G500 as first overland vehicle?

MrWiggles

New member
Hi all.

I am looking at a used 2002 G500 with around 60k miles on it. I test drove it, and besides a mechanical whir in the steering wheel, everything seemed to be very nice.

Here is the link: https://denver.craigslist.org/ctd/d/2002-mercedes-benz-class-g500/6597967272.html

This would be my first overland build, I have some work cranking on NA miatas, so I am not totally inept, just mostly inept.

My question is, how does a G500 compare expense wise to a new Tacoma/Wrangler/4 Runner for the following:

1: Expense of building an overland rig
2: Expense of Maitanance
3: Reliability

Most importantly, would you recommend this as a first rig?

I live in Denver, so I think some climbing is unavoidable. Additionally I would like to hit MOAB, and some western deserts.

Thanks for your help!
 

paachi

Member
I went down a similar but not exactly the same route.
https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?url=https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/expo-build-base-advise-diesel-g-vs-g55-vs-g500.172776/&share_tid=172776&share_fid=7335&share_type=t

ExPo build base advise diesel - G vs. G55 vs. G500

Summarily it isn't a bad vehicle to get if you are aware of what needs to be fixed and attend to it. I drove quite a few Gs and Toyotas before settling for my G. I love diesels and initially I had written off the idea of getting a diesel G which could also double as a a daily driver. But thanks to some timely advice by the forum members here I am in the process of importing a G300TD. Clean ones are a but hard to come by but can be found.

The G500 is actually a better vehicle, especially on road, but guzzles gas and the range suffers. My goal is to get at least 500 mile range on a tank full without jerry cans. That's the one main reason I went diesel. Pre MB USA Gs are simpler with no electronic nannies and relatively isolated electronic systems (per my desk research) so they are relatively easier to diy. Keep a look out for good Europa Gs

Dutch, Otiswesty, Vadim and AlanMcR are great resources to learn about G wagens before you take the plunge. Also do check out pointedthree and clubgwagen forums for more focussed research.

Good luck!!

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
 

redthies

Renaissance Redneck
It depends on how deep your pockets are. Gs are amazing. I’ve only had newer ones offroad, and want one bad. But that said, as a first rig, I’d consider a Tacoma or Land Cruiser in a serious way as well. They will be a much more forgiving platform to cut your teeth on.

That said, if you LOVE the G, then just go for it!
 

ScottReb

Adventurer
I put 40K on our 02 G500 without any issues, sold at 90K. Stay on top of PM and its not really too bad. The 5L engine is very common and fairly old technology so its easy to work on. Some of the G specific forums have a ton of DIY info, with some members here being great resources as well. Was wonderful off road, good manners, andnever needed more than maxtrax to get unstuck with the lockers Mileage was only slightly less than a 2015 Tundra, 15 vs 13. I live at about 2500 feet and work at 0 so plenty of climbing in the commute.
Only negative is the MB computer needed for in-depth stuff. Find an indy shop use some G specific online vendors and its not much more than domestic or asian stuff.
 
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A&F

New member
I put 40K on our 02 G500 without any issues, sold at 90K. Stay on top of PM and its not really too bad. The 5L engine is very common and fairly old technology so its easy to work on. Some of the G specific forums have a ton of DIY info, with some members here being great resources as well. Was wonderful off road, good manners, andnever needed more than maxtrax to get unstuck with the lockers Mileage was only slightly less than a 2015 Tundra, 15 vs 13. I live at about 2500 feet and work at 0 so plenty of climbing in the commute.
Only negative is the MB computer needed for in-depth stuff. Find an indy shop use some G specific online vendors and its not much more than domestic or asian stuff.

Any lists of good forums to start researching?

I too am looking at getting a Gelandewagen however information on the 1990 to 2001 trucks seems limited. Right now I have two "options", buying a 2002-2004 US Market G500 for around $35,000. Or importing a 1990-1995 G300 from Russia at around $8-10k + $2,500 importing. The nice thing about the older units is I prefer the dash and interior and I'm under the impression they have less fidgety MB Technology items in them. Downside, the entire importation process and the fact that its a vehicle that is an extra 10 years old, Russian winters and I'd prefer a V8 to the I6 or Diesel.
 

zimm

Expedition Leader
if its what you want, sure it works. but then again, if an 89 buick roadmaster is what you want, that works too. if youre asking the best unit for long travel and mild wheeling in this size, it is a 100 series LC. Its also easier to upgrade to more radical wheeling. for the buy in price of a G, the 100 could be fully locked, lifted, on 35's with a rtt, bumper, winch, skids, sliders, refer, etc.

2002's, the first mbusa g's, have a litteny of issues, that if youre not a self wrench, is expensive. get a less buggy later model, 04 onward.
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
Any lists of good forums to start researching?

I too am looking at getting a Gelandewagen however information on the 1990 to 2001 trucks seems limited. Right now I have two "options", buying a 2002-2004 US Market G500 for around $35,000. Or importing a 1990-1995 G300 from Russia at around $8-10k + $2,500 importing. The nice thing about the older units is I prefer the dash and interior and I'm under the impression they have less fidgety MB Technology items in them. Downside, the entire importation process and the fact that its a vehicle that is an extra 10 years old, Russian winters and I'd prefer a V8 to the I6 or Diesel.
I'd buy the '04 USA G, this way you can see it before purchase.
 

MTSN

Explorer
Find a solid one with good maintenance history, keep it maintained, expect to pay more for mods due to the low volume of G's out there (vs Cruisers), but they're damn awesome.
https://expeditionportal.com/featured-vehicle-jeremy-williams-g500/
If you're looking at older ones, it is true there are more LCs, but if you look at US sales from 2013-2017, there were actually MORE Gs sold than the Land Cruiser. I pulled some data that shows 17,338 Gs were sold in the US between 2013 and 2017, but there were only 15,732 Land Cruisers sold in the same period. I think the bigger issue is that a new G costs so much more than a Land Cruiser it costs more on the used market as well. In 2013, the G started at $114k, whereas the LC in was only $78k and had zero options in the US. I think the G wagon is BA, but I think for someone getting into overlanding you can't go wrong with Toyota reliability and durability, and less expensive operating costs. I've had a few LCs, but I'm now partial to the 200 with 2 in our garage right now.
 

Tsj

New member
The floormats/liners are just a set I purchased from AliExpress while having a beer and shopping online. I was surprised by how well they fit and they were very cheap. I’ve had no problems keeping them clean. I figure I’ll replace them with weather tech mats when/if they wear out. My technician liked the look so he placed them in the truck over a year ago. Lotsa accents I bought on aliexpress have held up very nicely and the pricing is 1/4 of amazon or eBay if u dig deep enough to purchase from the manufacturer.
 

Tsj

New member
The parts which needed updated look such the mirror covers were replaced or covered with cf veneers. I thought the door handle covers and side mirror cover would look large and clunky but they look proportional to the overall lifted truck with low rise front runner roof rack (dc sunroof to prevent tilt damage) and 25mm spacers. Here are some more pics. I had extra cf matte black wrap from the job on the f12 so I had it installed on the rooftop of the G500. The price guys charge to wrap anything on a Ferrari is exponentially more than they charged for the G. Sadly so, but the parts were more intricate on the car vs the truck. I really didn’t expect much from the parts I purchased online but they were so cheap I figured it’s worth the gamble. I was impressed by their communication, although the English language skills were far from perfect, the vendors in China put forth a valiant effort to make sure I received the right parts on-time and took returns without hesitation. Basically, I scored on that deal.
 

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MrWiggles

New member
So I am reviving this thread. I think I can probably do a G500 this fall. Looking at 2004+ per comments in this thread. How are these on rust? I am in Colorado and I am looking at some in rustbelt areas. Generally I wouldn't engage, but there are some great prices out there.

Would you guys think I could do well with a 2004/2005 G500 at about 130-160K miles? Will the core functionality (i.e. engine, transmission, suspension, key electrical) be suspect? I've heard great things about the engine and transmission, hopeing to keep this thing a long time.
 
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