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Old 6th April 2013, 11:20   #1
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Smile Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

Hello Jeepers,

I am trying to buy my first Jeep, preferably CL550 MDI and during my search I came across a CL500 MDI, 1986 model Mahindra Jeep 4X4. Took it for a test drive and some minor off-roading in the high range near Thodupuzha in Kerala and found some problems with the gearbox and steering.

1) It has a slow speed engine (maxed @ 65-70 kms/hr) with a 4 speed gearbox and at all times the 3rd gear disengages itself either when the clutch is released or whenever it hits even a minor bump on well paved tarmac roads. It is a humongous task just engaging any of the gears and not to mention the high/low gears while off-roading. The owner has actually replaced the original gearbox/or that is what he said.



2)The steering is too tight and it actually seem to have some problems as it is not responsive to most adjustments/corrections that needs to be made while driving even on perfect smooth roads.

3) Can you guys please identify the engine on this jeep. I am a novice when it comes to Jeep technicalities?

Expert Jeepers, Could you guys please kindly advice whether it a problem that requires major overhaul of the gearbox or is it normal with these old models and whether the steering tightness/problem can actually be adjusted or rectified?

I am adding some pics of the old beauty!!
(Sorry about the quality of some pics)

Many thanks in advance!!!
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Old 7th April 2013, 07:43   #2
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Default re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by antonjeeper View Post
Hello Jeepers,
1) It has a slow speed engine (maxed @ 65-70 kms/hr) with a 4 speed gearbox and at all times the 3rd gear disengages itself either when the clutch is released or whenever it hits even a minor bump on well paved tarmac roads. It is a humongous task just engaging any of the gears and not to mention the high/low gears while off-roading. The owner has actually replaced the original gearbox/or that is what he said.
Seems like the GB is waiting for an overhaul . If you are buying it , then deduct for GB overhaul expenditure .


Quote:
2)The steering is too tight and it actually seem to have some problems as it is not responsive to most adjustments/corrections that needs to be made while driving even on perfect smooth roads.
Just a Doubt , if you are driving this 'Jeep' for the first time ( or any Jeep for that matter ) , its probably the Jeep thing

Apart from Jokes , let some regular Jeep driver try this steering .

Sudarshan
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Old 7th April 2013, 09:36   #3
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Default re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

Thanks Sudarshan!!

Its the second jeep that I have ever driven. A friend had tagged along with me who has done his share of jeeping in Kerala when i took this jeep out for a drive, he commented the same on the steering as well.

Afterall may be its a jeep thing!!

Cheers
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Old 7th April 2013, 10:50   #4
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Default re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

Can anyone confirm for CL series in 1986 model?

Although every Mahindra di jeep is known for different characteristics but the CL series 500MDI & 550 MDI (before Major model) has its own reputation for pick up as good as petrol engines & smooth power delivery. This model is not for easy resale. Peoples who are having good condition jeeps are not selling it and the models available for sale are not well conditioned.
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Old 7th April 2013, 20:18   #5
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Default re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

This is a post 2000 model.At least the bodyshell says so. The dash, steering and everything above the chassis is not 1986, but post 2000.
There was no CL 500 MDI in 1986. It was the 2350 cc/ 50 bhp MDI or the International engine and the 2112 cc/ 65 bhp 540 DP diesel Peugeot engines that Mahindra had for its UV's.
The MM540 DP was introduced in 1986 based on the Jeep CJ 5 Series.
Please check up whether the owner has changed the entire bodyshell.The facts about the engine you say are true, if its the original engine. The International engine is very sluggish and makes unbearable noise at speeds above 60 kmph. The passengers seated on the front seat cannot talk properly with one another, such is the noise.
Start the engine and disconnect the battery. If the engine runs, its the MDI engine that came in the CJ 500 D model in 1986.I am not able to see the fuel pump in the picture. The old International engine came with a Mico Bosch fuel pump that is easy to identify.
The repairs are cheap with affordable spares. But I am sure spares availability for the MD 2350 engine will have to be checked.
The steering box spares though will be available.
Please get the gearbox checked if the owner has changed it. The 1986 CJ 500 D came with a 3 speed gearbox (non- synchromesh), that was used for a long, long time by M & M (Willys and Jeep Hurricane engine compatible with some minimal changes to suit the new International diesel).
The MM540DP gearbox (4 speed) was the South Korean BA 10 that Mahindra had taken under licence.
I have driven jeeps for thousands of kms with these gearboxes and these are quite trouble free. So any problems must be sorted out. You can get an estimate from the mechanic and get the priced reduced by that amount.
But if the owner has mated some unknown gearbox with the engine its better to walk away from this deal.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 7th April 2013 at 20:25.
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Old 7th April 2013, 20:46   #6
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Default re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

@antonjeeper

As Mr. Cariappa(anjan_c2007) has pointed out this is certainly not a CL-500/550 MDi, the brief outline of MM during that era is very true.

The Tub, Fenders, Radiator Guard(Front grill), Windshield frame, engine hood, Instrument Pannel, Wheel rims are all from the CL550(Major). Chassis and axle 48inch seems to belong to a CL-500

The Engine is B-275 International engine AKA MD-2350 and the transmission looks like an KMT-90 4+1 speed.

On the whole the vehicle looks very well restored to a Major clone.

Your buy will depend on the price the owner is quoting and the useage you intend. Please post a pic of the dataplate or the Chassis Number(located above front right shackle).

Chengappa.
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Old 7th April 2013, 22:08   #7
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Default re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

As rightly identified by Timson, this is the International 2350 cc engine that used to come with the CJ 500 D.
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Old 7th April 2013, 22:28   #8
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Default re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

Thank you all for your valuable comments

Before dropping off the Jeep, I had a quick look through the registration details and it showed 1986, but I forgot to look into it in detail. Well the owner claims that he has done some modifications just to make it fit for the RTO to approve.

The owner is asking for money that is well above my budget anyway (not willing to negotiate) and with gearbox issues and uncertainties with the model, I don't think its worth buying. As anjan_c2007 mentioned it might be better to walk away from the deal. I am also looking into other Jeeps up for sale as well.

Thanks again for all your comments

Cheers
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Old 9th April 2013, 20:16   #9
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Default Re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by antonjeeper View Post
As anjan_c2007 mentioned it might be better to walk away from the deal. I am also looking into other Jeeps up for sale as well.
The owner has actually spent quite a bit of money in this Jeep. The way I see it, the body is in very good condition, he has changed the original 3 speed GB + double lever T18 TC with 4 speed + single lever T18.

However, reading your opening post, you will still need to overhaul the gearbox, change the steering box, and the very low rpm inter engine (even though its a workhorse) isn't something that I'd prefer in todays world. Add to that the high price for an '86 model, I would give this a pass.
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Old 9th April 2013, 21:42   #10
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Default Re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

@anton: This is not a MDI engine. It is an old basic B275 international engine jeep. The market price of this model is 80 thousand to 1 lakh tops. All the other changes he has done is purely cosmetic to make it look like a major and not worth paying a premium for.
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Old 6th November 2013, 15:55   #11
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Default Re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

After many months of procrastination, I have restarted the search for my jeep. Many months of thinking, reading blogs and listening to some of my colleagues, I have changed my priorities from a Mahindra CL550MDi/Major to a SWB jeep, probably a Mahindra CL340.

The reason was that, I realised with my limited knowledge and shortage of time, its difficult to modify a Major so that it can serve as a family car (incorporating the comfort factor) and as an offroader. There a Wagon R which for the time being serve as the family car. Over the past few months some of the CL550's that were up on sale was for a whopping 3 to 4.5 lakhs (4WD-1996-2009 models)!!! in Kerala, which the owners claim to be in a "showroom condition".

I had found an advertisement for a Mahindra CL340? (4WD) (1987 model) which was for sale in Thodupuzha, Kerala for 2.5 lakhs. I think its a bit too costly.

Do you guys think an older CL340 will be a better option than the comparatively recent CL550/Major? I am no longer planning to make my jeep as a second family car either. Any kind suggestions from expert jeepers from our offroading community?

Your help will be highly appreciated. I am attaching a pic of the jeep that was for sale.

Please correct me if its not a Mahindra CL340?
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Old 6th November 2013, 17:35   #12
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by antonjeeper View Post
After many months of procrastination, I have restarted the search for my jeep. Many months of thinking, reading blogs and listening to some of my colleagues, I have changed my priorities from a Mahindra CL550MDi/Major to a SWB jeep, probably a Mahindra CL340.

The reason was that, I realised with my limited knowledge and shortage of time, its difficult to modify a Major so that it can serve as a family car (incorporating the comfort factor) and as an offroader. There a Wagon R which for the time being serve as the family car. Over the past few months some of the CL550's that were up on sale was for a whopping 3 to 4.5 lakhs (4WD-1996-2009 models)!!! in Kerala, which the owners claim to be in a "showroom condition".

I had found an advertisement for a Mahindra CL340? (4WD) (1987 model) which was for sale in Thodupuzha, Kerala for 2.5 lakhs. I think its a bit too costly.

Do you guys think an older CL340 will be a better option than the comparatively recent CL550/Major? I am no longer planning to make my jeep as a second family car either. Any kind suggestions from expert jeepers from our offroading community?

Your help will be highly appreciated. I am attaching a pic of the jeep that was for sale.

Please correct me if its not a Mahindra CL340?
From the pic its not a CL340. Fender,diesel tank,bumper etc. Are different.
As a primary vehicle go for CL550 MDI. NGT520 GB & MDI3200 & box chassis makes it a good on road & offroad performer. it has 51" OKBJ on front and 51" rear axle on rear where as old model CJ/CL with 48" track.
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Old 7th November 2013, 13:01   #13
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Default Re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by antonjeeper View Post
I had found an advertisement for a Mahindra CL340? (4WD) (1987 model) which was for sale in Thodupuzha, Kerala for 2.5 lakhs. I think its a bit too costly.
Please correct me if its not a Mahindra CL340?
IIRC the CJ340 was launched sometime in 1989 (when we had purchased a brand new one) after which it was renamed and sold as CL340 sometime in the early 90s, with some changes (tyre upgrades, suspended pedals etc).

So this should not be a CL340 anyway.

The experts might be able to confirm this.
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Old 7th November 2013, 14:00   #14
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Default Re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

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Please correct me if its not a Mahindra CL340?
This - Is definitely not a CL or CJ 340. The SWB vehicles, with rear K member came with fuel tank below the passenger seat. Looking at the flat fender, the Closed knuckle, etc, I guess this is the old 500D. Stay Away.
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Old 7th November 2013, 17:32   #15
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Default Re: Buying a Mahindra CL500 MDI?

Internet isnt going to help you much for a detailed 1st cut analysis. Best bet is find a proper jeeper around your area (not a mechanic or person who 'knows' about jeeps) but a purist. Set your priorities right - Do you want a original Jeep (whichever model you decide to buy) Or are you ok with CJ500D (like the 1st post) converted to CL550Mdi or a CJ3B (pre 1989~) which came with petrol engines and got converted to a peejo engine and were made a CJ340 lookalike. (CL340 were classics').

I suggest you do a local homework first, read 100s of TBhp thread about how a CJ500 should look (search for sabareesh thread starter) or see thread started by Samurai (CJ340).

There are other good-to-read threads about MM lineage and when, what, which year a model was rolled out.

There are also pointers to identify a Chassis-Cut-Shortened-welded to make a 101" Wheelbase look like a 81".

Then there are dabwalis, mayapuris, SWB Army 550s, Isuzu and Toyota engined Jeep wonders, million more to stay away from.

You can also read how to identify a engine, GB, Chassis, Tub, Engine# and model#...

All ^^ can be found on TBhp itself. Read every link in 4x4-technical. I spent about 3-5 months of reading and phone calls with jeep owners before getting a jeep.
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