Repairing the fridge

When I bought the MOG, I knew the fridge did not work.

I thought it might be an easy repair.  Unfortunately, like most things MOG, it wasn’t.

Apparently the previous owner tried to get it fixed in Columbia (The country) and the results were not successful.

In fact the repair job made things much worse.  The compressor was removed and disassembled. The controller was damaged, and all the refrigerant was released.

Here’s what I was looking at.

The compressor was in a box.

The controller was removed…

It was in pieces…

I thought I could just buy a new fridge, but that wasn’t possible since this model Dometic MDC-90 is not sold in the USA.  Nor can you buy one overseas and have it shipped here, for some reason.

So the search began for replacement parts…

The fridge actually uses very common parts, and over the course of a few months I was able to order them from around the world.  The problem was putting them all back together again.

It turns out the project was beyond my skill set.

But I did some more research, and it turns out this Dometic fridge is very common on sailboats.  So started searching all the sailing forums, and it turns out there is a very skilled Dometic repairman right here in Southern California!  So I called and spoke to Thor, at Thor Faber Marine Service in Huntington Beach.  I explained my problem and was simply told, “No problem, just bring the fridge and your parts.”

I was ecstatic!

Meet Thor…

Two weeks after dropping off the fridge, I got a call back telling me it was fixed and to come by and pick it up.

Amazing.  There are still a few skilled, and honest people in this world…

Thank you Thor!

It only took a few hours to get the fridge reinstalled in the Mog.

So YES!  We have a working fridge again.  Cold beer is now a reality.


If you ever need service on your Dometic fridge, I recommend Thor.

Here’s his contact info:

Thor Faber Marine Service

15271 Notingham Lane, Huntington Beach, CA.  92647

Phone: 562-577-0813


Headlight repairs – 24V R2 bulbs

So normally, when your vehicle blows a headlight bulb, you just go to your local auto parts store and get a replacement.

You open the hood, twist the fitting on the back of the headlight, replace the bulb and twist it back in.  No big deal.

But it’s not that easy on a Unimog.  First of all, the Mog Mahal is a former German Army Truck.

That means it runs a 24V electrical system.  Second of all, it does not use a standard 9004 or H4 bulb.  Nope.

It uses a 24V R2 bulb.  These have to be special ordered.

So here ‘s the blown bulb from the MOG compared to the new one I was able to source.

24V R2 bulb

Here’s the model I was able to find.

I sourced it from Susquehanna Motorsports.

CP48894 – 24V – 75/70W – 2150 / 1325 Lumens


So how do you install the blub?

First you have to remove the frame around the headlight assembly.

Those two small screws on the sides of the frame come out and the frame comes off.

Then remove the six hex nuts from around the perimeter of the headlight.

Then carefully, tilt the lens assembly forward revealing the wires and connector.

You will see both the main halogen headlight bulb, and the smaller parking light.  Both of these bulbs are 24V.

Disconnect all wires.

The left and the right headlights had slightly different wiring for the parking bulbs.

On my truck, the brown wire is the ground or negative wire.


You can see the smaller parking bulb on the right. I ordered it from  Osram – 4 watt 24 volt Miniature Bayonet Base #3930

To replace the main bulb, press and twist the grey metal cover counter clockwise.  It’s spring loaded and takes a fair amount of force to depress.

This reveals the R2 bulb behind it.

Pry out and swap out the bulb.  Reinstall the grey metal bracket, and reinstall the headlight assembly and the frame.

While I had the frames out, I sanded and repainted them.  The old paint was flaking off.

Then reconnect the wires, and reinstall.  Main light works!

And so does the smaller parking bulb.

Happy truck with both headlights working.

Driving Home – Part 2 – Day 4

I slept for three hours…

We were still in the camper, and the truck was still running.

We still had nearly 500 miles to travel before I could turn the engine off.

We got out of bed, climbed into the cab of the Unimog, and continued West towards Home.

It’s 1:00 am and my mantra was the same as the previous day, “Do not stall the Truck.” “Do not stall the Truck.” “Do not stall the Truck.”

Around 6:00am the sun slowly came up.  Dad was exhausted too.

I felt really bad.  Here’s my Dad, 77 years old passed out in the passenger seat while his idiot son has no choice but to drive two straight days because his 31 year old truck has a mechanical issue.

This is not the vacation I had envisioned.

But we had no choice… The road behind us was as straight as the road ahead of us, as we crossed the Mojave desert.

Many hours later, we finally crossed into California.

Dad was being a good sport.  We took a picture to commemorate the moment.

Only 200 miles to go.  That’s five hours.

Getting near Palm Springs.

Finally dropping in to the Los Angels basin.

Traffic starts getting pretty intense.  I’ve been driving for two days with not much sleep.  The MOG is 9 feet wide.

I’m being passed on both sides… Just another hour to go.

And Finally… We’re Home.

Five months after I purchased the MOG, we had driven it all the way cross the United States, from the port of Baltimore to Los Angeles.

Nearly 3000 miles.

It was so good to finally be Home.

The Mog had done well.  The starter motor wasn’t it’s problem.  That could have happened to any vehicle.

So now, we have plenty of time to work on the MOG.  Replace parts.  Do maintenance.  Get ready for the next adventure.

Stats for the day:



Driving Home – Part 2 – Day 3

After a great evening and relaxing diner, we slept very well.

The next day was looking to be a continuation of our good fortune.  In the pre-dawn light it looked light we were going to have another easy day…

But soon fate took a turn for the worse.

We hopped in the cab of the Unimog, turned the key, and were surprised by a new sound.



I turned the key again and got the same sound.



We sat there in the cab of the truck and I started to think…

The starter motor sprag was not engaging to turn the motor over.  The starter motor was working, but not engaging.

So there we are, 20 miles from the nearest town, and the truck won’t start…

We’re the only ones here and we haven’t seen anyone at all.

Time to think…

I remember I had this problem before on my old 1986 Isuzu Trooper II.

The solenoid was stuck, and it wouldn’t activate the plunger which sent the the pinion drive into contact with the motor.  The Starter motor would just spin freely.

So assuming we can get a new starter motor, here’s the next problem…

Can you find the starter motor in the engine compartment?


It’s all the way back there, behind the exhaust manifold, and above the front axle.  You couldn’t locate it in a more difficult location to work on it.

So there we were…

Plenty of time to think about this, because we’re not going anywhere.

You can’t tow a six ton Unimog.  It has air brakes, and without getting the motor started, you can’t get the air pressure up to disengage the air brakes.

The only solution is to get the motor started…

So back to my experience with the Isuzu Trooper II.  I learned that if you tap the starter motor, you can sometimes get the solenoid to work.

So that’s what I did.  For about two hours I tried tapping the starter motor from various angles and with various degrees of force and trying the ignition key…

And then, just once, the starter motor engaged the pinion drive, and the motor started!!!

Oh thank you Unimog Gods!  What a blessed sound!  I sat there in the cab, and very carefully made sure the motor warmed up and did not stall.

I sat there and thanked the Universe for this blessing.  The truck was running, and that’s all that mattered.

I closed the hood, and got back in the cab, and very carefully engaged the transmission and got the Mog rolling.

I had a new mantra.  “Do not stall the truck.” “Do not stall the truck.””Do not stall the truck.”

We got on the highway and continued our drive West.  Only 950 miles to Home.

We crossed the White Sands National Monument area.

And as I drove I realized… we can’t stall or turn the motor off till we get Home to Los Angeles because I may not be able to get it started again.

Just keep driving and keep the truck running.

We stopped in Alamagordo NM, and filled up on Diesel.  We were going to have to keep the motor idling all night when we stopped to sleep.  I did not want to run out of fuel.

The sun began to set in front of us.

We drove till about 10:30pm.

In Tucson AZ, we stopped at a truck stop, found a parking space in the back, left the engine running, locked the cab, and went to sleep in the camper on the back of the MOG.

It had been a stressful and exhausting day.  But we were grateful to have been able to keep going.  470 miles in a Unimog that has an average speed of 40 MPH.

That’s got to be some kind of record…

Stats for the day:  (Yes, the clock is still on Pacific time.)


Driving Home – Part 2 – Day 2

After a good nights sleep, we woke up, had a quick breakfast and coffee and were ready for another day of driving West.

Dad was in the passenger seat and eager to get going.

We headed west as the sun came up behind us casting the Mog’s shadow on the road in front of us.

The dirt road became a paved one, and our shadow became smaller.

The road was straight ans appeared to be endless.  I think we drove for over 60 miles without a corner.

After about three hours of driving, we crossed into Texas.

Aside from the chip seal on the road being a different color, the terrain was very similar.

The town of Wellington Texas has a main street paved with red bricks.

But we continued West.

Dad stares out the window thinking deep thoughts.

We crossed the Red River.

The North West corner of Texas actually had a few hills and offered an overlook for a view.

But then the road went straight for miles and miles.   I never knew Texas grew cotton.  It was everywhere.

Large grain silos.

And huge electric generating windmills.

As the sun began to set towards the West, our shadow became longer behind us.

Our destination for the evening was an OHV area, just outside of Roswell New Mexico.  We got there just in time to enjoy a spectacular sunset.

Unimog at Dusk

Spectacular sunset.

We enjoyed our end of day victory beers and considered ourselves to be fortunate.

For dinner we cooked some chicken breasts on the grill.

The MOG provided us with light to work by.

Dad relaxed and watched the full moon rise.

It was a long day. Stats for the day.

Driving Home – Part 2 – Day 1

So on November 3rd, 2017, I flew from LAX to Tulsa to begin the second half of “Bringing the MOG” home.  The cool thing is, my Dad was going to join me for this section of the journey!

We met up at the airport in Tulsa OK, on the evening of November 3rd and stayed at a hotel.

The next day we got at ride out to Broken Arrow, and there we found the MOG, right where I had left it some two months ago.

We tossed our luggage in the camper, jumped up into the cab, and it started right up.  Amazing!  Leave a 30 year old truck parked for two months, and it starts right up!  This MOG wants to roll!

So Dad and I were psyched to get headed West, and soon the miles began to roll past.

It was overcast, but we didn’t care, we were just happy to be driving.  The route I had chosen kept us on the smaller secondary roads, and would allow us to camp for free at BLM land or National Forests.

The scenery slowly went by, as we passed through small towns in Oklahoma.

After a couple of hours we stopped to stretch our legs and eat a sandwich.

Dad is in the passenger seat and settles in for the ride.

Oklahoma rolls past under our wheels.

Grain silos doted the landscape as we drove along.

Some of them were massive.

Towards the afternoon the skies cleared and we rolled steadily West.

Where we’re going looks like where we just came from in the rear view mirror…

Dad is enjoying the scenery as we roll along at 40 mph.

Our destination for the night is a Wildlife Sanctuary at the end of a dirt road in Western Oklahoma.

As the sun got lower on the horizon, we had excellent light for a few Unimog prOn pictures.

Dad and the MOG. (I’m such a fortunate person to have both.)

Panorama shot.

We continued down the dirt road towards our camp spot for the night.

A short while later, we arrived at our destination and got ready to make dinner.

But first, our victory beers to celebrate a great day on the road.

Father and Son, and the MOG.

Dad finds a chair and settles in to watch the sunset and enjoy the scenery.

We’re in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t the slightest sign of civilization anywhere.  Perfect.

The sun slowly sets to the West.

So now it’s time to cook dinner.

We get a barbecue going and grill the steaks.

Finally, dinner is served.

Stats for the day.


Driving Home – Part 1 – Day 5

The next day, we continued West towards our destination in Oklahoma.

We drove through many small towns.

Eventually we crossed the Oklahoma border.

Some long bridges over the man made lakes.

The Unimog was almost too wide for some of the main streets.

And soon we were at our destination for this portion of the trip.

Stats for the day.

We parked the Mog Mahal, and went out to celebrate the completion of Part 1 of the drive Home.

Huge margaritas for everyone!

So that’s the end of part 1.

The Escape Mog is safely parked at a friends house, and hopefully in late October I may have more time to continue the long trip Home.

Bye Mog.  Be safe. I hope to get back to you as soon as I can.