Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Drive from Jamshedpur to Kolkata and back

Jaya and I drove from Jamshedpur to Kolkata (about 300 km) earlier this month and returned after spending a week there. It was a pleasant surprise to find the Jharkhand roads (NH 33) in a much better condition now. The 100 km stretch between Jamshedpur and Bahragora is quite okay now barring a few very short bad stretches. But the 20 km distance between Bahragora and Chichira (Jharkhand / West Bengal border) still has some pretty horrible stretches. The border checkpost itself is highly chaotic (as usual) with nobody to control the flow of traffic and is frequently jammed. The road surface at the border is literally 'rock bottom' with gigantic craters.

After Chichira the roads in West Bengal are quite good and the stretch of NH6 between Kharagpur and Kolkata (part of the Golden Quadrilateral) is excellent. For the first time (I have been regularly driving on this highway since 2000) I did 140 kmph on this stretch and 110-120 for long distances. It was fun.

I got a mileage of 24 kmpl on the highway and around 16 kmpl in Kolkata with about 90% AC.

3rd (last) Free Service after 10,000 KM

Got the 3rd. free service carried out at PEBCO Motors workshop (MASS) at Sonari, Jamshedpur sometime back. Would rate their quality of work 5 out of 10. Specifically, the following issues need to be mentioned :
1) The workshop does not have the special tool to unscrew the engine oil filter housing cap. They used a 25 mm double ended spanner for it after removing the plastic engine cover (to create some space to move the spanner). I found this a very unsatisfactory arrangement which could damage the oil filter housing cap as well as some of the electrical cables leading to the glow plugs.
2) Both front doors make a rattling sound while closing when the glass is fully down. PEBCO mechanics tried to rectify this by putting some thermocole packings inside the door under the glass but failed.
3) I find it difficult to engage the reverse gear at times. PEBCO had no solution for it.
4) The service booklet specifies tightening of cylinder head bolts during this service (after 10,000 km). The workshop was not in a position to do this confidently and so this job was not attempted.
5) The mechanic attending to my car was not aware of '5-tyre rotation' and would have put the wheels at wrong places if it hadn't been for my intervention.

Clearly, Maruti Service leaves much to be desired.