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Old 18th May 2011, 12:28   #256
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Can one drive around on one's own in Bandhavgarh (outside the forest gate), and get to see animals? Kanha won't be possible since the place is inside the forest gate.
I think diesel vehicle is not allowed inside national park for Safari. However, if you have petrol vehicle then you can do the Safari on your own. When I visited Kanha, this was the rule and same thing I heard for other national parks also.
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Old 18th May 2011, 12:51   #257
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
You may want to skip the morning round and instead drive to B'garh for the evening drive. Believe me, getting up at 5AM after a 18-20 hour drive on the previous day is being cruel to yourself. Nagpur to B'garh should be a 5-6hr drive so you can even get out at 7-8AM and make it on time for the evening safari.

You can drive around in Kanha, but the big question is when? Except for the little time you get between the morning and evening safaris you wont really find available time otherwise through the day. I dont think you can venture out in the night though.
Amol,

Thanks for the detailed post. I know the Pench drive is a bit ambitious, but have already booked the safari, and will have to somehow drag myself up. Will catch up on sleep in Bandhavgarh. Nothing much to do anyways during daytime apart from the Safaris, given the heat.

Abheek has recommended specific drivers, so opting for them.

I am hoping that the temperature drops in the evening so that I can spend some quality time on the balcony.
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Old 18th May 2011, 13:35   #258
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Originally Posted by anujmishra View Post
I think diesel vehicle is not allowed inside national park for Safari. However, if you have petrol vehicle then you can do the Safari on your own. When I visited Kanha, this was the rule and same thing I heard for other national parks also.
A less than 5 year diesel vehicle can be used for safaris, but the experience in an open gypsy/ jeep will be much better. Moreover, i want to concentrate on the surroundings and on clicking photos rather than driving. So for safaris, I am going with hired vehicles. Though, it is very tempting to drive Bison on forest trails :-)

I was talking about roaming around in the evenings after finishing the safari. Will have to be outside the forest area. I was wondering whether there are suitable trails or roads - just outside the official forest zone - in Bandhavgarh and in Pench. For example, one can drive around Masinagudi till 8:30 pm on the main and feeder roads. Similarly, one can drive through Mudumalai and Bandipur till 9 pm. Looking for inputs on similar options in the MP forests.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 23:17   #259
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Default Changing 265/65/R17s

So on Sunday I carried out a mock tyre changing drill. Good that I did. I had to struggle hard with lowering the stepney tyre - was initially afraid to twist hard because I wasn't sure whether the lowering hook had entered the right place. Anyway, in the end I had to use some force to finally get the tyre to unlock. Reason? Mud from the 4WD bootcamp offroading had accumulated in the holder, and it was jammed. The service guys hadn't cleaned that place, and I also hadn't gone below the vehicle and checked.

Tried out the jack. Was easier than I thought it would be, at least lifting a front wheel. Didn't try a rear wheel, though I spent some time trying to figure out the exact place. In the end I went beneath the vehicle and looked closely. The place mentioned in the manual is a little rounded at the edges, not flat like the front jacking-up spot, so I was wondering whether the jack could slip. Anyway, I guess the weight of the vehicle would ensure that no slippage occures. So no hydraulic jack for the time being. One oversight of Toyota: they didn't provide a flat screwdriver in the toolkit. Or maybe they had, and someone in the service center flicked it. A flat screwdriver is needed to tighten and loosen the screws of the changing rod pieces.

A couple of passerbys were amused to see two legs sticking out from below the vehicle. Asked me whether there was a problem. Told them that I was taking a nap after a couple of drinks.
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Old 24th May 2011, 05:54   #260
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Default Re: Changing 265/65/R17s

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
So on Sunday I carried out a mock tyre changing drill. Good that I did.

1.The place mentioned in the manual is a little rounded at the edges, not flat like the front jacking-up spot, so I was wondering whether the jack could slip.So no hydraulic jack for the time being.

2. One oversight of Toyota: they didn't provide a flat screwdriver in the toolkit. Or maybe they had, and someone in the service center flicked it. A flat screwdriver is needed to tighten and loosen the screws of the changing rod pieces.

3. A couple of passerbys were amused to see two legs sticking out from below the vehicle. Asked me whether there was a problem. Told them that I was taking a nap after a couple of drinks.
Hi Nils,
Very nice that you tried it out and got familiar with the tools. Old Army adage comes to my mind - "The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war ".

1. That would be the distal portion of the axle of course. But you need to be careful when changing tyres on soft ground. The screw jack could sink into the ground thanks to its narrow base and the weight of the TFort. This is where the floor jack comes into its own. Wide base reduces sinking into soft ground as the weight of the TFort would be distributed over a larger area compared to the screw jack, easier to raise and lower and so on.
(Pssst...not that I have purchased one for Admiral yet ! But on the prowl.)

2. Needn't have a screw driver for that. That actually is meant to be done with the spanner. If you see the bolt head it is square in shape and one of spanners fits on to it and does the job neatly and can feel the torque to be supplied. Can be crudely done with the lug wrench's flat end too - difficult though.
Incidentally there is a screwdriver in the basic set. Please see the attached snap of Admiral's kit. But this can't be used to fasten that bolt. Too narrow and cumbersome to use. It is flat head on one side and reversible side of the tool bit is the Phillips head.
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3. Ha ha - great one !
But were you ?!!

Last edited by Guderian : 24th May 2011 at 06:06.
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Old 24th May 2011, 13:54   #261
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Default Re: Changing 265/65/R17s

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Originally Posted by Guderian View Post
That would be the distal portion of the axle of course. But you need to be careful when changing tyres on soft ground. The screw jack could sink into the ground thanks to its narrow base and the weight of the TFort. This is where the floor jack comes into its own. Wide base reduces sinking into soft ground as the weight of the TFort would be distributed over a larger Needn't have a screw driver for that. That actually is meant to be done with the spanner. Incidentally there is a screwdriver in the basic set. Please see the attached snap of Admiral's kit.
Very valid points on benefits of a jack with a wider base. Will look out for one, but not an urgent priority. The manual states that use a flat screwdriver, so I didn't look too closely at the spanner head size. But I take back my comments about Toyota :-)
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Old 26th May 2011, 21:48   #262
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Default Upcoming Nilgiris trip

Driving down to Masinagudi and then to an estate in Coonoor for the weekend. Hadn't heard about this place before - Nonsuch Estate - I liked the picture of the lawn and the old bungalow, which was a hunting lodge once upon a time. I was talking to another proprietor, when she said that her place was not available, and why don't I try Nonsuch. SO I Googled, looked at the website, and decided to book it after linking the photos. Took 15 calls to get through that place, though.

Here is one picture of Nonsuch from the website:
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Apparently Nonsuch gets prizes for best maintained garden etc., and also supplies tea to the president. The website states that:

"Records have it that the present Nonsuch Estate is made up of five small estates namely Nonsuch Estate, Upper Droog Estate, Avoca Estate, Ibex Lodge Estate and Ripplevale Estate. Ripplevale Estate was merged with Ibex Lodge Estate in the late 1800’s and since then the composition of the present estate is related to the remaining four estates. Title Deeds reveal that land was first purchased in 1863. Thereafter, numerous proprietors owned the four estates. In the second half of 1924, the estates were brought under one umbrella and ‘The Nonsuch Tea Estates Limited’ came in to existence."

Will share my feedback once I come back.

Random rambling: I love staying in heritage bungalows in the hills. When staying at such places, I sometimes suffer from theta brainwaves, especially in the evening/night wonder who all stayed there, what kind of family/bachelor life they had, what life was like 100 year back on such an evening. What stories of happiness and sadness the walls could tell. Makes you realize that life is ephemeral. I actually hate the concrete + glass building that we have everywhere now. Give me a mountain bungalow, a cold wind outside, and a roaring campfire + a wooden floor + a comfy armchair + a furry dog at my feet anyday over the best 5 star hotel room.

When we had little money (before and during the early years of our marriage), we used to visit offbeat places and stay in the circuit houses (e.g. in Painavu - a lovely old bungalow beside the lake/dam in Idduki) and MES bungalows (e.g. in Chail, Kalimpong). They were really lovely. You only have to watch out for snakes or centipedes in the bathroom. But the 18 foot high ceiling makes up for that.

These are a couple of scanned pictures of our Chail trip during the winter of 2001 We were the only people there - the place was 3 km from Chail town. Had interesting experiences in the night - windows banging, the wind howling, floors creaking etc. The caretaker stayed 50 m away in a cottage. No other person closeby. Btw, eventually figured out that the monkeys were banging the window of the bathrooms of the bhoot bungalow because it was snowing outside (the bungalow belonged to the Maharaja of Patiala once upon a time - when we went, it had been converted into an Army MES bungalow).

Last edited by Samurai : 29th May 2011 at 01:44. Reason: Rule# 11
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Old 26th May 2011, 22:41   #263
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Default Chail, 10+ years back

Out for an evening walk. When we came back, the army guys told us that the road is frequented by leopards in the evening.
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The naval officer (she was serving then)...but with a monkey cap instead of her standard beret or peaked cap. The 'haunted' MES bungalow is in the background.
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Had discovered an old piano in one of the rooms.
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Btw, 'haunted' = haunted by large monkeys who insisted on banging windows at 2 am in the night. Conversation had gone like this after we had woken up:

"What is that noise???"

Me: "Must be the wind (there was a snowstorm outside)...I must have forgotten to shut a window"...

The officer barking orders: "How could you be so careless! But I don't think it is a window moving around...why don't you take the torch and check?"

Me, grumbling, stepping onto the freezing floor and walking 40 feet along a corridor to check another room from which the sound was coming. Hoping that it was just the wind, and not one of the 365 odd wives of the Maharaja of Patiala - a wife who had decided to visit after feeling nostalgic about the bungalow.

Me, coming back..."Bloody monkey made me get up"....then "hey, you are misunderstanding...I know you are feeling cold so are wearing that monkey cap, but I was actually referring to that idiot who was trying to get inside the house"...

No reply...and me wishing that I had kept my mouth shut.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 26th May 2011 at 22:46.
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Old 29th May 2011, 01:27   #264
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Note from Mod : Please continue all future trip reports in a new travelogue. Kindly maintain this thread to only include the ownership report of your car. Thanks
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Old 30th May 2011, 13:31   #265
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

@ Mods: well, sure - if that meets the need of the forum better. But, the thread will become drier, and in my perspective, the ownership report is linked with the trip reports, especially for my vehicle since it does most of the milecrunching during getaways.

Anyway, will stop sharing trip reports and pictures in this thread. However, not sure what is there to share in a Fortuner ownership thread except minor cribs and 'everything is fine, as usual'.
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Old 30th May 2011, 17:23   #266
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
However, not sure what is there to share in a Fortuner ownership thread except minor cribs and 'everything is fine, as usual'.
Completed my century of posts and was looking for more apt place. Couldn't have been any other place than this thread. Your ownership review of the Fortuner has been instrumental to make us wanting to buy this car, and as you most rightly said there is nothing to share (this thing just keeps running and running) complete peace of mind i must say.

Whenever we see a Black Fortuner on road, i kinda think it might be you, only after overtaking and realizing that it isn't (Yours is fitted with Unibar and Lightforce). Thank you for such an informative thread, waiting for the MP trip TL (Which we will be doing soon as JBP is my hometown)
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Old 30th May 2011, 23:22   #267
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Completed my century of posts and was looking for more apt place. Couldn't have been any other place than this thread. Your ownership review of the Fortuner has been instrumental to make us wanting to buy this car, and as you most rightly said there is nothing to share (this thing just keeps running and running) complete peace of mind i must say.

Whenever we see a Black Fortuner on road, i kinda think it might be you, only after overtaking and realizing that it isn't (Yours is fitted with Unibar and Lightforce). Thank you for such an informative thread, waiting for the MP trip TL (Which we will be doing soon as JBP is my hometown)
Thanks Mayank - glad that you find this thread useful!

A couple of minor cribs after coming back from my trip (not posting the pics or trip story here):
1. Minor squeaks while going over bad roads. I think it is coming from the stepney chain.
2. The temperature indicator is slow to respond to changes in temp. I have to keep the vehicle under the sun most of the time, so maybe prolonged heat has affected something.

Will get these two things checked before my trip.

Had to do some offroading in the night to take a shortcut within the estate. Realized how powerful the Blitzes were - could see them lighting up the hill across the valley.
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Old 1st June 2011, 21:12   #268
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

A few pictures from the weekend trip. Had gone offroading in the night to reach a certain road outside the estate because I had run out of something :-). The advantage of the Fortuner is that you can take bad roads and no roads with peace of mind. Got a good chance to test out my Lightforce spots - they performed well. Btw, the tent is 'to carry' item in our driving trips. So much space once the rear seats are folded - one can carry all sorts of things.

Have a service shop visit planned for tomorrow morning for general checkup and minor replacements/stock up - wiper blade, coolant and engine oil - for the upcoming trip. Also need to get the stepney chain + fixing joint lubricated since it is making a minor squeaking noise as I go over rough roads.

Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_5355.jpg

Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_5485.jpg

Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_5200.jpg

Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_5338.jpg

Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_5203.jpg

Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_5238.jpg
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Old 2nd June 2011, 09:43   #269
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
A few pictures from the weekend trip.
Hi Nils, Excellent !
The Bison really looks great in those sorroundings. I guess that is where it truly belongs.
Siiigh, what am I doing keeping the Admiral chained to the city ?!!
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Old 2nd June 2011, 10:03   #270
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Hi Nils, Excellent !
The Bison really looks great in those sorroundings. I guess that is where it truly belongs.
Siiigh, what am I doing keeping the Admiral chained to the city ?!!
Thanks Guderian. The Admiral is unhappy sailing around the coastline or doing gunboat duty on rivers...take her to the high seas asap and test out her 16inch guns!
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