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Old 15th May 2011, 14:16   #1
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Default Lugnut's Jeep

The early days (~2008)

As far as I can remember, we have always had a Jeep in the family
- was driven by dad to his various sites,
- learned to drive in his MM540DP, gave my driving test in it too!

So when I came back after 10 years Stateside, and did not find a Jeep at home, something felt amiss.
The family car was a Santro ( a good car, real beast of burden IMO), but something felt amiss - big-time !

Asked around and found that Mahindra had stopped making the 540s - but I could see adaptations of this in the Maxx Pick-up. And then there were Boleros, Scorpios etc.. just no 540s.

Got hooked onto TBHP, especially the 4x4 section, and was mesmerized by some of the transformations BHPians were doing to old Jeeps - GTOs Classic, Fazal Sahab's White Jeep, Harjeev's Ranger to name a few

I kept asking myself why couldn't I settle for a nice Bolero or Scorpio ? and every time the answer came back - 540/550!

There's something elemental, basic, spartan about a Jeep - sacrosanct qualities that make a Jeep what it is. These allow building a Jeep to one's individual taste - whether it be a rock crawler, an expedition machine, or a family saloon or a pick-up - infinite extensibility. Built Not Bought.

As days passed, my Jeep use-case took shape thus:
- It had to be a 540/550
- It had to be my primary vehicle
- It had to be reliable mechanically, not just for weekend jaunts - but cover serious mileage (~2000 kms week-in, week-out)
- It had to withstand Mumbai - - temperature, monsoons, rickshaw infested streets, bad roads etc..
- It had to have 4WD - so that I could learn off-roading correctly
- It would have basic creature comforts - A/C, comfortable seats, a decent hard top - but it would not be a Chelsea Tractor

Last edited by lugnut : 28th May 2011 at 14:40. Reason: Missed a line.
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Old 28th May 2011, 14:33   #2
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Default Re: Lugnut's Jeep

The hunt, 'market' research & making new friends, rediscovering old ones along the way (2009)

I began hunting locally for anybody willing to sell their 540 - didn't get much traction -
Called up Harjeev to get some pointers - and I must say - he is one heck of a person ! He walked me through the various details of getting a Jeep from Mayapuri, correct approach to the rebuild - all based on first hand experience with his Ranger.

The pickings around Mumbai for Jeeps were slim !
Most Jeeps were being used by construction contractors & their ilk - most not for sale -

Came across one 'garagewallah' who had a few 2WD Jeeps in Kherwadi asking absurd prices for an already butchered 540 with 5 (?) gears ..

My hunt was not fruitless in all respects - got to learn a lot about the process of Army auctions, Class 5 Jeeps, MSTC, auction lots - the works - a lot of information from this forum itself. I knew if I kept looking around, I'd surely find one - and worse case - I'd fly up to Delhi, hook up with Harjeev and get one there.

Met xtremepower at his Mahape workshop - turns out he was a fellow Boscoite - bounced my thoughts & ideas with him - he was really helpful too - giving guidance on what works, what does not in mods - all very good decision datapoints.
He also mentioned GTO was a fellow Boscoite too!

This hunt was turning real interesting

Last edited by lugnut : 23rd July 2011 at 20:39.
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Old 28th May 2011, 15:18   #3
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The find

Around March 2010 over a weekend, dad & I were driving towards Sion from Kurla when we noticed a bunch of greenish Jeeps parked . We turned back around and began asking about the Jeeps - who owned them, were they for sale etc .. and bingo ! The owner of the shop had just won a lot of 5 Jeeps in an auction - all for sale!

Spent about a week haggling with the shop owner, and struck a deal that included him undertaking the vehicle registration bit.

We zeroed in on Year 2000 MM550 XD model.

Pictures :
[Apologies in advance if the pictures suck - I don't take good photos ]
Attached Thumbnails
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Lugnut's Jeep-jeep-016.jpg  

Lugnut's Jeep-jeep-033.jpg  


Last edited by lugnut : 23rd July 2011 at 20:33.
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Old 4th July 2011, 17:12   #4
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Default Re: Lugnut's Jeep

Based on GTOs experience with The Milestone garage, the decision was taken to do the whole build at The Milestone. I had come to know Mr. Ferdinand Rodricks quite well during the Jeep hunt.

The Milestone garage is Jeep heaven !
And Ferdi takes great pride & joy in bringing back decrepit Jeeps to life. A restorer at heart, Ferdi provided immeasurable advice - all grounded on real world experience.

During the search, I had a lot of opportunity to brainstorm with him over Saturdays, till finally we had good picture of the end state of the Jeep.

I finally towed the Jeep to the Milestone workshop, and got Chand bhai's nod of approval 'Yeh sahi Jeep hai, accha engine, gearbox hai - hum isko theek karenge' - Nice !

Chand bhai is the senior ace mech at the Milestone -

Thus began the build. It was structured as :
Mechanical
Complete A thru Z - ground up dismantle and build up of the drivetrain, suspension, chassis and subsystems. Replace with new anything faulty, repair what can be repaired, service parts that can be serviced.
- Engine was completely rebuilt
- Gearbox and Transfer case were completely rebuilt
- Suspension was given for pata work a.k. re-cambering
- Fuel Injector pump was deemed fit for function after service

Bodywork & any body mods
Remove the body off the chassis, take it apart, de-rust it, fix it, mod it and paint it

Reassembly & electricals
New wiring harness, battery, 90AhLucas alternator
Serviced starter motor would do well

Final Fitment & testing
Bring it all together, and test, fix, adjust, test
ETA was given as 3 months given the volume of work involved. And I was in no hurry.

In the meantime , the vehicle registration track was being pursued separately.

Last edited by lugnut : 23rd July 2011 at 20:33.
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Old 23rd July 2011, 20:50   #5
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The build

Ferdi and his crew did some magnificent work on the Jeep
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Old 23rd July 2011, 21:16   #6
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Default Re: Lugnut's Jeep

Here it is ...now to find time to start off-roading
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Old 23rd July 2011, 21:20   #7
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Some pictures of the inside -
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Old 23rd July 2011, 21:30   #8
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The heart of this beast - I had to cut the radiator shroud to fit a larger diameter fan.
Gurus - please advise if the fan shroud needs to cover the fan ? Thanks !
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Old 25th July 2011, 15:23   #9
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Default Re: Lugnut's Jeep

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the 4x4 Forum. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th July 2011, 16:04   #10
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Default Re: Lugnut's Jeep

Great looking jeep! this is no less than a new jeep, I liked the color. The best part is the interiors, can you please tell me more about the hard top you have done on this JEEP, I really liked the interiors and the speakers arrangement, I will do that on my fella.
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Old 25th July 2011, 16:19   #11
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Default Re: Lugnut's Jeep

Milestone ?? Where is this??

I know Mr. Rodricks as he is the guy who modifies 4-wheelers for physically challenged peoples. Never knew he is in JEEP stuff too. I knw he operates from a place in Bhoiwada...is this Milestone garage??
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Old 25th July 2011, 16:39   #12
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Default Re: Lugnut's Jeep

Good job!!

What material is that rear side window? Is it glass? If might be an issue during offroading as the chassis flex in that area is quite pronounced and the window takes up most of that area.

Unless it is engineered well I suspect it will last the flex forces acting on it.
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Old 25th July 2011, 17:11   #13
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Default Re: Lugnut's Jeep

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanyd1711 View Post
Milestone ?? Where is this??

I know Mr. Rodricks as he is the guy who modifies 4-wheelers for physically challenged peoples. Never knew he is in JEEP stuff too. I knw he operates from a place in Bhoiwada...is this Milestone garage??
YOu're right, Ferdi is also into Building vehicles for the physically challenged persons. Milestone is in Parel. Its an authorized Mahindra service agent. Ferdi does an excellent job on Jeeps and is an avid Jeeper himself, owning a brilliant Classic.

In the same premises is Mahindra's First Choice, though ill reserve my comments on that part.
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Old 25th July 2011, 18:40   #14
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Default Re: Lugnut's Jeep

Now that is some transformation That jeep could easily stand out in the crowd & how !! Kudos to the builder & to the owner.

Enjoy !!!
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Old 25th July 2011, 18:58   #15
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Default Re: Lugnut's Jeep

I'm already picturing how this white jeep is gonna look all covered in mud! Mouth watering!!!
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