New Force Gurkha 4x4 Review & Pictures


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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Thanks Iron Rock. In fact, I saw your detailed review mentioning this drawback and sure enough I managed to expose that weak link. Anyways, I am prepared to upgrade to 265mm Geolanders as Arup has recommended. I know the leaf in the rear can be lifted with longer shackles. But how to lift the front IFS setup?
I dont think you need to do it all or worry about lift, do it step by step, tyre upgrade is your first step. Plus you wouldnt really drive leaving the hump on the offroad go through the centre of the vehicle, so as they say driver skill matters here.

However if you plan to go the RFC route(extreme), you can then look at the RFC Gurkha for inspiration (especially the set up they sported up front ) - and off course everything comes at a price.

There are many including myself who have taken Gurkha off road in severe conditions and apart from minor hits to sump guard, none have ever managed to hit the steering rod.
The original Gurkha had gearing for 7.50x16 tires but that was with lesser torque of 197nm, now its 235nm and even with higher final ratio there is very little impact from 265 tires. The speedo percentage can be adjusted for differences. Speed at 80 would be 83kmph with the 265. The 265 bring it close to the original 235mm ground clearance of the Gurkha. No Gurkha ever needed a lift and there are no kits for lift of the front IFS for this vehicle. The ideal tire is 7.50x16 or 235-85x16 as I have on my old Gurkha but that size now is very hard to source here in India and its pricey. 265 works out quite well in fact with the right footprint for soft sand.
All the Gurkha even at the Force Motors track had this problem of hitting the steering rods - so one needs to be skilled handling that part. Even the Cat was hit.

Agreed i wouldnt bother with the speedo. Tyre upsize is priority 1.
 
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The downsized tires are the reason but Rahul drove the new Gurkha extensively on the Force track as well as off road and never did the issue of hitting steering rod came up but yes, tire upsize is must as 210mm GC is not recommended for serious off road.I have driven the new Gurkha with stock tires during tests over some bad terrain but never did I manage to hit the steering rod. I did hear the sump guard hit few times and that was warning for me.

baskarkesavalu, I would suggest your first priority would be to source Cooper STT 235-85x16 as that would give you the original ground clearance plus the footprint would not be widened as with the 265. Also the STT are mud pattern tires compared to Geolander which are AT pattern. If you can't source them, go for the Geolanders as I have done.

Affirmative with the non-common rail thing. The erstwhile Judo used to come with a version of the same engine and pumped almost 100ps more than ten years back.

For off roading, the simpler the better.
That engine was OM616 turbo which is on my old 99 Gurkha. That engine has nitrided crank, sodium filled exhaust valve, oil cooler and oil pump sourced from Germany based on OM617 turbo parts. It also has oil gallery pistons for extended cooling. It comes with an oil cooler thats half the size of the radiator whereas the current engine has none.

Current engine is about cost, to keep it down it they put a mild turbo with an intercooler but there is no such goodies as oil gallery pistons and other stuff. Consider this, I paid 5.2L in 99 for a stark Gurkha with soft top and no a/c and last month I get one with a/c, hard top and other stuff for 10.20L and this is year 2015. 82bhp is all they can get out of this engine for now and BS-III at that.
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Arup, Iron Rock,
Thank you. I would go with the 265mm Yokohamas.

I heard more opinions about Gurkha from a good friend of mine in Sri Lanka. He has his own workshop, etc., and he specialises in Off roading and competes in the RFC Malaysia every year. I had asked for his opinion on the new Gurkha and here's what he had to say. Please see below within quotes.

I would like your opinion based on my friend's technical explanation. Unfortunately, I don't quite understand IFS vehicles as much as I understand good old solid axles with leaf spring setups. Could you please help me understand what this all means and if I should be worried at all before going ahead with my Gurkha purchase?

"
I went through the link, the front suspension has no change from the force single cab IFS suspension. You cant see this because of all the plastics in the front.

If you notice the picture of the front suspension the torsion bars are anchored to the front of the vehicle. Normally the torsion bars are fitted to the Swing/ Control Arm and anchored towards the back at the middle of the chassis where the flex of the chassis is the least. Which can distribute the flex stress among the chassis and a strong cross bar keeps the achoring point strong. Take a look at Thar or Scorpio.

Secondly the independent suspension vehicles which have a front end collision can be repaired with suspension arm settings where the suspension starts where the front axle is. This is a terrible design, where if you have even a small collision (On off road hitting the bumper is normal) the suspension geometry will change or will be vulnarable.

The Force trucks that have been supplied here to the army has been discarded as the tubular chassis cracks. The tubular frames are good for rigid application where a 4x4 chassis must be more flexible. This is why Reputed manufacturers use "C" sections closed as box section on the areas that should not flex.

Do not get attracted by the diff lock feature, how many time are you going to use this on a camping car ? I hardly use the front locker in my comp car as too much stress on the axle, and especially with IFS the CV's will have a lot of stress.
"


Looking forward to hear your opinion.

Thank you,
Baskar
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Unimog uses tubular and so do many other specialized off road vehicles. Tubular has tortional rigidity unlike C frame. As per your Sri Lankan friend you have bought yourself a royal junk and so have I and that too since 1999. I guess the German 4WD magazine were dead wrong about the Gurkha as well in their early nineties review.
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Unimog uses tubular and so do many other specialized off road vehicles. Tubular has tortional rigidity unlike C frame. As per your Sri Lankan friend you have bought yourself a royal junk and so have I and that too since 1999. I guess the German 4WD magazine were dead wrong about the Gurkha as well in their early nineties review.
Thanks Arup. Feel better hearing this from you.

What do you think about the Torsion bar anchored to the front (in the Gurkha) rather than the behind the front wheel/swing arm?

Thank you,
Baskar
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Baskar I think we are not being fair if we compare a stock vehicle built justifying CMVR regulations against the standard of an RFC event. Even if you look at the RFC Gurkha, they were heavily modified, both front and rear suspension were custom off-course.

What is the purpose of your purchase ? will you be intending to participate in RFC day 1 ? In any case and with whatever vehicle you purchase, there are stages that you need to go through to build and improve offroadability (unless you do a one shot project spending a bomb to convert a stock gurkha to RFC ready )

If you ask a Thar owner he will come up with his pros and cons, if you ask a Gurkha owner - he will talk about diff locks immediately - and so on..so thats pretty natural. I think you need to list your priorities, select the vehicle that appeals to your priorities, put your money on it and then keep on improving it gradually stage wise - thats my two cents !
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Thank you Iron Rock. Actually I wasn't comparing the stock Gurkha to the RFC solid axle Gurkha. It's just that I heard that the Torsion bar on the Gurkha is anchored to the front of the chassis rather than the back of the front wheel. I wondered if this is a drawback or not. That's all. Practically, I see that it can be a drawback only in case of a frontal collision and that the front suspension geometry changes due to the Torsion bar damage (if and when that happens of course).

I used to be a crazy off-roader and competed in the Palar Challenge in 2009 and 2010. And I came individual 2nd in 2009 using a stock MM540! Our team came 2nd in 2010 (again using the MM540 with full-time rear locker). Since then I lost interest and have moved away from hard core off-roading. All I need is a solid expedition type of vehicle (with creature comforts for a family of four to travel comfortably) that has enough capability to come out of off-road situations that I might encounter. I certainly don't intend to bash up the vehicle or look for an off-roading opportunity just because I have a capable off-roader. Keeping that in mind, I have also been looking at a few 2nd hand Pajeros.

I am yet to decide whether to go for a brand new Gurkha or a used Pajero SFX (2008 and above) with low mileage (not > 70,000 km).

What do you think?
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

I used to be a crazy off-roader and competed in the Palar Challenge in 2009 and 2010. And I came individual 2nd in 2009 using a stock MM540! Our team came 2nd in 2010 (again using the MM540 with full-time rear locker). Since then I lost interest and have moved away from hard core off-roading.
Baskar sahab Why the hell am i giving you advises then - you should advice us ha ha [:D] Great to hear your escapades - it will be nice if you can elaborate them in a separate thread.

All I need is a solid expedition type of vehicle (with creature comforts for a family of four to travel comfortably) that has enough capability to come out of off-road situations that I might encounter. I certainly don't intend to bash up the vehicle or look for an off-roading opportunity just because I have a capable off-roader. Keeping that in mind, I have also been looking at a few 2nd hand Pajeros.

I am yet to decide whether to go for a brand new Gurkha or a used Pajero SFX (2008 and above) with low mileage (not > 70,000 km). What do you think?
What is your budget and what can you stretch to ? In my books an expedition vehicle should be supremely reliable, you should be able to go to Timbuktu and come back in the same vehicle. They should have the ability to take abuse, bad roads with aplomb and at the same time cocoon you in adequate comfort and safety. I would prefer a modern vehicle than an old cruder one.

I would only suggest japanese SUVs for such purposes - the likes of Pajero Sport or a Fortuner. The reason I wouldnt recommend the SFX is the gearing is a tad too short for highways, you need tall cruising ability as well. A used Pajero Sport or a used Fortuner is what i will recommend you. I wouldnt go for a Gurkha if i were you, if I have to chose a local desi vehicle - it will be the Scorpio!
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Baskar sahab Why the hell am i giving you advises then - you should advice us ha ha [:D] Great to hear your escapades - it will be nice if you can elaborate them in a separate thread.



What is your budget and what can you stretch to ? In my books an expedition vehicle should be supremely reliable, you should be able to go to Timbuktu and come back in the same vehicle. They should have the ability to take abuse, bad roads with aplomb and at the same time cocoon you in adequate comfort and safety. I would prefer a modern vehicle than an old cruder one.

I would only suggest japanese SUVs for such purposes - the likes of Pajero Sport or a Fortuner. The reason I wouldnt recommend the SFX is the gearing is a tad too short for highways, you need tall cruising ability as well. A used Pajero Sport or a used Fortuner is what i will recommend you. I wouldnt go for a Gurkha if i were you, if I have to chose a local desi vehicle - it will be the Scorpio!
Iron Rock,
Completely agree with your comment on the sluggishness of the Pajero SFXs. After test driving a few, I had a same feeling. I have a soft corner for the Pajero compared to the Fortuner. But given my application, both would be great choices. I have been using a 2WD Scorpio (DX - pre CRDe) for 10 years now. Although I've been happy with the Scorpio, for some reason I am not comfortable with the idea of electronic shift on the fly in Scorpio. I need a stick!

I can stretch my budget to about 15L for a good used 4WD version of Pajero sport or Fortuner with lower kms. Will keep looking.

About my Palar challenge days, I'll save it for later with some pics. I belong to the lucky *******'s club :-) as I survived a "two consecutive complete 360 degree roll" without scratches on our 2nd obstacle on day 1. My 1986 540 survived it too without a hitch. We lost some time, but got going from the 3rd obstacle and ended up team 2nd at the end of day 2!

Thank you,
Baskar
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

^^ Phenomenal stuff, baskar saab you fall you learn! Ill await pictures! (Off topic but finally we have someone on the forum with some real body roll experience [lol]:biggrin::tongue:)

Personally i am also not for electronic shifts - good old gears work well.
I think around 15L you should be able to find a good specimen as long as its well maintained, even slightly more kms are fine - these things can do lakhs of kms on bone stock engines. Find something under 80k or so.
 
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Full 360 roll in action! This was in August 2010.

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Simple roll cage and seat belts saved me. And of course the sand terrain helped reduce the damage.
 
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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Ouch!

Did you turn or go sideways in the slope ?
Sand seems to have softened the landing, did the roll cage help ?
 
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Individual 2nd best - in 2009! This was also on my stock MM540 with 7.50X16 NDMS tyres (deflated to 10 psi) in sand!!

I backed up the slope straight to gain momentum. but just before I could start going down the slope, my right rear tyre gave in as that area was heavily sand quarried. As soon as my right tyre took a plunge, i had no time to react as the Jeep started tumbling side ways to my right. I had no momentum to steer the Jeep to my right to prevent the roll. It all happened under 2 seconds! No time to react. But fortunately I kept my cool and kept my hands inside the jeep as I carefully watched the upper part of the roll cage with my head out of the way. luckily the Jeep stopped rolling and stopped right side up! But my 540 started immediately! and we started moving. It didn't sink in until we went back to our camp site after day 1.
 

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Re: New Force Gurkha 4x4 Test Drive Review

Now that I am a Gurkha owner - I thought I should join this thread and contribute

I have been following this thread for some time and though my mind was more or less made up on buying the Gurkha once it became available 3-4 months back, but I must acknowledge that Iron Rock's superb review was amongst the many inputs that helped me take the final call.

Briefly about me - [glasses] I am ex-army guy who is passionate about the outdoors. I was looking for a really capable vehicle which could be my city use vehicle as well as my go-anywhere vehicle. Waited for about 2 years for the Gurkha to launch (again) and I must be amongst the first few to buy it after the re-launch. Not gone on any serious offroad trip yet (in the last 1month) but planning a drive on the OMR OTR track and a Valparai trip sometime in next few weeks.

Having driven capable vehicles in the army, I must say I am very happy with the Gurkha. Especially with it's overall drive quality.

Just sharing some initial experiences (in random order) and a few pictures.

- Engine is quite strong and can do gentle inclines(my office parking ramp) even on 2nd gear - in fact I am reminded of a joke that there are only 4 gears on a Gurkha. But I prefer to use the 1st gear - at least everytime it starts from rest/after a halt (at a signal/in traffic).

- The suspension is strong as well - may feel stiff but then it has to be - because it is designed to take a heavier beating. So when you drive over small speed breakers the shock absorbers wont absorb much while a car may have felt comfortable - but when you go over a very bad patch, you'll hardly feel it in a Gurkha where as the softer car suspensions might get seriously damaged.

- Highway driving - On a drive to Bangalore, I felt the cabin shudder at 90km/h - but I am a little old-school so I believe in running-in a new engine in the initial days - so didnt push the engine & stayed south of 90km/h. The owner's manual does talk about driving it at around 85 km/h (on 5th gear & they give speed ranges for other gears as well) but thay suggets that only for first 2000km - I am sure the engine may take much longer to run-in - but I am willing to wait for that to happen.

- AC - has been vastly improved [clap]- has a thermostat - and in fact at extreme cold setting (of the thermostat) - it does get very cold - hopefully it will be ideal for the sizzling Chennai summers.

- Gear shifting was a little difficult initially but it has gotten smoother with use over the last 2000 odd km that I have driven in the last one month.

- Brakes tend to 'feel' a tad slow but I think that impression could be because of the ABS.

- Some accessories I feel I absolutely needed - Audio sys+speakers+radio antenna, rear camera (cam input connected to the 2DIN audio screen; rear cam very much required as the vehicle is very high & you dont want to injure someone while backing up or bang any vehicle or anything else behind), new horn(ROOTS), new seat covers, central locking.

- Things to do/add- Jumper cable (my battery drained the day I fitted the central locking due to a bad-wiring job and then I had to get my vehicle push started [cry]), Rear foot step, Anti-rust coating - am looking for advice on this front - required/not required if yes - then which brand - WURST or 3M.

Lastly I must say I have made peace with the ugly looks at least for now - actually was all ready to change the grille & the bumper - even found out the rates for the old ones from the showroom (MPC Force Chennai) - it was 4k & 8/9k - then I realized the fiber bumper is quite strong & it even has quite a lot of metal backing - so based on that discovery, at least for now I am beginning to feel OK with the new looks. That said - you must check out this new review by a Malayalam channel Manorama news - because at around 11m the video features a new look variant of the Gurkha with WARN PTO with additional fog-lamps on the hood & a sleeker/shorter version of the new grill - which sits into the original slot of the face. Check out the video just to catch that new beast.

Waiting to hear from you all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJQsHTLgacY

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Hi Major JS, after going through reviews of Gurkha, finally I find your ownership review. Congratulations for buying the passion of life.... 4x4!!
I have few questions about Gurkha, as I am also interested to buy one for myself.
1. How is the performance of the car after 3/4 months of running?
2. How about the overall quality of the rubber parts, beading, dash board, seat covers and other parts?
3. How about the performance of the car while driving it in city?
4. Air-conditioning?
5. Service and Spares?
Would you suggest Gurkha as second vehicle for regular use in city and once a month for off roading, and sometimes for long cruse in mountains.
Your valuable comments would decide if I will go for this car or not.
 
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