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Old 31st March 2014, 14:21   #16
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Default Re: Driving from Kolkata to Bumthang (Bhutan)

Great Travelogue !! Finally read it after you told me about it on Holi. The pictures are great. The pictures force me to plan a trip to Bhutan at the earliest. Will take your guidance at that time.
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Old 31st March 2014, 14:25   #17
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Well !!!

I don't spend in any kind of cosmetics... I do spend more than an average joe to keep it spic and span - and mostly reliable for a long haul drive anytime I feel like. This is how:

1. Mitsubishi advices engine oil change every 10K. I do it every 5K or so and use 10/40 or 10/30 oil instead of 15/40 that the regular workshop uses. Oil filter change is a must for every oil change.

2. Change brake pads every 25K even if they are not worn out as they become hard and can harm the discs... The brake pads cost 17K but the disc costs a lot more
Brake cleaning every 10K. Till date I had to do disc skipping once as the discs were lined from driving in slush.

3. Change AC/Fan belts every 25K. The belts cost about 3.5K and I keep 1 spare set for the road in case it snaps.

4. Fuel filter, Air filter, etc... changes are done every 15K. Gear oil change scheduled at 100K.

5. I use Michelin tyres only instead of the MRF or Apollo as suggested by Mitsubishi. Michelin is a bit more expensive but much more reliable and better in every aspect. I have a 6th tyre and same rim which I bought separately.

6. Wiper blades used are of premium quality and heavy duty. I threw off the ones that came with the car.

7. Front suspension joints changed once because it became soft - I could have driven with that for a few thousand kms more.

8. The turbo cooler is fitted on upper side of the engine bay and the fins get flattened when driven at high speeds for long time (because of air pressure). This results in lesser pull for the vehicle. I had than changed once. This is a part which costs considerably.

The issue is the cost of the parts... they are imported by HM and costs more than the average car i.e. air filter is about Rs 2K, fuel filter is similar and so on. I do not take my car to the usual workshop... as per my experience they fleece the customers and most customer don't know a lot about spares and maintenance. In some cases they take out the authentic parts from your car and fit them with local ones (the difference in cost and reliability is huge). For example the front fog lamps cost 28K a pair - if they can replace that with a local one then you will not understand but they gain money from that transaction. The ABS sensors and other small but significant parts are very costly and the workshop mechanics can easily remove/replace them without you knowing anything has happened to your vehicle... and these are not baseless accusations - I have seen these things happen (fortunately not with me). For the first few occasions, I sat with the mechanics in the workshop and never let my vehicle out of sight.

I have a fixed mechanic who comes to my home and fixes things. He is a reliable guy and I usually am with him throughout the duration in order to see how he fixes things. The objective is - if something goes wrong during these long drives, I can fix the basic stuff.

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Originally Posted by razor4077 View Post
So does this mean that a Pajero is expensive to maintain or do you spend more than an average joe in keeping it spic and span? And are we talking cosmetics or other costs as well?

How's the Mitsubishi service and support these days in cal? Parts available? And do you get support in the remoter regions if required?
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Old 31st March 2014, 14:39   #18
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Default Re: Driving from Kolkata to Bumthang (Bhutan)

Brilliant Travelogue, but, why didn't you point me to this earlier? Will follow your tracks someday!



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I remember in my Scorp 4wd, rear seat folks weren't that thrilled with the ride (bouncy).
!
Your's was a Leaf-sprung rear suspension Scorpio. What you get now is a Multilink coil sprung rear suspension, its not too great, but not as bad as earlier either. Ofcourse Pajero rides better, and you pay lakhs extra for it!

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Hi,

Of course there is some body roll for a car this high but it is much much lower than any other SUV in its category (Fortuner, Endeavour, Scorpio, Safari etc...)...
Come-on man! Scorpio/Safari isn't of the same category as Pajero/Fortuner (Endy is somewhere in between). The pricepoints are completely different and so are the vehicles. However, as a highway mile-muncher, I guess the Scorpio/Safari will have the Pajero beat handsdown (unless its a Pajero Sport).
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Old 31st March 2014, 17:11   #19
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Default Re: Driving from Kolkata to Bumthang (Bhutan)

Thanks. But I did tell you that I have written one finally... I did write this one because road conditions in Bhutan are not mentioned properly in any travelogue and the Trongsa to Gelephu road has not been travelled by anyone on this forum.

Agree that "Scorpio/Safari will have the Pajero beat handsdown" on a highway but I don't mind that... this vehicle is not meant for that.

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Brilliant Travelogue, but, why didn't you point me to this earlier? Will follow your tracks someday!

Come-on man! Scorpio/Safari isn't of the same category as Pajero/Fortuner (Endy is somewhere in between). The pricepoints are completely different and so are the vehicles. However, as a highway mile-muncher, I guess the Scorpio/Safari will have the Pajero beat handsdown (unless its a Pajero Sport).
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Old 31st March 2014, 19:10   #20
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I did write this one because road conditions in Bhutan are not mentioned properly in any travelogue and the Trongsa to Gelephu road has not been travelled by anyone on this forum.
.
Besides, you have mentioned the permit process in detail, which is quite helpful.


Just a few observations, since I do maintain our cars quite long/high-mileage. Observations stemming out of knowing people from the Auto-industry (Engineers)

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1. Mitsubishi advices engine oil change every 10K. I do it every 5K or so and use 10/40 or 10/30 oil instead of 15/40 that the regular workshop uses. Oil filter change is a must for every oil change.
.
There is no significant benefit of cutting short manufacturers recommended specifications/intervals. When Manufacturers recommend an interval, its already done keeping in mind a certain factor of safety/margin. For example, Scorpio has a 20K oil change interval. Infact it still holds up quite fine if you surpass the intervals by a bit!


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2. Change brake pads every 25K even if they are not worn out as they become hard and can harm the discs... The brake pads cost 17K but the disc costs a lot more
Brake cleaning every 10K. Till date I had to do disc skipping once as the discs were lined from driving in slush.
.
17K for brake pads is daylight robbery. Too high. The forum has people who make their pads go longer, much longer. In comparison, The scorpio ABS brake pads cost 4k and still had the ability to bring the heft to a stop on a dime after 40k. The first time I changed it, the 4k seemed stratospheric. However, 25k kms brake pad change might be an overkill, you can easily/safely extend the range.


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3. Change AC/Fan belts every 25K. The belts cost about 3.5K and I keep 1 spare set for the road in case it snaps.
.
Again, this might not be required. Inspection is good enough. I have one car running on a 10yr/1 lakh km old serpentine belt, no issues.

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6. Wiper blades used are of premium quality and heavy duty. I threw off the ones that came with the car.
.
On the contrary, I find premium blades quite a waste of money, instead use new Syndicates more often, does my job better. Anyways, my vehicles are now running on a highly overrated bracketless Hella's.


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8. The turbo cooler is fitted on upper side of the engine bay and the fins get flattened when driven at high speeds for long time (because of air pressure). This results in lesser pull for the vehicle. I had than changed once. This is a part which costs considerably.
.
Do you mean the Intercooler? Intercooler cools the charge, not the turbo. Under normal usage (highway speed, offroading or otherwise) the fins do not get flattenned by themselves, unless someone is doing it forcefully.

Last edited by 1100D : 31st March 2014 at 19:13.
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Old 1st April 2014, 12:59   #21
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There is no significant benefit of cutting short manufacturers recommended specifications/intervals.
That's how I keep my baby maybe its not required or an overkill... No debates there.

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17K for brake pads is daylight robbery.
Yes - but that's how much the pads cost for Mitsu. Manufacturer's recommendation is 25K as well. My personal opinion is it can go on further... but brake performance dips considerably. Also I don't want to damage the discs from hard brake pads.

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Again, this might not be required. Inspection is good enough. I have one car running on a 10yr/1 lakh km old serpentine belt, no issues.
Agreed... I don't change them if there is no need to change. Inspection gap is 25K for mitsu. But I keep 1 set spare.

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On the contrary, I find premium blades quite a waste of money, instead use new Syndicates more often, does my job better.
No No... I found them quite helpful and definitely better than the syndicate ones ... Although I use them when I don't get the premium ones.

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Do you mean the Intercooler? Intercooler cools the charge, not the turbo. Under normal usage (highway speed, offroading or otherwise) the fins do not get flattenned by themselves, unless someone is doing it forcefully.
I am not sure if the intercooler fins were manually flattened but... they were and I saw them. It may be so that the cleaner boy had done it while cleaning the engine bay with pressurized water.
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Old 1st April 2014, 12:59   #22
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Introduction
Bhagalpur happens to be my hometown. Feels great to read about it in your log. The best way to cross Bhagalpur is to take the Ghat Road, which is not much clear to outsiders. The place you would have hit a 'T junction' on the flyover crossing over the railway station, take left. The next junction you would be at railway station. Take the 1st right at the round-about here. Keep going straight and take a 'Right' at the 3rd junction on this road. Keep straight & you would be reaching 'TilkaManjhi', crossing through 'Naya Bazaar', 'Budhanath', 'Manik Sarkar' and 'Adampur'. At TilkaManjhi Chowk, you would need to take the diagonally opposite road. This road is called 'Sabour Road' and 'Zero Mile' (starting point of the bridge) is around 2kms from this spot.

Moreover, the 'Hotel Vaibhav' belongs to the family of 'Neha Sharma' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neha_Sharma), a batchmate of mine. And throughout Bhagalpur, you would find that most of the people know Bengali, but majority of the population only undertand Bengali and can also have a decent conversation in their broken bengali (taan diye).

Hotel Rajhans and Hotel Nihar (around 200mts from Rajhans) are the best bet, if you plan to stay overnight in BGP.

Last edited by bblost : 1st April 2014 at 13:06. Reason: Reduced the size of quoted post
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Old 1st April 2014, 13:23   #23
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Yes - but that's how much the pads cost for Mitsu. Manufacturer's recommendation is 25K as well. My personal opinion is it can go on further... but brake performance dips considerably. Also I don't want to damage the discs from hard brake pads.
Thats an eye-opener for a lot of folks, including me. 17k of scheduled expenses every 25k is quite high especially since people have the perception that buying Japanese is more peace of mind in terms of reliability and ofcourse long term maintenance costs. Thanks for sharing this.

The only reason I kept away from buying a used Paj instead of the new Scorpio were the stories you were enunciating about HM service and parts availability. Now this factor is probably not what I looked at, in hindsight, it was really a great avoidance!

However, dont take it as negative on Red-Rackham, it's still a Mighty Pajero, the stuff, Kids in us, kept dreaming of since childhood and you are living the dream and how?! Keep going Bud.

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It may be so that the cleaner boy had done it while cleaning the engine bay with pressurized water.
That is a strict No-No even on old ramshackle rudimentary cars. However, water pressure alone cannot bend intercooler fins, unless physical pressure is applied. If you still have the means, ask the person who replaced it, to show you your old intercooler. Usually nothing happens.



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Originally Posted by Thumping Soul View Post
At TilkaManjhi Chowk, you would need to take the diagonally opposite road. This road is called 'Sabour Road' and 'Zero Mile' (starting point of the bridge) is around 2kms from this spot.
.
The road from Tilkhamanjhi Chowk till the entry-point to the Vikramsila Setu road is in shambles, its being part concretised and the rest is very grossly uneven dirt. So now, the adviced route is to take the Carmel School road to the Samsan and then take a right to join Vikramsila setu (with a little bit of offroading thrown in)

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Originally Posted by Thumping Soul View Post
Hotel Rajhans and Hotel Nihar (around 200mts from Rajhans) are the best bet, if you plan to stay overnight in BGP.
Rajhans is great, but Vaibhav is very good too, Debarshi had a first hand experience of staying there. Besides, as Debarshi mentions, parking for SUV's especially during mid-day is an issue at Rajhans (not something you want to take up in the middle of a 13 hour drive through some of the worst roads). Vaibhav is very conveniently located and also offers convenient breakfast if reached early in the morning. Do that with Rajhans without delaying your schedule by a lot.

Anyways, I get real-time updates from Bhagalpur as one of my colleagues stay there and visits it every fortnight.

Last edited by 1100D : 1st April 2014 at 13:31.
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Old 1st April 2014, 20:00   #24
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Default Re: Driving from Kolkata to Bumthang (Bhutan)

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However, water pressure alone cannot bend intercooler fins, unless physical pressure is applied.
Yes they can. Try using one of those pressure washers for home use, like the Bosch, and careless use of the jet can bend intercooler fins, strip paint and stickers from the body, and crack thin plastic mudguard cores such as in a Honda City. That said, I wouldn't hand over my pressure washer to my car cleaning guy, but to each his own level of maintaining / babying his own car.
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Change AC/Fan belts every 25K. The belts cost about 3.5K and I keep 1 spare set for the road in case it snaps.
The objective is - if something goes wrong during these long drives, I can fix the basic stuff.
Drive belts in all cars are designed to last at least 100k km, if not the lifetime of the car, though keeping a spare is not a bad idea anyway. I hope you have tried out the process of changing a drive belt once with your own hands, before you consider yourself competent (and equipped with the right tools) to put on the spare drive belt when the previous one snaps.

In any case, I would carry the old drive belt as a spare once I am replacing a set preemptively. Till the new one snaps, I wouldn't bother to change again, because I have a spare to back me up.
Quote:
I use Michelin tyres only instead of the MRF or Apollo as suggested by Mitsubishi. Michelin is a bit more expensive but much more reliable and better in every aspect. I have a 6th tyre and same rim which I bought separately.
Which Michelins do you use (is it Latitude Cross?), and in what way are they better than tyres of other manufacturers e.g. BS, Yoko, MRF or Ceat?

Again, I wouldn't bother with carrying a second spare, but I have 3 little things in my car that prevent me from being stuck in the middle of wilderness with a flat tyre - (1) the tyre pressure monitoring system; (2) a tubeless puncture repair kit; and (3) a foot pump (I don't trust a cheap air compressor not to fail in extreme conditions, and the really reliable ones cost a bomb). Don't remember more than once that I've used the spare tyre - always fixed punctures, reinflated and moved on (takes as much effort to do that as to swap a tyre with a spare).
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Old 1st April 2014, 21:43   #25
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Bhagalpur happens to be my hometown.
As a native, could you mark out the various route options crossing Bhagalpur on Google maps, and comment on those.

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Originally Posted by debarshim View Post
That's how I keep my baby
Would be interesting knowing your wife's views!

Quote:
I am not sure if the intercooler fins were manually flattened but... they were and I saw them. It may be so that the cleaner boy had done it while cleaning the engine bay with pressurized water.
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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
However, water pressure alone cannot bend intercooler fins, unless physical pressure is applied.
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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Yes they can.
When the new breed of LC mobikes became available, one of the common complaints was that pressure washing bent the radiator fins.

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(3) a foot pump (I don't trust a cheap air compressor not to fail in extreme conditions, and the really reliable ones cost a bomb). Don't remember more than once that I've used the spare tyre - always fixed punctures, reinflated and moved on (takes as much effort to do that as to swap a tyre with a spare).
You can stop your cycling now. I now pronounce you 'Fit Enough'.

Have you youngsters ever seen (let alone used) hot patches?

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 2nd April 2014, 01:14   #26
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When the new breed of LC mobikes became available, one of the common complaints was that pressure washing bent the radiator fins.


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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Yes they can. Try using one of those pressure washers for home use, like the Bosch, and careless use of the jet can bend intercooler fins,
I tried just that, I must say I am impressed with the pressure washer!



Although no live radiator was harmed in the filming. However, after this, with the enthusisam running high, I opened up the Fiat's grille and subjected a small portion of its radiator to the onslaught too. It fared marginally better (actually a lot better), given that, the placement of the radiator (and the projecting bonnet lip) prevented extreme jet angles. But then, in hindsight, it struck me that I probably might have subjected to the old rusty fin/risers to some unnecessary stress. Not sure, if everything is still holding up in the 45 yr old thing. Quite stupid, we dont even subject the area to normal finger pressure water jet. Probably will have to check in the morning for lower water levels than what I left it at.




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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post

Would be interesting knowing your wife's views!
Babying a vehicle these days (even in this way), is more economical than baby-ing an actual baby!

Anyways, this thread deserves a 5-star!

Last edited by 1100D : 2nd April 2014 at 01:16.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 10:59   #27
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Yes they can. Try using one of those pressure washers for home use, like the Bosch, and careless use of the jet can bend intercooler fins, strip paint and stickers from the body, and crack thin plastic mudguard cores such as in a Honda City. That said, I wouldn't hand over my pressure washer to my car cleaning guy, but to each his own level of maintaining / babying his own car.
Yes... actually I experienced paint strip off from pressure washer... then I got paint from the workshop and had to touch-up the area.

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I hope you have tried out the process of changing a drive belt once with your own hands, before you consider yourself competent (and equipped with the right tools) to put on the spare drive belt when the previous one snaps.
I did change it once with the mechanic beside me but alone, in the middle of nowhere might be a different ballgame. Changing it is not very easy. I had the experience of changing the headlamp wiring back to original at midnight near Bihar - Jharkhand border. And another time in Uttarakhand somewhere in the middle of nowhere and no settlement or phone signal, I had to fix the rear stabilizer bar which came off because one bush gave way for the bad roads.

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Which Michelins do you use (is it Latitude Cross?), and in what way are they better than tyres of other manufacturers e.g. BS, Yoko, MRF or Ceat?
I use Latitude Cross - driven it for 30K now and as of now they are pretty good. I have 2 spare Michelin LTX AT which I use for the rear wheels in mountains / slush.
My tyre spec is available in Yoko, MRF and Apollo Hawkz AT... Apollo cannot be called a AT tyre - if you look at the treads they are pretty thin and does not feel like one... and the finish is very poor as well - a visual inspection is enough to reject the one. The Pajero sport uses Apollo Hawkz - I am not sure how the drivers manage with that tyre.
MRF is used as that came as the stock tyre when I bought the car. Initially it was good - the first trouble was when one tyre was slashed in Ladakh in 2012 and could not be fixed. Then after coming back I had fixed puncture problems from nails. By 25-30K they were worn out enough so I was happy to replace. Braking with the MRF tyres was a major issue.
The Yoko looks good - I don't have any personal experience of grudge against that one but I have read reports that the side walls are not properly reinforced which is necessary for gravel roads and roads with sharp rocks strewn all along - so I did not go for that.
Latitude Cross has served me well till now - a few major long trips on the mountains and its still good. Braking has improved considerably with this tyre.

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Again, I wouldn't bother with carrying a second spare, but I have 3 little things in my car that prevent me from being stuck in the middle of wilderness with a flat tyre - (1) the tyre pressure monitoring system; (2) a tubeless puncture repair kit; and (3) a foot pump (I don't trust a cheap air compressor not to fail in extreme conditions, and the really reliable ones cost a bomb). Don't remember more than once that I've used the spare tyre - always fixed punctures, reinflated and moved on (takes as much effort to do that as to swap a tyre with a spare).
I do keep a foot pump, a battery operated electronic pump and a tyre repair kit. Still I keep one extra tyre after my experience in Ladakh in 2012. The slashed tyre just could not be repaired and I had to put in one tube once I reached Jispa. In the meantime I drove 300kms on some of the most rough terrains without a spare.


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Would be interesting knowing your wife's views!
Well she is quite ok with this baby and loves as much... though the technicalities are solely my responsibility. Time spent behind the vehicle is not disputed
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Old 2nd April 2014, 13:04   #28
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I did change it once with the mechanic beside me but alone, in the middle of nowhere might be a different ballgame. Changing it is not very easy.
Was this a routine change or a snap?


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I had to fix the rear stabilizer bar which came off because one bush gave way for the bad roads.
Did the stabiliser bar come off? How did you identify the symptom? How did you fix it?

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Apollo cannot be called a AT tyre - if you look at the treads they are pretty thin and does not feel like one... and the finish is very poor as well - a visual inspection is enough to reject the one. The Pajero sport uses Apollo Hawkz - I am not sure how the drivers manage with that tyre.
There is no way of telling visually if a tyre is good or bad. Last I knew both the Apollo Hawkz AT and the MRF Wanderers were pretty tough tyres offroad. Probably why, as you mention, Pajero Sport comes with one from the factory (there is no cost skimping related aspects of a vehicle from that category).
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Old 2nd April 2014, 13:24   #29
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Did the stabiliser bar come off? How did you identify the symptom? How did you fix it?
I think what you guys meant was Panhard rod/ lateral rod. Although, I have never seen them giving up, but without them, or with one side de-linked from the chassis, the rear axles will not be able to retain their fixed position with respect to the chassis of the car. It ensures that the axles do not move 'forward and backwards (longitudinally), or side to side (laterally)'. And that should precisely be the symptom. While driving, if it gives up for some reason, it could be dangerous; however, frankly speaking, I have never heard of that.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 13:50   #30
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I think what you guys meant was Panhard rod/ lateral rod. Although, I have never seen them giving up, but without them, or with one side de-linked from the chassis, the rear axles will not be able to retain their fixed position with respect to the chassis of the car. It ensures that the axles do not move 'forward and backwards (longitudinally), or side to side (laterally)'. And that should precisely be the symptom. While driving, if it gives up for some reason, it could be dangerous; however, frankly speaking, I have never heard of that.
Well I don't think that it was that complicated to fix but I did not have any extra bush with me to fix it. It is fixed to the chassis with a long bolt along with 4 bushes and a steel jacket. Once a bush was cut off the bolt just slid through the hole and came loose. The side was dangling and making cluttering noise otherwise I did not feel anything while driving.

So I removed the upper bush and fitted it below and the upper part was metal on metal for about 150kms till I reached Pauri. I took a picture of the other side which was intact and tried to fix it accordingly on the side that gave way. At Pauri I went into a Maruti workshop by the roadside and used a bush (from Maruti) which held up pretty well till I reached back in Kolkata.

I do carry a separate toolkit that helped me a lot for this exercise.
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