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Old 4th March 2006, 20:18   #1
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Unhappy A Weekend... Interrupted!

It was supposed to be one more weekend trip just like the one before, but it fizzled barely after we started.

We were thinking for visiting the treehouse at Vythiri (Kerala), and we knew we had 6-7 hours of drive ahead of us. So we started quite early at 5.45AM and made it to Mysore road by 6AM, 10Km of ring road in 15 minutes, a record time for me. But the sky was dark as midnight, I was little surprised since I expected some hint of dawn by then. There were no street lights lit on the highway even in the city sections. I temporarily switched to high beams in order to see the road, still it wasn't happening. Anyway, I had just crossed the Rajarajeshwari arch and started passing a KSRTC bus on the fast lane at about 70Kms.

This would be a good time to bring up something I said about Mysore road in a previous trip report. I have had the good fortune to drive in many well engineered roads both in USA and India, but I have never driven in a road that is as dangerous as the newly laid Mysore road. It is so dangerous because by appearance it really tempts you to speed, but at the same it is very badly designed without safety considerations.

As I was passing the bus, I came across one more blind curve... Blind curves in a fast four lane highway, where did these people learn road designing...
Anyway, the road was straightening and I suddenly noticed a truck about 300ft ahead literally lying on its side across my lane (right/fast lane), with its underbelly facing me. This was right in front of the Mysore road RTO. I was like...Ok, I can avoid that, let me allow the buses to go forward and then I can shift left. Then I suddenly see some people waving at me barely 50ft from me, and then I notice a few boulders placed across my lane just 50ft from where the curve straightens. If the truck was lying 50ft ahead of me, I guess I would have jammed the brakes and risked a locked wheel. But they were only rocks barely half foot in height, risking a locked wheel right next to buses wouldn't have been a good idea. Of course, I didn't really think about all this at that time with only a second to react. I think the logic was preprogrammed in the brain after two decades of driving. So I made a controlled brake, hoping the engine braking to kick-in. The wheels didn't lock up, but I did drive over the rocks at about 30-35Kmph. I heard something hit, and we were over it within a fraction of the the second, and came to a halt and I was still about good 200ft from the fallen truck. I resumed and shifted to the left lane, while asking loudly what is the damage... Then I noticed the smoke that was being lit by my headlights, Hmm... that doesn't look good. Then I noticed the brightly lit red oil lamp on my dashboard. And this was followed by the acrid smell of burning oil. So, I pulled over the car to the side. Then I wondered what is wrong, I am no auto expert like most T-BHPians to know the underbelly of the car. Since I saw oil pressure lamp, I suspected it must be the oil. Therefore, I just moved the car further by few feet and halted the car, switched off the ignition. Then I walked back to the place where I had briefly parked and found an oil slick enough to fill a cup. At least I knew what caused the smoke, and that I had a ruptured oil tank. My car was parked on the side just before the R.V.College property, right at the turn off to Mindtree office.

Something funny happened at thing point. I pulled out my mobile and placed my first call to... er... to Rudra Sen. I guess I instinctly assumed this was an automotive emergency and called the Team BHPian who was most likely to be up at that wee hour. I called my brother later.

Anyway, Rudra confirmed my fear by telling me that the oil sump was placed low enough for this to happen. And he also provided me with some emergency numbers to call. Meanwhile I too found couple of emergency numbers on the backside of the Maruti booklet. The tollfree number is 1600111515 which doesn't work from mobiles and second is a mobile number that reports invalid upon dialling. Then I found a number for break-down service from Bimal. I called that number and described my plight, the guy promised to send a tow-vehicle immediately. About 30 minutes passed and I got a call from the tow-vehicle driver. He said he will start from whitefield in 15 minutes and he will tow me to Bimal's Kanakapura service center. Bimal isn't my favourite service center after the last service and I didn't want to go there. He said he can only take me to Bimal centers, and added that it will cost me Rs.2000 for the towing alone. I said I will call him again and hung up. He wanted me to pay Rs.2000 to tow my car to a service center of his choice!

Meanwhile I was trying to get the Mandovi emergency number so that the car can be towed to Mandovi service center near my home. My brother was googling at his house to find the number but he couldn't locate any emergency number. Meanwhile my wife wanted us to be towed at the earliest at any cost and be done with. But Bimal had lost my trust and I was not going to entrust my car with them again. Fortunately we have relatives in Kengeri, so we called them and they came and took us to their home. By this time my brother, my cousin were able to track down some Mandovi numbers and unfortunately no one picked up, none were emergency numbers. Now that we had a landline, I called the 1600 number and was given a new number to call. At this new number, one very sleepy girl asked too many questions, and finally said someone would call me. And she had no idea when the tow truck would arrive. She also added that my car will be towed only to Sagar service center at Wilson garden.

By this time the host of the house suggested a local authorised Maruti service center called Vikash Motors which was probably 5 Kms from the accident site right on Mysore road. I called up the guy and he promised to send a tow-vehicle within 30 minutes.

I had my breakfast and then was dropped back to the car by my relative. After a long wait a Maruti 800 showed up. I started looking back expecting a tow truck. Then the duo who showed up told me that the 800 was the tow-truck! I guess I have been spoilt by my USA experience, expecting a real tow truck!!! Anyway, they pulled out couple of interconnected cycle tyres, and soon realised it won't work. They said they'll get some rope and left, only to return after 30 minutes with a 5mt long nylon rope. The cars were tied together and off we started, about 3.5 hours after the break-down.

Meanwhile I was thinking that may be I should have accepted the Bimal tow vehicle, at least that would have been a real tow truck, no ropes and all. Towing with a rope needs atmost coordination between the drivers, they have to synchronise their brake action well or else the rope or something else would break. So I gingerly asked what is the official tow vehicle of major dealers like Mandovi or Bimal. He said Omni!!! And he also added that those Omnis are well equipped for on spot repairs where possible unlike this 800 car. Oh, that's a relief!

We reached the service center in 10 minutes (the rope did break once) and the car was raised up in no time. To my relief it was found that only the Oil filter was cracked, the oil sump had a big dent but no hole or even a cut. There were other superficial dents/scratches along the underbelly, but nothing serious. The service center manager was a nice guy, spent a lot of time standing under the car along with me. He assured me that Baleno was the only car in Maruti stable (skip Vitara) that could withstand this kind of damage. This impact could have ripped Esteem or Zen underbelly.

The total bill came to Rs.696, some 400+ for new oil (there was no old oil left to change), 71 bucks for new oil filter and rest was labor. And no charge for towing! Full marks for Vikas Motors.

Anyway, I collected my family from Kengeri and drove back. That's was the end of our weekend trip...er.. that was Interrupted.
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Old 4th March 2006, 22:21   #2
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Thats really sad to hear samurai .. Its rather hard to see ur baby get hurt like this .. Dont know about the omnis being used as the tow trucks by other dealers , but RNS certainly has a tow truck (in the literal sense) .. So im expecting the other showrooms to have them too ..

Anyways u are lucky that ur car didnt suffer much damage , it could have gotten worse .. Take care of her ..
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Old 5th March 2006, 00:00   #3
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Sad to hear that Samurai. Anyway, good to know that nothing serious happened. When did it happen? Today? Because just last saturday, I had gone to Kerala by Mysore road at around same time.
It is really dangerous to drive fast at any time on Mysore road. You can expect vehciles to come opposite to you at any time. Same way you should be ready to take a diversion to the the other side of the road at any time. And as Samurai pointed out, there are too many blind curves and very few straight line stretches.
Bottom line is that driving on Mysore road no fun.
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Old 5th March 2006, 00:12   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai
Since I saw oil pressure lamp, I suspected it must be the oil. Therefore, I just moved the car further by few feet and halted the car, switched off the ignition.
Hey Samurai,

Sorry about your car, but luckily it wasnt the sump!
You saved your engine right there by switching off ASAP, if you had kept the engine running for longer it would have done some nasty things to your internals!

Quote:
Something funny happened at thing point. I pulled out my mobile and placed my first call to... er... to Rudra Sen. I guess I instinctly assumed this was an automotive emergency and called the Team BHPian who was most likely to be up at that wee hour. I called my brother later.
Thats so Team-BHP

cya
R
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Old 5th March 2006, 02:59   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai
the oil sump had a big dent but no hole or even a cut. There were other superficial dents/scratches along the underbelly, but nothing serious.
Did they change the sump or at least whack it back to shape. The oil level indication may not be correct with that big dent.
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Old 5th March 2006, 03:37   #6
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Real bad to hear that Samurai glad to know you came out safe and the Baleno was healthy. Nothing is more nightmarish than being stuck on the highway with your family.
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Old 5th March 2006, 05:25   #7
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hey Samurai.. sad to hear about this.. Yes its common to have small vehicles as tow truck.. I remember when my Hyundai Viva had a nasty crash on the town hall flyover ( Car hit a lamp post at approx 140 kmph) and the entire front and left of the vehicle was smashed.. the "Tow truck" sent by advaith hyundai was a "Santro".... the car could not pull the viva as the front was smashed... i had to then run around bangalore at 5 in the morning to search for the tow truck. (I was not a member of TBHP then ). luckily managed to find one and got the vehicle towed.. but hyunday was happy to pay for the towing charges..
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Old 5th March 2006, 09:57   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadas
Sad to hear that Samurai. Anyway, good to know that nothing serious happened. When did it happen? Today? Because just last saturday, I had gone to Kerala by Mysore road at around same time.
Yes, it was this saturday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MPower
Did they change the sump or at least whack it back to shape. The oil level indication may not be correct with that big dent.
The dent is 2 inch across and about 1/2 inch deep at one of the corners, don't think it would affect the oil level indicator. A replacement would cost 10.5K at least. BTW, it may not survive a whacking, we don't want it develop a leak.
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Old 5th March 2006, 10:18   #9
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Sad indeed..was looking for an entirely different report. Apart from the hassles, it's a big let down not to able to make it to the destination so well researched and planned. Good that nothing major happened.

Maybe you can plan it with an overnight stay at Mysore so that you drive only during daylight. These highways cannot be trusted.
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Old 5th March 2006, 10:37   #10
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On principle, upon any scrunch noise, I get off the road and look underneath. Frankly, the mysore road projects is like developing the cowpath, ie, a cow walked that walk unscientifically, and development followed. What next....4 lane hairpin bends ?

Anyway, thanl god, you got away with minor damage

BTW emergence phone no for Mandovi is +91984405077
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Old 5th March 2006, 10:46   #11
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Sad to hear about your car, Samurai. The lost trip doesnt matter - the damage to your car does. Please have the sump checkedby Maruti again - you dont want to be driving around with a sump that may give way anytime. In any case, its a good thing you got away with a cracked oil filter - early morning drives are fun, but dawn and dusk are the times of the day when your vision is affected the most.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai
Something funny happened at thing point. I pulled out my mobile and placed my first call to... er... to Rudra Sen. I guess I instinctly assumed this was an automotive emergency and called the Team BHPian who was most likely to be up at that wee hour. I called my brother later.
Seemed like the most natural thing to do...old man never seems to sleep anyway.

With the amount of driving you do Samurai, you need a Scorpio or a Safari. I used to think a normal car would serve the purpose too - I saw light after 3 years.

Last edited by Steeroid : 5th March 2006 at 10:48.
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Old 5th March 2006, 11:53   #12
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Quote:
The total bill came to Rs.696, some 400+ for new oil (there was no old oil left to change), 71 bucks for new oil filter and rest was labor. And no charge for towing! Full marks for Vikas Motors.
If it was a non-BHPian, the car would have been driven normally and ended up with a blown engine. I'm sure the Baleno's rebuild wouldn't be cheap and really disheartening!!
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Old 6th March 2006, 00:18   #13
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I have had a pretty decent experience with RNS. My car broke down in front of Globus Kormangala at 7pm on a Monday. You guys can imagine the traffic situation there at that time. The RNS guys from Hosur Road reached the spot in ~30 min.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat
BTW emergence phone no for Mandovi is +91984405077
Hey Ajmat, this No. has got just 9 digits 984405077. Can you post the correct number please?
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Old 6th March 2006, 02:24   #14
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I was there at the spot around 9.00 enroute to RV College, saw the toppled truck, which was still lying there, as usual in true Indian style. I guess the truck guy was doing insane speeds.

But as far as the road is concerned i doubt, if it could have been designed any better, with the railway track right next to it and the vrishabavathi river flowing on the other side. Moreover i must add; that particular curve in front of the RTO is pretty well designed, extremely wide and also banked to help you steer easily. But all that is of little help if brainless idiots keep stones all across the road.

Before the new road came up the speed limit was 40kmph and I was fined once for doing 57 kmph on this stretch. I don't know what the new speed limit now is, but saw the cops stopping quite a few vehicles in front of my college. Speeding on this road is pretty risky and i have seen some terrible accidents on this road in the last couple of years.

Moreover beware of bullock carts on the extreme left lane and blind uturns by tractors and other slow moving traffic and stay within 80 kmph atleast till you cross kengeri limits.

Drive safely.
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Old 6th March 2006, 08:40   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rameshspassion
Hey Ajmat, this No. has got just 9 digits 984405077. Can you post the correct number please?
Whoops 9844005077 - ------------
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