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Old 24th April 2012, 22:25   #1
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Default Ashok Leyland Viking

Since the Indian Bus Scene thread is closed, I am just starting a new thread for specific products, inline with GTO's views.
I wanted to start with Viking, as this is one bus, seeing which I grown developing interests in buses.

This is one of the long standing product from AL's stable for more than 35 years. This was born in the year 1976 with a unique door at front over hang. Since then Viking has undergone several changes in the past suiting to various emission and regulation norms which raised as and when.

One of the first made Viking
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Infact a unique 193" WB model was specifically developed to Kerala meeting Kerala Motor Vehicle Regulation requirement. With never ending applications,it fits all from long distance intercity to city bus to shuttle bus. This chassis was a preferred one for most of the STU's, bacause of its simple and rugged design. This was easily, one was the service friendly chassis ever developed by Ashokleyland.

For example, the clutch operating is still mechanical(this is the only MDV bus which is still Mechanical). Normally manufacturers switch to hydraullic from mechanical actuation in clutch for the simple reason, they reduce the driver fatigue during clutch operation. And infact hydraullic actuation is one of the USP's for several other buses and truck models. But this brings in little complexity in maintaining slave cylinder / master cylinder and without proper maintenance actually reduces the clutch plate life. So in case of Viking, the USP still is the Mechanical clutch operation -with effort equalling to hydraullic mechanisms. The mechanical linkages are designed such a way that they are user friendly, and there by it is almost maintenance free.
Same way with life the of major aggregates like GB, axles, and tyre life.
And most importantly the inline pump option which is very friendly even for adulterated fuel and servicing. So the operating cost was very less for even a smaller operator who owns less than 10 buses.
Other improvements which AL made from time to time like larger brake lining, reduced engine oil/GB oil change interval kept this product always ahead of competition from BS 0 to BS 4.

Viking has made two important migrations in the past:

1.With thrust for alternate fuels was just emerging, Viking was introduced
with a naturally aspirated CNG engine option specifically designed for BEST. This was in the year 1997 even before the Supreme court regulations and later more than 4000 buses joined DTC fleet. Now more than 10000 Viking CNG buses are on road
A BEST CNG Viking
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A APSRTC CNG 222" Viking
Ashok Leyland Viking-cng.jpg

2.Floor height reduction from std 1050mm to 860mm - reducing three step floor into a two step floor bus chassis. This was the first time such floor height option was explored in a standard floor bus,and was first given to BEST in the year 2003. Air suspension was a standard fitment and this considerably changed the over all riding pattern in rural and urbal mass transportation. The road conditions were very bad in many metros when it was launched and since it came with reduced floor height and air suspension, many was not really convinced that it will be a hit.
But thanks to its better design,appropriate wheel base and over hang dimension, it made great inroads into STU fleets.
With Viking coming out with 860mm, later after few years has become the norms under Ministry of Urban Development for city transportation that min floor height that's to be maintained will be 900mm, and this was regularised in JNnurm scheme. Now more than 20000 Viking SLF's are on road
From BEST
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From MTC
Ashok Leyland Viking-mtc_orange_line_bus.jpg
Now currently with 4 wheel base options - 154",193",210",222"(Interestingly Front over hang is common across all these models), 2 floor options - 1050 mm, 860mm, 2 fuel options - diesel and CNG and 4 engine options - 160hp inline BSIII, 180hp EDC BSIII,165hp CRS BSIV and 125hp CNG BS IV, Viking is the largest selling bus in India for several years.

I am just bringing some glimpses of Viking since inception and operated by various state transport undertakings.

A MSRTC 222" Viking
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A KaSRTC 222" Viking
Ashok Leyland Viking-nwkasrtc.jpg

A KeSRTC 222" Viking
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A NMMT 222" Viking
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A Historic cross border bus service between Delhi - Lahore served by a Viking.
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A Viking from Srilanka under the Lanka Ashokleyland.
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A baby Viking - 154" WB one from TNSTC CBE
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A MTC 222" Viking BS4 - CRS
Ashok Leyland Viking-mtc-bs4.jpg

A DTC 222" Viking BSIV CNG SLF
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A weirdly designed Viking @ Tirumala
Ashok Leyland Viking-free2bbus2btirumala1.jpg

A late 80's DCTC Viking
Ashok Leyland Viking-dctc.jpg

And a very special our Raj's Aiswarya Travels
Ashok Leyland Viking-viking-14.jpg

For those, who have not seen a bus body structure, here it is
TNSTC 222 Viking BS III - 160hp Variant.
Ashok Leyland Viking-p180412_14.52.jpg

None of the images(except last one) used are mine and Copyright goes to respective owners

Last edited by Ashley2 : 26th April 2012 at 23:05.
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Old 27th April 2012, 10:14   #2
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Commercial Vehicles Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th April 2012, 14:43   #3
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

Is there any spec comparison between similar TATA bus?
I always used to wonder in the 80s/90s why most buses are Ashok Leyland but trucks are TATA.

When the engine, transmission, chassis is same - and you need to go to a body builder for everything else.
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Old 27th April 2012, 15:07   #4
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

Thanks for the wonderful post Ashley.

I remember the DCTC bus which you have shared, it used to be then the only super delux service run by DCTC between Chennai & Trichy. A pair of buses used to run one day trip and one night trip.

Have taken this bus a couple of times between Villupuram & Chennai since the bus used to be full on most occasions and never would come into Villupuram bus stand. As a kid it used to be fun taking this bus because it used to overtake almost every other bu on the way.
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Old 27th April 2012, 15:35   #5
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

I recently traveled in the latest DTC viking bus mentioned here. Although it was comfortable but felt very ancient compared to the low floors buses we have these days.

I was shocked to see the gear lever position, it was almost at shoulder level and that too, way behind the driver. The driver had to reach for it every time he changed the gear. I never understood why all AL buses have the long L shape gear lever emerging behind the engine? TATAs have changed its position way back and its now on top of the engine just like cars.
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Old 27th April 2012, 16:00   #6
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

Apologies if I am moving slightly OT -

I was a big fan of AL buses when I was a kid and used to keenly check the model of each AL bus. I remember there were three distinct models of AL buses those days - Comet, Cheetah and Viking.

Any thoughts on what are the fundamental differences of these models? or is it just that they came one after the other and replaced the predecessor? I think the earlier models were Comets with a small elliptical grille. Cheetahs had rectangular grills.
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Old 27th April 2012, 17:10   #7
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

Thank you for sharing all this info buddy. You are a 'Google' when it comes to all this!

I really liked the CNG SLF. Also, thanks for remembering my Vikings!
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Old 27th April 2012, 19:01   #8
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

Awesome thread Ashley.. Really you have started on something which is a passion for almost all the people who loves commercial vehicles and especially an AL product.
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Old 27th April 2012, 19:16   #9
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
For example, the clutch operating is still mechanical (this is the only MDV bus which is still Mechanical).
No wonder all MTC drivers depress the clutch only when engaging first gear ; shift to other gears is clutchless.

The fact that TNSTC/SETC has patronised Leyland Viking proves the ruggedness and low maintenance of this workhorse.

I have seen many private operators in TN switch from TATA to AL Viking/Cheetah in the 80s - reason?low maintenance.

Just for records - the fastest time recorded by me on the 319km Chennai Trichy sector in an AL viking was in May1987 - TTC route 575 cross - 5hrs and 40minutes with two stops - tough to beat even today.

DCTC was a close second with 6hrs-6hsr15mins on their Super deluxe service with just one stop midway.

Gurus,correct me if I am wrong.TATAs are hi rpm engines and can go much faster while the Viking has a low rpm one and is capable of max 85kmph

Last edited by vigsom : 27th April 2012 at 19:18. Reason: addition
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Old 28th April 2012, 05:05   #10
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

What about these Stage Carriage buses operated in Kerala- the ones with 11 shutters-aren't they 210" Viking?
Look at this bus- The kerala MVD site shows the model as TUSKER, This one has 12 shutters..

This is the common 11 shutter Private Stage Carraiges

Peters AC bus 222" WB
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Old 28th April 2012, 07:46   #11
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

What about the History of Engines used in Ashok Leyland Viking? any major difference with the engine options available before mid 1980 with regard to current Vikings. specifically asked because, the Engine sounds different for older ones.
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Old 28th April 2012, 17:57   #12
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

A wonderful post Ashley. 5 star rating!

Could you elaborate a bit on the mechanical vs hydraulic clutch details? I am especially interested to know more on the highlighted comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
And infact hydraullic actuation is one of the USP's for several other buses and truck models. But this brings in little complexity in maintaining slave cylinder / master cylinder and without proper maintenance actually reduces the clutch plate life. So in case of Viking, the USP still is the Mechanical clutch operation -with effort equalling to hydraullic mechanisms. The mechanical linkages are designed such a way that they are user friendly, and there by it is almost maintenance free.
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Old 28th April 2012, 18:19   #13
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

As a kid I grew up watching and traveling in these viking and cheetah buses. My hobby of admiring buses is largely due to these buses.
I just loved the grunt of there engines.
There were Tata buses too, but somehow I felt the Leyland buses more rugged and powerful. May be that accounted due to the stance or the purring sound of the engine.
Thank You Ashley2 for reviving my cherished memories.
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Old 29th April 2012, 20:00   #14
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
Is there any spec comparison between similar TATA bus?....
Not readily available. Comparable model from Tata is LPO 1512.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
Thanks for the wonderful post Ashley.

I remember the DCTC bus which you have shared, it used to be then the only super delux service run by DCTC between Chennai & Trichy. A pair of buses used to run one day trip and one night trip. ....
In fact Chennai - Trichy was always a special route for DCTC. All new buses will run in this route and then are moved to other routes. Also maintenance of buses in this routes will be better compared to other routes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigzero View Post
Apologies if I am moving slightly OT -

I was a big fan of AL buses when I was a kid and used to keenly check the model of each AL bus. I remember there were three distinct models of AL buses those days - Comet, Cheetah and Viking.

Any thoughts on what are the fundamental differences of these models? or is it just that they came one after the other and replaced the predecessor? I think the earlier models were Comets with a small elliptical grille. Cheetahs had rectangular grills.
Comet was earlier produced one and for some time was in parallel production along with Viking and Cheetah.
But later comet was given a retirement.
To my knowledge Comets were available as both truck and bus chassis and later the bus chassis was replaced with Viking due course.
The basic difference between Viking and Cheetah is only front over hang, with Cheetah having a smaller one.
MSRTC is very fond of 231" Cheetah and to my knowledge its the only STU who is preferring this long WB model


Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
......
Just for records - the fastest time recorded by me on the 319km Chennai Trichy sector in an AL viking was in May1987 - TTC route 575 cross - 5hrs and 40minutes with two stops - tough to beat even today.

DCTC was a close second with 6hrs-6hsr15mins on their Super deluxe service with just one stop midway.

Gurus,correct me if I am wrong.TATAs are hi rpm engines and can go much faster while the Viking has a low rpm one and is capable of max 85kmph
That's a unimaginable speed considering the road condition.
Even till 2004/05, in trichy bus stand conductors will be telling "& hrs Non Stop, Chennai.. Chennai..".
Both Tata and Leyland engines are high rpm engines only. Both are capable of going upto 90KMPH (considering Viking and LPO 1512 alone)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjithrnath View Post
What about these Stage Carriage buses operated in Kerala- the ones with 11 shutters-aren't they 210" Viking?
Look at this bus- The kerala MVD site shows the model as TUSKER, This one has 12 shutters......
Mostly in Kerala 193" Viking is preferred(ofcourse you have few 12M/LPO 1612). But no idea about this particular one. Kerala motor vehicles website need not be true always.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepclutch View Post
What about the History of Engines used in Ashok Leyland Viking? any major difference with the engine options available before mid 1980 with regard to current Vikings. specifically asked because, the Engine sounds different for older ones.
Earlier they were with Leyland engine with constant mesh gear box. Now they are obsoleted from auto application. Current Vikings are H series engines(with genes from Hino) and ZF synchromesh GB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajman28 View Post
A wonderful post Ashley. 5 star rating!

Could you elaborate a bit on the mechanical vs hydraulic clutch details? I am especially interested to know more on the highlighted comment.
In Mechanical clutch operation, there will be linkages connecting the clutch pedal and clutch. By depressing the clutch, driver manually engages and disengages the clutch.
In hydraulic clutch operation, there will be a master cylinder and a slave cylinder, which receives the force from clutch pedal, multiplies this and hydraulically engages and disengages clutch.
Actually second one is sophisticated and better for driver comfort. But these cylinders and oil levels are to be maintained properly. If not it will eat away the clutch lining, due to improper contact during engagement and disengagement and will yield to poor clutch life.
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Old 29th April 2012, 21:30   #15
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Default re: Ashok Leyland Viking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
Mostly in Kerala 193" Viking is preferred(ofcourse you have few 12M/LPO 1612). But no idea about this particular one. Kerala motor vehicles website need not be true always.
Are you sure those 11 shutter variants are 193"WB? But they have FOH. Then how come the 222"WB KeSRTC buses have only 13 shutters?Can you share a pic of 210"WB KL bus?
What about the 10 shutter cheetahs? Aren't they 176" WB..
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