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Old 13th July 2009, 09:11   #1
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Default Pajero SFX one year on

The car will be a year old later this month, and I have done 13500kms of trouble free motoring in it. I bought it as a car to hold for the next 15 years, and not get caught up in the periodic upgrade frenzy that affects all of us, as the car companies do their best to keep us with our noses to the grindstone to continue making EMI payments.
I have no reasons to complain, and once you get to know the people, the service levels in Pune are also very good. Once you get past the " oil filter is out of stock" situations!
My one big issue is that I have not been able to use the car for what it is really meant to do, and driving in the city, while effortless, is not what it was built for.
As far as maintenance goes, I tend to overmaintain my cars, so the car is on its fourth oil fill already. Based on my petrol habits, and some research on diesel lubes, I changed to Mobil 1 at 1000kms, much to the astonishment of the service guys. The thing takes 7.8 litres of oil! Then, after some months, I had doubts about the rating of that synth oil for diesel applications, so I switched to Castrol RX Super plus. And at the 10000kms service, changed the oil once again, sticking to Castrol. The thing with diesels that I had forgotten was that the oil look black on the dipstick in 50kms, maybe less. So one does not get the satisfaction of seeing a dipstick come out with a nice gold sheet at its business end!
The other issue I had with the car was a slight but persistent pull to the left from the start. Got the alignment checked a couple of times, but the problem went away after this was done with special care - I believe that shims had to be added to get the readings right, and ever since then, the car tracks true.
Will continue, don't want to lose what I have written if the power goes down..
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Old 13th July 2009, 09:39   #2
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All I did in terms of accessories was V Kool all around - the V 70 for the front and the front side glasses, and K 37 for the rest. I find that this does a lot of good things for the car and its occupants in our strong sun.
Before I bought the car, my first true 4x4, I did my usual research on its features and thank heavens I did so. It taught me two critical to long life things for a car of this kind. One, to let the engine idle for two minutes after any run of longer than 15 minutes, before shutting it down, to allow the turbo to cool down enough for it to not get damaged. And two, how one can destroy the driveline by using the car in center diff locked mode - high or low range - on roads that provide good adhesion to the tyres. In as little of 100km of such driving. I am not sure how many of the Pajeros that bought by all kinds of people, know this vital aspect of operation. I am sure the enthusiasts do, but there are a few non enthusiast, chauffeur driven Pajeros too. I would be very nervous about buying a second hand Pajero, for this reason. Another relatively minor thing to do is keep the air filter clean all the time, given the nature of turbo diesel operation.
Use comments:
1. The car is astonishingly easy to drive and place - in traffic or in parking. It is huge of course, but given that constraint, is one of the easier cars to maneuver around.
2. Great gear box, and the second shifter lever that also is to die for. As is the SS II transmission it is connected to. Shifting on the fly to 4H, which is the most I have ever had to do, is easy and positive in terms of feedback. Moving on to 4HL and 4LL is a bit more difficult, but since I do that only to keep the mechanisms moving occassionally on straight empty roads, that is not an issue.
3. Engine is great for the city and the minor rough roading I have done. But it runs out of breath on the highway, and I keep searching for another gear after getting to 5th. On the other hand this helps me discipline myself to not exceed 100-110, because in my head I am not comfortable doing so - both for the momentum the car carries, and the high CG. But a 6th cog would have done wonders for the car, I think.
4. No rattles from anything that matters. What this means is that there are some! From the seats/seatframes, but I guess one learns to live with these. In any case, I did not buy the car to be wafted around in hushed silence in it. Not a realistic expectation at this feature/price point.
5. Interior packaging, for a car of this size, is poor. Quite honestly, it can take just 4 in comfort. The rear bench has armrests at either end, for some reason I cannot figure out, and that allows for a little less space for people. The last row is strictly for dwarves/children. Can carry a lot of luggage though, and like the tow hooks, even the luggage tie down rings in the boot are substantial in feel.
6. The car comes shod in MRF ZVRLs. Excellent comfort for my driving till now, but the one time I climbed a slushy mountain road, in 4H, the rear end was moving from side to side, because the tyres were not able to grip. My son drove the car to a farm house in even worse conditions in the rains, where he had to use 4LC, the only time it has been used in anger. Car cruised through easily when the CRVs were wheel spinning like crazy, but the rear end felt loose. If I ever do finally decide to drive to Ladakh, these are not the tyres to be on. Michelin LTX would be more suited, but I am not sure what they will do to tyre noise and ride on the highways. Any feedback?
More follows...
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Old 13th July 2009, 10:00   #3
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One of the changes that have happened in the SFX version is that front approach angle has improved. But the departure angle has worsened a bit, because of the slightly longer overhang at the back. Even with my mild offroading, the car brushed the ground on departure just a tad. There are skid plates to take this contact, and because the touch was marginal, there wasn't even a mark on the rear plate. But I think that as off road capable cars go, the departure angle is mediocre.
The car is definitely dated in design internally as well, but the materials used are of a very good quality, and the local assembly at Chennai has put things together very well. Feels built to last, and everything works well. No glitches in anything so far.
Headlights could be more powerful, but again, for all I have used the car for, they are fine. Serious night trips will call for more illumination in front.
With apologies up front to the Safari fans, once you get used to even the 15 year old feel of the Paj interiors, the Safari will never feel the same again. Before I bought the car, I checked out the Safari and the way the interiors have been put together was a huge let down. The thing is,this is not just an academic issue for an off road capable vehicle. The lack of attention to detail to small things is always a pointer to an equal lack in other more important areas. And that attention to all detail is where the Paj scores, and is what makes for its reputation of being bullet proof. From what I have seen so far, the reputation is well deserved.
Of course I realize that it costs another Rs 10 lakhs, but these things are also a matter of priorities about what one spends money on. After all, for the large majority of Indians, the thought of spending Rs 10 lakhs on a Safari would be horrifying!
Any questions, I will be happy to answer...

Haven't posted any pictures, because it looks just the same as any other SFX, that is already on the site. Question though, I have noticed that when people post pictures here, they go through a lot of trouble to hide the reg number of the car. Why would they want to go to that trouble? Any insights - I can't quite figure that out!

Last edited by theMAG : 13th July 2009 at 13:13. Reason: REMINDER 2: Use the same post for content addition upto 20 mins.
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Old 13th July 2009, 17:18   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawyer View Post
I bought it as a car to hold for the next 15 years, and not get caught up in the periodic upgrade frenzy that affects all of us, as the car companies do their best to keep us with our noses to the grindstone to continue making EMI payments.
You speak my language!! I usually hold on to my cars until they fall apart (2.0 odd lakh kms + / = 10 years).

Quote:
My one big issue is that I have not been able to use the car for what it is really meant to do, and driving in the city, while effortless, is not what it was built for.
We can easily rectify that situation. How about joining us on the next OTR?

Quote:
I changed to Mobil 1 at 1000kms
Too early IMO. The running-in period is crucial to "settling in" of the engines components. Hence, a little wear & tear is preferred. I switch to Mobil at about the 10,000 km mark.

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Originally Posted by Sawyer View Post
All I did in terms of accessories was V Kool all around - the V 70 for the front and the front side glasses, and K 37 for the rest. I find that this does a lot of good things for the car and its occupants in our strong sun.
V Kool is a must-have, what with the cabin space + greenhouse of the Paj.

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But it runs out of breath on the highway
The only thing that the Indian Pajero really needs is more BHP. Is HM listening?

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so - both for the momentum the car carries, and the high CG
Good one. I wish everyone understood that SUVs - even the expensive ones - do not handle like sedans. We witnessed a Landcruiser 100 series turn turtle yesterday, when returning from the Mahindra Great Escape. A left-hand corner on the Thane flyover did it for him.

Quote:
The car comes shod in MRF ZVRLs
Quote:
Michelin LTX would be more suited
Please make the upgrade at the earliest, they will transform the Pajero's behaviour, on and off the road. Only good thing about MRF's tyres is that they last long (super hard rubber). But the LTX's rule in grip, limited road noise and offroadability.

Quote:
The lack of attention to detail to small things is always a pointer to an equal lack in other more important areas
Well said.

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Haven't posted any pictures
You MUST! Sure, it looks the same as any other Paj, but seeing a fellow BHPians car brings a smile to us.

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I have noticed that when people post pictures here, they go through a lot of trouble to hide the reg number of the car. Why would they want to go to that trouble? Any insights - I can't quite figure that out!
Linky (Number plate "mosiac" in Images)
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Old 13th July 2009, 17:49   #5
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post


We can easily rectify that situation. How about joining us on the next OTR?
Let me see how I can get around to doing that, appreciate the invite. Got to sort some things out in my garage first!

Quote:
Too early IMO. The running-in period is crucial to "settling in" of the engines components. Hence, a little wear & tear is preferred. I switch to Mobil at about the 10,000 km mark.
I am old fashioned enough to still think that machining swarf that remains inside a newly made engine, and the final machining that is done in running in, is best flushed away by an oil change after 1000kms. I know that machining/manufacturing technologies are a lot better now than before, but still..


Quote:
The only thing that the Indian Pajero really needs is more BHP. Is HM listening?
Unfortunately, Pete is not an option because the engine is not common rail. Or am I wrong? I was advised a performance air filter, but my discomfort is that it may also allow more dust to pass as well, and I do want to have the engine go for 200000 kms at a minimum without a rebuild.
Quote:
Good one. I wish everyone understood that SUVs - even the expensive ones - do not handle like sedans. We witnessed a Landcruiser 100 series turn turtle yesterday, when returning from the Mahindra Great Escape. A left-hand corner on the Thane flyover did it for him.
I am always amazed at the way I get overtaken by the Endeavours and the Scorpios running speeds of 140 or so - amazed at the driver's utter confidence in a fully loaded vehicle. Ignorance is bliss, I guess, up to a point.

Quote:
Please make the upgrade at the earliest, they will transform the Pajero's behaviour, on and off the road. Only good thing about MRF's tyres is that they last long (super hard rubber). But the LTX's rule in grip, limited road noise and offroadability.
Thanks for the confirmation. Will do so asap.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 17th July 2009 at 17:15. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 13th July 2009, 17:52   #6
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Thumbs up The perfect car for India..

I envy you dude, seriously...

Given our road conditions at many places, the quality of fuel, the repair facilities we have (need to hunt for a good garage even in the metros), the Pajero with its time trusted mechanicals, robust construction and built to last interiors is single handedly the best all rounder for India.

It is one never-say-die vehicle for just everywhere....

I just wish I could afford one... and I m sure there are many like me.....
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Old 13th July 2009, 18:52   #7
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I just wish I could afford one... and I m sure there are many like me.....
Give it some time and some will, I am sure you will too - all the best!
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Old 14th July 2009, 10:11   #8
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Originally Posted by Sawyer View Post
I am old fashioned enough to still think that machining swarf that remains inside a newly made engine, and the final machining that is done in running in, is best flushed away by an oil change after 1000kms. I know that machining/manufacturing technologies are a lot better now than before, but still..
Us too. We strongly recommend an oil change at the 1,000 kms mark. However, my comment was not about changing the oil at 1K or not, it was about using synthetic within the first 10,000. I do change at 1,000, but to regular oil.

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Pete is not an option because the engine is not common rail.
As long as there is a turbo & an engine management system, tuning boxes will do the job. Example : Octavia 1.9 TDi.

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I was advised a performance air filter, but my discomfort is that it may also allow more dust to pass as well, and I do want to have the engine go for 200000 kms at a minimum without a rebuild.
Performance filters are best avoided in SUVs / offroaders. I run one in my Vtec, but its more for the sound than any performance increase (of which there is none / minimal).
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Old 14th July 2009, 14:13   #9
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Give it some time and some will, I am sure you will too - all the best!
Thank you so much for your wishes Sawyer, could you please post some pictures of this handsome SuV asap...
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Old 14th July 2009, 14:37   #10
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GTO, appreciate the responses.

Two more questions -

1. So does the Paj have an engine management system? I am not sure it does. Basically the question is about any way you know that is not going to cause grief to the engine, that will help to get the car to do the highway thing a little better that it does today. That would make it perfect in my book.

2. Re the Michelins and I am asking because upgrading means I will have to junk at least 4 good tyres that are a long way from being worn out. I should have done this when I bought the car, but that is history now. And there is no way I can keep the mountain that 4 unwheeled MRFs will be, anywhere at home or in the vicinity - the wife will not stand for that, and I don't blame her.
So the questions are, based upon advice from the HM service advisor to that effect, will the stiffer sidewalls of the LTX compared to the ZVRLs make for a harsher/noisier ride on the highway, and have the car more susceptible to wander in response to the slightest of road cambers? It is fairly well planted on the highway on the ZVRLs now that the alignment issue has been addressed. Also, his view was that the LTXs will actually last a lot longer than the ZVRLs. Knowing that tyre life v performance is the compromise in this field that the manufactures have to make, it is actually somewhat mystifying to me how Michelins outdo most of the competition on both counts, based on my experience with them in hatches and sedans. Probably just a very good product, and I am not complaining! Given your experience of the LTX, would you agree that this will be the case, that they will outlast the ZVRLs as well as they do most other tyres?

Appreciate any advice re this from anyone who has it to offer. Thanks.
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Old 14th July 2009, 14:37   #11
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Quote:Pete is not an option because the engine is not common rail.

As long as there is a turbo & an engine management system, tuning boxes will do the job. Example : Octavia 1.9 TDi.


So GTO is there any tuning box available for the Pajero?
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Old 14th July 2009, 14:57   #12
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So does the Paj have an engine management system? I am not sure it does. Basically the question is about any way you know that is not going to cause grief to the engine, that will help to get the car to do the highway thing a little better that it does today.
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So GTO is there any tuning box available for the Pajero?
Sure does. You'll easily get a diesel power box for your Paj, though you'll have to probably import it yourself. Pete's primarily does Euros. There are some other Indian suppliers who may be able to help you (forum search).

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Re the Michelins and I am asking because upgrading means I will have to junk at least 4 good tyres that are a long way from being worn out. I should have done this when I bought the car, but that is history now.
If you get a good trade-in value on the tyres, go ahead. If not, probably better to postpone the upgrade to the 25,000 kms mark.

Quote:
will the stiffer sidewalls of the LTX compared to the ZVRLs make for a harsher/noisier ride on the highway, and have the car more susceptible to wander in response to the slightest of road cambers?
The LTX will be way more quiet than the MRFs and a lot grippier. Personal experience : I've been using them for 5 years. I doubt the MRFs score on ride quality as they are hard rubber to start with.

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Also, his view was that the LTXs will actually last a lot longer than the ZVRLs.
30,000 kms up in mine and still a long way to go. Though I do think that the hard Indian rubber will have the edge in outright tyre life. For the record, my Michelin LTX's are at the same point where JK Brutes are at 50,000 - 60,000 kms. Best to change tyres - Michelin, MRF or any other brand - at 35,000 (40,000) tops.
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Old 14th July 2009, 15:20   #13
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If you get a good trade-in value on the tyres, go ahead. If not, probably better to postpone the upgrade to the 25,000 kms mark.



Getting Rs 500 a piece, which is silly - makes sense to wait, unless I end up going to Ladakh this year.


30,000 kms up in mine and still a long way to go. Though I do think that the hard Indian rubber will have the edge in outright tyre life. For the record, my Michelin LTX's are at the same point where JK Brutes are at 50,000 - 60,000 kms. Best to change tyres - Michelin, MRF or any other brand - at 35,000 (40,000) tops.

My thing is to change them at 4, max 5 years given that rubber ages, and that lives ride on them, given that in my case it is time that runs faster.
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Old 16th July 2009, 08:30   #14
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I am off to Lavasa to check it out in the rains, and in response to popular demand, I shall try to also take some pictures of the car. The better of my cameras takes pictures in a large format, so would some one leave a tip for me on how to size it to meet the forum limits - I am old enough to not be totally savvy about this stuff. I am also not going to lose sleep over the "hide the reg number" stuff, as long as it does not contravene any forum rules. For all I know, the world could come to an end tomorrow anyway
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Old 16th July 2009, 09:42   #15
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Sawyer, assuming you have windows XP, or some machine that runs it somewhere around you, here's a link to microsoft power toys picture resizer. You'll find a download link for the same on the right panel of this page:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/d...powertoys.mspx

Once installed, just select the pictures you want in the foler (in windows) and right click to see the resizing option. Its very easy. Hope this helps. Waiting for the pics now
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