Avalakonda is not the toughest OTR I have attended considering my Jeep did everything quite easily even with a compromised steering. But this terrain is the most brutal on the vehicle.
On this trail:
I got the first tyre puncture on my Jeep.
Broke the driver's side mirror.
The diesel return pipe came off and I was driving like that most of the day. It was finally noticed by svsantosh.
Considering I didn't have differential guards like many, and since I had CFLs, I did nurse my Jeep in most of the dangerous rocky parts. I didn't want to break the rear CFLs like Viji's Gypsy. In fact, I sighed in relief as I exited the trail on the second day without a breakdown.
As we left the camp site, I discovered massive play in the steering wheel. I had noticed it in the trail too, but it is downright dangerous on tarmac because of higher speed. At Kamath Upachar, Vinay looked under and discovered the broken L bolt.
I think it broke at Manipal itself, I experienced under-steering few times in the acute turns of ghat section enroute to Bangalore. But it didn't repeat once I hit the straight roads after chikmagalur. So I forgot all about it.
The first day's OTR must have loosened the steering box bolts too, and it went on deteriorating. I was feeling I was turning a hummer instead of a Jeep. Pretty much everybody who noticed my turning struggles, did mention it.
The broken L bolt is shown in yellow. The steering box bolts (shown in read) were tightened by Vinay and Arka, so that I could drive safely back to Bangalore.
The tyre damage. Now it is plugged, it is at the edge of of the sidewall.
Dear Sharath - hello after a long time. Your vehicle's L bolt was already welded before as can be seen in the picture above the breakage point. Please replace it. I have never seen this thing break. It must be due to stresses created due to the previous welding. During assembly of the new bolt, please loosen all 3 steering gear mounting bolts, assemble the new bolt and then tighten in sequence so that there is no undue stress on anything. Please also remembner to tighten the nut which holds the L bolt support on the chassis. This would have caused undue strain on the worm shaft cover, so please loosen and retighten the bottom clip also. I cannot open the mirror photograph. The best mirrors to use on a CL340 are of the TATA 407 of LUMAX make with supports made out of M10*1.25 size fasteners (I designed them). Tejas's vehicle had the original supports. As per original drawing, the RH mirror is positioned slightly higher in Z axis as compared to the LH mirror. I had taken this cue from the original CJ5.
Last edited by DHABHAR.BEHRAM : 4th February 2011 at 08:39.
The following BHPian Thanks DHABHAR.BEHRAM for this useful post:
Dear Sharath - hello after a long time. Your vehicle's L bolt was already welded before as can be seen in the picture above the breakage point. Please replace it. I have never seen this thing break. It must be due to stresses created due to the previous welding. During assembly of the new bolt, please loosen all 3 steering gear mounting bolts, assemble the new bolt and then tighten in sequence so that there is no undue stress on anything. Please also remembner to tighten the nut which holds the L bolt support on the chassis. This would have caused undue strain on the worm shaft cover, so please loosen and retighten the bottom clip also.
Dear Behram, thanks for the tips. Planning to get it fixed tomorrow, before my trip back to Manipal. It surely is a scary experience to drive with a barely responding steering system.
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM
I cannot open the mirror photograph. The best mirrors to use on a CL340 are of the TATA 407 of LUMAX make with supports made out of M10*1.25 size fasteners (I designed them). Tejas's vehicle had the original supports. As per original drawing, the RH mirror is positioned slightly higher in Z axis as compared to the LH mirror. I had taken this cue from the original CJ5.
Someday I need to get the proper mirror. Right now I use what is available easily.
Dear Sharath - I would like to share my personal opinion on this thread, so as not to generate one more controversy & cause any misunderstanding.
I know that it is very difficult to drive if the steering does not work properly. Even if everything is as it should be, you will still not get the crispness because of multiple linkages in the system. It was OK at that time, it is not OK now. The tyres also cause a lot of performance variation. We make the tyre manufacturer's life miserable when we optimize a tyre for our vehicles. These were the very reasons why we did NGCS in 1996 because we wanted to change the baseline performance deliverables of the suspension in totality. I saw some photographs which Pratheesh took recently. People are using longer spring shackles for raising their vehicles without changing the spring dimensions / characteristics. Therefore, in reality, the shackle orientation moves towards the axle center line, causing complete mismanagement of the suspension system. We all know what happens if a shackle reverses direction. Pratheesh showed me recently taken photographs of vertical shackle plates. I get downright scared just looking at the photographs, yet people choose to drive such vehicles. What handling will you get? If people are willing to drive such vehicles after spending close to 4 lakhs of rupees to make them, I can only smile and keep quiet. No wonder the CG did not remain within the base of support, the disaster that it can result in, we all well know.
THERE IS NO WAY OLD GENERATION VEHICLES CAN EVEN DREAM OF MATCHING WHAT WE HAVE RECENTLY DONE. THE SOONER PEOPLE UNDERSTAND IT, THE BETTER IT WILL BE FOR ALL CONCERNED.
With highest regards to all, I have no intention of undermining anybody's knowledge / capability. If you feel that this post will generate one more round of controversy, I would request you to please delete it immediately. If you feel that it will help people to understand things, you may retain it.
Dear Behram, I guess you are not talking about my Jeep since I haven't done anything strange with my steering system. I was talking about the driving experience after OTR before discovering the broken L bolt. I could rotate the steering wheel one full turn and not see any response from the wheels.
I think you are talking about dogbone shackles that many Karnataka Jeepers have:
Behram Sir Sharath's vehicle is as stock as it gets! No shackle lift or longer shackles in this vehicle. Only modified component is the rear CFL spring which are working fine and designed for CJ series.
As far as the shackle lifts are concerned, those are mostly pure offroad vehicles and are not much focussed on on road performance. Since it is the easiest way to get some body lift, people prefer that and all are aware of the groggy nature of handling after this mod. Generally these vehicles have additional springs to take care of dimension changes. Is this the right thing to do?
Another thing, so far reverse shackle has never happened in any of this vehicle. Once when it happened in Palar, it was due to a broken spring plate.
Dear Jaggu - your comments are absolutely correct. Additional leaves will not increase the length of the main leaf so it is not the correct solution. It will aggravate the ride but because the spring will become so stiff, it will hardly move, so, effectively, there is no suspension. Psychologically, because the customer has spent money at the "patawalla" and got a bucking horse in the bargain, he psychologically feels secure because "it is now macho, you know". In his inner subconscious, he "knows".
Just for information, shackle mounting dimension in Commander HT series is "very slightly" different as compared to "Bolero" series. In the field, majotity of people do not even know. The good thing is that the leaf springs will not fit (thank God!), but people still interachange shock absorbers and then lead a life of self imposed misery. We have smiled, kept quiet and bailed out numerous such customers.
Dear Sharath - ref the long shackle in the photograph, the center hole is supposedly for having a bolt put through it along with four nuts to just hold it in a "so-called straight" orientation. Even the manufacturer knows that the product will twist very similar to what happens to you if you have a sprained ankle. You can't walk properly if you have a sprained ankle, neither can your vehicle run properly. .
I have no intention of sparking off the IFS v/s leaf spring debate. I think this much will be sufficient. This is not even 1% of what all can be said.
I ONCE AGAIN REQUEST PEOPLE NOT TO DEVIATE FROM ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS. WE SET THEM. IT IS OUR FULL TIME JOB. WE ARE PAID TO DO IT. The vehicle which we have recently launched runs like it is on rails. Show me one other Indian Jeep which does that.
Now, I guess I can just quietly smile and keep quiet. .
Dear Sharath - Looking at the photograph, I think the axle articulation control stopper fitted to the chassis of your vehicle has broken. The axle will move up by 99 mm in spike test and the housing will hit the sump. This is the exact reason why we have given IFS in our recently launched vehicle. Please look into and get it replaced.