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Old 23rd October 2012, 20:32   #16
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

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Originally Posted by codelust View Post
Why don't you drive down to Mandi? The quality of shops there are considerably better and the numbers are more too.

Been hanging out in Kasol for the past three days with the Gypsy in tow and I am not sure if it makes for a daily use vehicle in these parts. You do need something that sits a lot heavier, the bounciness the Gypsy has will give you back trouble in the long run in places like these.
Wow... you're in Kasol... just 'round the corner practically. Going to be around awhile?

Yes, been thinking of Mandi. Know a couple people who know people there - but if you can recommend any specific workshop, please do so.

I've had this thought for awhile concerning Gypsy's, since the harsh ride seems to be the main complaint around here (apart from fuel costs): How about removing one leaf from each of the rear springs, and see what that does? Remaining ones could be re-arched to correct ride height if that was affected. Ride quality (i.e., "bounciness" in pretty much all the vehicles I've modified was clearly a function of spring rates vs. vehicle weight. As one recent example, I found the ride quality a little harsh in my Marshal, too, and had a look at the rear springs - eight leafs in each, same as a M&M pickup!!! Compared this to three Armada / Armada Grandes and a Bolero, which all had six leafs. No question of which is going to ride (and articulate) better. When I get the "mukhi's" done, I'm also going to remove two leafs from my rears and maybe a leaf from the fronts which also have one or two extras. I wouldn't have as much control at high speeds / high loads, but the vehicle isn't going to be a 10+1 passenger taxi anymore, nor does it see much (any) high-speed use, and the softer suspension would protect the body (and my body) from the effects of excessive shaking.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 20:58   #17
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

^^^
Hi,
Could you jury rig something to measure the spring rate (K), and share it with the forum?

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 27th October 2012, 01:42   #18
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Wow... you're in Kasol... just 'round the corner practically. Going to be around awhile?

Yes, been thinking of Mandi. Know a couple people who know people there - but if you can recommend any specific workshop, please do so.

How about removing one leaf from each of the rear springs, and see what that does?
We were a bit tight on dates, so had to get back to Delhi on Tuesday. Next time I come around those parts, I'll certainly give you a heads-up. The original plan included Solang valley, but that was dropped eventually.

Don't know any particular workshop in Mandi that I can recommend. For most of the Ladakh-bound traffic from the plains, Mandi is the preferred stop to get all mechanical problems sorted out. The auto-repairs section of town is also pretty vast, by the normal Himalayan standards and some of the shops seem to be pretty decent from how they look. But I don't have any personal experience.

The Gypsy is not my daily drive, so I can live with the bumpiness. Honestly, I am not knowledgeable enough to tinker with the leaf springs. I'm running Type 2 Kamanis at the moment and after a few thousand kilometers of running they've settled down well enough, but it is very uncomfortable in some types of terrain (ripples, mostly). If I do mod, I'd rather go in for a major coil-over upgrade. Crazy costs and precision engineering issues aside, I need the vehicle to be super reliable, so I keep going back to keeping it stock.
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Old 27th October 2012, 19:38   #19
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

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Originally Posted by codelust View Post
If I do mod, I'd rather go in for a major coil-over upgrade. Crazy costs and precision engineering issues aside, I need the vehicle to be super reliable, so I keep going back to keeping it stock.
I saw a very nice full coil-spring suspended Gypsy in Manali a couple years back around the time of the Raid-de-Himalaya rally, though I don't think it was one of the competition cars. Very professional job; i.e., almost hard to believe it wasn't the stock setup; unfortunately I didn't have a chance to meet / talk with the owner (just probed around under his car for awhile in the parking lot!). The best-riding Gypsy I've actually been in / driven is owned by a school in Manali - a four-door hardtop model. Stock springs, I presume, so I guess it's the extra weight that helps it, because it really rides plush and comfy, without seeming prone to bottoming. Gets back to that weight vs. spring-rate relationship, and I just have this feeling that Gypsy's were set up a little too hard to begin with - maybe the factory had military service and eight passengers in mind (they do ride nicely that way; and that would be the second-best riding Gypsy I've been in - friend's 2011 hardtop with eight men aboard).

I'll post here the results of removing those leafs on the Marshal, once I get it done.

-Erik
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Old 2nd November 2012, 22:10   #20
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
^^^
Hi,
Could you jury rig something to measure the spring rate (K), and share it with the forum?

Regards
Sutripta
I've worked out formulas (in Engineering classes, I guess, and with respect to coil-sprung cars) for coil springs - easy enough with known variables like coil and cross-sectional diameter, number of coils, free length, etc), but I've never done so with leafs - and no idea how that would work, but it would seem complicated considering the varying numbers / lengths / thicknesses of individual leafs and (I think) non-linear geometry, etc.

I suppose you could do something funny like putting 100kg of whatever over whichever axle and seeing how much the suspension is displaced, and then again with 200kg to get a rough idea of the progressiveness (curve) of the thing. But then what would I do with that info? Would it really help me design the suspension I want? On paper, I suspect it's one of those things that takes a lot longer to precisely calculate / engineer than it's practically worth, vs. finding someone with the experience / "knack" for it (esp. for a particular vehicle) who can listen to your requirements and give you something close to what you want. If no such person can be found, then there's always trial and error... which is probably how most of the aftermarket Jeep suppliers abroad have arrived at their pre-packaged suspension setups.

When I had coil-sprung cars, I'd sometimes just hack off a coil or two (via rough calculations) to lower the car a couple inches and stiffen the spring rates. These were performance-oriented street cars, so I was kind of working towards the opposite of what we want for off-road. With the Marshal's springs, as mentioned elsewhere, I'm planning to remove a couple leafs to soften it, and if necessary re-arc to maintain ride height, though I don't think that'll be necessary in my case since the rears are already highly arc'd and I've got something like 5-6" of travel; Up front the travel is sufficient, and will be even more so once I replace the badly slotted "mukhis" (mounts) - spoke today with the guy who will be doing that work; fortunately he does both the "mukhi" work and leaf spring work, so I hope to have a much better driving and less rattley vehicle by early next week.

-Erik
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Old 2nd November 2012, 22:39   #21
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

^^^
Even coils can be designed to be rising rate. Problematic to calculate then. In any case, a changed parameter should be measured and noted for future reference, rather than just judged by seat of pants.

There should be no difference in the measurement procedure between coils and leafs, except that one has to be careful about 'stiction' in leaves.

Do the test for the full stack, and for just main and second. Results might be surprising! In any case gives you the range you can play around with. You also need the K value so that you can predetermine the free height if you have a fixed ride height with given load (Q point) in mind. You of course also have trial and error!

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 17th November 2012, 21:45   #22
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
^^^
Even coils can be designed to be rising rate. Problematic to calculate then. In any case, a changed parameter should be measured and noted for future reference, rather than just judged by seat of pants.

There should be no difference in the measurement procedure between coils and leafs, except that one has to be careful about 'stiction' in leaves.

Do the test for the full stack, and for just main and second. Results might be surprising! In any case gives you the range you can play around with. You also need the K value so that you can predetermine the free height if you have a fixed ride height with given load (Q point) in mind. You of course also have trial and error!

Regards
Sutripta
Yeah, getting a range in mind is probably helpful to start with. And I totally agree about measuring and recording changes - one of the most valuable things for people who are really particularly trying to fine-tune anything, be it a suspension or a carburetor. Unfortunately, I've quite often failed to record and end up working off memory (and more "mystical" senses and experience, and in all more desperate circumstances, prayer).

On the Marshal, my "mystical senses" moved me a week or so ago to remove two of the longer leafs from each side in the rear (from 9 down to 7, leaving 4 mains and 3 sort of helpers. Up front, I removed 2-3 (depending how you count the broken ones) of the shorter leafs from each side bringing that also to around 7 total. That, as it turns out, got me kind of in the range of what stock Bolero 4x4's have in terms of total leaf count (finally inspected one today), and I think the ride quality seems about right - fairly compliant but unlikely to hit the stops; maybe still just a shade firm, but not much - and as I expected and might have noted above, I've not lost anything significant in terms of ride height / GC, so probably will leave it as it is for now. If I can source one cheap enough, will go for a larger diameter front anti-roll bar (from the higher-payload beam-axle Bolero pickup, etc), since body roll is pretty pronounced with the thin stock one plus the high CG (car sits much higher in every way than Boleros, I guess due to the tall 16" tires and the arc of the springs). Any resultant negative effects on articulation should hardly matter as I'm not doing much hard-core offroad.

BTW, I used urethane bushes in everything in favor of the stock rubber ones, despite their tendency to creak and squeak some. They're supposed to last longer, but my particular reasoning was that it would help reduce the deflections that I'm guessing contribute some to the jittery nature of leaf-spring suspensions over certain road surfaces. Not sure whether that's actually the case yet or not - stay tuned.

Re: calculations, etc, I think we're both suggesting a sort of combined approach - taking some measurements of actual deflection at various applied loads, then deriving something like a spring rate from that and using it to help roughly anticipate the effects of certain changes. Still think it's going to be pretty rough, though, due the the high number of variables in multi-leaf setups; Especially to arrive at any reasonably accurate K value, since I tend to think these spring stacks are highly progressive in nature (thus, plotted on a curve). Approaching it strictly from raw formulas sounds like a problem that some sadistic physics professor would impose upon his unwitting students. Variable (progressive)-rate coils generally have a certain number of coils that are stacked closer (thus softer), with the majority further apart (harder), so only one variable is changing up to a certain amount of compression (where the soft ones stack tight), compared with a constant-rate coil spring.

In a SINGLE-LEAF setup (old Maruti 800's, etc), calculating the spring-rate / deflection of that "beam" would be easy for a given cross section / material, since a given load is placed at the center between two supports approximately a fixed distance apart. Thing with multi-leafs is that: 1) sometimes you find different thicknesses in the same stack; 2) you ALWAYS find different lengths in the same stack; 3) with all leaf setups, as your spring bends and your shackle adjusts back, your geometry (loading point in relation to your supports, and the distance between those supports) changes a bit; 4) I'm not sure (can't remember theoretically) re: the effects of highly arched shapes (vs. roughly straight beams) on the calculations. 5) with things like "helpers" thrown in, which don't have an effect at all at certain deflections, and a very significant effect beyond a certain point, your rates will change suddenly and dramatically; etc, etc. Anyway there seems to be a WHOLE LOT more variables flying around than with any typical coil. Main trouble for me is #2 above, because even if I was feeling like punishing myself and wanting to try and calculate all this, I don't know what I would have to input as the distances between the support points - all leafs but the top one are supported along their entire length by the one above (no single, fixed points at the ends, in other words, and most are different lengths, so even if you could assume fixed support points, you'd have to calculate the deflection (in my case) of seven beams of unique dimensions and somehow combine all those rates together. Most suspension performance is highly subjective, depending on road conditions, speed, driving habits, terrain, "feel". I could be misunderstanding, but it seems that all the required complex calculations seem to be able to do for me is to MAYBE allow me to anticipate approximate unladen / laden ride height. Seems a lot of work without really knowing how it'll perform in other aspects, and on account of all the variables, to leave too much room for error.

As I said, mystical considerations had me removing 2 leafs... which came out about right...

I like leafs. You can remove a few from the stack, keep them aside, and put one or two back in if you've gone too far (all probably in less time than you could work through an ultimately bogus calculation)! Can't go back and "fix" a cut coil (though the three cars I can remember cutting coils off thankfully all came out all right)!

-Erik
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Old 3rd December 2012, 01:28   #23
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

A couple months of ownership:

It's a long list of the stuff that's been done on the car since purchase - and what's interesting (sad but not really depressing) is that it doesn't look any different at all - same tattered interior and bald rear tires, etc.

Let's see what I can remember: Oil & filter change. Service of air filter, alternator, self-starter. New diesel filters and pipe to the IP; fan belt, body mounts, leaf-spring mounts and bushings; full new set of locks/keys; coolant/antifreeze (sub-zero nights now); steering cross-joint; sway bar and shocker bushings; 80degree thermostat; various light bulbs and fuses; shift boot; passenger's side mirror; an accessory high-powered reversing lamp; a lot of minor wiring work (most things fully functional now, excepting door-activated dome light and wiper functions other than a single speed). Substantial welding in the floorpan & body of minor rust / cracks. Etc...


IMPRESSIONS:

I really like the standard (non-turbo) DI engine for hill-driving. Very relaxed compared to the XD4.9P, which you really have to rev to keep moving in these heavier LWB bodies. Reminds me of riding a Bullet - chugs along well enough in whichever gear, kind of lazy, where opening up the throttle / revving it doesn't really make it go much faster, so you just ease up and let it pull you sure and steady at whatever pace it decides is comfortable. The torque is ultimately much less than the turbo version, but still a few more kg-m than the 4.9, and it's so low-down in the rev-range that there's not much gear-changing required compared to even some higher horsepower vehicles I've driven up here (Victa turbo/non-turbo come to mind). With the 4.27:1 final drive and tallish tires, third gear can pull from really low speeds even up heavy grades - and still moves you along quickly enough in "spirited driving" on well-paved link roads without having to rev it. Fourth gear pulls okay on moderate grades, and between Manali and our place up-valley, I don't need to downshift at all. Top speed is of course limited, but it hardly matters for our type of driving; and if I so desire, I'm sure the car would work fine with 3.73 cogs to improve on that while maintaining low-speed capabilities. The IP/Turbo rebuilder in Bhuntar says he likes the standard DI over the later turbo versions - just so rugged and simple I guess (says mine is a very healthy unit, too, which I was happy to hear). Turbos work pretty hard in these hills, and a small one like the Mahindra DI's are working constantly - hence, you see some pretty new vehicles coming in for replacements at Rs12-15,000 a pop. He says 2-5 years' life on them up here.

Re: noise: With the forum consensus being that the MDI3200 is a noisy beast, let me say that I personally like the sound. Has a lot more "character" IMO than the Peugeot / Sumo / Qualis / etc. IDI diesels. Guess it's more of a heavy-duty "truck-like" feel to it, that makes it feel substantial and commanding (again, old iron Enfields come to mind). Throttle response is pretty okay despite what must be a really heavy flywheel. Honestly most of the annoying noise in our car was coming from the body / doors / glass banging about on bad roads - but that was before the welding / body mounts were done and some spring leafs removed. Now the annoying noise is mainly from the whiney T18 transfer case. I'm going to work on the sound insulation on the firewall / front floor pans to try and cut a bit of the diesel clatter - but it's livable and in some way even satisfying.

Remaining work: Complete re-upholstering; KMT90 and T-18 rebuilds; steering gear lower bearing replacement (some play there); rear tires remolding; new windshield to replace the rather scratched current one. And next year, repainting.

If I can get the gear work done in the next couple weeks, we'll be taking the car to Shimla, and maybe on to Delhi. First road-trip. Next year? Ladakh and/or Kinnaur, we hope, at the least. Year after? Across Nepal and into the Northeast, to Mizoram!

-Eric
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Old 1st March 2013, 16:54   #24
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

Ample snowfall this winter, and recent Manali-Subathu-Shimla-Delhi-Subathu-Patiala-Chandigarh-Manali run proved the vehicle's worth and we're sure glad to have it. Now running a BW T-case mated to rebuilt KMT90, a combo that with the slow-revving DI surprisingly kept us running at or above normal highway speeds (i.e., seldom being overtaken) on the Delhi-C'garh expressway. Had removed some leafs from the spring stacks earlier, and replaced all the bushes with polyurethane ones, which apart from a bit of squeaking seem to work splendidly - vehicle very quite comfy in ride quality and equally controllable on pretty much any surface. Still shudders some on really choppy / broken stuff (NH21 in southern parts of H.P.), but hoping the pair of new shocks I bought will help that.

Starting the DI unit is a bit tricky - which it shouldn't be - at near-zero temps here in H.P., but symptoms point to an air leak somewhere in the diesel lines or filter or ?, so will have to spend some time tracking it down. Bought good upholstery materials at wholesale rates in Delhi, so interior should be up to snuff shortly. Ordered a digital bicycle speedometer / computer from abroad, which I'm going to try and rig up, as drive gear in the T-case seems to be spoiled and not eager to take an otherwise perfect unit apart. Moreover, better accuracy and some useful functions (average speed, elapsed time, trip odometer, etc, etc) in the computer, as well as the complete ease with which the meter can compensate for new tire / gearing combinations in the future. If it works out, I'll try and post in the tech section later. Picked up some second-hand imported tires of non-Indian size for the rear from Sector 45 Chandigarh, which match the CEAT 6.00-16's up front in diameter, with a bit of extra width.

Overall, can't be happier with this machine, and despite paying a bit more than we'd have liked to (and having to do considerable rebuilding afterwards, besides), I'd say it's proved worth the investment, and we look forward to some more adventurous travels in it in the coming days / years.

Regards,
Ringo
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Old 3rd March 2013, 07:58   #25
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

how many leaf springs do u have in front and rear now?
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Old 26th April 2013, 13:43   #26
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

Sunrise somewhere on the road between Subathu and Shimla.

Steering gear rebuilt last week (see Invader Hard Steering thread); injection pump seal kit installed week before; and last two days 4x4 spindle bushes done, which had been annoyingly loose and causing a lot of annoying rattle on rough roads with 4x4 hubs disengaged, and occasional bad vibes when engaged. Custom bushes were required due to axle bearing surface wear, so fabricated them myself. Also added spindle and outer axle seals where they were missing (the former no doubt part of the cause of the wear). Misc. other work also completed recently in prep. for a proposed trip to Kinnaur within the next couple weeks, of which hopefully I can post pics later.

Have decided after a considerable worsening of the roads over the past winter that (even with the new front shockers installed) the springs are still a bit too hard on really rough surfaces, so do plan to remove another couple leafs from front/rear stacks and maybe re-arch a little to maintain ride height; And I'll try to get the upholstering done next week, as well.

The vehicle is slowly getting sorted out, continually improving and hopefully approaching somewhat nearer the point of being relatively low-maintenance, after many years of neglect.

Thanks,
-Erik
Attached Thumbnails
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Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-pict0689.jpg  


Last edited by ringoism : 26th April 2013 at 14:04.
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Old 26th April 2013, 13:50   #27
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

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Originally Posted by svsantosh View Post
how many leaf springs do u have in front and rear now?
Too many (see latest post). Rear: four in main stack with three helpers, which is apparently the original setup (but down from ten the car had as delivered); Front: seven of half-thickness, BUT it's an odd setup both front and rear in that nearly all the leafs are full-length, rather than lower ones being progressively shorter. No idea who did this or why, but I think the added stiffness and "sticktion" must be making it a lot harder and causing more effective damping than there should be. I rode in an older-model Commander (same body, but pre-NGCS) the other day which was MUCH softer on the same road, and that's what I'm after. Tired of the body shaking itself loose.

That is your Armada Grand in your profile photo? Looks like decent enough articulation. How are your leaf stacks set up, and how does it perform?

-Erik

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Old 26th April 2013, 14:56   #28
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

Erik,

I have 5 in rear (thicker leaf) and 6 in front (much thinner ones), and I run on 235-70-R16 AT Radials now, got 2 new Bolero VX Gas filled shocks on rear, and the overall ride is much smoother than before. Planning to remove one more leaf in rear as a experiment!
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Old 14th July 2013, 18:02   #29
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

Just a few pictorial examples of the sorts of places our Marshal has taken us these past months (if the Delhi-Chandigarh expressway had been more interesting, I might've included that, too). I do feel blessed to own this vehicle; it's all we need, and we sure are enjoying it:

1&2: Solang Nala area, beyond Manali:

3: Our winter parking spot:

Regards,
Eric
Attached Thumbnails
Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dsc08691.jpg  

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dsc08721.jpg  

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-img00847.jpg  


Last edited by ringoism : 14th July 2013 at 18:32.
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Old 25th July 2013, 19:00   #30
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Default Finally, Rohtang...!

Rohtang Pass is only around 45km from our place, but until today we'd not had any really good excuse to get ourselves up there in the car (had gone over last month by bike en route to Spiti with friends)...

The Marshal, as usual, did very well; A bit of a slushfest on the road at points above Mardi, so did engage the 4x4 (high) and full power for some entertainment; but for extra fun, I diverted onto a few steep, undocumented off-road shortcuts along the way, which the car handled with ease. I'd expected the non-turbo DI to be sluggish on the inclines at such altitude, but it seemed to pull just fine the whole way, with no real noticeable power loss or black smoke even at 13,500ft (with four adults & a baby aboard). Not a lot of traffic today (thankfully) to compare it with, but did seem to pull past the likes of Spacio 3L DI and Indigo taxis, etc, with ease. I'm finding that the positive side to the slightly hard springs is that in a year of use, I've never once had the suspension bottom out. With longer future expeditions in mind, I drove hard today as a bit of a stress-test, and the car performed flawlessly; so has always been the case, am enjoying this vehicle fully and looking forward to getting really ("out there") at some point...

Photos:

First frame: mud approaching Rani Nala
Center: At Rohtang Top with yaks and the peaks of Lahaul behind
Last: Almost touching the clouds, above wildflowers
Attached Thumbnails
Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dsc08961sm.jpg  

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dsc09050.jpg  

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dsc09170.jpg  


Last edited by ringoism : 25th July 2013 at 19:04.
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