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Old 3rd January 2010, 10:41   #1
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Default Reclaiming life - My Tata Safari TCIC. 13 years, 1,23,000 kms and counting

Here is a long pending review of my Tata Safari TCIC.

Buying experience: I was actually about to buy the new Scorpio way back in 2005. Took a test drive, loved the car and the loan was also supposed to be arranged by the dealer.

However, they said that I would have to wait for at least two months. Plus, the vehicle was not a 4wd.

Meanwhile I discovered this used 4wd Tata Safari at a dealer. 4wd was my dream from the childhood; having driven our 2wd Mahindra over various terrains including sand where other 2wd cars got stuck, I always wanted to buy a 4wd vehicle.

I actually wanted to buy a classic but my then girlfriend did not allow me to buy that.

Took a test drive. Liked the vehicle. I just returned from U.S. then having driven a brand new Ford Explorer (100 miles when I rented it) for more than 5000 miles in a month and half. The interior and the body roll (Yes, I somehow like the body roll as it gives a good feeling!!!!!) was similar to the explorer. Refined, good place to keep your arm etc.

During the test drive I engaged 4wd at 80km/hr and drove the vehicle to approximately 140 kmph in 4wd. Ok, did not know about it, else I would not have done that, but the 4wd system survived after that.

With the loans arranged, I bought the vehicle in January 2005. There was a problem in power steering, but the dealer took care of it.

Took the vehicle to Concorde. They changed the timing belt and did servicing.

The next 3 months I was driving to lot of places in South India. I used to leave on Saturday and come back on Sunday. My roommates were happy.

The maximum distance covered in a single trip was about 2000 kms in 4 days, with me driving the first 1000 kms in 20 hours including multiple breaks and temple visits at Madurai.

The vehicle was even approached by a wild angry elephant in a forest.

Never ever the vehicle let us down. I did not even carry a wheel change jack.

After April, I went to US and the vehicle was sent to Kolkata to my hometown.

During transportation, the clutch was damaged. The transporter paid for the damage.

The vehicle was supposed to be maintained by a mechanic.

When I came back again in 2009, the vehicle was in a pathetic state. The look and feel was gone, scratches all over, mechanical problems.

Hope you understand the feeling when you love your vehicle so much.

During the past 5-6 months, I have spent close to a lakh of Rs. to restore the vehicle to its previous state.

The following components were changed/serviced.

1. Wheel bearings, Four Wheel Hub Greasing.
2. Engine Oil Assembly.
3. Radiator.
4. Battery.
5. Two Condenser Fans.
6. Alternator servicing with cutout replacement (Lucas guys were surprised how did a cutout work for 9 years - it was half worn when I replaced it).
7. Fuel Pump Servicing (Sad story, refer to my experience in Technical Sections)
7. Refreshing interior
8. Refreshing broken exterior and other components like door hinges etc.
9. Service all four window motors. Replace one motor.
10. Service Fuel pump motor.
11. Both the bumpers and some other panels.
12. Windscreen washer assembly (Cost me 4000/-)
13. Headlights
14. Clutch Master and Slave cylinders, release spring

Honestly, I am not at all happy. I love my cars, but not when I have to spend lot of money on it.

The service center assured me that the car will be okay and all I need to do now is regular servicing.

I am just hoping that I got the car back in the state it was in 2005.

Do I love my car? Well, I am typing this sitting inside my car waiting for my wife

Last edited by sumannandy : 3rd January 2010 at 10:44.
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Old 3rd January 2010, 15:50   #2
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Nice!
So, you had a pretty hectic experience with your Safari.
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Old 3rd January 2010, 15:55   #3
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Driving Experience: The safari is well planted on roads. Tires do make a huge difference. Even at 120 kmph with good tires you will feel absolutely safe.

Body roll has been discussed multiple times. However, at slower speed, I do not particularly dislike body roll.

Once I swerved the Safari to left and I think one side tires might have lost contact with the ground for a moment. However, i corrected immediately and no issues.

Brake is good. The vehicle stops at a straight line even when braked hard.

Steering: I am happy with the steering.

Power: It has enough power if you can keep it in the power band. If you are starting from 900 rpm, the power may not be adequate. In hilly roads, you need to change at high rpms in order to use 3rd gear.

Grip: Depends on the type of tire and the brand of tire. Excellent grip with good tires.

4wd: Used it only twice - once on wet loose sand and once on a gravel road. Generally 4wd is not required in most of the cases. Did not use 4L other than testing.

Central Locking: As already pointed out, sometimes the doors lock and unlock on their own. Seems like a problem with the remote.

Immobiliser: Does not cut fuel supply unless the key assembly is changed and not decoded.

AC: Dual condensers. Extremely effective after I changed the condensers.

Heating: The temperature used to be at half mark whenever I switched on AC. After the service center retrofitted the new model radiator, the temperature is close to zero even when the AC is switched on.

Ride Quality: Excellent. Did not feel tired even after 15-20 hours of continuous driving.

Safety: I am not a high speed driver on Indian roads. Feels safe at whatever speed I drive. Probably has the standard safety features. No ABS or Airbag but there is a mechanism to prevent wheel locking during panic braking.

Fuel consumption: Max. fuel efficiency was around 14.9+ kmpl in GQ in Orissa on a 7 hours drive with good roads, bad roads, heavy traffic, AC on 100% on time, engine idling to keep the AC on.

Turning rdius: Huge. I often end up blocking traffic during U turns. In Kerala once traffic police rushed in to clear traffic during U turn.

Tata Safari is a great highway vehicle. If you are driving in the city be aware of the size of the vehicle.

My wife also loves this vehicle. Absolutely great and recommended to everyone.

P.S. Yes, I had to spend some money on it but that was more due to non-usage or improper maintenance at garage I guess.
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Old 4th January 2010, 09:26   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mercedised View Post
Nice!
So, you had a pretty hectic experience with your Safari.
Yes, I did. I think experience with any Tata car is pretty involved. And as already pointed out, it also adds to your mechanical qualification.

I think we all want to avoid visiting service centers as much as possible. But with a Tata car, you may have to visit the service centers regularly, although the interval will depend on the quality of the service center and the vehicle.

For example, I gave my car to Concorde for checking the diesel leakage issues. When the car came back, there were rattles from the driver side door. Not sure how did they manage to do it.
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Old 4th January 2010, 19:03   #5
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Question Amazing mileage !

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
...Max. fuel efficiency was around 14.9+ kmpl in GQ in Orissa on a 7 hours drive with good roads, bad roads, heavy traffic, AC on 100% on time, engine idling to keep the AC on....
14.9+ kmpl in a TCIC Safari ...this is amazing !
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Old 4th January 2010, 19:29   #6
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I was surprized too. But with a light foot, I think the vehicle can achieve higher efficiency on highways.

This was great considering there was heavy traffic near Bhubaneswar, and we were waiting near airport for almost 20 minutes with engine running due to some V.I.P. convoy. Rest of the time I drove at 70-75 kmph (strict instructions from my wife not to exceed 75 kmph since there are so many unknown variables like cows jumping on the highway, vehicle and truck traffic coming to you at the wrong way etc.) in 5th gear, which explains the higher fuel efficiency.

Rest of the trip I drove at 80-100 kmph, and I never got that kind of fuel efficiency, although roads are all GQ in AP.

Last edited by sumannandy : 4th January 2010 at 19:30.
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Old 4th January 2010, 19:48   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
I was surprized too. But with a light foot, I think the vehicle can achieve higher efficiency on highways.

This was great considering there was heavy traffic near Bhubaneswar, and we were waiting near airport for almost 20 minutes with engine running due to some V.I.P. convoy. Rest of the time I drove at 70-75 kmph (strict instructions from my wife not to exceed 75 kmph since there are so many unknown variables like cows jumping on the highway, vehicle and truck traffic coming to you at the wrong way etc.) in 5th gear, which explains the higher fuel efficiency.

Rest of the trip I drove at 80-100 kmph, and I never got that kind of fuel efficiency, although roads are all GQ in AP.
I totally agree with this. Me too once with my 2.2 dicor achieved a FE of close to 17 or 18 km/liter when coming back from Ludhiana to Delhi. The run is for 310 kms and I never crossed 80 that is while overtaking and the trick was I kept the RPM in the range of 1.5-2 (x 1000 ) and always trying to keep in in the lower range!!!
I think that this band give the best FE in any vehicle. But the moment we cross this the FE drops like lead!!!
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Old 9th January 2010, 15:38   #8
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Summandy,

Nice review there. Am planning to go for a used Tata Safari from 2004 model. It has run 65K on Odo. Do you recommend that to be shortlisted. I really do not want to end up paying huge after-sales maintenance costs.. Are there any big changes done during 70-80K services. How much could be the estimated charges if the car is in good running condition
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Old 9th January 2010, 16:38   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravikn View Post
Summandy,

Nice review there. Am planning to go for a used Tata Safari from 2004 model. It has run 65K on Odo. Do you recommend that to be shortlisted. I really do not want to end up paying huge after-sales maintenance costs.. Are there any big changes done during 70-80K services. How much could be the estimated charges if the car is in good running condition
Hi,
I too own a Tata Safari TCIC, its a nice vehicle for cruising but one might find it difficult to drive in city initially, apart from that there are no such major issues untill the car is serviced regularly.
The price should be anywhere between 2.5K to 3.2K max. depending on the car condition.
My friend recently bought Tata Safari 2005 for 3.6lacs and the car was in excellent running condition having done just 60K kms.
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Old 11th January 2010, 15:55   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravikn View Post
Summandy,

Nice review there. Am planning to go for a used Tata Safari from 2004 model. It has run 65K on Odo. Do you recommend that to be shortlisted. I really do not want to end up paying huge after-sales maintenance costs.. Are there any big changes done during 70-80K services. How much could be the estimated charges if the car is in good running condition
Be prepared for these services:
1. Clutch: 6k-10k
2. Suspension (max. 10k)
3. Tyres
4. Wheel bearings (may be 1 or 2)

These are all regular servicing and should last you a while after you do this. As already mentioned it is a wonderful vehicle. If you keep it in the rev band, power should not be an issue, unless you are a racer.

Also check for alternator cutout, AC effectiveness etc. Should not be a problem for a 5-6 year old vehicle. Check the timing belt (replacement cost around Rs. 1500).

But Scorpio spares are cheaper I guess. I think you do not get as much comfort on highway, based on the reviews from my friends, but on the longer run maintenance will be cheaper. Also the engine from the same year will be better than that of Safari as it is 15 bhp more and based on the reviews in the forum it should last you a while. My TASS says that the Safari engine should last for around 200k-250k, but I don't think there are lot of reviews on it yet. On the other hand you will read reviews where Scorpio engine has crossed 200k or close to it.

So, take a call. It is extremely comfortable in the highways though, you will not feel tired at all even after whole day drives.

Also, if you are buying the safari, consider installing a bull guard. Any frontal impact will be very expensive if you do not have a bull guard.

If it is a 4wd, you may consider buying it anyway.

Hope this was helpful.

Last edited by sumannandy : 11th January 2010 at 15:58.
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Old 28th February 2010, 12:08   #11
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Update after my recent fuel pump service.

The car feels smooth now and seems like there is lot of power. In my recent Coorg trip, I could tackle the hairpin bends easily with a loaded car and AC on 30% of the times. In one hairpin, a loaded Force MUV got stuck midway due to lack of torque in the middle of the road. I could easily drive by the side of the road with right side wheels off the road.

Also, earlier I had to shift to 4th once the car reached 60, but now it seems that the car would move easily beyond 60 in 3rd gear even on inclines.

The only time I had problem was on a close to 40 degrees incline in a parking lot where I had to slip the clutch. But I would engage 4wd in similar situations from now on based on my newly acquired knowledge from Suman-da and Tanveer. Thank you .

The AC condenser fan was also replaced free of cost under warranty after it developed a problem (it was replaced 2-3 months back).
A voluntary oil change cost me Rs. 2800 for normal Castrol oil.. It costs lot less in other service center with Mobil oil. I think Mobil is much better compared to Castrol, based on my personal experience.

Parking brake was adjusted but the adjustment does not seem to work. Need to take the car again to Concorde.
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Old 28th February 2010, 14:45   #12
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... But I would engage 4wd in similar situations from now on based on my newly acquired knowledge from Suman-da and Tanveer. Thank you ...
What was that Suman? You mean to say that to avoid clutch slippage on slope, you are going to engage 4WD and pull out?
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Old 28th February 2010, 15:17   #13
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For a short stretch, yes, depending on the slope. However, if the tyres are slipping, then definitely yes. That is what I have learned.
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Old 10th March 2010, 13:06   #14
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Hi suman,
How much did the FUEL PUMP Repair job costed to you.
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Old 30th May 2010, 16:45   #15
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Default Clutch burning issue

The fuel pump servicing at Concorde cost around 10k.

I was taking my car up an incline at the exit of a basement parking lot (the 30 degrees incline was after a sharp left with a speed breaker at the end of the incline and a sharp right after the speed breaker) today. Due to the nature of the incline, I could not build speed, and the car could not climb the speed breaker. I tried to half clutch, but there was lot of smoke coming from under the car with a burning smell within seconds. So finally I had to reverse to the bottom of teh incline, put it in 4L and take the incline without any problem.

Please let me know if there is anything I should be concerned about for the clutch burning smell. The smoke was coming out for 30-40 secs before I reversed, but the burning smell was there for quite some time. The clutch seems to be working fine though.
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