Looking back on it, I think I could hear the sound of metal shearing when I drove the mog in Germany. But what did I know, that was the only mog I had ever driven and it would be kind of hard to tell anyway over the deafening engine noise. Almost as soon as we left the port in Charleston, S.C., the timing went wacky. We had planned out a back roads route back to Anderson and it ran through just a handful of towns. They usually had only a single traffic light or stop sign. But that was enough to kill our progress. Every time the mog came to a stop, it would die and it would require a distributor adjustment to advance the timing. Once it was tweaked, she would fire right up and we would be good till the next little town. Ran great except when you had to stop. By the time we got to Greenwood (175 mi.) we had advanced the distributor 180 degrees and it was getting dark. Time to call for a rollback and get the mog home. The distributor is driven by a gear off the timing chain and that gear is now a wheel. All the teeth were worn off. I guess when the engine was under load there was enough tension on the chain to drive the distributor but when there was any slack, you wound up with very variable timing! It wouldn''t have been that bad to fix but since the previous owner had swapped in an engine only sold in Europe, it was proving difficult to find parts here. Most of the unimog parts dealers stock military rebuilt engines and components and they are quite a good deal. With a rebuilt engine and tranny on the way, I started to prepare the mog for the new powertrain. With the cab and powertrain out of the way I started to clean up everything as best as I could. The plan was that I would get front half spruced up and after I got the engine and tranny installed, I would do the rest of the mog. Who am I kidding? If I got it back on the road I would probably never take it back off the road to finish the job. The next thing I know, I have the frame sitting on a pair of sawhorses and I am sandblasting away. It took almost two years of nights and weekends to finish up the restoration. I learned an awful lot about my mog and picked up a bunch of new skills (paint, bodywork, welding) not to mention some good tools.
Here's my maiden voyage in the newly rebuilt mog. Didn't even bother to put the seats in. Just throw a milk crate in there and we're ready to go!