My Mahindra Thar diesel AT: 13 months, 23000 km update

While the seat's position does not necessitate a dead pedal, it definitely does add to the comfort if the Thar had come with one.

BHPian ph03n!x recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

After a deafening lull, here's an update - a mega one that sums up 13+ months and 23,000 KM of ownership!

Owning a car is, to an extent, akin to getting into a relationship. A marriage, if I may.

You assess your prospects - think about what you want, look up your options, ask around for others' opinions - or fall in love at first sight.

Once committed, its all gleaming, hunky-dory for a while. You appreciate the little pleasures, enjoy the company, learn more about your relationship.

You start understanding what you have really gotten yourself into - and either get a good understanding, lead a long-lasting journey filled with memories.

Or sheer coexistence.

Worst case, have a costly, premature divorce - death do us part be damned!

You can trade up your car for a better model though. And your car's door ain't gonna whoop your end-can, castrate your tyres. Or drag you to court. (I do hope my wife ain't reading this - ye'll know what will become of my end-can if that happens!)

With each car I have owned, I have come to observe a certain pattern - stages to the ownership, if I may:

Stage 1 - The choice:

Deciding what one wants, and getting it - has been fairly straight forward for me across my car ownership - until the Thar. This thread's first page has the Thar story in detail with all masala and drama (in case you are tuning in late).

Stage 2 - Courtship:

How does it sound normally - the engine, transmission, pedal, steering, pedals, doors, each panel.

What are the limits and boundaries over a spectrum of speeds, road conditions, etc.

What kind of mods/ changes can I make without breaking the bac(n)k.

All of these usually happens here. So does potential issues - like with marriages, a potential deal-breaker might rear its ugly head in these early days.

This is usually the first 5,000 km for me - and with the Thar, this is where I had my first/ only major niggle too - and once this was sorted, it is all Stage 4 for me!

Stage 3 - Making your bed:

You make incremental (or drastic) improvements to the car to make it more comfortable/ liveable - cosmetic, performance, comfort et all happens here.

This phase does overlaps with the forthcoming stages too. By design, a jeep is meant to be customized, accessorized - there are loud mods, and there are subtle ones.

A flashback of the mods I've documented here earlier with a few lines of how they've been in about 400 days of ownership, and a few that I haven't yet:

Bug deflector:

A must-have - unless you like to wash a bloody windshield clean every two hours of driving through forest trails or critter infested mornings/ evenings.

While the bug deflector itself works as intended, it's come off twice, the right edge just doesn't wanna stay! I have stuck 'em on as a DIY with 3 rows of 3M High Strength Double-sided Bonding Tape. Let's see how long this one lasts - could because my Thar has PPF, and this is being stuck on top of the PPF.

Rain visor with chrome insert:

They serve the purpose, and I can crank the window open half a centimeter when parking under the sun. Or when it is raining bad and I don't want all the fog effect to change the mood in the jeep.

Steering wheel cover:

Could have been better. But for the price, it is not bad at all. And it has survived more than a year with me. Must have done something right, it must have.

Door sill protector:

I almost forgot I had this and was about to order one in M2All again! Oh well, it is there in my Thar alright - does add to the ambience, now that I've rediscovered it.

Side body cladding:

Am always wary about bikes and bicycles squeezing in when you are in traffic or in signal, and that's why I got this. Looks a bit faded off late, should 'rejuvenate' its colour back

(Pics of these three are in this post)

Front and rear mud protector:

They serve an aesthetic purpose, for sure. But ummm.. mud protectors are supposed to PROTECT from mud splashes? Well, these don't do that so well, at least not the front ones.

Your Thar's foot rest will have a nice muddy bath whenever you drive through water, be it after a shower on the tarmac or when you are off fishing.

The answer is to fix a small piece of rubber, like from a used bicycle tube, such that it covers this nice li'l peep-hole. Like this:

A closer look at this jugaad:

This reduces the welcoming mud on the footstep by much - but then the step is also open on the sides and at the back, so there is only so much you can un-expose!

Those who want to try this, I used a cracked inlet hose from a Merc - it was about 8 inches circumference, and I cut a 6 inch cylinder off, halved it, treated it in boiled water for 10 min and straighten it a bit under weight. I did not want to flatten it completely - if you look at the pic, the top part kind of wraps around the gap.

Piano black tail lamp applique:

This is just for the looks, like that door sill protector. But I ended up with minor fading on the plastic of the tail lamp, and this one covers those nicely.

Camouflage full body cover:

Just about placed my order for this. Mine being a convertible soft top, wanted to have a cover in case am parking in the open during my travels.

Magnetic sun shades set:

Useless. Returned it promptly.

Sporty Pedals (from the XUV7OO):

I like my pedals with metallic finish, and when the XUV7OO's accessories came out, I zeroed in on one of its accessories - this:

A closer look:

The brake pedal is a direct fit - remove the stock rubber cover, and fit the 7OO's over the pedal's frame:

The accelerator pedal however does not fit. At least not right away:

I had to gently bend the 7OO's accelerator pedal to match the Thar's curvature before I could put 'em on. Again, a crude jugaad, but worked:

Dead pedals:

While the seat's position does not necessitate a dead pedal, it definitely does add to the comfort if the Thar had come with one. Aftermarket to the rescue - and I chose the Bimbra dead pedals. They felt better made than the others - I got this done at Xenex, Hyderabad.

The Autofurnish ULS 7D Economy mats has two layers - the bottom layer just folds over the dead pedal, no problems. The noodle mat layer, though, had to be cut to shape to accommodate this mod.

The corner of the noodle mat chopped to make way for the new mod:

Front and rear arm rests:

I had observed earlier in this thread that I do not miss the front armrest because the Thar makes sure I am both hands on at all times. What did I say about marital bliss?!

The Bimbra-made front ones are bolt-on, no modifications required. They have a play though, but nothing that shows up if you use them for their purpose. Under the armrest, there is a cubby hole that is 6" deep and 5" wide - in a vehicle like Thar, any addition of storage space is more than welcome!

Bolt-on, no modification required. They do have a minor play - they pivot up and down a wee bit though:

This is how it looks - matches with the rest of the jeep pretty well:

And gives you a cubby hole to leave your wallet, phones, etc. out of sight:

The entire set is made with a plywood base, feels solid too.

The rear ones, however have to be drilled in place. They come with two USB charging ports each side - I have decided not to wire these.

These do give a more finished look, and adds a bit to the comfort for the kids:

And a cubby hole at the rear too - perfect for the kids to stove off their Harry Potter:

The ICE mod:

This is more of a speaker swap - swapped out the front coaxials under the dashboard for a pair of Pioneer TS-A1605C Components (60W RMS), placing the tweeters at corners of the dashboard. I disconnected the over-head stock tweeters as well as replaced the speakers with a pair of Pioneer TS-R1651S Coaxials (40W RMS). The objective was to find the least powered speakers as I have no intention of adding an amp, damping, adding a sub - mine is a convertible soft top, there is only so much SQ and sound stage I can create amidst all the flapping canopy.

More details in this post.

70mai Dual Channel DVR + rear view camera:

This has been doing its job. Except for those odd times where over-enthusiastic friends adjust the RVM before they even turn on the ignition for the LCD to show the rear view, these are pretty good for their purpose.

More details in this post and the last part of this one.


I wanted better headlights - but do not want to alter the classic jeep look either. So the fancy/ (barely) functional aftermarket headlamps were not in consideration.

After some experimenting with LEDs, I have settled for good ol' Osram Nightbreakers - they are good enough for me, though I would have liked the High Beam to be not artificially made white-ish with that blue coating on the bulbs.

More details in this post.

Farad Galaxy lock:

These locking nuts are for peace of mind - especially when I am traveling and have to park in public car parks.

I had initially contacted over email in early Sep '21, and someone called Kalpesh responded. I had inquired about set of 5 locking nuts for the Thar, he asked for my address but that's it. I followed up again in Nov '21 - no response except for saying it will be available 'soon'.

I took the contact details from BHPian @getsurya's post and contacted Mr. Mahendra over phone. Placed the order on Nov 23rd, got it on 26th!

And here they are:

My MASS was kind enough to have them bolted on the wheels:

And the spare wheel as well:

These nuts come with a key, as expected - and this key has a unique serial number. So it is not like someone can buy another set and steal all our wheels.

The big one - Arka/ AVO suspension upgrade:

I live 10 minutes away from Arka Motorsports, and Mr. Leelakrishnan was kind enough to let me try his petrol MT Thar through bad roads/ no roads/ good stretches to understand the ROI on the investment.

Mr. Karna Kadur was very patient and kind enough to explain how this suspension mod came to be, how they designed and tested it, why AVO UK as manufacturing partner, and the reason behind the steep price. The AVO suspension comes with both springs and dampers for the rear, and dampers alone for the front.

The dampers are adjustable across 17 steps - full clockwise (step 0) is fully hard, and full anticlockwise (step 16) is fully soft.

This is where the suspension/ damper is designed:

Stock Helical Spring vs. Arka/ AVO UK Spring:

The AVO helical springs have the same # of loops, but are more evenly placed unlike the stock springs which are placed further apart at the top and closer together at the bottom. From little that I know, the stock design is more loading friendly - have to see how the AVO springs behave if I had to load up the Thar.

The springs are in place:

And the dampers are a-posing:

Alright, this is it for the rear:

Front Stock vs. Arka/ AVO UK:

Mounted and ready:

And we are ready to roll.. almost:

This is a completely repairable suspension - one-time purchase/ serviced for life is what I am told. They are not for hardcore offroading (neither are the stock Gabriel ones), and are designed to be better on tarmac while can take a bit of off-road abuse too.

The cost is steep, no doubt - but I am putting this down as a part of the purchase cost, It definitely makes owning a Thar much more easier, especially for daily/ on-tarmac use. And the fact that I got the Thar as a part of the first lot, before all the price hikes did help.

After using this aftermarket setup for about 4,500 KM, I know what I have missed for the first 18,000 KM! The body roll is so well contained that the first speed-breaker you'll drive over will tell you the difference. I was running at 11/ 13 initially, but have switched to 12 / 14 for now (softer). Let me see how this goes. If the Thar's body roll and handling are you biggest complaints, save up for this - you won't regret.

Continue reading ph03n!x's ownership update on his Mahindra Thar diesel AT for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

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