|#343 - Mercedes-Benz W463 G500||2014||225454|
Your opinion about this G:
The general information about this G-Class.
|Engine||273963 30 476339||Paint 1||Iridium Silver Metallic Finish (9775)|
|Transmission||722904 05 660987||Paint 2||N/A|
|Order Number||N/A||Production nr.||N/A|
|Location||United Arab Emirates||G-Archiv||27 Jun 2020|
|Mileage||0||N/A||16 Jun 2014|
|27 Jun 2020||G-Archiv||Added to our archive||United Arab Emirates|
|16 Jun 2014||Production||Delivery date||New||0||N/A|
|10 Jun 2014||Production||Release date||New||0||N/A|
I live in Dubai, and I’m a proud owner of a Mercedes Benz G500 W463 (off-road version). I use this car to drive around the world since 2017, I crossed 38 countries already (USA, Canada, 10 South American countries, 11 African countries, 6 European Countries, 7 countries between Turkey and China, and 2 Middles East countries) through tracks, mud, sand dunes, rivers and snow. I’d like to share my experience with some tips and tricks about the off-road tuning, and warn potential buyers about some common mistakes unskilled technicians can cost you if they don’t have the necessary experience and knowledge about the car or about the onboard technology. Choosing the right partner is important.
In 2017, I contacted a well-known German Off-road tuner specialized in this type of off-road modifications in the region of Stuttgart, and I requested from them to modify my stock car for an amount of EUR78k. This expensive off-road tuning included an additional fuel tank inside the trunk; the installation of Rigid Industries LED lights; the removal of the backseats and replacement by raid furniture (drawers, cabinets) and appliances like fridge and 230V Nespresso coffee machine; a Maggiolina roof tent with electric heater (later I added an A/C system); an AUX battery system; a computerized system that switches on the engine in case the AUX battery is low (needful in the very cold nights), a 230V DC-AC convertor for the coffee machine and any additional 230V appliances, a front bumper compatible with Distronic Plus (active cruise control); a lift kit and off-road wheels with MT tires; double suspensions for the rear axle; a G63 side exhaust system; a pair of snorkels; a full chassis protection; an air compressor with air pressurized horn; the installation of a Warn winch; a water tank with heating system under the chassis; as well as some electrical and other minor modifications.
Before proceeding the modification, and due to my lack of experience, I talked to so many modified off-road cars owners to make sure that my car matches my needs immediately, and to avoid some of the common mistakes. I prepared a full list describing each single detail of the requested modifications.
Tip: Pay attention to the cars already tuned, ask the opinion of their owners and ask them what they would do differently.
Mid of 2017, I visited the tuner just before my car was shipped to Cayenne (French Guyana). On the first look, I discovered that the workshop did not respect the way I ordered the additional tank. They installed the tank filling inside the car, and not outside as ordered, despite my instructions. I talked to so many off-road cars owners and all owners with a tank filling inside the car regularly suffered bad smelling, it’s the reason why I refused this way to fill the tank. But unfortunately, it was too late as the car had to leave the workshop after a couple of days.
I tried to fill my 220L additional tank in Paramaribo. Immediately, a persistent strong gas smelling appeared, causing headache. The first reason was a defective fuel cap (of course, when the tank filling is inside the car by mistake, there are consequences). After some additional tests, I came to the conclusion that the €6436 additional tank was not assembled correctly, and was broken. It was not possible to use it during 17000km. I lost a lot of gasoline inside the car (huge leakage that even damaged the painting of the bumper while leaking outside). Later, I also discovered that the connection to the main tank was not done properly, the overpressure pipe was not directed to the main tank, which is totally stupid. If I fill my additional tank and drive to a higher altitude, then 20-30L will flow… on the road.
Tip: Never install an interior tank filling for your additional tank, and check how the overpressure pipe is connected.
Tip: Never take your car to a raid if it’s not fully tested by yourself.
At same visit mid of 2017, I tested the modified car and I detected that my Distronic Plus was not working. The manager explained me that due to the metallic bumper, the sensor needs a calibration at Mercedes-Benz and they’ll proceed immediately, before shipping the car. I insisted on the importance of this €5k option, I did not want to drive 17000km without it. When the car reached Cayenne, after 200m, I tested my Distronic Plus, but the calibration was not done despite the confirmation of the workshop and invoicing. The MB official report also proofs that the manager lied, no calibration was done on this VIN in any MB dealership. I lost half a day at MB in Paramaribo (Suriname) and more than 1 day 4 weeks later at MB in Lima (Peru). Distronic Plus is not sold in South America, then MB dealerships didn’t have the necessary software and hardware to solve the issue.
After the trip, the car was returned to the workshop for calibration. Again, it was confirmed that the calibration was done at the MB dealership and I picked my car in May 2018. But after a couple of kilometers, I tested it and this feature was not working. The manager insisted on the fact that the calibration was done and tested, but unfortunately, the official MB report contradicts the workshop’s allegations. No MB dealership processed a calibration on my car, despite it was confirmed by the tuner. I had to visit another 2 MB dealerships to finally get the problem resolved by a third party. And the problem was: 1. the calibration was not done, 2. the metallic bumper sold and installed by the workshop is not compatible with the Distronic Plus sensor. A compatible bumper needs a support with 4 screws to adjust the sensor, unless you need a special calibration not provided by MB.
Tip: If you modify a car with active cruise control, make sure that the metallic bumper has an adjustable support to set up the sensor, otherwise it can’t work. And test it immediately after the modification.
The workshop installed an aluminum protection plate for the fuel tank (main tank). But they did not fill a 1cm gap between the tank and the protection, therefore stones got caught into this space and damaged the main tank by friction. This also happened to other car owners with the same setup. I had to repair my tank because of this non-compliant installation. Now the space is filled with a foam as it should be from the beginning, and this risk disappeared.
Tip: If you have a protection plate for your main fuel tank, make sure you fill the gap between the plate and the tank with foam, otherwise it will get damaged by friction.
During the 2017 trip, I discovered that my expensive Rigid Industries LED projectors were not set properly. Despite my detailed instructions, the technician made a mistake and set the long range projectors as fog lights with a beam at 10m in place of 300m. These projectors could not be used unfortunately. But the main 50’’ LED bar was absolutely fantastic in comparison with all other brands.
Tip: If you plan to install LED bars and projectors, take the best or nothing: Rigid Industries. It’s more expensive, but a no question asked lifetime warranty.
I discovered another major issue due to a huge lack of technical knowledge. While using the AUX battery system during only 2 months, the AUX battery died. It seemed that most of the other MB G500 owners I know also had to replace the aux battery regularly, but it did not disturb them that much. After 3 raids, when the third battery died in 2019, I decided to contact the battery manufacturer (Banner), suspecting that the brand was bad. I requested a full analyze of the battery, and I described the usage: awning, a couple of camping LED 3W projectors, a 75-1100W roof tent heater, 2x200W heating sticks for the warm water mostly used while driving (all of these loads fully known by the workshop, and installed by them). It was discovered that the workshop installed a starter battery and not a deep cycle battery. How a well-known off-road car tuner can install the wrong battery type? And it seems that most of the cars they modified have the same set up. They even installed a system that switches on my engine when the battery reaches the lowest point, showing that the AUX battery needs to be a deep cycle battery.
Tip: Never install a starter battery as an AUX battery if you use it for accessories lights, heaters, phone chargers, while the engine is off.
Additionally, after having replaced the 3rd defective AUX battery by the right type of deep cycle battery, again the battery was killed after 2 months driving across African countries, and after a low usage. This time, I decided to investigate deeper, and check if the current provided by the battery management system (BMS) respects the usual 7 different charging cycles that take care of the battery. You won’t believe me, I swear it’s true, the workshop did not install any BMS in my €78k off-road modification, they installed a huge relay between the main battery of the car and the AUX battery. This relay is simply activated by ignition. This means that at ignition, the relay simply short-cuts the 2 batteries and takes 100-300A + the power of the starter from the starter battery, and inject 100-300A to the AUX battery. A starter battery can usually give a so high current for a period of 2-3 seconds only (ignition process). It’s also what happened while connecting the jump start cables between 2 cars in order to start a car with a dead battery, and all know that this kills both of the batteries if the cables need to be connected more than a couple of seconds. On the other side, an AUX battery cannot support a so high current while charging. The installed system has no chance to work properly and damages all 2 batteries. This is very dangerous, the connectors and the relay are so hot when the AUX battery is down. This even put the fire to my car in 2019 in Africa, damaging the interior during an ignition. It even seems that the workshop was fully aware of this type of connection, because I found in the docs a drawing describing this criminal way to connect batteries.
Early 2019, I planned to move my car to Dubai, but as I detected this battery issue, I was forced to move the car to Germany first, to solve this issue. When I kindly informed the manager of the workshop that Banner found the real reason why most of his customers need to replace the battery regularly, he became very aggressive and he refused to solve the pending problems. He became very arrogant and even forced me to take my car in an impossible delay. I had to move it to an MB dealership, at my cost, and I asked the MB dealership to solve all problems the workshop was responsible of.
Tip: Make sure a BMS system is installed. I made some tests, and one of the best products for off-road use is the Ctek D250SE/Smartpass 120.
The workshop also installed on my car double suspension holders on the rear. This is a good option, because the car is quite heavy on the rear axle, due to the additional tank. But on the installed holders, the workshop engraved its own name, which fragilized the holders. On another car, these holders broke. The workshop had to replace them against plain holders. It was covered by the warranty.
Tip: Never allow a supplier to use you car for its own advertisement, it can fragilize the parts or can be a source of rust.
After each raid, when the car was back to the tuner, I requested him to give my car to the MB dealership to proceed a maintenance service. The workshop invoiced me the maintenance services twice, and after a service, the engine did not run properly. I contacted him, but he did not take action. I investigated a bit deeper, and I filed a complaint at MB HQ in Stuttgart. In the official MB report provided by the HQ, I discovered that despite invoicing by the workshop, my car was not serviced at any official MB dealership. Then I can highly suspect that nothing was done… just invoiced.
Tip: Never trust a workshop, give your car to your MB dealership yourself.
It’s important that your off-road partner is reachable when you have an issue. In my case, the manager of the workshop is now known a ‘never reachable’. The customer can reach some very nice employees in the administration only, but these kind people have no power of decision, and can’t solve any problem.
Tip: Take care at the reputation of the off-road tuning partner you’ll select , talk to existing customers, go online and check the ratings, the forums.
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Options factory installed
|114K||Steuercode Fuer Serviceintervall 20000 Km *Ung*|
|130K||Steuercode Fuer Kennzeichenleuchte Led *Ung*|
|302B||Head Unit + Instrument Cluster Language - German|
|347E||(Inv) Ecall Europe Emergency Call System|
|402B||Dvd Player With Regional Code 2 Europe,Japan*Inv*|
|427||Automatic Transmission 7-Speed|
|5XX||Europe - Dvd For Comand And Telematics Software|
|731H||Wood Trim Burred Walnut Root|
|775U||Iridium Silver Metallic Finish|
|BB3||Electronic Stability Program (Esp)|
|D07||Inner Headliner Gray Fabric|
|D27||Electric Sliding/Lifting Roof|
|EA2||Blind Spot Assistant|
|EU2||Comand Online With Dvd Changer|
|EZ8||Park Assist Parktronic|
|EZ9||Active Distance Assist Distronic|
|F463||Series Production 463 - Cross-Country Vehicle|
|FG3||Bottle Holder Rr *Inv*|
|FT2||Vehicle Weighing For Coc|
|G41||Automatic Gearbox 7G-Tronic Plus *Inv*|
|H10||Seat Heater For Driver And Front Passenger|
|H11||Heater For Rear Bench Seat|
|I86||Tires 265/60 R18|
|IC7||Inv* 36 (Compression Stage 5-6)|
|IG1||Series Production 463 - Cross-Country Vehicle|
|IL1||Federal Republic Of Germany|
|IV5||Etg - E1*96/79*0064*33 Model 463|
|L30||Protective Grille For Headlamps|
|M273||V8-Gasoline Engine M273|
|M55||Displacement 5.5 Litre *Inv*|
|MC5||Engine M273 E55 Ke *Inv*|
|P48||Rear Mud Flaps|
|PA1||Seat Comfort Package *Inv*|
|PA2||Rubber Floor Mats For Passenger And Load Compartm.|
|PA3||Exterior Stainless Steel Package|
|Q55||Trailer Hitch, Ball Head|
|RB9||Spare Wheel Cover, Stainless Steel|
|RM9||45.7 Cm (18") Lt Alloy Wheels In 5 Dbl-Spoke Des.|
|RY6||Tire Pressure Check|
|SD0||Isofix Child Seat Fixture|
|SP3||Leather Upholstery, Black|
|V56||Trim, Burred Walnut Veneer|
|VL0||Heated Multifunction Steering Wheel|
|VL2||Velour Floor Mats|
|X02||Ec Identification Plate|
|X30||Vehicle Registration Book|
|XU1||German Labels / Printed Material|
|XZ3||Modification Year 2013 (Model Year 2014)|
|Y78||Scratch Resistant Clear Varnish|
|YF3||Dvd For Operating And Display System Comand *Inv*|
|YF9||Garage Door Opener Integrated Into Inside Mirror|
|ZD0||G-Class Model Series 463|
Last updated: 29 Jun 2020 - 18:58:13 (MET)