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Old 21st January 2009, 14:58   #421
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What caused this sudden deterioration of the truck's condition, then? I really dont have a single cause, so I will list out the few I can think of:
  • Since early this year when one of my family members was diagnosed with terminal cancer, we have had the vehicle on standby duty. Driven by various drivers, none of them known, none of them permanent. They came from a driver pool. I have no idea how they treated the truck, but the fact that the truck had changed in behaviour was apparent every time I travelled to India since then.
  • Since a certain incident last year, I have also made the truck available to some of my friends abroad when they visited the country. It all started with one of my friends taking my refusal last year badly, which led to some bad blood over the trivial matter of lending out my truck. I decided it wasnt worth losing friends over this principle, so different families have been using it at different points of time. The last of these was truly disastrous - I lost a tyre and the bumper+grille came back with a bad hit.
  • I also believe that damage was done in late 2007 (as described in the previous post) by another member here, the true extent of which was not declared. I wouldnt have held anyone responsible - if only I had been informed.
  • On my part, I have put in some really punishing drives on the truck. These included some hits on the suspension from the Bangalore-Kannur-Bangalore drive, the Ramakkalmedu Drive in the middle of the night which was followed by the Monsoon D R I V E which wasnt really punishing but followed the previous drive too soon and with no letup in intensity - going on and off the road at the same speeds on many occassions. So yeah I havent been a saint either, but the vehicle has taken similar punishment earlier - just that the combination of all factors must've been too much to handle.
  • RF Motors - I believe the deterioration of the Dealership/Service setup has mirrored the deterioration of my truck. On several occassions in the near past it has come back from the service centre in a WORSE shape than when it went in. I do not know what they do in there, and I can only speculate on some shady happenings because I have no proof, but the fact is that we have had far too many issues after every service recently. Perfectly working components have either developed issues or have failed after service visits. Service quality has visibly deteriorated, and false commitments have been made on various occassions. We have also had the opportunity to look at the service history of the vehicle at other TASS/TASC on their central server and several of the jobs that they claim to have don have actually not been done.
  • Power Box? I am not very sure of this because this is not the only vehicle running with the DimSports Rapide power box today. Tata have not blamed the powerbox for the cylinder liner crack, but they say it 'could' be one of the causes. The dealer and the local Tata engineers did show some concerns about the presence of 'non-standard' items like the power box and the air filter and claimed that this was an unauthorized change to the wiring and to the common-rail input, but TML Regional/Head offices swiftly clarified that the work will be carried out under warranty, so all I got charged for the entire engine job was Rs.6k, which we paid the dealer only a month after we got the truck just to be sure that the work has been done properly.
I am personally going back to the mode of refusing to lend out the truck to my overseas friends and visitors. I will also be ensuring that a permanent driver will be available for the Safari should my wife or family require to use it when I am away. The truck will also go back to the situation before mid-2007 where it was under the care of one person in India - my friend Benny. However now it will be placed in shared custody between him and Nikki.

I want to make sure that the truck stays in good health, like it did before. I still dont think there is a suitable replacement for this truck in the market today - I did try putting up my vehicle for sale in between, but the alternatives I was looking at simply didnt make sense to me. The one I really wanted to shift to was also a Safari - Turban Man's 2.2 VX 4x4 that was put up on the forum was too tempting but I had to let it go as I couldnt make a decision on time.

So until something else comes along, the Safari is still the only ride for me in India.

Last edited by Steeroid : 21st January 2009 at 15:15.
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Old 21st January 2009, 15:08   #422
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Steer, this saga has evoked mixed emotions in me.

While i am truly happy that the truck is reclaimed now, one thing that is not sitting right with me is theuse of your truck by all and sundry.

OK , I can understand the family medical emergency situation, but the use of your truck as a "holiday vehicle" by your friends in your absence is a bit too much!

your "friends" seem to have taken advantage of your generosity and have played on your emotions- in most cultures, this is called pure and simple emotional blackmail.

the friends for whose friendship's sake you shared something so precious to you, did not even have the courtesy and decency to a) treat your possession with respect and care and b) if for some reason there was a mishap, to own up and tell you up front about it.

that is precisely thereason that I never lend my car or anything else that is precious to me- all my friends know htat and respect it- that is y they are friends in the first place. and conversely, I never borrow anything owned by any friend of mine
(dire emergencies are a different matter altogether, though)

Hope you dont face such troubles again.....all of us being car lovers know how much agony sothing like this can cause.
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Old 21st January 2009, 15:12   #423
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Oh by the way - Total Cost across all these replacements and repairs and re-repairs is about Rs.22,000. That includes the engine work, suspension work (upper arm, bushes, lower wishbones, and sundries), some bodywork, some electrical work, some plumbing (all PS hoses replaced). This includes the cost of 1.5 tanks of fuel in between all this.

Not including the cost of the torn Michelins, because that is unrelated.

Last edited by Steeroid : 21st January 2009 at 15:14.
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Old 21st January 2009, 15:18   #424
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Steer,

Your detailed write up must be a eye-opener for all the car owners(who are passionate about thier cars!!)
It is a shame that people do not treat others cars as thier own and often are careless. We all have gone through some of these hard feelings.
Like Himanshu said, Right from my RX100 days, my friends knew that I love anything I own(bike/pager in those days) and will not ask to ride my bike without me being a pillion. This nature of mine continued to my cars till date. I give my car only to 2 of my friends whom I know drive the car as if it is thier OWN!!
So much for our LOVE!!
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Old 21st January 2009, 15:51   #425
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Did the horn interfere with the fan's working?

What was you bill from RF when you gave it for the 50k suspension checkup?
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Old 21st January 2009, 18:06   #426
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Steer, the detailed write-up was an eye opener into the various harrowing experiences the truck went through in your absence.

Good to know that you are back to the mode of not sharing a valuable. Thats the only way you can retain both the valuable as well as the friend.. true ones, ie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
I am personally going back to the mode of refusing to lend out the truck to my overseas friends and visitors. I will also be ensuring that a permanent driver will be available for the Safari should my wife or family require to use it when I am away. The truck will also go back to the situation before mid-2007 where it was under the care of one person in India - my friend Benny. However now it will be placed in shared custody between him and Nikki.
The name in bold shocked me for a moment there.. but guys, that's not me.
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Old 21st January 2009, 20:19   #427
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Default ooops!

I didn't knew this happening till jk's call for clarifications!

Well... now i know the "inside out" of this truck!! So much of attention was required to bring it back to a near normal condition.... while i thoroughly enjoyed the works and time with the car.. really sad with the work and abusive usage done by RF Motors and drivers!
Two things are very clear now...
(1) Those who used this car has abused it beyond its extreme limits.
(2) The people who worked on it are real incompetant ones and doesn't know even the basics of automobile maintenance!

First drive of around 10 kms made me really sick! Car was behaving like an untamed elephant! It was no-way drivable.. too much of steering play, power steering system get stuck while taking U turns, side pulling to right, suspension behaved like the one in first gen scorpio! It was real scary...

Its then Steer was talking bout redoing everything to 'showroom condition' in a known place! I suggested him to go Hightech Motors so that I can pop-in everytime there if required.
He gave it at hightech and left. They started stripping and diagnosing the troubles... fixed many minor issues and then called me saying 'side pulling seems illusion' saaaar... can't find it out! Told them to take the car to an MRF T&S were I have contacts and faith as they do periodical calibrations of equipments regularly. Checked the wheel alignments there.. that releaved an abnormal castor angle of 6 degrees on front left wheel.. I was clueless and got perplexed as that figure is somewhat unimaginable. Strip the suspension again... and checked each and every part closely... and we concluded on a badly bend left upper arm!!!! heh... The damage on that part is not easily visible and so took it to my office to check various dimensions with a height gauge! There it is... left upper arm sits on the bed in a sarcastic way!
Anyways.. the car has a new left upper arm and the trouble is cleared!

to be continued!
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Old 22nd January 2009, 00:08   #428
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OT: Time for TBHPians to start a Multi Brand Service Centre like my TVS. We will work on Honda, Tata, Fiat We wont take taxi cars.
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Old 22nd January 2009, 00:20   #429
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkdas View Post
OT: Time for TBHPians to start a Multi Brand Service Centre like my TVS. We will work on Honda, Tata, Fiat We wont take taxi cars.
Jagdish Khattar (ex. MUL) is coming up with something like this.
Check the link : CARNATION | A Jagdish Khattar Initiative
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Old 22nd January 2009, 08:13   #430
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breezydrive View Post
Jagdish Khattar (ex. MUL) is coming up with something like this.
Check the link : CARNATION | A Jagdish Khattar Initiative
This has been in the news for sometime now. Did not see any progress on this.
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Old 22nd January 2009, 12:05   #431
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Steerbhai , any specific reason why you haven't hired contract killers or at least filed a law suit against the dealership ? If this had happened to my car, those boor buggers would have some real trouble to deal with, come on man I knew the mechs weren't that knowledgeable with the service that they were doing ,but this kind of incopetence is intolerable , and just like motorSucks you had to go all the way undo the damage that they had infilcted on your truck. yes a safari comes with it's own problems but who ever did the works against your suspension should be shot.
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Old 22nd January 2009, 12:41   #432
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Default II part!

Guess many of this car's critical parts/systems has been badly tampered and swapped! One such major thingy is the steering box and pump!
Just can't believe that the steering system of a 65k done SUV deteriorated to this extend! Steering play was very close to a quarter turn!!! The steering oilpump pressure was set at too high. We had to work hard and do several brain storming sessions to bring it back to normal condition. Still its under onservation! But Now the steering is very responsive!

Another thing which came to my notice this time is something equally funny and surprising! Torsion bar setting on both sides were in opposite extremes!! Right side was showing a fully adjusted setting and left side was not at all adjusted!!! Had to do several rounds on it to make it proper. This is a very critical setting which supports handling of the car!
Then came another thing! I was checking the underbody and my eyes struck on a badly fixed shockabsorber on steering link rod! I was sure that the way it is fixed is wrong as the mounting knuckle and eye was not macthing properly! Cross checked with the owner's Safari Dicor! Alas... it is fixed just the opposite way in that car! We then removed it and fixed properly!

Took it for a shakedown TD... rammed on the brakes several times to get a sqeeking sound from the underbody! Brake it hard... there it is... otherwise no isssues in normal drives.. Checked the wheel well... we cud see the tyre is touching the firewall side of wheel well! The body repair guy resetted the fender and whole plastic cladding stuffs inside the wheel well to a bit towards the firewall. Solved! Tookd for a drive again.. rammed the brakes hard... ugh... now the tilt steering started working at its own!
I almost fell down along with the steering!!! Stripped it and changed its loader spring! Solved!

During the TD, revved the car to check the handling.. WOW...Now it handles well... enjoyed a 01-15 km long zig zag drive thru the traffic in the highway! Then a very disturbing sound started coming up whenever I pushed it above 2.5k rpm.. "hissing" like sound from the turbo area... told them to check the turbo and filter pipings as it was something like an air sucking sound! They stripped the turbo pipings.. and there it is.... turbo's intake body is holding in place just with the help of a single bolt! The one who worked earlier on that item had destroyed the inside threads of 3 threaded holes!! So had to make new threads and put the body back tightly. Solved!

to be continued..
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Old 22nd January 2009, 14:18   #433
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Nikki!! please, stop it. Too sickening.
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Old 22nd January 2009, 14:58   #434
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Steeroid's truck must have been used as a guinea pig by those amateur mechanics
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Old 23rd January 2009, 01:58   #435
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I am glad the truck is on its road to recovery. But sigh! what a waste of time and money. but there is so much knowledge and experience here, may be we should create lots of DIY videos to educate one and all.

Here is the best DIY forum/site i have come across - LexLS.com: Lexus LS400 DIY Picture Tutorials

Their tutorials are very informative.
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