Rally Raid G-Wagen build for the Sonora Rally

GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
Greetings to all on this board. I'd like to make a formal introduction to you all, my name is James and my team/business partner is William. We are two Mercedes-Benz diehard fans crossing over from our love of off-road vehicle dependent overland travel and into the realm of off-road rally racing, a dream of both of ours. We have created a company, GeländeVentures and teamed up with OCD Custom Cycles and Auto Repair of Santa Fe, NM. We will be racing under OCD's banner of Kraut Racing in the 2016 Sonora Rally. Together, and with the help of many others, we are building a 1988 SWB G-wagen into a Jackie Ickx '83 Paris-Dakar inspired rally G! Pictured here.
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We are all very excited for the adventure ahead of us, both in the build and the race. We look foreword to sharing our build and gaining feedback and advise from anyone who is interested in sharing.
 

GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
Our trusty steed is a 1988 230ge we bought from a fellow G enthusiast from eastern Canada. The old girl arrived on the back of a semi where we met it at a truck stop on the west end of Albuquerque. Once unloaded, we wasted no time taking it out to the local OHV area where we proceeded to flog the crap out of it until we broke the clutch. Once we towed her back to my place, we proceeded to tear the interior out and strip any and all unnecessary weight, the 230ge is a 2.3l inline four cylinder engine, we need to shed as much weight as possible.
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GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
The next order of business was addressing NE Canadian rust, something us desert dwellers hate to see. Most of it is contained to fenders, and since she won't be judged in any beauty contests, we decided to go ahead and cut as much out as we could and patch panel the holes.
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GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
Next was fitting aluminum roof vents, aluminum panels to replace the rear glass and eliminating electric locks/windows and a few other luxuries no longer needed.
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GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
Currently, our G is in the hands of Overland Motorsports LLC here in Albuquerque, where she is getting the roll cage fabricated. These guys are doing a fantastic job and we will be brining it back to them in a month or so to have them do the suspension/frame modifications and reinforcements.
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Are you planning to stay with the 2.3 inline four?
 

GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
What are you using for navigational systems?
Greetings, this is William here. I'll be in the navigator's seat of our G Wagen. I can't say how psyched I am to be doing this.

I have some past experience with a sextant and chronograph but I don't think that would work to well for a rally raid...

Being a total novice, I'm drawn towards a redundant system with varying technologies. While nothing is set, the Terratrip 303 GPS with a wheel sensor as the secondary input and (even though I'm not a motorcycle guy) and the secondary unit would be an ICO RallyMax G.

The thing I like about the ICO unit is that is shows CAP heading.

I'd get the auxiliary display to put in front of James so he has a digital odometer and heading.

All advice is appreciated.

William
 

GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
Are you planning to stay with the 2.3 inline four?
Yep. For this raid we'll be almost stock with the motor and drivetrain.

Our mechanic is a legendary G Wagen specialist and says he can do some tweaking on the 2.3 motor without compromising its reliability. Cam, mild porting, injectors, cold air intake, exhaust and fine tuning of the K Jetronic is what we have discussed so far.

He's heading home to Germany for a few weeks in January and will be visiting a bunch of Mercedes tuning and offroad shops to see what he can learn.

In the end we are hoping for a super reliable and strong sub 4000 pound vehicle with 130-140hp. The transmission is a 5 speed manual. We know it won't be anywhere near a Raptor but it is an extremely simple and reliable setup.

We're total newbies so any input/advise is really appreciated.

William
 
I'm concerned re that hp to weight ratio in soft dunes. I'd make sand ladders, a winch and a sand anchor primary components of your kit.
 

Mike Coleman

Well-Known Member
William looks like a fun build. I signed up the other day for the rally as well. 92 Ford 4x4. I will try and post some picks of the truck when I start the build next month. Good luck.
 

GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
I'm concerned re that hp to weight ratio in soft dunes. I'd make sand ladders, a winch and a sand anchor primary components of your kit.
Yikes! I know it's not ideal but I hope it's not awful.

Winch, ladders and anchor are indeed on the list.

When we get into the training/tuning phase we'll definitely let you know how it does.

Right now we are beginning the tire discussion. Sand, puncture resistance, maybe a little mud ... So many options....
 

GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
William looks like a fun build. I signed up the other day for the rally as well. 92 Ford 4x4. I will try and post some picks of the truck when I start the build next month. Good luck.
Mike,

Awesome! Please do post pics. Feel free to do so on the Gelandeventuresllc Facebook site as well. Our folks are loving it.

It's amazing how fast the build window goes by.... We'll be at the start in 14 weeks!

What do you say - winners buy a beer in Puerto Penasco? Looking forward to meeting you.

William
 

Mike Coleman

Well-Known Member
William,
I love buying fellow competitors beers. Ha Ha. I will post some pics after the new year. I have one other build going on on this form "Roseanne". That truck is taking most of my time now.
 

Slippery P

Well-Known Member
Yikes! I know it's not ideal but I hope it's not awful.
Have you considered running a turbo?
A little bit of boost can go a long way and still remain reliable if properly tuned.
 

GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
Have you considered running a turbo?
A little bit of boost can go a long way and still remain reliable if properly tuned.
It could happen, a turbo would be sweet. our issue is wanting to stay out of a modified class where I'm pretty sure we'd be eaten alive by more modern platforms. We chose this particular G model based on its lack of weight, compared to other G class models. The four banger is every bit as strong, when tuned a little, as the six cylinder model which is mounted in a heavier four door body G. Our race partner/mechanic is a well known and respected Gwagen master mechanic. He has no doubts we will have a plenty good platform when we are done.
 

GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
Mike...just read the whole Roseanne thread... Holy moly! What a project! Thankfully she won't be in the Cortez this year! The history is really cool.

For this year it's gonna be fun... An old beat up 4 banger Mercedes against an old beat up '92 Ford - on a Skilton/Whitney 4 day course! Yikes!

Who do you have as navigator? Have you settled on a navigation computer setup yet? I'm 100% new to this navigation thing and can use all the inside info I can get.

We're about a 6 weeks out on our nav equipment selection and I'll certainly keep it posted.

Fish tacos in Puerto Penasco.... And beers....

William
 

Mike Coleman

Well-Known Member
William
A good friend of mine John Cole is my navigator. He will be doing the Sonora Rally and the NORRA. I bought a TerraTrip 303 for the rally computer. I was under the impression it is one of the better brands to use in a rally. It has GPS for calibration. I will be doing some shock testing and Terratrip navigation in the sand this New Years at Glamis.
M.C.
 

GelandeVentures

Well-Known Member
Mike,

How's your prep going?

I'm just about to order a Terratrip as well.

Our G Wagen is at the suspension shop now. You are way ahead of us with your suspension tuning. We can't wait to get to that point. We're going with some Fox triple bypass shocks and can't wait to see how it rides!

It's hard to believe that the Sonora is just over 9 weeks out.

Well post some more build pics soon.

Looking forward to meeting you and John.

William
 
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