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Old 19th August 2010, 16:42   #1
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Default Thinking Aloud : 4wd Offroad capable Jungle Safari vehicle.....the build is on

Hi All
I am planning to build a Jungle Safari vehicle for game viewing in the forests of Tadoba in central India. I already have 2 gypsies for the same purpose but feel that i need another vehicle to address some of the shortcomings of the Gypsy.

This thread is being started to be a repository of ideas for this project.

Thinking aloud, my requirements of this vehicle is as follows :

1] It should be Larger than a gypsy - should be able to seat 6 to 9 wildlife photographers comfortably at the rear apart from the driver and the navigator.
2] More comfortable than a gypsy in terms of suspension - the vehicle should be comfortable for high speed on road trips as well
3] Equally if not more capable as a gypsy on the jungle trails - should be a 4wd vehicle
4] Simple, not too heavy petrol or diesel engine for ease of maintenance.

There exists a vehicle which just about matches my requirements - the Tata TL 4x4 which the Taj safaris have modified to be used as safari cars
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But the drawbacks of these vehicles as far as I am concerned are that they are too heavy, engine too complicated to be fixed by the local mech, the engine is too noisy, besides the fact that I dot have a budget of 7L for this project I am operating on a tight budget of 1.5 to 2L at the most considering that this is only going to be a hobby vehicle which is going to be stationed at Tadoba and will be used only when I visit there.

To address these issues I have been thinkig for sometime now to delve in this project.

To come straight to the point, i am thinking of the following lines :

Procure an old sumo with IFS , convert it to 4wd, cut away the body and fabricate a seating system similar to the ones in the photographs. Alternately I can also think about procuring a total loss sumo and use it as the base vehicle for the project.

Is there any other vehicle (available for cheap) with the similar feature sets that I want which I can use for my project ? The Tata Sierra ad the Tata estate also come to my mind apart from the Tata 207 but on reading this thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/commer...e-207-4x4.html I understand that 4wd conversion may be a huge pain in these vehicles. An ex army 4wd sumo would be the best but as I understand they are very rare and I have seen none come out so far in the army auctions. I would generally want to avoid ex army vehicles for this project because of the additional cost of registration of these vehicles.

Alternately is there any Mahindra vehicle with ifs and a similar engine or from any other company that I can use as the base vehicle ?

For starters I want to understand the engine systems used in the various models of the sumo over the years apart from the changes in the suspension systems that the sumo has seen over the years. Was there any particular engine that the sumo had which was light weight and less noisy ?

My mech says that the ifs of the sumo is a particularly troublesome suspension and needs more servicing than reguar - is this true ?

If I think about using only the sumo chassis with the suspension and carry out the build , which diesel or petrol engine with a appropriate gearbox with 4wd could I think of plonking in - remember that my criteria here is slightly different than the other routine builds that happen on the forum. My criteria is a reasonably light engine capable of hauling upto 9 passegers inside the forest on dirt tracks and be capable enough to get out of tricky slushy conditions during the monsoons?

With the help of all the experts here , I envisage that my project will run in this fashion ECR Safari Car Game Viewer and I am hopeful that the end result will be something like this.......
Thinking Aloud : 4wd Offroad capable Jungle Safari vehicle.....the build is on-93938924_ad9b1110b5_b.jpg

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Thinking Aloud : 4wd Offroad capable Jungle Safari vehicle.....the build is on-img_2712.jpg

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Notice how the Gypsy looks small as compared to all the rest all.
Thinking Aloud : 4wd Offroad capable Jungle Safari vehicle.....the build is on-safarijeep.jpg

These are just some of the preliminary questions that come to my mind. I hope the experts will guide me through this build. Please let me know if I have been ambiguous anywhere.

regards,
Dr. Abheek Ghosh
09960332228

Last edited by abheekg : 19th August 2010 at 16:58.
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Old 19th August 2010, 17:12   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
Hi All
I am planning to build a Jungle Safari vehicle for game viewing in the forests of Tadoba in central India. I already have 2 gypsies for the same purpose but feel that i need another vehicle to address some of the shortcomings of the Gypsy.

1] It should be Larger than a gypsy - should be able to seat 6 to 9 wildlife photographers comfortably at the rear apart from the driver and the navigator.
2] More comfortable than a gypsy in terms of suspension - the vehicle should be comfortable for high speed on road trips as well
3] Equally if not more capable as a gypsy on the jungle trails - should be a 4wd vehicle
4] Simple, not too heavy petrol or diesel engine for ease of maintenance.

There exists a vehicle which just about matches my requirements - the Tata TL 4x4 which the Taj safaris have modified to be used as safari cars

But the drawbacks of these vehicles as far as I am concerned are that they are too heavy, engine too complicated to be fixed by the local mech, the engine is too noisy, besides the fact that I dot have a budget of 7L for this project I am operating on a tight budget of 1.5 to 2L at the most considering that this is only going to be a hobby vehicle which is going to be stationed at Tadoba and will be used only when I visit there.

To address these issues I have been thinkig for sometime now to delve in this project.

To come straight to the point, i am thinking of the following lines :

Procure an old sumo with IFS , convert it to 4wd, cut away the body and fabricate a seating system similar to the ones in the photographs. Alternately I can also think about procuring a total loss sumo and use it as the base vehicle for the project.

Is there any other vehicle (available for cheap) with the similar feature sets that I want which I can use for my project ? The Tata Sierra ad the Tata estate also come to my mind apart from the Tata 207 but on reading this thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/commer...e-207-4x4.html I understand that 4wd conversion may be a huge pain in these vehicles. An ex army 4wd sumo would be the best but as I understand they are very rare and I have seen none come out so far in the army auctions. I would generally want to avoid ex army vehicles for this project because of the additional cost of registration of these vehicles.


My mech says that the ifs of the sumo is a particularly troublesome suspension and needs more servicing than reguar - is this true ?

If I think about using only the sumo chassis with the suspension and carry out the build , which diesel or petrol engine with a appropriate gearbox with 4wd could I think of plonking in - remember that my criteria here is slightly different than the other routine builds that happen on the forum. My criteria is a reasonably light engine capable of hauling upto 9 passegers inside the forest on dirt tracks and be capable enough to get out of tricky slushy conditions during the monsoons?


regards,
Dr. Abheek Ghosh
09960332228
Abheek, Interesting thread I would say. Your tight budget make it even more interesting.
Looking at your budget and requirement of a simple machine. Why dont you consider any of below from M&M Commander range or go for a max pickup 4x4 and modify it.

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Even I have heard a lot about bad reliability of Telco line's IFS suspension.

Regarding Sumo engines, I am not a Tata expert , but what I know is the earlier engines were quiter but less reliable. The new generation Tata sumo engines are very reliable but noisy. My suggestion, dont even attempt converting a 2WD Tata to 4WD. It will exceed your budget in many folds.

Lets see what the experts have to say about your project.
Good Luck with your project and hope you can complete it soon so that I can travel with you in that vehicle in Tadoba and other nearby Jungles.
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Old 19th August 2010, 17:29   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
Abheek, Interesting thread I would say. Your tight budget make it even more interesting.
Looking at your budget and requirement of a simple machine. Why dont you consider any of below from M&M Commander range or go for a max pickup 4x4 and modify it.

Attachment 409668
The commander looks very promising. How easy/difficult is it to convert it into 4wd ? What could be a reasonably silent diesel engine that can go in this ? Can the gypsy 1.3 or 1 L car engine with the gearbox and 4wd system go inside this ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
Even I have heard a lot about bad reliability of Telco line's IFS suspension.

Regarding Sumo engines, I am not a Tata expert , but what I know is the earlier engines were quiter but less reliable. The new generation Tata sumo engines are very reliable but noisy. My suggestion, dont even attempt converting a 2WD Tata to 4WD. It will exceed your budget in many folds.

Lets see what the experts have to say about your project.
experts please help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
Good Luck with your project and hope you can complete it soon so that I can travel with you in that vehicle in Tadoba and other nearby Jungles.
Sure Shibu. Your visit is long pending.

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 19th August 2010, 17:41   #4
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Default Mahindra

Hi Doc.

You can Try the following M&M Platforms

1) Bolero SC Pick up
2) Bolero DC Pick up
3) Mahindra Savari
4) Bolero
5) Bolero Camper
6) Maxx Series Pickup

All the Above in 4WD.

Regards,

Arka
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Old 19th August 2010, 17:48   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
The commander looks very promising. How easy/difficult is it to convert it into 4wd ? What could be a reasonably silent diesel engine that can go in this ? Can the gypsy 1.3 or 1 L car engine with the gearbox and 4wd system go inside this ?
I am no expert, but for sure commanders can be ordered with factory fitted 4 wheel drive. These days, it comes with the MDI3200 turbocharged diesel engines. They are not the most silent engines around, but reasonably good at that.
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Old 19th August 2010, 17:57   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
The commander looks very promising. How easy/difficult is it to convert it into 4wd ? What could be a reasonably silent diesel engine that can go in this ?
Commander comes as 4WD. But silent engine is the problem.
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Old 19th August 2010, 18:13   #7
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Originally Posted by ex670c View Post
Hi Doc.

You can Try the following M&M Platforms

1) Bolero SC Pick up
2) Bolero DC Pick up
3) Mahindra Savari
4) Bolero
5) Bolero Camper
6) Maxx Series Pickup

All the Above in 4WD.

Regards,

Arka
Hi Arka , I think some of the M&M you have mentioned have larger rear overhang ( a difficult departure angle) also a very low diesel tank .

Secondly thease are recent vehicles, hard to come in this budget . pl.explain

Sudarshan
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Old 19th August 2010, 18:26   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
The commander looks very promising. How easy/difficult is it to convert it into 4wd ? What could be a reasonably silent diesel engine that can go in this ? Can the gypsy 1.3 or 1 L car engine with the gearbox and 4wd system go inside this ?

experts please help.

Sure Shibu. Your visit is long pending.

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
Doc,
Commanders comes in 4WD mainly with noisy Peugeot Engines and I think there are few models which came with even noiser DI /MDI Engines aswell.

Gypsy 1.3 with GB & TC is easy to fit but will be terribly underpowered.

Best option would be a Toyota/Nissan or Isuzu Diesel Engine if you are looking economy.
Else go for a Isuzu petrol Engine+ GB from and old Ambassador. Cheapest option I would say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex670c View Post
Hi Doc.

You can Try the following M&M Platforms

1) Bolero SC Pick up
2) Bolero DC Pick up
3) Mahindra Savari
4) Bolero
5) Bolero Camper
6) Maxx Series Pickup
All the Above in 4WD.
Regards,
Arka
Arka, Whats a Mahinda Savari? never heard about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeeva View Post
I am no expert, but for sure commanders can be ordered with factory fitted 4 wheel drive. These days, it comes with the MDI3200 turbocharged diesel engines. They are not the most silent engines around, but reasonably good at that.
Jeevan, Doctor Abheek is looking for a vehicle between 1.5-2 Lakhs.Thats the constraint here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Commander comes as 4WD. But silent engine is the problem.
True Samurai
I think Abheek will have to opt for petrol Engine. How about a Hurricane 2.2L Engine?
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Old 19th August 2010, 18:34   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex670c View Post
Hi Doc.

You can Try the following M&M Platforms

1) Bolero SC Pick up
2) Bolero DC Pick up
3) Mahindra Savari
4) Bolero
5) Bolero Camper
6) Maxx Series Pickup

All the Above in 4WD.

Regards,

Arka
Does it mean that you are recommending to stay away from the Sumo and generally other tata vehicles? if yes, why so ?
One of the foremost priority for this project is a vehicle with good front suspension (preferably IFS) and something which doesn't cost a bomb upfront

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeeva View Post
I am no expert, but for sure commanders can be ordered with factory fitted 4 wheel drive. These days, it comes with the MDI3200 turbocharged diesel engines. They are not the most silent engines around, but reasonably good at that.
What all possible engine combinations can be put in this ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudarshan View Post
Hi Arka , I think some of the M&M you have mentioned have larger rear overhang ( a difficult departure angle) also a very low diesel tank .

Secondly thease are recent vehicles, hard to come in this budget . pl.explain

Sudarshan
yes low cost is definitely a huge criteria to start the project.

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh

Last edited by abheekg : 19th August 2010 at 18:36.
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Old 19th August 2010, 18:36   #10
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Abheek - M&M still makes a Jeep Chassis with just a driver's cabin. It is famous with all the goods carrier guys, they buy it, make a rear tub out of wood like a lorry and go about their work. I am sure a 4x4 is avbl in that model. You can even scout for used ones from the western ghats side, plenty in coorg, Kerala, etc... Rip the rear body apart - make a custom 9 seater.

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Last edited by svsantosh : 19th August 2010 at 18:43.
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Old 19th August 2010, 18:42   #11
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Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
Doc,
Commanders comes in 4WD mainly with noisy Peugeot Engines and I think there are few models which came with even noiser DI /MDI Engines aswell.

Gypsy 1.3 with GB & TC is easy to fit but will be terribly underpowered.

Best option would be a Toyota/Nissan or Isuzu Diesel Engine if you are looking economy.
Else go for a Isuzu petrol Engine+ GB from and old Ambassador. Cheapest option I would say.

True Samurai
I think Abheek will have to opt for petrol Engine. How about a Hurricane 2.2L Engine?
Hmmm.....
Economy will also be a lookout. What averages would these engines belt out under jungle driving conditions ? Whats a Hurricane 2.2L Engine?

regards,
Abheek
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Old 19th August 2010, 18:44   #12
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Originally Posted by svsantosh View Post
Abheek - M&M still makes a Jeep Chassis with just a driver's cabin. It is famous with all the goods carrier guys, they buy it, make a rear tub out of wood like a lorry and go about their work. I am sure a 4x4 is avbl in that model. You can even scout for used ones from the western ghats side, plenty in coorg, Kerala, etc... Rip the rear body apart - make a custom 9 seater.
And if sound is the deciding factor, as Jeep Captain suggested, an Isuzu petrol engine and the GB from an Amby would do. But then, retaining the 4 wheel drive would be a challenge.
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Old 19th August 2010, 20:27   #13
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Hi,
Don't want to be a wet blanket, but ....

I cannot understand the requirement for highway comfort, and a large number of seats in what is to be a hobby vehicle to be stationed at the forest. Above all else, I would value reliability. I don't think 'contraptions' will meet that requirement. And the engineering challenges to meet your requirements are formidable, even if one does not take into account the budget (or rather, the lack of it. You are basically asking for a LC)

What is wrong with using two Gypsies?

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 19th August 2010, 21:19   #14
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Originally Posted by svsantosh View Post
Abheek - M&M still makes a Jeep Chassis with just a driver's cabin. It is famous with all the goods carrier guys, they buy it, make a rear tub out of wood like a lorry and go about their work. I am sure a 4x4 is avbl in that model. You can even scout for used ones from the western ghats side, plenty in coorg, Kerala, etc... Rip the rear body apart - make a custom 9 seater.

Attachment 409684

Attachment 409685
seems like a good idea but any idea if these used half vehicles will come with an IFS ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Hi,
Don't want to be a wet blanket, but ....

I cannot understand the requirement for highway comfort, and a large number of seats in what is to be a hobby vehicle to be stationed at the forest.
Driving the gypsies over the last 1 1/2 years I have realized that in order to keep my back safe for long years of service, I need to have something more comfortable. And call it my whim or whatever, but I feel that a vehicle with an IFS is THE ONE for me.

When you put yourself in my shoes of a serious weekend wildllife photographer you will realize that the Gypsy seems very cramped for a relaxed shoot inside the jungles. The requirement for the additional seats is for the passenger loads of Wildlife Photographers to whom this vehicle will be leased out to when I will not be using it. The vehicle will thus be a self reliant gadi which will generate its own maintenance expenses. Hence the requirement for the additional and tastefully done up seats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Above all else, I would value reliability. I don't think 'contraptions' will meet that requirement. And the engineering challenges to meet your requirements are formidable, even if one does not take into account the budget (or rather, the lack of it. You are basically asking for a LC)

What is wrong with using two Gypsies?

Regards
Sutripta
I would also want the vehicle to be super reliable and hence my apparent search for a relatively maintenance free base vehicle (which I felt was a Sumo)
What are the various engineering challenges that I need to address to get this project through ? Pardon my ignorance but I am here to understand the expected problems ad avoid them.

Nothing wrong with the gypsies, but can I think of 3 rows of seats in the bay area of the Gypsy ? You need to come with me for a wild photo shoot to understand the shortcomings in a gypsy. sometimes when I take a lot of equipment and long lenses, I have to remove one of the 2 side facing seats at the back or at times both of them and keep a mattress in the bay area to keep my stuff.
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observe that to use this lens we had to remove one of the side facing seat in the gypsy rear.

Maybe Fazal saab will be ale to throw more light on the practical difficulties a serious shooter faces during these drives.

Any other simple , low cost second hand vehicle that I may use as my base vehicle for this project that I may be missing out on ?

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh

Last edited by abheekg : 19th August 2010 at 21:34.
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Old 19th August 2010, 21:27   #15
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Hi Dr. Ghosh,

You need to put the highway comfort aside which can only be applicable to the driver and passenger seat, as there will not undergo any change.

The rear end will need a complete transformation to accommodate the stepped seating in 3 rows.

Don't bother about IFS and other creature comforts as this is purely a field vehicle. Go for one which has a long chassis in the Mahindra range suggested by Arka, as they are easy to maintain and parts availability in remote areas are better than Gypsies, Sumo etc. Low running cost.

Maxx Pickup, Bolero SC Pickup or Bolero Camper (all with 4WD) are the vehicles you can narrow down upon as these are powerful load carriers and being commercial vehicles finding parts for these won't be a problem.

Rent out a place for a garage in a village near the forest (the one you propose to frequent most) and keep it parked there instead of driving Nagpur-Pench-Tadoba-Bandharvgarh and back. Time to time you can relocate it.

For the transformation send it to Hyderabad and I will give you back something beyond your imagination, with knock-out seats which an be removed for lesser tourist with more equipment or bigger lenses.

Oh yes! this is a very valid point put forward by Pramod: "because of environment reasons, even though this is not the case at tadoba now but it will not be so long by looking tourist inflow at tadoba". For eg. MP Pench does not allow diesel vehicles like Maharashtra Pench does.
Regards,

Last edited by fazalaliadil : 19th August 2010 at 21:46.
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