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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am new to this site but could really use some advice. I am looking at a Unimog U100L, but this 5 cylinder 2.9L diesel (OM602) has no turbo and sounds underpowered. I have asked around about options for adding a turbo, but apparently not so easy. What are my alternatives? Replace the engine with a turbo version? Where to find these? I also see this is a 12V truck whereas most are 24V, so probably also not so easy to change to OM364LA. Any advice appreciated.
 

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250GD Wolf
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Yarr asks a great question, what is the intended purpose of the purchase? Overlanding? Run equipment? Plow snow (not likely in your area but you never know...)

The U100L (408.215) had a limited run of a whopping 96 units, and sported a 98PS OM602
The U100L Turbo (408.216) had a slightly larger run of 372 units, and had a 115PS OM602 DE 29 LA engine

Rumor has it parts for the 408 and 418 series trucks are getting harder and harder to find due to limited runs

Personally I'd go with Czechsix's advice and buy the right vehicle for the intended purpose but we are here to help if you buy a U100L and need it.
 

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'91 427.110 '02 405.230
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Yarr asks a great question, what is the intended purpose of the purchase? Overlanding? Run equipment? Plow snow (not likely in your area but you never know...)

The U100L (408.215) had a limited run of a whopping 96 units, and sported a 98PS OM602
The U100L Turbo (408.216) had a slightly larger run of 372 units, and had a 115PS OM602 DE 29 LA engine

Rumor has it parts for the 408 and 418 series trucks are getting harder and harder to find due to limited runs

Personally I'd go with Czechsix's advice and buy the right vehicle for the intended purpose but we are here to help if you buy a U100L and need it.
Wow. The numbers are even lower than I expected.
What I've learnt over the years of having a Mog are parts availability and serviceability, to be on top of the reasons to pick the right one.
With that few units of this particular model built, rumors might be true.
 

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250GD Wolf
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I love me some U140 with the slant nose though..someday maybe...someday.

That's just the U100L and U100L Turbo, but even with U90's, U110's and U140's added, it's a small pool compared to some of the Unimog models.

2610299


2610297
 

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Unimog S 404.114
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there where so few U408L/U418L built, just 672 of them.
The entire series was not very successful, it was built from all the variations altogether only 3273 copies.
So, have you found one or are you looking for one?

Many of 'em where sold to UK and Eire, but mostly with RHD.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi all, thanks so much for these inputs. I have seen this U100L (408.215) double cabin firetruck with low mileage and am particularly interested in this one because it is narrower (190 width) and lighter than others. We will be using this for overlanding with the kids, mainly Africa. We have done some long journeys with a Landrover Defender in the past (Amsterdam to Cape Town; Nairobi to Amsterdam; Minneapolis to Cuzco), but now wanted to carry some more goods including fridge and other luxuries. Maybe in future (when kids no longer coming) put a campercabin on the back?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Maybe as a follow-up question, what are the main spare parts to consider? I guess the OM602 engine has been widely implemented in other Mercedes cars/vans ?
 

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250GD Wolf
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I think the parts of concern, from my readings when I was interested in the U140L (similar to the U100L) was the main instrument cluster, in particular the LCD screen, they were getting harder and harder to find and it wasn't as robust as a part as typical Mercedes parts tend to be, so it was a point of failure. Also I know a fellow that had/has (have to check if he still has it) a U100L that was stalling under load. Typically in an Old Unimog you need: Fuel, compression, timing, air and voila they run. On the U100L you have more sophisticated systems and he was having issues finding someone that could diagnose and work on it. It was similar to a sprinter, but different enough that it wasn't as simple as pulling up to the sprinter repair depot and hooking up the computer and tuning it.

I have an OM602 in my Wolf, and I find the power output "sufficient". I can get up to highway speeds and maintain them, but if I want to pass someone doing 95km/h in a 100km/h zone, it requires a lot of run up, a long gap between oncoming traffic. Offroad however it has more than enough torque and power to move the Gwagon. I absolutly love it for back country cruising and hunting. Can't comment on a U100L but I imagine it would be a bit slower and even more underpowered, turning portal axles and a bit more weight. A popular swap on the Gwagons is to find an OM602a (turbo) powered Mercedes car, and swap the engine with all the turbo bits, using the Gwagon specific bits on the sedan engine, as the engines itself has oil sqiurters and other items you want to keep (rather than swap the turbo bits onto the Gwagon's engine). Not sure if that swap is also possible on the Unimog variant of the OM602.

Here's the LCD part of the cluster if you wanted to check around and see availability, also there are plenty of U130L's and U140L's running in the hundreds of thousand km's without issue, so I'm not sure how bad that part really is, or how detrimental it is should it die. (I still like the 408/418 series, Mercedes invested something like 80mil back in the day to develop them, so they are no less a Unimog than any other in my opinion). And the DoKa versions of the 408/418 series are just that much sweeter.

2611061
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Dear tkv000, that is a very valuable contribution. Thank you! Let me look into both these: availability of an OM602a and the instrument cluster. I agree with you that the U100L double cabin is a sweet-looking truck. We usually don't drive more than 80-90 km/hr on main roads, but the off-road capability needs to be great.
 

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Guuden,
The LAD display instrument is often defective.
There are two people here who can fix it for smal money.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks "BldyGerman"!
tkv000, you should get one. I drove a U140L Doka a few months ago and was amazing, but price was not right for a 1996 vehicle....
 
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