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Old 17th December 2010, 19:02   #1
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Default Experienced vs Newbie driver for off-roading

Mod, Please pardons if this is the wrong place to begin this thread. Kindly shift it if required, OR if this has already been discussed.

To begin with, Iam a newbie with no experience in the OTR field yet. Hoping that happens soon. I own a MM540 4x4 and it is my daily companion to work. Whatever I am learning about a jeep is from team bhp, taking it to the garage and from Jeep-Gurus like Suresh Stephen sir and UBS sir.

I recently met a fellow jeeper at the garage who was underway with redoing the tech specs of his jeep (CJ3B) as he wanted to make it OTR (super) friendly. He spoke about changing quite a lot (of which i understood very little) but i did get the point that he was going to lift the vehicle up, get OTR worthy tyres, put a snorkel, strengthen the chassis etc.

My question is (finally !)
For an OTR (and otherwise), what is crucial in a jeep?
experienced driver?
very good driving skills and technique?
Technical Up-gradation for better maneuvering and drive?

can a jeep with a 10 year old well kept engine, original tyres/suspensions not compete a jeep that has the latest in off roading gadgets?
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Old 18th December 2010, 09:57   #2
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Default Re: Old v/s New

Kingvikz,
if you are not allergic to dirty your hands occasionally, and also have regular visits to a friendly nearby garage (to tighten, oil, check etc.,.) - an old jeep, especially a MM540 4WD - can do all things a modern 4wd can do in OTRs.
the main things that make markable difference in OTR performance is :
1. All Terrain Tyres - preferably 31" and more, as these raise the ground clearance
2. an oil-leak free engine/gearbox/differentials combo - making you have confidence in your OTR drives
3. lastly, a skillful driver, who understands his machine and has an open mind to learn the OTR techniques, without any ego. (a skilled driver is one who knows the capacity and capability of his jeep in offroad situations, rather than have confidence on other accompanying members/vehicles)
Apart from these, consider the following depending on your vitamin M capacity :
4. a 9000lb winch would surely be a helping hand - in lone OTRs
5. a high lift jack
6. good tow rope plus D shackles/Tow points
7. essential engine/gearbox/diff oils & other liquids in reserve capacity
8. some usual spares like fan belt, acclerator cable, clutch cables, fuses, etc.,.

since you are in bangalore, contact swastikviji to make your mm540 a better offroader. but remember, an offroader will not handle that much nicely on highways/daily use, so try to strike a balance - have a good combination in offroading and daily use.

speak with arka, ubs sir - jeep gurus, who can make you understand more of your mm540, dont hesitate to do things yourself, so you become to understand the meaning of "its a jeep thing" haha...

Last edited by shekaran : 18th December 2010 at 09:59. Reason: spell check
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Old 18th December 2010, 11:34   #3
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Default Re: Old v/s New

My Advice:

Don't do any modifications yet. Go first as a passenger for a couple of OTRs and just learn and observe. Take tips and get your stock MM in proper shape. Check if 4x4 is working, etc.

Then take your jeep along to the next OTR and again learn. Ask someone to sit with you and guide. This will make you realize if off roading is for you or not. Once you are 100% sure, then SLOWLY start modding your jeep in a phase wise manner so that you know the advantage of each stage.
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Old 19th December 2010, 21:09   #4
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Default Re: Old v/s New

Thank you Shekaran. I love getting my hands dirty on the jeep but, the fear of ruining something while trying out something with my hands is high. The fact that vitamin M is less adds to my under-confidence. However the list of markable differences has left a mark in my memory. Thank you once again for all those valuable inputs.

Tejas Sir,
You said exactly what has been on my mind since the last 6-8 months. I will continue to look/wait for OTR trips/opportunities/invitations and will hop in along with someone and get my self 2-3 OTRS (preferably more) and then bring along my 540 and learn few more things while deciding if Off roading is for me and my jeep.
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Old 20th December 2010, 08:33   #5
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Default Re: Old v/s New

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingvikz View Post
You said exactly what has been on my mind since the last 6-8 months. I will continue to look/wait for OTR trips/opportunities/invitations and will hop in along with someone and get my self 2-3 OTRS (preferably more) and then bring along my 540 and learn few more things while deciding if Off roading is for me and my jeep.
Buddy you missed a small OTR yesterday (your location says bangalore). Keep looking out for new threads on OTR. I started the same way.
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Old 20th December 2010, 12:37   #6
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Default Re: Old v/s New

Quote:
Originally Posted by livyodream View Post
Buddy you missed a small OTR yesterday (your location says bangalore). Keep looking out for new threads on OTR. I started the same way.
WHAT? oh man. Anyways, there is always a next time.
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Old 20th December 2010, 15:00   #7
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Default Re: Old v/s New

Here's a tip (that, surprisingly, many look over) : Remember to have FUN. Don't get so much into techniques & technicalities that you find an OTR stressful. Take a chill pill and enjoy. To me, an OTR is as much about the vehicle + terrain as it is about enjoying nature, and the friends I'm out with.

As the others have advised, hop on as a passenger. Spend a good amount of time reading through Team-BHP. And when you start, do so with easy terrain. The MM540 is a good 4x4...it can, honestly, make a bad offroader look good
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Old 20th December 2010, 16:03   #8
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Default Re: Old v/s New

Hey pal!
Your MM540 is one of the best ever. Simple, no frills, no fancy electronics. easy to run and maintain. basic standard jeep tyres. plain jane mechanicals.
My dad used these jeeps for years on the plantations and used to go all over the place - what classifies as off roading through slush, mud, deep monsoon rains and jungle and uphill and downhill and everywhere. no problems at all.
it is a simple vehicle, but one of the most effective for off roading.
of course once you get seriously into leisure off roading, then there's a whole new world out there which you will get into, by and by.
as of now, if you are keen and interested, then take the plunge with your MM540 and enjoy without worrying too much!
cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingvikz View Post
To begin with, Iam a newbie with no experience in the OTR field yet. Hoping that happens soon. I own a MM540 4x4 and it is my daily companion to work.
can a jeep with a 10 year old well kept engine, original tyres/suspensions not compete a jeep that has the latest in off roading gadgets?
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Old 21st December 2010, 15:08   #9
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Default Re: Old v/s New

Thank you GTO and SHankar.
Your words are very encouraging. Amidst all the talks between the jeep gurus, i thought my question would be too miniscule. Your posts will be remembered during my OTR(s)
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Old 21st December 2010, 16:15   #10
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Default Re: Old v/s New

Like what Shankar and GTO said, MM540 is a very forgiving 4x4 vehicle, which can even show a bad offroad driver as modest, bcoz of its jeeping capabilities.
OTRs are the 2nd step kingvikz.
1st get your jeep into your neighbourhood surroundings where there are no roads, and where even motorcycles fear to tread. try to explore areas not motorable - wherever you find. (for eg, i got struck in a traffic jam in NH47, and the other bypass route was 0.5kms away in parallel, inbetween light slushy lands. i got into 4H, and just drove past the mud land, got into the SH, and came home without struck in the jam.) such experiences will make you more and more respect your mm540 and also increase your confidence in offroading.
i hope you try = start exploring with your jeep.
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Old 21st December 2010, 22:02   #11
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Default Re: Old v/s New

I have already begun the driving off-the-road habit. Also had my share of Newbie issues. Like getting stuck on a empty plot of land with slush and the jeep refusing to start (problem later traced to acid forming on one of the the battery terminals and one of the connectors not able to transfer power).

There was also a drive to Hogenekkal Falls and a 3-4 km stretch that had only stones. It was thrilling to know we guys had overtaken every car that had out-run us on the highways.

I have also learnt that with my MM540, i must be cash ready every month. Never know when one uneven surface drive can break/tear/dent an oil seal, tie-rod unit, loosen up a death wobble... (Being middle class, in case of trouble i can repair the mm540 only by alternate months)

Also a BIG thanks to UBS sir. Whenever we have spoken, I have managed to only describe the part or issue and he was accurate on pin-pointing the name of the part and the type of issue that has been surrounding it.
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Old 20th June 2011, 02:48   #12
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Default Re: Experienced vs Newbie driver for off-roading

So kingvikz, what the situation with you and your Jeep now? Long time since you've posted or updated your thread. Please share with us your experiences so far after your last post and if possible some pics. Also let us know what mods you have carried out, if any, as it would be interesting to learn from your experiences.

Also post pics of your ride when you originally got it, to what it is today.
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Old 20th June 2011, 09:01   #13
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Default Re: Experienced vs Newbie driver for off-roading

Hello V16 sir

There has not been much exposure on the off roading front because of hectic office and home commitments. I was really looking forward to the Uttara pinakini OTR. However I missed out only because I cannot do squats for exercise or any other purpose (Bike accident in 2005, ACL tear, underwent a surgery this year, no experimenting for a year). And the OTR required an overnight camping in the middle of nowhere. (thrilling but not my cup of tea, anymore)

I do keep updating myself on the techincal aspects by logging here regularly. Some of the threads are simply fantastic. Being a content writer myself, Iam amazed at the writing styles some of the members posses. Must be the jeep passion that gets channelized into writing.

On the jeep front, my jeep is undergoing an extensive face lift. UBS, Jammy Anand, Rajkumar have been helping me with their knowledge. I feel very intimidated trying to write what Iam doing with my jeep because there are many here who have done more and written them better then me. Its like i would not have anything new to offer.

To keep you friends updated, I have getting my MM540 repainted, tinkered, seats restitching, new steering assembly, new air filter. The budget I had in mind had been 30,000 (Max). However as of now I have made the mechanic wealthier by 29,000 in cash and have bought parts/materials for 16,000 myself from JC Road. Prestige Automobiles on JC Road now know me by face. The Jeep is in the garage since May 7th and no sign of it coming out till June end i guess. Delays arising due to Painter absconding, Delays in choosing Paint, Mechanic waiting for some item to arrive, ill fitting parts and frequent trips to JC Road by the owner-me. i have done Home (Sultan Palya)-garage (Rammurthynagar)- Shop (JC road) thrice on the same day. And this has happened on two weekends. Im sure many distinguished Jeepers would have undertaken twice or thrice the amount of trouble/pain/sweat/trauma to get their jeep up and running. Will post pics soon.

Mods: Kindly move this reply/thread wherever it is relevant.
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