280GE Gwagen.. owning an modifying my 30year old Mercedes.

Page may contain affiliate links. Please see terms for details.
EGR Gasket blow out.

Some time back on a long journey to the west country, 20 miles from my destination.. I had a catastrophic failure of the EGR valve gasket... parts of the gasket were blown out, and exhaust gases were creeping into the cabin,
as well as a 280GE sounding like a NASCAR

My Friend thought it was hilarious!

Upon closer inspection... the gasket has disintegrated!!

On inspection one of the studs holding the valve on was sheared due to corrosion, the other was seized, it had a small leak in the past which liberal application of GunGum had previously fixed , all be it was a temporary solution.

New Gasket ordered from MB, and when it arrived it was obvious there had been a MB modification.
The new one was about 2mm thick the old one had been about 20mm thick... hmmmmm

EGR Gasket new.jpg

Mike my friend (Unperturbed) managed to extract one of the studs and drill out and re-tap the other.
new studs were made
EGR Gasket 2 new.jpg

Egr Valve cleaned and checked.

Then with a little finessing of the metal pipes... all back together!

Remote central locking -Upgrade:

Some time ago, I fitted remote central locking to my little 460 G Wagen !!...
The Car is fitted as standard with central locking, operated by inserting the key in the lock, the master locking mechanism behind the drivers lock is just an electronic trigger sensor to fire the slave central locking motors attached to the other door locks, the drivers door lock is actually manual, by the motion of turning the key to either lock or unlock the door, electrically operates the other doors. (Very 1980's ! )
So by fitting remote locking I can unlock all the doors by remote... not something available on the G wagen in 1989!
. I'm very happy with how easy it was to fit... and the kit cost £20.. yes that's not a typo- twenty pounds!!
I looked at a lot of kits on the internet... but decided on this one as its a UK manufactured kit (Hawk)and the office/shop is only 8 miles from me..(free P&P for the less impatient!) the kit comes with four door servo's (you only need the master servo on this G wagen) two key fobs/remotes all the wiring and brackets etc and has rolling codes so its impossible for a criminal to grab the codes...all I needed to fit it to your G was to make a small bracket.

This is the kit I used

Before I could start however.. due to age and water ingress.. the OE fit Electronic master central locking unit had to be replaced as it was only working intermittently.. this in itself as a very awkward and fiddly task as it sits inside the door.. up above the lock mechanism, hidden by the inner door skin.

As I was in there anyway I removed the door lock from the door and cleaned and lubricated it.
Master door switch and door lock... removed

Old vs new

and after about an hour of fiddling... i had successfully removed the old one and refitted the new one... it involved removing the door locks... which is another skill I have now picked up and enabled me to clean and grease them before refitting.. the std central locking works a treat now..

after that i directed my attention Back to my Remote Locking set up... this requires you to fit a servo in the drivers door..
and attach the actuation rod to the inner door thumb operated sliding door lock.. after removing the door panel.. you fit the servo as shown in the picture ..I had an advantage as my car already had an old servo fitted from a previous owner that was now defunct...so i removed the old one and fitted my new one.. which was virtually the same dimensions...

all that is needed is then the fabrication of a small bracket with a 45degree bend... and a hole that lines up with your thumb locking mechanism inside the door... when the button is re attached it holds the bracket in place...and the rod from the servo is bolted to it using the brackets provided in the kit... i connected the wires and connected the power...before installing it fully to ensure the smooth operation of the kit...
and when i found it was working... threaded the wires through the bodywork..(removing the un- needed wires that would go to the other motors i didnt need to fit).and installed the brain of the system under the dash.. then replaced all the trim... and wow... its fantastic... remote locking and unlocking for only £20!....

Whilst doing this upgrade I noticed my passenger door lock did not move with the key.. it was frozen.. most likely due to lack of use... so I removed the door handle from the car so I could strip the door key barrel.
You should now be able to see the rear of the lock mechanism with return spring.

door 3.jpg
door 5.jpg
I undid the screw, this part engages with the lock mechanism.
door 4.jpg
You can now see the gummed up return spring- this centres the key when you let go of it.

door 6.jpg
Spring removed
door 8.jpg

door 7.jpg

Penetrating fluid used to free up barrel.

door 9.jpg

Barrel Removed using key...

2017-02-20 08.42.59.jpg2017-02-21 11.56.27.jpg

Pretty gummed up.. more penetrating oil

2017-02-21 12.09.07.jpg2017-02-21 12.11.29.jpg2017-02-21 12.14.07.jpg2017-02-21 12.06.52.jpg

I carefully removed one tumbler at a time... watching out for the tiny springs!! ... and cleaned them with Wet n dry with machine oil... until they were shiny... then replaced, and moved onto the next one.. they have to go back in the same way and in the same order otherwise the key wont work...

Assembled and refitted with the key inserted, otherwise you cannot keep all the tumblers in..... all working as it should again... nice smooth key action.

Final oil with machine oil.

G wagen have very similar barrels with early VW.
2017-02-21 12.07.20.jpg
Last edited:
A couple of years back, I had an advisory for a weeping rear wheel brake cylinder so.. I replaced both my rear wheel brake slave cylinders together with the brake pipes to and including the centre splitter.. it was a very rewarding if not complicated task, especially when it came to bending the brake pipes into the right shape... I used genuine MB Brake pipes which are coated steel..and come with the fittings and flared pipe ends already done... bizarrely the shorter of the two pipes was £30 and the longer one was £15 ! no idea why... my parts person was as surprised as i was... after decades attached to the back plate the old wheel cylinders did not want to come off... and the old brake pipes which had corroded nuts...sheared themselves when i tried to undo them... as i suspected they would hence the new brake pipes!!
I discovered a way to get the wheel slave cylinders off.... by pushing the pistons out both sides...and using a bar (read socket extension) to lever it back and forth and up and down together with penetrating spray... and off they came!!

IMG_4736 (1).JPGIMG_4737 (1) (1).JPGIMG_4740 (1).JPGIMG_4745 (1).JPGIMG_4738 (1).JPG

note sheared off brake pipe

IMG_4743 (1).JPG

Pressurised tank full of brake fluid replenishes the master cylinder and pushes the fluid to enable one person brake bleeding... the large syringe helps at the other end as no worries about letting air in.... you can see how much air i removed by the gap in the syringe cylinder above the fluid!

FullSizeRender (1).jpg
At the time I did this, the green coloured brake fluid was I assumed contaminated giving it the green colour... I found out quite recently, (see my full front brake rebuilt posts) that it was in fact the wrong fluid added by a previous owner which, after some years, caused the front master cylinder to fail prematurely.
Last edited:
Nice attention to detail with all the seals.....hopefully they will last a while...but in my experience the replacement Mercedes rubber parts are nowhere near the quality of the ones they are built with....at least in the case of the SLK 170. I replaced various rubber seals/grommets on my wife's SLK 230K......they had survived from 1999 to about 2015 without issue....just fine cracks but I wanted to change them for cosmetic reasons....what with the rest of the car being so mint.........by the time we sold it in 2018 several of the replacement parts had got as cracked/hard in the three years since fitment as the original had done in about 16 years!!!
I agree.. some of the quality has gone from Mercedes.. I wonder how old some parts are that sit on the shelf for years before being sold.. The new ATE Master cylinder I got new from Autodoc for £150 , Mercedes Identical ATE part was almost £500.!

I have two MB spare rebuild kits for the rear slave cylinders.. just in case the seals are of poor quality.

My Bilstein shocks were fitted new about 4 years ago.. the new Bilstein rubbers top and bottom are cracked and look 30 years old... now.
they will have to be swapped sometime ..

The cynic in me thinks.. poor quality have to be replaced more often, more money for parts dept.
What an awesome thread! Great devotion to your car - and the added satisfaction of doing it yourself, the very essence of "Built, not bought". How many of us will be able so work on the more modern cars in 30 years time.
Well done John.
Many Thanks... definitely a 'labour of love' I have had some excellent help and advice along the way...

I agree modern cars are more complicated to work on.. I think even professional mechanics will be struggling working on modern EVs... I'm old school.. I like things to make mechanical sense, so the G wagen suits my logical brain.. even the fuel injection is controlled mechanically, with vacuum.. I doubt a Main dealer would be able to work on my G either.. they would be stood there scratching their heads looking for a place to plug the computer into!! 😁 I do know an ex MB mechanic who worked on them...
43 years ago when they were introduced! 😎
Stainless Steel Exhaust System.

Since I got My G wagen I have been carefully patching the small leaks that have surfaced on the exhaust silencers on this G wagen. The system has two Silencers, both of which had seen far better days!

exhaust manifold end.jpgExhaust rear section.jpegexhaust.jpgexhaust2.jpgexhaust3.jpgexhaust4.jpg

I don't know how old the system is, But would guess that some of it is original. The car has only had three previous owners in 32years and the system is genuine Mercedes. It has been welded previously on the flexi part of the front downpipes.. and I have patched the small leaks on the silencers many times before the MOT with gun gum.. which only ever lasts about 2 months.. I decided that a new exhaust system was needed as it was all in pretty worn out condition.
I had a quote for a new full system... supply only from MB.. £2,500 ! for a mild steel exhaust system from manifold to tail (not including the manifold)

Stainless steel seemed to be the best solution... so after a lot of research.. I found a local Classic car Garage near me to make a custom Stainless steel system up to the manifolds. Stainless Steel Custom Exhausts in Redhill, Car Servicing in Redhill Friendly guys doing all kinds of work on classic cars.
The results are fantastic, I asked them to copy the route of the old exhaust so I would not compromise the G wagen's off road ability. Lovely and quiet.. and I noticed a small improvement in performance too... they said the silencers had disintegrated inside and were affecting gas flow.
Not any more!!
The last picture shows the tail pipe which threads through a cut out in the fuel tank which has a heat shield to protect it.. all in the interests of ground clearance.
Should last a few years!! ;)
Last edited:
LED Rear lights -upgrade

To go with my LED front lights, I decided the rears would need an upgrade too!
To continue my LED obsession.... I ordered replacement rear RED coloured LED Stop/Tail bulbs from Classic Car LEDs to replace the existing cheap Chinese white LED Stop/Tail bulbs i have been using for the last 3 years.
Also replaced was the old filament Rear Fog lamp bulb
The information I have read is that RED LED bulbs allow more Red light through the red rear lenses than White LEDs .

LED Stop Tail.jpg

LED Fog Rear.jpgRed LEDs 1.jpg
Red LEDs 2.jpg

My existing LEDs were from Ebay and have lasted about 3years and 3000miles of use.
I developed a faulty rear stop/Tail on my white LED and you can see it has burned one of its yellow panels, this resulted in 12v power feeding back into the lighting circuit and switching on my front side
lights whenever i braked!! Replacing this bulb temporarily with another cured the issue.
Burned LED Panel.jpg

Bulbs from Classic Car LEDs are much better made.. and emit RED not white light.20200122_122742.jpg20200122_121939.jpg
( a similar thing happened previously when I first fitted these cheap LED bulbs and had an LED bulb in the wrong way round! they dont like that!)

My previously slightly dim rear light bulbs are now LED and respond instantly, unlike the tiny delay you get with filliment bulbs.
side light (in daylight!)20200122_123148.jpg

Side and Brake light

New LED fog light.

side lights (not brake lights!)

Classis Car LEDs even supply bulbs for more modern cars with Can-Bus compatible ones.

gwagen5 discount code at checkout gets you 5% off.

I haven't got round to doing the indicators as they need a special relay, or ballast resistors, so they can flash at the correct speed, LEDs have lower resistance, which affects relay performance.
True....to pass the MOT indicator flash rate needs to be greater than one a second but less than two a second.
I looked at the positioning of other car brake lights.. and as an old design.. they seemed quite low compared to modern cars.. so I decided to fit a high level brake light in my aftermarket wheel cover (with Genuine MB Badge!) smoke black seemed appropriate!!

I had to feed two wires through from the rear of brake light circuit.. and drill a small hole in the rear door skin.. painted the hole and fitted a grommet for the wire and to prevent water ingress..(sorry n pics of that) . I fitted a quick release waterproof connector behind the cover so that , in the even the cover needs to be removed, it is not permanently connected to the car!
Careful measurements.. before the hole is cut.. star has to be in the middle... and there are no guide marks!!

LED stop light strip bought from eBay, (for a VW transporter Van) perfect size for this application and subtly curved.

I made small retaining brackets to hold the brake light and used black sealant around it fo a better finish.

I also made the mounting bracket.. from a piece of wood and a metal tube...bonded on to hold the centre of the cover.. MB uses a similar method on their factory covers so I mimicked it on mine.. it was painted black after this pic was taken.
Without this the cover would be reliant on being gripped by the stainless steel ring edge... I know this is unsatisfactory as I tried it without the pole support, and it tended to slip down. It also holds the cover vertical when fitting the stainless ring... which has a key lock on the clasp.


new stainless ring and cover fitted
I tested the brake lights its pretty bright!


Re: The High Level brake light, just wondering why you didnt go down the OEM route and get the actual part, or fit the LED light to the inside.

Surely this is going to cause you issues should you ever need to replace the wheel at the side of the road etc?

They are amazing in the snow (as you would expect) even with Summer tyres :D

Last edited:
None of the w460's ever had a high level brake light, and the standard rear/brake lights are set very low..which made me want to fit one..
I did consider the W463 high level brake light.. but it would have obscured my rearward vision.. the rear spare blocks a lot out as it is.. (and its reassuringly Mercedes expensive!) so decided to go my own way. The rear wheel cover isn't OE either.. the original car came with a soft stretchy cover that looked a bit rubbish...(Merc one is £2k plus paint) so I added the hard cover too. Removing the cover(and brake light ) is no problem as I have a hight quality waterproof connector in the feed wire behind the cover.. which disconnects easily if I have to remove it.
I like that it's unobtrusive on the cover when it's "off" .
The Benz star is OE though!
I run Cooper Weathermaster full snow tyres all year round as I rarely do more than 1000miles a year..
Yes all 3 diffs locked.. and running up a steep snow/ice covered hill was easypeasy and G fun!!
Hi John, really love this thread. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with others on your amazing G W460 journey. I own a 1988 280GE myself as well. I was curious if you know where I can possible find the wood dashboard trim that your car has (preferably used)?

Also I am looking for the fender flares, and only found a cheap knock off fiberglass version on eBay (which I've heard many bad reviews off). Any idea where I can possibly source a proper set that wouldn't make me break bank?
Appreciate the comments I know someone who is at the epicentre of G wagen used parts.. pm me and I will put you in touch with him.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom