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Old 1st July 2012, 22:21   #1
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Default My first JEEP - Mahindra MM540 2WD

Hello All,

To begin with, this is my 'first' thread and boy what a way to start, totally thrilled.

A little bit of background...
After years and years of dreaming to own a Jeep, I finally bought a 1990 MM540 last thursday.
The feeling is still to sink in, that I actually got one, it was quiet sudden actually.
For a long time I had been planning to buy one, but it was pending, as we have esteem which my wife does not like to drive a lot and she was not at all looking forward to the idea of buying a Thar for a second car, I tried to convince her a LOOOT but finally understood that maybe it would be good to buy a 'practical' car which she can drive to work, while I would stick to our esteem till such time I can buy what I want.
So, in March this year we bought our i10 Blue Drive which has been well accepted into the family.

I know its a bit looong...
So all this while I was dreaming about Thar and jeeps and sometimes Gypsys as well. Reading countless threads, I am quiet well known as the Jeep and Bolero guy in my office.
Went to the Mahindra showroom for the Bolero test drive, liked it immensely, saw the Thar parked, TD was not available, the raw appeal was stupendous.
Got the quotation, then sadness prevailed, with my current financials it was not possible. Now what to do, thought maybe next year and by then maybe the Thar would be available with some more features as decided by wifey.
Then came along an Armada, there are 2 of those which are available, one at my friends garage which I convinced my wife that we could rebuild, made plans and how I wanted it to look, I wanted to cut of the last quarter and put in a roll bar there, put some nice auxillary lamps out in the front, nice Bolero engine (to be sourced from Kurla) but then when we did the costing, it was a bit too much so plan dropped.
Now what next, gave up, told wifey that maybe time will take its own course.

Change in Plan...
Last Friday 23-Jun, wife gave surprise, she knew I always wanted a Bullet, she called me home we went out and surprise on the way, she told me that we would be booking an enfield. I was on top of the world, went to Dhone Automobiles and booked RE Electra (Black) coz the standard doesnt come with electric start and nor does it have disc brakes. Very happy for the lovely surprise given by wife, 8-9 months waiting was 'ok' since no other option.

Another Change..big one
Come saturday and I am busy telling everyone about the Bullet and I am standing out talking on the phone when my bro-in-law drives towards me in a Jeep, I was like, what on earth, he tells me Jeep is for sale, I tell my friend, dude - hang up something urgent, bro-in-law takes a TD, comes back and tells me its good.
I speak to wifey tell her about the jeep, she is excited as well, we think what to do now, almost unanimously we both say lets cancel the Electra and go for the Jeep. This will still need some replanning but definitely worth every penny.
We speak to the owner, after some hard negotiating and having it checked at our workshop, we finally get her home on 28-Jun, I am on top of the world.
Took her home and proudly showed it off to the world.

My first JEEP - Mahindra MM540 2WD-dscn3381.jpg

Initial ownership - (just a few drives old)

Starting & Stopping the Jeep : The engine has a lot of spunk, this is my first experience in driving one so please excuse me for the lack of knowledge. There are a lot of firsts for me in this, the vehicle springs to life after given the starter treatment and I realised that a gentle tap on the accelrator is all that she needs to surge ahead. Well thats great, so easy aint it, after driving for some 20kms I reached home and now the question was how do I stop the engine (lol) I called up my bro-in-law, no answer, heck now what to do, so many knobs which would be the right one, is it this - oops that the wiper switch, nope that the lights aw c'mon, by now quiet a few people are wondering why am I idling so long. Thought now lets release the accelerator on 1st and let it stop, surprise, it jumps 2 feet and misses a car by an inch (congratulations) on not knowing how to stop the engine! Then finally I put it onto 2nd and press brakes totally and then does the beast go back into slumber! Phew!

Steering & Braking : There is a lot of play in the steering and needs constant corrections, another thing I came to understand is the braking, its poor but not as bad as I had come to understand after reading countless posts and needs some amount of anticipation for it, but definitely not an emergency brake. I did not find any handbrake in the jeep, did this not come with handbrakes, or have I not discovered it as yet.

Power, Clutch & Gears : Power is available freely, though the gears make me do a lot of workout, first gear has very less range and runs out of breath soon, 2nd gear sounds like I am in a bus with a groaning sound coming through, 3dr gear also is similar with a very short range, and then I find myself on 4th gear where the engine settles down to an even sound though quiet loud. Clutch is very heavy and needs some getting used to, my first 2 drives left me with cramps the next day

Ride & Handling : The ride is awesome, though the vehicle might rattle as if its going to fall apart, but none of those bumps and shock waves hit you, the beast ambles down all the paths and the lack of them as well. I guess the handling could be much better if the steering was not too vague. Also, i noticed that the jeep veers to the left whenever I brake.

Tyres & Hood : The tyres are totally worn out and need replacement urgently, currently they are MRFs and Ceats mixed. The soft top is in good condition except for a minor leak towards the left side of the windshield where some water trickles in. Need to get that checked as it is definitely going to breed rust.

Issues so Far :
With the Jeep I was on top of the world and decided to take her to work, much against my previous plan of getting the work and to doa complete health check-up done first, more on the consequences later.

Now most of my colleagues were already aware of my deal which was going on for last few days and when I landed in office with an unusually BIG GRIN they knew what had happened, all of them came rushing and wanted to see her immediately, somehow managed to convince them and went on with my work (was difficult) after promising them that would definitely take them out later in the evening.

Well the day was awfully slow, and finally when the sun was about near the horizon, I sounded the alarm and my friends gave a battle cry and came running, I proudly led the army of well wishers to the parking, where I had had some difficulty trying to squeeze between some 'tiny' cars

They feasted on her like hungry wolves and then off we went, navigating through the 2nd floor parking was kinda difficult and I got my first dose of what poor brakes in a Jeep meant, phew that was a task, finally reached down, the rest of my gang jumped in, and there we went, everybody staring at us (chest was doubling up) and then we moved ahead, a small bump type speed breaker was there and we crossed it without any issues, but the moment the rear wheels crossed, it sounded like many things fell apart from the jeep, there was a bit clang and then the steering started to wobble crazy and my heart sank, i somehow managed to take it aside and went down and peeked, i could see my silencer fallen hangin on to dera life by one screw towards the end. I was heart broken and embarassed as well, I bravely told my friends that she was not to blame as I should have taken her for a check-up and got her done up before venturing out, my friends were very sad as their proud drive ended with a clang, but they were quick to say that this is a 'Lucky' jeep as this could have happened just about anywhere, i cant imagine this happening in peak hour traffic in Hinjewadis 'wide' roads.

Well, suddenly 2 God send guys came in they were our house keeping staff and were aware about jeeps, they quickly went under the vehicle and tied the silencer to the body and told me not to worry. I could not believe it, I thanked these guys profusely and apologised to my friends while promising them "I'll be back!"

Overall Experience - Priceless
I packed my stuff and set for home, boy what a journey, hehehe no need for a horn, and nobody dared to come in front. The best moment was seeing even Boleros and Scorpios (which are in plenty in my part of Pune) moving aside to let me (the big Guy) pass ahead.

This is my first experience on owning a Jeep and I feel T-BHP University is a very much a core part in the entire jeep thing. I have learnt a lot and hungry for more.

Mods & Repairs Planned (more repairs then Mods)
Now the part for doing it up starts and thats where I would request all the Professors and HODs in Jeep dept to make me their studious disciple and help me get a degree in getting jeeped!

I have given it at my friends workshop in Pune to get the below things done, I would love to really do it up totally but theres a major deficiency of Vitamin M and this was totally unplanned.

Complete Mechanical overhauling including
-New Brakes - had thought of Bolero boosters, but maybe that would be for later, right now we will just change the worn out components
- Gearbox overhaul, xfer case, differential overhaul (lot of work is expected from the gearbox, it sounds as if metal is grating against metal) My friend has passed on a message today, parts are worn out.
- Change shock absorbers and overhaul recamber the leaf springs (Bolero shock absorbers)
- Replace clutch assembly (current is SUPER heavy)
- Body tinkering work, remove rust from body, strip down to chassis (unbolt from body to prevent rattling sounds, sandblast and reinstall components, patchwork wherever required (this I feel would be very less, inspection has shown almost no broken parts or rust in the body, underbody is where i suspect)
- Gypsy rims for 235 size tyre and 5 Yokohama Geolanders
- Seats
- Roll bar & Halogen flood lamps (2 on front fender)
The above list is what comes to my mind after going through countless posts and rebuilds which I have been reading. I am a total novice, this was the first time that i drove a jeep and maybe I might have made many mistakes in the above, please correct me and guide me wherever required.

Question Time

Some initial experiences, please advise if this is normal (i feel not) and suggest what to investigate
1. Lot of play in the gear lever, getting used to it, but is this normal, also I feel it is rubbing against metal. Once I could not make it shift to 3rd, after a lot of wrestling i succeded. This happens quiet often
2. Vehicle steers to the left while braking, which is already very poor
3. Plenty of steering correction is required, and there is lot of play as well
4. Can Thar roll bar be used for MM540, are the dimensions the same, coz i saw in the new Thar expedition kit, the roll bar is priced at around 10500 INR which seemed reasonable, please advise
5. What is the maximum size tyres which I can put on this existing rim, and which tyres can be used, (this is plan B for me, in case I overshoot the budget)
6. Can the other Thar components fit the MM540 as well, like semi hard top
7. Jeep attitude setting in, respect levels as compared to i10 and Esteem - sky high

Expenses so far
Yesterday took the Jeep to a welder, to get the exhaust fixed, wanted to do it temporarily in case it was in bad shape, so that it can be replaced readily.
The guy removed the exhaust, it seems the pipe was just resting at 2 points at the exhaust manifold outlet (engine) and then towards the end. There was no support in the middle, the guy made nice bracket for both ends and in the middle put in a piece of rubber belt, to give it flexibility, the exhaust was in good shape, had snapped due to vibrations and lack of support, got gas welding done at both the places and is fit back into place, total cost 500/-

Okay, so here it goes, I guess this is all that I have in my head so far, need your help to add to our efforts here to make her stand out . I know pics are not there, but I promise to put in some more

Last edited by Trojan : 4th July 2012 at 01:39.
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Old 5th July 2012, 12:27   #2
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Default Re: My first JEEP - Mahindra MM540 2WD

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 5th July 2012, 14:01   #3
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Default Re: My first JEEP - Mahindra MM540 2WD

Dear Trojan - I work in Pimpri, Pune. If it is OK to you, I would like to see your vehicle and guide you in totality. Please don't spend any money till you show the vehicle to me, or else you will not realize value for the money that you will spend. Please PM me your mobile number, I'll call you.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 5th July 2012, 14:50   #4
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Default Re: My first JEEP - Mahindra MM540 2WD

Congratulations on your Jeep bro. You are in the right hands please take him/her to DB sir at the earliest to get his blessings..

Cheers again
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Old 5th July 2012, 15:01   #5
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Default Re: My first JEEP - Mahindra MM540 2WD

Congrats on the Jeep thing. Enjoy it to the fullest. and with BD Sir with you, you dont have anything to worry about. Please post more pics
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Old 5th July 2012, 15:21   #6
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Default Re: My first JEEP - Mahindra MM540 2WD

Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Dear Trojan - I work in Pimpri, Pune. If it is OK to you, I would like to see your vehicle and guide you in totality. Please don't spend any money till you show the vehicle to me, or else you will not realize value for the money that you will spend. Please PM me your mobile number, I'll call you.
Sir, I cant believe it, just yesterday I was thinking if I could contact you in some manner (through this forum) to seek your guidance. This jeep is definitely very lucky!

Of course you can see my Jeep sir, I stay in Nigdi Pradhikaran, I am really looking forward to meeting you.

I did get your number from one of my colleagues, but it seems to be incorrect, as my texts are still waiting to be delivered.

Thank you so much Sir.


Last edited by GTO : 6th July 2012 at 12:43. Reason: Believe me, you don't want your number listed publicly on a large forum
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Old 6th July 2012, 17:00   #7
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Default Re: My first JEEP - Mahindra MM540 2WD

Wow, yesterday was a fantastic day with a huge amount of learning for me. Thank you BD Sir for being so kind and generous to share all that priceless information with me. It was indeed an honour to be meeting you.
I did receive a call today morning as you had promised and I would be meeting Arshjeet tomorrow. I would then have the privilege of driving his friends MM540 to understand by way of comparison about my Jeep.
For all the readers, the plan for me now is to go entirely by BD Sirs directives and promise myself a fantastic MM540.

Thank you Aditya and Desmosedeci, yes I am feeling quiet relaxed now that my understanding about Jeeps has improved a bit (still miles to go though)

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