Considering my poor experience with the Tata service centre last time, I decided to go to a reliable FNG and get things done.
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On my path to perfection
My wife and I used to undertake a lot of trips in our Baleno earlier and plan on doing the same with the Storme with our 1-year-old baby as well. But I still have not got that confidence on the truck as yet because I did not get it out of the factory, so I want to ensure that all the wear and tear parts are replaced so that I am sure that things are fine on that end.
After the fluid changes and in my pursuit to make the truck as good as new, was looking at the next set of changes to do. But given the poor experience with TASS, I decided to go to a reliable FNG and finally managed to find one for myself. There are a few issues with the vehicle that I wanted to look into.
I felt that the engine mounts are worn out as the truck has slight vibration all the time and especially during startup and shutdown. Everybody I talked to shrugged it off as the characteristic of the vehicle but I still wanted to ensure it is how it is. And post the engine and gearbox mounting change, what a difference. There is a very mild shake during the start and shutdown and idling and drives are just like a petrol vehicle now. Very refined and enjoyable.
V-Belt, water pump change
I had asked the mechanic to check the belts and change them if required, they said that the belts are in good shape and do not need a change as of now. So that was also not changed and it continues to be what it is.
So I told the mechanics to change the TVD and they had no clue what it is, then I showed them the damper I was referring to and they were like – Oh you mean damper coupling I told them to check it, they checked it and found that it is fine but found the central bearing of the drive shaft to be worn out and replaced that. This change removed the humming sound coming from below the vehicle along with the mounting change has made the car very very smooth.
Steering Tie rods
When I raised the point of the steering play, they mentioned that the steering tie rods are worn out and needed to be changed. They changed those as well and informed me to get the wheel alignment done. But as it was getting late they just did a string-based alignment and let me go reminding me to get the alignment done ASAP. Post the alignment though the play has drastically reduced it is still there, I suspect there is some play in the column but will get that inspected and changed later.
When I took the vehicle for WA/WB, the technician did the balance first and found that the tyres, even though they look fine are stiffening up and losing shape. He showed how the centre part of the tyre has risen up in certain places. Before rotation, he inspected the tyres and said that the front tyres are the better ones and just let them be in the front. What surprised me is that the Castor and Camber angles were extremely skewed and he brought all the angles to within acceptable limits as per Storme’s map. When he did the trial run post-change, he found that the vehicle is slightly pulling to the left, he did a right-left switch of the front tyres but said that even though the pull is gone post the rotation, the tyres still need to be changed.
Post the changes, did a Sunday run to Lonavala and had the following observations:
What I observed is that though the vehicle runs like a petrol vehicle, at speeds between 70-100 there was a sudden vibration coming into the entire vehicle emanating from somewhere below. Others were not feeling anything but I for sure felt it, so I took the vehicle back to the mechanic for inspection believing that during the bearing change, they might have not tightened things up or there might be play in the shaft. They tightened things and tested but did not feel anything but mentioned that your tyres definitely feel funky. So I will hold on to the observations till I get the tyres changed, any suggestions on the possible reasons and tyres are welcome.
I observed a slight pull to the left which is very slight but it still means that there is a slight course correction that needs to be done constantly. The alignment guy was mentioning the same is due to tyres so will hold this judgement also till then.
AC Cooling inconsistency
I am observing that the compressor cuts off very frequently. Had checked the condenser fan and it seems to be working fine but the compressor cuts off very frequently. When the journey begins there is no cooling and suddenly cooling comes in but the condenser keeps cutting off. But when it’s working the cooling is excellent. Also, another thing to note is the temperature knob does not work, even when set to hot, it would still blow cold air.
The mechanic has said that an AC check requires leaving the vehicle for at least 3 days for a pressure test + dashboard removal and installation again apart from ordering parts and getting them. This is required since we also had to recharge AC gas recently pointing to a leak in the system. I am just praying that the leak is detected at the condenser level and not at the cooling coils. I am waiting for my friend who took my Baleno to come back to town so that I can borrow the Baleno again while Safari goes to the garage again.
One of the biggest problems I face with the Storme is that no part is readily available with the TASS, the official spare part stores are pretty far away from where I live and that means the car needs to have at least a day or two of downtime for any change that it requires. This makes me feel that this cannot be the only car in your garage because any emergency workshop visit would cripple your travel for the next few days. So keeping the vehicle in top shape is a priority for me.
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