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Old 17th April 2007, 17:45   #1
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Post To Leh in a Zen?

Mod Note : Please continue the discussion on TSK1979's excellent Leh & Ladakh Guide at this link (Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide)




I've been planning to do the Manali - Leh route for as long as I remember. Is this possible in a 2004 Zen? Keep reading mixed advice about it not being too tough a route Vs the inescably low suspension of such cars being a complete misfit.

Also planning a Shimla - Narkanda - Sangla - Kaza trip - are the roads any better on that route?

Any advice would be welcome!

Last edited by GTO : 31st May 2013 at 10:34. Reason: Link to Guide
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Old 18th April 2007, 08:56   #2
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The Shimla-Kaza stretch was cut-off at the Maling nala - I believe there's an alternative road now but not sure (I'm of '03 vintage in this respect).

Kaza - Gramphoo used to be a (non-existent) PWD road, with mostly rubble brought down with snow-melts forming the 'road'. The pagal nala and in fact the entire Kunzom La climb may be a toughie. You'd probably need a raised suspension, massively off-road tyres - and a solid workout for the back.

That said, if memory serves me right, Dipti Naval used to do Manali-Leh which is 'closer' to being a regular highway (only relatively) every year in a Zen. Remember having read that someplace. So yeah, its totally doable.

Ask mod-gurus to how best to get the Zen to be an off roader, and then go test on the lesser roads, especially in varied conditions (sand, slush, rock) - there's tonnes of that around Bangalore - and in Coorg.

P.S. I did the Shimla-Kaza-Gramphoo-Leh route two up on a Pulsar - and the main reason I could was because of awesome rubber - MRF motocrosses up front and Duro knobbies at the rear. Focus on that, and the suspension (height). Of course, a car has fewer 'escape routes' when clambering over rock-and-stone-strewn surfaces.

Last edited by zenx : 18th April 2007 at 08:59.
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Old 18th April 2007, 10:19   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amip View Post
I've been planning to do the Manali - Leh route for as long as I remember. Is this possible in a 2004 Zen? Keep reading mixed advice about it not being too tough a route Vs the inescably low suspension of such cars being a complete misfit.

Also planning a Shimla - Narkanda - Sangla - Kaza trip - are the roads any better on that route?

Any advice would be welcome!
Hey, Not the best car to do this route in as one never knows what kind of condition the road wud be in . If you search for Rudras report on the Leh trip that he did ;last year you will see that there were some sections which in a zen wud be IMPOSSIBLE !!! So think twice ..... infat dont think

As for the Shimla - Narkanda - Sangla - Kaza trip ... this is doable in a zen . But remember that one shud know the car inside out -- Ill try and post some pics where I took my stock zen off roading and didnt scrape it once . Your clutch .. throttle .. brake control needs to be immaculate .

It also depends when you planning to do the trip ... as if its during the monsoons then it can get difficult .
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Old 18th April 2007, 20:48   #4
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Thanks both! Am planning this trip in end of September - actually deciding between an Indrahar pass trek or this road trip.

Is it possible to self drive any hired vehicles on these routes? I mean are vehicles available for hire in Manali for such a trip?

Also planning to buy a Safari sometime in the way off future - at least thats what it seems like at the moment!
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Old 19th April 2007, 16:46   #5
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End of September. Well thats Raid de Himalaya time dude. WHy not take part in it and enjoy full service and medical emergency backup apart from the fun of taking part in India's best motorsport event? My two cents..
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Old 19th April 2007, 19:55   #6
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thanks - will check that out - though no info seems to be available on the site regarding the Raid for 2007..
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Old 20th April 2007, 02:06   #7
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I survived the Raid 2006 in a bone-stock Wagon R. Look for more info in the 2006 link.
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Old 20th April 2007, 09:40   #8
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Yes, Nitin was commended to have taken the Raid head on in a Wagon R with his newly wedded bride. Check the report from antohr T-Bhp member.
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Old 20th April 2007, 10:55   #9
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All depends on the driver and road conditions at the time of travel, try going to Ladakh in the first week of September and it should be ok. Even if you have to do off roading there isnít a big problem as long as there is no slush, road is a bit harsh but if you know how to drive properly and have patience you would be able to do it easily.

As for Kaza route, an alternative to Malling Nallah does exists, so you should be safe there as well.
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Old 23rd April 2007, 10:55   #10
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I have driven twice in my 1999 Daewoo Matiz - in 2003 and 2004 - covering both Manali-Leh as well as Manali-Kaza-Leh, and further on from Leh-Srinagar. Yes, conditions are tough and the car can take a battering - I damaged my exhaust pipes, wheel bearings, sump - but managed it quite well. Early September can be a bit slushy and sections to watch out for are - Rohtang-Gramphoo-Tandi. But end-Sep is a good time to go, roads are good and conditions are dry. But dont go in Oct, I encountered snow in Baralacha La on Oct 2 and after I got thorugh, the road was closed for 1 week. I climbed Khardung La but my attempt to scale Marisimik La (now the highest road) was futile.
Don't worry, as long as you are a good driver, know your car well (and also a bit of mechanics), there is no substitute to driving yourself!

I beleive that the Rampur-Malling-Sumdo-Tabo route is now OK (when I tried in 2004, the road had been lost in a landslide for 3 kms), but please do check with HPTDC at Shimla before you start.
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Old 23rd April 2007, 11:05   #11
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Thanks hv - did you get any modifications done to your Matiz?
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Old 23rd April 2007, 15:52   #12
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No modifications at all, same car that I run in Mumbai. I did take some precautions like have higher tyre pressure so that I get that extra height (minimal!), and you won't believe it, I carried 2 unusual things in my 2003 trip:
- 2 wooden log pieces to be used if the car got bogged down in the mud, which it almost did in the Gramphoo-Khoksar stretch, but managed without it
- my vacuum cleaner's tubing to be used as a snorkel for the car;s air intake in case I had to go through 1 feet plus water (in which case, I would have unscrewed the air intake (since Matiz air intake is very low) and I would have fixed the vacuum cleaner tubing higher! (but never had to use it)

I carried 10 litres of fuel extra, but happily I ran teh entire 500 kms from Manali to Leh on a single tankful of fuel (tank capacity 42-45 litres)

Maximum problems I had were nothing to do with Ladakh - loose injectors, short-outed HT wires, etc., which were all fixed on the run.

There is a good Maruti service centre at Leh that I used for check ups after arriving there, plus another at Pathankot (in 2003, I broke my fronmt windhsield when a truck backed into it, plus my wheel bearings ahad to be changed because of teh battering it took in Kargil-Zoji La, which was extremely bad that year).

Know enough about the car, carry some spares such as HT cables, spark plugs, fuses, relays, an extra car jack and maybe a hand pump. I also carried a pair of battery wires to start the car (with another battery) in case the battery failed. Carry extra tyre tubes. Make sure you have the best tyres, you need all the tread to get traction on the steep cobble-strewn slopes. When you park your car overnight (such as at Sarchu/Pang/Jispa), make sure that you don't leave it exposed to the wind, they can be really cold there, why get into trouble with a cold start in the morning?
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Old 23rd April 2007, 16:40   #13
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Very helpful! Thanks - am currently trying to locate a used Gypsy King for the trip - there dont seem to be too many around!
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Old 26th July 2010, 11:42   #14
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Hi, every1, want to visit Leh in my Wagon R 1.1 2010 model.
Got following queries to be claried:
1. Can Wagon R take the terrain.
2. Do's & Dont for this trip.
3. Best time/season to visit leh.
4. Any special modification /Engine Oil/Coolant required for this trip.
5. Would appreciate minute details, reltaed to ourselves(me & my wife) and my wagon R.
Regards
Ashwin
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Old 26th July 2010, 18:16   #15
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Hi Ashwin,

Please go through the following thread:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...gama-lama.html (Bangalore to Leh, Gama to Lama)

Cheers!
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