How Reliable is a D-90 - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old February 26th, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Ed Belisle
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How Reliable is a D-90

Hello All-
I am looking into purchasing a 1997 D-90 SW with 76000 miles. I have always horror stories about these things when it comes to reliability. My mother in law had a friend who had one and he said he had nothing but problems with it(mostly electrical). I come from a Jeep background but have always had my eye on a Defender 90. I am just curious to how these things are from other people.

Thanks in advance.
Ed
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  #2  
Old February 26th, 2007, 08:28 PM
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Scott
1997 D90 ST #1444
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Ed,

This site is dedicated to the D-90. What kind of answer do you think you are going to get? Every type of car/truck on the planet has issues. You get what you pay for, have the truck inspected, check over every nut and bolt, look into any rust issues and either buy or don't.

My sister had a jeep years ago and had nothing but problems, but others have had no issues, Land Rovers are the same...if it is take care of, you should have less problems.
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  #3  
Old February 26th, 2007, 08:45 PM
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Ed Belisle
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I understand that this is a site dedicated to D90s. I am just looking for common problems to look out for. I will purchase this D90 regardless of what you guys say. I just want to know what I am getting into. Sorry if I came across the wrong way.
Thanks again.
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  #4  
Old February 26th, 2007, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foto202
Hello All-
I am looking into purchasing a 1997 D-90 SW with 76000 miles. I have always horror stories about these things when it comes to reliability. My mother in law had a friend who had one and he said he had nothing but problems with it(mostly electrical). I come from a Jeep background but have always had my eye on a Defender 90. I am just curious to how these things are from other people.

Thanks in advance.
Ed
Think of a Jeep with the same amount of miles on it from the same year. Make an estimate of what you think that vehicle would cost in maintenance and repairs in a year.











Then triple it.
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  #5  
Old February 26th, 2007, 09:16 PM
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Jesse McCoy
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Use the search, it's been discussed before and there is some good insight here.
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  #6  
Old February 26th, 2007, 09:25 PM
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Hey Ed, welcome to the family.

As Scott stated, you can get all types of answers regarding your question. <knocking on wood> I've had my truck since July last year and haven't run into any issues. At the same time, I've read horror stories from the board, which has put me in 'preventive maintanence' mode with my truck. When I read something that I deem pertinent, I investigate/fix it before it can be an issue.

This truck isn't for someone with a small change purse, so keep that in mind. Buck's right.

Make the first order of business changing out your oil line, if it hasn't been done already!

Good luck with your purchase and again welcome!
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  #7  
Old February 26th, 2007, 09:42 PM
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Scott
1997 D90 ST #1444
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Ed,

Post some details of the truck, year, color, ST/SW, city, state, modifications and etc. Someone here may have owned the truck or known someone that did. Not to mention, they more than likely would be willing to check it out with you, for a few beers.

Also, you could join your local LR club

Good luck,

Scott
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  #8  
Old February 26th, 2007, 10:50 PM
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You'll love it. I've had mine five years, it was five years old when I bought it. I've had less trouble out of it than I had with a new Jeep that I owned back in the day. I only owned the Jeep about three years.

Maintenance costs are higher (parts) than what you might be used to though.
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  #9  
Old February 27th, 2007, 01:33 AM
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Shawn Palmer
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Your fuel guage will bounce around, your odometer will go on and off, your stock radio will eventually need its screen replaced, the oil lines should be replaced the day you pick it up, your headliner will sag(if it is a SW), on some 97's the center of the steering wheel has a mysterious degrading issue, the bolts will start to rust on the hood and doors then you will need to buy a stainless replacement kit, you may find a leak has developed because the filler used on the hardtop has weathered and cracked(this helps the sagging of your headliner), the fuel tank skid plate may have rust under it, you will probably experience some issue with lights not working(marker, tail, headlights, dash lights), your headlight switch will either loosen up and need to be retightened on a dark night or it will burn out at some point and need to be replaced, some moron will dent your hood with a frisbee at a football game or open his door into your door causing a nasty dent, your wife will tell you she hates it/but your dog will love it

You will go broke keeping it up, but it is worth every penny when people point and wave to you.

It is the most expensive habit you can have besides being a private pilot.
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  #10  
Old February 27th, 2007, 02:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuddyOval
It is the most expensive habit you can have besides being a private pilot.
Or possibly a coke-head.

The guys [above] are right. Like a good mistress you'll pay through the nose to keep her quiet and to keep her physique, but don't worry.

She'll reciprocate. You get the metaphor, right.

If you don't love it, chances are you'll end up loathing it.
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  #11  
Old February 27th, 2007, 06:53 AM
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Ed Belisle
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Thanks for the replys. I am going to see this thing in person on Wed or Thursday. I will take some pics and post them up. The current owner did mention that he just did the front and rear brakes and I think the front rotors. He also said that I may want to get that stainless bolt kit because of some rusting on the bolts. The only other thing I know is that it is blue.
It seems most of you guys use this as your toy. How will it be as a daily driver?
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  #12  
Old February 27th, 2007, 07:28 AM
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Great daily driver if your commute is close. Mine was a Daily driver for 4-5 years when I had a 9 miles commute (each way). When my commute changed to 30 miles (each way), it took 2 -3 years but it finally wore me down. I still have the 90, buy I have a cheep car for commuting.

The problem with a long commute for me was: No creature comforts, I could not really hear the radio on the highway that well, I was getting gas every 2-3 days with the gas tank size, the mpg is bad, AND - the truck is worth too much to be pouring miles on it in my opinion. Once I got a handle on the value that these trucks were holding, it did not make sence to drive it into the ground.

Now I use it for a lot of close errands, some special trips, and ocasional trip to work, etc. By keeping the miles down (I drive it now maybe 5k a year), I feel I keep the value up, and the maitence cost down.

FLAGG
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  #13  
Old February 27th, 2007, 09:42 AM
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Chris Davis
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These are great trucks for daily drivers. The short wheelbase makes them spin around easier in the snow or wet roads which takes a lot of the monotony out of the daily commute. Also, instead of having that one "new car smell" you get lots of random smells that usually make you think of things burning like rubber, plastic, or your engine. Much better than just "spacing out" while driving--it is sort of a game! Have you ever stepped in mud but still had to get in your truck? Now, you don't have to worry about showing up to work with dirty shoes when it is raining! The trucks have this great feature when it rains--A SHOE CLEANER!--water just drips onto your feet until your shoes are clean! How cool is that! Most people don't know crap about car electronics and wiring. The GREAT thing about the D90 is that it teaches you slowly, over years, all the different things that can go wrong. Things like sensors, ecu's, every fawking switch connected to lighting loads, amplification modules, stepper motors, GOSH, the list just makes me want to run out to the driveway and start tinkering! IMAGINE THE FUN TO BE HAD! No more running outside in the rain, jumping in your truck and cruising to work! Now you have to take the day off because in the rain, sometimes the truck just reminds you--screw work, go back to bed--you say "no, I have to go to work" and you turn the key and it retorts with "click, click, click, click". Man, the joy!

So, bottom line, if you can't smile when this stuff happens to you and you want reliability for a daily driver, get a FJ Cruiser or a Rubicon Unlimited or something like that. If, on the other hand, you throw out every valid argument why you should not get one and get it anyways because it just calls you in ways that other trucks don't, then WELCOME ABOARD!
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  #14  
Old February 27th, 2007, 10:11 AM
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Matt J.
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I have nothing useful to add to this discussion... I posted nearly the same question a few months back, and ended up buying the 95 Classic Range Rover LWB. It fit me better physically and for my uses. I'm concerned about reliability, but I'm a glutton (other/previous money suckers are Ducatis and a wooden sailboat). I figure I'll do what was mentioned above - hear of a problem and prevent it.

My budget's anything but unlimited, so I'm also hoping for a bit of luck.

-Matt (also a former Jeep guy for 10 years and 300k miles)
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  #15  
Old February 27th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Tyler
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Its my only vehicle so I've gotten use to driving long/short distances with it. Its not bad if you turn the radio up you can hear it but so can everyone else. Mechanically you'll learn how to fix it or pay through the nose at a dealer. I don't know much about the deals or shops down in Chesapeake but join ROAV (Rover Owners Association of Virginia) www.roav.org
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  #16  
Old February 27th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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Ed Belisle
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Thanks for link Tyler.
I drove a 1983 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler as a daily for 1 1/2 years. I'm used to smelling like exhaust and rain water dripping in all over my leg. Also the noise doesn't bother me too much. It's a little tough to hear people on my cell but that's a small price to pay.
Luckily my best friend is an ASE mechanic and told me as long as I get the manual he should be able to replace parts for me. As for knowing what is wrong that will be another story.
I will probably keep my 2005 Honda Pilot as my main driver.
Thanks again for all of the input.
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  #17  
Old February 27th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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Randy Black
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flippedrover
Its my only vehicle so I've gotten use to driving long/short distances with it. Its not bad if you turn the radio up you can hear it but so can everyone else. Mechanically you'll learn how to fix it or pay through the nose at a dealer. I don't know much about the deals or shops down in Chesapeake but join ROAV (Rover Owners Association of Virginia) www.roav.org

Get an IPod, plug it into your head and crank it up. You will not hear the wind, tire, transmission, tcase noise. You will also not hear trains comming at railroad crossings, emergency vehicles, and other distractions.
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  #18  
Old February 27th, 2007, 11:06 AM
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Donald McDowell
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Not much to add after so many wonderful, haliarious and accurate posts, but I have owned my D-90 over a year and grew up in them and without question, some of my worst days in my Defender are still better and more fun than most of my best days in my loaded Mitsubishi Montero.
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  #19  
Old February 27th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foto202
Luckily my best friend is an ASE mechanic and told me as long as I get the manual he should be able to replace parts for me. As for knowing what is wrong that will be another story.
Be very carefully who you have work on your rover, regardless of him being a ASE mechanic doesnt make him a 'Rover' mechanic. I've learn from the board, Rover friends and Rover mechanic that there are certain unique quirks to a Rover that every day mechanics don't know about or just 'assume' the same as any other vehicle. I wouldn't put my rover in the hands of even some LR mechanics without finding out their background.

some examples: brake fluid type, oil changes, oil filters...
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  #20  
Old February 27th, 2007, 11:51 AM
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Matt J.
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I dropped the RR off for a state inspection - and oil change - at the local shop... the oil change was a last minute idea. What should I be concerned with?

Quote:
Originally Posted by themaxx
Be very carefully who you have work on your rover, regardless of him being a ASE mechanic doesnt make him a 'Rover' mechanic. I've learn from the board, Rover friends and Rover mechanic that there are certain unique quirks to a Rover that every day mechanics don't know about or just 'assume' the same as any other vehicle. I wouldn't put my rover in the hands of even some LR mechanics without finding out their background.

some examples: brake fluid type, oil changes, oil filters...
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