Michael's new (old!) G-wagon

michaelgroves

Explorer
Well, I finally did it - found a LWB diesel Geländewagen for sale, and took the plunge. It's the first one I've owned, and so far, I love it!

In comparison to the RRC's, Discoveries and even Defenders I've owned, it's palacial inside, with ample room legroom for rear seat passengers, even with the front seats as far back as they go. It is a much bigger vehicle than it looks, having the same wheelbase as a 110 Defender, and the use of space is very very good.

Mine's a RHD 300GD of 1984 vintage, with an indicated 60,000 miles on the clock. I suspect 160K or 260K is more likely, although the last 6 years MOT certificates show only around 1000 miles done each year.

It's not a rust bucket, and seems to be mechanically in good condition for itss age. The 4WD, low range and difflocks all seem to work properly, and the engine starts first time. The 3-litre naturally aspirated diesel has a reputation for lasting forever, but it's grossly underpowered. At 60mph, it feels like the engine is about to throw a conrod through the bonnet (it's a 4spd manual), although apparently 70mph is redline in top. Nor is torque great - she feels like she'd have difficulty pulling the skin off a rice pudding. My 6x6 Defender with a 300Tdi and an all-up weight of between 4 and 5 tons was more sprightly (I kid you not!). I doubt that fuel consumption will be favourable either.

IMO, the suspension is more comfortable than the Defender on rough ground, but not as comfortable as a Discovery 1 or 2, and a long way off a RRC. On the road, it's much nicer to drive than any of the above Land Rovers, because there's hardly any body roll. The noise inside the cabin at high speed (60!) is much worse than my 130.

I've not put her through her paces on any difficult stuff yet, but she can't fail to be impressive with the lockable diffs. They are definitely needed, because the suspension doesn't articulate nearly as well as the coil sprung Rovers. Lack of power might be an issue, especially as my impression is that low range is not very low. (I've not look up the gear ratios yet). I think I'll take the G and the 130 out to a play-day next Sunday.

The main impression I have is that she is as solid as a tank. It just exudes old-style Merc quality. What a great car, even being 25 years old!

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4Rescue

Expedition Leader
Congrats mate, that thing looks GORGEOUS!!! I love how huge the wheel openings are, lots of room for big tires and plenty of clearence. I'm jealous, I want drain-plugs in my floor... hahahaha. Love the truck and can't wait to see what you do with'er.

Cheers

Dave

Hey sorry to ask, but do you think you could get some close-ups of the frame and axles etc. I can't find one around to poiur over and I'm really interested to see how "overbuilt" these things are. I've heard people say they're built tougher then even the mighty 70 Series Cruiser. Impressive if it's true. I've just never gotten to climb/look around under one. Interior shots would be sweet too, I just can't get enough of these trucks.!!!!!
 
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G-force

Adventurer
Congratulations, fellow G-owner!!

If youre not to wild about the original tires, a set of 33 inch AT or MT are great on the Wagon. And throw on a moderate 40 mm lift from ORC in Germany, and you are ready to set of into the rough stuff.:elkgrin:

Right on!!

Sweet wagon, by the way.
 

michaels

Explorer
very nice. i tried to drive a RHD defender over here in the states this past friday. i had to turn around after a block because i was all over the lanes! definitely an interesting experience on American roads.

keep us updated!
 

39Ronin

Adventurer
Nice looking G! It is great to hear some real life comparisons to the Land Rover product. I am happy with my G and considering I paid under half of what a 10 to 15 year old 110 sells for over here. I am a fan of the Defenders but most 10 to 15 year old 110s are a laughable $50,000 (approx).
 
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michaelgroves

Explorer
very nice. i tried to drive a RHD defender over here in the states this past friday. i had to turn around after a block because i was all over the lanes! definitely an interesting experience on American roads.

keep us updated!
My Defender 130 is LHD, oddly enough. And so was my exedition truck, by choice. And I have driven lots of RHD cars over in France etc. So I am used to driving with the steering on the wrong side. The G, though, is British spec, so it's no problem at all for me here.
 

michaelgroves

Explorer
Nice looking G! It is great to hear some real life comparisons to the Land Rover product. I am happy with my G and considering I paid under half of what a 10 to 15 year old 110 sells for over here. I am a fan of the Defenders but most 10 to 15 year old 110s are a laughable $50,000 (approx).
Thanks! I'll let you know more as I get to know the G and its capabilites/shortcomings. I have already got it stuck on a clay track, and (oh so infra-dig) had to call a friend in his Discovery 3 to come and pull me out. No camera, though - I wasn't intending to do anything more than a quick drive....

I'd have thought that G-wagens would be a lot more expensive in the States than even a Defender? I mean, ones of comparable age.
 

39Ronin

Adventurer
Seems like the price inflates in the US/Canada

110 vancouver CDN $$
http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/cto/1122800696.html

110 SF
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/ctd/1164929438.html

bargain
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ctd/1158581785.html

To prove my point here is a 2001 110 TD5 in Costa Rica for $25,000

http://costarica.en.craigslist.org/cto/1146446267.html


Now the G prices:

07 G for about the same price as the older Defenders:

http://detroit.craigslist.org/ctd/1120530261.html

02 for about half:

http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/ctd/1159555991.html
 

FourByLand

Expedition Leader
So Michael, What are you intended purposes for this vehicle?

What if anything does it need as far as PM goes?

Beautiful truck and I look forward to hearing more about your impressions of this machine!
 

michaelgroves

Explorer
Seems like the price inflates in the US/Canada
Interesting - the G prices are roughly in line with what you'd expect in the UK. But Defenders here are less than half the price of an equivalent age/condition G, whereas in North America it looks like Defenders are quite a bit more expensive. Odd, considering both vehicles involve similar problems when importing them into the States.

(To give an idea of prices here, I would say that a '94 diesel G-wagon in good but not pristine condition would sell for about £15K, and a Defender 110 would be about £5K. Work on £1=$1.50. Complicated by the fact that G-wagons are usually in better condition than similar vintage Defenders, a little bit because they were built to higher quality standards in the first place, but mainly because the rarity and high resale value makes a G-wagon more worthwhile maintaining).


So Michael, What are you intended purposes for this vehicle?

What if anything does it need as far as PM goes?

Beautiful truck and I look forward to hearing more about your impressions of this machine!
Don't really have answers to either of those questions! I've lusted after one for a long time, and would love to equip one as an expedition vehicle. They don't really lend themselves to be trail/trial trucks, because they are expensive to buy and hugely expensive in terms of parts. The vehicle-specific accessories market is small and therefore expensive too.
 

4Rescue

Expedition Leader
Michael, hows about giving us (ok ME :D HAHAHA) some shots of the frame/drivetrain and the underpinnings. I've been scouring the internet like a mad man looking for a cut-away drawing showing hopw they're layed out and giving an idea of scale because I HAVE one for a 78 Series Cruiser and I'd really like to see them side by side.

Basicly I'm begging you for more pictures of this awesome truck... Oh PLEASE!!!!!!!! :D

Cheers

Dave
 

michaelgroves

Explorer
Took the G-wagen out for it's first off-road day yesterday. Unfortunately, it was miserable, rainy weather, and the other people I was going to bring with me, decided not to go. So I didn't take the 130 along for comparison - just the G.

This was the first time I'd been to this site, and I was disappointed - I'd been hoping for varied terrain with some rocks, some axle-twister, some steep slopes, some mud, some ditches etc. But as it turned out, it was all just muddy rutted tracks, with the occasional giant water/mud hole! And my G-wagen has 205 R 16 road tyres...

So, as was expected, the day was largely a matter of trying to stay unstuck. There were a few other vehicles there - Discoveries and Defenders with 33-37" mud tyres, so I wasn't too worried about getting recovery assistance. Which I needed within the first 10 minutes!

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Back on terra firma (sort of!).
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And soon after, we needed winching:

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Actually, although we got stuck many times, I was very impressed with the G-wagen's abilities. Considering the tyres, it was amazing that it managed as well as it did. I can't wait to try it with some decent all-terrain or mud-terrain tyres, with a bigger diameter. I am considering the Cooper STs in 255/85-16, which I am using on the 130. (My only concern is that the pathetically low-powered engine will run out of steam).

More photos and impressions to follow...
 

4Rescue

Expedition Leader
Great pictures, even if the place was a let down at least you got to get her out and get her dirty eh ;)

So am I seeing things correctly??? IS there a factory winch mount on the front??? Cool truck for sure, add some tall/skinny mudders and let'er rip. I'd think that with that diesel you'd be better off with taller tires then us gas motor folks are. But then I have no idea how accessible lower diff gears are? I'm sure they're not as common as say parts for my Toyota are, but I'm sure they're out there. Some 255/85's would be perfect on that rig IMO.

Cheers

Dave
 
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