History of Mahindra and My JEEP

by Sabareesh
(Mumbai, India)

My CJ500D 4x4

My CJ500D 4x4

Hi All,

I am a proud owner of a 1986 Mahindra CJ500D 4x4. Its essentially a stretched CJ3B with a B275 Diesel engine, 3 Speed T90 Gearbox and Spicer T18 transfer case.

As you all know, Mahindra initially used to import the CKD's (completely knocked down) jeeps from Willys under license and used to assemble them here. Later under the license from Kaiser and Willys, they started manufacturing them in India.

However when the CKD Jeeps came to India, they lost their charm. Diesel the farmer?s and commercial fleet owner?s fuel was cheap & since the price was subsidized, it started to re-power most of the passenger cars and jeeps. More and more Jeeps were converted to Diesel and the steering was switched over to Right hand side. These jeeps were stretched to odd lengths to serve as taxis and people movers in rural areas. A 4x4 transfer case was unnecessary for masses hence a large number of Jeeps were re-operated and the transfer case was removed to reduce so called unnecessary weight from the jeep. At a large extent, Civilian Jeeps in India lost their 4x4 benefits. The only regions where jeeps were left untouched were the high altitude areas like Darjeeling, Sikkim, Assam, and Manali etc.

Most of the Jeeps found in India are simple and reasonably easy to maintain. Jeep parts are generally long-lived. The Mahindra CJ-340 is very close to the original Jeep CJ-3B. Same body tub, same ladder frame chassis and many interchangeable parts. The CJ-3Bs 3-speed T-90 transmission is replaced by a 4-speed gearbox KMT90 from Kia. Mahindra has the same front and rear drive axles Dana 44s within 4.27:1 for petrol Jeeps, 4.88:1 for MM-540s and 5.38:1 for all heavy
cargo carrying Pick up trucks.

As far as the Mahindra Linage in India is concerned, In 1967 Mahindra stretched the CJ3B by 10 inches making a "91" Wheel base JEEP. It was powered by the F4-134 "Hurricane" (2187cc 75BHP 15.5Kgm@2000rpm) till 1990s

In 1974, Mahindra introduced the B275 (2350CC 38BHP 12Kgm@1400rpm) International Harvester Co Tractor engine on the CJ4A and called it the CJ500D. The CJ500D has been the mainstay of most Government Fleets. Though the JEEP is extremely slow on the road it is very rugged and reliable Off-The-Road.

By 1986, Mahindra designed the MM540 series which were essentially a CJ5 with Peugeot XDP 4.90 engine.

In 1999, Mahindra introduced the MDI3200 (2650cc, 59BHP 15.5Kgm@1400rpm) aka B575 engine on the CJ500D and called it the CL500 & CL550. The engine is extremely torquey and is able to give better Road Speeds. Off-The-Road this JEEP is extremely capable.

In 2004 the MDI 3200TC (2650cc, 68BHP 18Kgm@2000rpm) was introduced on the CL550 known as the Mahindra MAJOR post 2000. This JEEP is still in production. Below mentioned are the specs

Engine - MDI3200TC
G-Box - NGT520 + TCase (5+1) and 4WD
Front Axle - Full-Floating Open Knuckle (3.73:1)
Rear Axle - Full-Floating (3.73:1)
Suspension - Leaf Spring with Telescopic Damper (Shock Absorbers)
Steering - Re-Circulating Ball.
Brakes - Booster Assisted Front Disc & Rear Drum

The Indian Army used the Mahindra CJ3Bs and Nissan Patrol P60 (known as JONGA)till late 80s. The CJ3B had the F-134 Hurricane engine with T90 gearbox and T18 spicer transfer case. During the 90s, army phased out CJ3Bs, Jongas and opted for MM550s (XD3P engine and KMT90 Gearbox) and Maruti Gypsy (Suzuki Samurai)

Larry's Comment: Great looking Jeep..Sabareesh! Thanks for the detailed history also.

Comments for History of Mahindra and My JEEP

Click here to add your own comments

Nice article
by: Anonymous

Nice article, really knowledgeable.

by: saravanan

your web site very nice.

Need Info.
by: Anonymous

Hello I have a '89 cj soo d 4wd.... can you please tell me what the original BHP is??
It has a Kirloskar engine.

Nice Article
by: Raj


From Where You Got This Much Of Information On Jeep? It Was Awesome...

Really I Feel Great To Know That There Are Still True Jeep Lovers In India.....

Can You Tell Me From Where I Can Get The Information Kirloskar Engine New Model Used In Jeep.......?

Please Send It To Me On My Id rvbabbar@yahoo.com

Thank You

CJ 500 D 4X4
by: Vijay


My Dad owns a Mahindra CJ 500D (1981) which has an International Engine with 18 BHP.

Could someone confirm if this is a 18bhp engine, since the RC book says it is 18bhp.

Reply to Mr. Vijay
by: Anonymous

Mr. Vijay, your CJ500 has a 38 bhp International engine. Even I own the same, a year later model.

Mahindra Jeep
by: pranav tilak

I'm having a Mahindra jeep model 1983..best one..tough..useful..powerful. It has 3-speed gear box..30 liter diesel tank. I'm not going to sell it..it's my life.

Want information
by: syed

Hi...you have good knowledge about jeeps. I would be grateful if you could help. I have a cj3b mounted with a mdi 3200tc, with ngt520 5+1 with 4wd gearbox.

I tried getting the shifting levers for both from hassargata bangalore service and they couldn't help me yet.

Jeep's love
by: Sufiyan

Very very original knowledge you have given to me.

M38 diesel
by: baios

Please let me know if there is a diesel engine that will fit to my T90 trans. and t18 transfer case? Thanks from Greece!

by: sundeep

Hi all..please tell me the cost of inter model jeep in 1983.

Diff lockers for M&M comander 750st
by: solomon


The information you provided is very useful. My desire is to install Lock Right diff. lockers on this said vehicle M&M Commander 750 st.

Please clarify whether is it possible or not.
Thanks and Pranams

Excellent Article
by: Anonymous

Hi, how are you? Thanks for this useful information. I am having 2000 model mm550 jeep, but even changing the master cylinder and also the brakes are not giving enough confidence to drive it in Delhi. Can you please suggest me some thing? Can you please send me your email id or contact details. I will be very thankful to you.

Sandeep kumar

sandeeptatva@gmail.com .


by: Anonymous


When did Mahindra roll out a DI engine?
by: Anonymous

I want to know when exactly did Mahindra roll out its first jeep with a DI engine?

1969 petrol Mahindra jeep
by: rajan

I have bought 1969 Mahindra petrol jeep.
Kindly advise to restore it. I am new to this but has got some knowledge about the automobile.

CJ500 D
by: Arif Khan

Hi all,

I have recently purchase a jeep cj500 d 1979 model as per its papers and serial number engraved on the chassis. But it has a Willys cj3b body and wheel base of 80". It's a short chassis, but as far as cj500 is concerned it is having a wheel base of 137" and its chassis is in original condition whithout any sign of cut or modification on chassis. But its papers are 1979 cj500d. I would like to know whether it is original Willys or modified cj500?

It looks like a Willys cj3b. Where should I confirm it? And please tell me how many places there on chassis serial number engraved?



cj4a jeep
by: mohd ali ghazi

Hello Sabreesh, you have good knowledge about jeeps.

Hope you can help me as I have brought a 1986 model jeep fully original model cj4a, fuel petrol, 4x4 with 3gear+1reverse. Kindly tell me the name of engine. On rc book there is written that it is 16 bhp.


by: shahu

Hi,I have a M&M B275 CJ500d jeep. I want to know its normal temperature in summer, and what should be the speed of the vehicle.

DL-4 CB -9628 JEEP
by: Anonymous

Please send me history of my Jeep if you can! It's an old CJ-3B ,before 1994 it was in West Bengal Reg. No. WBV 5176. But in June 1994 Anuj Ghuliani S/O Parmanand Ghuliani, East Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi bought and new Reg. No. DL-4 CB 9628 were issued and sold in same year to a Sardarji of Mansa Punjab. Now-a-days it is with me. My e-mail..sandeepsingh1799@gmail.com.

***Removed phone and address for privacy reasons. E-mail address has been included by request although not recommended for future submissions.***.

About CJ500d
by: kareem.k

Indeed, CJ500d is well known for its off road capabilities when compared to small cars with small wheels, but when you look at its engine speed and brakes it's very much below average. Also, very tough and reliable and maintenance free from my own experience. It reminds me of tractors.

I own a CJ500d 1986 model for past 8 years. I have never come across any major mechanical problems particularly engine complaints. The engine has never faced over-heating problems during long runs, but the main problem is poor braking due to outdated drum brakes, and small mass cylinder. The power for climbing with average loads is good though not very excellent. But when traveling through busy roads along modern vehicles you feel very much outdated and far behind.

mahindra 1990 CJ500
by: mahesh sharma

My friend have Mahindra 1990 models CJ500 with 3+1

I want to purchase it. Please tell me is this jeep
Di or mDi Mahindra and engine details of the 1990 models CJ500 jeeps..and approximate price suggestion.

by: ramesh

What is the maximum speed of Mahindra International engine jeep on road?

Need help
by: Ravi

I have CJ340 dp but unfortunate is that the person who sold it to me modified it to a weird low bonnet jeep...neither Willys nor Ford. How do I restore it back to original cj340 and how much it would cost. Body has to changed..others are stock.

Indian Chief/Jeep CJ-5
by: Barry

Does anyone know if the Indian Chief 1991 model is compatible with Jeeps CJ-5 model parts, etc.?

Tumbs up
by: Roger

Very informative. Thanks

by: sunandh parassini

Thanks for this detailed information.

When was the "Willys" logo last use in India?
by: Raghavendra

Hi Sabareesh,

Respect your knowledge on Jeeps in India. Would you be able to advise when was the Willys logo last used in India?

I have been dreaming of buying a CJ3B with petrol engine and need more knowledge around it. Please mail me if you get time (raghav.cm@rediffmail.com)

CJ/CL models history.
by: Anonymous

I am a proud owner of CJ500d, 1988. My dad bought the vehicle when I was 4. It covered around 1,400,000 kms. Still the vehicle is here with me. (The idiots in Team BHP won't understand that feeling. They are thought to be managers from their child hood. Some of them think that they are the I centers of jeep, and once I tried for Team BHP membership and felt I am attending 10th std. English exam. Even essay writing competition is there in that idiotic site).

When I was in my school days every one used to tease me for my jeep passion. Some of my seniors used to tear off my drawings. One of my best friends used to tell me that now a days jeep is used to haul cow dung and other rubbish things. He now is looking for an old jeep and already owns a Thar. You know off roading and jeep enthusiasm is now a fashion and it won't last for long. It won't last for more than one or 2years.

I don't know the spec name or numbers as team bhupians but I can point out a mistake
Ie 1975-1989/90:cj500d
1991-95:cj500di (with di engine based on old inter engine)
1995-1996:cl500di with bend fenders fuel tank at rear anew combination switch,new signal lambs,and a fresh smell which is still there in my nose.......
1996-1997:cl500md :new engine with new crank shaft crank weight, fuel injection pump re calibrated.
1997-2000-:cl 500 mdi with 4 SPD gearbox
2000-2001. :cl500mdi with distributor FIP
2001-2003 :cl500 mdi with inline FIP with increased power and torque(increased roof height, plastic wheel arches added,windshield frame leg removed,rear door modified,even steering lock introduced)
2003-2007/8:cl550mdi with Tc engine and with 5spd gear box.

Trying to use a turbo
by: CJ500D

I am a proud owner of CJ500D Jeep (1981). I am planning to fit a turbo charger on it. Anybody has thought about it?

Love jeep very much
by: Anonymous

I got one jeep too. Using now in Siem Reap, Cambodia, but really hard to find part change in Cambodia here. I saw in India so many jeeps still used for taking people around, and in Siem Reap, Cambodia I use it for hobbies like fishing and hunting around in the jungle.

If someone knows a good shop for buying parts for jeep please tell me.

Original price of mahindra di with international engine model 1991?
by: Rajdeep Sinhh

Can anyone help me knowing original price (approx) of Mahindra di jeep with inter engine, model 1991?

cj 500d my dream vehicle. l am having a 1985 model.
by: ajayakumar

My dream jeep

by: RAJ


Dear Sir
by: Anonymous

I want to buy a Mahindra jeep (Di engine)
what is your opinion?

Di or MDi engine is good?
Di market?

restoring of mahindra di jeep
by: jadhav akshay

I want to restore my Mahindra 1991 di jeep. Please give information about it and guide me. I am ready to invest 1 lack rupees on my jeep.

very up-to-date information
by: rajesh yafav

Thank you very much for providing such a great knowledge regarding changes in jeep history.

Thanks for the great information bro. I am a big fan of jeeps
by: .Adnan

Hi bro. I am also a big fan of jeeps. And I have a 1983 model jeep. But I am planning to own an original Willys . Please if you can help me here is my id. Adnan_deadlyguy@yahoo.com. Thanks

Turbo charged DI
by: Bestin

Does anyone added turbo in Mahindra DI jeeps?
If yes please give me a guideline.

CJ Model
by: Emile de Soua

I always wanted to own a jeep and just purchased the CJ model. I plan to install power steering along with 4+ speed gear box. The reason for this is that, in the 3rd gear the jeep vibrates a lot and is very noisy. One of the Jeep mechanics advised me to install Mahindra Thar gear box. Was informed that this would decrease the vibration as well as the sound. Secondly, intend to change the brake drums - from Mahindra THAR again. Can someone pleas advise on above?

DI turbo engine vs mdi engive
by: Anonymous

Hi Sabaaresh, very good article and knowledge on jeep.

Can you please let us know your email id or phone number in case we need some guidance on di turbo engine vs mdi engine.

My contact number is 9841026850


A query
by: Anonymous

Sir, so when did Mahindra introduce xd3p 2.5 liter engines in India?

by: Akhil

Hi, I have a 1972 model jeep. In RC book it mentioned Mahindra only. How can I check if Willys CJ3b or not? How can I confirm?

Any details about Mahindra 540 Jeep
by: Roger Sangma

Hi, I am a car enthusiast and am looking forward to buying Mahindra 540 Jeep Petrol with Isuzu petrol engine. Model 2001, can you share some details about this Jeep? It'd be really helpful. Thanks in advance. You may reach me at rogergame007@gmail.com

Mahindra CL550MD 2WD
by: Harpreet singh

I have a 1996 original Mahindra CL550MD 2wd. I want to know if my jeep name is Major or not?
It has (3+1) gears, and top speed -92 KPH.

Love Mahindra jeep
by: Anonymous

What was the original price of Mahindra jeep in year 1986 model?

Lovely Article
by: Adrian

A detailed Article which introduced very long history of jeep in India. Thanks for publishing. I got to know about jeeps by having a 1989 MM540 2WD & MM 550 4wd. Enjoying the drive from both on the roads of Western ghats. karnataka.

by: Anonymous

Hi all,

This page is informative.

I have few questions?

a) What is the BHP and Torque for 1995 CJ 500D?
b) So due to some nomenclature problem CJ changed to CL by 1995, so CJ 500 D are called CL 500 D, Yes or No.?
c) Can we believe the model number given in the data plate are correct. In my JEEPS data plate it's given as CL 500 DI 4WD, one guy argued with me that there is no CL 500 DI 4WD.
d) Did all CJ 500 D JEEPS owned have B275 engines?
c)If it was B275 engines did any power evolution happen to these engines?

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