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Old 2nd December 2014, 22:15   #106
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Default Re: Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS

Well, sun was down and this is about as dull/brownish as the car ever looks... and without the fender flares it's getting muddy already. But we're driving it. Seats are supposed to be finished tomorrow.

Articulation looks okay for a basically stock suspension (got up on that in 2WD).

A week before our road trip and still lots to do... More later.

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dsc03805.jpg
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Old 2nd December 2014, 22:17   #107
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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Well, sun was down and this is about as dull/brownish as the car ever looks... and without the fender flares it's getting muddy already. But we're driving it. Seats are supposed to be finished tomorrow.

Articulation looks okay for a basically stock suspension (got up on that in 2WD).

A week before our road trip and still lots to do... More later.

Attachment 1314615
Color has come out well .
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Old 7th December 2014, 01:46   #108
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Seats are done... and after two years, we have door panels again... and armrests and door pulls...

...and my patient wife, who's been waiting for it all a long time... and who was forced to ride sitting on a mattress on the floor last week (good sport she is)... is very happy.

No photos of that work yet (headliner still missing and other details...) but it came out well. Had picked up some export reject Rexine (very strong and very cheap) in Sudder Bazaar a long time ago... a very unique and attractive textured pattern - and a more comfy cloth for the actual seating area / door panels. Will post later probably.

So here's more of the exterior: Just a little fun on the driveway through a friend's apple garden (I was delivering 50kg of Kiwis). Seems, studying the photos, that I can't go much wider / taller on the front tyres (stock 6x16's) without scraping the fenders. Yes, I know I have to do something about the front bumper (plan to fabricate one, but no time in light of upcoming journey). And a lot of other things... But very happy that post-body-off rebuild, the banging / rattling / shaking are now minimal vs. the outcome of all earlier efforts at eradication. A pleasure to drive, I'd have to say. Liking this car.

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dsc03811.jpg
Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dsc03813.jpg

Had my fill of working on it for now, and just going to USE it. Already had the car filled with firewood last week (the seats, apart from the driver's, were conveniently removed, being at the upholsterer's)... And now we're off to Delhi (who said it's not a highway runner?).

I'm getting to think this car is kind of like its owner (which is why I - and my wife - like it so much? ). I claim "Jack of all trades / master of none" of myself - and it seems just as true for this Marshal, too. Doesn't do anything in the most refined, capable, perfect manner... but it'll try anything and succeed (to varying degrees) at a fair bit of it.

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 7th December 2014 at 02:09.
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Old 7th December 2014, 09:37   #109
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Eric. Your ride had come out very well.
Pls post few interior pics.
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Old 8th December 2014, 01:35   #110
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Been watching this build unfold over the past several weeks, along with all the troubles you've had to surmount.

Truly a magnificent effort and a lesson in patience for many. Definitely for me - I've got a Sumo 4x4 that needs some serious bodywork (mechanicals are excellent), and I've been looking at the easy option of buying a used body. I wish I had this kind of perseverance.

Thank you for sharing your experience.
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Old 18th December 2014, 21:57   #111
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I'd said in my previous post:

"I'm getting to think this car is kind of like its owner (which is why I - and my wife - like it so much? ). I claim "Jack of all trades / master of none" of myself - and it seems just as true for this Marshal, too. Doesn't do anything in the most refined, capable, perfect manner... but it'll try anything and succeed (to varying degrees) at a fair bit of it."


Well, got thinking after I’d written that (but it was 2AM then, just a few hours before we were to leave, and I was cold/weary enough to want desperately to stay in bed) that it would’ve been a lot less self-glorifying (and a lot more accurate) if I’d included the words, “by God’s grace” just before the word “succeed” up there.


“Pride comes before a fall” says the ancient - but ever pertinent - wisdom literature. While the Messiah, in another assault to our self-proclaimed autonomy, declared, “Without Me you can do nothing.”



Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-s0034003.jpg


Let us be clear here, with full disclosure:

If I - in and of myself - were such a generally “successful” sort of fellow (to any degree), I:

1. …would have had all three bolts in the self-starter, and well-tightened – in which case the top one wouldn’t have snapped off and left everything hanging by the bottom one (around Bhuntar).


2. …would have had an extra voltage regulator along with me, or at least the presence of mind to have got a new genuine one last time I was out of Manali – in which case I wouldn’t have had the alternator brushes sticking and the charging system repeatedly shutting down (Sundarnagar).


3. …would have refused to accept that very confident “chalega!” from the local Manali mechanic (he’d worked a decade plus in Delhi, after all) who’d assured me my 3rd/4th gears and (especially) their associated parts were just fine (I could see they were worn in places) – in which case the gearbox wouldn’t have got stuck in fourth (around Swarghat).


4. …would have gone to whatever extra trouble was required to obtain genuine Mahindra cylinder liner o-rings when I rebuilt the engine a year ago. In which case they wouldn’t have (it seems) slowly leaked, run the water level down, and ultimately blown a head gasket (before Mohal).



5. …would have done a lot better job on the valves, too - in which case the power gains I’d expected after my engine rebuild (it was really in pretty worn condition when we bought the car) would actually have been realized.


Oh my – what a terrible journey it was… for both the families aboard, mind you – four adults, a truly adult-sized 8th-class student, and our 1&3-year olds... This is NOT what I’d had in mind at all when we set out, especially since the car had been so relatively trouble-free during our last long run and all the time since, wherein a lot of additional rebuilding had taken place. We had a much better car now than then, I thought. After all, I (that smug “jack of all trades”) had personally performed most of that work myself. I’m really going to have to learn my lesson with firm finality one of these days.

Till then, even (or especially) in the midst of my own vain foolishness, He shows Himself gracious:


1. Found another bolt for the starter (near Ner Chowk), and fortunately still had one empty hole to put it in. Tightened both, and no trouble after that.



2. It was daylight, so the dysfunctional charging system was not much of an issue; was able to do five minutes’ jugaad twice along the way till we found a new regulator a few hours onwards – before dark - that cost only 1/3rd of what I’d had to pay in Manali last time.


3. Swarghat (so fortunately for us) is the beginning of the final near-continuous downhill run towards the plains. Any time before that, we’d have been in big trouble, but we managed easily now, completely in fourth gear, till a workshop at Kiratpur, where an expert mechanic barked out orders to his staff and worked hard himself for maybe 40 minutes (removing the floor access plate and “tapa” [gearbox top and selector mechanism], unjamming the gears, and staking in the offending parts, with a guarantee that this would never happen again) – and billing us, with a smile, all of Rs100 for his efforts.



4. Though we were midway between Kiratpur and Mohal when the head gasket blew - kind of in the middle of nowhere - help appeared on the scene within moments. We nearly got off track with the one and only mechanic in the area, who turned out to be far too opportunistic for my tastes (quoting a price corresponding to an entire engine rebuild, without even having disassembled / inspected anything; and then, when I rejected the offer, insisting (unsuccessfully) that he would need Rs1,000 compensation for his minimal roadside assistance (basically consisting of pouring water into the engine so excessively – with a full bucket - that it pumped out the breather pipe); providing a 100-meter lift to our friend’s family; and leading me to his shop to be victimized!)… But on the positive side, I did meet a shopkeeper back out on the highway who reminded me of the excellent repair facilities available at Manimajra, 40km ahead in Chandigarh – and who arranged to have our car (and us) towed there for a very reasonable price. Our friends, who had needed to be in Delhi the following day to catch a train, were able – from a highway rest-stop just a stone’s throw away - to board an onward-bound HRTC bus and get to where they needed to be.



5. Arriving in Chandigarh after a three-hour tow by a very agreeable and decent young fellow – who protested the extra I gave him for his patient and diligent efforts – I met three men at a roadside food stall seated in a M&M pickup, who recommended the man they felt was the best Mahindra specialist in the market, who would be there in the morning. They also pointed us to a hotel immediately across the road, where we found food and a comfortable enough room for the night in a location perfectly convenient to our purposes.



Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-s0064006.jpg


6. Next day was a full one. Head mechanic didn’t show up till around noon, but his staff were fairly capable young men (amazing to find guys with a half-dozen years’ experience who are only 20 years old…). The shops are still completely outdoor and a little gritty, but at least situated on tarmac, and a genuine Mahindra parts supplier was just behind us. The pot-bellied foreman, when he did show up finally, was not particularly friendly or communicative, but he warmed up as the day progressed, had the clear authority required to keep things moving, performed all the critical bits himself, and wasn’t rushing it, taking pains to check, test, and re-check everything thoroughly. By the end of the day, having assisted him here and there and having got my own hands (and self) somewhat blackened under the car (installing the connecting rod caps), we seemed to be good buddies.



So now everything’s been done as “right” as possible: New genuine M&M liners (just to be absolutely sure), M&M o-ring seals, M&M head gasket, M&M motor oil, filter, and whatever incidental bits (injector return line kit) etc, etc. seemed prudent. And Castrol coolant/antifreeze to replace the Manali-sourced desi stuff that had been lost out on the highway. Even took the cylinder head apart and delivered it to a specialist, who put in new valve seats and re-lapped the nearly-new valves; Last time I’d bought H.S.S. cutters to re-do the old seats myself, but wasn’t very happy with the results (valves were sitting too low in the head, and upon completion, the engine sound indicated that one of the intakes was leaking a bit besides).

Bill for parts/fluids/other materials finally came to a bit under Rs7,000, and labor/services (including the cylinder head) to around Rs3,500 – the latter a little high maybe, but there’s this old maxim related to skilled work: “You can get it done right, fast, or cheap – pick any TWO.” So being that: a) multiple individuals had worked all day to complete it for us by evening (=“fast”), finishing off in the glow of the underhood service light and mobile phone torches – and b) that this guy really did seem pretty conscientious and less of the “chalega” sort (=“right”) – I didn’t feel right about trying to bargain him down: to be fair, you only get to pick two. We were in a tight spot and he did an admirable job for us on short notice. That’s worth paying for, in my book. Some extra cash came into our hands later in the journey anyway…(see below) that helped offset it all.

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-p1030468.jpg

7. Kids did just fine in the midst of all the uncertainty / delay and our oversight in forgetting to bring any of their toys along. Our three-year-old occupied himself thoroughly (and delightedly) darkening himself in the deep roadside dust where we blew the head gasket. And next day with the tools of the trade, grabbing a wrench from his perch on the fender, reaching down and applying it to whatever he fancied was in need of his attention, and proclaiming, “I have to help uncle fix it… I just have to!” - much to the amusement of mechanics and observers alike. Neither he nor the little one, despite unpredictable foods along the way and all the little soiled fingers in their mouths, became ill on account. My praiseworthy wife was extremely gracious, understanding, and supportive through the whole ordeal, and I suspect the family’s presence there actually served to spur on those who laboured in our service.



8. Even after this, I have reason to believe this is still a great and very suitable car for us. Apart from all the trouble, it really was running impressively all day, pulling itself and what was probably 700kg or so of passengers/excessive luggage very willingly up whatever gradient, through whatever road damage (the National Highway really doesn’t deserve such a designation at an awful lot of points in those hills), and confidently around endless twists and turns. It feels pretty tight now, and though rigid (live)-axle front suspensions are not supposed to be too great at speed over broken / irregular pavements, it proved entirely undramatic and predictable; so the attendant confidence required to make good time through it all was easy to muster. Later, in the plains with everything sorted, I was needing only half throttle application to cruise with the general flow of traffic on the Chandigarh-Delhi expressway. Could’ve run much faster and been overtaking all but a few (like the last time) but wanted to take it easy now and not court more trouble for this day.



9. Thankfully, the engine actually feels stronger now than it ever has. I think the key was in the cylinder head; having ported / modified some earlier (and read much more), I know heads are SO crucial to power production, and here I think that the close circumferential contours around the too-low-seated valves were restricting airflow. The low valves must also have been (unhelpfully, especially in a diesel) decreasing compression ratio a bit. So very interested to see, upon return, how it runs up around Manali, on familiar roads where changes will be more easily comparable (i.e., speeds/gears at certain locations/inclines). Glad we had this opportunity to get it done; easier than pulling it apart up in the hills again, as I’d planned to. Beyond the apparent power improvement, it is additionally affirming / hope-instilling to hear the mechanic at Chandigarh telling me that the MDI3200 is still “Number One in all the market – and better than the turbo version, too”. At least a couple other mechanics had expressed such sentiments to me earlier. It’s a solid mill.

But I felt even less disappointed about all the car trouble a couple days onward, when our Calcutta-Aizawl flight was cancelled, after sitting a couple hours on the tarmac and being shuffled around the airport for a couple more, due to mechanical failure (a turbine that refused to start, apparently, despite the best efforts of the engineers treading back and forth between the cabin / engine those couple hours). I mean, if a highly precision-engineered, meticulously-maintained-by-law passenger aircraft can experience significant unexpected failures despite the best efforts and continuous attention of expert staff, then how could I expect more from our lowly tractor-engine-powered Jeep?



Another upside of the plane’s breakdown is that we were granted another day in our favourite of all Indian cities, Kolkata - and that with considerably excessive airline compensating cash-in-pocket with which to enjoy it.
It was back there in Cal. that unexpected day that I was also able to meet one of the more fascinating souls I’ve encountered since first setting foot in India nearly sixteen years ago:



We'd returned to our guesthouse to find parked in the driveway a 4x4 Jeep station wagon much like our own, but painted (vs. the fresh metallic polyurethane ours sports) in a crusty flat-black paint from top to bottom, its bulging 31x10.50 tyres and complex appendages (shields, guards, chains, handles, and accessory lighting - all in flat black, mind you) lending it a positively post-apocalyptic air more fitting the set of Mad Max than the quaint, proper, well-manicured old British compound that it presently sat in the midst of. Here was a NGCS-era 4x4 Armada fully transformed and I suppose better living up to its name - indeed, it would stand out considerably less amongst the vessels of a battle-fleet than against the bustling, multi-hued family-transporters of any roadway. With great curiosity (and wondering if I’d have done better to build our Marshal like this!), I snapped off a few photos, then looked around, wondering at what sort of owner it must have.



Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dscf4058b.jpg


Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dscf4059b.jpg


When I spotted him, a quick scan provided positive enough identification: Middle-aged, with a ponytail holding his long, greying hair; matching full beard and black skull cap; black vest and tee-shirt atop camo pants, and at the lower end shiny black combat boots. Was he Indian? Nepali? His eyes could make you guess he was Chinese. But whatever, this would definitely be the man. "You want that car, I'll sell it to you for a song," he called over cheerily. Seems he's done something approaching 700,000km in it over fourteen years. We got talking: Turns out he's an Indian national of mixed Bengali/Middle-Eastern parentage and had served in the Indian army; At some point abroad he was apparently robbed of all his effects / captured by the Hamas and having escaped (?), yet with no way to prove his identity - and with complex diplomatic issues then ruling the day - he was unable to come back to India, so somehow ended up several years in the Israeli military.



Finally returned to his homeland, he appears to have become something like a freelance social service provider for the Eastern Himalayan region. He’s also an avid photographer. Moreover, he seems to be a holy man of sorts, a purveyor of Jesus’ love and of famously fiery devotional sessions – which I can’t imagine being anything if not extremely interesting. This is one guy I simply must meet again, and plan to do so that week in February that, preceding the family, I'll be alone in Calcutta. I suspect I’ve got a lot to learn from him, be it sacred or even automotive in nature - life stories quite this unusual are few and far between, and the lessons learned in the midst of them, when shared, can serve to inspire and build up another.



Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dscf4075.jpg


So everything finally worked out for our good. We’re here in Aizawl safe and sound since that following morning (where, tangentially, 4x4’s and appealing bikes abound – including a sweet-sounding Ducati 795 I spotted my second day out – and where Christmas preparations are in full swing); so what’s left to be said?



Well, as the Lord spoke to one saint of old in his own time of trial: “My grace is sufficient for you”.



Having personally experienced the truth of that once again, I’ll believe and continue to walk (and/or drive / ride) forward in it.



Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dscf4189.jpg


Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dscf4182.jpg


Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dscf4166.jpg


Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dscf4157.jpg


Regards,
-Eric
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Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-dscf4124.jpg  


Last edited by ringoism : 18th December 2014 at 22:13.
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Old 18th December 2014, 22:51   #112
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Wow. What an experience!!!. All is well at the end.
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Old 19th December 2014, 15:20   #113
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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post



“Pride comes before a fall” says the ancient - but ever pertinent - wisdom literature. While the Messiah, in another assault to our self-proclaimed autonomy, declared, “Without Me you can do nothing.”




Regards,
-Eric
What a delight, your prose. Please keep writing.

Cheers,

Jay

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Old 19th December 2014, 16:53   #114
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Wow!! fascinating story..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
This is one guy I simply must meet again, and plan to do so that week in February that, preceding the family, I'll be alone in Calcutta.
Please do let me know when you land in Calcutta in February. We can surely meet. I will PM you my number.
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Old 19th December 2014, 17:11   #115
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That was absolutely amazing reading and I love your attitude!
Cheers man, and may the Lord bless you and your family! Wishing you all, a very Merry Christmas!
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Old 22nd December 2014, 19:09   #116
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Eric,
LOVED it all!! Please PM me; I'm a 'gringo' too, have recently relocated just outside Manali, and would love to meet you and yours. Plus I found you because I too am looking for the 4X4 solution now that our bike is parked for the winter...
Thank you & Shalom,
Robert
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Old 24th December 2014, 14:13   #117
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That's some post, ringoism. Not to mention the experience!

Keeping thinking whether I'd be as happy as you are, had all I been in the same situation. Even after making it through. I doubt it.

'I'm getting happier all the time, which is very nice" - Ringo Starr

Kudos.
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Old 24th May 2015, 00:18   #118
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Having fitted the fender flares / side marker lamps and finally gotten around to fabricating the front bumper and rock guards (side steps, as far as a pleased wife is concerned), the basic exterior renovations are just about finished up.

Will note that I was shocked to see the new Maruti & Chevrolet colors this year of almost identical color (perhaps bit more appealingly glowing, even) - that would've saved me a whole lot of time / trouble vs. the custom mix I resorted to.

***
Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-wp_20150517_18_44_21_pro.jpg

I purchased the steel pipe and bends, then cut/ welded/ painted/ mounted these up myself, the basic idea being (as with the rest of the car) to keep it simple, strong, and functional, with a minimal number of components comprising the assemblies.

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-wp_20150517_18_47_58_pro.jpg

Bumper tubing measures 1-3/4" dia., the top & bottom connected with two beefy pieces of C-channel welded between. Not likely as stout as a Prad unit, but pretty substantial vs. the extremely flimsy original. Side steps are 2-1/4" and clamped directly to the frame. All fasteners are 12mm fine-thread machine-grade bolts.

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-wp_20150517_18_48_21_pro.jpg

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-wp_20150517_18_49_25_pro.jpg


Total cost incl. what I paid for the use of shop & equipment worked out to something under Rs2,500, which I think is reasonable considering our location and available alternatives.
***********



Had mentioned this in someone else's thread, but never showed photos of my "upgrade" of the convoluted and restrictive original exhaust system:

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-wp_20150517_18_52_33_pro.jpg

Our Marshal DI 4x4 NGCS-wp_20150517_18_55_30_pro.jpg

It just barely clears the crossmember below, clutch linkage above, and transfer case (from which I actually trimmed a superficial flange) beside, but it does work and, again, is about as simple / neat / functional as I could conceive to make it. Stock system has an "outrigger" loop which reduces ground clearance, restricts flow, and looks positively ungainly.

BUT...uh, "Doesn't the HMT tractor-spec muffler make it LOUD?" you ask. Well... can't say I'm sure whether it's the sound or the orange paint that's regularly turning heads - but it's not as loud as a tractor anyway, and when it does get raspy, it's only in one particular, rather high/narrow rpm range - in which it is seldom necessary to run a DI engine (but I do so for fun sometimes, anyway ). Under normal operating conditions it sounds, well, HEALTHY (IMO-let's see what the MVI thinks next year when it's due for the 15-year passing).

Next work (will this never be done?):

1. Remould rear tyres; Finally found a suitably thick / grippy remould pattern locally. The car would look better with wider rubber, but for local use Rs.4,000 for two sounds a lot better than 25,000-plus for a set, especially considering that these skinny ones are generally better in the snow.
2. Have a slight compression leak in the head gasket sealing area, this despite a new gasket and head facing... which means block facing needs doing, not at all a savory proposition.
3. Headliner and painting of metal interior bits.
4. Getting a parking brake fitted.
5. Bigger power brake booster, as current one is a small drum -brake version (and ours is upgraded to discs).


Despite any outstanding issues, the car is running / driving well and we're hoping for a little road trip for a couple days sometime prior to monsoon. Just hoping at this point, things being what they are with the NGT even here in Manali (thus the current taxi-union strike, unprecedented at 5 days running), that the vehicle isn't outright banned just about the time we finally get it finished... it runs clean and hardly smokes at all, which is more than I can say for many of the new BSIII/IV diesels running around here; We run it in a very limited way (low km/yr), and it suits our purposes very well, so I intend to maintain it well and drive it as long as it's legal to (unless, of course, something even more suitable should come along and take us by surprise!).

-Eric

P.S. - You'll note it's pretty much always dirty. Our road is just hopeless... but I think I'll just create a little slogan here and suggest that,

"IF IT'S NOT DIRTY, THEN YOU DON'T NEED A JEEP"

Last edited by ringoism : 24th May 2015 at 00:38.
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Old 24th May 2015, 21:21   #119
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@ringoism

I have been following your restoration, the ride has shaped up well and it's been great to read all your posts.
Looks like your gearbox cross-member has taken a bad bearing and deformed! Consider realigning or replace it.
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Old 24th May 2015, 21:42   #120
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Looks like your gearbox cross-member has taken a bad bearing and deformed!
Assuming you meant "beating" and in that case, it's more likely been a great number them!

Though it wasn't mentioned on my to-do list, I'm planning to redesign it to gain an inch or two of ground clearance - perhaps complete removal in favor of a piece of inverted heavy-gauge 4" c-channel and/or the newer-style low-profile rubber trans mount would do the trick. Have thought of a few other ideas, too. I don't do hard-core offroad, but these low hanging bits are what get me hung up when the snow gets deeper.

Other thing hanging lower than I'd like mid-chassis is the transfer case - the photo shows that it's mounted more diagonally than horizontally - not sure the reason for this (floorpan clearance?), since the front driveshaft hardly runs at any angle - but am thinking to re-do the mounting holes in the adapter to allow me to rotate it clockwise (from the front) several degrees and get the low-hanging and vulnerable part of it up a couple inches.

Newer Bolero 4x4's using this Borg-Warner TC have a skid plate on the bottom, which would help with rocks, but it's no advantage in snow and I'm thinking it doesn't really need to hang that low in the first place.

Any comments appreciated, if any of the Jeep guys out there have fooled with crossmember mods.

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 24th May 2015 at 21:50.
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