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Thread: The story of the Safari 3.0 Litre.

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    D.L. kvdeep's Avatar
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    The story of the Safari 3.0 Litre.

    About the background and decision

    Hello everyone,

    I have been on the look out for a decent, used MUV or SUV for some time and finally almost freezed on a Bolero. The Bolero I had driven previously was a friend's Storm model, which, if I am not mistaken, was the first model in which M&M tried out the CRDi engine. This model of Bolero used to belt out 98 bhp and was a good, rugged vehicle, which, though not very peppy, had great driveability.

    My first car was a carburetor engine d Maruti 800. The second one was a Palio Stile 1.1 and Third and current one is the Petra 1.6.

    So, started looking out in the market and though I test drove some 10 or 11 used Boleros, some with the Peugeot engine, some with the Di, I never got the same feel I had in mind. So, another friend suggested why don't you look out for a Safari 2.2 DiCOR too. I was a bit skeptical about the TATA, but I also had heard that Safari, while being (in)famous for its niggles and issues, had a cult like following too. So started looking for a used 2.2 L. Again, I was thoroughly disappointed with the first two three vehicles I drove.

    The common problem I found across the Boleros and Safaris I drove was that people who buy M&M and TATA generally didn't seem good at taking care of the vehicles and some of them seemed experts at abusing the cars. Test drove five Safari's and all of them has some issues, that too, on the surface itself, and things even a guy like me -Non techie and Who is not used to diesel cars - could easily identify. Started doing some research and it was then that I started getting some information on the DiCOR 3.0 Litre. Till then I was under the impression that the Safari 3.0 Litre belonged to the pre DiCOR era and was like a dinosaur.

    Started looking for 3.0 Litres too. This was a difficult stage and the decision was a bit tough as there were many who discouraged me from taking this decision, saying its a troublesome vehicle and is best stayed away.

    On the negative side, there were issues like the engine and vehicle being dated, and the car likely being high mileage on Odo. On the plus side, Many people who had actually used it (Like someone who has used a FIAT, and telling positives as opposed to someone who has not used and telling negatives) were telling good about it. The most basic thing about the 3.0 Litre engine is that its based on the TATA 407's engine block. This is good and bad. The engine is heavy duty and has very less electricals, but at the same time, though powerful and torquey, its a bit coarse, and dated.

    Finally decided to take the plunge after driving the 2007 model, golden colored car. The following were what impressed me.
    The car had almost no dents and scratches. the starting was quick and the engine tone was smooth and acceleration seemed smooth and linear compared to the 2.2 Litres I had driven. In paper and in reality, 2.2 has better pick up and power. But this somehow impressed me in the first sight.

    Called my mechanic and he told me to check out for the telltale signs of major issues, and seeing none, decided to go for it.
    But later, I found that it was not such a trouble free car as I had thought, and there were some major repair works were to be done. May be its my attitude that on the vehicle I use, things have to be as close to perfect as possible, or being used to the engineering of the FIAT 1.6, I expect every vehicle to be like that.

    So, here I am.

    About the vehicle:

    Model: 2007
    Colour: Golden.
    Specs & Varient: 3.0L / 4x2 / LX
    Kilometres on Odo: 1.40 L
    Had test driven about 5 vehicles before I landed up on this. The vehicle was in a comparatively good condition, though not perfect.

    Following works were done as the first stage of bring it back to the shape I wanted.

    1. Engine oil changed.
    2. Coolant changed.
    3. Brake / & Clutch fluid changed.
    4. Power steering fluid changed.
    5. Oil filter changed.
    6. Sedimenter assembly changed.
    7. Some work on the front suspension - Changed stabilizer link,(2) Stabilizer rod bush (2) and Front lower shock bush (1).
    8. Brake overhaul - Rear wheel brake cylinder assembly (1)
    9. Front brake discs polished.
    10.Fog lamp bulbs and a few bulbs which had fused were replaced.
    11.Replaced one of the window winders.
    12.Replaced clutch slave cylinder (As there was a leak of clutch fluid)
    13.The crank case packing (Gasket) was replced as there was a minor oil leak.
    The car was in a much better shape after these works were done.

    In the second stage, it got two new tyres, replacing the worn out ones in the rear. Front tyres were new. At this point, I did an 800 kms round trip. :-)

    Three other problems that were plaguing me was:

    1. The engine oil leak was still there, though reduced than earlier.

    2. There was a problem of erratic rising in RPM as the car was running. This will crop up out of nowhere, randomly and the RPM would rise. I had to compensate by pressing the clutch while this used to happen. The "check engine" light would come on and stay on while this used to happen.

    3. The steering had a vague / irregular feel to it, coupled with a metallic sound on turning it while it used to reach near the end of the lock.

    4. There is an issue with the camber adjustment, and my wheel alignment guy says the suspension needs shim work. But the normal workshops doesn't want to touch it. :-)

    5. Sometimes, in the morning, during the first start, the accelerator doesn't respond. But after a quick restart, it responds properly.

    The first stage of works were done in my local garage, but since they couldn't rectify these four problems, took it to RF motors, the authorized dealer of TATA in Cochin.They identified the RPM rising issue as some loose contact in one of the sensors associated with accelerator. The issue is resolved now. The steering sound now is gone, with some lubrication and tightening.

    Since I was not 100% satisfied with RF motors, I took the car to another TASC in Cochin, called Focuz motors, after hearing good reviews from one of the members on Tata Safari Group. The supervisor there, contrary to whatever we may have heard about TASC s, was a very helpful and knowledgeable man. He has been with Focuz since almost 12 years now. Gave the car last Saturday, and yesterday morning I got an update.

    1. The continuing oil drip (a drop a day, may be), just like I thought is from a loose drain nut. He is confident that it can be rectified.

    2. Some eight bushes in the rear suspension needs replacement.

    3. The steering box adjustment is done and the play in the steering is corrected.

    4. The shim work and alignment can be done.

    5. One coolant hose needs replacement.

    6. The morning accelerator issue is related to some sensor, He told me which one - But I forgot.

    7. There is a minor knocking sound from the injectors - The service person says better not to attend now, as it involves removing and leaning em.

    Will get the car back in a day or two, will keep you updated.

    Please find the snaps below...

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    Happy Diwali, and A BIG thank you for all who gave me support and inputs!!!
    Thanks and Regards,

    Deepak K.V.

    Maruti 800
    FIAT Palio Stile 1.1 SLE
    FIAT Petra 1.6 EL
    TATA Safari DiCOR 3.0 LX

  2. #2
    Marshal Rudrah's Avatar
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    Re: The story of the Safari 3.0 Litre.

    Congratulations for owning this beast Thats a very nice maintained exteriors wise Safari!

    Its a 10 year old SUV man that has clocked a Lac kms too so bound to have wear and tear of mechanicals/electricals. I assume you were prepared for it to restore for another 50k-1Lac kms minimum running.

    From the forums that i read, i did heard about the Dicor 3.0L having intermittent issues but it was always famous over forums that a Tata vehicle is never a niggle free although its sturdy and better built.

    BTW I hope you have taken care of underbody rusting. Usually we forget about it in long term.

    2. There was a problem of erratic rising in RPM as the car was running. This will crop up out of nowhere, randomly and the RPM would rise. I had to compensate by pressing the clutch while this used to happen.
    They identified the RPM rising issue as some loose contact in one of the sensors associated with accelerator.
    I'm too facing exactly the same issue when the car is running and in idle mode i see the RPM rises sometimes upto 2k else till 1.5k. Happens randomly. I'm suspecting its the RPM sensor.
    Sinfully Sexy, Shamelessly Raw, Explicitly Powerful. Nothing better than the Palio 1.6 Horse!
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    D.L. kvdeep's Avatar
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    Re: The story of the Safari 3.0 Litre.

    Rudrah,

    Is your battery near the end of its life?
    Is the RPM rising happens usually after starting the car?

    I faced the issue both in Palio as well as Petra, and both instances it was ECU sensing a weak battery (and trying to compensate?) I could be wrong here, But in both instances it went away with replacing the battery.
    Thanks and Regards,

    Deepak K.V.

    Maruti 800
    FIAT Palio Stile 1.1 SLE
    FIAT Petra 1.6 EL
    TATA Safari DiCOR 3.0 LX

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    Marshal MULTIJET's Avatar
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    Re: The story of the Safari 3.0 Litre.

    Congrats Deepak. Body line looks perfect, nice choice man. Those problems are not major so just repair it and enjoy the drive.
    FIAT USERS-Confidence is what you have when you don't really understand the situation.
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    Re: The story of the Safari 3.0 Litre.

    Congrats Deepak, happy miles, enjoy the beast!

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    Re: The story of the Safari 3.0 Litre / An update...

    An update:

    Like I said, Had given the car for the rest of the works at Focuz Motors Cochin.
    Got it back last week.

    There is a lot of difference in the acceleration, Engine smoothness and the knocking sound from the injectors have reduced to an extent.

    Ride and handling is a lot better. Suspension feels more sorted out. Oil leak is gone, though I have to observe overnight. Shim work is done, and Focuz had done alignment too, but nevertheless, I took it to my friends alignment shop and re checked, he agreed that Focuz has done a good job.

    1. Stabilizer link replaced.
    2. Coolant hose replaced.
    3. ECU scanning done and all errors deleted.
    4. Air filter cleaned.
    5. Greasing of joints.
    6. Fused bulbs and some odds and ends in wiring replaced.

    I am also attaching the service bill for your info, showing the details of parts replaced and labour charges incurred.

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    One more pic:

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    However, the two drops of oil still drips from near under the drain nut where its parked overnight. The more experienced Safari owners tell me that its a plaguing / perennial issue and has to be lived with it. Even the new generation Safari Storme s face this issue. The service advisor at Focuz has however has asked me to take it back to him, so that he can observe.

    Going back to Focuz today, will keep updating!,

    Thanks MULTIJET & Rudrah!
    Thanks and Regards,

    Deepak K.V.

    Maruti 800
    FIAT Palio Stile 1.1 SLE
    FIAT Petra 1.6 EL
    TATA Safari DiCOR 3.0 LX

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    Re: The story of the Safari 3.0 Litre.

    Quote Originally Posted by kvdeep View Post
    Rudrah,

    Is your battery near the end of its life?
    Is the RPM rising happens usually after starting the car?

    I faced the issue both in Palio as well as Petra, and both instances it was ECU sensing a weak battery (and trying to compensate?) I could be wrong here, But in both instances it went away with replacing the battery.
    Not sure if the battery is at the end of its life, on my last check during alternator replacement, the battery output showed fine. BTW How do one test the battery life?

    Is the RPM rising happens usually after starting the car?
    Yes, sometimes on cold start right after i crank in morning or after a trip in city traffic conditions with AC on when the car is idle at Traffic signals. If i switch off the AC, the RPM slightly goes high and then comes back to its existing state.
    Sinfully Sexy, Shamelessly Raw, Explicitly Powerful. Nothing better than the Palio 1.6 Horse!
    2008 Palio Stile 1.6 Sports - Formula Red
    2014 Royal Enfield - Bullet 500
    2002 Bajaj Pulsar 150 (Sold)

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    D.L. kvdeep's Avatar
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    Re: The story of the Safari 3.0 Litre.

    How old is the battery?

    The symptom I noticed in both cars were, it was difficult to start when the engine was hot.
    Thanks and Regards,

    Deepak K.V.

    Maruti 800
    FIAT Palio Stile 1.1 SLE
    FIAT Petra 1.6 EL
    TATA Safari DiCOR 3.0 LX

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    Marshal Rudrah's Avatar
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    Re: The story of the Safari 3.0 Litre.

    Quote Originally Posted by kvdeep View Post
    How old is the battery?

    The symptom I noticed in both cars were, it was difficult to start when the engine was hot.
    No such issues yet, cranks fine on cold and hot engine conditions.

    Battery should be 2 year old.

    Sent from my Mi 5 using Tapatalk
    Sinfully Sexy, Shamelessly Raw, Explicitly Powerful. Nothing better than the Palio 1.6 Horse!
    2008 Palio Stile 1.6 Sports - Formula Red
    2014 Royal Enfield - Bullet 500
    2002 Bajaj Pulsar 150 (Sold)

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