New to G-Wagens, 2004? Yay or Naye?

adventuretk

New member
So here's the rub. Got into a terrible car accident in 2016, and finally settled the case on Friday (yay!) For over a year I've been bouncing between the Toyotas and the G500. In the past though, I've owned Mitsubishi Delica (in Japan), Mitsubishi Pajero (also, in Japan), and at one point had a beasty old suburban that you'd just plow through things with (although not that great, it was a blast lol) Anyways! I don't want something that looks like everyone else (i.e. Jeeps, Land Cruisers, etc.) I'm leaning super heavily towards the G. I've budgeted for $35-40k (vehicle included) for my first stage overland rig. I could use some experienced eyes on what I'm looking at to see if it's worth getting, and see what sort of things you regularly do to maintain your G-wagens.

Right now I'm locked in on a 2004. 119k. Clean everything, garaged, fully maintained, mall crawler at $29k (+tax, titles, fees).

Any advice would be super helpful. Thank you in advance!
 

Metric

New member
I vote Yay. A well maintained 2004 is a great intro into the G class.

Check the history for window mechanism replacement. I think 2005 was the model year where the factory upgraded the mechanism. Prior to that (2002+) the mechanism was a common failure but any maintained vehicle from that era has probably had the part replaced on at least one window.

See if you can find a loose soil area to run a test drive of the lockers. They need to be routinely engaged but a mall crawler has probably not had that sort of attention.

Also worth paying attention to the condition of the short driveshaft between transmission and transfer case. Look for cracked CV boots and vertical play. These run about $1000.

Replacement parts for the G aren’t usually very cheap but they are very well made. Lots of good advice at the clubgwagen and pointedthree forums.
 

BigSek

New member
Sounds like a great move, many will only consider 04'-06' G500's vs newer/older models as they are typically considered among the most dependable of all the MBUSA G's. Most variants of the M113 engine and 5-speed trans in the early G's have a great reliability track record when well maintained + they used that combo in a wide variety of models.

Looks like you're from California, but if the vehicle has any Northeast history be sure to check all the typical problem areas for rust/corrosion. I looked and waited quite awhile for one with a California history.

The only other issue I can think of off the top of my head is to check that the High/Low range transfer works correctly if you plan to use low range often. Some are prone to get stuck in Neutral on the transfer. It's well documented and there are workarounds + a recommended fix but might as well save yourself the headache up front. Searching "transfer case stuck in neutral" on any G specific forum should yield some results on what to look out for.

Only 2500 miles in on my 2003 G500 but I'm very happy I went this route vs a Toyota LC or newer 4runner, fall more in love with it day by day. It has so much character. Pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of it and completely agree with Metric, while G specific parts are expensive, the repairs seem pretty straightforward and typically not repetitive. I've had a vastly different experience with my BMW M5 of the same vintage so I'm finding it reassuring.
 

adventuretk

New member
Sounds like a great move, many will only consider 04'-06' G500's vs newer/older models as they are typically considered among the most dependable of all the MBUSA G's. Most variants of the M113 engine and 5-speed trans in the early G's have a great reliability track record when well maintained + they used that combo in a wide variety of models.

Looks like you're from California, but if the vehicle has any Northeast history be sure to check all the typical problem areas for rust/corrosion. I looked and waited quite awhile for one with a California history.

The only other issue I can think of off the top of my head is to check that the High/Low range transfer works correctly if you plan to use low range often. Some are prone to get stuck in Neutral on the transfer. It's well documented and there are workarounds + a recommended fix but might as well save yourself the headache up front. Searching "transfer case stuck in neutral" on any G specific forum should yield some results on what to look out for.

Only 2500 miles in on my 2003 G500 but I'm very happy I went this route vs a Toyota LC or newer 4runner, fall more in love with it day by day. It has so much character. Pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of it and completely agree with Metric, while G specific parts are expensive, the repairs seem pretty straightforward and typically not repetitive. I've had a vastly different experience with my BMW M5 of the same vintage so I'm finding it reassuring.
The good news is I'm willing to travel anywhere in the US to get it, and secondly definitely not staying in Caliornia, haha (was born here and have spent most of my life here, gunning for a change; have my eyes set on Colorado. Story for another time :)

I'm not against grabbing a 2002/2003, so as long as I know what I'm getting into. My main issue with the LC is the width, which can limit what trails you can take. I'd rather not limit myself. Plus I'd love to show folks what the Geländewagen is capable of when it's not living out it's day on pavement.

Any upgrades you'd recommend to stay ahead of known issues?
 

JP7161

New member
I have over 250,000 HARD miles on my 2002, with nothing done to the engine except regular oil changes. Still as strong as the day i got it with 80,000 miles
 

REDROVER

Explorer
I have 2003 g wagon bone stuck, it’s amazing vehicle as far as capability and driving experience,

But the fact that it’s narrow is not always good, there are some Northern California trails that I would be very carful to try in the G, vs my H1 can pass without any issues.
One of the downsides are u gonna be very limited to what you can carry on the roof rack not to make it top heavy
( put roof tent 120 lb and 2 full gasoline cans
Amd g wagon became top heavy GFORCE WAGON.

but it’s an amazing iconic vehicle and it will keep its value unlike any Mercedes,

Get ready to be hated by all the low class rednecks driving there junk jeeps haha

get it, you gonna love it.
 

inexplorata

Member
I bought my 05 at about that price with about those miles. A lot of the little stuff will be sorted, there may be bigger issues ahead, but a good inspection will set you up in advance. Where possible find an independent mechanic who's been under a few Gs and pay them an hour or two to get fussy with what needs doing. You may not get movement on price with that information, but you can plan your fixin' budget.

I adore mine, best decision I ever made. And I had to replace coil Springs and shock mounts!
 

BigSek

New member
The good news is I'm willing to travel anywhere in the US to get it, and secondly definitely not staying in Caliornia, haha (was born here and have spent most of my life here, gunning for a change; have my eyes set on Colorado. Story for another time :)

I'm not against grabbing a 2002/2003, so as long as I know what I'm getting into. My main issue with the LC is the width, which can limit what trails you can take. I'd rather not limit myself. Plus I'd love to show folks what the Geländewagen is capable of when it's not living out it's day on pavement.

Any upgrades you'd recommend to stay ahead of known issues?
Glad to hear it, Colorado is a great place to have some fun in a G Wagen! Let me know if you make the jump.

But yes, I wouldn't read too much into the model year so long as it has a good history. I didn't with my 03' due to its good service and location history, we'll see how it plays out.

Completely agree with you on the virtues of the G after owning mine. I knew it was narrow going in, but didn't fully appreciate it until driving it for awhile. Drastic difference from newer full size suvs I had gotten used to. I travel a lot for work and have ended up in a lot of full size suv rentals (Escalade, QX80, Expedition, Durango etc.). All great vehicles in their own right, but shockingly massive by comparison to the G. Will definitely need to be careful with top loads and heavy off camber trails like Red Rover said, but so far really enjoying how easy it is to maneuver around town and on tight trails. Don't have nearly the same amount of cringe moments up against branches and tight sections that I had on the same trails in my 5th Gen TRD PRO 4runner.

But by far my favorite aspect is surprising people off road, I've always loved seeing unique off-roaders out on the trail; glad to finally be in one.
 

MitsyMonty

New member
I'm at 120k on my 04 G500 and have zero regrets with the year/model. I had been searching for a pre-MBUSA europa G but they had recently gone up in price and I felt conflicted about taking a pristine older truck out on the trails. The 03+ G's are much easier to find and remain basic and simple enough to work on yourself..

I have had to deal with a few electronic issues (new front SAM, relays) but troubleshooting that system has been fairly straightforward and nowhere near the nightmare that some owners of older G's have made it out to be. Otherwise maintenance and repairs are DIY-able and part costs are about on par with most 'regular' Mercedes, especially if you know the MB part numbers and shop around.
 
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