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 Unimog 404 Lubrication

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 We use Amsoil Synthetic Lubricants exclusively throughout all of our vehicles, including our 1966 Mercedes Benz Unimog Funkwagen. "Funkwagen" means "Radio Van" in German.

This means many brands and types of vehicles since 1976, and over two million miles of driving.
We use Amsoil Series 2000J 0W-30 synthetic engine oil in the Mercedes 180 engine. We have found we get a great deal more power using the 0W-30. Oil consumption has gone up to a quart every 3000 miles, which is still very good. The extra power is well worth it!  
 The Unimog 180 engine uses Amsoil in the fan bearing, steering gearbox, idler pulley and the water pump bearing. Amsoil 80W-90 GL4 Gear Lube (AGT)  The Transmission is kept cool with Amsoil 80W-90 GL4 Gear Lube (AGT). I found that on a hot day, after 2 hours of wide open running, towing a Land Rover, the transmission was still relatively cool. The hottest point was at the bottom, at 134 degrees F.
You can't use GL-5 lubricants in a Unimog 404 transmission. The reason for this is GL5 gear oils have an additive that eats bronze. Amsoil GL-4 gear oils don't have this additive, so it is safe to use them in Unimog 404. Some folks fear the high temperatures caused by petroleum oils in Unimog transmissions. I don't blame them. I would too. They make oil coolers to try to save their transmissions. This adds lines to be broken by vibration, a stray rock or tree. A pump is added, which will probably fail when you need it most. 
Changing to Amsoil 80W-90 GL4 Gear Lube (AGT) reduces friction so much that the temperature is lowered more than a cooler will lower it with petroleum oil. I have so many "irons in the fire", I simply don't have the time to baby my Unimog along at slow speeds. As George Bull, the fellow who sold us our Mog said, "the Unimog 404 gas pedal is an on - off switch". 
We are often towing our Unimog trailer or Deuce and a Half trailer with a heavy load, or our Land Rover Lightweight behind our Unimog. This is often for three to eight hours without stopping over the mountains of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Most of this is at highway speeds, flat out. The hottest I've seen our transmission is 134 degrees F. This may be hot for human skin, but it's barely warm for steel, bronze and cast iron.

The rest of the gearboxes have all been lower than that temp. 
If you have a 404, you know how hard it is to shift from first and second gears to the higher ones. There is a "gate" in the transmission to prevent you from shifting into the higher gears while in reverse.

You have to gently tap the gear lever over to the right with you hand until it goes.
Our transmission had this common problem when we first got our Unimog.

After two changes of Amsoil Gear oil, the problem went away. I can now shift the transmission through all six gears as easily as you shift any automobile transmission.


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Copyright 2004, 2005 by Ed Sanders.