Unimogs come in all shapes and
sizes often tailored to fulfill a specific role. Whether for exploration
of remote areas, week-end camping trips into the bush or for use in farming or
forestry, the Unimog combines legendary off-road ability with the characteristics
of a working vehicle able to move swiftly on the highway.
Over the past 40 years, the Unimog has earned its stripes with many
military forces throughout the world and has achieved an enviable
reputation for reliable operation and agility in the most inhospitable
By far the most well known model is the Unimog-S 404 of
which more than 65,000 were built and which today has become the
'affordable' Unimog to thousands of enthusiasts around the world.
The Unimog-S 404 is generally fitted with either a 'Koffer' radio-box or a
drop-side truck body with a canvas hood. Both are built on a special
subframe that allows the chassis to flex off-road.
To those contemplating long-distance journeys to remote areas, the
Unimog-S 404 with its unequaled cross-country ability and impressive payload
of almost 2 tons presents the ideal expedition vehicle especially when fitted with
the box-type rear body which is very suitable for camper conversions.
ADVANTAGES OF THE UNIMOG
The overlander is
confronted with a choice of vehicles suitable for travelling through
remote areas. The Unimog has few serious rivals.
far off-the-beaten track require a vehicle that is robust and reliable as
well as simple to maintain and repair. This excludes most modern-day
vehicles fitted with electronic engine-management systems.
The Unimog differentiates itself from other four-wheel-drive vehicles
primarily in the engineering quality, payload capacity and cross-country aptitude.
Engineered and built by Mercedes-Benz to undeniably
high standards, the Unimog offers mechanical reliability unknown to its
competitors. Drive train and suspension failures often experienced by
similar vehicles are virtually unknown to the Unimog and provided that
simple routine maintenance is carried out, the specification of the Unimog
encourages safe and reliable daily operation in areas far from
with the standard suspension has a maximum payload of 1,750 kgs either on-
or off-the-road. This allows carrying sufficient fuel, camping equipment
and provisions when traversing deserts or jungles without overloading the
vehicle. Overloading a vehicle required to travel over rough terrain is
often the main reason for mechanical breakdown.
The Unimog possesses
unsurpassed cross-country ability due to distinct features provided by a
flexible chassis frame, coil-sprung suspension, low-pressure tyres, four-wheel-drive
and axle differential locks that can be engaged and disegaged
whilst on the move. Portal axles provide ground clearance that other vehicles can
only envy. This gives the Unimog a tremendous advantage off-road because all chassis
components susceptible to damage in rough terrain are well out of harm's way.
Replacement parts are readily available and can be shipped if necessary to
anywhere in the world.
It is generally recommended to those planning
long-distance journeys to purchase a workshop manual and parts illustration booklets
in order to learn about routine maintenance operations.
It is always advisable to carry a basic spares kit. Based on our own experience
travelling extensively in Africa, we have put together a recommended list of parts for those
with long-distance travel plans.
Very little needs to be done to modify a Unimog mechanically for
expedition use. The ex-military Unimog-S is equipped to survive in very
similar situations to that encountered on any overland journey.
Due consideration should be given to the tyres chosen. Unimogs are
fitted with low pressure tyres available in various sizes and tread
patterns according to the terrain to be encountered. Special sand tyres
(XS), mud tyres (XCL) and multi-purpose tyres are available.
are a number of modifications that should be considered for travel in hot climates.
These are mentioned in the 'OPTIONS' section.
All Unimogs can be fitted with a front-mounted mechanical
self-recovery winch driven off the gearbox PTO.