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Old 6th November 2014, 11:09   #1
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Default Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story

Introduction

So there is a long version and a short version to every Jeep story. I would really love to start this thread with the long version, but am just not getting the time. Hoping the Moderators would let me add the long version to the first post at a later date - perhaps in a month or so. Till then, here is the short version for now.

Some of you may know me from the Thar thread, and for those that don't this is the link .. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ve...eep-story.html .. Anyhow, the Thar is an amazing vehicle, it introduced me to the wonderful world of Jeepers and Jeeping. But it has it's limitations - what with it's IFS and sensors-vensors - plus, its been getting a little too wannabe lately - especially for someone as old-school as I.

So net net, after a lot of thinking and deliberations with myself and other stakeholders (details of which form a part of the long story), I bought a second Jeep. This time a Real Jeep. Or almost. An MM540.

So this may be a unique thread of sorts as it documents my Jeep from before our paths crossed. I am happy, proud and humbled all the same time - to acknowledge that this Jeep has seen way more OTR's and other 4x4 action than I ever have. It nonetheless has a long way to go in the coming year with a whole lot of new stuff going in - from engine, to suspension, to lockers, to tires, to bodywork, etc. But I will definitely try to retain the character of this Jeep.

Last edited by manveet : 29th November 2014 at 13:56.
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Old 27th November 2014, 19:14   #2
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Default Credits & Prologue

First Things First.

Credits.
  • Mahindra Thar - its a beautiful vehicle. Road presence like no other. And more 4x4 capability than is ever used by majority of the buyers. Introduced me to the wonderful world of offroading.
  • Northern India Offroad Club (NIOC) - my offroad buddies. For the regular OTR's every month where we have a lot of fun together.
  • My Wife - doesn't enjoy the OTR's; but we both love driving around in our Jeep all over town. This wouldn't be possible without her.
  • Amit Bajaj - the dude I bought the Jeep from. Thank you.
  • A whole bunch of guys whose photographs I'll be using - including but not limited to Aman Bhutani, Nikhilesh Yadav, Harjeev, etc. Will credit them as I go along.
  • Last but not the least, Mayapuri

The Prologue

Amit Bajaj bought this Jeep from Mayapuri in Sep. 2008. A Mahindra MM540 Delhi Airport disposal. This is one of the earliest photograph of the said Jeep that I've been able to get my hands on.

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I could be off on the sequence, but basically the engine was upgraded to the MM550's XD3P, and 4x4 installed - then a few OTR's happened - here are a few pics from late 2008 and early 2009.

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But blue was too jaded a color, and Amit wanted the Jeep to reflect FUN. So it got a few shiny coats of yellow. I am told that this is the first yellow Jeep in the NCR OTR circuit. So Yellow this Jeep will stay in its next avatar as well.

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Another set of pictures, relatively more recent - 2012 & 2013 types. Around this time both axles were replaced by wider Mahindra Bolero Pik-Up's axles. Not sure what the width is though - any info on that will be most appreciated. Tires were upgraded from AT's to MT's and also, open knuckles were installed. Again, some more photographs to do the talking. Note the bashed up body-work as compared to earlier.

Photset credit to Mr. Aman Bhutani. He's a regular at NIOC OTR's so you'll see various photographs taken by him on this thread.

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Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story-__img_31003830810562.jpeg

Then, Amit picked up Golf as a hobby and the Jeep was lying around not being driven. At the same time I was just getting over the loss of my first Jeep deal falling apart at the last minute. That was an SWB (most likely a shortened LWB) running on XD3P and an average personality. This on the other hand was an LWB (not my first choice), but 100% OTR ready and I was eager to close. So that was that, we closed the deal and I got the Jeep home. Actually, not in that order - I got the Jeep home and drove it around for a week before actually closing the deal. But all that is semantics.

Last edited by manveet : 29th November 2014 at 16:55.
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Old 28th November 2014, 21:49   #3
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Default The Present

So here is the first photograph of the Jeep. I think it was a day before Diwali 2014 - the morning after I got it home.

Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story-20141022_105121-copy-copy.jpg

The first night I had detected an occasional starting problem - so took the Jeep to Mayapuri for a quick lookover. The battery was brand new but completely discharged - traced it to a damaged alternator wire. Also the Jeep still wouldn't start - so the self needed to be replaced - which solved the problem. This was the first couple of grand spent on the Jeep - "bohni" done at Mayapuri! And there was still a week to go before I actually "bought" the Jeep!

A photograph from Diwali day, the day the Jeep made its maiden visit to Mayapuri, and also got its first mod under new ownership - i.e. subtracted its doors..



Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story-20141102_112239-copy.jpg

The first few OTR pics .. a few 360 degree shots showcasing the articulation ..

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And two in-action pics (Credit: Ajay Sood / Travelure)

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Last edited by manveet : 28th November 2014 at 23:14.
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Old 28th November 2014, 23:40   #4
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Default re: Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story

So its been a pleasant surprise how much my wife and I have been enjoying the Jeep - the weather is also just right - we chopped off the B-Pillar, front windscreen, and rear Tail-gate.

Few pictures just after it was done and also one from the most recent OTR . ..

Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story-20141110_213922-copy.jpg
Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story-20141110_213841-copy.jpg
Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story-otr.jpg
Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story-20141123_103908-copy-copy.jpg

And here's a parting short of both my beauties together.

Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story-dsc_0119-copy.jpg

Planning to go in for Power Steering and Disc Brakes in the coming week. Any immediate suggestions will be welcome. Most of the subsequent mods will happen April onwards. Till then detailed planning and blueprinting will happen right here on this thread - powered by the collective knowledge of T-BHP.

Cheers, thanks for a patient read.

Last edited by manveet : 29th November 2014 at 13:55.
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Old 1st December 2014, 13:27   #5
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Default Re: Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the 4x4 Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 1st December 2014, 16:46   #6
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Default Re: Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story

Thanks GTO/ Mods.

Guys, need your help on the following ASAP as Jeep going to Mayapuri tomorrow for the work ..

Power Steering

Am going for electrical PS. This will have the motor installed outside the bonnet on the front bumper just in front of the grille. Am told that rack & pinion or any other type (wherein the pump is inside the bonnet) will not be possible on my Jeep. Is that correct? Am told that I should get a shocker installed on the tie-rods to prevent whiplash. Steering Damper its called IMO.

Anything else I should keep in mind?

Brake Upgrade

The system on my Jeep is quite old-school. More like vintage. It involves sitting on the brakes to make the vehicle stop. There is no vacuum pump, booster, discs, etc.

Will be asking the mechanic to go in for Scorpio components. Is that OK or does it have to be the Bolero components? Or are they the same?
Will also be going in for discs in the front instead of the present drums. Again, will the Scorpio setup be used or Bolero's? Or are they same? Anything else to keep in mind?

Right now my pedals are mounted very differently. Am told this upgrade will lead to my changing all pedals - A, B and C and it will be more Thar like. Is this correct? Any specific reason for this?

Fuel Tank relocation

This mod is tentative right now. Am planning to move my Fuel tank to the Jeep loading bay, exactly where it is right now, but inside the Jeep trunk. Any reason NOT to do this?

Have a lot more questions but will take it as it comes. These are the super important ones for now where I need most help ASAP. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by manveet : 1st December 2014 at 16:47.
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Old 1st December 2014, 18:01   #7
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Default Re: Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story

Hi Manveet,

Great to see your passion. Build the Jeep so that it reflect you.

Its an amazing hobby.... I miss my offloading will be joining you on elf these days.... enjoy the Jeep....

Happy Jeeping

Amit
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Old 2nd December 2014, 12:12   #8
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Default Re: Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story

Quote:
Originally Posted by manveet View Post
Have a lot more questions but will take it as it comes. These are the super important ones for now where I need most help ASAP. Thanks in advance.
Manveet Ji,
Congratulation, so inevitable happened I am not sure whether i should quote excerpts from your Thar thread comparing Thar with old school jeeps
are you getting your jeep done up at Mowgli's ?

Power Steering:
I will suggest to go for Bolero power steering, its just amazing for OTR purpose. i didnt get the point that no space is available in engine bay. 540/550 bay is big enough to accomodate PS pump. I never saw/did conversion to electrical PS but which vehicle's pump you are planning to use ? will it be powerfull enough to move 31inch MTs in a ditch with tyres stuck between rocks ? in my opinion reliability should be key for offroad vehicles.

Brake upgrde:
i see front broader diffs is it from FC jeep or OKBJ ? if second then it should have had front discs. What you need to convert front discs:
1) brake booster with master cylinder
2) New alternator for air outlet to booster (opportunity for you to go for bigger alternator to charge your battery during long winching sessions)
3) hanging padel assembly (like your thar)
4) front disc, caliper, pipes etc....
will suggest to go for brand new genuine parts only and you will be more than happy in long term.

Fuel Tank relocation:
why not below pilion seat ? similar to CJ3Bs. You will have enough empty space behind to place spare tyre inside, spares, straps, traction ladders or even can go ahead with chopping rear body/chassis to improve departure angle further ?
Every inch of space is important to utilize. Have you thought about engine upgrade, you may hate XD3P soon

Will catch-up with you and NIOCians during my next visit to Dilli.

Regards,
Shubhendra
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Old 2nd December 2014, 14:04   #9
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Default Re: Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shubhendra View Post
Manveet Ji,
Congratulation, so inevitable happened I am not sure whether i should quote excerpts from your Thar thread comparing Thar with old school jeeps
are you getting your jeep done up at Mowgli's ?
Shubhendra ji, good to see you here. Will answer your second part first - the immediate work is being done from Mayapuri - using relationshios developed from my Thar work. Have not yet decided HOW I will execute Phase 2 when the summers set in.

I have always admired old-school Jeeps so doubt I would have said anything less than positive. Maybe about my incapability to build a REAL Jeep but surely nothing derogatory about old-school Jeepers. But please post any such relevant posts here - no problem. Would be good to see how one changes his/ her own opinion. If nothing else, it would make this thread more fun to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shubhendra
Power Steering:
I will suggest to go for Bolero power steering, its just amazing for OTR purpose. i didnt get the point that no space is available in engine bay. 540/550 bay is big enough to accomodate PS pump. I never saw/did conversion to electrical PS but which vehicle's pump you are planning to use ? will it be powerfull enough to move 31inch MTs in a ditch with tyres stuck between rocks ? in my opinion reliability should be key for offroad vehicles.
Perhaps you misunderstood. I never said that there was no SPACE inside the engine bay - But am told that it is not "technically" possible. That if the pump would go inside the engine bay then it would run inverted in Left Right application. Even I was confused by this input but then looked around - all these pimped up Willys type Jeeps are running with these Japanese pumps so assumed there had to be a reason. Just that I didn't understand or explore fully.

AFAIK, same Japanese pump is used by the Jeep in pic below - costs about 15K new - with installation. (Picture from NIOC cover page). In this also it is installed outside the engine bay. IMO and I could be wrong, the Bolero type is a Rack & Pinion setup which will cost me about 25K. Does this answer your query? Any further inputs on the steering?

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And BTW, everything I am planning to do is to be future-compatible with 35" MT's. With respect to tyres, I understand that big is never big enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shubhendra
Brake upgrde:
i see front broader diffs is it from FC jeep or OKBJ ? if second then it should have had front discs. What you need to convert front discs:
1) brake booster with master cylinder
2) New alternator for air outlet to booster (opportunity for you to go for bigger alternator to charge your battery during long winching sessions)
3) hanging padel assembly (like your thar)
4) front disc, caliper, pipes etc....
will suggest to go for brand new genuine parts only and you will be more than happy in long term.
Am told the axles were replaced by Bolero pick up. And open knuckles were installed later. Am not sure whether that answers your point on FC Jeep and OKBJ. About the disc brakes - will recheck my brakes once again - but don't think they are disc brakes.

on (1) to (4) - noted - am told all this including disc brakes will cost me another 15K. Does that sound OK to you.

What vehicle do you suggest I poach all this from - Scorpio or Bolero? Will check up on the Alternator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shubhendra
Fuel Tank relocation:
why not below pilion seat ? similar to CJ3Bs. You will have enough empty space behind to place spare tyre inside, spares, straps, traction ladders or even can go ahead with chopping rear body/chassis to improve departure angle further ?
That was the initial plan, but I have noticed small fuel leakages and then it wets the floor well etc. After buying the Jeep, it was unexpected, but my wife and I are enjoying the occasional drive around town. And a fuel tank under the passenger seat would make me somewhat uncomfortable. But am open to your inputs keeping my perspective in mind.

As on date, don't think I'll be taking this to the RFC but might take to a picnic with the kids. So am even planning a small jeep baby seat behind the drivers, and the fuel tank behind it. The fifth tyre can be mounted somewhere up on the roll cage - am yet to work out on the design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shubhendra
Every inch of space is important to utilize. Have you thought about engine upgrade, you may hate XD3P soon
In the summers. Am thinking of DI Turbo. Any other suggestion? - someone was mentioning Scorpio MHawk but I didn't take him seriously.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shubhendra
Will catch-up with you and NIOCians during my next visit to Dilli.
Surely, will look forward to it.

Last edited by manveet : 2nd December 2014 at 14:16.
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Old 2nd December 2014, 16:28   #10
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Default Re: Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story

Quote:
Originally Posted by manveet View Post
Have not yet decided HOW I will execute Phase 2 when the summers set in.
Half of your worries and time will be saved if you get good mechanic and spare part supply. Else we will see one more jeep in classifieds....

AFAIK, same Japanese pump is used by the Jeep in pic below - costs about 15K new - with installation. (Picture from NIOC cover page). In this also it is installed outside the engine bay. IMO and I could be wrong, the Bolero type is a Rack & Pinion setup which will cost me about 25K. Does this answer your query? Any further inputs on the steering?
These japanesse pumps are most probably Koyo made hydraulic power steering pumps. I will still suggest to go for Bolero power steering setup, you wont repent. refer to thread by Sanjay Kale or Gogi bhai for their 550s in 4x4 section. you will get to know

And BTW, everything I am planning to do is to be future-compatible with 35" MT's. With respect to tyres, I understand that big is never big enough.
I will suggest to go for 33 inches with lift kit and long travel shocks.

on (1) to (4) - noted - am told all this including disc brakes will cost me another 15K. Does that sound OK to you.
If all new parts then very reasonable

What vehicle do you suggest I poach all this from - Scorpio or Bolero? Will check up on the Alternator.
Dhabar ji can suggest technically, but i have done 2-3 such conversions and its always from 550/Mahindra pickup


And a fuel tank under the passenger seat would make me somewhat uncomfortable. But am open to your inputs keeping my perspective in mind.
If done properly, there should not be a single drop or smell. I have used/using jeep below seat for 20 years now and most of them over petrol tank (willys/CJ3B etc). But again personal choice

In the summers. Am thinking of DI Turbo. Any other suggestion? - someone was mentioning Scorpio MHawk but I didn't take him seriously.
easiest is Di Turbo, good no nonsense engine. For MHawk engine you need to get ECM, wiring loom, accelerator, fuel tank and dozens of sensors which will remind you of your Thar CRDe
Please read my comments underlined
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Old 2nd December 2014, 19:31   #11
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Default Re: Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story

Whoa. There are some really good MM550 threads on this Forum, my bad that I missed those. So have decided to postpone my PS and Brake jobs for another week or so till I get more clarity after going through the treasure trove already available on TBHP.
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Old 5th December 2014, 19:34   #12
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Default Power Steering !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manveet
Power Steering

Am going for electrical PS. This will have the motor installed outside the bonnet on the front bumper just in front of the grille. Am told that rack & pinion or any other type (wherein the pump is inside the bonnet) will not be possible on my Jeep. Is that correct? Am told that I should get a shocker installed on the tie-rods to prevent whiplash. Steering Damper its called IMO.

Anything else I should keep in mind?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shubhendra
Power Steering:
I will suggest to go for Bolero power steering, its just amazing for OTR purpose. i didnt get the point that no space is available in engine bay. 540/550 bay is big enough to accomodate PS pump. I never saw/did conversion to electrical PS but which vehicle's pump you are planning to use ? will it be powerfull enough to move 31inch MTs in a ditch with tyres stuck between rocks ? in my opinion reliability should be key for offroad vehicles.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manveet
AFAIK, same Japanese pump is used by the Jeep in pic below - costs about 15K new - with installation. (Picture from NIOC cover page). In this also it is installed outside the engine bay. IMO and I could be wrong, the Bolero type is a Rack & Pinion setup which will cost me about 25K. Does this answer your query? Any further inputs on the steering?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shubhendra
These japanesse pumps are most probably Koyo made hydraulic power steering pumps. I will still suggest to go for Bolero power steering setup, you wont repent. refer to thread by Sanjay Kale or Gogi bhai for their 550s in 4x4 section. you will get to know
Just Read Gogi ji's thread, here is the relevant post.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ve...ml#post2408063 (Mm550 The Capable Offroad/onroad Vehicle)

I am completely confused .. As per my mechanic the Bolero has a Rack & Pinion type PS and no external pump. As per Gogi ji's post there is an external pump and it is fit behind the bumper just like the Japanese electric PS pump is installed.

So whats the story? Is the Bolero PS NOT PR&P type? Or does R&P type PS also come with a similar pump - then why is it installed outside, ideally it should be Plug & Play inside the engine bay like OE fitment.

Someone please help ASAP, as I am planning to get this done in next 2-3 days.

Last edited by manveet : 5th December 2014 at 19:36.
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Old 8th December 2014, 14:26   #13
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Default Re: Power Steering !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by manveet View Post

As per Gogi ji's post there is an external pump and it is fit behind the bumper just like the Japanese electric PS pump is installed.
So whats the story? Is the Bolero PS NOT PR&P type? Or does R&P type PS also come with a similar pump - then why is it installed outside, ideally it should be Plug & Play inside the engine bay like OE fitment.
Manveet Ji,
Bolero 2WD comes with Rake and Pinion steering system not 4WDs. They come with Rane power steering with steering box.

Shubhendra
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Old 8th December 2014, 15:23   #14
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Default Re: Power Steering !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by manveet View Post
Just Read Gogi ji's thread, here is the relevant post.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ve...ml#post2408063 (Mm550 The Capable Offroad/onroad Vehicle)

I am completely confused .. As per my mechanic the Bolero has a Rack & Pinion type PS and no external pump. As per Gogi ji's post there is an external pump and it is fit behind the bumper just like the Japanese electric PS pump is installed.

So whats the story? Is the Bolero PS NOT PR&P type? Or does R&P type PS also come with a similar pump - then why is it installed outside, ideally it should be Plug & Play inside the engine bay like OE fitment.

Someone please help ASAP, as I am planning to get this done in next 2-3 days.
Any power steering needs a (hydraulic pump). I guess, your mechanic is confused with the steering box and the pump-local terminology.
Rack and Pinion steering will not go well with a 4 wheel drive set up with solid axle.
The old 2WD/4WD Bolero GLX, Tata Sierra/Estate/Sumo/Koyo power steering set up will work fine.
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Old 8th December 2014, 16:52   #15
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Default Re: Never thought I'd build a Jeep! My MM540 story

Dear Manveet - sorry to be a spoilsport but let me give you the facts.

You just cannot fit rack and pinion power steering with a live front axle. You just cannot put disc brakes as you will need a booster to operate them. Then the stub axles will need to be changed as caster will be more for power steering application otherwise you will get major handling issues. There are so many such "Jeep Things" where people will talk high and mighty about giving you the moon but actually nothing will happen properly on the ground. Garages just cannot do what R&D can do. I can see that you are getting swayed and that you are going overboard (you are not the first one). Whatever you are proposing must not be done as nothing is engineered, you will not get value for your money.

I will only recommend that you must do what is technically correct. Thar CRDe is technically correct, you have it, now use it! . However, finally it is your call.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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