I'm starting this discussion on my 2002 G500 here so we can keep the FJ build up thread more on topic. As I've mentioned earlier, I'm not planning to do major mods to the G500 and try to keep it fairly stock.
For at least six years, I've looking for an affordable SWB Gelandewagen (Gwagen) before purchasing my FJC. All the SWB Gs were never imported by MBUSA and mostly by Europa in Santa Fe, NM (a small numbers were brought in by Norm Keiser in Mountain View, CA). Going through a private lab to federalize these Gwagens to meet US DOT regulations really drove the price out of range for most 4X4 enthusiasts (over $100k). MBUSA finally brought the G to the US market with the 2002 MY but only as the 4-door LWB version.
an interesting post on the G history.
A few weeks ago, I was on my way up to my Toyota dealer in Escondido to pick up some engine oil filters and seals and decided to stop by the MB of Escondido dealer where my family and I've purchased other MBs over the past 15 years to stop by and say hi to my salesperson who's a family friend. As I pulled into the driveway, I spotted an '08 G on display so I went over to check it out more closely. I visited with my friend and asked if they do every get any older G trade-ins. As it turned out, the dealer just took in an '02 G500 as the previous owner wanted to trade up to an '05 G55. A short test drive, a couple of days to think things over, and a few signatures later...
I did manage to take a few photos before leaving the dealership to do more research before deciding to make the purchase.
You can see the 2008 Gwagen in the background.
The interior is in great shape for being 9 years old and a kids hauler. The three coolest switches are between the central air outlets: front diff, TC, and rear diff lockers. These can only be engaged in the correct sequence and are labeled I, II, and III (in typical Teutonic efficiency). The TC (HI/LO) switch is on the center console.
The 5-liter V8 takes up pretty much all the room in the engine compartment.
The G500 currently has decent Hankook all season highway tires so the first order of business will be to swap these for All Terrain type tires. Since this won't be an all-out build up (I'm repeating this mantra often enough, may be I'll stick to it
), I'm staying with the OE tire size and leaning towards the Yokohama A/T-S which has a nice balance between onroad and offroad performance.
But, the first major modification would be de-chroming. The stainless steel OE running boards will be removed very soon and replace with sliders (DeMello custom). The OE spare cover is also polished stainless and will be removed as well. MB makes a 7-liter fuel can that fits perfectly inside the spare which is mounted with the hub side facing out (the can has to be sourced from Deutschland). The round tubes on the OE brush guard are also polished stainless steel. The current plan, after consultation with Mr DeMello is to powdercoat the brushguard, the front turn signal light guards, the rear tail light guards, and the sliders in a semi-gloss gunmetal (medium charcoal) color. Jason also suggested that the OE wheels should also be powdercoated the same color.
In terms of armor, both the OE engine and fuel tank skid plates are also heavy gauge steel. So, if I wanted to add more armor, I can go through DO to have a transfer case protector plate made. Since all the critical drivetrain components are tucked up very high inside the frame rails, this will be low in priority.
For comms, I'm planning to add a Yaesu 2-meter radio. As for other mods, I'll be working on a storage platform, adding a few outlets for the ARB fridge and ARB air compressor (from the FJ).
Keeping the G500 stock...
Sway Bar Collars Installation Details
MB Atik wheels, 7.5Jx16H2 size with ET of 63mm Wheel Details
BFG All Terrain tires, 265/70R16 117S Installed Photo
VTS Rock Rails Installation Details
OEM Front and Rear Mud Flaps Installation Details
King Shocks Part I
and Part II
Rear shocks boots Installation Details
Garmin 2757LM with a 7" screen Details
AMG Pedals Installation Details
Mercedes Benz DAS Xentry Diagnostic System