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Thread: Defender Questions

  1. #1
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    Default Defender Questions

    I have a secret... I own a Land Cruiser and I like Land Rovers... There, I said it!!! I love my 80 3FE. (Till I have to go up hill on the highway. I get passed by loaded down big rigs.) I'm new here and it's my first Expo Vehicle. Its a great platform and I know I'm lucky to have it. But I'm a sinner. I covent Defenders.

    I spent the last night studying up on Defender history and know about the Series 90, 110, 130 etc.. I was always curious about why Discos and Rangie Rovers lost the value so quickly and a Defender was still big bucks even with a 100,000 miles. I also now know about imports after 25 years and DOT regs, NAV stuff. My guess is air bags killed the Defender here.

    So maybe you guys and answer a few questions and I might be able to resist the urge to splurge for my up coming 40th big one. I could mod the heck out of the 80 and get a boat with what a Defender cost. But then I wouldnt have a Defender.

    Do they hold the value because they were so few brought here to the states? Or are they just constructed that much better than a Disco or Disco II? Do they make decent highway vehs. Meaning can you drive them on a highway at 75-80 mph for long distances. And how long will the engine last? I read on here that no Land Rover wil ever see 150,000 without major work.

    If I did make the big leap. I'll be looking at getting one with about 60 to 80,0000 on the clock. It wouldnt be a DD and I would like to owe it forever.

    Do they need to be worked on at a dealership? I'm not to handy with wrenches for major stuff. Last thing. Can you set up a sleep platform in the back of a 90, or too short?
    Last edited by OneTime; 04-12-2008 at 06:52 AM.

  2. #2
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    Ahhhh, you've come to the right place sinner I think the reason the Defenders are so outrageous is simple supply/demand. You have it right that the low numbers legally imported from 1993 to 1997 have kept the market red hot. I really don't think they are better than the Disco 1 or 2, especially in the comfort department. They may be a bit more reliable due to being assembled with less electronics but I am a firm believer that reliability is directly proportional to preventative maintenance. Even with excellent care you will have gotten you money's worth at 150K for the engine, expect to at least do the top. They are very basic to work on and do not need a dealer at all. The rear in a 90 is WAY too short for comfort; think of a 90 as like a Jeep for length measurements. For all things Defender check out www.d-90.com. Good luck with your search and don't even bother fighting it
    1997 D-90 SW LE
    1989 FJ62
    Adventure Trailer Horizon
    Tread Lightly! Trainer
    KI6GRW
    90% of all Land Rovers ever built are still on the road, the other 10% made it home...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Walcker
    Ahhhh, you've come to the right place sinner I think the reason the Defenders are so outrageous is simple supply/demand. You have it right that the low numbers legally imported from 1993 to 1997 have kept the market red hot. I really don't think they are better than the Disco 1 or 2, especially in the comfort department. They may be a bit more reliable due to being assembled with less electronics but I am a firm believer that reliability is directly proportional to preventative maintenance. Even with excellent care you will have gotten you money's worth at 150K for the engine, expect to at least do the top. They are very basic to work on and do not need a dealer at all. The rear in a 90 is WAY too short for comfort; think of a 90 as like a Jeep for length measurements. For all things Defender check out www.d-90.com. Good luck with your search and don't even bother fighting it
    What Andrew said and more! I tried to resist the draw of such an exotic and expensive vehicle, think practically and so on... But in the end the big box of a truck won out and I wrote that big check. Series or coiler, these big boxes have an iconic appeal to all that ever though about exploring Africa or other parts unknown.. It's just not the same in a modern vehicle. My Disco will perform just as well (if not a lot better) off and on the road with more comfort and reasonable reliability but the Defender has all that room!! The differences pretty much end there, underneath they are pretty much the same. But hopping behind the wheel of my big red box is so much cooler!
    Cheers!

    Keith
    04 Dodge 3500 4X4 CUMMINS POWERED!
    RT1 '97 Disco SD (on steroids) Sold
    RT2 '97 Disco XD (built to rock)
    RT110 '85 110 (Getting bigger, badder and better)
    '95 RRC LWB (Sadly it is sold )
    '67 S2a 109 SW (someday I'll finish it) Sold...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Walcker
    ...don't even bother fighting it
    LOL - out loud!
    Michael Slade

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Slade
    LOL - out loud!

    That said.. (and very well put I might add) just buy Slade's truck and get it over with!
    Cheers!

    Keith
    04 Dodge 3500 4X4 CUMMINS POWERED!
    RT1 '97 Disco SD (on steroids) Sold
    RT2 '97 Disco XD (built to rock)
    RT110 '85 110 (Getting bigger, badder and better)
    '95 RRC LWB (Sadly it is sold )
    '67 S2a 109 SW (someday I'll finish it) Sold...

  6. #6
    Alaska Mike's Avatar
    Alaska Mike is offline Expedition Portal Moderator ExPo Moderator/Eye Candy
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    To be honest, I'd keep what you have. They're killer rigs.

    A quick check of eBay shows that NAS Defender 90s (and others that were likely imported into the country legally) run for about $25K-$32K. I'm sure there may be a few here and there that run for considerably less. Expect to pay a premium for a NAS 110.

    If you're set on getting a Rover with those looks, I'd consider a well-maintained Series III 109 (good bulkhead and other main components), then take it to a fab shop like East Coast Rovers to have a galvy coiler frame, power steering, an American MPFI V6 or V8 and truck transmission installed. Swap in Seriestrek front axle shafts and a Toyota front e-locker diff, match the gears in the rear Salibury with an ARB. Even after all of that, you'll probably be around the price of a well-maintained D-90/110, with the advantage of having beefier/fresher components, greater/easier parts availability, and very possibly better gas mileage. You'd have all of the Series "street cred" with all of the coiler performance advantages. It would be a long process, but you'd have a unique vehicle.

    In the long run, I'd run what you have if it were my choice. However, since history has proven that I am a slave to whim and urge, and personal choice is obviously not one of my superpowers, do your research carefully, decide what you want/need, open your checkbook, and then don't look back.

  7. #7
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    Like Mike said, a decent D90 will run you 35k and a good 110 will be twice that. Really, that's a lot of money for what you get. These trucks will be close to original shape and expect a bit of maintenance and repairs. For the same money and a little bit of patience and hard work you can build yourself a Series truck that's just as capable, basically new and has Mike's street cred of a leafer. Series trucks lend themselves to do-it-yourself repairs and modifications and can be made to suit your needs. If you don't like leafs, you can build it on a coil chassis. You can also choose just about any engine and tranny combination that you want. Diesel, V8 ga, V6, Manual tranny or automatic, whatever you want. For the $40,000 a nice D90 will cost you, you can build up a very cool Series and build it just the way you want.

    jim
    OM616 powered 88 Land Rover
    OM617 turbo powered 109

    Built, not bought

    http://www.seriestrek.com

    Wishful thinking and just plain ignorance

  8. #8
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    Or as stated, a Discovery is pretty much just as capable as a Defender, with the probably exception of departure and breakover angles. But you could built up a killer Disco for the price of a Defender, and have much more comfort too.

    Just gotta decide what you want.

  9. #9
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    Decisions, Decisions. I need a bigger garage. Or maybe if I didnt have five kids I could have five vehs. I think Im more on a LC 80 budget right now. But It nice to have dreams and knoweldge if the opportuntity ever presents itself.

  10. #10
    Alaska Mike's Avatar
    Alaska Mike is offline Expedition Portal Moderator ExPo Moderator/Eye Candy
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    I think you made a good decision. You have an iconic expedition rig already, and a few modifications (expedition bling) could make it extremely lust-worthy.

    Hopefully Land Rover's new owners will bring back utility vehicles to the NA market, and these obnoxious prices for Defenders will be a thing of the past. Well, a guy can hope, can't he?

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