As many would know that the 1st off-road vehicle that I had bought and restored was a Mahindra & Mahindra MM550. Threads are all over this blog under the MM550 section.
Anyways the new owner that I sold the vehicle to, has done a complete restoration himself and practically rebuild the vehicle from all over again.
I recently received an email from him with pictures and a brief writeup on the work that he’s done on the vehicle. So the first thing that I thought was to share it with everyone.
Thanks a lot to the new owner for sharing these pictures and giving me permission to share it with the community.
Please click the link to continue reading
The following vehicle is owned by Randeep Singh and details of the vehicle in his words
The work on my jeep has been conducted at my Uncle’s state of the art garage in Jaipur which is one of the most prominent garages in this part of the country. This garage specializes in restoration of Classics and Vintage Vehicles and I had to literally pester my Uncle to take on the project
Some details on the work done:
The Jeeps body and chassis has been modified/extended to look identical to my uncles 89 Jeep Wrangler. Body parts of the Wrangler were used to replicate body parts for my Jeep throughout the restoration.
Chassis has been extended by 5” using the bolt-on extension by Mahindra. The differential was moved forward to give it an extended wheel base.
The body tub’s side wall has been raised by 2.5” and half cut doors were customized similar to that of the wranglers. The windscreen has been lowered and tapered inwards. Bonnet has been extended by 4” to retail the wranglers long nose.
The jeep’s gone through complete denting and painting. Leaving the chassis all parts have been sprayed with acrylic putty and later sand blasted. Final coat sprayed is ICI Auto Paints P.U. The finish is semi matt, 60% gloss and 40% matt.
Bolero dashboard fitted. No vibrations and is rock solid. Fronts seats are of a Nissan sedan. Upholstery is top of the line and has a leather like feel to it. Front and rear customized mats.
Engine is an Isuzu 2.4 Turbo charged diesel plus 5 speed gear box and 4WD transfer case. This engine, gearbox and transfer case combo itself cost me 65-70 grands and is a very capable piece of engineering.The engine has been cleaned/serviced. All metal pipes have been nickel plated. Fuel pump has been overhauled and re-calibrated. Alternator and self have been serviced.
Koyo power steering has been fitted after servicing. It performs well and there are no leakages whatsoever.Not to mention that the power steering has been fixed inside the bonnet/ hood area and not on the front bumper.
Maxxis Big horn (275/70/R16’s) mud terrain tyres with HR 16” rims.The rims & tyres cost me 68k for the complete set.
Pictures of the vehicle
The vehicle is also performing extremely well on OTR and I am using it as a daily driver in the city too. The road worthiness of the vehicle can be judged from the countless trips we have done from Delhi to Hissar (my native place) and the vehicle is extremely stable on highways, with raw amounts of power at the disposal of the driver. I am proud to say that it can be driven anywhere in India with the start of the key.
Also the preparation of the vehicle took almost a year and has been done under the personal supervision of my uncle.
The price that I’ve demanded is just the cost I have incurred on the vehicle. This doesn’t even cover my out of pocket expenses not to mention the countless phone calls and visits to Jaipur.
The best part of the vehicle is that registration. It is a RJ14, registered in Jaipur and not somewhere like Zira in Punjab, which to be frank is a little shoddy. My registration is 100% genuine and can be verified and transferred very easily.
The gear lever in the above picture shows that the gear configuration in 4Fwd and 1 Rev. The knob is wrong and in actual the vehicle has 5 Fwd and 1 Rev
Click this link for my thread on TeamBHP
A personal note:
Another thing that I would like to add here is that as far as the vehicle is concerned, all the details, the good and especially the bad have been documented in real time in the above thread, on Teambhp. So there will be no hidden surprises to whosoever buys the vehicle as the history of the vehicle is an open book for everyone to see and observe and take an opinion on. Secondly many of the decisions while the vehicle was being built were taken from the heart with the intention that i’ll be keeping this forever, so even if we were to leave aside the money spent on her for for one sec, the hardwork, patience, etc that had gone into this vehicle can’t ever be compared to the countless chop shop jobs that we see in areas like Mayapuri, Mandi Dabwali or Moga.
Water crossings, river crossings, steep inclines, you name it and its a cakewalk for this jeep
Here are a couple of sample pictures
Expected Price 380,000 INR
Reason for selling: Already have a few other Jeeps that I need to restore.
Status update on the MM550 (RANGER) Update as on 5th September 2009
Work on the vehicle is progressing at a slow pace. Basically the only work on the vehicle done up till now is that we have received the alternator back from the service centre after being serviced and it will be installed in a couple of days!!!
The self-starter motor was not serviced as that was local/ fake one and I decided to buy a new one instead of wasting money on the fake one.
Picture of the engine bay showing the change in direction of the air intake pipe
Some pictures of the work in progress at the wokshop
Received the RANGER in the evening on Friday (14th August) from the workshop.
Work done at the workshop
- Complete Clutch system including bearings changed/ overhauled
- Both brake cylinders changed
- Engine and gearbox mounts changed (I always used to say that my vehicle starts and shuts off with a big jerk or jhatka!!! I guess this was the reason.
- The rear left brake was leaking. Fixed. Whether this was leaking due to the brake cylinder or something else I wouldn’t know
- Power steering joints on the main rod/ shaft changed
- Oil change/ oil filter, diesel filter, air filter changed
- Suspension set (was drooping towards the LHS by 1-1.5″)
- Radiator was dirty, so it was flushed completely (the pictures I uploaded earlier was after the radiator was flushed)
- Direction of the air intake pipe was changed (SK said that this way water wouldn’t go inside the engine in case of water crossing)
- Earlier the brakes needed to be pumped twice for effective braking. Now they are as the should be
- The engine sound changed completely for the better. The engine now feels and sounds more free, earlier it used to sound and fell the the engine was working under pressure or as they say “dab ke chal raha tha”
- Brakes are now perfect.
- The vehicle did stall a couple of times, but after I got the hang of the new clutch release it worked flawlessly. Maybe I needed some time to get used to the new release mechanism.
- The clutch now was as good as it can be. No effort required whatsoever and I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that as good as my safari or Optra’s
- The power steering was also working great
- Earlier on pushing the vehicle hard i.e. ‘pedal to the metal’ the Ranger used to achieve a max speed of 80 km/hr and barely used to touch 85 km/hr now when I was driving in the morning to the OTR venue I managed to touched 90-95 km/hr. I know that this can’t be the correct reading and there has to be a speedometer error and also in OTR vehicles high speed is not the main concern. But I am trying to emphasise the fact that there is still an 11% improvement in the preformance of the engine.
During and after OTR impression/ observation/ Pending work
- Fuel injectors need to be changed
- Heater plugs weak. Need to be changed
- The starter motor is giving issue and refuses to crank sometimes. Also I think that the alternator is not in the perfect of condition. the Amp meter shows that its charging all the time. And on my way back from Manesar post OTR the vehicle stalled at the toll gate and the starter got jammed, din’t crank just a loud ‘click’ and nothing. I had to push start it Thinking of getting it serviced from LUCAS!!! Will talk SK, if M&M’s markup is high then I will send it to LUCAS directly but if the charges are not much extra I will prefer to leave the vehicle at the workshop and M&M can take care of dismantling the starter and send it to LUCAS on their own. Saves me a lot of headache and running around. (the current status is the vehicle is with SK and he has sent both the starter and alternator to LUCAS)
- Power steering still not perfect when turning. Again the fluid was leaking from the pump.
- Lhs door rattle
- Tyres hitting the body while articulation
- Oil leaking from the trf case/ Gearbox
- Oil pressure light on
- Handbrake lever
- Windshieldrubber lining
I sent the vehicle to Sudhir Kashyap(SK) on Tuesday the 18th August. I have taken the decision of getting the alternator and the starter motor serviced from LUCAS and SK with take care of it
We have decided to replace the power steering with a the new steering box from RANE. This I think should solve the issue of the frequent leakage from the pump!!! The p/s is not faulty as the oil only leaks at OTR’s otherwise it works perfectly. So its up for grabs!!!
I haven’t visited the workshop in two weeks and will go there maybe today evening or tomorrow and update the status.
Finally some sense prevails and I take the RANGER (MM550) to the right place!!!
This is going to be a long post so please bear with me!!!
The vehicle along with the driver was sent to mayapuri with specific instructions of Do not let the mechanic touch the vehicle. I had decided not to show it to Mayapuri even if that meant I do not get to drive the vehicle anymore.
I was actually fedup of being tossed around
- All the mountings were changed, nuts bolts, seats etc etc were tightened. The vehicle was parked there the entire day and when they tried to start the vehicle afterwards and it didn’t crank. They push started it and the driver brought it home and parked it. I was out of station and came to know of the battery drain only on my return back to Delhi. Anyways the vehicle was quite smooth to drive and the music aka sounds from all nooks and corners disappeared.
- Anyways I charged the battery at my office and with the help of Mandeep took the vehicle to an electrician near Dhaula Kuan. The electrician checked up the vehicle completely. He concluded that the alternator was working fine and was charging the battery, the battery was also ok as it was just 3 months old and that couldn’t be the issue. So he came to the conclusion that the battery might have leaked as in mayapuri they might have left some headlight on or something else we can never be sure.
I got the starter serviced from that guy and paid 1100 bucks (including parts (bush and couple of other parts 700) and 400 labor)
So the hunt was on for a good workshop and whomsoever I asked had many suggestions but I really din’t know where to turn to.
Quote from my previous post 2nd August 2009
I again dont want to spend the money and still not find a permanent solution to this problem!!! What I’ve learnt is that these (mayapuri mechanic) are good for small small issues but now I would like to go to a decent guy who even if he charges me a little more money, but not take me for a ride.
I actually don’t mind going to an authorised service station provided the guys doing the work there understand jeeps.
While I was with Mandeep at the electrician’s shop (I think it was on Tuesday the 4th of August) naturally I asked him to what to do and he advised me to go to Mahindra First Choice’s outlet in North Delhi. Its owned by as the name says its all by M&M and comes under Mr. Sudhir Kashyap who is the Dy GM- North. I had met Mr.Sudhir Kashyap (SK) at an OTR once in the past & I called them the very next day had an appointment fixed for Sunday.
Observations @ M&M’s Automart
Jobs for which i went to the workshop
- Oil/ oil filter, air filter change,
- Clutch hard excessively and a weird noise when in momentum the clutch is pressed.
- Power steering too hard
Issues observed by the workshop
- Engine mounting driver’s side broken in two 😦
- Excessive play in the rod that connects the steering rod to the power steering pump. The mechanic was able to pull up the steering almost 1.5-2 inches 😦
- Clutch bearing issues (thats the reason for the clutch so hard)
- The 2 rear reflectors missing
- The fuel pump is leaking diesel and this was supposed to have been overhauled at Lucas by the workshop in Greater Noida where I got the work done earlier or pardon me for saying S%$#%ED. Now I will come to know whether it was actually done at Lucas or I was again duped. He SK told me that he would run the serial number in the system and check. If it was done @ lucas it would be free otherwise I will have to redo it again.
- They will add a lamp in the engine bay
- The steering has so much play and SK told me that the joint/ cross holding them together are almost worn out and as per them could have anytime given way.
- The suspension rod or the jumping rod is missing. I do not know whether this favor to me was done by the mayapuri guys or by the GNoida workshop.
Work to be done and cost estimate explained to me
- 8k approx parts and 3k labor
- Clutch overhaul & Engine & gearbox mountings change
- Full Service
- Power steering overhaul
- Brakes check
- Change the side view mirrors to original
Estimate cost for the parts
- 3800 for the clutch setup & Clutch cable, bearings etc
- 2100 (700 each for engine(2) gearbox(1) mountings)
- 1500 engine oil, oil filter, diesel filter etc
- Rest misc
I have decided to leave the vehicle in the workshop for the work to be done and they estimate that it would take about 3 day tops 4 days for the job to be completed.
Some general observations when I was at the workshop
- I really liked the attitude of the staff and and that of Mr.SK. He SK was very warm and courteous and showed me around the complete workshop
- Took the estimate of the complete repainting of a vehicle(Jeep) with 2k paint and complete under body antirust, clear coat with denting, painting, metal patchwork, etc etc 28-30k. Quite acceptable and affordable too. Plus the paint done in a paint booth is always much better and long lasting than the one done in the open. They also use only genuine stuff from Asian Paints and this paint I believe is about 1800 bucks a liter and amongst the best.
- Liked what SK told me that “M&M fixes the labor rates and the cost of the parts are also fixed in the system, so even if some employee wants to charge extra he cant do it, as everything is governed by the system and ultimately they have to work in competition with other multi-brand workshops”. Now this is how things should work and I have always like people who are straight forward and truthful rather than beat around the bush.
- At the workshop they were using something for denting maybe spot welding or tick welding I am not sure what its called, but they were not using the traditional first heat with a blow torch and then hammer approach.
- Parts or things are constantly getting worn out and need replacement like the body mountings, steering play, etc etc. This is especially true for our OTR vehicles and it is not possible to discover what needs to be done by someone like me who is not really of a technical bent of mind. People like me need good workshops rather than to go to unauthorised people or places like Mayapuri or Greater Noida and get robbed and fleeced to the last penny we have in our pockets and still not get the work done.
- Infact last week when i had the body mounts changed from Mayapuri the vehicle was there the entire day and just look at the expertise and attitude of the guys they were changing the mounts. They din’t even bother to check whether the engine mounts are ok. Are they really that dumb Or maybe on the contrary they are so smart that they must have noticed and not do anything about it so that the vehicle comes to them again in future and they charge the labor charges all over again.
- I am not saying that the workshop guys will discover everything in the 1st instant and nothing will escape their eyes. But I am just impressed with this fact that they atleast were specifically looking at places to see whatever’s not right with the vehicle and do what needs to be done.
- I had also told them to remove the power steering and put in a new sterring box but SK advised me to leave the power steering as it is and assured me that they will make sure that the power steering works like feather touch.
Now compare the 3k labor of the workshop with the 4k estimate the mayapuri guy gave me for just the clutch work. I have now started believing that they(mayapuri guys) have different charges for guys like us (Tbhp & NIOC guy) than what they normally charge. They have started to simply rip us off. Quality of work is pathetic, and genuineness of the parts used is best if left to anyone’s guess.
Also learnt something amazing while I was chatting with guys as the workshop. A I asked them what would be the approx cost of a complete mechanical overhaul (parts and labor included) of a MM550 pickup up from the junk market. I learn that it should cost somewhere around 1.50Lacs just excluding the seats, hood & tyres which I think is not bad at all. even if the cost accelerates by 10-15% still I think that its a very good option. Atleast the work will be done under the supervision of competent people, proper tools will be used and if I would have got it done this way I would have had the mental satisfaction that genuine parts have been used. If I knew this initially i would opted for something like this any day rather than to go to unauthorised workshops and uncompetent people and waste 5 month of my life. Plus they(automart) give a 6 month warranty on the job done.
Now I understand what Darbar Bheram & GTO means when they say that there’s only one way and this is the only right way.
When I had the clutch issue in corbett I was weary of again have to go to Mayapuri and show it to them as I had the feeling in my mind that whatever I spend there will be a big waste.
I am very happy that I finally stepped out of Mayapuri and took the right step as I had always believed that quality always has a price and though Mayapuri sounds cheap its actually the people there who are cheap.
And with regards to the cost part it looks cheap as money is given in small installments but towards the end we end up spending much more in cost and time and still don’t get the satisfaction.
Here at the authorised workshop atleast I am getting a bill for all the stuff gone into my vehicle and have told them to do whatever they need to do and I am not showing the vehicle again to Mayapuri, atleast for mechanical.
I am glad I came to the correct workshop at last. “better late then never”
The Rangers’s 1st outstation excursion
I have actually decided to name the MM550 as “The Ranger”. I always wanted to name the vehicle but couldn’t decide an appropriate name. Now I am thinking a good name for my CJ3B
So when I updated this thread last I had done some updated on the Ranger and had given notes as watermarks in the photographs!!! What I couldn’t write is that I also changed the Clutch Wire and bought a set of Radiator hoses, fanbelts, tubes etc as preparations for the corbett trip. Also I put a new cap on the radiator which I dint do earlier as I was told that this should be left open untill I run the vehicle for for 1k kms!!! (maybe as it was a newly built engine)
So these were the normal updates!!!
I took the Ranger for the Corbett trip and it preformed remarkably well!!! During the entire trip the vehicle din’t overheat, no major issues, and everything was perfect!!!
My conclusions after the trip were
- The clucth again became very hard
- The vehicle was squeking from all nooks, corners, joints imaginable.
- After I came back I had to get the body bush changed as when I went to Mayapuri before my trip the denter who was tightening the seats, doors etc told my driver that they were wornout and needed to be changed. I apparently got them changed at the 1st workshop (read greater Greater Nodia), but maybe it couldn’t be done on time or whatever!!!
- The power steering fluid leaked on the way back and fluid container was completely empty!!! Strangely I din’t feel the steering becoming heavy at all but we stopped at Kashipur and bought 1/2 a liter of fluid (90 bucks) and filled it up. The culprit was loose bolts. I think that must have loosened by the contant usage at OTR’s!!!
Apart for this there were no issues whatsoever. i did alot of river crossings, boulders, etc and was pretty satisfied with the vehicle!!!
On the return trip we were travelling alongwith Shashanks vehicle occupied by Shashank himself, Randeep and Sudhir (Randeep’s friend) started at 11AM from the resort and left Ramnagar at 12 after buying souviniers, Diesel etc etc were at Delhi at 8PM.
Now this looks like a long time but took 4 breaks of approx 15-20 minutes and stopped for lunch for about a hour and 15 minutes!!!
- Firstly the battery has completely drained out!!! I mean completely drained out!!! I cant find a reason!!!
- The clutch is very hard and I showed it to a mechanic in Ramnagar as he said that the issue is not with the clutch wire but something else!!! I am not able to understand this too.
So now I want a find out a good mechanic as my driver went to Mayapuri and the guy there says that “this is how jeeps clutch’s are, change the cable again!!!!”Now I think that I again don’t want to spend the money and still not find a permanent solution to this problem!!! What I’ve learnt is that these (Mayapuri mechanic) are good for small small issues but now I would like to go to a decent guy who even if he charges me a little more money, but not take me for a ride.
i actually don’t mind going to an authorised service station provided the guys doing the work there understand jeeps. HELP NEEDED GUYS
I have to rush now will do a writeup later
Added the D-Hooks in the front
Small Red Covers (topis in mayapuri language) affixed on the rear wheels
I had to change the air filter intake pipe as the earlier one was not right and its direction was downwards. So during the moonsoon OTR’s it might have caused a problem had it taken in water