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Old 13th May 2017, 19:37   #1
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Default Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

This travelogue is nearly a year old. We did this as an impromptu trip planned over a weekend. Good friend of mine Gev and I decided to make a quick trip to Leh in my old truck a 1998 Land Cruiser 100 to Leh. He owns an automobile workshop and therefore cannot be away from business for very long. So when he managed to squeeze out two weeks for a trip to Leh we decided to make it happen as he had never been there before.
Our original plan was to drive up via Sach pass and climb to Leh via Sinthan pass and Srinagar and then return via Manali. However with the situation in Srinagar showing no signs of improving we decided to give it a miss this year and instead incorporated Sach pass and the exit via Udaipur into our itenery. Here’s how the trip eventually played out and we ended up squeezing a fair bit into the 12 days on the road.


Jul 26 : Mumbai – Baroda
Jul 27 : Baroda - Chandigarh
Jul 28 : Chandigarh – Dalhousie
Jul 29 : Dalhousie – Killar
Jul 30 : Killar – Jispa
Jul 31 : Jispa – Leh
Aug 1 : Leh
Aug 2 : Leh – Nubra – Pangong Tso
Aug 3 : Pangong Tso – Jispa
Aug 4 : Jispa – Chandigarh
Aug 5 : Chandigarh – Udaipur
Aug 6 : Udaipur – Mumbai


Here’s a quick trip video put together by a colleague Michele who is a Global traveler in his own class.



Some pics of the prep and work that went in before we started off the trip. The LC is 19 years old and we werent taking any chances with preping her for the trip. So we planned for a week of preventive maintenance and fluid changes.

Brakepads replaced and rotors cleaned.
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Bearings changed
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Replaced connectors and batteries
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Replaced all filters and oils
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My stepney wasnt in great shape so we also bought a new spare tyre which wasnt that easy to get given the odd size of 275/70/16. We did not mount this on the rim but carried it as insurance just incase one of the tyres was cut beyond repair.
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Fanbelts were fine so we just carried spares
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Aircompressor
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Miscellaneous Items
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Dr Funnel for filtering out Kerosene and water if present in the diesel at pumps on the highway
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A day before we were leaving I started to empty the memory cards of the cameras when I realized that the GoPro’s connector was broken, which meant we would not have a video camera for the trip. We soon improvised though and Gev’s shiny New S7 edge was pressed into service using a very unique idea presented to us by Shiva a friend we made on the trip.

Last edited by satan : 13th May 2017 at 19:38.
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Old 13th May 2017, 20:09   #2
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Default re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Days 1 and 2: Mumbai - Chandigarh
We left Mumbai late afternoon and the drive upto Baroda on the first day which went smooth. With the usual traffic until Manor the going got quicker once we crossed Vapi. After that the Cruiser stretched her legs and by 11pm we were at Baroda. Very few pics from these days as our focus was to hotfoot the Cruiser to Chandigarh. We left Baroda around 5am with a view to hit Chandigarh for the night. We drove non stop stopping only for bio breaks and refueling after which we hit chandigarh towards midnight. We intentionally bypassed Delhi with the recent ban on 15+year old diesel vehicles as I did not want to get into any tangles with the local cops

First pit stop at Udwada to seek blessing from the almighty
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Refuelling somewhere along the way
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Selfie time
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The cruiser grew dirtier by the hour as the monsoons unleashed their full fury all the way upto Jaipur
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Day 3: Chandigarh – Dalhousie

We left Chandigarh by 11am that morning for Dalhousie and were there by 5pm. Checked in at Teddy’s Lodge and had the local help Rinku prepare some chai with tasty pakoras. The car was super dirty after the rainlashed drive from Mumbai so we washed her down that evening and did a quick check on fluids and all seemed ok.

At Teddy's Lodge in Dalhousie.

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Old 13th May 2017, 20:37   #3
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Default re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Quote:
Originally Posted by satan View Post
to Leh in my old truck a 1998 Land Cruiser 100 to Leh.
I read somewhere on the internet that in some places more than 10 year old diesel vehicles and more than 15 year old petrol vehicles are not allowed. Is it true?

Quote:
Dr Funnel for filtering out Kerosene and water if present in the diesel at pumps on the highway
Attachment 1638422
There are numerous travelogues of Ladakh and in each there is something new to learn. This time it is an external fuel filter (may be more in upcoming posts).
Kindly provide more details on using it.

Last edited by GTO : 15th May 2017 at 10:58. Reason: Language
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Old 13th May 2017, 20:44   #4
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Default re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Day 3: Dalhousie – Killar:

Woke up to Rinku brewing strong tea early morning at 6am. We had very little to pack so after a quick breakfast we were off to Chamba to tank up and then started climbing towards Sach pass. Just after Chamba we pulled up for chai when there came along a new TUV with a KA registration. He pulled over alongside us and asked if we were headed towards Sach and if he could join us as he was driving alone. We could do with some company so thanks to Shiva we were able to get some footage of the LC’s ascent to Sach pass. I am always amazed by the sheer spirit of fellow travelers. Take Shiva for example. This dude had just bought his TUV a month ago and immediately set off on the trip to Leh with his family in tow. He completed the Leh circuit, dropped off his family at Chandigarh on a flight back home and returned to do Sachpass and Spiti alone.
He began to follow while we made very slow progress up towards Sach pass stopping multiple time on account of road widening works and blasting. We finally crossed Bairagarh around 2pm and by 4 we were at the Satrundi checkpost. After the customary video shooting we proceeded to towards at a very slow pace given that the road was perpetually littered with sharp pieces of rock. While we were waiting for a while at the Sach pass top a HPTDC local bus climbed up and stopped at the top while the driver and conductor hopped off and rushed into the temple. Came back running in a tearing hurry and so I asked what the fuss was since the bus had just 2 passengers. He mentioned that there was rain forecasted for that evening and they wanted to Killar at the earliest. He asked us to leave fast as well and follow him. I told him we’d start after him as I’ve done this pass in the past and I thought I knew the road quite well. Or at least I thought I did ..

We started the descent together but the bus soon zoomed off as expected while we took it easy soaking in the views of the glaciers of this truly majestic and rugged pass. It was getting dark as the sun was already behind the mountains that were casting long shadows on and off the road. We soon reached a spot where there was a fresh landslide and a couple of large rocks were covering the road with the occupants of the bus busy pushing the stones out of the way. We joined in the effort and after 15 mins we were again on our way and once again the bus just disappeared into the hills. Hats off to these mad max inspired Himachal bus drivers.

We proceeded at our pace passing by a number of waterfalls and admiring the beauty and thats when it happened. While we were crossing one of the many waterfalls you get to see along the way as usual we were slowly crossing this one too when all of a sudden the front left side of the cruiser just sank in and that was followed by a sickening thud. My first reaction was to reverse out as I thought we had probably managed to fall into a hole created by the bus having dislodged a supporting rock of the water crossing. So I engaged 4wd Low and tried revering out with out any luck and infact every attempt to do so resulted in the cruiser tilting more and more towards the waterfall. So then I prudently got out to check and found the land cruiser resting on the passenger side footrest with the front passenger side wheel in the hanging in the air nearly submerged in water. It then struck me that we were actually on a partial culvert which had probably just caved with the passing of the bus. Since the front wheel was dangling without any traction the first thought to place some rocks beneath it so that it could climb out of the ditch. So I took off my shoes put on my slippers, rolled up my trousers and set off to place some rocks below the front wheel. Little did I realize how slippery and deep the actual waterfall crossing was. Within a sec of stepping into the water I slipped and fell straight into the icy cold water the undercurrent dragging me down under the car and the culvert towards the valley. For those few seconds that I was underwater I saw the bright light of the water’s valley side water exit and forgot all about the cold water. Grabbed the sidestep of the cruiser and pulled my head above the water and with help from Shiva and Gev pulled myself out. Relieved to be out of that deathtrap we still hadn’t solved the problem. So back I went this time obviously a lot more careful not to step too far into water fall and then started to push some rocks into the hole and in front of the tire. Once I was done I got out and asked Gev to move the car forward directing him from the front. The Cruiser jumped out without a fuss, much to my relief after which I quickly stripped and changed into dry clothes and we proceeded towards Killar. It was dusk by now and we finally reached killar by 8.45pm. Checked in the Raj resort and after a simple dinner of puri bhaji we called it a night.


At Satrundi
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Along the Ascent
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At Sach Pass Top
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The many glaciers along the descent of Sach
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Hotel Raj at Killar where we stayed that night
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Old 13th May 2017, 20:57   #5
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Default re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Quote:
Originally Posted by IN-RJ View Post
There is numerous travelogue of Ladakh trip and in each there is something new to learn. This time it is an external fuel filter (may be more in upcoming posts).
Kindly detail about using it.
Mr Funnel is just a funnel with 2 particulate filters that trap water and kerosene if present in Diesel. So you pour the diesel into the tank thru the funnel and if there are impurities they are retained by the funnel. You can look up more details on their website www.mrfunnel.com

There was only place we found a discrepancy besides which we were pleasantly surprised to get clean fuel everywhere.
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Old 13th May 2017, 21:38   #6
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Default re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Day 4: Killar - Jispa

The plan for the next day was to hit Jispa. So we left at a leisurely pace around 9.30am and then around 2.30 we were at Tandi. Fuelled up and did a few group snaps with Shiva as he continued his solo trip into Spiti and we proceeded towards Jispa. We were in Jispa by 6pm stopping enroute multiple times to make and receive phone calls as we were had mobile connectivity after 2 days. Went directly to Padma Lodge which was quite full and with Bikers and listening his rates I figured he was trying to make a quick hustle judging us by the car. So we decided to back track and we tried out The Yak, which in hindsight proved to be a very good decision. Its relatively new and the caretaker Badal offered us an amazing deal per room and most importantly the food was fantastic!!

Some pics enroute from Killar to Jispa
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At Tandi
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Group pic with Shiva before parting ways.
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A small mention about Shiva's idea of a hi-definition Dash cam. Before we met up with Shiva after Chamba we were wondering how we would be able to shoot good videos from the car on such rough roads. So when we started to ascend Sach pass i asked Gev to sit in Shiva's TUV and shoot the LC from his vehicle. What Shiva was already doing was something very ingenious. He had attached his iphone to the mirror using rubber bands and was recording at will. So shakes, jumps or any lateral movement of a hand held device.

So after that we improvised using tie clips and attached Gev's Samsung S7 to our rearview mirror keeping the camera lens on the outer side. Image below
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The Yak Jispa
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Old 13th May 2017, 22:52   #7
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Could you please tell us which was the pump which gave adulterated fuel? Would be helpful to by pass them, if we can.

Superb travelogue, love the crisp no nonsense narration.
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Old 14th May 2017, 08:34   #8
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Default re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Why you had Yoko H/T-S and not A/T-S?

I think all terrain geolanders handle off-roading better with self cleaning pattern for muddy roads.

Very lovely travelogue. Thanks for the efforts in posting great video and pictures.

Last edited by DwarkaDelhiWala : 14th May 2017 at 08:36.
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Old 14th May 2017, 12:43   #9
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Default re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Could you please tell us which was the pump which gave adulterated fuel? Would be helpful to by pass them, if we can.
It was an HP pump on the outskirts of Panipat


Quote:
Originally Posted by DwarkaDelhiWala View Post
Why you had Yoko H/T-S and not A/T-S?


I think all terrain geolanders handle off-roading better with self cleaning pattern for muddy roads.
Completely agree that A/Ts are better suited to the vehicle and terrain as compared to H/Ts. Infact, i do have Geolandar A/Ts on all four corners of the cruiser. However when we went to look for an extra tyre for the trip the A/T wasnt available in the size we needed. Hence we settled for an H/T knowing that beggars cannot be choosers here in India where this tyre size is very rare.
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Old 14th May 2017, 13:07   #10
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Day 5: Jispa to Leh

We woke up early morning to leave for Leh only to find that the Cruiser’s automatic gear box would not engage on pressing the brake. For those that are familiar with automatic landcruisers, there is a small red button (almost like a manual override fail safe) next to the gear lever which allows you to change gears in an emergency(like ours in Jispa ) or when the vehicle is switched off without pressing the brake. This meant that we were still able to engage the car in gear and drive. Since it was still early dawn we decided to leave as we had a good chance of making it to Leh where we could trouble shoot and rectify the issue. So we left Jispa by 6.30 am. Enroute we stopped for lunch @ Pang and after that we had a clear run barring the ascent and descents of the 4 passes that had non-existent roads easily the worst ones I’ve seen since 2011. Leh town was very quiet when we reached and we checked in at the Mandala Hotel which offered gated parking for the cruiser and a decent rate for the two nights we planned to stay and with very good rooms. Spent the evening roaming around town and I was very saddened to learn that the original German Bakery which used to be at the entrance of a narrow bylane owned by an elderly sardarji had shut down and made way for multiple namesakes all claiming to be the originals . Leh too had gone the Shimla and Manali way and now boasted its own high street. A clutch of pics along the way.

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Just after Pang and before the More Plains
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Old 16th May 2017, 02:49   #11
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Default Re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Day 6: Leh
The next morning after breakfast we were at the Maruti Service station of Druk Auto by 8.30am to get the Cruiser pressure washed. After nearly 3 hours of furious soaping and scrubbing she was all clean and new again. Meanwhile I was walking around their showroom and for the first time in my life saw not one but two brand new Gypsy’s not for delivery but for display in their showroom. Got so engrossed in chatting up with the friendly salesman that I forgot too take pictures. After the washing we drove to Thiksay and spent an hour there. Had lunch and returned to the hotel where it was DIY time and Gev got busy trying to identify the issue with the shifter. Within 10 mins he had it narrowed down to a faulty brake switch that sends a pulse to to gearbox when the brake pedal is depressed. So out came the tools and in the next 30 mins he had removed the switch cleaned it with WD 40 and placed it back. Did a trial run and the gears engaged very smoothly. It was probably the first time in 18 years that it had been cleaned. So after that we were all set to drive this old truck upto Khardungla the next day

At the parking lot - Thiksay monstery
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Praying in front of this statue is indeed a surreal experience
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Gev in the empty courtyard
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Yours truly at the entrance
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One of the many paintings of the temple
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At the entrance of the monastery
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Frontal view of the majestic monastery
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Back at the hotel after we opened up the brake switch. Thank god for WD40
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Last edited by satan : 16th May 2017 at 02:54.
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Old 16th May 2017, 08:06   #12
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Default Re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Thanks for heads-up on Mr Filter. I just want to remind that its a fuel-water separator and does not separate kerosene from diesel. Kerosene is most frequent adulterant in diesel in India.

The most common concern cited is the dry burn of kerosene that may damage fuel pumps. Kerosene has very little lubricity compared to diesel. Without the lubricity, fuel pumps experience a lot of wear and may burn out when running on kerosene.

Last edited by DwarkaDelhiWala : 16th May 2017 at 08:09.
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Old 16th May 2017, 11:47   #13
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Default Re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Quote:
Originally Posted by DwarkaDelhiWala View Post
Thanks for heads-up on Mr Filter. I just want to remind that its a fuel-water separator and does not separate kerosene from diesel. Kerosene is most frequent adulterant in diesel in India.

The most common concern cited is the dry burn of kerosene that may damage fuel pumps. Kerosene has very little lubricity compared to diesel. Without the lubricity, fuel pumps experience a lot of wear and may burn out when running on kerosene.
Should work for petrol however - no? Separating water from Petrol? Any other adulterants used in Petrol this unit is not capable of managing?
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Old 16th May 2017, 12:28   #14
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Default Re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Very interesting read, this.
The Land Cruiser feels like the ideal vehicle for these surroundings, in terms of both comfort & capability.

Hats off to Gev - finding the brake switch fault couldn't have been easy.

Could you share more pictures of the vehicle interiors?

Cheers,
Sam
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Old 16th May 2017, 14:55   #15
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Default Re: Ladakh in a Toyota Landcruiser

Lovely trip and lovely thread The Land cruiser looks beautiful. Old is gold, really!
Also, this thread brought back the memories of my trip to Ladakh in the Tucson...thanks again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by satan View Post

A small mention about Shiva's idea of a hi-definition Dash cam. Before we met up with Shiva after Chamba we were wondering how we would be able to shoot good videos from the car on such rough roads. So when we started to ascend Sach pass i asked Gev to sit in Shiva's TUV and shoot the LC from his vehicle. What Shiva was already doing was something very ingenious. He had attached his iphone to the mirror using rubber bands and was recording at will. So shakes, jumps or any lateral movement of a hand held device.

So after that we improvised using tie clips and attached Gev's Samsung S7 to our rearview mirror keeping the camera lens on the outer side. Image below
Great minds think alike Here is our version of HD dashcam:



From our trip (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post3198179 (Ahir Dham - Zero KM, Ladakh. A Tribute & Travelogue))
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