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Old 28th November 2013, 15:06   #1
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Default Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Driving has always been a passion and search for tranquility made me tread the less traveled roads with excitement, at times with fear of uncertainty.
So much so I learnt to cook my first Maggi on a lonely isolated road in the afternoon. Birding too has taken me to many places, some regular ones, remote, low lands and mountains.

"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep." by Robert Frost

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Every trip has evolved me in more than one ways, its been a fantastic experience so far. Be it the way my driving style has changed over the last decade, how to take care of car on such long trips in remote locations, how and where to cook, where to pitch a tent for the night. This travelogue is not just about travelling to a remote location but how a (Front wheel drive) FWD 110PS Duster car could climb some unnatural heights and the steepest inclines you can come across.

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Before going any further, I would like to say a word of caution. Please do not attempt to do this if you don't have a 4WD and you are extremely comfortable driving the mountains. Remember, reversing up or down a treacherous mountain road can turn out to be suicidal without proper know-how and help.

Why did I do this?
I have been travelling to places like these for the last decade and honestly feel more comfortable there than the plains. The two persons I travel with has been there with me since beginning and they know with experience what needs to be done at critical times. We worked as a team and a lot of thought was put into planning the trip.

Disadvantages of FWD w.r.t inclines.
Acceleration makes the weight of the car move backwards thus unloading the front wheels of its weight. Hence they loose traction on steep slopes resulting in silly wheel spins.

Advantages
Lighter in weight compared to RWD since the drive-shaft is shorter. This implies lesser weight to drag upwards. But on plain land, even in icy conditions FWD gives better directional stability as the weight of the engine compartment is directly on the front tyres.

The aim of this trip was to explore new places and see how a FWD 110 PS Duster on stock tyres (MRF Wanderer) fairs in such terrible inclines.

Last edited by Aditya : 6th December 2013 at 10:24.
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Old 29th November 2013, 15:41   #2
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Preparations made before the trip:
Second synthetic oil change on 24k kms mark. Oil filter and air filter change.

Day 1: Kolkata to Mirik bypassing Siliguri.
The usual Dumka, Bhagalpur route. All routes were preset using map engine. (Courtship with the Renault Duster RxZ)

Started at 4am in the morning, reached Mirik by 7pm.

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There was this fantastic sunset while going past Khoglong enroute Mirik

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Mirik seemed a deserted town in the chilling month of November. There was hardly any people on the road with hotels and restaurants closing by 7.30pm. With no prior booking, managed a surprisingly cosy hotel named Mehelum. Gave us a lovely double bed room for Rs900 with free flowing hot water.

After a tiring days drive we took a bath when the sole manager cum waiter came up to us to say we have to go out to eat as they don't have a restaurant and may be nothing might be available at this late hour. With maggi and omlets saving our night, we went to sleep for the big day tomorrow, a Monday.

Monday was specifically choosen to climb the Sandakphu route to avoid oncoming traffic. Sadly God disposes what we propose.
When I asked a local driver, "how is the road up there?, can you drive there?" He just smiled and said, "babuji jo log upar gari chalate hei, oh logue specially trained hai. Upar rasta nahi hai, gari chalte chalte rasta ban gaya". That was quiet a beating on my mental state considering the car at hand.

We are thus lucky to have two fine gentlemen and TBHP members who have driven up these slopes in real style and in their 4WD's, BlackPearl and 1100D.
1100D was accompanied by his elderly parent, speaks volumes of the mental grit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Even if the vehicle goes up the inclines in 2wd, it is scary to go down in that mode in a hairpin bend. If you have to reverse, the rear will not have enough traction to go pull the vehicle backwards. So it is the descent that will be unnerving for a 2wd vehicle and not the ascent as one can easily slide the vehicle under momentum during ascents. Saying that, it will be difficult to go up in such an incline if the vehicle has to stop midway for some reason or another. Having done this route several times, I personally feel that any 4wd vehicle should be able to do it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
4WD's like the Scorpio/Bolero/Safari/Fortuner have a low ratio/range gearbox. This is an additional reduction gear (say for example of a 2.38:1 ratio as in the Scorpio). This multiplies the torque likewise in each gear, at the same time reduces the idle rpm driving speed by the same ratio for the same gears (in comparison to the usual high ratio 1:1). What this allows is a very very slow but steady progress through the rocky surfaces without need to modulate either the accelerator or the clutch. The low speed allows you to drive slowly on the rocks rather than making the suspension work overtime and sacrifice the suspension components. The slow movement also does not require clutch usage hence clutch is also saved. Lastly no stress on the feet operating the pedals, because they are mostly off the pedals.

The only collaterals for going with a 2WD are

1> Higher momentum required, necessitating higher speeds and subjecting the suspension tyres (and in some cases the underbody - if there is bottom scraping) to higher speed on rocky terrain.

2> Tyre slipping - apart from 1 above you would require the only driven wheels to claw, slip against rocks to gain traction, subjecting the driveline, the suspension at the driven end and the driven tyres to stress. For a 4wd, that drivetrain, suspension and tyre stress is distributed front and back

3> Clutch slipping - to counter 1 and 2 above , you would need to keep the engine revved right up, to prevent stalling, speed control through clutch.

4> When the going gets very steep, a 2WD is less likely to make it, even if it does, it will need to speed up and take the hairpins at a significantly higher speed.

In comparison, on a 4WD, simply switch onto 4WD-Low and just stroll slowly a little off the idle rpm, as if nothing happened!! Just enjoy the scenery!
Now here I am with my Renault Duster 110 PS trying to scale similar heights.

Directions from Mirik:
A single road leaves the the lovely town of Mirik bisecting the lake leads directly to Ghoom just before Darjeeling. On this lovely winding road comes Pasupathi and Sukhiapokri. Its in Sukhiapokri we turn left that leads us to Manebhanjan (7054ft).
Manebhanjan is the den for the legendary Land-rovers that dare to climb the slopes of Singalila National Park till Sandakphu. Many trekkers come here on the previous day and acclimatize themselves before starting the trek early next morning. A normal trek to Sandakphu (32kms) takes around 2 to 3 days time. Next up 3kms from Manebhanjan is Chitre at an altitude of 8350ft. The inclines by now is enough to make one feel tipsy. There is a old Buddhist monastery and some lodging accommodation for trekkers too.
Lamey Dhura, 3kms from Chitrey is one of the smallest villages I have seen. Heard it consist of 4 or 5 Tibetan families.There after comes Meghma. This is another small village located at the border of India and Nepal, and about 3kms from Lamaydhura at an altitude of 9,514 ft.Next up is Tonglu and Tumling there after. These areas are at an altitude of approx 10,000ft. There are some good accommodations in Tumling and trekkers halt here for the night.

About 1km from Tumling is the gate of Singalila National Park, highest altitude national park in West Bengal. Red Pandas and Himalayan Monals are the finest attraction here. This is where I wish to ride up, doings U turns after U turns where very few cars could make it at one go without reversing. Not only is there lack of space doing a U turn, the inclines are above 40°. All a driver sees at times is only the bonnet after the sky. Direction of the roads can be tracked with prior assumption and looking out of the driver window.

Could I reach?

Day 2: Destination Singalila NP gate on Sandakphu route.

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We woke up at 5am in the morning and was ready to leave the hotel by 6am.
Decided to leave all luggage and cooking accessories behind. I am in great need of high power to weight ratio today.

Last edited by himadrimondal : 5th December 2013 at 21:23.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 15:27   #3
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Default re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

So here we are, on a fine chilly morning of the third week of November, 2013, a specially choosen Monday driving towards a dreaded destination.

The entire road from Mirik to Sukhiapokhri is along the Indo Nepal international border. Army check posts are a usual sight here. Sukhiapokhri comes up within an hour. We silently slip past the sleepy hamlet with a few eyes staring at us. Maybe the car looked very uncommon in this parts of the country. While coming from Mirik and after reaching Sukhiapokhri, taking a left leads to Manebhanjan. The road from Mirik to Sukhia is a glide, the left after Sukhia is as bumpy as it gets. Usual mountain road with no tarmac starts to warm us up for the HELL that's waiting.

I have no idea how much time it took us to reach Manebhanjan (must be 20 mins approx) for we were just lost in our universe of uncertainty. We three were silent with just our heads and upper part of our body shaking in perfect tune with the uneven road under much like those head shaking dolls we see in the dash of many cars. The silence in between us made matters look even more serious. Subconsciously adrenaline has started to pump. I started to feel it.
Thoughts rammed our mind like,
Can we at all be allowed to make an attempt? That was a big question then.
Will the landrover association stop us? I don't know!
What happens if my car fails within the first 15 minutes or so.
The pride of of owning a Duster might just fall flat on its face.
What if the handbrake doesn't work properly ?

We checked and rechecked our line of action in case we were made to stop midway in a climb. This is no 4WD and a FWD is most unlikely to make a restart halfway on a incline with loose gravel, reversing on a steep incline with a immediate hairpin turn below is almost like suicide. With my head just about to burst open by the pressure of thoughts that had no realistic answer, smoothly ran my right thumb against the forehead to wipe the first layer of sweat. Just about by this time I cross the first Land Rover parked. Breaking the long silence, my friend, a TV mech by profession, from the back seat screamed, 'these cars, these cars, see see, if they can make it, ours will sail through'. All I could do is silently laugh at the mockery and hoped for the best.

By this time the density of Land Rovers parked has increased and in no time came the first checkpost at Manebhanjan. Its here we had to take permission for the entry.
Parked my car a little upfront on the road that goes down and walk straight into the office, 7am in the morning. Greet three officers and show them my ID card and seek permission to go up. Words were coming out of my mouth like butter, addressed them as Sirji and even before they could ask i was showing them three IDs.

Then came the dreaded question, 'Where is the driver?'
'Me' I answered.
Officer: 'Which car?'
By this time his subordinate rushed outside only to see this brown frog like looking car standing outside. I watched the expression on his face, he did not laugh, neither did he smile. Guess what, even a Nano in its lifecycle might not have got such a sarcastic comment,' Yeh gari, ye to yeh chardai nehi par kar payegi'. ('This car!!, it won't be able to cross this uphill here!')

I was like and with determined look and voice requested the officer, 'If I cannot, will come back, no worries. I am not on a mission, neither will I go till Sandakphu. If I cannot go, I will come back. I am responsible enough and will not put others at risk too'. My half white hair might have done the trick silently too.
The officer was convinced and told his subordinate to take it easy. Asked me to give Rs500 and handed me few passes which were to be shown on the check posts above.

Before leaving he sounded a word of caution. 'The road approaching Chitrey has broken down after monsoon and its like boulders. Be very careful. Return back if you cannot pass that.'

Last edited by himadrimondal : 5th December 2013 at 21:00.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 17:31   #4
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Not a word exchanged thereafter, we three sat in the car.
The only question now, will the Duster climb this first incline?

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The photograph might give an illusion of the gradient but trust me, its very steep to the human eye.
The angle is so steep that only 4WD's ply on this road.

Now here we go, straight in to first gear and so it was for the next 6 hours of some gruesome drive. The car climbed, cool and composed. 2 on the RMP meter, the engine felt tight and steady. By the time I could bring a smile to my face, came the first hair pin turn. The radius of the turn was as short as one could possibly find, may be made just for the Duster. With a turning radius of just 5.2m the car made the turn only to be greeted by another steep incline halfway through the turn.

Is the car about to stall? NO
I always have a habit of down-shifting much before taking any u turn. Since there was nothing to shift below 1st gear, much to my suprise, i saw the rmp meter boiling around the 2.5 mark. My feet has started working even before I realised. The car climbed like a horse telling the rider to stay calm and lead her well.

So did I U-turn after U-turn every 15-20 meters or so. But degree of inclines started increasing with each climb. The roads here are so steep, as if like God has created a short-cut to hell. I had by now lost track of how many climbs we made, at what mark my rpm meter is? what kind of blue is the colour of the sky turning to? All I am now seeing is boulders, gaps, inclines and hair-pins. Nothing else. My concentration felt like it would burst through the skull, I am seeing things very large. Even loose talk from my friends started getting me irritated.

Must have gone into a trans like meditative state where the car felt like an extension of me and what started as a mere test has now transformed as a challenge.
Faliure to climb, even on a FWD, has faded as an option. Chitrey came up in a little over half an hour. This is like 5kms in an hour. The distance covered will give an idea of the inclines and road conditions.

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There came a few stretches where I had to slip the clutch to get the engine compression up. Some turns were so tight with hardly any room, wheel spins were imminent but the car climbed.The Duster suspension Rocks. Its just unbelievable. The MRF stock tyres were actually doing a fantastic job. The power steering was precise, and the narrowest of U-turns were dealt with ease. Talking about steering feed back, oh yes. The car kept crawling and rocking but the steering was steady. Over an hour has passed and I am still rocking like a boat at sea, Duster lumbers across rocks and loose gravel.

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The inclines by now have reached a very uncomfortable state. On a climb there is hardly anything I see in front. Add to it the low seating and car like feel of the driver seat makes me see only the bonnet after the sky. I and my other friend in front had to literally look out of the window to see how the road curves. By now I have lost track of time. Lamey Dhura comes up and my friends interrupts the silence. 'We HAVE to take a coffee break'. I acknowledged unwillingly though. Black coffee with no sugar in freezing cold under bright sunshine.

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Coffee had no effect on me, I was etching to go. The rush of adrenaline was too high for anything else. Unidirectional in my thought and aim, started driving again.
Photography is very difficult in such circumstances when you are the only photographer and driver. Could not resist a few shots though.

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Next up Meghma at a little less than 10000 ft, we have climbed 3000 ft approx in 9 kms. Stopped to ask this driver of a Land Rover if the car can make it till Sandakphu.
He blankly replied,'2WD?'. Next thing he did was even surprising. He stooped down below the car to see how much clearance it had. Next question, "Kon si gari ye? (what car is this?)". Not understanding the word 'Duster' he stooped down again and now asking, 'Iska handi kaha hai? yeh to meri gari se ucha hai!! (where is the differential? higher than my Land Rover too!!)'. I replied, 'Nahi ha (not there), will this car be able to make it till sandakphu?'. He said, 'Yaha tak aa gaya, chale jaigi, mei baith saktha hu ekbar? (come till this much, will/should go, can I sit inside once?)'.
All he did was sit and turn the steering wheel, to see the turning radius. 'Jaigi Sir pakka jaigi' was his reply. I was like so happy, wanted to turn back from there. Lets not put the car through more pain and turn back. I too knew it would go and the Duster would climb the steepest heights just because of its power to weight ratio even though its handicapped by FWD.

But there is a catch. The road can be steep but it should be tight. Anything like loose gravel will be detrimental higher up. But we march ahead. The car is feeling smooth and compact. No jitters, no niggles, ready to go. We come across this Indian check-post.

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The officer checked our documents and then asked us, 'When are you coming back? Nepal is having its election tomorrow. Better come back today'. Confused, we head on, climbing once again. By this time many thought have crept in. I don't want to get stuck now. I have Sikkim in my plans too. Driving ahead with lingering thoughts and suddenly we are up with this,the might and beauty of kanchendzonga, from Tonglu.

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We tread even further now, few more steep inclines, few more hair-pins, its all used to now. The adrenaline pump might have slowed down, the cold is now hitting hard. The dew on the ground has turned into ice at certain parts of the slope where the sun is not reaching. Singalila National Park, my destination where I would rejoice taking the Duster, is not very far away. The car is performing is prime condition. Not once did it scrape underneath.
Tyres too are holding up well.

Did I feel any loss of power at this high altitude? I could not understand. All I realised was as soon as the turbo kicked in there was this massive surge in power. From where it came, God knows! Does the ECU of the Duster adjust according to the change in driving style? I don't know but this sudden surge of power actually made a few wheel spins too. Tumling comes up, so did the Singalila National Park gate.

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Everything seems to be ending well! NO.
It did not end smoothly, there was a hiccup, something that I wanted to avoid but but went ahead as my friends insisted.

Enjoy this, Mount Kumbhakarna and Mount Kanchendzonga, together known as the sleeping Buddha or the sleeping Shiva ( Kumbhakarna the head, Kanchendzonga the abdomen).

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Last edited by himadrimondal : 5th December 2013 at 22:16.
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Old 4th December 2013, 12:39   #5
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Default re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

I did not want to head any further after seeing the Singalila National park gate. Had bought a good chunk of frozen pork which I was dying to have in this excellent backdrop. Sitting on the ground on a freezing cold afternoon with hot maggi and chunks of pork meat would have cast a heavenly spell on my taste buds but alas, these two friends of mine with loads of travelling experience oiled and buttered me to climb ahead.

Few minutes after crossing the national park gate is a steep down after climbing a half turn. Just as I finished the turn and at the top most part of the next stretch of road, noticed jagged rocks and boulders on loose soil around ten or so meters below me. I did not have to think to know, don't cross this. The feeling was bad.

Asked my guys to get down and have a look at the ground condition closely. They went ahead and removed a few jagged heads to either side of the road signaled me to drive down. I nodded in denial. They got down in removing a few more rocks and signaled again. Nodded again in denial and asked them to come back. They stood their ground, waved their hand as if feeling the welcoming vibes of the mountain in front and urged me to come ahead. I gave in.

Gravity is an amazing phenomenon, great when we are riding it in controlled fashion but becomes a monster when fighting against it. As i rolled down my car and approached this section of road, the car sank on loose rocks and gravel. Sweat appeared on my forehead instantly. What have I done! My legs gave in and I continued to roll down, this time on solid ground.

Rolling down for a minute or so I stopped. "I will go ahead only if I climb this back up" was what I spoke.
Logic: If I come back from till where I could climb no further, I have to climb back this return strip late afternoon. Then if I get stuck in fading light and dropping temperatures, things can take a nasty turn. Lets deal with it in late morning.

Now everyone inside the car realized what I meant. But they were all smiles still yet. Asked them to get down and take a video shoot of what may happen now.


That was the first attempt failing which I reversed all the way back from where I started. That's because the incline was steep enough (video is misleading in last section) to gather the required momentum if started midway. Video cameras disappeared.
I walked up to the spot and we started to build this patch of incline. 10 minutes into it and hoping the gravel will hold the weight of the car, I walked down to drive up again. Few stones flew sideways, few chattered, few just slipped and my nose smelled tyre burn. I am stuck again, at the same spot that once I refused to roll down. Dug my own grave. The sense of victory that prevailed just ten minutes back have given way to a feverish kind of headache.

Reversed back yet again. Walked back to the spot and started working on the gravel.
This is what was happening.

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All that was required is to make the approach smooth and give the tyre something to hold on to. Easier said than done. Then began the backbreaking excise of selecting every gravel that would hold and offer minimum resistance. Three of us sat down to work on the road, a stretch of around 15 ft, supporting each rock behind another, hammering some, breaking a few and leveling many. An hour passed and we hope its ready. The third try and hoping against hope.

Stones again flew sideways, few chattered again, few just slipped again and my nose smelled tyre burn but my front tyres just managed to cross the last inch of loose gravel. Phew!! Un-ending happiness. I hopped out and lay on the ground. The other two came and hugged me in Brazilian goal celebration style only to be stopped away from me, again by rocks and gravels. We crawled and hugged.

Just to explain if this were on plain ground, The Duster would do it as a cake walk, even climb a couple of inches extra.

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and a video just to prove my point.
Though this video shows the rear wheel only, I had taken my front wheels over it too.


Miseries over and from here its all down for another 4 hrs. That does not mean I can relax. Land rovers were coming up and I have to judiciously time each turn to make way for them. The upcoming traffic always has the right to way. I though have a big weapon at hand. While reversing back on a slope where the forward direction of the car is downward, my FWD becomes a RWD. That's really big and so did I reverse many a time and with ease, much to the surprise of many drivers.

A much awaited lunch break. Please don't go by their words, they were a little high after all the hardship.
You can see me though fiddling with the car upfront.


Next leg of the journey, re-trace the entire way till Mirik, pick up our luggage and then enter Sikkim the same day.
Route: Down through Manebhanjan, Sukhiapokhri, Mirik, Sukhpokhri, Ghoom, Jhorbhangia, Melli to Jorethang. Night Halt at Jorethang in the car and then again enter Singalila National Park from the Sikkim side on Day3

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Last edited by himadrimondal : 5th December 2013 at 22:15.
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Old 6th December 2013, 08:59   #6
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th December 2013, 09:07   #7
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Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post messages that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further. We request you to post ONLY when you have something substantial to add to a discussion.

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Old 6th December 2013, 12:19   #8
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Excellent writeup and really informative. Felt like being there with you on the trip.

I saved the snap of Mount Kumbhakarna and Mount Kanchendzonga with Duster. Hope you can share a better resolution snap so that I can set it as my desktop background.

Your writeup supports my decision to buy a Duster ! The car performs were it matters the most !
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Old 6th December 2013, 15:44   #9
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
This travelogue is not just about travelling to a remote location but how a (Front wheel drive) FWD 110PS Duster
Kudos Sir. Hats off. Had done this route once, in hired Land Rovers. The feat is amazing, and the sheer guts to do it is amazing. I can understand why you made a point to highlight the FWD Duster thing.
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Old 6th December 2013, 19:22   #10
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Hats off to your courage sir. 2WD FWD on this stretch requires delicate moves. Saw the small flick of duster driving through the rough roads from food Video.

We need more snaps :-)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
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Old 6th December 2013, 20:13   #11
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

I would not have thought it possible in a 2WD car, irrespective of the GC.
What is extraordinary thus far was your team's efforts of actually building a 15ft road length before driving on it!
I have heard of the Indian army Engineers Corps doing something like this in border areas - but for a group of civvies to do this all in a day's work is simply amazing!!
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Old 6th December 2013, 20:41   #12
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Incredible! Hats off to you.
I would not have done it in a car without a Low Range.
What is the Dusters turning circle?

Regards
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Old 6th December 2013, 22:08   #13
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Awesome! You inspire people to buy duster. Renault must hire you to promote duster.

Whats your take on the likely performance of 85PS on the same route? better or worse?
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Old 7th December 2013, 01:40   #14
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Quote:
Originally Posted by R.G View Post
Your writeup supports my decision to buy a Duster ! The car performs were it matters the most !
Oh yes, you can go ahead and buy it. I just love my ride. Best part is after this horribly bumpy ride the car is still niggle free. No door noise, no rattles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbanerjee View Post
Kudos Sir. Hats off. Had done this route once, in hired Land Rovers. The feat is amazing, and the sheer guts to do it is amazing. I can understand why you made a point to highlight the FWD Duster thing.
Land Rovers really do seem invincible on these roads. Saw one written on it, 'Any Load Any Road'. This is my first FWD car, all my previous ones were RWD. This gave me all the reason to test it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firebird View Post
Hats off to your courage sir. 2WD FWD on this stretch requires delicate moves. Saw the small flick of duster driving through the rough roads from food Video.

We need more snaps :-)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
I am really lacking in the 'snap' department this time. With me doing all the driving, stopping to do a click becomes risky on such inclines. I gave both my handy-cams to my friends to shoot. Pardon me for some out of frame shoots.
Some more coming by the way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
I would not have thought it possible in a 2WD car, irrespective of the GC.
What is extraordinary thus far was your team's efforts of actually building a 15ft road length before driving on it!
I have heard of the Indian army Engineers Corps doing something like this in border areas - but for a group of civvies to do this all in a day's work is simply amazing!!
That was the tough part.
So many times have I rehearsed in my mind before the trip, if forward direction climbing was not possible, would reverse and try as FWD then becomes a RWD. It simply did not figure in my head then. Should have tried once before working on the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Incredible! Hats off to you.
I would not have done it in a car without a Low Range.
What is the Dusters turning circle?
Regards,Sutripta
Turning radius of Duster is 5.2 meters. Even the Land Rover drivers were surprised to see how much the wheel turns and the GC too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
Awesome! You inspire people to buy duster. Renault must hire you to promote duster. Whats your take on the likely performance of 85PS on the same route? better or worse?
That's a tricky question. I have never driven a 85PS but going by all the reviews about zero turbo lag, I think its possible.
For the 110PS, I used the sudden surge in turbo boost to ride the steeps.

Bidding goodbye to Kanchenjunga

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Now continuing on Day2, heading towards Mirik again took a lot of time. Driving down the treacherous slopes was very slow, much slower than climbing up. Continuous braking even on first gear was necessary. As I braked, the cushion like suspension made the actual GC on the front portion of the car even lesser and there were times when my steel guard scraped the rocks. You can see my crawling speed in the video below.
(Please set video resolution to 360p in your youtube settings for good quality and refresh once)


Downhill was hard and tiring too. Temperatures began to fall as the sun was setting. After a hard days adrenaline rush our bodies metabolism rate slowed down. Joints were aching and eyes were growing heavier. Just about when we were reaching the end point, Manebhanjan, came up a beautiful turn of events. As if the mountains came down to bid good bye, angles from no where came and flocked our car. Touching our hearts, they kept following us for the rest of the stretch sometimes scaring at times as they kept running downhill.


Following the above map after retracing Mirik we came down to Melli, gate way to Sikkim. This state to me is like my second home. Just for the information, Sikkim is the only state in the world with a negative crime rate. You can leave a bag of gold and nobody would bother to touch. Melli to Jorethang is quite some distance with over three hours of travelling time. Now that calls for self made road side dinner.

As I had mentioned before, we carry everything in our car. All food and cooking utensils are pre-chosen and packed properly. Meat is preserved in a big plastic icebox. This box contains plates of frozen silica gel and bottled water. Water bottles are pre-frozen and acts as ice for preserving meat and doubles up as drinking water. This way we have food packed for atleast a week.

The road to Jorethang via Melli runs alongside the river Tista. The ice cold water gushing over rocks on a chilly dark night is our backdrop for an excellent dinner. Parked my car by the road and relax. I don't cook though, only expert advice.
On the menu tonight:
Basmati rice,
Drumstick chilly with gravy,
Salad.


That really felt like heaven even when my temperature meter showed 4°C. With out stomach full we reach Jorethang to halt for the day. People in the hills have a very early night. Jorethang at 10pm was like an abandoned place, not a single sole could be seen. We silently park our car in front of a ATM, slide our seats and rest for the day. Stretching legs after a hard day can be so relaxing.

Coming up, Day 3, drive to Singalila National Park again as Barsey Rhododendron sanctuary and camping for the night.

Last edited by himadrimondal : 7th December 2013 at 01:49.
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Old 7th December 2013, 07:20   #15
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Default Re: Climbing heights with a 2WD (Duster 110)

Wonderful! Saw the video "Duster Crawling". The graveled (read : stony) road really rested the duster's capability.

How was the ride on this stretch from the rear passenger perspective? Was it the same as claimed - the pothole eating duster?

The turning radius does have its problems but duster is definitely not the one with one on the higher side. I dont think it would have possible for any 4x2 if the turning radius required the vehile to take turn in two goes!
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