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Old 13th October 2009, 23:09   #1
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Default A day with LPT1613 TC, a TATA 1210E & Semi Forward 1613TC

First Look
This beauty came to us to deliver 400 bags of cement as lot of renovation is going on at our place. Being an autohead, as usual I started poking around this huge behemoth instead of inspecting the consignment , It always happens that the driver gets very friendly if you show some interest (read respect) in his vehicle. He started telling me about his experience as a truck driver.
The old fella started his trucking life in a 312 as a handy boy, coincidentally which also happens to be my first truck ride when I was a kid, when the family owned two of the hottest truck around that time, tata merc, 312 with 4x4.
He told me everything except he didn't let me drive this time, as he didn't want to ruin his lengthy unscathed record with the transport company, and he felt that @5ft. i was too timid to drive this. I tried to convince him that i have in the past even drove a Russian Kraz. But he didn't budge and joked about it. This was a shocking change, as i end up driving every vehicle that i poke into. Any way i respected his principal and 'Roji Roti'. He did let me start it though. He was surprised in the end that I did knew how to start it and stop.

For some, who don't know, trucks key can be interchanged, and there is a rubber button to start it (you don't turn the key to crank like we are usually used to), and to stop the engine there is no separate choke like Mahindra DI, but you pull the accelerator pedal Up.

Under (the hood) ki Baat
Our test bed (droll bed, this time) is a TATA LPT 1613 turbo rigid. Its a ladder frame design, with riveted multiple cross member. The design is so tried and tested that it hasn't changed since its inception. Under the hood is a 6 liter Cummins straight 6 motor mated to a very dependable GBS40 gear box. It has 5 forward and 1 reverse. It churns out a respectable 130bhp with massive 410Nm of torque, which can haul in excess of 30 tons with ease, which is illegal on this by the way.
It rides on 10.00x20 cross ply tyres, on Semi elliptical leaf spring. The driver says the ride is very uncomfy when it has no load. Brakes are vacuum assisted, actually two are there, one service (main brakes) and other jake brake.

Some facts: (as compared to our daily cars)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 360 liters
Engine Oil: 15 liters
Coolant: 24 liters (He says that it has two radiators, i tried explaining him in vain that the other one is an intercooler )
Turning Radius: 20 meters

Images
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Huge steering, its really easy now, thanks to hydraulic assisted on all models as standard.
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Pedals.
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Hand Brake, it makes a loud woose noise when activated.
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Check the redline, i mean the green line.
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Now the first one is very important, we don't mobilize this until the needle reaches at least 7 bar.
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A very optimistic 100kmph dial
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Gear, it really not that hard than it seems to shift on this.
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Rear slave cylinder
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Minimalistic Cabin, compare this with FH12 or with Novus from the same stable
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huge muffler. I guess tata decided to make a twin exhaust, but later decided not to.
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massive gearbox
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Prop Shaft
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Diff.
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Rear semi elliptical leaf suspension
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Spare tyre, removing this is very easy, thanks to that pulley type contraption.
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360 liters fuel tank with the range of little over 1000kms with full load. You don't want to run out of fuel in this one. as pumping this will be a good workout.
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10.00x20 Cross ply, Retreading is the name of the game in trucking business.
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Check out the humongous length
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Old 13th October 2009, 23:27   #2
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Fantastic report SirAlec. The pictures are nice and detailed. I like how the clutch is miles apart from the brake and accelerator pedals, ofcourse, because the steering column is way longer in this than our cars. One little feature I always loved about all the flat-faced cabins of Tata trucks are those little side indicators that curve with the body below the windshield.

This front is so simple yet still doesn't seem out of shape in the modern world today.
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Old 13th October 2009, 23:56   #3
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Excellent report Siralec. Even I'm longing to drive one of these trucks. Couple of years back in the hope to get a TD, I stuck up a conversation with a driver of 1613 parked near a dhaba. He was co-operative but just stopped short of giving a drive saying if you have driven a sumo then it is just the same.

I have to narrate the recent incident I encountered with the truck drivers. I bought a palio GTX from pune in July and was on my way back driving to B'lore. I saw a convoy of new trucks(chassis only) on their way to Dharwad for body building. Me and my friend were game for driving these 2516T. We stopped the last truck in the convoy and requested for a drive. I had heard a lot about these drivers giving lift to strangers and also for the right money they would allow to drive. We actually asked him to quote his price. He asked if we have driven any heavy vehicles for which I eagerly nodded and said that i have driven volvo FM14 truck. I was thinking to myself this is a done deal but alas he gave us a long stare for a min and said there is supervisor in the first truck of the convoy and it is too risky for him if the supervisor comes to know. There goes our chance .

We tried with atleast another 3-4 convoys of trucks on our way but the answer was the same. "Supervisor". Now I'm content driving my own 2.2 truck
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Old 14th October 2009, 00:10   #4
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AWESOME!!! the writeup is awesome. something that is so dear to us all, deserve to be here. this design should stay for another 50 years.
anyway what is a SLAVE CYLINDER??
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Old 14th October 2009, 01:04   #5
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Fantastic,
Quote:
Now the first one is very important, we don't mobilize this until the needle reaches at least 7 bar.
Why?? *scratches head*...
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Old 14th October 2009, 07:32   #6
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@SirAlec, same question as asked by @smilenow. Why 7 bar ?

Steering & gear changes on the current generation of trucks require much less effort than on older trucks.

I really prefer this type of a gear layout : the reverse is seperate from the forward gears. And there is no way one can get confused. (Note: on the Ikon, I have so often searched for a 6th gear before realising that that is not the 6th, but the reverse gear)

Check the pic I had posted in the CV thread :
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/638749-post238.html

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Old 14th October 2009, 10:57   #7
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SirAlec a nice review. Frankly enough a truck for me is something you overtake on a highway and always be aware of on the road, and yes that was the means of transport which I used when I came back home from my boarding school to Mumbai. But this is the first post where I actually come across specs of one. The under-belly shots , cabin shots , exterior shot have instigated nothing but a new-found respect for this goods/people mover (I say people mover since in the rural India taking a lift in a truck is not uncommon).

--Vikrant
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Old 14th October 2009, 11:52   #8
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That is one of the finest and very comprehensive review of a truck. Btw what happened to your trucks - tata merc, 312 with 4x4. I had my experience of trying to change the gears in one of the older leylands and boy was it hard, and the steering wheel just wouldnt turn. I also tried my hands on a road roller once and it just simply surprised me that it was much easier to turn the wheels of the road roller than the trucks, only thing is that the road roller requires a lot of steering wheel rotations to turn just a little bit. Anywz all this was way back around 15-18 years ago , so dont have any photos.
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Old 14th October 2009, 12:31   #9
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Great stuff - I've always wondered about these beasts.

just wondering:in the hand brake photo, which one is the hand brake?

cheers
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Old 14th October 2009, 16:24   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
@SirAlec, same question as asked by @smilenow. Why 7 bar ?
To understand that, you have to get into one of these and press and release the brake(Did that as an 8 year old, in an old Leyland bus). These monsters have air brakes and and a certain amount of air is used from the storage tank, every time you brake.

Also, the parking brake is 'air-to-deactivate'. Meaning, if the requisite air pressure is not available, the parking brakes automatically move to the "ON" mode. The vehicle will not move.

Ever heard that loud hiss when a parking brake is activate on a bus or a truck? That is the air being released to activate the brakes. To release the brakes, you need air. If no air in the tank(if kids like me play with it when the driver is not watching), you have to idle the vehicle for long enough for the air pressure to build up.

Disclaimer:- All this knowledge is from the time I was a kid and when I used to visit my Dad's office(He used to manage an RTC Bus Depot). The systems may have changed since then.

@Anekho - See the small black contraption facing down, just next to the ignition key.

Trivia :- Has anyone wondered why Tata used to have ridiculously high engine covers inside the bus in the earlier 1210/1510 models and later had sleeker, flat bed-engine covers? Answer is simple. They changed the air-filter location

Last edited by kuttapan : 14th October 2009 at 16:27.
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Old 14th October 2009, 16:43   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anekho View Post
just wondering:in the hand brake photo, which one is the hand brake?

cheers
Nice review! Have circled handbrake in the attached photo.
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Old 14th October 2009, 16:45   #12
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^^ Kuttapan Sir has answered the question. about the 7 bar or about 100 psi air pressure. The air tank needs to be filled for brakes to work properly

Both the 312 was given to the respective drivers as in 1984 when the mill closed. We did had kept one of the five 1210s, for household work like water supply etc, but was also sold to the one of the transporter friend in 92.

They said Merc 312 ( i was a kid then) was so powerful that the logs that it used to bring from the forest below to the main road needed to be transferred on two 1210D or 1210S. They were painted red and had huge menacing bull bar. They were very famous in Darjeeling as Gabbar Singh I and II.

I have immense respect for these 1612, 2313, the whole series. etc. If you are traveling on any indian highways, chances are that you will see minimum of 2000 examples of these in the span of just 12 hours.

Last edited by SirAlec : 14th October 2009 at 16:48.
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Old 14th October 2009, 17:02   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAlec View Post
can haul in excess of 30 tons with ease, which is illegal on this by the way.
AFAIK, the 1613 means 16 ton (permitted) capacity with a 130 hp engine. thats the TATA way of nomenclature. a 407 simply means 4 ton capacity with a 70 hp engine.
So, 30 tons is definitely illegal on this truck.
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Old 14th October 2009, 17:14   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuttapan View Post
Trivia :- Has anyone wondered why Tata used to have ridiculously high engine covers inside the bus in the earlier 1210/1510 models and later had sleeker, flat bed-engine covers? Answer is simple. They changed the air-filter location
This i always wondered why? Thanks Kuttapa. I too as a kid used to sit at the front row where i can see what all the driver does. And while on long bus journeys thats how i avoided boredom when i was small. I did notice the engine cover in those buses, old ones had huge covers where as newer ones had a flatter hood and the gear lever would pop up from the hood instead of the floor.
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Old 14th October 2009, 17:43   #15
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what about the gearbox location in the newer tata trucks? its a more car like position. is it a cable operated box ?
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