L one leaves the tiresome subject of corrosion disregard, the early Mercedes G models and the technically identical Puch G shine with incredible stamina. 'They have a long shelf life and are not very susceptible,' confirms Alois Adler, who looks after these vehicles in his workshop near Graz.
Ideal classic: long-lasting, less susceptible
Many even compare the original G with the indestructible and Unimog designed for the rough. But despite all the admiration, one thing should not be forgotten: there is no such thing as a maintenance-free car that is built to last forever. Therefore, the robust Mercedes G model should also be serviced and cared for in accordance with the factory specifications, so the maintenance intervals must not be extended to suit your mood and no arbitrary oils added.
But even untalented screwdrivers who bring their car to the workshop for servicing cannot always count on all of the necessary maintenance services to be carried out. Because if there is a lack of staff familiar with the Mercedes G model, it can easily happen that the grease that has escaped from the front axle balls is not topped up. Or 'that repairs are carried out improperly', which is particularly annoying G-model specialist Bernhard Unger from Niederzier, west of Cologne.
Inexperienced mechanics only repair what is currently broken, necessary composite work is overlooked or concealed, which is why the customer has to dig deep into his pocket again a short time later. But more on that later.
Long-lasting diesel engine: 700,000 kilometers with the 300D are normal
The good thing about the Mercedes G-Model is that, as with any car, the technical components are subject to wear, but this is the case Usually only after a long time. Depending on how the car is used, repairs in the axle area can be expected from around 200,000 kilometers, but let's stick with the engine for now. Here the 280 gasoline engine with K-Jetronic and especially the five-cylinder diesel 300 GD have proven to be endurance runners, the latter in particular is said to last over 700,000 kilometers.
If the engine has actually blessed the time, those G-Model owners who have grown fond of their car usually decide to have it overhauled. Because after all, all of the machine's components have had a long and perhaps exhausting existence, the experts advisefrom at first glance cheap partial overhauls for 2,000 to 30.00 euros and recommend a complete overhaul. It costs more than 5,000 euros to remove and install the machine, but then you have peace for a long time.
The expenses for the usual maintenance work on the engines are manageable. Larger sums are due when a new clutch or a new exhaust pipe is due, or when the water pump has to be replaced, which requires a lot of working time due to the parts that have to be dismantled, such as the grille and radiator.
A particular advantage of the G-model series W 460 is that it works without electronics, which in later versions often causes annoyance and, in many cases, increased workload. An overhaul of the transmission is rarely due, and the transfer case is also of the robust type. 'However, the transfer cases are suspended in rubber bearings that have to be replaced sometimes - which costs around 250 euros,' says Andreas Lennartz, who repairs G models in Winnenden near Stuttgart and uses them above all as the basis for special designs.
Experts are required for the G-model
Lennartz points out that prospective buyers of a recognizably worn G-Class can easily invest 10,000 euros and more in the refurbishment, complete restorations can do five - or devour sixfold. But let's stick with the technology. 'It can get expensive in connection with the front wheel bearings, for example,' explains Alois Adler. There are, however, different reasons for this. One is the improper adjustment of the wheel bearing play and the consequential damage. Anyone who proceeds as usual, that is, tighten the nut and then loosen it a quarter turn, 'did it wrong,' explains Bernhard Unger. 'The bearings are preloaded by 0.01 to 0.03 millimeters'. And if the radial shaft sealing ring on the axle is not also replaced as part of the wheel bearing replacement, Unger sees this as plain negligence, because the G-driver then has to pay repair costs again that would not be necessary.
In order to avoid unnecessary expenses, you should proceed systematically, especially in the area of the front axle of the G-model, think about meaningful composite work and perhaps not only have the wheel bearings or only the drive joints replaced. The axle ball is located on the outside of the front wheel, in which the bearings for the steering knuckles are located above and below. Almost two cartridges of grease fit into the ball. When steering, a fine, shiny layer appears on the outside of the ball - a sign that there is still fat in the ball.
The drive shaft of the G-model with the drive joint leads through the ball. The latter does not come into contact with the lubricant in the ball, 'but is separately lubricated by graphite-containing dark grease and is froma rubber sleeve that cracks over time, 'explains Lennartz. He adds:' If a gray-black liquid runs down the outside of the axle, the grease on the ball, that on the cardan shaft and possibly the oil in the axle have mixed up. Then you should definitely be prepared for a major repair in the not too distant future. '
If it clicks: act immediately!
If you can hear a clacking, you need to act immediately - the drive joint is probably over. And then, as already mentioned, the customer should discuss the necessary repairs with an expert, because if all components are similarly old and are worn out, a complete front axle overhaul including a new bearing of the differential and the adjustment of the bevel and crown gears is the most sensible solution. With the G-model, you pay around 2,000 euros for this, but you can tick off this chapter for a long time.
Subject wheel bearings
Are the wheel bearings on the rear axle of the G-model replaced, and then there is still a noise hear, it is because 'the outer Lagerri ng worked into the axle tube and this axial play has not disappeared after the new bearing has been installed, 'says Unger. Incidentally, instead of using an expensive new axle tube, it helps those affected with a trick that should not be mentioned here.
'Another typical damage for the G is worn cardan shaft joints,' says Lennartz. Instead of installing expensive new cardan shafts, of which the G has three, you can also overhaul the old ones, i.e. store them again, balance and have them painted, which is cheaper. And if the differential locks of the G-model are almost never used, the slave cylinders for which overhaul kits or a new replacement are available can sometimes jam.
Parts supply secured, be careful with cheap components
In general, the parts supply for the G-model is relatively good , even if low-quality, cheap components occasionally appear on the market. Caution is also advised when buying used parts, as the wear and tear is often relatively high. Those interested in the G-Modell should use the opportunity to contact the relevant experts or the clubs, for example the Mercedes-Benz Off-Road Vehicle Club ( www.gclubev.de ), to be informed before purchasing. The car, which is also valued by the military because of its robustness, can be a lot of fun despite its moderate temperament, and for Andreas Lennartz it is even 'the best off-road vehicle in the world'.
Service tip for the Mercedes G model
Even robust off-road vehicles such as the Mercedes G model require regular maintenance. After off-site missionsthe sub-floor should be cleaned. Always keep an eye on the oil levels in the engine, transmission, transfer case, differentials and power steering. Don't forget the oil level of the piston damper on the 230 GE.
The universal joints and sliding pieces of the cardan shafts to the drive axles, the rod ends of the front axle and the engine control rod on diesel engines need lubrication. Watch out for water entering the wiper bearings.