Bonnet Badge restoration

Since the MOG is a former military truck, the original model name badge was removed.

Surprisingly enough, I was able to find a replacement in Europe.  Imagine that, finding original parts for a 31 year old truck.

Here’s what the badge looked like when I received it.

You can see it’s got many layers of paint on it, some of which appears to be done with a brush.

Well that just won’t do.

So I got some industrial strength paint remover and got to work.

I sprayed it and let it sit for ten minutes.

Then started scrubbing with an abrasive pad.

You can see some of the original army green paint under the black paint.

More paint remover and more scrubbing…

Third time, and some polishing.

I then sprayed it with a satin black spray paint.

Much better.  Worthy of the MOG.




New stickers

I have a friend who has the ability to make vinyl stickers so I asked him to make some for the MOG.

Much better!


Repairing holes in the camper unit

The MOG is not a KOA Queen…

This truck has traveled from Europe to Africa, then shipped over to South America and drove up from Ushuaia and after that north, through Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Equador and Colombia, and as a result is has a little wear and tear.

One of the bits of damage were two quarter sized holes in the camper unit.

They had been covered with duct tape, but it was time to get them repaired.

Fortunately, I’m pretty good are fiberglass repair so I got to work.  First I cleaned and prepped the area and got all the old adhesive off.

Then I mixed up some fiberglass body filler.

I filled the holes and sanded down the excess.

I let it dry for about an hour  and then masked off the area so I could paint it.

A few coats of epoxy spraypaint, let it dry for an hour, then remove the tape and paper.

Almost a perfect color match.  Much better than black tape and two holes.


New Starter Motor

As you may remember, we were nearly stranded when the starter motor malfunctioned outside of Roswell New Mexico.

With a bunch of tapping with a heavy wrench, and a bit of luck, we got the engine started and then proceeded to drive for two days without shutting the engine off.

Sometimes the truck would start, and sometimes it wouldn’t.  Obviously that’s unacceptable, so we searched for a new replacement.

It turns out that the only place I could find a replacement 24V started motor was in Poland.  We ordered it, and it took over two months to get it.  The next step was getting the old one out ans putting the new one in.

I’d like to thank Eddie and his guys at 88844MOTOR for his help.  They are located about two miles from my house and work on commercial trucks and semis and really know their stuff.  The them, a Unimog is just another big truck, and they weren’t phased at all.

If you ever need your MOG worked on, give them a call.

88844 motor

780 N Diamond Bar Blvd

Diamond Bar, CA.

Phone: 888-446-6867

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.)