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Old 2nd November 2011, 01:31   #1
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Cool How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

OK. So, Yes, I got bitten by the Jeep bug, and went ahead and bought a Jeep without even seeing it once. The best(?) part is that it is ~1500 kms away from my home. So.. now.. what do I do?.

With a Jeep waiting for you far away, you never wait. You just go to it, and drive it down, with you!. Well atleast, all the emotions flowing in me were shouting this. Where as, the head was humming to bring it by train or some pvt transport agency. but then.. will you hear a hum, amidst shouts?

So.. the decision was made. Drive down the JEEP from Bombay to Kerala.

---

I searched the Forum, and the some networking sites, for gaining some online experience and some suggestions on the trip. Well, most of the searches were not really encouraging, and the majority of them tried to turn me away. But still, I was stuck on the thought of driving it home. In fact, I was excited by the very fact, that I get a chance to drive down a Jeep for ~1500 kms.

Well.. afterwhich, I stopped asking if it was a good idea, and started asking what to do, like I'm on my way. This proved fruitful, and I got some really good suggestions, and some good souls decide to help me out on my queries selflessly.

Last edited by Rehaan : 5th November 2011 at 12:25.
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Old 4th November 2011, 08:48   #2
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Default re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

Preparing the JEEP for the trip, carefully.. was one of the most important factors. This machine had been lying idle for about 2 years so, it was said to be lot of work.

This... is how I bought it.
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The tyres were bald, the oil was like tar, the filters et al, looked like they had never been changed, the wiper (A strange fun fact: The wipers working properly, is one of the most amusing things for me from child hood, even now ) was not wiping properly, the indicator bulbs et all needed replacement. Mechanically, the vehicle seemed fine, with a working engine and working gearbox. Well, that was all I needed to drive, right?
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Old 5th November 2011, 00:02   #3
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Default re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Luck. Character. Mental toughness. Physical toughness. Ingenuity. Patience. Common sense. A working cell phone. Relevant contact numbers. Loose cash. Tow rope.
- One of the best advice I got on the drive down. But then.. except for the cash, rope and cell phone, where do I find the rest?

I was just a normal guy who bought a Jeep under extreme emotional pressure. The only thing I knew I had was the passion towards the machine, and the yearning to bring it home. Well.. I just hoped the rest of the things would come along as a package.

So.. required Info collected, necessary work on the Jeep was done to make it road worthy, or drive worthy, Route map plotted, Equipment loaded, and then.. I waited for the day to arrive. Oct 26th, the planned drive down day.


The total trip duration planned was 5 days. Which included a very optimistic two day's to cover the entire distance.

The plan:

Bombay - Goa: Oct 26th (Day Journey).
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Goa - Goa: Oct 27th
Goa - Goa: Oct 28th


Goa - Mangalore/Calicut/Bathery: Oct 29th. (Day Journey)
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Oct 30th was kept as a spare day.
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Old 5th November 2011, 11:36   #4
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Default re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

October 26th: (Bombay to Goa)



Like it happens everytime, when something exciting is going to happen the next day, I cant sleep the night before. Likewise, I slept only for hardly 2 hours. Still, in the morning, I was fresh like ever, filled with excitement. Loaded the Jeep with all our luggage, water/drinking water, some rope, a tool kit, some spare engine oil, a 10L can, some chocolates, some loose wires, cloth, a small First-Aid et al. Checked the water, oil et al.. Everything looked fine.

The spare was lying in the back as the brackets that used to hold the old tyres were inadequate for the new ones. But, now.. with all this luggage, the back was filled, and the spare needed to go somewhere. That.. is when we thanked the fact that the vehicle was a HT. Tied up the spare on top, in the roof-carrier. I was a bit concerned about the longevity of the knot over bad roads... but still... decided to proceed.

The Spare wheel tied at the top.

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Had a morning tea with a light sandwich, smoked a kings and we where set!. The Jeep started in the 1st crank, and we left the flat @Vasai @7AM in the morning!. Destination: Goa!

Last edited by dhanushs : 7th November 2011 at 15:10.
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Old 7th November 2011, 13:13   #5
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

October 26th: October 26th: (Bombay to Goa)



Our 1st target was to hit the Mumbai-Pune Express way, the shortest way. As it was in the morning we expected little traffic. Initially we planned to go through Sion, but at the last moment changed the plans and altered the route so that we took the shortest route to E-Way, through NH8 > Karbao > Mangoli > NH3 > Mumbra > NH4 E-Way.

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Well, we had planned to photograph all the things along the way, but then.. strangely.. I guess because of the loonnngggg journey ahead of us, we kept driving to the destination (E-Way) and just clicked some casual pics.

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The roads where OK, but there were plenty of bad stretches here and there, and lots of trucks,, which reduced our average considerably. It took about two and a half hours for us to cover ~50kms. At one time, we even regretted our decision to divert from the NH8 tru Sion route.

This.. was the condition of roads:
How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-6.jpg


Finally, after about 3-3.5 hours, we reach the E-Way.

How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-7.jpg

Last edited by dhanushs : 7th November 2011 at 15:10.
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Old 7th November 2011, 14:38   #6
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

October 26th: (Bombay to Goa)



Target 1 (E-Way): Achieved. No problems faced whatsoever, and no breaks in between.

Now for Destination Target 2: Pune by-pass. And call/meet Sudarshan, who had spent some time for me and Jeep, giving me some good advices for the trip. Infact, its cos of him that I avoided the 4x4 conversion from bombay, which now, I feel was a good decision. (His argument was: You have a perfectly working engine and gearbox. Why add a new unknown system, and test its reliability over the ~1500 trip back to home?.) Right eh?



E-Way roads where as good as expected, not more. And, we hoped to improve our average, as we planned to reach Goa by night, and only ~10% of the journey was covered in the 1st three hours.

How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-8.jpg

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Now, driving a Jeep through good roads and high speeds raised another challenge. Handling. Believe me, driving a non-NGCS, C-Section chassis Jeep at speeds, EVEN through the E-Way requires some skill and lots of concentration, anticipation, awareness, self discipline and perseverance. Well, never in my life had I driven a Jeep at speeds, and slowly and steadily, I was getting adapted to it.

At first, tight overtaking and round the corners were a bit scary and surprising, but then time was teaching me a lot. And, when it comes to driving I'm a really good student, and a fast learner. Overtaking calculations started becoming accurate, and my predictions about handling was almost always right. Slowly, the Jeep started to surprise me less and less.

Another issue at speeds in E-Way on a Jeep with all round drum brakes is Braking. When it comes to describe braking.. For an MM540 with drum brakes @ speeds: Pathetic, would be an understatement. During service, I had overhauled my brakes. Pads were new. Brake fluid flushed and filled, and brakes adjusted. But still, at speed, you just cant stop the massive mass.

Also, my Jeep had/has a peculiar braking habit. It pulls to the left. So, the first thing we did after entering the expressway, and started gaining some speed is to learn, re-learn and adapt our-self to this peculiar braking habit. For about 30 mins, we were on the left most lane.

So, what was the solution for this left pulling problem?. Considering our situation and the resources available to us, the only solution was to counter steer to the right. . The amount of counter steer required varied with speed and amount of braking. We had to use the trial and error to master the art of braking in an MM540!!.. lol!!.. Well, I had driven the Jeep extensively before, but still needed some practice in the E-Way before really speeding up the journey.

Last edited by dhanushs : 7th November 2011 at 15:11.
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Old 7th November 2011, 15:04   #7
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

October 26th: (Bombay to Goa)



OK, so a couple of hours of driving on the E-Way, and we got tuned to the nature and handling of the Jeep. Now, we could communicate to the machine much better, and started picking up some speed.

Once the revvs started building up, and the outside temperature started to rise, slowly but steadily the Jeep's temperature gauge started to move towards the higher side of 80. I was a bit concerned as I thought I solved the issue with a radiator flush and a radiator shroud.

Luckily, we came across one of the E-Way halts. It was a nice stop, as it included water, refreshment, restaurants, fuel pump, tyre repair shops, minor mechs, bathrooms et al. Everything you need amidst a journey. IIRC, time was nearing (or just past) noon. We decided to have our first break and lunch from here.

After a light lunch, we re-filled our snacks, drinking water and cigarettes. Also, decided to flush the water in the radiator, and pour new water. Topped up the radiator, checked tyre air pressure, checked the spare tyre on the top if it was secure, and everything was just fine.


@ the E-Way stop.
How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-11.jpg



So, we were adequately refreshed, and decide to hit the road again. Time was running and we were seriously behind schedule. With had just traveled ~100kms, and it was already noon. Still our plan was to reach Goa by at-least 2AM.

We hit the road again.
How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-12.jpg
How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-13.jpg

Last edited by dhanushs : 7th November 2011 at 15:11.
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Old 7th November 2011, 21:46   #8
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

As we were behind schedule, we speed-ed up things. I guess fellow 540 owners know even if speed up is meant, how fast can you really go?

Well, we went as fast as the machine could handle it, and the speedo showed just about 60-70 all the time. I remember fellow bhp'n Sudarshan telling me that the company claimed top speed was 105. We didn't try to reach the top speed, but still wanted somewhere around ~90. But, there was no way we could make the speedo reach there. I was a bit concerned.

Now, amidst all the pushing-the-Jeep the temperature needle slowly started to climb above 90 towards 100. Decided to continue for a while. And then.. there comes the ghat section of the expressway, and the temperature shoots up to just above 100.

The temp needle edging towards 100:
How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-14.jpg

Well, that was it. I wasn't willing to take further risk. Schedule be damned. We stopped.
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Old 8th November 2011, 00:16   #9
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

Stopped for a while to let the Jeep cool down. There was enough water in the radiator, and the level wasn't going down. The oil was new and level was ok. Was not quite sure what's making the Jeep heat up, but decide to patiently wait. Took some snaps. Well.. there was nothing much to snap, except for a couple of monkeys and downhill.


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Old 8th November 2011, 00:43   #10
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

Now, we are really short on schedule, and move as soon as the temp needle goes down 80. Decide not to hurry up, and keep a steady pace, and go easy on the engine load. We use the ram-air to the max, especially whist downhill. So that the temperature is averaged. Still, surprisingly, we could maintain a decent pace.


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Soon, the expressway ends, and the NH-4 Toll road starts. And, we keep on rolling.

How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-27.jpg

How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-28.jpg

The temperature is now on the lesser side of 90, and we just assume its safe, and hope for the best and continue our journey.
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Old 8th November 2011, 10:45   #11
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

October 26th: (Bombay to Goa)

Target 2: Achieved. Slight overheating worries. Nothing else.

Target 3: Nipani (Atleast by 8PM)
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If I remember it right, its about 2PM when we reach Pune (By-Pass). A call to Sudarshan is pending, but then, we are really behind schedule. So, decide to move on.. While on the By-Pass, traffic too, was getting thicker, and my worries on the temperature start again. :( . Its edging towards 100. Soon, the traffic thin out, and the Jeep's temperature too starts to come down to 80.

We pay our 1st toll for NH4, enjoy the good roads, and proceed at a decent pace.


Traffic starts to thicken, as we approach Pune.
How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-29.jpg

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Traffic and temperature, both lighten out, as we move out of Pune.
How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r-31.jpg

Last edited by dhanushs : 8th November 2011 at 10:48.
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Old 8th November 2011, 11:15   #12
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

Very interesting thread, Dhanush! Im hooked on to this one. Great pix too! I was planning to drive down from Mumbai to chennai, in a newly acquired S10, but decided against it in the last minute. But seeing your pix, especially of the expressway, im feeling that i should have driven down!
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Old 8th November 2011, 15:08   #13
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

Hey Dhanush!! Congratulations!!
So now you are jeeper ah!! Kudos!!!
Great narration, enjoyed reading every bit of it. Out with the whole story fast!! come on!!
It would have been one heck of a drive with that new unknown jeep, ha??
Thoroughly exciting, nervous and fulfilling at the same time.
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Old 8th November 2011, 16:12   #14
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

Experiencing the Unknown is the wildest dream a person can ever have and you have done the right thing. Experienced and Conqured the Unknown Jeep. I am in love with your narration, keep it coming Dhanush. We've just crossed Pune and there's a long way to go, before you reach Bathery. Glued to your TL.
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Old 8th November 2011, 22:24   #15
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Default Re: How to drive an unknown JEEP for 1500kms - A Travel/Photologue by a n00bie JEEP'r

October 26th: (Bombay to Goa):



We proceed along the NH4 at a decent pace. The best thing after we left Pune is that, we could maintain speeds. Also,as there was enough air at speeds, the engine was not overheating, but the temperature is still on the upper side of 80 and just below 90. Decide its fine, and we keep driving.

NH4, roads are very good and E-Way like. Just that it lacks the width of the E-Way. and by now, I'm really tuned to my Jeep and able to predict its every move. Add to that, light traffic, and we speed up things.

Buuutttttt... another strange issue starts troubling our curious minds. Whatever we do, however we push it, the Jeep wont go beyond 70-75. I guess 80 is the max we touched along a downward slop. Now, I've heard that 105 is the top speed and expected atleast 90-95. but, 75? and already the engine has started screaming. I was starting to get a little worried about the condition of the mechanicals, and decide not to push it further, and go as much as the Jeep allows and nothing more. So, we keep the speedo at a steady 70-75.

We these kinds of roads, we were planning to average atleast 60 and reach Nipani by evening/nightfall. But, the speedo telling a different story made us suspect if that would even happen. After about half an hour from Pune, the target for the day, Goa, started to shake.
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