Five ways to make it bet­ter

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

1 swap the en­gine

One route to im­proved econ­omy and per­for­mance is a swap to a later turbo-diesel Mercedes en­gine. The OM606 unit from the 1990s E-Class is es­pe­cially pop­u­lar, but be warned – it’s not a job for the faint-hearted nor is it a cheap one if done prop­erly. A spe­cial­ist may charge up­wards of £10,000 once the cost of over­haul­ing the donor en­gine is taken into ac­count.

2 give it some tlc

If you want to keep your early ex­am­ple strictly orig­i­nal, then one of the best things you can do is to en­sure that it’s in per­fect me­chan­i­cal health. A thor­ough ser­vice with all of the main­te­nance items – such as greas­ing of the 4x4 sys­tem – at­tended to will let the true qual­ity of the G-Wa­gen shine through. Ne­glect can re­sult in big bills so this is well worth­while.

3 give it a facelift

Up­dat­ing an early model with a fresher grille and light units is a pop­u­lar up­date, and while orig­i­nal Mercedes parts are pricey you’ll find suit­able af­ter­mar­ket bits on­line. Ex­pect to pay a cou­ple of hun­dred pounds each for a grille and up­dated rear light units, while the G-Class Cen­tre sells a set of clear in­di­ca­tor lenses for £117. Much de­pends on your views on orig­i­nal­ity, though.

4 sus­pen­sion re­fresh

Age and ne­glect will soon take its toll on the sus­pen­sion, lead­ing to a poor ride and soggy han­dling. But rather than opt­ing for up­grades, a thor­ough over­haul with new and orig­i­nal-spec dampers and bushes will pay div­i­dends. A spe­cial­ist will charge £15002000 for a com­plete re­bush but it’s money well-spent be­cause it trans­forms the car’s feel.

5 weather proof­ing

Wa­ter leaks are never good news in a clas­sic, and per­ished win­dow seals lead to cor­ro­sion in the bot­toms of the G-Wa­gen’s doors. If they are look­ing past their best then a re­place­ment set costs around £140 if you go for gen­uine Mercedes parts, and fit­ting is straight­for­ward. It’s an af­ford­able way to pre­vent fu­ture prob­lems, so it’s well worth look­ing into.

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