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

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Hi John, I'm very new to this forum and it seems I can't send PM's yet? Any other way to contact you? Thanks
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)?

I asked my friend.. OE Wood dash trim never comes up second hand .. sorry
Fender flares.. I assume you mean the rubber wheel arch extensions.. I will ask him. 😌
I will tell him to keep an eye open for some... they dont come up very often.
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?
For my 1982 W460 LWB RHD 280GE I just bought a full set of moulding rub rails from "https://www.ebay.com/str/cartop979" in Serbia. You might want to contact him to ask if he has flares.
I was curious if you know where I can possible find the wood dashboard trim that your car has (preferably used)?

The W460 is not the sort of collectible that must be kept pure. It also has flat dash panels. When I was restoring my Bristol 411, the original wood dashboard had perished, but like the G-wagon, it was made of simple flat panels:
  1. Buy marine grade plywood, say 3mm
  2. Using cardboard or dress-maker pattern paper cut out the precise size to be covered
  3. Mark on the plywood and cut carefully - or take it to a woodshop to do it. And cut two of every panel
  4. Buy Burl Walnut Veneer (Burl Wood Veneers - The Wood Veneer Hub) or whatever you prefer
  5. Glue the veneer to the plywood and use the second matching panel as a clamp to hold it tight
  6. Drill the veneered panels so the screws hold it to the dashboard, then remove
  7. Buy WEST System 207 / 105 epoxy and after trying it out on something that does not matter, make a mix and apply it to the veneered panels. This is equivalent to 20 coats of varnish. You may need a heat gun or hair drier if you get bubbles
  8. When dry and prepped apply two coats of varnish. Lot's of choices here. When I did it, I had help from a violin maker whose specialty was restoring Stradivarius violins - can't recall what brand he recommended, but he did use a candle to put his signet ring on the surface
  9. If you have never done this before, use the clamping panels as a test run. The key is to have a smooth, flat surface with no bubbles, sawdust, moth wings or eyelashes in it
  10. Now that you have done it on plywood, you are a veneer expert. Next remove the metal panels and veneer them instead. But also get closed cell foam camping pads that can press around the edges and corners. Don't do this the first time because if you mess up, it's your only dashboard
Next, remove the door panels and buy leather. Glue them over the vinyl and use copper strips in place of the MB trim. I used thick saddle leather because we have kids, dogs and horses and I wanted something that looked good when distressed.
Thanks, I thought it'll be easy finding original w460 spare parts, but it seems harder than expected
PM me your details and I will put you in touch with my friend.. the G wagon parts Guru.
More fettling.

After trying to avoid dealing with the small rust spot on the side of my 33year old G wagon, for almost a year, last weekend I finally decided to sort it once and for all.

The entire wagen was waxoyled when it was new by its first owner, and for that I will be eternally grateful. I looked behind some panels over my ownership of 9 years and the coating has prevented rust from forming on the rear of the panels.. and the coating is still in excellent condition as can be seen when I had another look behind the rear side opening tail door this weekend. I have seen many rotted out G wagens .. that could have been avoided if this had been done when new.


So I was very curious to learn why my passenger side had a rust spot.


My attempts to imitate an ostrich with tape failed!


The only option is to buff off the paint.. After first removing the side trim below the door.. this is After the trim strip is removed, before buffing.

After a bit of buffing, I found there was a small rust hole... and some filler indicating an earlier repair...

I buffed off the paint more... then cutout the rotten bit with my angle grinder.

You can see the green tinge of wayoyl inside the panel...

I bought a sheet of 1mm steel from B&Q.. which is a fraction thicker than the original steel of the panel. And cut it to fit the removed section.

Once I had fettled the insert.. I sprayed the hole and both sides of the piece with zinc weld through primer.


I am an amateur welder, I used an old ex garage migtronic mig/gas kit.. I am also not a bodywork professional, just a keen DIY home mechanic.. I do have access to advice from better skilled friends.

Welded panel in...


The welds were then flattend with a buffing wheel on an angle grinder..


Some metal rust treatment and then filler followed... just a thin skin to fill the tiny holes I had left..

Sanded with 1500 grade wet n dry... before some etch primer..


Next day.. some six coats of black paint.. with a little
Sanding in-between.


Trim back on and a quick wash...

I am waiting on a machine polisher.. and will give the whole car a cut and polish soon... very pleased with the repair.
Before I finished I re waxoyled inside the repair panel.. and did both sides just in case!

Job done.... and then I gave the bumpers a refresh...


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Amazing work, I wish I had your skills. - but the bits with the black dots will return as rust:

Thanks for kind words..I treated those to rust converter fluid before the filler went in.. but didnt take pictures so hopefully not! :)
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As I was in refresh mode.. I lightly Sanded the faded powder coated 4mm thick steel bumpers front and rear and gave them two coats of satin black..
Bumpers before...Screenshot_20230717_203337_Photos_1.jpgScreenshot_20230717_202734_Photos_1.jpg

Quick mask up... metal number plates are stuck on so left them on..


Very pleased with the result... this is the first time I have done anything to the bumpers except wash them with the car.. back to black bumper trim cleaner/restorer on order for the rubberized corner pieces.

Yes for the OCD amongst you.. the spare wheel cover isn't straight... :p
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Looking smart! Lots of good work done, you must be happy with how it looks now vs purchase?
It's a labour of love definitely..It is a better car in every way since I bought it.. each little job I do.. makes owning and understanding the little G a little clearer. I pondered selling it recently.. but thought , what would I buy for 25k that would make me feel as unique driving it.. plus I have already put so much time into it.. I couldn't part with it. Its more that just a car... its something special.
Had a 280GE long wheel base a few years ago, built like a brick out house. The front and I think the rear bumpers are 6mm thick steel channel. Had the unfortunate event in Cornwall of hitting a lorry down one of the narrow lanes, wrote the lorry off and just needed to bend the front bumper off the tyre. We loved ours except the fuel consumption, 15-16 mpg always, on a run, towing the twin axle caravan, round town, always 15-16mpg. You have a good example there from the pics.
That is the M110 all day long , such a thirsty engine : I've had a W114 280E 5sp manual , W123 280E/CE/TE , W116 280SE , W126 280CE , fuel consumption way always about the same no matter which car the engine was in ; I'd still like a G-Wagen , although my preferred choice would either be a 230GE , or a 300GE/GEL , but bearing in mind it often comes down to what one comes across .
Yes the M110 is a thirsty unit, I think the K-Jetronic Mechanical fuel injection, plus two live (solid) axles, a 4 speed Automatic transmission and the 1:1 transfer case, four driveshafts, together with a boxy design don't help the fuel consumption figures too much as well..plus the short wheelbase model is still 2 tons.
After I had the diff gearing changed I saw a slight improvement.. as its revving 500rpm's less in 4th on a longer journey.

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