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Old 1st March 2011, 11:33   #1
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Default Saga of my MM550

Dreams of owning an army disposal MM550 XD were fast becoming unreachable, unachievable and unrealistic . Arka was practicality personified as he told me to sack the idea since my requirement was for the Jeep to be made into a daily-drive. He specifically told me not to think about it since it would be uncomfortable and could not be made into a daily-drive, especially so in Bangalore traffic. I chose to go ahead with it since the burning thirst of owning a MM550 ware unquenchable. And I thought that I would be able to make it into a daily drive and so many experts on this forum would definitely be able to help me out for some modifications through their collective knowledge. By the way, the preposterously presumptive and horrendously ‘wannabe’ title of ‘saga’ was more for effect than a statement of my Jeep story being a true saga.

@ Arka, you were absolutely right on every aspect of the Jeep that you spoke about . But now that I have dived headfirst into turbulent waters, I would love to take your help to help and swim across.

I met up with Vivek (papa_boost) who was kind enough to offer me a test drive of his newly built Jeep even after he realized that I didn’t even know the ABC of driving a Jeep. And during the course of the conversation he shared so much information that I was astounded. We did realize that we both were part of an older two-wheeler forum and had run into each other at some meets and such in the past. Small world eh?

Last edited by speedz : 1st March 2011 at 11:36. Reason: Font problems
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Old 1st March 2011, 14:21   #2
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

I started off with the assumption that I will have to buy a Jeep in scrap condition and build it up slowly and define my goals as I went along. Yes, Arka you were right, I had no idea of what I wanted and what I was getting into. But let not the world ever blame me for to heeding to good advice; God forbid if I ever let anyone blame me for being a practical individual.

Having given a free run and rein to my Jeep dreams, I started messaging team-bhp 4X4 community members with all the barrels smoking. All thoughts of work were pushed aside, play was banished, relaxation was not thought about; life came to a stand still. All my friends in office started avoiding me; they haven’t been seen in my company ever since. All I did was talk about the Jeep threads with anyone who cared to lend an ear or two; and sometimes, even the people who did not lend me even a miniscule part of their aural senses were mercilessly battered into submission. Ah, I couldn’t let anyone get off that easily, could I? I pounded them with ‘newly-acquired’ knowledge and terminologies of Jeep and off-roading. My social ineptness, brought on by my obsession with motorcycles, was not helped in the remotest manner with my obsessively compulsive thinking about the Jeep. As of now the count of ‘coffee-break mates’ has reduced from 5 to 1. Me, myself and speedz anyone?

Held long conversations with my brother regarding the Jeep and buying a good specimen for a grounds-up rebuild. Having endured the pain of seeing me rebuild my bikes over the years, he in no uncertain terms told me to scrap my rebuild plans. He finally managed to convince me to buy a ‘semi done up’ Jeep and take it further to a level of completeness that I wanted. In this regard my target was the level of perfection achieved by Fazal in his Brown Jeep. Hats off to him for such a build.

Now the search criteria was made more complex (as if it needed that) by the requirement for a ‘semi done-up’ Jeep. A Jeep is only as complete and as incomplete as you want it to be. Truer words have never been said. Just in case this statement has not been used by anyone else, I would like to stake claims upon it.
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Old 1st March 2011, 14:36   #3
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

Hi Speedz,

And what is you Good Name?

Regards,

Arka

PS - My Daily Drive is a MM540XD, with out AC & PS
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Old 1st March 2011, 15:00   #4
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

@ Arka, We had one eye opening conversation. Does Shankar or Uday ring any bells?

Yes, as a daily drive it definitely isn't practical. But then again I am not a practical guy at all. In fact I love driving the Jeep in traffic sort of a Zen experience and soothing on my frayed nerves which are frayed from driving a normal hatchback and driving scared of the taxi cab/Sumo marauders.

But for long drives from here to Himachal, I definitely need to do something about the suspension and the gear box. Any suggestions and tips?

Last edited by speedz : 1st March 2011 at 15:20.
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Old 1st March 2011, 15:17   #5
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

I have bought a Jeep from a member of the team-bhp 4X4 community. I am sure most of the members here will be able to recognize my Jeep.
I am all the more pleased that I was able to buy this Jeep from a member. The entire Jeep build thread (as done by Tarkesh) can be found at http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ve...army-spec.html (My MM550 XD Army Spec)

Some time back I had contacted Tarkesh with the wish to see his Jeep and he casually mentioned that he wanted to sell it. That started off a flurry of phone calls and the deal was almost concluded over the telephone within a matter of days.

Drove to Pune for a visit and saw the Jeep for the first time and it took us all of 30 minutes to conclude the deal . Actually the deal was a sure shot thing even before I went to Pune and saw the Jeep in all its metallic glory. After a week and some funds transfer later, I traveled to Pune and drove the Jeep back to Bangalore.

Thanks to all those individuals who responded to my messages with their contact numbers and responded to so many queries of mine. Thank you, Arka, Fazal, jyobeb, Vivek; I am sure I have missed out a few names here. My apologies to anyone whose names have been missed out.

My entry into the Jeep World has finally happened after countless sleepless nights and days.
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Old 1st March 2011, 15:31   #6
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedz View Post
@ Arka, We had one eye opening conversation. Does Shankar or Uday ring any bells?
Hi Speedz,

Both names sound familiar, but rings no bells.

Please do post some recent pics of your MM550XD.

Regards,

Arka
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Old 1st March 2011, 16:12   #7
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex670c View Post
Hi Speedz,

Both names sound familiar, but rings no bells.

Arka
@ Arka, I am not surprised, you must be receiving hundreds of calls asking for suggestions and advice related to Jeeps . I couldnt meet up with you for the recent OTR because I had to travel to Pune on that day for an auction.

I will write more on this auction fiasco/scam later.

@ Arka, you were right about buying an 'already' registered Jeep. I know I sound repetitive now, but I have to admit my mistakes here so that others can learn from mine.

Attaching a couple of pics of my Jeep
Saga of my MM550-dsc08061.jpg

Saga of my MM550-dsc08165.jpg
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Old 1st March 2011, 16:26   #8
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

congrats SPEEDZ!!

550 looking great without the top.

a rollcage & FFRA is must if you are planning to use it for offroading.

rgds,
Nikhil

Last edited by jeepster : 1st March 2011 at 16:32.
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Old 1st March 2011, 17:28   #9
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

Thanks jeepster. Will definitely be doing up a roll cage. Not sure about the FFRA at this point of time.

So far I have managed to buy the Jeep and drive it from Pune to Bangalore; an open, topless Jeep!

A friend of mine accompanied me on this drive. We have been comrades-in-arms in all our hare brained schemes and misadventures on two and four wheels alike. Thanks, Abhi. Without your help it wouldn't have been possible for me go through with all this.

The day I got delivery of the Jeep I got it checked out by Tarkesh’s mechanic. We carried out some maintenance/repair work like radiator flushing, added coolant (radiator had water only), speedometer cable replacement, and general tightening of all nuts and bolts .

The amp meter was found to be faulty causing the electricals to misbehave. It was replaced by a very competent electrician who also installed a 12v socket for charging mobile phones and such.

A topless Jeep, belly full of food, moonlit night, open highway, tank full of fuel; sounds like stuff that dreams are made of. Right?

Wrong.The ecstasy of the experience was rivaled by the brain-numbing, freezing winds that buffeted our bodies. And the MM550 was not too far behind in doing short work of all normal human expectations and notions of ‘ride comfort’ .

But being the brave man I am, err was I foolhardy or brave? I cannot remember since I haven’t fully recovered from the freezing, drying, numbing, rumbling, shaking, buffeting, frighteningly thunderous assault on my brain, body and all the other senses I had claimed to be in complete possession and control of before embarking on the Pune- Bangalore drive.

Ah, I hope the purists here do not strangle me with a tow rope for committing such a blasphemous act of desecrating the holy grail of all the available Indian Jeeps. Well, it is definitely the holy grail of Jeeps for me. I am sure some wouldn’t agree.

But, I must confess that the only component/s that underperformed on this drive were the two nuts in the front two seats of the Jeep.

Now that I am done with the exaggeration part , let me state the facts that it is tiring to drive at slow speeds over large distances. The ride is bumpy and harsh but not unbearable. Definitely not something that would knock a young man’s or a fit man’s dental fillings out. I am using ‘man’ only for convenience of expression and not being a chauvinist.

Near Dharwad, we did try fabricating a make-shift soft top for the Jeep with an old car cover and lots of nylon thread/rope. It only ended up buffeting and flapping violently and kept on slapping my head so violently that I was in considerable amount of pain.

I am damn sure that the sot top guise was completely unacceptable to the car cover and it tried with every threadbare fiber of its being to escape the confines of the Jeep. It tried to become an aerofoil and did emulate the infamous Zeppelin for a while. The soft top definitely had a mind, schemes of its own and the strength of a hundred elephants. How else can a cover, with 15 kilos of rope tying it down, muster enough strength to flipper-slap the Jeep’s inmates a thousand times in a few kilometers?

My friend being short was almost out of the reach of the slaps. But being taller I could not avoid the ‘cover slaps’ even while crouching over the steering wheel.

I haven’t ever been on the main mast of a sailing yatch or a hot air balloon. But I do know, now, what it might sound like up there. I am pretty sure my make-shift soft top was creating enough lift to reduce the contact patch of the massive army tires. Now I have a new found respect for the soft top and its craftsmen. After 25-30 kms of driving under the unerringly accurate onslaught of the 'top slaps', I decided enough was enough and cut the ropes and set the soft top, err, car cover free.

I used a Puma soft top for the remainder of the journey.
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Old 1st March 2011, 17:41   #10
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

Speedz, congratulations on the possession!

Your write-up is very different from the usual technical stuff. However, your writing skills and naturally flowing humour is for sure much better for the less technical ones like me! Please keep it flowing!
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Old 1st March 2011, 19:16   #11
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

Congrats, you are obviously excited. Very similar to how I was when I first bought and drove the Jeep in a long distance trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedz View Post
I cannot remember since I haven’t fully recovered from the freezing, drying, numbing, rumbling, shaking, buffeting, frighteningly thunderous assault on my brain, body and all the other senses I had claimed to be in complete possession and control of before embarking on the Pune- Bangalore drive.
So you finally experienced the JEEP THING.

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedz View Post
@ Arka, We had one eye opening conversation. Does Shankar or Uday ring any bells?
That's hardly a clue. Lots of people have eye opening conversation with Arka about Jeeps, for many years now, even I am in that list. Not sure whether he maintains a register to record all such transactions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex670c View Post
Both names sound familiar, but rings no bells.
Obviously, he doesn't maintain a register.
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Old 1st March 2011, 20:23   #12
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

Speedz, Congrats on the buy. Thanks to your narration, now I understand how a person will behave after the JEEP bug has bitten . Your naming convention is hilarious , cant stop myself from laughing when I read "Cover Slap". Keep it coming bro, you have a great way of narrating stuff.
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Old 1st March 2011, 20:59   #13
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

Speedz,
Thats one hell of a no nonsense, macho Jeep with a nice stance.
Paint job is good and also the upholstery. Are those Innova side folding rear seats? Nice lights in front, needs grip handles at rear and a new right fender extension.
Looking for more of the rear end too.
Regards,
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Old 1st March 2011, 21:35   #14
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

Fazal,
Thanks for the compliments.

At this stage I do not want to claim any credit for the looks of the Jeep as Tarkesh is the right person to take the credit for the same. I had sent you a really lengthy mail with lots of questions. Please do answer it whenever you have the time.

I hope you haven't patented the look of your Brown Jeep; I intend to do some creative imitation aka, plagiarism . With your due permission,of course.

Yes, those are Innova seats at the rear and Ford Endeavour seats at the front. The Endeavor seats are supremely comfortable although they are on the firmer side. Being heavyset, they work beautifully to support my frame unlike other normal sedan seats that are too soft. The soft ones tend to sag and do not provide adequate support to the back and lower back areas. The softer the seats, the more uncomfortable they will be on long drives.

Will try and post more pics of the Jeep on Thursday.

I should have a pic or two of the Jeep with my 'patent pending' hybrid soft top (nylon rope and threadbare car-cover hybrid) I had fabricated.

I forgot to mention that I took the Jeep on relatively short trip to Mumbai before embarking on the arduous expedition to Bangalore. The background for this trip is the following conversation.

Mr. X, "You bought a Jeep, are you insane?"

Me, "Uncle, this has been a dream and I finally found a good one"

Mr. X, " God help you and your harebrained ideas. When will you grow up?".

I held back from answering such revealing, self-committing questions. How could I answer such a question?

Not anytime soon, I said to myself.

So, I Went to Mumbai and met up with Mr X who happens to be a member of the family and, incidentally, is with the police department. He, actually, was delighted to see a majestic Jeep with a superb stance where as he had been expecting to see a rickety wreck in tatters, crawling along gasping for breath.

Thanks to all those who have appreciated my writing. I must say that I am posting in the midst of work and I know for sure there are grammatical errors and all sorts of stylistic blunders in it. I haven't had time to sit down and pen a report or a travelogue. Thanks for the appreciation all the same.
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Old 1st March 2011, 21:45   #15
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Default Re: Saga of my MM550

Speedz, Congrats on picking up a fine example of a jeep! Hope to see more such writeups from you in future!
The last time i read your posts was years ago on a motorcycle forum!

Cheers!

Last edited by james : 1st March 2011 at 21:46.
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