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Old 10th October 2011, 15:01   #1
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Cool Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

This is a story of the transformation of an Average Joe car enthusiast into an off road junkie!!..


I was never an Off-Roader or a Jeep guy in my life. I was just an average joe, who loved cars to the core. I adored screeching tyres, hard cornering and those orgasmic revv limiters. Apart from the fact that I loved the way Jeeps look, I just couldn't digest the rumble of the diesel, the low revving mills, ship-like cornering, those infinite unidentifiable rattles, a steering that took ages to turn the car, rusty body, bouncy ride, a horn button which activates the wiper (OK, I'm bluffing ) but.. the this.. the that.. the everything apart from the looks was just unacceptable.


Well, say... about a year back, Mahindra organized their Great Escape in my home town. And as Spikey, my classmate, was working in Mahindra, I thought I'd give him a call, and ask the details. Well, it was then I knew that he was on tbhp, and was a Jeeper by heart!. What happened next and the guys I met up completely changed my perception about the Jeep!!.. They were the ones who ignited the Jeep thing which was lying inside me!!.. Well, somehow, I managed to miss the MGE, but then, after which.. the mere sight of Jeep's drenched in dirt would turn me on!.

Lateron, a couple of my good friends got a 540 and Thar, and our weekends were starting to get brighter. I was a complete n00by, when it comes to Jeeps (I still am), but still, I enjoyed our little off the road experiences. It was the ultimate power to capture the terrain, the ride over anything capability that impressed me!!.. Then, I came to know that, this (non-jeeper) condition of mine was just because I was never properly exposed to one!

Slowly, but steadily, I was sure that I got bitten by the 'Jeep bug'!... The rumble of the diesel, and the infinite unidentifiable rattles turned out to music. The oodles of low end torque started to get addictive. Handling the vehicle in corners was skill!. The steer through slush was bliss. I started wanting the horn button to activate the wiper or god knows what! . I wanted to get greasy.. I wanted to get dirty.. I wanted to go to work in nothing but a T and Shorts, in my Jeep!!, and that burning desire that took over my mind was - I wanted my own Machine!!..

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Old 10th October 2011, 15:45   #2
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Default Re: Got JEEP?? - Hell Yeah. My MM540!!

Like it happens when I want something that is not reasonable, my mind starts to create its own reasoning, to justify the purchase. I was literally finding one or the other reason to buy a Jeep. Like.. suddenly, I got all interested in our plantation, which I haven't visited in the last couple of years!!.. Everywhere I went, I scanned for voids, which could be filled only by Jeep. Got a few, but it was still not sufficient. And then, finally, when petrol prices increased last time, it happened!!

I needed a second car, a cheap to run vehicle by which the daily chores will be handled. And for me, there was no better vehicle to fill the slot, other than the Jeep!!.. So.. the scout began. Saw many vehicles in tbhp, other online sites and through some friends, which included the Cj3b, CL340, 500D, 540, 550, Invader, A Jonga!!, an MB(?), the 'ol willys. Finally, based upon some useful comments from fellow bhp'ns and friends, I decided that for my intended purpose, the best bet is a 540 or a 550XD. So, for the last few days, the search narrowed down to 540's and 550's. I really wanted the 550XD with the xd3p engine and 5 speed 'box. but, for all good condition vehicles, the asking rate was astronomical (~3.5L)!. I saw no logic in buying a 10 year old 550 for ~3.5 lacs, when I can get a brand new Thar Di 4x4 for a couple of lacs more.

Its been months of serious searching around, and still I was there with no Jeep. I was loosing my patience, and it was like not smoking for a week!. Then, one fine day, my cousin in Bombay calls me and says a good 2000 model 540 is available, and he can go and check it out. I say yes please. The very next day, he goes and checks it out with a mech. The engine has run 70k, but has lot more juice left and is just fine. The chassis isn't rusted. The body was recently painted, and hence rust was not an issue. The mechanicals were fine. The electricals too were fine for a Jeep. The seats had the original plastic cover still on, under the seat cover. The only issue was the Jeep moved a little sideways on braking. And that the vehicle was converted to a 2WD where it originally was a 4WD.

That evening he calls me.

He: Jeep is good, and the asking price is also decent, considering the condition.
Me: OK.
He: When are you coming to Mumbai to check it out?.
Me: A bit busy, cant come for the next few weeks. Tell him to hold it.
He: Its a good vehicle, might not last.
Me: To hell with it. Write a cheque!

Seriously.. without even seeing the vehicle, I made the deal. Such was the urge to get one!. I didn't know the Jeep thing was this contagious, and risky. But I guess, that's exactly what makes it a Jeep Thing!.. eh?

Last edited by dhanushs : 10th October 2011 at 16:15.
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Old 10th October 2011, 16:18   #3
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Default re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

OK, so, finally, I'm a proud owner of a 2000 November make, M&M 540.

AFAIK, it comes with a 2.1 liter XDP engine, and a four speed tyranny. The four wheel drive has a two speed option. A High and a low. It has all round drum brakes and Worm and Roller steering set up. I have absolutely no idea about what section chassis it has, or if the axels are fully underwater or floating above. . I believe my good friend spike and fellow bhp'ns help me learn all these things.

Now let me stop my story telling, and show (off) you guys my machine! (These are the pics sent by the seller and my cousin to me.)

Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540-11.jpg

Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540-5.jpg

Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540-13.jpg

Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540-1.jpg

Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540-04102011615.jpg

Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540-4.jpg

Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540-6.jpg

Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540-2.jpg



Spike, Jeeva, Jeep Captain, Sudarshan, Sir Alec, Jeepster and all those who have helped me whist my journey towards the Jeep purchase - Thanks a lot!!..

Last edited by dhanushs : 10th October 2011 at 16:48.
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Old 10th October 2011, 16:39   #4
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Question re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

Right now, I'm still in Kerala, and the vehicle is in Bombay, and I haven't seen the vehicle. I will be going to Bombay in a couple of days, to sort out the paperwork, ie, NOC, et al. and also, I would like to correct the 4x4 mechanism and other quirks from Bombay itself. As, I was told it was considerably cheaper than in Kerala.

So, my dear fellow bhp'ns, I would like some clarifications and advice.
  • To reach home, the vehicle has to be driven ~1200 kms. What all do I need to check, to bring it home reliably. Without any breakdowns.
  • I intend get the 4WD sorted out from Bombay. Right now, the vehicle has no front differential, and transfer-case. So, what all do I need to buy, and whats the approx cost involved?. Also, I would appreciate if any one could give me some nice pointers towards good workshops and spare parts dealers in Mumbai.
  • I need to get 5 tyres. Preferably AT's, which perform, last and look good.
Please pour in your advices.

Thanks a lot!
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Old 10th October 2011, 17:09   #5
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Default re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

First of all,chop the hardtop off and get a good soft top on.Or go around topless for a few days.

My uncle had a 540 and its pretty nostalgic.He speaks of it even now though an invader has replaced it long back.

And dont change the original meters.Looks pretty good,cool,antique,classy.
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Old 10th October 2011, 18:41   #6
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Default re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

Dhanush,

Congratulations!

It seems to be a well maintained one. It has full floating axles that are not under water.

Since you are planning on changing the front diffs to a live axle, for 4WD, I suggest that you go for ex army MM550 diffs, which have discs in the front. You need to make minor alterations to change the brake and clutch paddle set to suspended ones and install a booster required for the discs.

The difference is huge progressing from the present mechanical brakes.

Put in a GB with a transfer case. If you are planning off roading, don't go for AT tyres as they have their limitations.

Before making the 1200 kms journey take it to a good mechanic (referred by fellow members from Bombay) He will be able to tell you the condition of your engine, brakes etc. Check all oils and drive it around the city to check for any heating or quirky behavior.

Have a great time with your build, it is half the pleasure and driving it is the second half. With Spikey as a classmate, you should not be having much problems on the technical front.

Loved your introduction and write up.
Regards,
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Old 10th October 2011, 21:16   #7
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Default Re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

First of all congratz! And all the very best with your build.

Why drive it, transportation by truck would be cheaper, should be under 10k.
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Old 10th October 2011, 22:27   #8
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Default Re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
Well, say... about a year back, Mahindra organized their Great Escape in my home town. And as Spikey, my classmate, was working in Mahindra, I thought I'd give him a call, and ask the details.
Small world eh?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
I have absolutely no idea if the axels are fully underwater or floating above. . I believe my good friend spike and fellow bhp'ns help me learn all these things.
Ok, lets start with the spellings first-- "Axle"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Why drive it, transportation by truck would be cheaper, should be under 10k.
If you are driving keep in mind all those things we discussed over phone.

Congratulations and all the very best!

Spike
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Old 11th October 2011, 10:06   #9
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Default Re: Got JEEP?? - Hell Yeah. My MM540!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
Like it happens when I want something that is not reasonable, my mind starts to create its own reasoning, to justify the purchase.
Welcome to the jeeper's world. Congrats on your purchase. Few months back even i had undergone similar situation. (may be all ). As experts say your honey moon ends now and the trouble starts. Its a JEEP thing you know.
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Old 11th October 2011, 10:32   #10
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Default Re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

Quote:
Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
Congratulations!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
First of all congratz! And all the very best with your build.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
Congratulations and all the very best!
Quote:
Originally Posted by mohang_j View Post
Welcome to the jeeper's world. Congrats on your purchase.
Thanks!!..
Quote:
Originally Posted by revintup View Post
First of all,chop the hardtop off and get a good soft top on.
Before that, I intend to fit a roll cage. Or is it already there?
Quote:
Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
It has full floating axles that are not under water.
Sir.. So I guess its a good thing?. That Axle's need not support the weight of the vehicle and can their job?
Quote:
I suggest that you go for ex army MM550 diffs, which have discs in the front. You need to make minor alterations to change the brake and clutch paddle set to suspended ones and install a booster required for the discs.
Oh.. I didnt know the differentials were connected in any way to brakes. In any case, this is exactly what I want, as I was planning to upgrade to 550 discs up front. Thanks!
Quote:
If you are planning off roading, don't go for AT tyres as they have their limitations.
But, I will be using it regularly on road too. So, I'm concerned about the longevity of the MT tyres.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Why drive it, transportation by truck would be cheaper, should be under 10k.
You know Jaggu, Goa comes half way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
Ok, lets start with the spellings first-- "Axle"
GRE effects, eh?
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Old 11th October 2011, 11:05   #11
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Default Re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

Congrats Dhanush on your new ride,

Please get rid of the hard top ASAP.

Looking forward to the rebuild to proceed. Do you think you might encounter any issues regarding transfer from Bombay to Bangalore.

Also please can you share the cost of acquisition ? A PM will do. I am in a similar state of mind here in Calcutta.

Regards
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Old 11th October 2011, 13:16   #12
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Default Re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Why drive it, transportation by truck would be cheaper, should be under 10k.
Would be Jeepers need to be initiated by being thrown in at the deep end first. No such sissy stuff like transportation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
[list][*]To reach home, the vehicle has to be driven ~1200 kms. What all do I need to check, to bring it home
Luck. Character. Mental toughness. Physical toughness. Ingenuity. Patience. Common sense. A working cell phone. Relevant contact numbers. Loose cash. Tow rope.

Seriously, hope you can do your own wrenching. One often overlooked aspect - clean out the fuel tank.

Interesting that you and Pratheesh are classmates. Say Hi to him for me.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 11th October 2011, 14:12   #13
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Default Re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
To reach home, the vehicle has to be driven ~1200 kms. What all do I need to check, to bring it home reliably. Without any breakdowns.
Do you wish to hire a Company ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Luck. Character. Mental toughness. Physical toughness. Ingenuity. Patience. Common sense. A working cell phone. Relevant contact numbers. Loose cash. Tow rope.
Sir how come you find so perfect words ??

@ Dhanushs add a DIY guy to this

Quote:
One often overlooked aspect - clean out the fuel tank.
Good one , certainly out of experience

Sudarshan
P .S. think -- can it be loaded on a truck train to Manglore ( Konkan Railway ) form Roha ( Near Mumbai ) ??

Last edited by Sudarshan : 11th October 2011 at 14:16.
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Old 11th October 2011, 23:10   #14
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Default Re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

congrats again!! jeeps looks clean. (it even has those PDI/REG stickers there) BTW looks like it was painted once. as its from 2000's lot the Fiber HT is also one of the last ones made by Roplas so think twice before selling the Fiber HT. rgds, Nikhil
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Old 13th October 2011, 02:08   #15
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Default Re: Got JEEP??.. Hell Yeah.. My MM540

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Would be Jeepers need to be initiated by being thrown in at the deep end first. No such sissy stuff like transportation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Luck. Character. Mental toughness. Physical toughness. Ingenuity. Patience. Common sense. A working cell phone. Relevant contact numbers. Loose cash. Tow rope.

Seriously, hope you can do your own wrenching. One often overlooked aspect - clean out the fuel tank.
Thank you sir, for the apt advice. I'm actually looking forward towards the trip!.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Interesting that you and Pratheesh are classmates. Say Hi to him for me.
For sure!. But, I guess you know him better than me here..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudarshan View Post
Do you wish to hire a Company ?
Ah.. Sir, you humble me. Such expertise as company, would be my dream come true!.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepster View Post
congrats again!! jeeps looks clean. (it even has those PDI/REG stickers there) BTW looks like it was painted once. as its from 2000's lot the Fiber HT is also one of the last ones made by Roplas so think twice before selling the Fiber HT. rgds, Nikhil
Thanks!. and, yes, it was painted once. Nikhil, the HT makes hell lot of noise. I've not really decided. Might try out something with colors, to work it out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitrajdeep View Post
Congrats Dhanush on your new ride,
Looking forward to the rebuild to proceed. Do you think you might encounter any issues regarding transfer from Bombay to Bangalore.
Thanks!. Regarding papers, I'm not really sure, but as of now, everything looks good. btw, I'm transferring it to Kerala.
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