getmikeeboy

My M&M 550 XD 4X4 Ex-Army Beast

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Hello All,

The "Jeep" and offroad bug has been catching up too fast now a days and had caught up with me as well since last few months and years too I should say.

It all started when i started watching the Nat Geo Apollo Flight of the hawks. Before this I always had something in my heart for Jeeps from my childhood, the days i grew up in the Tea Estate Bunglows, and schoolings at the Wellington Army School. I'd always love to hear funny Gossips from my seniors at school "Hey do you know our school bus (Sakthiman) can run in water as well as land, my dad told me".

Those days as children we had no clue of what a 4x4 or a 6x6 was, all we knew was our school bus can swim in streams.

Well as i grew up in the Army and defence surroundings and by the visual treat of Jongas, Sakthiman's and Gypsy's i was indeed bitten by a Jeep itself is all i can say.

With so many memories in my heart I grew up and always wished to have a Jeep specially a Army kind of jeep with all those tall stance an butch looks.

Started Home Work. Searched all classifieds for Army disposals, sat down on Facebook all time gazing pictures on the Mahindra Great Escape page, T-BHP's jeep building stories and decided to build a Jeep from scratch, but all i had was Minus time in my hand, i clearly made it out that i cannot spare a huge amount of time on building a jeep under my supervision.

I also saw an Test drove CJ3's, CJ4's MM540's but wasn't impressed. The Invader too never won my heart.

At this point of time I got a call from on of my friend in Ooty who deals with used cars buying and selling, saying that he has got a M&M 550 XD 4x4 Army Disposal restored upto 80%. The very next day i was at his place to see the Jeep, and it was like this (Check the pic with my Maruti 800 next to it, excuse for the poor quality Photography taken from my mobile, obviously the 800 looks punny)

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I was very much impressed, but the jeep had many negatives and positives.

Positives

1. The Engine was smooth and looked Flawless.

2. It had good pick up specially i need it driving all the time in Hills.

3. The Gear Box was simply superb and it was as smooth as butter.

4. The 4WD was working and I had no chance to use the 4Low but engaged the 4High during the TD of the Jeep and it was excellent.

5. The under body was real time neat with no rusts (95% Rustless)

Negatives

1. The colour was a glossy finish but i liked the shade.

2. The Soft top was a rugged canvas, The Best, but the grey coloured soft tops had fungus like black spots on it due to frequent rains.

3. All 4 tyres + the spare tyre were BALD.

4. Interiors were Zero except for the seats.

5. All military fittings were on the Jeep but none working.

6. The Steering response was crude and horrible and pulled me to the sides at the lightest turns or cuts.

7. No Horns.

8. Horrible Head Lamps.

I was Okay, but when sat down for the Negotiations the price was too heavy a whole 3.25Lac INR and finally after hard talks for a week, I managed to get the monster for 2.90Lac INR, and finally bought home my 2000 M&M 550XD 4X4 Ex-Army. Though parents were not happy buying it for such a high price me and my wifey were happy. Below are some pictures after the monster came home.

My Parking Lot:

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Front View:

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Rear View:

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Side View:

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The XD3P 2112 CC Unit:

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Interiors:

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You can just guess how flat tyres were:

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@mikee-Congrats, it looks fabulous and the price is good considering that work to be done is negligible.I have one piece of advice either replace the front seats or install head restraints for front seats for protection against whiplash injury.

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@Mikee:

Its great to be a part of the breed of some special enthusiasts called OFF-ROADERS...and Jeep is something which is simply irresistible..I SALUTE THIS LEGENDARY VEHICLE.....

Even with my Jeeping experience,what I know is that there is something different with the Jeeps which is simply beyond words....AM I RIGHT??

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I have one piece of advice either replace the front seats or install head restraints for front seats for protection against whiplash injury.

@ Mr. Spock: Thanks a lot. Yes about the seats and seat belts I am still stuck with work' date=' very soon I would be getting seat belts on them and seats would be borrowed from the Innova, but then i am in deep thought, thinking should i change the legendary classical so called Half seats. But considering safety I should be changing!

@Mikee:Its great to be a part of the breed of some special enthusiasts called OFF-ROADERS...and Jeep is something which is simply irresistible..I SALUTE THIS LEGENDARY VEHICLE.....Even with my Jeeping experience,what I know is that there is something different with the Jeeps which is simply beyond words....AM I RIGHT??

@TSiVipul: Thanks a lot for the compliments. Yes i drive many good cars everyday, but still when I sit on the drivers seat in my jeep, I feel legendary. At-last as everyone says "It's a Jeep thing".

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@Mikee:

You are absolutely right,THE JEEP THING..

Even I too love the way the jeep drives in hills,I feel it very commanding.With my off-roading experience(Though I am a Gypsy lover,but this experience is with a Jeep),what I felt was a Jeep seems to come alive when it comes to steep downhill runs and taking the directions herself with we simply experience every turn on our steering...ITS REALL BEYOND WORDS..YOU NEED TO DO IT.

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@Mikee:

Even I too love the way the jeep drives in hills' date='I feel it very commanding.With my off-roading experience(Though I am a Gypsy lover,but this experience is with a Jeep),what I felt was a Jeep seems to come alive when it comes to steep downhill runs and taking the directions herself with we simply experience every turn on our steering...ITS REALL BEYOND WORDS..YOU NEED TO DO IT.[/quote']

@TSiVipul: That's cool another Gypsy lover. There are still more writings and pictures that are going to be added here with the small 1st unorganized off roading i did along with the skin change stories too.

But it was a bit heart-breaking for me too see that there are less topics on jeeps, gypsy's and off roading events on our Autocar Forums. I think guys like us should get in more inputs n make our 4WD bugs bite others on this forum too!!

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@Mikee:

Even I am also planning to get either a Thar or a Gypsy,but I am still in a state of confusion as some people say that restored Jeeps are better.Is it true?

Once I have also read a legendary line in a newspaper as "Real Jeeps are not bought,they are built".

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@Mikee:

but I am still in a state of confusion as some people say that restored Jeeps are better.Is it true?

As you said YES restored jeeps are the best (this is my opinion, but many may not accept this and that is why it is said "it's a Jeep thing"

As far as I know there are many advantages of getting a jeep built. You can always build the jeep as you want it to be and the costs incurring will be not much though. The main +'s of the old jeeps are they are rugged and they have solid axles when compared to the new one's produced these days. If you really want a jeep to be used in rugged terrains and off roads, my advise would be "BUILD A JEEP"

And of all when you restore or build a jeep it becomes your passion, and you will really love it!!!

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You are absolutely right,if we built a jeep then it has our emotions,passion attached with it,and also may be a sad girlfriend too as the poor girl won't be getting any more time...smiley36.gif

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You are absolutely right' date='if we built a jeep then it has our emotions,passion attached with it,and also may be a sad girlfriend too as the poor girl won't be getting any more time...smiley36.gif[/quote']

lol very true!! you may get all those problems for sure, and specially from the family a Big NO NO for buying a scrap and then building it. but as the proverb says "No Pain, No Gain" and my personal opinion is not all can build jeeps, only a few can.

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lol very true!! you may get all those problems for sure' date=' and specially from the family a Big NO NO for buying a scrap and then building it. but as the proverb says "No Pain, No Gain" and my personal opinion is not all can build jeeps, only a few can. [/quote']

You are right,even my parents are ready to get me a new Thar or a Gypsy on my birthday but none of them are ready to give me even a single penny for getting a Jeep or a Gypsy restored.

I have tried to explain it a hundred times to them that whay to spent 5-6 lacs for a new one when I can get one restored for one-third of this price,and as you may be knowing nothing is better than a Jeep when it comes to some head-turning mods..not even a Gypsy..and I like my cars to turn heads..

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Continues:

It was almost a week after i got the beast home. My hands were really itchy and I wanted to take it off road. And then I got a chance to take it to a tea estate in coonoor where it takes a off road route to bakasuran hill and there is a tribal village over there. A small family trip was planned with a bunch of people from Bengaluru. (all this has to be done before I had to settle the full cash and transfer the jeep to my name).

We started in the morning to the estates in my M7M 550, a M&M Marshal Di 2WD, M&M Scorpio 2WD, and a couple of vista's, and had to reach the spot pre lunch as we had to cook over there. pictures of my jeep and landscapes are below:

Started with me leading the group:

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Tea Gardens:

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This is the STOP Point for other vehicles, cos no other vehicle can reach the cliff from here: Lunch point

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After we had lunch I was curious to test my jeeps off roading capabilities and to my surprise there was rain and no proper photographers to click pictures   smiley19.gif

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You are right' date='even my parents are ready to get me a new Thar or a Gypsy on my birthday but none of them are ready to give me even a single penny for getting a Jeep or a Gypsy restored.

[/quote']

The best thing you can do is start to earn your own money and then put it on your Mega Restoration Project like how I managed!!

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Haha,there was a Black Gypsy too..

The pics are great,just enjoy the Jeep at its full,in these pics the Jeep is looking like its at the right place instead of parkings where it looks misplaced.

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@Mikee:

If I get one on this b'day' date='then I'll make it sure that for your above wish I'll try hard to get it to Ooty once this year for a treat for you..[/quote']

Try getting it for a good off roading trip here in the hills. You will enjoy it! smiley32.gif

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@Mikee:

Right now I am searching for the disk in which I have kept my Jeeping and Gypsing pics,it contains everything from dunes of Bikaner to snow covered peaks of Leh+a Jeep and a Gypsy..

That was the time which made me a fan of 4X4's(only Jeeps and Gypsy)and you may not believe,but in my views"THE OFF-ROADING IS LIKE AN ADDICTION....AND I AM ADDICTED TO IT"..

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getmikeeboy- a nice thread. Get it going with posts and pictures.I believe the buy was at a slightly higher price but then a buyer always faces odds while buying. And when we sell we get lower than expected offers.In some specific markets around Delhi these 550XD's sell for reasonable prices as there is a lot of competition.One should be careful in selection of the proper vehicle in such markets however.

But the machine you got is surely a tough one and with some more efforts it will run and run.

The engine is the Peugeot XD3P (2498cc) fitted to older Boleros.I have used Boleros (4X4) for thousands of kms drives and the engine is a very,very tough and reliable workhorse.They may say its crude with high NVH levels and so on by today's standards, but a 4X4 fan likes everything crude. The 4X4 world is different.

Happy times with your new 550XD!

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getmikeeboy- aThe engine is the Peugeot XD3P (2498cc) fitted to older Boleros.I have used Boleros (4X4) for thousands of kms drives and the engine is a very' date='very tough and reliable workhorse.They may say its crude with high NVH levels and so on by today's standards, but a 4X4 fan likes everything crude. The 4X4 world is different.Happy times with your new 550XD!

[/quote']

Thanks l lot anjan_c2007.

But are you sure it is a XD3P 2498cc, as to the best of my knowledge it is 2112 cc and even my RC says the cubic capacity as 2112 cc. (I may wrong too, but) smiley3.gif

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Okay let me continue the next set:

After lunch with about eleven people in my Jeep started descending the steep hill and had to climb up another hill. Terrain was super cool after the rains:

Wet Grass, Wet Rocks, Tall Wet Grass. This was the first time i engaged the 4WD on my Jeep, descending was done in 4Low and the second gear and the climb was easy with a 4High second and third gear.

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Descending:

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Note the path:

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Left home with possible amount of mud~!

My all 4 tyres were bald, so in most of the rough terrains I had to drive in 4L 1st and 2nd Gears.

Some pictures when we left the place.

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I had no road to move further:

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Dirty:

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After a week the balance amount was paid for the Jeep and the Jeep is all mine now.

Started to plan for some little work on the jeep.

1. Name Transfer

2. Change all 4 tyres (Alignment and Balancing)

3. Steering ply was more, it always pulled me to the right, (But experts said a wheel balancing and new tyres will solve the problem).

4. There was little water seeping though the foldable windscreen, so need to replace the rubber beeding.

5. Military Horns a big no no, there was no sound, so a pair of Roots horn.

6. Check for electricals, instrument lightings, Convoy lights front and rear, Replace hood lights.

7. Badly wanted a pair of yellow for lamps for the frequent mist in ooty and a reversing lamp.

8. Soundproof thermocoal sheets inside the engine compartment, under hood, and the place behind the dash board inside.

9. Floor antirust coat and thermocoal sheet with the Floor Rubber mats.

10. Seat belts.

11. Rattling of rear seats, there was no straps that can hold the rear benches if folded.

12. Huge radiator never gets heated, but i wanted a coolant oil tank.

13. Fuel tank lid with a lock. (mine came with original fuel tank lid without locks)

I went to my mechanic introduced by Benny John (Beejay of T-BHP), Sasi Yetta in Coonoor a very experienced mechanic who has done many jeep works successfully, and he said except for some cosmetics there is nothing to be done mechanically, even the steering ply was adjusted and i felt more better, new tyres would do the magic he said. I was too happy to save bucks.

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First Priority:

Name Transfer - Got My jeep a Water wash, took all documents RC original, Insurance, P.U.C, ID proof Photocopies, Photographs. Got the application forms, filled out the details paid the challan for Name transfer, and Finally parked my jeep with the bonnet open for the RTO to inspect, and here's the twist!!!

RTO: So what's happening here?

ME: I've got this Jeep, and I want to transfer it's ownership to my name.

RTO: (Gazes at the Jeep and asks) Is this a military disposal?

ME: Yes sir.

RTO: (Says with a cool tone) Change the colour, will sign the papers.

ME: But why sir?

RTO: No one can differentiate if this is a civilian jeep of a Army Jeep, I don't want anyone to misuse this beautiful piece.

ME: Sir but this is Olive Green and the RTO approved it and registered it in Chennai only a couple of months before.

RTO: Someone has done a mistake at one end, and I don't want to make the same mistake again, i'm a bit different.

ME: But sir why will I misuse it? I got this jeep with a desire to have it and retain it's originality, wanted it to be classic as always, moreover i have a defence pass on my jeep for entering the local regiment here.

RTO: Sir I'm sorry rules are rules. Even if you are an majaor general I cannot sign papers, You paint your official Army jeep in whatsoever colour you want, but not a civilian one. paint it in any other colour you want other than Green, I'm ready to sign papers.

ME: Okay sir. I will do. (Grrrrrrrr)

Minutes later a broker rushes to me saying, "I was hearing your conversation with the RTO, a month back there was a same problem and argument from the manager of an Ex chief Minister here and the RTO signed papers after getting some $$$$$ from them, If u can, just spend Rs. 1000/- I shall help you to transfer the name". The moment he told this I thought NO.

I finally took my phone and the screensaver was my friend's Jeep. Jeep Captain from T-BHP, his Shade US marine army Jeep colour for his MM 550 was on my mind, I rushed to the RTO's cabin immediately and showed him my phone and asked him, is this colour okay sir? and the RTO said as far as it is not green I'm okay with it. I replied telling him, "Sir this is used by the US Marine forces for their Vehicles, after I change the colour don't refuse to sign papers saying this is another Army colour". The RTO assured me this colour is Okay.

This was the shade I showed the officer:

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Finally i left the RTOffice, to my painter. Took him to the paint store got him the shade, and asked him for a matt finish. Two days was his time. In a day he started the work.

Some Pictures at the painting shop:

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I wanted to keep out some heat and sound from the engine compartment and I fixed some Thermocoal sheet dampings and found a good transformation. Less Sound and Heat.

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In two days time painting was done, showed the same to the RTO, got the name transfered and got the papers the next day.

This is how it looked when I got her home.

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On the same night, a heavy down pour. night vision.

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Now I need to change tyres and soft top.

getting quotes for:

**Apollo Bullet San cum highway 7.50 x R16

**MRF Sandgrips 7.50 x R16

**J&K Sand cum Highway 7.50 x R16

I'm getting deined the Apollo and MRF's. Only J&K's are available in this spec, I want to maintain the originality by using the same Army sand tyres. Moreover changing to new tyres with alignment and balancing can improve my ride.

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Awesome SUV mike' date=' how and for how much you secured this beauty.

?

Would love to learn more of off-roading from you.
[/quote']

Hi Bala,

Thanks a lot and I feel I get more encouraged when people support me. I am bit worried that in AC forum there are really a very very less bunch of people who call them as Jeepers or offroaders. Hope someday we will have a lot of Jeepers and Offroaders soon! And Off-Roading welcome anytime @ Ooty!

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