Sourcing a G-Wagen

vespasprint150

New member
Hi,

it is about time I buy my first G! I actually will be posted in Rwanda for the next few years (which is very, very cool!) and I am now looking for the ultimate car to buy. We are a family of 5, and other than taxi around the kids during the week, we will do explorative week-ends and longer safari - trips in the region (guesthouses / hotel and very sporadically camping). (and maybe something more ambitious in the future).

So, I saw this truck for sale, and I was wondering if it would be a fair choiche? It is a long 300 TD, year 2000 with 160'000km for 22'000CHF. Anything triky to look for before buying (main services, etc.)? Plus, what are in your opinion the basic (basic!) works to do "back home" before exporting the car?

http://www.autoscout24.ch/de/d/puch-g-s ... id=1555015

http://www.auto24.ch/puch/g-modell/4485907

I am actually fascinated by the G, it seems to be an easer daily driver than a Defender and I am also aware that is basicaly more expensive than the other 4X4s around.

Tks in advance,

Tom
 

haven

Expedition Leader
Toyota has a big presence in Rwanda. Land Rover has dealers, too. In a few minutes' searching online, I can't find a Mercedes passenger car dealer. I'd check into in-country factory-authorized support before buying.
 

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pagoda

New member
I would tend to agree that taking a G300TD to Rwanda as is might be complicated - you need a MB test book to fix/diagnose faults, and it might not be readily available..

if you go ahead and do take it, at least you should:
1. eliminate alarm and immobilizer
2. convert IP to mechanical

I owned for a few year this one, now for sale from owner who bought it from me:

http://www.autoscout24.ch/it/d/mercedes-benz-g-class-suvfuoristrada-occasione?allmakes=1&index=0&make=51,0,0&model=346,0,0&nav=8&sort=price_asc&vehid=1559996&vehtyp=10

It was actually registered in CH first time in the year 2000.. in the few year I owned it (from 80.000km to 120.000km, 2005 to 2008) i had to replace immobilizer, compressor of the aircon, injectors and air flow meter.

the G300td uses quite a lot of fuel, difficult to go under 11-13 liters/100km of diesel..

and an autobox in Africa in not ideal, service wide.. for my Africa trips I now own a GD290 Long Wheel Base, all mechanical -

depending on your status in Rwanda, you might want to buy, for similar price (say 29.000chf or about) a Toyota 70 series long wheel base - if you are NGO, diplomat or UN, toyota gibraltar will happily sell it to you for under 30k US$:

http://ecom.toyota-gib.com/Default.asp?WCI=VariantDetails&WCE=VID:2008431

and for 1-2k US$ they will deliver to your doorsteps in Kigali...the 70 series can be services everywhere, engine all mechanical, powerful a/c, 1 year warranty...to travel around the great lakes with 5 kids that would be my choice - not fun to breakdown 300kms from capital, in the night, with wife and kids...

cheers..e.
 

DUTCH

Curmudgeon
+1 on what pagoda said.

As much as I love the Gwagen (I've been driving one since 1984.), I would be very reluctant to take it to a place where there is no service or availability of parts.

The old expression: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." would point me to a vehicle that has a strong presence in Rwanda; and that does NOT sound like MB Gwagen.
 

vespasprint150

New member
Nice from you guys to answer!

The LC70 from Gibiltar comes to Rwanda for $40k-ish (transport, tax exempt but with some registration taxes), plus it a bit too much of a truck for daily drive. I also excluded the Defenders for the same reason (cost and truck feeling). I couldn’t find any 5 doors 70 on the 2d hand market...
We have now (another country) a 1993 Patrol TB42, and it is actually a bit too big, and gadgetery is starting fo fail (I dare everyone to surpass that TB42 consumption figures!!) and wife hate it to drive.

I have an offer for a 2005 Land Rover LR3 SE with the 4.4L V8 Engine and 81,000 miles. Car is in Kigali already with new Electronic Air Suspension Compressor, New ABS Shuttle Valve, complete polyurethane suspension bushing replacement and allnice oils / lubrificants. Is this an option or a suicide? Mixed school over the internet....

I have another option of importing a petrol G from Japan http://www.tradecarview.com/used_car/japan car/mercedes-benz/g-class/13163626/#si
with a door-todoor for leww than $20k. Question: is this a better or worst option than the 300TD (easer to maintain and service?) Or the LRV8? I can live with high fuel consumption, provided is less than the TB42....

With regards of maintenance and parts: quite few Gs are circulating in Kigali along with many (maybe 1/3 of the cars?) second hand mercedes. it is true that there isn't an official and shiny dealer, but I am told that full service is possible (including electronics) and parts can be easily delivered from Kenya or South Africa. I also will have a full time mechanic in the office. Concerning the LandRover, there is a dealer in Kigali, official showroom and "local" servicing. I guess they have the diagnostic kit!

Soo many options, soo many opinions and… so difficult to make the right choice...Please, keep posting. What is sure is that I want to avoid a Prado!

Tom
 

pagoda

New member
in that case, go for it!

I would invest in a thorough pre-purchase assessment of the vehicle by a reputable dealer - these guys know the G very well:

http://www.garage-ritzmann.ch/default.asp

You could even ask them to source it and africanize-it..

if MBs of the 1990s and 2000s are so popular in Kigali, I would not be so concerned..

let us know how it goes..

Check out as well the Swiss G Klub, and post a question in their forum - maybe someone is selling their G or knows a G to sell:

http://www.swiss-g-club.ch/
 

vespasprint150

New member
Updates are... I am buying the 463, I6, 320 petrol from Japan! Price is good to me, km on the 90k and a MB dealer will change all the fluides before shipping. And...I like gambling. Shipping from Swizterland to Rwanda is far too expensive and not an option. And the LR3 V8 is gone ( thank's god).

Check the pictures below, I am afraid those looks like winter / snow tyres. Question 1: How bad is to use those in a 15-25Celsius climate? And during mild off-road (gravel, safari on trakcs)...

Question 2: which basic spares would you guys suggest me to bring along?

Question 3: is it possible to scratch out the tinted film from the rear glasses? I don't like people not being able to see inside the car. Making me feeling I am hiding something. Unecessarly.

image.jpg

image.jpg

Best, Tom
 
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pagoda

New member
1. on winter tyres: you can use them, but with heat and gravel they will consume themselves pretty fast - make sure you can easily get the right size of spare tyres in Rwanda, or just have 4 new BFG AT installed, and one spare, and you are set for 60.000km of gravel!

2.i would leave the tinted on for the time being. I don't like it either, and don't have it on my G here is Switzerland. But, when i lived and travelled in Africa, did appreciate the benefits of having it. For example, if you are alone in the car, having tinted windows might help deter hijackers and theives. In addition, do take into account that the aircon in that vintage of G's is not that great, and tint does help mantain the car fresh. (i know from direct experience, as my 2000 G300TD had weak aircon, by design, not a matter of recharge, and my 2009 G320 CDI, instead, had adequate and strong AC - different compressor and different HVAC in general).

for the spares, I will let the boys at P3 reply..

good luck!
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
Updates are... I am buying the 463, I6, 320 petrol from Japan! Price is good to me, km on the 90k and a MB dealer will change all the fluides before shipping. And...I like gambling. Shipping from Swizterland to Rwanda is far too expensive and not an option. And the LR3 V8 is gone ( thank's god).

Check the pictures below, I am afraid those looks like winter / snow tyres. Question 1: How bad is to use those in a 15-25Celsius climate? And during mild off-road (gravel, safari on trakcs)...

Question 2: which basic spares would you guys suggest me to bring along?

Question 3: is it possible to scratch out the tinted film from the rear glasses? I don't like people not being able to see inside the car. Making me feeling I am hiding something. Unecessarly.

View attachment 163315

View attachment 163317

Best, Tom
#3 Not that I know of. I can't think of the correct term right now, but it's "dipped" at the factory, so it's actually not a tint film like the aftermarket offers. I think you'd need to try to find "clear" glass from a Euro model, one that had the G specially ordered without "tinted" rear glass.
 

otiswesty

Regular guy
The G320 of this vintage is a great car with a proven long lived motor.

I think the rear window tint is a stick on and can be peeled off easily with some glue cleanup afterwards. The later 463 2001+ commonly came with the dark glass as mentioned above.

One concern I would have is the engine wiring harness in this mid 90's G320. They have some type of biodegradable component to them and will begin to develop multiple electrical issues that are very difficult to diagnose and repair. You should try to ascertain whether a wiring harness replacement has been done and consider having it done preemptively if not. By report it is pretty easy to replace yourself in half a day, and the harness itself is reasonably priced.
 

vespasprint150

New member
A great lot of good information, thanks a lot. It is nice to help each other out.

I'll find out about the wiring harness and proceed with replacment as necessary. Does anyone know a good parts dealer in Africa (South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania) where I could order the wires from?

I would also like to know more about the windows tint: is a stiker or a tint glass? I am hoping for the first, as I checked the price for new windows at MB.....

I also checked out the addional 55lt tank sold by frontrunner SA http://www.frontrunner.co.za/fuel-solutions/fuel-tanks.html

But it is only for diesel. I guess it is a problem with the fuel pump installed? Can the tank be adapted for petrol?

Tommaso
 
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mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
A great lot of good information, thanks a lot. It is nice to help each other out.

I'll find out about the wiring harness and proceed with replacment as necessary. Does anyone know a good parts dealer in Africa (South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania) where I could order the wires from?

I would also like to know more about the windows tint: is a stiker or a tint glass? I am hoping for the first, as I checked the price for new windows at MB.....

I also checked out the addional 55lt tank sold by frontrunner SA http://www.frontrunner.co.za/fuel-solutions/fuel-tanks.html

But it is only for diesel. I guess it is a problem with the fuel pump installed? Can the tank be adapted for petrol?

Tommaso
Tommaso,

The FR rep hasn't contacted me back yet on the aux fuel tank. From a recent ad with a G500 in it showing the aux fuel tank, I thought they'd have made the tank for petrol too.

-Jeremy
 
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