess he wonít discount the mud-ability of Yokohama Geolandar AT-S lightly in future. Point proven.

Meanwhile, there was a huge commotion happening near the stream. The final hardcore hurdle was being attempted by none other Prithvi. Apparently he rejected the whole slush field drive for being too simple and asked Jagat to show him the toughest hurdle. And he was shown the final hurdle.

The final hurdle had two parts, first cross the stream and climb a steep bank full of slippery dry leafs. The steep climb was not a plain climb, there was a huge rock at the beginning of the climb. At first it looked doable, however Prithviís repeated failure to clear it, presented a different picture. Now Prithvi is one of the top offroad experts I know, and if he is having so much difficulty, this hurdle needs to behandled carefully. The second part, where we come back, was not visible to me, yet.

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So I stand there doing what every offroader is doing, learn from every foray made by Prithvi and analyze why it failed, how to work around it, etc. Dry leaf surface is extremely slippery, even to stand on, so one canít expect much traction on the incline. So momentum will be key again. But the steep angle of the incline, driving through slushy water and the rock at the bottom would not allow build up of much momentum. And everytime you fail and slide back, the rock gives you a big kiss.

Look at this close-up of the above shot. Leaf covered steep incline, and they have slid back into the rock between tyres. (See in full size by clicking on the image)

Offroading at Kakkabe/Coorg: A Report-pc2138181.jpg

Meanwhile, one local Jeeper decided to try it with his petrol Jeep. He guns the engine and takes off right from my end of the stream, aiming for the gap between the bush and rock. He goes through the gap, and the petrol Jeep generates enough torque and momentum to take him up the incline and gets stuck there.

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Now the close-up will show the rock clearly at the bottom.

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Inspired by the partial success, Prithvi resumes his attempts. Meanwhile I decide to see whether my friends have been rescued from their sunken state.
See this SPOA monster on the way. When parked next to Spidey, it makes the Spidey look like a dwarf.

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I have no idea how this Jeep performed in the event, I never saw it in action except at the stream in the morning. It rather took a very wide turn after crossing the stream and drove over the bushes.

Back to the slush fields, here is a sunk classic, how rare is that.

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Prabhuav and sister were still being pulled out, by Viji who discovers some missing bolts in his Winch mount.

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The newly bent light mount told me it was a rather long story.

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Again we all get back to the final hurdle together. By now marshals are going around asking for volunteers to attempt the final hurdle. So far only two have tried, the petrol jeep appears to have cleared the incline. I have almost made up mind to try at least once, but I have a question creeping in my mind. If I do cross the stream, how do I get back? Then the organizer (Sagar Ganapathy) points to the return path. I am so stunned, I didnít take the photograph. I should have, but I didnít.

The return path, if you can call it a path, was right in front of me. It was a 70 degree, 12 ft deep cliff with big rocks at the bottom. Are you joking, I say. He says no, Jagat and Sibi climbed down that path yesterday. Sagar pointed at couple stones they added, which should help me retain my balance while climbing down. But they are both top notch experts and also slightly mad. I mean mad as in a daredevil. I am generally up for challenges, but I do draw a line somewhere. If the attempt has reasonable odds of toppling, that is where I draw my line. At 70 degree coming down with most of my weight in the front, if I slightly miss the rock, I can land upside down with my head under water. Besides, this is a hurdle where longer LWB will have more advantage. So I back off from the attempt. But then a marshal tells me I can come back in the same path if I feel the suicidal climb down to be too much. Hmm, there is a thought.

Meanwhile I see that Mohan has taken up the challenge in his Tata Telcoline, and sunk gloriously in the incline just after rock. The recovery attempts are underway, but pulling the largest vehicle in todayís event is not an easy task. And it is also getting dark. I check with Shahnawaz, Viji, etc., and everybody decides it is too late to attempt the climb. Besides, Prithvi had taken lots of damage to his Gypsy in his repeated failed attempt. I think Spidey could have made short work of the climb, but the suicidal climb down was a question mark in my mind, but Shahnawaz felt confident of that too. Next day I had to be back in Manipal, the day after I had to drive to Goa with my family. So I decided I didnít have the luxury of any risky attempt that could damage the vehicle and spoil the family vacation to follow.

By 6:15PM, it gets almost dark and marshals blow the final whistle to the event. We are all asked to drive back to the camp. All the drivers dash back following true Bangalore rush-hour traffic etiquette. Although, there was one difference. Nobody could scare anybody else with their road presence, nobody here was afraid of a dent or two.

Next: Dismount and departure
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Old 17th January 2010, 08:17   #22
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Excellent write up , nice snaps
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Old 17th January 2010, 18:43   #23
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By the time we reached the camp and settled down, it was completely dark. The camp fires hadnít started and the lack of moon light ensured we couldnít even see each otherís faces. Many of them were using headlights to find their bearings, and check damages in vehicles.

This is a normal routine at the end of any major event, except may be MGE. Many of our ancient machines, no matter how tough, end up sustaining damages or having mechanical failures. And I am not talking about electronics failure as in Scorpios, which is a different story altogether. The mechanical failures in our offroad steeds are generally repairable on field provided we have the right people. In any gathering of at least 10 offroaders, you can easily find a guy or two who knows how to fix the problem.

Prithviís Gypsy had some major panel damages thanks to the last hurdle, but nothing mechanical. However, another Gypsy belonging to a Virajpet doctor had a bigger problem with his 4WD lever. His transfer case was stuck in neutral, neither high nor low. That means he canít move, he was towed to the camp. Anyway, he was stuck here until that problem was solved. However, Prithvi had seen that problem before and knew how to fix it. So, all the Gypsy experts (Prithvi, Shahnawaz,Siddu) went to the outside field for fixing it, I too tagged along. The next half hour was spent in the open heart surgery on Gypsy transfer case, in pitch darkness, with the help of few torches. Prithvi, Shahnawaz & Siddu were under the Gypsy, with Prithvi doing most of the fixing. The doctor and couple more people were helping from the inside. I generally moved around the Gyspy handing out tools, torches, tissues as needed.

Donít let the flash fool you, in reality only illumination came from the torches.

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This photo taken without flash should give you the real picture of available lighting. This is a handheld shot with 5 second shutter speed (not 1/5 sec) at ISO400.

Offroading at Kakkabe/Coorg: A Report-pc213832.jpg

Finally the lever was fixed and the Gypsy was ready to be driven out. However, we could hear that a ceremony was taking place at the camp. As we drove back, we realised that the medal distribution was taking place.

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All participants were given a medal, I collected mine from a friend who had accepted on my behalf. But there was nothing written on the medal. Next they announced awards for best performance, Prithvi got the award for best offroad driver, and he was given a prize cup and a K&N performance universal filter. Again, nothing written on the prize cup. Some more prizes were given out for enthusiastic driving, sponsoring, etc.

By now multiple camp fires had been lit. We started moving around and found ourselves a camp fire square to settle down, and chat about the dayís events. The terrain we were sitting on was treacherous, full of foot deep trenches and holes and rocks and what not. I saw many a people fall into them in unlit areas. Prabhuav fell flat once, so did Prithvi to a lesser extent. I too slipped into couple holes, but recovered before falling flat, thanks to my other hobby.

Little later I get a call on my mobile phone, from Prithvi. Funny thing is I can see Prithvi next to the fire, and he is not on his mobile. Turns out it was the doctor from Virajpet, Prithvi not only had fixed his Gypsy, he had also left his mobile in it. So he had an extra chore of collecting the phone on the way back to Bangalore tonight.

All in all, this was a very well organized event. Marshals were experienced as well as enthusiastic. I can recall few names like Sibi, Sagar, Santo, Danny, Devaiah, Ayyanna, etc. Sorry, I donít remember rest of the names, it has been almost a month now.

Some minor glitches we found could be easily corrected next time:
  • Using properly rated shackles and tow ropes (that broken shackle could have killed somebody)
  • Marking the forks on the route so that people donít take wrong turns, this happened a few times.
  • Distributing the winch vehicles more efficiently, Dinu and I rarely got to use our winches being at very front.
  • Medals/prizes should be etched with the details of the event. Without the etching, it is meaningless. I gave mine to kids to play and they lost it in a day. Meanwhile, mementos with etching can be kept as displays forever as memories.

After two hours of partying, we Chingara residents decide to move on, back to the resort. Prabhuav had ordered some delicacies for tonightís dinner and we didnít want it to get too cold. So we bid our farewells and drove back to the resort. We had a very delicious dinner, and then four of us sat in the open balcony and chatted until midnight before hitting the sack. It was a relaxed ending for that eventful day.

Next Day:

After the morning exercise and the chat over coffee, my agenda was simple, drive home back to Manipal. Shahnawaz and Prabhuav were going to attempt Choma Kunda again along with the Bangalore gang. And Mohan was planning to buy back his Gypsy by staying another day. But things turned out more complex than that.

The resort owner discovers a problem with Spidey, see the tilt?

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The right front CF leaf is completely broken.

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And the left front CF leaf has cracked.

Offroading at Kakkabe/Coorg: A Report-pc2238411.jpg

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This was a crazy scenario, but at the same time we are surprised that the vehicle is still drivable despite being attached on only one side of the CF leaf. Granted, these front leafs were experimental models. The manufacturer had already admitted the design fault and had shipped the newer leafs. But Shahnawaz had not installed the newer leafs for lack of time before the event. Unlike the rear CF leafs, the front leafs undergo very different kind of stress.

Anyway, this incident delayed our departure as well as cancelled the Choma Kunda trip. When Shahnawaz informed the Bangalore gang at the camp about the broken CF leaf, they obviously didnít believe the story. So they made up their own stories about fictitious mechanical problems in their Jeeps too.
Shahnawaz and Prabhav left first, I too followed them later in same route since I wanted to fill-up at Madikeri. However, as I was leaving Chingara, I saw this left turn sign pointing to a water fall. Mohan had told that the water fall was very nice and very near. I figured Iíll take couple snaps before getting on my way.

This path was very hilly, and even had loaded 4x4 trucks plying by. After doing 2kms, I ended up entering some private estate. By now I was very sure I had lost my way, although I had not encountered any forks. I asked a passerby, but he didnít understand any language I could speak. Next I caught hold of a Jeep driver who said the waterfall is inside some other estate. So I decided to give up and turn back. But, how to turn back? There was no U-turn space on the trail, which had deep gutters on one side and cliff on the other side. I didnít want to get into a situation of getting stuck alone. So I reversed for half a KM and still didnít find a place to reverse. So I decided to keep going forward until I found some U-turn space. After 2Kms more, I found a fork which let do the U-turn.

I took some snaps on the return trip in that trail, these are initial wider parts.

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That was a good 45 minutes lost on wild goose chase with nothing to show for. Anyway, I finally caught up with the Bangalore gang who were having breakfast on the way. We continued with Viji riding shotgun with me. He points to a knob in my dashboard and asks whether it is working. I tell him I donít even know what it is supposed to do. I really donít know much about Jeeps in a deep technical sense. Therefore, one more impromptu street lesson begins. He says it is the fast idle knob, useful if you are not in the position to press the accelerator pedal by foot. Instead of toe-heeling, you can use fast idle. Ah, that is good to know. So I wished I had a working fast idle in my Jeep. By now we have reached the Madikeri-Virajpet road, I have to turn left here and all the Bangalore guys will turn right.

But Viji is not done with the lesson. He pops the hood as we are waiting for rest of the guys to follow. And I am shocked to see the radiator cap missing. Thankfully, it is hanging by the chain. Because of the leaf break drama in the morning, I had completely forgot to look under the hood before starting. The coolant level was a little low too, I had to add at least a liter worth of water and coolant to fill it up. Meanwhile, rest of the guys join up and park behind me.

The lesson continues, Viji shows me how the fast idle cable is connected to the lever near the starter. There was some confusion about which lever, even German/Star_aqua joins the faculty team. Viji even produces a brand new fast idle cable kit and trace how it can be installed. I suddenly realize these guys may even start installing it right there if I keep quiet. But I am in a hurry, so I declare the end to the class session. But Viji insists I keep the fast idle cable kit for free. I am not given any choice in the matter.

Soon I bid farewell to the gang with a heavy heart and drive away towards Madikeri. They have to hunt for new leaf sets for Shahnawazís Gypsy in Virajpet before setting off to Bangalore. I am glad I have not broken anything in the OTR, unlike them I have no backup/support group while travelling 200+ kms back home. But I should have knocked on wood while having that thought, even if it meant getting down from the Jeep next to some tree.
I fuelled up at Madikeri and headed into the badly broken Sampaje Ghats. But with the rear CF leafs, I didnít worry much about the ride comfort.

One of the interesting discussions we had during the night chats at Chingara, was about how often we drive our offroad machines. Others mostly drove it from OTR to OTR or once in a week. However, I had mentioned that I drive it 5-6 times a week, so that I can familiarize with every little sound or behavior of the Jeep. That way, I can detect an anomaly much faster than an irregular driver. Since my hands-on Jeep fixing skills are very limited, I rely more on prevention than cure.

That practice was put to test during this drive. After about 10kms into the ghats, I felt a slight change in the handling characteristics of the vehicle. So I stopped, look at the tyres for any leaks, even looked at the CF leafs for anything funny, found nothing. So I continued while being extremely attentive to every little detail. Then I realised I am getting a jolt right under my foot whenever I go over a pot hole. So whatís the big deal? This small jolt I was getting was not being smoothened. It was a raw jolt, as if springs had no effect on it. That thought immediately struck a chord in my mind. I got down again and looked at the front leafs this time. The primary leaf on the front right was broken!

Offroading at Kakkabe/Coorg: A Report-pc223848.jpg

This was a disaster! I was in the middle of a forest, 15Kms away from Madikeri, 35Kms from the next major town Sullya. There is nothing in between with a facility to fix a new leaf spring. The Jeep was still drivable, but at slow speeds, I canít put much stress on the one remaining leaf bracket. It that breaks, I will be stranded, even towing will be ruled out. There was no question, I had to go either to Sullya or turn back to Madikeri. What if I go to Sullya and they ask me to leave the Jeep for a day, which could happen. That could happen in Madikeri too. I didnít know anybody in Sullya who can help me speed up the process and fix the Jeep right away. However, I knew people who would know people in Madikeri. People who become my friends purely through offroading. I didnít have Airtel signal to check with them, but I knew they will be able to help me out once I reached Madikeri. So I turned around and gingerly drove back to Madikeri never exceeding 20kmph.

After reaching Madikeri, it was a major hassle to find parking spot. Due to road construction work, the traffic was in chaos and vehicles were parked in every nook and corner. I finally parked at some place and make couple calls, and Aditya was the first guy whom I was able to reach. Actually I had expected him to be one of the marshals in the event, but he was surprisingly missing from the event. Turns out he was visiting a sick relative in Mangalore. When he got my call, he was driving back from Mangalore. After hearing my trouble, he asked me to visit a particular garage, I am unable to remember that name now. He even gave me easy directions to reach the garage, it was in road behind the main bus stand.

I have very rudimentary knowledge of Madikeri roads, but I knew the bus stand. So I thanked Aditya and drove towards the bus stand. However, that didnít last long. The long road towards the bus stand was under construction. The police guy showed me a detour to reach the bus stand. But when I got 100 meters near the bus stand from the alternative road, I found the road blocked and had to take another detour by my own sense of direction. In other words, I had started going in circles. During this wondering, I came across the Mahindra dealership, and right next to it, I found India garage. I stopped at the entrance of India Garage in my Jeep and asked for the direction for this garage with the security guard. Needless to say, I was feeling extremely stupid at this point. I need a Jeep garage, and I am in front of India Garage, an authorized Mahindra workshop. And all I am asking them, is the direction to another Jeep workshop. Still I decided to trust Aditya and asked for the directions, which they gave in a very confusing manner, it didnít really help.

Eventually after much misdirection, I finally found the garage in question. But I didnít see a single Jeep there, only cars. Then I asked the first mechanic I found and told him about my problem. And he says, ďOh, we donít do leaf spring work!Ē

Now I am all at seas, so I call Aditya again. After hearing this new problem, he asks me to go find the owner of the garage and give him the phone. So I walk in, find the owner Sudhir, and hand the phone to him. Aditya talks to him, and after a brief chat the owner agrees to help me out. In fact, he tells me that his Jeep had also participated in the Kakkabe event yesterday, although he personally couldnít attend the event. Ah! A fellow offroader, that means I am in good hands. I still canít remember the garage name, it was Monappa garage or something similar. Meanwhile, he also answers a call in Tulu, which means we also have common mother tongue. After that we switched to Tulu for the rest of our conversation.

Sudhir takes off in a scooter and asks me to follow him, which I do, very slowly. After couple KMs of driving through winding streets, we reach a small discreet street where I locate a specialist workshop for leaf springs. The owner was away at lunch, so Sudhir stayed around 30 minutes until the owner came back, talking about the OTR, composite leaf springs on my Jeep, etc. Once the owner came back, Sudhir left back to his garage. He had spent nearly 45 minutes of his business time with me with no expectations for himself.

The workshop owner was apparently the best leaf spring worker in the town, and he spoke Tulu too. And so did people from his neighboring workshops. For a moment I wondered whether I was in Mangalore or Madikeri. Anyway, many of them came and spent a minute or two staring at the CF leaf and talking about it, while the mechanic worked on the front leaf. The owner and I walked to the auto shop which was 500 meters away for buying the new leaf and walked back talking about... what else, leafs and shackles. He had a very low impression about silent block bush. This is the second mechanic I have spoken to about silent block shackle bush, and both hate it. And this guy is a leaf spring specialist. He said silent block goes bad very fast, and you can only replace it. The grease type can last very long since you can grease it regularly. I know both Behram & UBS vote for silent block tyre over grease type, but the general mechanic community feels otherwise. Soon, the work is done, my Jeep is ready to go. The parts bill came to 350 bucks, labour 150 bucks. If I had gone to India Garage, the bill would have been much higher and I wouldnít have got the Jeep back in an hour. Also, I doubt they would have accepted the Jeep in the afternoon. Thanks to Adityaís contacts, I was able to get it all done within 2 hours of finding the broken leaf.

Now it was little past lunch time, so I go to the best restaurant in Madikeri, the East End Hotel for lunch. As I park in the parking lot right at the entrance, the security guard comes to me with a big smileÖ ďAh! Rally JeepÖĒ That means my Jeep is safe here, I returned the smile saying yes and walk into the restaurant. It was time for munching multiple mutton dishes, and this place has some mind blowing mutton fry and curries. I also catch up with the Bangalore gang on phone and find out that Shahnawaz found replacement front composite fiber leafs for the Spidey at Virajpet. What are the odds of that? Apparently, the Virajpet doctor who has the newer design front CF leafs, gave away his leafs after seeing the broken front leafs on the Spidey.

On the way back, I did manage to meet and thank Aditya who was driving back on Sampaje ghat. He practically saved me from major trouble on this day. The rest of the drive was quite uneventful. I took Sullya-Puttur-Mani-Bantwala-Moodubidri-Karkala-Manipal route back and reached home at 8:30PM. I always park the Jeep at office, but I was too lazy to drive back to office in the night, so left the Jeep at home.

Next day morning I drove the Jeep to office, so that I can get the Grand Vitara back home and prepare it for the Goa trip next day. As I reach the office gates, the gate doesnít open as usual. The gate remains shut, a rare spectacle for me. And I see the familiar security guard smartly walking towards me. He comes, stands next to the passenger side opening and looks inside. Then he practically jumps out of his skin and then runs back to open the gate.

As I was passing by the gate, I stop and question him:

Me: Why didnít you open the gate in the first place?
He: I didnít recognize the Jeep.
Me: Exactly how many Jeeps are parked in this office?
He: One.
Me: And where it usually parked?
He: Near the guard room.
Me: Which one?
He: This one.
Me: And how many Jeeps regularly go in and out every day?
He: One.
Me: Which one?
He: This one.
Me: So how is it possible under godís earth that you canít recognize this Jeep?
He: I didnít see the sticker on the windshield that says 21, today it says 3.

The End
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Old 17th January 2010, 20:52   #24
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Ending is too good!

One question: is it a good idea to change the complete leaf set for both sides since the vehicles is old?
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Old 17th January 2010, 21:44   #25
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Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Ending is too good!
With such an unique looking vehicle in my area, I had expected him to ID the vehicle just by shape or the winch or registration. Somehow he had latched on to the OTR event sticker from July 2008 which I left in the vehicle for no special reason.

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One question: is it a good idea to change the complete leaf set for both sides since the vehicles is old?
Yeah, I have thought about it before. But I didn't want to drastically change the current behavior of the Jeep with brand new leafs set in the front. It is just the fear of change.
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Old 17th January 2010, 22:05   #26
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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
...I suddenly realize these guys may even start installing it right there if I keep quiet.
That's bangy boyz for you... 1 OTR for me was enough to know whats camaradrie and team work.

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Me: So how is it possible under godís earth that you canít recognize this Jeep?
He: I didnít see the sticker on the windshield that says 21, today it says 3.


Actually this was predictable. In your 1st few posts when you made a special mention of the sticker change I sensed something like this would happen...

5* only for writing skills...
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Old 17th January 2010, 23:22   #27
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Originally Posted by s3va View Post
Excellent write up, so crisp and clear. For one moment, I virtually felt the slush water from the stream on my face. Its really bad when I think of missing all these exciting moments in life, great to see that you guys had fun !
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Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
Good that you wrote this -- a very well written report that brings back sweet memories.
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Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
That hard-core section was nice but not that tough also. If it were in day time & a limited crowd, I am sure several of us would have attempted it.
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Hey Sharath,
Brilliant writeup of the event. It was great meeting you.
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Excellent write up , nice snaps
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5* only for writing skills...
Thanks guys for all the compliments. I am not a quick writer, so I end up spending a lot of time writing this stuff. Your comments make it all worth it.

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I so wish i could participate in the OTR and learn some bits from you all!
You are in Bangalore, so you have lots of opportunities in future, so don't worry.


And this is the only action shot I have of my Jeep from this event. Thanks Jeepdude.


Last edited by Samurai : 17th January 2010 at 23:24.
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Old 18th January 2010, 12:06   #28
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One by one vehicles started pouring into the ground.

Mohan and his full family in Tata Telcoline TL 4x4 (notice the bashed up front skid plate)
Actually, thats not the front skid plate. The skid plate is behind that one. This thing actually protects the intercooler which sits below the radiator.
Its prone to hits, and my safari also had it totally bashed up.
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Old 18th January 2010, 12:08   #29
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Samurai,
Beautiful write up, Beautiful photos!
Nice to see you guys had a swell time!!

cheers
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Old 18th January 2010, 15:17   #30
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Samurai,

Dont flame me as my intention is to understand the subject a little more- I am a pretty keen guy to take vehciles offroad - and I am coming to grips to how it is done in India. My neighbourhood tells me that there are specific areas in US where offroading is not allowed and specific pressure groups exist to ensure biological damage is checked on regular basis.

so when I was reading your thread, my 6 year old daughter saw the pics and asked me - do they create these trails - cut the woods for these drives - and that set me thinking - there are some trails which look used , what about the final hurdle in this OTR - was it created a day before - you can see some logs/stems on the side.

are these done on private property or public property? If public property - are there specific approvals required.

also, any code of conduct followed implicitly by all offroaders to keep environmental impact to a minimum?

any pointers to older threads where this has been discussed will be useful.

BTW, the ending was really cool - you have great style

Cheers
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