Info wanted on Mercedes 300GD: were they any good?

Submitted: Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 03:14
ThreadID: 8252 Views:4987 Replies:5 FollowUps:5
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After coming back from the Sydney Motor Show last week, I must say I was more than a little disillusioned. While it's nice to have fake wood veneer and leather seats and velour carpet, I don't see a place for these sorts of things on a 4WD that's meant to go BUSH. I currently drive an old FJ62 Landcruiser. It gets used. VERY used. It's my first 4WD and has been great to get experience on. Now, in a year or so, I plan on getting something a bit more serious in terms of range (hence it has to be a diesel for a start) and capability (alas, no diff locks on the '60) and I was looking at say a 100-series Landcruiser. After the Motor Show, I think I'll pass. Nowhere to even mount the damned radios. I can't imagine climbing into one of those, being covered up to the knees in sticky mud. I'm a bit old-fashioned and want a TRUCK, not a car with a transfer case. If I want leather seats and plush carpet, I'll stick to my convertible. For bush work, it has to be more utilitarian. Know what I mean? So I thought, well, better off getting something from 8-15 years old, before it all went stupid and became urban cowboy fashionable (read K-Mart car park motoring). Say an 80-series or a Patrol or something similar. Then, a few days ago, I passed by a Mercedes 230GE in the M5 tunnel. I remember being in one in the 80s, and then thought, hey, why not? The diesel version, the 300GD, might form the basis of a good platform to build up. So, can anyone tell me: were they any good? Can you get bits to modify them such as body lift, winches, rear bars, bull bars etc? Weak points? Are they still made anywhere? I have a client with an ML430 or whatever it is... nice car, but I'd rather get an older G-Wagen and do that up for some serious work. Anyone care to give an opinion?
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Reply By: ross - Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 10:59

Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 10:59
No personal experience but in their time were considered one of the best thought out 4wd in the world.The downside in Australia would be parts/labour,the purchase price and finding someone who could work on it that knew what they were doing..Aftermarket accessories are almost non existant in Australia.If your looking for something unique and different then go for it.They have a strong following in Europe with their own clubs ect but out here they are like a duck out of water.You would be better served with a 75 series landcruiser diesel or even a late 80s BJ 74 with the turbo 4cyl diesel .There are lots of mint low klm 88/89 BJ 74 imports from Japan at good prices.The 73/74 series are MWB and have 5 seat belts ,are great off road , have a wealth of accessories and can be fixed by virtually any mechanic.
AnswerID: 35954

Follow Up By: plexus - Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 20:07

Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 20:07
Thanks for the info - working on it is not a problem for me as I do everything on my cars and truck anyway. The only issue, I suppose, is the availability of accessories, bars, and bits and pieces needed to make it a more suitable proposition for me. The one thing I will give the Patrols, Landcruisers, Rovers etc is that they certainly appear to be well catered for in regards to this sort of thing.
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FollowupID: 25969

Reply By: Eric Experience. - Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 22:57

Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 22:57
Plexus.
The G wagon is a very good machine off road you would not nead any mods as they have good clearence and diff locks standard. The down side is the road performance, the power is low and the diff gearing is low, a bigger motor does not help as it has to rev. There is one getting around hear with a v8 in it but it is working hard at 100ks. You could try the European web sites for an overdrive transfer case. A mate who had a G wagon for years now drives a Defender 130 and loves it. Eric.
AnswerID: 36000

Reply By: joshinthecity - Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 23:17

Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 23:17
Wouldn't a 4.2 diesel DX Patrol fit the bill ?

J.
AnswerID: 36002

Reply By: Tristjo (Brisbane) - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 00:42

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 00:42
Plexus,

I agree with Josh. A DX Patrol is a no nonsense truck. Rigid axles front and rear, vinyl floors, and heaps of kit for em too.

They're bulletproof to boot.

Tristjo.
AnswerID: 36013

Follow Up By: plexus - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 12:35

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 12:35
Yes, I'll have a look at that too.
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Reply By: Willem - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 11:50

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 11:50
I had a look at one about 6 months ago. It is a very robust truck and by all acounts a relaibkle vehicle. Unfortunately, its on road manners are lacking severely. The one I tested had just had an engine rebuild and was run in but still could not pull 80kmh in top gear. You should however be able to work on that to make them go faster. They come with front and rear diff locks and are well engineered. A mate has one in the Flinders Ranges which he uses as a runabout on the station and it goes anywhere.

The 300GD is still manufactured in Germany in 2003 and is used in a variety of defence and civilian applications.

Cheers,
Willem

Always going somewhere
AnswerID: 36036

Follow Up By: plexus - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 12:34

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 12:34
If it's purely a problem with top speed, surely fitting a turbo would cure that. I presume braking and handling are adequate?
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Follow Up By: Willem - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 12:51

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 12:51
pexus,

Some of them came with a factory turbo. Go to Google and type in mercedes benz 300gd turbo and see what you can find.
Willem

Always going somewhere
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FollowupID: 26004

Follow Up By: plexus - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 21:57

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 21:57
I had a look at the factory turbo on Google. Yes, I think a 300GD is what I want. I found some photos; much bigger than the M series. The damned thing looks functional in every way.
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FollowupID: 26038

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