Wednesday, 13 January 2016

You can do it yourself... The story of Body Building exercise to Thar!

Your design, your build-up, your assembly and your funds ! ends with great self satisfaction on doing something new, useful that you like. Yes "Do it yourself" or simply "DIY" is a creative and innovative project of varied timelines and budgets - It could be a hobby and can result in great occupancy of free time keeping all negativity at bay, recharging your mind and energy to think, be innovative and have some bone stretching task that keeps you healthy, live and present always.

From my school days it was one such hobby for me creating some scientific models at home, sometimes displaying it in exhibitions.

This time it was my Jeep ! The Thar was something to play with. Decided myself to make the arms and legs stretched, scratched and dirt.

Some warranty issues with manufacturer with hold the plans for couple of days

So what was my earlier plan and need for the project ? Thar is a soft top vehicle making it easier for dust to enter and unwanted noise inside cabin. The noise to the extent of two wheeler pinion rider scolding someone in his phone could be easily audible inside the jeep. The dust, used to form thick layer over seats and other upholstery! Though the AC is quite powerful enough to cool down the cabin with soft top, a little bit of improvement would be an added advantage especially during peak summer and winters.

Was going across blogs that inspired to make the vehicle partially insulated from all elements. Started planning with primary objective of doing anything without altering the original design and construction of the vehicle, yes not even a single hole drilled! If work should be completely reversible and reset-able to factory stock vehicle.

Thar rear cabin is constructed with structural beams and small pipes supporting the canopy cloth. Thought of bridging the beams by putting something solid, safe and insulated. Which also would increase interior appeal of the vehicle.

Options -

  • Using plywood sheet - Unfit due to its nature of forming sharp edges if broken.......Safety is the primary concern right?
  • Sheet Metal - Could be unfit, quick to get heated up under sun, could have created big mess if it rattles due to vehicular vibration.
  • FRP - difficult to get them custom made and expensive.
All three options ruled out to find MDF board (cardboard) - Yes it matched the requirement, for window I selected transparent acrylic sheet.

All it consumed two days, two trips to Hosur to arrange all material listed below with costs.

At times bolts, literally bolted me due to non availability of required size and length in required quality at local market !

What did I do?

Got the MDF boards cut for required dimensions and profiles at the local carpenter - Rs 250 /-
Removed Canopy of the Jeep (Soft top), by removing required fasteners.
Took the measurements, drilled appropriate holes to fit exactly the existing bolt holes.

Made 6 holes to fit M4 bolts to fix window acrylic sheet.

Fixed side walls ie., made out of 8mm thick MDF sheets using existing bolt holes which are holding those structural beams with the body. Tested it for two days to ensure all is well before it is finalized, trail rounds in rough and smooth roads resulted in heavy rattling due to no dampeners in between as expected.

MDF sheets are hygroscopic - ufffo, too much technical word?? Hygroscopic means moisture observant - So weather proofing is a must is it not?

Removed them after trails to protect against weather. Painted one coat of wood primer and followed by two coats of black enamel paint for all four panels for exposed sides (exterior)

Then comes the application of foam, rexine and roof lining cloths.

Using carpet glue, fixed the foam and rexine fabric to inner side of side walls and roof liner fabric to inner side to roof panels.

Bolted acrylic sheets to the window openings to make them transparent. Used foam adhesive beeding as a dampener between MDF and acrylic.


Final assembly of side walls, roof panels fit well. Covered all exposed bolts outside with rexine patches and rubber beedings to avoid any potential damages to expensive canopy due to rubbing.

Fixed the canopy in place which is primary protection from rain and wind.

Could able to cut down noise substantially
Dust entering the cabin reduced drastically
A/c performance improved
No rattling and the assembly is quite sturdy and silent.
Interior looks improved.
So, how much time did it take? For me with my wife's support it almost took two full days for assembly, 2 hours each for three days to paint an d dry the sheets. 2 days for Material arrangement. In total two weekends plus painting in the bridging week days, around 10 days of "Do it yourself" !

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