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Old 08-05-2011, 05:02 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Updated: Outback cripples Mercedes-Benz's toughest off-roaders

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Quote:
The outback proves a bit tough for some of Germany's best off-road warriors.
Mercedes-Benz has launched a rescue mission to one of the most remote sites in Australia after six of its military-style wagons broke down.
Corrugations along one 70-kilometre stretch of the Canning Stock Route burst the shock absorbers on six of the seven vehicles attempting to make what the German car maker claims is the first full crossing of the 1900-kilometre route through outback Western Australia by a car manufacturer.

Five "normal" versions of the G-Class off-roader - and one military-specification ute - started to burst mainly rear shock absorbers while travelling along stretches of the stock route extending from Well 33 to Well 35.

Fourteen people, including two Mercedes-Benz technicians and one Drive team member, are stranded at the remote site, part of an attempt to publicise the off-road credentials of the recently introduced, rugged off-road G-Class range.

The cars today limped into a campsite at Well 36, where Mercedes-Benz has temporarily halted the expedition while it waits for five new sets of shock absorbers - four in each set - to be flown in from Melbourne to a remote airstrip near Well 33, about 1000km north-east of Wiluna in central WA.

The car maker then hopes to complete the 14-day crossing, which still has about 800km to run - mainly across the dunes of the Great Sandy Desert - before reaching Halls Creek early next week.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific managing director Horst von Sanden admits the cars have been put through a lot of pain.

"When we undertook this journey we were well aware of the punishment that the vehicles would endure," he says. "We put in place a group of very experienced Outback operators who have the expertise and logistical knowledge to cover off any eventuality. This planning has more than paid off in ensuring that we reach our goal of Halls Creek on August 9, 2011.

"I have complete faith in the team out on the Canning and the thorough logistics and preparation the team have put in place," says von Sanden.
Mercedes-Benz Australia has arranged for the replacement shock absorbers to land in Perth today, before transferring to a light plane destined for a remote Aboriginal settlement close to Well 33, about 1000km from Wiluna, and at a cost of about $5000.

It will be met by the only vehicle in the expedition to not suffer a failure - a military-specification G-Wagen station wagon with a modified suspension similar to the 1800 vehicles currently being delivered to the Australian Defence Force.

Mercedes-Benz is currently assessing if it will bring the GProfessional, as the surviving vehicle is called, to Australia as part of the two-vehicle G-Class line-up, which currently only consists of the G350, powered by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6, and the G55 AMG, powered by a 5.5-litre V8.
Local spokesman David McCarthy says the broken shock absorbers - and three snapped spare wheel mounts - were expected.

"I think we don't make an omelette without breaking the eggs," he said.
"We knew it would be tough, but it is important to have the right (technical) people and the right infrastructure, and I think that's proven us right."

McCarthy says the corrugations on the road today were the worst the expedition had seen so far.

"The Canning Stock Route is in very bad condition in certain areas and has caused suspension damage to most vehicles disembarking north of Well 33 over the past 48 hours," he says. "We have reduced the pace we are travelling at to ensure the vehicles remain drivable, which all seven of them currently are."

Despite the damage, McCarthy remains confident that all seven vehicles will make it to Halls Creek.

"I'm not displeased with how it's gone so far, but what I am pleased with is how we've resolved it.

"The hardest decision for me was that I had to pay for a charter plane to get the replacement parts here quicker," McCarthy says.

"For me, it was not an option to take a vehicle out [of the crossing attempt]. This has been months and months in the planning."

The day was blighted by another incident when an after-market UHF radio shorted out, taking out a number of other fuses with it, and the failure of one car's air-conditioning system, a necessity in the 30-degree-plus heat of the outback.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:07 PM   #2
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Default No testing in Australia, says Benz


ough outback conditions won’t become G-Class’s proving ground.



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Australia’s tough outback won’t become the new testing ground for Mercedes-Benz’s off-road vehicles, the man behind the G-Class’s development says.
Erwin Wonisch, a Mercedes-Benz factory driver for the Austrian-built off-roader, says despite the outback bursting shock absorbers on six out of seven vehicles tackling the Canning Stock Route, testing for new-model development will still take place in northern Africa because Australia is “too far away”.
Corrugations along a 70-kilometre stretch of the 2000-kilometre Canning Stock Route – considered one of the most difficult crossings in the world because of its remote West Australian location – proved too much for many of the vehicles’ suspension systems, with two shock absorbers on separate cars eventually tearing themselves apart.
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Part of the problem is that the G350, powered by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6, uses the same suspension set-up as the fire-breathing G55 AMG that needs a stiffer ride to handle the higher cornering speeds that the 5.5-litre V8 is able to generate.
However, Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy says a post-launch meeting for the G-Class – it only arrived in Australia early this year after a 20-year absence from the market – decided the default suspension was too stiff.
He says vehicles arriving in September will have a softer suspension setting that should help with the tougher Australian conditions.
Meanwhile, the wait continues for a group of Australian and international journalists stranded near Well 36, about half-way along the Canning, while five complete sets of replacement shock absorbers are air-couriered from Perth after flying in from Melbourne overnight.
Mercedes-Benz has transformed the outback location into a makeshift service bay so that two technicians – including Wonisch – can replace the broken suspension components.
The parts are expected to fly into a dirt airstrip about 80km from the campsite, where the plane will be met by the only vehicle that has not suffered suspension failure.
That vehicle – a stripped-out, more off-road focussed version of the G-Class wagon known as the GProfessional – is currently being considered for introduction to the Australian market, with an expected price tag of about $100,000.
Also being considered are a ute version, which should sell for about $85,000, and a six-by-six cab chassis with a much higher carrying capacity than the ute that should sell for about $125,000
According to McCarthy, most of the interest in the more utilitarian models is coming from the mining industry, and the company expects that the wagon alone will potentially double G-Class’s sales to about 600 a year.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:36 PM   #3
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I'd consider a "GProfessional" if M-B imported them instead of the blinged out versions we get.
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:10 PM   #4
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The G-wagens are just shells of their former selves. A badass off-road truck that city slickers heard about and wanted so that they could say they owned, but hated the (lack of) creature comforts and..basically everything about it. They complained, MB 'fixed' the issue, and bam, you have the modern G-Wagen

This is all speculation of course, but I don't think I'm far off. I still would love to pick up one of the ex-military G-Wagens that the Canadian Forces are using.
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:24 PM   #5
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:28 PM   #6
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I saw this thread title and was expecting an Outback to be somehow breaking the legs of a Mercedes.
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Predwolf View Post
The G-wagens are just shells of their former selves. A badass off-road truck that city slickers heard about and wanted so that they could say they owned, but hated the (lack of) creature comforts and..basically everything about it. They complained, MB 'fixed' the issue, and bam, you have the modern G-Wagen

This is all speculation of course, but I don't think I'm far off. I still would love to pick up one of the ex-military G-Wagens that the Canadian Forces are using.
+1 - Wouldn't mind that or a surplus one of the USMC's IFAVs.

I drove one of the early gray market G's in the mid-1980s - GE280 IIRC. Would love one of a similar vintage, SWB hardtop with diesel, cloth seats, steelies. Actually today's G300 CDI Professional would work just fine.



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Old 08-05-2011, 11:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by AWDPilot View Post
Different route. Certainly no expert, but I think the Canning Stock Route is more remote and difficult than the route Motor Trend took the Subaru, though it is shorter. I don't recall Motor Trend's route having much off-road, though it had plenty of off-pavement.



Edit: actually, here's a Motor Trend quote:
Quote:
Our 3464-mile trip included a few detours, but basically followed the ony sealed road through the center of Australia, the Stuart Highway, named after the explorer who made the first south-north crossing 148 years ago.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:16 PM   #9
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Even MB's toughest off-roaders gets crippled. This just shows that nothing is unbreakable.

Anyway, I too was confused about the title of this tread. I thought a Subaru Outback out performed a MB truck.
Thanks for confusing me, op.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:20 PM   #10
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Yeah, I was confused by the thread title, too. I figured they got some bad shrimp at Outback Steakhouse.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:50 PM   #11
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^^

No,no, A guy named Outback cripples MB's toughest off-roaders with a baseball bat.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:50 PM   #12
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G500..what a waste of money
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:17 PM   #13
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Default Mercedes PR Stunt Backfires: G-Wagen Convoy Stranded In The Outback


Quote:
And not the steakhouse either, where suburban G-Wagens are usually sighted. No, Mercedes-Benz is launching a rescue mission deep into the heart of Australia’s outback, where six of its off-roaders have been stranded.
Five standard G-Class models and one “military-spec” example are stuck somewhere along the Canning Stock Route, where they blew their shock absorbers while crossing some rough terrain. Fourteen people have been stranded and are now waiting for Mercedes-Benz to fly in replacement parts to a remote airfield near their base camp.
Luckily for the team, they have ample provisions and are in little immediate danger (as long as they watch over their babies for dingoes). But the 14-day crossing of the Outback still has 800 kilometers to go, across the aptly-named Great Sandy Desert.
“When we undertook this journey we were well aware of the punishment that the vehicles would endure,” said Horst von Sanden, a managing director of Mercedes-Benz Australia. “We put in place a group of very experienced Outback operators who have the expertise and logistical knowledge to cover off any eventuality. “I have complete faith in the team out on the Canning and the thorough logistics and preparation the team have put in place.”
The military G-Class is the only vehicle to not break, rather unsurprisingly: it is similar to ones used by the Australian Defence Force, and in civilian markets is known as the GProfessional. It will meet the rescue flight at the airport and deliver parts to the stranded team.
This is Benz’s attempt to complete the first crossing of the Outback by car, 1,900 kilometers total across the desert: if there ever was a car to have faith in for completing dangerous off-road expeditions, it is the mighty G-Class. Now that the even mightier Outback has claimed another victim, though, we’re not so sure.
[Source: The Land]
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Old 08-07-2011, 04:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
....and the failure of one car's air-conditioning system, a necessity in the 30-degree-plus heat of the outback.
30 deg Celsius = 86 deg Fahrenheit

WIMPS!!!!
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Old 08-07-2011, 04:36 PM   #15
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OK SOA here's your big Chance, Grab Crocodile Dundee and the New Outback and show them how it's done..
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:06 PM   #16
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The good news is now they know what they need to fix, despite "not testing" there.
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:37 AM   #17
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I bet Top Gear and a Toyota Hi-Lux could make that pass. They did drive it to the North Pole which I think was a lot more difficult and dangerous than they portrayed it to be on TV.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:23 PM   #18
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The MB test team should have brought a couple of BMW adventure motorcycles with them.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:18 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by max_stirling View Post
I bet Top Gear and a Toyota Hi-Lux could make that pass. They did drive it to the North Pole which I think was a lot more difficult and dangerous than they portrayed it to be on TV.
Though you have to remember that Hilux was highly modified by Arctic Trucks. I believe the MBs that broke down were basically stock.

To continue the thought, I would have confidence in Toyota Hilux's and Landcrusiers performing as well as if not better than these G wagens...
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:24 PM   #20
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Subaru should take like 20 of their Subaru Outbacks out there and take a picture of them parked next to the broken down Mercedes, and somehow get some video and turn it into a commercial, magazine print ad, etc, then wave goodbye as they drive off in the non-broken Subaru......


heck, I would bet that 30 year old Subaru BRATS with a welded diff would make it thru, with 200k miles on the BRAT.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by bheinen74 View Post
Subaru should take like 20 of their Subaru Outbacks out there and take a picture of them parked next to the broken down Mercedes, and somehow get some video and turn it into a commercial, magazine print ad, etc, then wave goodbye as they drive off in the non-broken Subaru......


heck, I would bet that 30 year old Subaru BRATS with a welded diff would make it thru, with 200k miles on the BRAT.
I realize this is a Subaru forum and we're outside of OT, but this is just asking for trouble.

The BRAT wouldn't even be able to go half of the places as a W460 G-Wagen(1979-1991 vintage). Considering it came with a rear diff lock standard, and an optional front diff lock from the factory. Heck, you could even get power steering, ABS, Drivers-side airbag, heated seats and electric windows.

This thread actually made me search Craigslist for one. Found a W460 with 180k on it, 290GD(diesel inline-5). Dude wants $9k. That's less than any FJ40 I've ever seen.
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