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  #1  
Old February 1st, 2007, 10:57 AM
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Advice for wannabe

I’m in. After years of lurking and coveting, I’ve finally convinced my wonderful wife that the right thing for me to do is to spend a ton of money on a 10 year old truck with a questionable reputation for quality and dependability. She was able to see the logic behind this even though I will only be driving it occasionally, mostly not for its intended purpose, and often in the extremely rust-inducing Maine winter weather. I think the facts that I am not mechanical and not wealthy really sealed the deal. One good thing is that there is a very good mechanic within AAA towing distance from my home.

My plan is to buy a 97 Coniston Green SW and to keep it forever. My questions for you guys are:

1. How important is mileage? Am I better offer buying a low-mileage garage queen or a high-mileage beater? (no offense intended.) My budget is not “Copley-esque” so this may be a moot point. But don’t the engines in these trucks die after 70,000 miles or so? Even if I spent a fortune on a low-mileage truck, wouldn’t I be looking at a new engine anyway? I’m not picky about dents and dings, ripped/torn interiors, cracked dashboards, or other minor issues resulting from 10 years of use.

2. Is the auto transmission as bad as the original manual transmissions in the 94/95s? (again, no offense intended.) I see lots of posts where people have replaced the original with an R380; will I need to replace the auto transmission eventually also?

3. What mods are recommended and which should I avoid? Initially, I will be doing some winter driving and occasional dirt road travel to my cabin. Eventually, I would like to do some off-roading but we’ll have to see. I read that terrible thread where a guy bought a 90 and it burned to a crisp the next day so brake lines are a given. Anything else?

4. What did I miss? How would you answer this question: Whatever you do, don’t buy one that’s …? Feel free to have some fun with this one. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old February 1st, 2007, 11:12 AM
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The search button will soon be your best friend. Honestly a lot of your questions will be written up in detail there.

Bottom line, what is your budget?
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  #3  
Old February 1st, 2007, 12:28 PM
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Tony Fannin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryBaxter
1. How important is mileage? Am I better offer buying a low-mileage garage queen or a high-mileage beater? (no offense intended.) My budget is not “Copley-esque” so this may be a moot point. But don’t the engines in these trucks die after 70,000 miles or so? Even if I spent a fortune on a low-mileage truck, wouldn’t I be looking at a new engine anyway? I’m not picky about dents and dings, ripped/torn interiors, cracked dashboards, or other minor issues resulting from 10 years of use.[/size][/font]
No, the engines don't die after 70K. Mine has about 140K and is still running strong after only a head gasket job at around 120K. Garage queens can be a lot of trouble. Find something with reasonable miles. Land Rovers like to be driven. If they sit for long periods they just rot away.

Quote:
2. Is the auto transmission as bad as the original manual transmissions in the 94/95s? (again, no offense intended.) I see lots of posts where people have replaced the original with an R380; will I need to replace the auto transmission eventually also?
I can't comment here. I've still got the original LT77 that came in my '94 and it's running trouble free. When it finally grenades I'll upgrade to an R380. The autos in '97s are very reliable.

Quote:
3. What mods are recommended and which should I avoid? Initially, I will be doing some winter driving and occasional dirt road travel to my cabin. Eventually, I would like to do some off-roading but we’ll have to see. I read that terrible thread where a guy bought a 90 and it burned to a crisp the next day so brake lines are a given. Anything else?
Drive it for a while and let your style of driving tell you what you need.

Quote:
4. Whatever you do, don’t buy one that’s …?
...been driven by Hippert.
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  #4  
Old February 1st, 2007, 12:42 PM
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In hindsite I would have bought a truck with a lot of miles that had been taken care of. Knowing what I know now. They are nice trucks and will last if taken care of. If you look around this site there is a ton of information here. The biggest enemy is rust IMO, since youre in the rust belt I dont imagine it willl be of too much concern. Whats your budget, or do you have kids?
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  #5  
Old February 1st, 2007, 12:45 PM
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Oil cooler lines caused my two burns, not the brake lines. Definetly a must-do, and a fire extinguisher in the cab.
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  #6  
Old February 1st, 2007, 12:46 PM
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David Marchand
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You should attend winter romp in two weeks. Many variations of d-90's from this site will be there.
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  #7  
Old February 1st, 2007, 01:22 PM
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All good stuff. Thanks and keep it coming.

Whats your budget, or do you have kids?
I have two teenage boys who will be passengers but not drivers. Budget right now is low to mid 20s.

Oil cooler lines caused my two burns, not the brake lines.
Yes, my mistake.

You should attend winter romp in two weeks.
I've e-mailed Bruce to see if I can tag along.
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  #8  
Old February 1st, 2007, 01:53 PM
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1. To me miles are not the issue, only rust. An engine will last a long time on synthetic and the ZF auto is very well built (I know of one with over 400k on it).
2. auto is better than the R380 in durability.
3. I would keep it stock unless you are going to wheel it. Keep it stock and figure out what you want.
4. Look around for a while and get what you want. Don't be afraid to pay more for a nice truck if you are keeping it long term.
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  #9  
Old February 1st, 2007, 02:05 PM
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I asked the kids questions since i know they can suck up a lot of funds. That being said I think of the Rover as being my child or blackhole rather.

Have you consider any other LR's Disco RRC? Are you hell bent on the Defender?
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  #10  
Old February 1st, 2007, 03:12 PM
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Have you consider any other LR's Disco RRC? Are you hell bent on the Defender?

I currently have a P38 with coil springs that meets all my (rational) needs. I've seriously considered getting a really nice restored Series truck but I keep drifting back to the D90. Twisted, I know.
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  #11  
Old February 1st, 2007, 09:16 PM
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Series coilers Rule! Honestly you could build a series coiler with all the tricks for way less than a 90. If it is a toy that won't see a lot of highway time this is a viable alternative given your budget.
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  #12  
Old February 2nd, 2007, 09:29 AM
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Honestly you could build a series coiler with all the tricks for way less than a 90. If it is a toy that won't see a lot of highway time this is a viable alternative given your budget.

Not much highway at all but I couldn't build a model of a Series truck with my lack of mechanical skills. Although I do have fond memories of that glue.
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  #13  
Old February 2nd, 2007, 09:41 AM
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Gary, How are you doing still searching for a defender....

I would recomend a high mileage RUST FREE truck. engines, trannys and transfer cases are cheap and plentful rust free bodies are not.

Just about every defender i have seen has rust on the door bottoms or bulkhead or floors or all the above.

except this one...


good luck with your search and dont hesitate in calling me if you want someone to look at a local truck.
Ron

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  #14  
Old February 2nd, 2007, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryBaxter
Honestly you could build a series coiler with all the tricks for way less than a 90. If it is a toy that won't see a lot of highway time this is a viable alternative given your budget.

Not much highway at all but I couldn't build a model of a Series truck with my lack of mechanical skills. Although I do have fond memories of that glue.

I meant pay someone to build it for you, with a low 20's budget I would give Matt a call at www.overlandengineering.com in Eliot, Maine. If you go the D90 route you will want to get to know him as well.
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  #15  
Old February 2nd, 2007, 11:37 AM
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That's good advice. Matt did the coil spring conversion on my P38 and I did ask him if he knew of any D90s or nice Series trucks. He said he had a couple of donor vehicles for a Series buildup but wouldn't be done 'til the end of 2007.

I know this is wimpy but I've heard that the Series trucks get really hot in the cab in the summer and I sweat like a pig when it's 75 degrees or hotter. I know it's faily easy to run multiple tops on an 88 but I have a thing for the 109s. Do those windshield vents really work?

Follow-up Post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ron
Gary, How are you doing still searching for a defender....

I would recomend a high mileage RUST FREE truck. engines, trannys and transfer cases are cheap and plentful rust free bodies are not.

Just about every defender i have seen has rust on the door bottoms or bulkhead or floors or all the above.

except this one...


good luck with your search and dont hesitate in calling me if you want someone to look at a local truck.
Ron

781 640 2640
Thanks Ron. Since I looked at yours my budget has actually decreased! I am really surprised that you still have yours for sale. When I drove it, it was magnificent and I could understand your reluctance to take it deep into the boondocks and beat it up. If we can figure out a way to turn it into a Coniston Green SW, I'll be going through my kids' piggy banks to scrape up the difference between my approved budget and your asking price.
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  #16  
Old February 2nd, 2007, 11:59 AM
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The series vehicles do get hot in the summer because of the exhaust pipe running down the bulkhead underneath your feet. You can try exhaust wrap to help keep it lower but it ain't going to help that much, especially if your sitting in traffic.


Neil
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  #17  
Old February 2nd, 2007, 12:50 PM
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How about those windshield vents? Any relief at all?
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  #18  
Old February 2nd, 2007, 02:09 PM
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The only reason it isnt sold is I have been trying to find another truck to replace it. I am very sensitive about rust so it took some time. I now have another truck that I will take in the woods and the red truck will be on its way to VA if all goes well.

Dont be afraid of high miles just make sure its been maintained.
The low mileage truck still command good money.
I know you dont want a ST but there is a nice one in VA for $21,000
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  #19  
Old February 2nd, 2007, 02:49 PM
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Thanks Ron

Quote:
Originally Posted by ron
The only reason it isnt sold is I have been trying to find another truck to replace it. I am very sensitive about rust so it took some time. I now have another truck that I will take in the woods and the red truck will be on its way to VA if all goes well.

Dont be afraid of high miles just make sure its been maintained.
The low mileage truck still command good money.
I know you dont want a ST but there is a nice one in VA for $21,000
I'm glad its found a good home and you will be back on the trails. Regarding the ST in VA, do you know year, color, owner?
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  #20  
Old February 2nd, 2007, 07:07 PM
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The vents help a little when your moving but it does nothing for your feet. You can cut in a vent on the side door like what someone did to my truck but it won't help. I heard someone installed AC in a series III 109 using a defender setup on a 2.25. It can be done.


Neil
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