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Old 19th March 2016, 10:12   #1
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Default My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

I have been contemplating whether I should write this piece at all as more than enough has been said/written about this vehicle in last 20/25 years. Additionally an ownership report about a vehicle that is close to the end of its product life cycle seemed futile. However I also considered the fact that Gypsy is one vehicle that still evokes very strong emotions in a lot of people for a variety of reasons. And slowly I realized that at the end of the day this story is more about the surge of emotions that drove me to acquire it driven by years of subliminal yearning and so my friends here's my take....

I joined Team BHP in January 2016 (extremely thankful to Team BHP for approving the membership within two weeks). I have been thinking about it a lot as to how to present this. I along with so many of you out there have had a dream to acquire a Gypsy/King however it took a twist of fate to either postpone this decision owing to different vagaries of life such as demand put by marriage, kids, economic situation etc. or some other extraneous considerations that somehow a large number of us have not been able to realize their dream to own a Gypsy till later on in life.

Let me back track a little bit….

I grew up in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh in the early 80s. Father was an IFS officer posted as a senior official at the state forest department. I grew up surrounded by Jeeps all around me; in fact I started driving without anyone’s supervision in a petrol Mahindra (I would refrain from calling it a Jeep as by that time Mahindra had lost the license to use the Jeep brand name from American Motor Corporation Inc.). It had a 4 speed transmission with a low ratio transfer case, a canvas top and a potent petrol engine. This was a few years before advent of Gypsy (MG 410) on the Indian car scene & long before diesel was the fuel of choice of serious 4X4s (not there were many choices around that time).

Finally in 1985 Maruti decided to launch Gypsy & slowly as we all know it became a weapon of choice among forest/police/armed forces. It was very popular back then (it still is to an extent among a few off road aficionados in Himachal & other hill states and in fact all over India). Subsequently I was exposed to a serious motor sporting event that was Himalayan Car Rally organised by Mr. Nazir Hoosein who later went on to become Vice President of FIA in 2005 and FIA’s Chief Steward subsequently. I was a marshal in HCR in 1989 (if my memory serves me right) & having seen a number of rallying events in India from close quarters (my younger brother prepared tulip charts for Raid De Himalaya for 5 years) I can confidently say that in terms of logistics HCR was the most professionally organised event that one time had a every chance of becoming a part of Asia Pacific Rally Championship. When I was part of HCR as an official, marshals had over 100 vehicles provided by HRA & there were 5 Gypsys just carrying communication gear.

In a number of HCR events I remember observing teams from India Army/Air Force & a few privateers giving a valiant fight in their Maruti Gypsys to factory team of Mitsubishi (Gallant VR 4) & Nissan (240RS) driven by the likes of Jayant Shah and Kenjiro Shinozuka. Both of these factory team were superbly backed up; both Mitsubishi & Nissan had more than 80 support car/trucks carrying fuel/tires/full transmission replacement sets etc. In fact 1990 was the last year that we saw these teams from these two esteemed brands with impeccable motorsport pedigree of international repute in an Indian Rallying event.

The Gypsy fever had taken root and was growing. I had a chance to drive the MG 410, MG 410W & later on MG413W that were part of Dad’s official car fleet at different times. I went on to acquire a degree in Mechanical Engineering, got a job in a state owned oil company, and got married. Now I had some money but the head won over heart & I settled for a Maruti 800, followed by a Ford Ikon but the dream still lived on….

In 2006 I resigned from my job and came to Canada to do my Masters which was followed by a job offer from one of world’s biggest oil companies. Subsequently I had opportunity to own a Honda Civic (manual), a Dodge Charger (5.7 ltr V8), a Hyundai Santa Fe (3.5 ltr V6), a Ford Edge (3.7 ltr V6) but the fever still persisted.

I’m sure almost all of us had a massive crush on some very beautiful girl (or a boy if you’re a girl, I don’t want to sound sexist as I know there are many female members/readers at this forum) while in school/college but somehow could never gather enough courage to profess our feelings. As we grew up and went on & about our lives I’m sure in some deep recesses of our heart that teenage crush still lived on & pangs of regret of not being able to reach out to her still bother us. That is exactly how I would have felt had I not acquired this beauty.

In December 2015 I firmed up the decision to buy a new hard top Gypsy and conveyed the decision to my father in India who deposited the required Rs. 50,000 with the local dealer in town and the car was made available in 10 days flat. So finally on January 14th, 2016 I took the delivery of a brand new 2016 Gypsy King Hard top.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-3.jpg

On the day of the delivery the paperwork was completed within a couple of hours and the car was handed over after a brief ceremony. As the car was being readied for delivery I actually had a couple of guys offering to buy it out on the spot (turns out that hard top Gypsys are difficult to get hold of).

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-4.jpg

I know I will only be able to drive it for a few days maybe once a year when I visit India but that is fine. If there is one car that I would like to take to my grave it is BMW M3 (famously said by a Motortrend editor a few years ago) & if there’s one 4X4 that I would like to live with it is my Gypsy. The dream is fulfilled & I can breathe easy.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-gypsy-king.jpg

Though I plan to work on an ownership experience document (medium & long term) this is my initial impression of the vehicle:

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-gypsy-king-iv.jpg

One of the things that disappointed me was not absence of amenities (we don’t buy a Gypsy for that, do we) but the fact that Maruti has not bothered to improve the vehicle on any front. The panel gaps & shut lines are all over the place. This probably is due to wearing out of the dies as the Gypsy has entered into 31st year of production in India. The vehicle did not come with even the basic matting for the rear section. It still has the bare bone dashboard design/layout that was offered 31 years ago.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-5.jpg

As for power steering & air conditioning; I totally understand that in a vehicle intended for rough terrain/use, power steering has the potential to introduce unnecessary complexity, it's omission probably also allowed MS to keep the costs down and more importantly it's primary customer base (Armed forces/Police) probably didn't require that luxury though I would have liked MS to offer air conditioning at least as an option. For me though lack of air-conditioning is not a deal breaker as I wouldn’t require it here in the hills for most of the time.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-basantpur-1.jpg

The steering effort at parking speeds is awful though I must mention here that the larger tires size that I have upgraded to is to be partly blamed for that. I have replaced the stock MRF F78-15-4 PR cross ply tires with Yokohama Geolandars 215/75 R15 (OD – 27.9”). The correct up-size would have been a 215/70 R15 (OD – 26.9”) as that would have helped in keeping the overall rolling diameter of the replacement tire within 2.5% of the OD of the stock tires (26.5”) which is recommended tolerance but unfortunately this tire size is not offered by Yokohama in India. Turning circle could have been better though I believe this could have been possibly due to steering knuckle design.

I must however mention that the ride comfort went up substantially after replacing the stock tires & I must thank various forum members for providing valuable guidance towards the replacement tire brand/size etc.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-basantpur-2.jpg

One thing that I absolutely love about Gypsy is amount of work that can be done on it by an enthusiast (provided you’ve expertise) in view of minimal intrusion of electronics in different automotive systems & I know fully well that it is probably one of such last specimens of its kind (believe me, there is practically nothing that you can do on the cars/SUVs that I have owned over here except maybe changing the engine oil/change the headlight bulb or the air filter).

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-bp-2.jpg

Bottom line is that for all it quirks & deficiencies it has a bulletproof power train & nothing can touch it off pavement. I can still go out and buy a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon & modify the hell out of it but it does not evoke the same feelings in me as Gypsy (though I may still do it sometimes in the future).

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-bp-3.jpg

Okay down to business:

The position of the steering wheel, control stalks and pedals relative to the driver’s seat are fairly ergonomic and fall to the hands easily (after driving overseas for 10 years I felt at home instantly). The seats though leave a lot to be desired as there is hardly any lateral support and you feel yourself sliding if you indulge in some spirited driving. You have your fan control, temperature control and a stalk for fresh air mode/re-circulation mode (this panel located in the centre is not even back lit). The lever for popping the hood is located inside the glove box which is lockable.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-bp-5.jpg


The gear lever’s position is apt and the shifts are reassuringly solid and slick. On its right side lies the short lever that engages 4H & 4L in addition to N (neutral that disengages the entire transmission). As has been mention numerous times on various threads 4H can be engaged while the vehicle is in motion (below 40 kmph) while the vehicle needs to come to a complete stop in order to engage 4L. Also one needs to ensure that front wheels are straight and the vehicle is not on a paved surface that will provide adequate traction (especially for 4L). As soon as you engage either 4H or 4L the ‘4WD” sign comes on at the centre of the instrument cluster.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-bp-6.jpg

The rear hatch can be opened both from inside and out, there is a steel wire that tethers the hatch to the cabin to avoid a swing outwards.

The engine is a gem, non-nonsense 4 banger that comes to life instantly even if the car is parked for a couple of months (well to be fair with brand new battery it is to be expected).

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-bp-8.jpg

The gearbox does take the guesswork out of shifting and clutch is light; you need to careful though as it engages quite quickly and can stall if the revs are not reasonably high.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-bp-9.jpg

Once you start to move you would need to change quickly as it is no rev crazy V6 or V8. Driving in hills I would say you’ll find ample amount of power to propel the car to safe speeds.

The vehicle is not equipped with a tachometer but I can safely guess that engine revs merrily till 5,000/5,500 rpm however I refrained from revving it beyond let’s say 3,000 rpm is it has still not completed 1,000 clicks.

This time during my trip back home I took her out of town to stretch her legs up in the mountains and away from hustle and bustle of the city.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-bp-15.jpg

I had no problem in keeping up with the nifty little cars of all makes & models. The bus and truck drivers quickly allowed me to pass on narrow single lane mountain roads. It is here that this vehicle shines. The view from the driver seat is majestic and you tower above a lot of the traffic. While getting out of town I drove at a sedate pace and downshifted to third whenever the need arose which was quite frequent given the meandering single lane roads and some congested pockets on the outskirts of town.

You quickly realise that this car cannot be hustled around the corners; to really enjoy the drive one has to drive at sensible speeds and take the scenery in. The drive is involving; you need to correct the steering at times as there is a little bit of play however it was refreshing to drive a car with pure hydraulic steering as the car gave you constant feedback as to what’s happening on the asphalt. Yes as is well known, the suspension is fairly stiff and you feel every imperfection on the road (and there are many where I drove the car); on a smooth tarmac the ride is fairly comfortable.

As this was the month of December and I was driving 7,000 feet above sea level the glasses were up and I was kept cosy by the warmth of the bright and a sunny day however there’s heater available should you require it. In summer however you would need to drive with your glasses rolled down as there’s no air conditioning.

While driving out in the open I never felt the need for the power steering though the steering effort increases considerably at parking speeds.
The headlights light up the road very well at night & panel lights light up the instrument cluster clearly.

I would not go into other minor details as enough has been said/written about that in last twenty years.
It is more of a personal story to share though at this juncture I question the need to write all this as stories are doing rounds that the production of Gypsy will stop any day.

For me however that changes nothing.
It is like a friend that you’ve missed all these years and you’re thankful that you’ve finally met. There’s no other vehicle that I will ever replace my Gypsy with; none.

I had the opportunity to drive the car for a few hundred kilometres before I had to head back home and so the minor aesthetic upgrades would have to wait for my next trip.

Now comes the proverbial question…should I keep it stock or carry out some modifications/upgrades.

To be continued....

Last edited by Vikram Arya : 6th January 2017 at 04:40. Reason: Work in progress
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Old 19th March 2016, 20:43   #2
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Default re: My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Arya View Post
So friends finally in January earlier this year on my visit to India I took the delivery of a brand new 2016 Gypsy King Hard top
Congrats Vikram! I had almost picked up a new Gypsy last year when head prevailed over heart and I ended up buying a pre-owned one. Kudos to you for following your heart - do start a thread on your ownership experience.

What were the color options available to you? What did you pay as on-road price? Waiting period?
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Old 20th March 2016, 05:38   #3
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Default re: My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

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Originally Posted by cool_dube View Post
Congrats Vikram! I had almost picked up a new Gypsy last year when head prevailed over heart and I ended up buying a pre-owned one. Kudos to you for following your heart - do start a thread on your ownership experience.

What were the color options available to you? What did you pay as on-road price? Waiting period?
Thank you Mr. Dube.

I had called up a number of dealerships in Chandigarh, Delhi & Gurgaon around December 2015 & was told that the waiting time ranged from 6 to 9 months.

I paid Rs. 6,35,000 ex showroom & by the time I was done with registration, road tax & insurance the total amount was approx. Rs. 6,98,000. I believe the HT version is now priced at Rs. 6,56,000 after the price hike post 2016 budget (ex show room prices may vary depending upon the state that you may make the purchase in). I did not explore the option of other colours as I wanted White though I believe Red, dark Blue & Silver colours are offered however I have personally never seen a silver Gypsy.

I want to put together a detailed ownership document however I believe that in order for me to do justice to it I would need to put in at least a couple of thousand kilometers on the clock and for that I will have to wait for my next trip back home (and that alone is more than enough reason to plan my next trip).

Request you to comment on my planned upgrades if you can as it will help me in finalizing accordingly.

Thank you & take care.
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Old 20th March 2016, 12:02   #4
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Default re: My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

Hi,

Congrats on buying the Gypsy, the true mountain goat. I am a huge Gypsy enthusiast myself, and it was really refreshing to read this report. Kudos to you for taking up the courage to buy one off the showroom rather than pre owned.

Your very own story, the reason for your interest towards the Gypsy, were all very interesting to read. Thanks a ton for sharing.

Please keep adding details to this thread, once you get to spend more time with her. More pics, of the interiors too, would be appreciated.

A Gypsy is not complete without the subtle modifications by its owner. So best of luck with the mods and I am sure there will be a lot of experts on board to help you.

Keep revvin'
Neel
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Old 20th March 2016, 12:44   #5
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Default re: My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

Good buy for the Himalayan road conditions. Gypsy is refined and super reliable. Sad that Maruti has not updated it for a long time and has let the demand drop.

Gypsy was a desired life style vehicle in the 90s, It would have been great, if maruti had at least made subtle changes like an air con, better dash e.t.c. In the 90s they could sell it like this but the game has moved on.

Power steering can be a liability in hard core off roading, hence will not blame them for not bringing it to the table.

Large turning radius is the biggest issue when driving in city limits, not the power steering as most people believe. Parking is a big issue and pulling out from a parking spot is not at all easy.

Good thing is the refinement, In a Mahindra major the gear lever vibrates a lot while in a gypsy it does not. Engine Refinement is on par with sedans.

Maruti may discontinue the model at any time so it is good that this car has been bought now.
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Old 6th January 2017, 15:04   #6
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Default Re: My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the 4x4 Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th January 2017, 16:09   #7
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Default Re: My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Arya View Post

Now comes the proverbial question…should I keep it stock or carry out some modifications/upgrades.

To be continued....
Congratulations! always was and will be a gypsy fan.

What kind of modifications are you looking at? Since you will be using the vehicle sparingly i would say stick to the absolute essentials. I would say a better front seat and maybe two auxiliary lights since you are using it in the hills. Tyres you have already upgraded and you might want to add a free wheeling hub for slightly easier steering wheel but then since vehicle is going to be idle, ensure you engage them and move so that the lubes are moving inside the front axle.

AC if you are considering, go for the maruti 800 compressor. Anything bigger and you would want something to boost the engine power.
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Old 6th January 2017, 18:35   #8
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Default Re: My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Arya View Post
I have been contemplating whether I should write this piece at all as more than enough has been said/written about this vehicle in last 20/25 years.
I thought this thread was already live sometime last year. Did it go dormant again?

Nevertheless, I take this opportunity to revisit my quote earlier in this thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cool_dube View Post
I had almost picked up a new Gypsy last year when head prevailed over heart and I ended up buying a pre-owned one.
Well, eventually heart did prevail over head and I ended up selling off my pre-owned Gypsy in lieu of a brand new one And boy, what a feeling it is! With all due respect to the owners of pre-owned Gypsies, nothing comes close to the feel of driving a brand new King! Of course, it makes NO PRACTICAL SENSE to plonk close to 8 lac (yes, that was the on-road price for a ST in Bangalore last year) on a vehicle which is:

a) Devoid of any creature comforts - no a/c, no p/s, leaf springs all over, etc. etc. My non-petrol-head friends were contemplating on getting me admitted to an asylum when they heard this - heck, even an Alto costing a third of a Gypsy has these amenities!

b) Nearing its end of life - with the Army pulling the plug on the Gypsy, it is just a matter of time when the Gypsy meets the same fate as the other icon in the 4x4 world - the M&M Classic, which I have had the pleasure to own (as the second owner) for almost 8 years. And how I wish I could have acquired a brand new Classic. When it was in production, I did not have the financial resources to buy one and when I did have the money, the production had stopped for good! After having sold off the Classic, I had been planning to buy a Gypsy and the tussle b/w new vs. used went on for years together. When I saw the chance to own a brand new one, I did not let it go. Not to mention that I had to shelve my plans to upgrade my SUV for the next 2-3 years at least, and gladly so. One look at the spanking new King in my parking lot and all remorse goes out the window!

c) Available in the used car market for less than a third of the price of a new one - of course, most of these are quite beaten up, having come out of military and govt. auctions, but then who needs a shiny new Gypsy to beat the c**p out of it on OTRs! Well, there are some who drive to office in one

With that said, I will go back to what Vikram mentioned above - this car is a keeper, one to live with for one's entire lifetime. Other cars in my garage will come and go but the King will remain there for as long as I can possibly keep it

Vikram - sorry to have hijacked your thread but as you said my friend, a Gypsy is all about emotional connect and I could not help, but pour my heart out here. Wish you many successful kilometers and delightful years with your Gypsy King!!

I will refrain from using this thread to post pics of my King but for those of you who are interested, here (Maruti Gypsy Pictures)are a few pics.

May the Gypsy brotherhood live on...
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Old 6th January 2017, 22:48   #9
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Hey Vikram, Are you sure about the availability of a heater in the Gypsy? I dint have one in my '09 Gypsy.
Cheers,
Deepak
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Old 7th January 2017, 01:45   #10
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Default Re: My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Congratulations! always was and will be a gypsy fan.

What kind of modifications are you looking at? Since you will be using the vehicle sparingly i would say stick to the absolute essentials. I would say a better front seat and maybe two auxiliary lights since you are using it in the hills. Tyres you have already upgraded and you might want to add a free wheeling hub for slightly easier steering wheel but then since vehicle is going to be idle, ensure you engage them and move so that the lubes are moving inside the front axle.

AC if you are considering, go for the maruti 800 compressor. Anything bigger and you would want something to boost the engine power.
Thank you Jaggu.

Adding power steering or air conditioning is definitely NOT on my list.

The only mods that I'm considering currently is to add some auxiliary lights, change lug nuts to closed ones and add locking hubs and possibly a few others things. I will share some of my thoughts & details about the merchandise that I have procured so far in a separate post.

Look forward to your feedback/thoughts on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cool_dube View Post
I thought this thread was already live sometime last year. Did it go dormant again?

Nevertheless, I take this opportunity to revisit my quote earlier in this thread...

Well, eventually heart did prevail over head and I ended up selling off my pre-owned Gypsy in lieu of a brand new one And boy, what a feeling it is! With all due respect to the owners of pre-owned Gypsies, nothing comes close to the feel of driving a brand new King! Well, there are some who drive to office in one

With that said, I will go back to what Vikram mentioned above - this car is a keeper, one to live with for one's entire lifetime. Other cars in my garage will come and go but the King will remain there for as long as I can possibly keep it

Vikram - sorry to have hijacked your thread but as you said my friend, a Gypsy is all about emotional connect and I could not help, but pour my heart out here. Wish you many successful kilometers and delightful years with your Gypsy King!!

I will refrain from using this thread to post pics of my King but for those of you who are interested, here (Maruti Gypsy Pictures)are a few pics.

May the Gypsy brotherhood live on...
Thanks Mr. Dube. Yes I am very much aware about your new acquisition and have tried to keep pace with your comments.

I believe we're a shrinking community and that's why I wanted to reach out to the like minded forum members to share my thoughts.

Though I may not have met/spoken to any of you guys in person but I feel that we speak the same language and feel very strongly about a certain vehicle that is difficult for a lot of people to comprehend. I believe we share a special bond and I'm grateful to this forum for providing us a platform to share our thoughts.

It is especially important to me as I write this piece sitting halfway across the world in my home office (its snowing outside and the temperature is -22C, perfect weather for a spin in Gypsy, right), and I feel sad that I can not go out on a whim and have a look at her or take her out for a long drive.

So Mr. Dube, I can not even begin to tell you that how lucky you are. Enjoy your daily drives and look after your baby well.

Who knows someday we will meet (you can plan a trip to Shimla/Manali or I can drive down to Bangalore...)

Drive safe my friend!

Quote:
Originally Posted by starter View Post
Hey Vikram, Are you sure about the availability of a heater in the Gypsy? I dint have one in my '09 Gypsy.
Cheers,
Deepak
Hi Deepak, I took the delivery last January & temperature was 4C so as I was driving from the showroom to my parents place the heater was on all the way. I'm not sure when was this feature introduced though. If you don't have one and want to install it in your car it shouldn't be too complicated. I will let the more informed members chime in on that.

Thanks,
Vikram
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Old 7th January 2017, 18:18   #11
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Default Re: My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Arya View Post
The only mods that I'm considering currently is to add some auxiliary lights, change lug nuts to closed ones and add locking hubs and possibly a few others things.
I am interested in the first two items on this list. Have you shortlisted anything on these fronts yet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Arya View Post
So Mr. Dube, I can not even begin to tell you that how lucky you are. Enjoy your daily drives and look after your baby well.
Thanks Vikram, I will. Believe you me, I look forward to my office commute every day just so that I can drive the Gypsy My daughter simply loves it and chooses the Gypsy over the other 2 cars for going anywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Arya View Post
Who knows someday we will meet (you can plan a trip to Shimla/Manali or I can drive down to Bangalore...)
Amen!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Arya View Post
I'm not sure when was this feature introduced though. If you don't have one and want to install it in your car it shouldn't be too complicated. I will let the more informed members chime in on that.
As far as I know, there is no separate heating unit installed. It is just the heat of the engine being diverted to the cabin. I might be wrong though. A good test would be to turn it on when the engine is not warm enough and see if it still throws hot air.
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Old 7th January 2017, 18:27   #12
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Cool_dube:
The Closed Type Lug nuts are
Easily available at most of the Authorised workshops.
I got a complete set at Green Cars.
You can change all the 20 of them on the working wheels and only 2 on the spare since you need one single conventional open type lug nut to put a lock on that spare.
Here's the pic of both types...
Name:  ImageUploadedByTeamBHP1483793815.645184.jpg
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Old 8th January 2017, 08:42   #13
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Default Re: My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop

Upgradations/modifications & other accoutrements

One of the forum members mentioned this in a post earlier that a Gypsy requires an individual’s signature to truly personalize it. While I agree with this I have seen some folks go overboard with the kind of modifications they carry out (no offence to them though, to each his own), I believe modifying Gypsy too much disturbs its character unless those modifications have a specific purpose such as those mods that are intended to compete in serious off road events.

I have no such ambitions for my Gypsy. I plan to use it for some long trips primarily in Northern India, to some less explored parts of my home state and a few sojourns in and around Uttrakhand and Rajasthan where I served for three years before I left India. I plan to do some serious camping in the mountains as well. There will never be more than two people traveling in this vehicle and the space behind two front seats will be used to carry the gear.

To meet the intended objectives I felt that there are some basic upgradations required:

1. Better tires, both for achieving a superior ride which is essential for those long trips in the Northern environs where the condition of the roads is not good (sometimes roads just disappear). In case of snow a good set of tire can make a difference between life and death.


2. Auxiliary lights; now I must mention that the throw and brightness provided by the stock headlamps is reasonably good. I feel auxiliary lights would be an advantage in inclement weather conditions, in foggy conditions and any extra illumination does come handy while driving at night on narrow mountain roads. I also must admit that if tastefully done auxiliary lights also enhance the aesthetic appeal of the vehicle.


3. Manual Locking hubs; I know this is a very contentious topic but I feel that if I do not plan to use the 4WD more than once or twice a year, I would like to disengage my front driveline thus saving some wear and tear, reducing my steering effort and improving the fuel economy even to a small extent.


4. A good quality CB radio; I’m not sure if there is yet a reasonable large CB radio community in India but with the delicensing the user base would surely increase in times to come. In remote areas this can come handy when you do not have a cellphone signal. In community drive events it can help you to co-ordinate the movement of the convoy.


I understand that an argument can be made for an off road bumper, a good quality winch (my younger brother once got stuck overnight on a back road near Narkanda, 100 kms North of Shimla and it was the month of January with 9 to 10 inches of snow on the ground. It was a good 8 hours before he could get a crew to help me out) however at this stage I don’t have any plan to add these.

Other than this I plan to add some basic stuff that may or may have any functional purpose but would improve the aesthetics of the car such as:

• Close lug nuts
• Lock nuts
• Driver and passenger side ORVM (Suzuki OEM)
• 12 volt socket
• A good quality steering wheel cover

In addition I also plan to add some gear that may come handy on a long trip such as:

• A good quality compressor
• Cambuckle tie downs
• Fuel filter/funnel
• Tubeless Tire puncture kit
• Tow rope with a 5,000 lbs rating

Some extra goodies for my garage/future consumables

• Torque wrench and socket set for the garage use
• A set of extra spark plugs
• A set of extra Oil and air filter
• Thread locker (medium & heavy duty)
• Inline fuse
• Relays
• Regular fuse of different ampere ratings
• Extra set of wiper blades
• 50” of split flex tubing
• Heavy duty battery terminals

Okay let’s dive into the details now:

Tires & audio system:

During my last visit in January I installed Yokohama Geolandars R15 215/75, a Pioneer CD player with a 2 channel amplifier with Kicker speakers. So some initial work was completed.

Auxiliary lights:

Zeroing down on suitable lights took some time. I considered some LED auxiliary lams but found them to be prohibitively expensive. Additionally as a typical LED auxiliary lamp is quite deep to accommodate the ballast at the back these cannot be mounted on the stock bumper so these were ruled out.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-ipf-1.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-ipf-2.jpg

I view of budget I decided to stick to good quality halogen lamps. I was clear that lights would have to be of reasonable size and not very deep to ensure ease of installation.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-piaa-1.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-piaa-2.jpg

While doing research I found out that PIAA & IPF make some very interesting lights. PIAA is an American company based out of Portland, Oregon & has been involved with various world rallying teams for years. IPF is a company based out of Takasaki, Japan and they also make some good quality lamps.

I decided to invest in for a pair of IPF 968s (US$180) & pair of PIAA 520 ATP (US$310). Both of these lamps also come with grills that provide added protection. I plan to install an IPF 968s on the stock bumper and PIAA 520 ATPs on the windshield mounts.

Manual locking hubs:

As you would be aware there was a raging debate on this forum about the need for manual locking hubs vis-à-vis the OEM permanently locked hubs and I don’t want to ignite that debate once again but let me say that after spending days on the web on this as well as some English, Australian and American 4X4 forums the decision was made; OEM permanently locked hubs would be replaced by manual locking hubs.

After I had decided to install the locking hubs, making decision in regards to the brand was quite easy. The fact that Aisin was also the OEM supplier to Suzuki (these came factory fitted on Gypsys in India till a few years ago & on Samurais all across the world) made my job easier.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-aisin-1.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-aisin-2.jpg

I chose Aisin over Warn or some of the locally fabricated hubs as Aisin hubs command a lot of respect among serious off road users on Australian and North American forums. The hubs were ordered (US$ 210) along with the star gasket (US$ 18). As soon as the hubs arrived I realised that there was a problem; these hubs had tapered holes and therefore the flange bolts that came fitted on the permanently locked hubs would not fit.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-aisin-3.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-aisin-4.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-aisin-5.jpg

So a new research was commenced that proved to be quite frustrating as I was unable to find the tapered bolts of the requisite size. A couple of days into my research I was told by an auto spare parts dealer based in Salt Lake City, Utah (bless his soul) who specializes in Suzuki Samurais that what I needed was a set of metal conical washers and then he threw a bucket of water on my excitement of having discovered the right solution by saying that these washers are almost impossible to find and that I should explore junkyards that may have some old Samurais. Now using buggered up washers on my brand new hubs that are to go on my new Gypsy would have been sacrilege and I had almost dropped the idea of installing the locking hubs when I discovered a set of brand new washers for sale on eBay for US$ 28. The guy was asking for US$ 50 for these to be shipped to Canada. I found this to be a daylight robbery but I realized I had to travel to the US border for some work and I can pick these up for US $32 (including postage).


CB Radio:

A Uniden 880 HCR was acquired including a mounting bracket, antenna holder, a 3 feet firestick antenna with tunable tip & 18” coaxial cable. This CB unit has a built in SWR meter that eliminates the need to get one separately for tuning purposes. Total damage was US$220.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-cb-radio.jpg

Door mounted rear view mirrors:

One of the first things that I had decided to install was a set of OEM (yes OEM Suzuki) ORVMs. The driver side mirror that comes with the car is an apology of a mirror. It has very poor field of view and is a flimsy contraption though I must say I would've gladly lived with those if the car came factory fitted with mirrors on both driver and passenger side. I started researching on the internet and came across a company that supplies the Suzuki OEM style mirrors that came factory fitted on Suzuki Samurai that were sold here in North America till 1995. Well, Amazon proved to be my best friend. So here are the OEM mirrors for all of (US$37).

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-ovrm-1.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-ovrm-2.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-ovrm-3.jpg

Closed lug nuts & lock nuts:

Next on the list were chrome lug nuts and lock nuts to secure the spare and the wheels. Courtesy Canadian Tire, the local auto spare chain the lock nuts were procured (US$ 23). A set of chrome lug nuts (US$ 24) was ordered from Amazon.
My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-lock-nuts.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-lug-nuts.jpg

Torque wrench & socket set:

As all of us are aware that there is hardly a concept of tightening a bolt/nut to the OEM spec torque in Indian workshops and I wanted this very handy tool that can be used on a lot of fasteners on the car provided you have the OEM spec torque chart. I invested in a ½ inch torque wrench with a range of 10 to 150 lb-ft. (US$39) and a socket set that had the sockets from 10mm to24 mm (US$36). Torque wrench incidentally would also come handy in installing the lug & locking nuts. The torque wrench would also be useful in tightening the flange and cover bolts of the Aisin manual locking hubs that I had planned to install.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-torque-wrench.jpg

Air Compressor:

As all of you’re aware to put the right amount of air into your tires is very important to ensure even tire wear and proper cushioning. We know the accuracy of the tire gauges that are found at most tire shops or gas stations is less than stellar. This problem becomes even more acute if you have a flat tire/low air pressure especially in remote areas so a good quality air compressor needed to be procured. I also realized that Gypsy does not come with a 12 volt socket (though I had plans to install one) therefore the air compressor would need to have a provision whereby it can be connected to the battery terminals. After a doing a little bit of research a suitable match was found at the local Canadian Tire store for $ 100.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-air-compressor.jpg

Fuel filter/funnel:

Another problem that I have experienced while traveling in the hinterland is that of poor quality of fuel and to make the matters worse sometimes fuel mixed with water therefore a fuel funnel with a built in filter was procured from the Amazon (US$23).

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Miscellaneous:

Though I’m aware that Gypsy oil and air filters are easily available I ordered one Wix air filter (US$ 13) and a couple of Bosch oil filters (US$ 5.50 each) from Amazon. While ordering these I also ordered a box automotive fuse set (US$14), a set of inline fuse (US$ 15 for a set of 5) and a few relays (US 19 for a set of 5). I also ordered a 12 volt socket, a 5 watt led light for the central panel and a luggage mesh. As I plan to travel in the interiors and many a times the distance between two gas stations is more than how far you can go on a 40 ltr. tank I also ordered a set of cambuckle tie down belts to secure the luggage that would sometimes include a 40 ltr. jerry can to hold some spare gas. A good quality steering cover was also procured. A set of wiper blades, heavy duty battery terminals, some 12/14/16 gauge good quality automotive wires and some flex split tubing to cover the wire of the auxiliary lights was also procured.

My 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-cambuckle-tie-down.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-misc-1.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-misc-2.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-misc-4.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-misc-3.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-misc-5.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-misc-6.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-puncture-kit.jpgMy 2016 Maruti Gypsy King Hardtop-tow-rope.jpg

Now on my trip I will be undertaking the endeavour to complete at least some of these installations and will post pictures accordingly.

So long friends…

Last edited by Vikram Arya : 8th January 2017 at 08:57.
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Old 8th January 2017, 09:31   #14
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Originally Posted by cool_dube View Post
I am interested in the first two items on this list. Have you shortlisted anything on these fronts yet?..........

As far as I know, there is no separate heating unit installed. It is just the heat of the engine being diverted to the cabin. I might be wrong though. A good test would be to turn it on when the engine is not warm enough and see if it still throws hot air.
Mr. Dube my recommendation would be Hella Rallye 3000 (approx. Rs 10,000) or Hella 700FF (will be slightly cheaper). Though personally I have no experience with Hella this feedback comes from my cousin who restores old Gypsys & also prepares Rally cabins. Make sure that you buy from an authorised Hella distributor; I'm sure there's one in Bangalore.

There are other reputable brands that are available in India such as Lightforce but these I believe are substantially expensive & not worth the change; again strictly my personal opinion.

As for heating, I distinctly remember turning on heat on a particularly chilly evening within 5 seconds of firing up the engine and I got warm air instantly. Now that is not possible without an actual heating coil in place as it takes substantially longer for the engine to warm up. I have not physically confirmed this though.
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Old 8th January 2017, 14:37   #15
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Wow Vikram that was an illuminatingly well researched and executed post!

Youve given me some ideas too...notably that Torque wrench.

Must try and procure that on my next travel to one of the countries where 4x4 is a real movement and where these things are easily available!
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