Bangalorian’s were cursing the record breaking rain which fell during the last month. Thankfully, in north Bangalore we haven’t seen much of flooding. Babu Reddy of Fast Wheels hasn’t shown any interest in completing my Gypsy’s painting. Hence I decided to check my luck on another Garage.
Zukova Automobiles on Vidyranyapura road (Near Nanjappa Circle) is the Garage where the Gypsy is lying now battling for survival. I dropped Gypsy there on first week of September and was promised that it would be done within 20 days. I gave them 10 days more to finish it properly. After almost 3 months the work has barely started!
Rain, Dengue fever for wife and lots of travel between Mysore and Bengaluru made me lose interest on Gypsy all together. Now the whole exercise seems to be unnecessary burden on me.
December 20th is the deadline I set for finishing the work. It would be a miracle if I get it by then. This Garage doesn’t have a painter on their payroll, instead employs a contract painter. He comes at his own convenient time!
Below is the some working in progress pics
Update of 9/12/2017
Finally, some meaningful progress is taking place at the worst possible time. Zukova’s painter finally appeared and started work. For my surprise, today they finished primer application on the outer body.
Next Tuesday I’m going to Kumta to attend a marriage and will be back on Thursday night only. If they continue working I’ll miss it for 3 days.
A Tachometer is very common in modern cars along with speed & ODO meter. Even after 30 years Maruti is not providing a Tachometer in Gypsy.
Here is the picture of Gypsy King instrument panel manufactured by an Indian company called Pricol.
Left dial is for speed & ODO. Right dial is for fuel & temperature gauge. There is also couple of indicator for 4 wheel drive & headlight high-beam
Below is the picture of instrument panel found in Jimny, Samurai & Sierra. I believe that this panel is also manufactured by same Pricol company. Surprisingly Maruti Suzuki is not giving us this instrument panel in India.
There is a Tachometer in it! The design of this instrument panel has been modified to accommodate large RPM meter. In this design warning indicator panel has been pushed down (below the dial)
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Even if you get this panel in India, you won’t be able to use it easily though size & screw position appears to be the same. You will have to hack the wiring, not an easy DIF job!
I wanted one for my Gypsy, so did some research online and watched few videos on Youtube. It is actually very easy to install an aftermarket tachometer for petrol engine. Tachometer counts pulses from ignition coil.
Bought this from Amazon for around Rs1100 (now the price is around 1700!)
It was delivered to me after a week, but just 2 days before my brother arrived to Bangalore with Gypsy. Next day I installed it.
There are 5 wires in this tachometer. You should connect the the “green wire” to ignition coil’s negative pole only. Red wire from the meter should go to your Ignition connection, the black wire is for negative (ground). There are 2 more thin wires meant for illumination. You can connect it to parking light. I connected illumination to ignition directly. Hence it illuminates when I turn ignition key on.
Here is the final output.
According to Samurai’s service manual the ideal RPM should be between 750-850 when warm.
Some strange behaviors observed
My cold idling speed is around 600 (I kept it low) and goes upto 800 once it is warm. However, when there is battery load through alternator RPM comes down to 600 range. There is a idle-up solenoid switch in carburetor which seems to be not working. RPM shouldn’t drop when there is load on Engine. Is this a problem or feature? … will have to findout later.
I’m going to document general RTO process of Gypsy fitness certificate renewal. The procedure is almost same for all the vehicles atleast in Bangalore, Karnataka.
When you buy a new vehicle you pay lifetime road tax to the respective state Government in which you register. However, legally your vehicle is valid for 15 years only. After 15 years you have to renew the vehicle fitness certificate and get a new RC book (Smart Card)
This process is relatively easier if your vehicle is in good running condition (both mechanically and physically) All you have to do is submit a copy of valid insurance cover (third party okay), emission certificate and original RC Book (smart card) Then you have to present your vehicle infront of RTO inspector for physical inspection and verification. Overall it shouldn’t cost more than Rs 1500. Real owner should be present as they ask color photo of the owner infront of vehicle.
There is a penalty if you don’t renew the FC on time. I was told that the penalty amount is minimum Rs 1500 for single day delay and can go up based on duration. I paid Rs 2000 penalty for almost 3 months delay! (Mine was expired on 7/3/17 and I could only send it for renewal on 11/6/17)
What to do if you lost original RC book?
This is where the whole process becomes cumbersome. You must surrender original RC book irrespective of whether it is valid or not! If you have lost it then you have to apply for a duplicate RC (even if it is expired)
If you follow the procedure you can get duplicate RC book for less than Rs300. You have to file a FIR in police station. Police department in Karnataka ask for sworn in affidavit in-front of Notary before registering FIR for lost things. Once the FIR is registered then you can apply for duplicate RC. You should get it within 30 days.
Hold on… there is a BIG problem now!
See, you are applying for duplicate RC (not original!) The RTO gives you original RC, but they stamp “Duplicate” in bold red font just below FC validity date. Now this is not a problem if you are planning to keep the vehicle forever. However, it is certainly a problem if you plan to sell it later. Majority of people simply refuse to buy a vehicle whose RC book officially says “duplicate”
So what is the solution?
This is where clever RTO agents make business. They can get original RC book without “duplicate” stamp on it within a day. The price you have to pay maybe too high (3K, 5K or 10K) Personally I paid 3.5K for it. Not all RTO agents can get it done as it involves an element of high risk for the entire syndicate (Agent, RTO staff and staff of private company which is responsible for printing Smart cards). I have friendly relationship with my RTO agent for 10 years, hence he did the favor! Most RTO agents will only help you to get “duplicate” RC book which you can get yourself.
Vehicle Inspection and FC Renewal
My RTO agent inspected the vehicle and asked me to remove the tint film and get vehicle thoroughly washed.
It took more than 3 hours to remove the dark tint film and full body washing. Paid Rs900 for this!
Finally Gypsy is ready for inspection with clear window glass.
Photo of me infront of Gypsy for RTO file (photo of print copy, hence poor quality)
RTO FC renewal challan
RTO inspector only checked chassis number and made objection for not painting the body. My agent gave him explanation (saaarrrrr… he already spent so much…….) Finally inspector signed my file and the inspection was over.
Now my Gypsy is roadworthy for another 5 years (untill June 2022)! Actual amount paid to RTO is 3250, but my agent took 6.5K… once again syndicate work!
Overall spent 10K+1K for FC renewal…. and it is worth 🙂
Time is running out. My brother is coming from Muscut on June 25th and he need the Gypsy for his one month stay. Mr Babu Reddy (Garrage owner of Fast Wheels, Yelahanka) couldn’t make any commitment on delivery. I have asked his painter ‘how many days would it take for painting’. He said ‘around 20 days’. If it takes 20 days for painter then it would take 2 months for Reddy!
I’m totally disappointed and frustrated by Reddy’s attitude. I’m not a good negotiator, bargainer or even a good verbal communicator. I don’t even have the skill of shouting loud with holy words! I have reminded Mr Reddy of being the 20th June deadline for delivery. Still no assurance of delivery from him. As a last resort I politely told him that I’ll take delivery without painting and come back after 2 months. For my surprise Reddy agreed!
All this happened one week ago (on June 1st) and today I took the delivery and settled full bill.
Total Bill amount is Rs 1,58,500. This includes 45K for Engine overhaul, 20K body exchange work, 30K for suspension, carburetor, clutch, alternator overhaul. 10K for used Subros AC compressor with condenser of M-800. 8K for Indica seat (both front set and rear seat) Didn’t bargain too much, but asked for some discount for old AC compressor. Finally the bill was settled for Rs1,55,000.
Reddy quoted around 50K for full paint job with under body coating. He promised 1st free service after 1K KM. Overall, almost 1 lakh was labor charges (it was lying in Garage for more than 5 months!)
The next challenge is to get the FC renewed as it has already expired. I’m not sure if it possible to renew it without painting. Gypsy is fit mechanically , but will it satisfy RTO inspector?
A wise man told me that he is “living for” his wife than “living with” wife. Similarly many gypsy owners spend lot of time “for gypsy” than “doing with gypsy”. The same case with me. I have probably spent more time for gypsy than enjoying it on the road!
Too many excuses for abnormal delay. Hence I’m going to sum it up in brief.
After looking at body shell the tinkering man suggested it would be better a buy a decent body than to repair it. He opined that the cost of labor and metal would be too much to justify repairing. After some deliberation I too okayed the idea.
Hunt for Gypsy body begins now. I found 3-4 old Gypsies on Karnataka Panchayt Raj department through a dealer. The white Gypsy with gray hard top looked decent. The deal was fixed for 75K. Unfortunately I missed the deal due to delay.
Fortunately, a week later this ex-airforce 410W gypsy was found.
The deal was finally negotiated for 65K. As part of the deal I got full body shell, hard top, fuel tank, radiator and all the electrical components. I also negotiated for 4 original discs (steel rim without Tyre)
It was finally towed from Shivaji Nagar to Yelahanka garrage. Hoping for the best I went to home and then to Yercaud (Salem, TN) for small break.
After 10 days, this is the status.
The body has been transformed to my Gypsy
This is how skinless MG410 appears
And finally my old body shell has became orphan on footpath!