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Old 3rd January 2012, 16:48   #406
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Hi Niranjan,

Nice travelog. I follow all your posts and reading your travelog is like I am really experiencing the travel. I hope some time I can also join with you for such a wonderful trip.

Thanks once again for your wonderful post.

Prajeesh Nair
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Old 3rd January 2012, 17:19   #407
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Hi Nilanjan, how have you secured your forcelite lamps , have you used any anti-theft nut like barrinut and also the covers on those lamps , was it part of the kit . i have fabricating something similar for my rallye lites.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 17:45   #408
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Quote:
Originally Posted by g_prajeesh View Post
Hi Niranjan,

Nice travelog. I follow all your posts and reading your travelog is like I am really experiencing the travel. I hope some time I can also join with you for such a wonderful trip.

Thanks once again for your wonderful post.

Prajeesh Nair
Thanks Prajeesh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rm_arjuna View Post
Hi Nilanjan, how have you secured your forcelite lamps , have you used any anti-theft nut like barrinut and also the covers on those lamps , was it part of the kit . i have fabricating something similar for my rallye lites.
No Barrinuts. I keep the lights covered almost all the time so that they attract less attention.
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Old 12th January 2012, 17:11   #409
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Default Some pictures from a recent trip

The Bison performed well during uphill climbs, night offroading and highway cruising.

I need to change my driving style when I am with family - they say it is too rough (going over everything without much of slowing down). That is why I have the minor squeaks from the front suspension...but the Fortuner and the Hilux are meant for rough use - what is the point of treating a Tuna gently? Not as if I am driving a prima donna German vehicle that might start sulking after some shock treatment...

One morning I was on 1st-3rd gears/2000-3000RPM extensively while climbing up and down steep hills (I usually go up much faster than I come down - I overtake all vehicles when climbing up, and all vehicles including nanos and motorcycles overtake me when I am using extensive engine braking while going down). Anyway, when I did a high speed run in the night, I found that the engine felt smoother than usual. Wonder whether the rough treatment in the morning helped.

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I had to do some offroading while driving between Chamrajanagar and Gundlepet:

1. I was forced off the road by a crazy bus driver coming (trying to overtake another vehicle) from the other side. So two wheels were on raised tarmac and two wheels down. The height differential started at 6 inches and then became 1 foot. At that angle, the 221mm ground clearance was sufficient to keep on moving and then rejoin the road.

2. To avoid hay kept in the middle of the road. I have read about hay getting stuck and then vehicles stopping, so I try my best to never go over mounds of hay if I can help it. I have not seen people in other parts of the country use the highway like their own backyard.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 12th January 2012 at 17:31.
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Old 16th January 2012, 15:25   #410
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Default Performance of Toyota at Dakar

I always used to wonder how Mitsubishi and Touareg won Dakar multiple times, but not Toyota. Recently came to know that Toyota diesels have been consistently winning the T2 Group - Cross Country Series Production vehicles category. The overall winners (e.g. Touareg) come from T1 or Open categories, where extensive modifications are done.

Seems Toyota is more interested in proving the capabilities of production vehicles rather than outright winning of the rally through extensive upgrades. Does this mean that winning the Dakar overall is more a function of modifications and support systems? Probably...

I don't know if this is the final ranking, but here is the T2 ranking at the end of Stage 14 of the 2012 rally: as you can see, full of Toyotas.
T2 general ranking stage 14 car page Dakar

Cheers to all Toyota SUV fans

Last edited by nilanjanray : 16th January 2012 at 15:28.
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Old 18th January 2012, 14:20   #411
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

While going through my laptop came across some more pictures from my June drive to MP and back.

MP state roads have great surface, but are narrow and curves are often at more acute angle than usual. One needs to drive a vehicle such as the Fortuner carefully and resist the temptation to speed beyond a point on hilly roads.

Have learnt that the Fortuner can deal with extreme heat without any issues (temperature under the sun i.e. not in the shade would have been more than 50 degrees when we went). Need to see how the vehicle deals with extreme cold. Given that Toyotas are popular in deserts (extreme heat and cold), shouldn't be an issue.

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Old 26th January 2012, 22:32   #412
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Default A few B&W pictures

Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_0689.jpg

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This is what one needs to be careful about in the Southern jungles.
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_3102.jpg
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Old 27th January 2012, 11:14   #413
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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
Taking the vehicle again to the service centre and spending the whole day there is a pain, but will have to do it sometime else they will not do a good job.

I need to find suitable roads or obstacles when doing a test drive with the service folks else they will not be convinced that something needs to be done and requisite effort needs to be spent opening things up. My feeling is they try to get away with doing as little as possible and hope that a Toyota will run on its own without proper preventive maintenance.
Me too facing the same suspension noise issue. Here in the ASC its the same old line " sahab dusri gaadi mein bhi aavaz aati hai ". Do let me know when you get a permanent fix for this.
And as usual FANTASTIC photographs ..
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Old 27th January 2012, 16:56   #414
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Thanks Columbus. Some more B&W pictures here:http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/shifti...ml#post2659747 (The Official non-auto Image thread)

I had taken the vehicle to the ASC again to fix the noise, but the noise refused to cooperate when I did extensive test drives with the SA and a technical adviser. I went over offroading tracks, bounced up and down in the fields, went over bumps etc. - but no noise!

And then next morning when I go over a steep bump again, I hear that noise. While minor, it is an irritant. Tired of this hide and seek. At this rate, I will have to take a service person on one of my weekend trips to make them understand what is happening :-)

The problem is, when I told them to grease all the necessary joints and points, they looked at me and said that extra lubrication or tightening not required - but they will do if I point out which parts to lubricate or tighten. Now, I am not so knowledgeable about the individual suspension parts to override their ignorance or trick - right now. Seems I have to do some studying about suspension (know what is what, and point out that A, B and C here needs to be lubricated, and D, E, F here need to be tightened) before I go again so that they can't pull the same trick on me. Same trick that the cabbies play when they feel you are new to the city: "Tell me which road to take".

Last edited by nilanjanray : 27th January 2012 at 17:02.
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Old 27th January 2012, 17:12   #415
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Awesome pictures, that elephant getting closer to the Jeep is too close for any comfort. Where you on the other side of the Jeep? Looks like a day time picture, did the elephant do any damage?

Whats on top the the Jeep? Looks like a pathway to get to the machhan.
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Old 27th January 2012, 17:38   #416
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Hi Nilanjan,

Thats a wonderful trip you've had. Could you please post the route map for the benefit of others who may also want to do the offroading & jungle life? Were you allowed to take the fortuner for the jungle safari? Which is the lake?

Finally, what are the lenses you've used? :-)
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Old 28th January 2012, 12:53   #417
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Awesome pictures, that elephant getting closer to the Jeep is too close for any comfort. Where you on the other side of the Jeep? Looks like a day time picture, did the elephant do any damage?

Whats on top the the Jeep? Looks like a pathway to get to the machhan.
Yes, I was on the other side of the Jeep. He pushed it a bit, but didn't break anything - that time. He did have a reputation for bashing up vehicles.

That place was not near any machaan - it's some other place near Masinagudi. A private place in the middle of the jungle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nitinbose View Post
Hi Nilanjan,

Thats a wonderful trip you've had. Could you please post the route map for the benefit of others who may also want to do the offroading & jungle life? Were you allowed to take the fortuner for the jungle safari? Which is the lake?

Finally, what are the lenses you've used? :-)
Thanks. These are pictures from different trips - but most pictures are from Nilgiri foothills, especially around Masinagudi (route: Bangalore - Gundlepet - Theppakadu/Mudumalai - Masinagudi). That lake is called Emerald Lake - about 30km from Ooty. Lovely place - Fortuner country.

I have cruised on many many jungle roads and trails, during daytime and evening. But haven't taken the Fortuner on an official jungle Safari inside the forest yet. The Southern sanctuaries and parks don't allow private vehicles inside. MP forests do, but too much of a hassle.

I did evaluate all the safari trails (in the South and in MP) to judge whether the Fortuner can handle them. Yes - easily. But one needs to put up with a few scratches.

Most of the photos are taken with the Nikkor 18-105 mm and 70-300mm lenses.

Some other B&W pictures taken during my wanderings.

This is a picture from the pre-Fortuner period (the SX4 is visible). Posting this photo because I recently got to know that none of these dogs are alive any more. The Foxhound - an uncommon breed in India, but still bred in Ooty - was taken by a panther. The Boxer died of some disease.
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_0703.jpg

Morning mist
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_3322.jpg

Barasinghas
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_6707.jpg

Cirrus clouds in Madhya Pradesh
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Macro picture of a flower...taken at a Coonoor estate
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Beanbag on a machaan...
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Spaniel @ a resort
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House Sparrow
Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_0693.jpg

Finally, two pictures of the dogs who are there no more. They entertained me on a March afternoon as I was walking around, trying to click some photos of junglefowl and peafowl.

Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_0697.jpg

Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 100,000 kms up!-dsc_0702.jpg

Last edited by nilanjanray : 28th January 2012 at 13:13.
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Old 28th February 2012, 21:58   #418
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

Bison has a few scratches now. Happened when I was going through a narrow trail with stubborn bushes on both sides. Should easily come off when I take her for a long due spa treatment. But perhaps I should just keep them - I know scratches will happen again when I am out in the bush. And if I get her spick and span, then I will feel pretty bad when I hear the scraping/screeching sound next time I go on a narrow trail.

I was in China last week, and was wondering why Toyota didn't launch the Fortuner there. Probably they are playing for higher stakes in Cathay land. Passed through Chengdu on my way to Shanghai. Realized that Chengdu is rather close to the North Eastern tip of Arunachal. Within range of strike aircraft...

The T Fort would be a great vehicle to drive on the Tibetan plateau and in Sichuan. I had once crossed the Greater Himalayas in North Sikkim and gone upto a 18K+ feet border bunker. In a Hired Tata Sumo, and then in an Army Gypsy. That country is real SUV country - one doesn't even need the roads on the Chinese side - one can just go cross country. Apparently the Chinese use Pajeros extensively in the North Eastern sector.


By the way, I tried some granny style driving...could get till 13.8kmpl before I got fed up and succumbed to torque curve riding bliss.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 28th February 2012 at 22:00.
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Old 29th February 2012, 11:39   #419
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Default re: Soldier of Fortune: Wanderings with a Trusty Toyota Fortuner - 80000 km update

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Apparently the Chinese use Pajeros extensively in the North Eastern sector.
Yes, which is why the Indian Army too has purchased around 100 Pajeros to be given to our jawans in the same areas.
I feel they should have purchased the Fortuner instead. Equally reliable, with more power and equally low if not more, on maintenance.
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Old 29th February 2012, 12:06   #420
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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 n.devdath View Post
Yes, which is why the Indian Army too has purchased around 100 Pajeros to be given to our jawans in the same areas.
I feel they should have purchased the Fortuner instead. Equally reliable, with more power and equally low if not more, on maintenance.
Pajero seems to be a status-driven equal equal move (could be wrong though). More important than F vs. P is the number - why just 100? Are these vehicles just for the officers? Anyway, a T Fort or a Pajero in Army Green would look super!

By the way, I saw a heavily modded Fortuner today morning near Iblur junction/Sarjapur Road in Bangalore. Red in colour, with raised suspension, snorkel, rear door stepney etc. Anyone knows the owner?
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