My ROW 110 Purchase/Import saga - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old November 12th, 2015, 03:14 PM
jason1st
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Jason Crandall
2006 LR3 2012 SC 1983 110
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My ROW 110 Purchase/Import saga

Like many of you, I've always loved Defenders. I shopped them for a long time and in April 2014 I joined Defendersource and found a 110 listed in the For Sale section by Rivermike. Here is the For Sale thread:
http://www.defendersource.com/forum/...ferrerid=12068

I contacted Rivermike via email and soon after on the phone. We had several discussions about the truck and he was a very likable guy. I liked the look of the truck in the pics and description of the restoration he was doing. I told him I would like to add A/C, and Mantec Tire Carrier and a steering guard. I also added SVX style side steps and swapped the wheels to Boosts. He priced it all for me and the grand total was $45K give or take.

I wired my deposit to Rivermike April 29, of 2014 with the understanding that all that needed to be done was install the options I requested. Then, time just started slipping away. As of July 29 and many, many emails the truck was still being worked on. Finally, on August 29 the truck was delivered to port and import was to be handled by Doug Crowther.

The truck finally arrived at my house on a flat bed October 16, 2014.

I was immediately met with some pretty big issues. When I bought the truck, Rivermike asked me "what color and style headliner do you want"? I told him and he installed it. When the truck arrived it was obvious the roof was completely worthless at keeping out rain. The headliner was soaking wet and sagging. So why ask me what type of headliner I want if you know it will be ruined? I contacted Rivermike on this issue and he said "Defenders leak, it's totally normal". This made no sense to me. Why spend money on a headliner then? He finally agreed to refund SOME of my costs on the headliner issue. The headliner and all parts used to hold the headliner up were ruined and had to be purchased new. I also had to get the roof sealed up. Little did I know this was just the beginning.

Next on walk around there were paint issues with the truck. The paint was chipping off here and there. I brought this to Rivermike's attention but he wasn't responsive. He really touts his paint jobs in his For Sale ad so I was surprised I got pushback on it.

I drove my truck and immediately notice clutch fluid leaking down the clutch pedal. So I bought a can of clutch fluid and added some to keep it going. Next, the brake pedal went all the way to the floor and I had no brakes. I added fluid to keep it moving but it quickly leaked out. I turned on the A/C that I spent $3000 on and it didn't work. I took the truck out on the main road and quickly realized there was a major problem with the drivetrain. The whole thing felt as though it was shaking apart at any speed above 30MPH (driveshafts). I found a local shop and took it there. Upon reaching the shop there was fluid leaking from the rear drum brakes. The seals in the supposedly rebuilt axels were shot. The fluid ruined the drum brakes. The clutch master and slave cylinder were shot. The brake master cylinder was shot.

My local shop started working on fixing the problems and I quickly realized that repairing this thing was not worth my time or money. It needed a full rebuild. So I ordered a new engine from Cannibal and a new transmission and 10's of thousands of $$$ of other new parts and got to work on restoring the truck.

I knew for $45K this wasn't going to be an Icon or Himalaya. I didn't want that. I wanted a truck I could drive and enjoy and not worry too much about. But I do feel for $45K I should have gotten something that actually worked. The A/C was wired backwards and look (pics below) at the A/C hoses in the pics below. Look at the bolts used to hold the Mantec Tire Carrier on to the back of the truck. They're the wrong size and pulling through the mounting bracket. When we started pulling body panels off you can see where they didn't bother painting anything properly or as described in the For Sale ad. Most of it was just painted over rust.

I sent all of this to Rivermike with not much response. The reason it took this long to post all of this is because the more we took the truck apart the more there was to see. Restoring a truck is a difficult process as many of you know. I was hoping to avoid it. But now I'm knee deep.

Would I import again? Hell no. There are too many trucks stateside that one could restore.
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  #2  
Old November 12th, 2015, 03:32 PM
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Joshua
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Why is this in the For Sale - Vehicles section?
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I am talking purely from an aesthetics standpoint.
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  #3  
Old November 12th, 2015, 03:34 PM
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John B.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rijosho View Post
Why is this in the For Sale - Vehicles section?
Ummmm, he linked the for sale thread above.
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  #4  
Old November 12th, 2015, 04:19 PM
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Disappointing to say the least. Thank you for posting to add to the pool of information. Many options to buy abroad, and it helps to have real reviews! Keep us posted on the restoration of the restoration.
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  #5  
Old November 12th, 2015, 04:46 PM
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Joe
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Ouch. Thanks for the info - as one perusing the market - the more I think caveat emptor. The trouble is the "pics" looked great.
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  #6  
Old November 12th, 2015, 05:42 PM
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Sad to see. Happy to see you're doing the right thing and not letting your dream wither and die. My hope is you guys can agree on what would constitute restitution.
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  #7  
Old November 12th, 2015, 06:04 PM
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Where else is the paint peeling from aside from the fenders? Body may have been "properly" prepped, but not the plastic fenders.
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  #8  
Old November 12th, 2015, 06:24 PM
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barry f
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Truck appears to have old style sills with seals attached. Easy to remove and fix metal underneath. Might not even be damaged but I don't understand why the truck would be redone and those left on.

The mechanical issues suck. It also sucks for a seller to go dark when he is sick of dealing with a customer's complaints. I have heard good things about Mike but never saw his work in person.

This is more reason doing a resto in the USA makes sense. That is if you can find someone you trust. The list gets shorter daily.
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  #9  
Old November 12th, 2015, 06:50 PM
jason1st
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Jason Crandall
2006 LR3 2012 SC 1983 110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rijosho View Post
Where else is the paint peeling from aside from the fenders? Body may have been "properly" prepped, but not the plastic fenders.
Other than the painted over rust and body parts that weren't painted at all while it was apart (in the pics) there are none.
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  #10  
Old November 12th, 2015, 06:59 PM
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Hate to hear this Jason, I'm sure it was disappointing especially when waiting in anticipation for its arrival. I would expect the seller to make this right in a fair way as the issues you mention are outside what should be expected for a refurbished truck that should be drivable upon receipt. Were these issues noted by importer upon delivery, I mean this shit would be more than obvious (brakes, clutch, swamp headliner). Glad to hear you are pressing on as its due time for you to enjoy your rig.
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  #11  
Old November 12th, 2015, 07:12 PM
jason1st
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Jason Crandall
2006 LR3 2012 SC 1983 110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeBeCinYa View Post
Hate to hear this Jason, I'm sure it was disappointing especially when waiting in anticipation for its arrival. I would expect the seller to make this right in a fair way as the issues you mention are outside what should be expected for a refurbished truck that should be drivable upon receipt. Were these issues noted by importer upon delivery, I mean this shit would be more than obvious (brakes, clutch, swamp headliner). Glad to hear you are pressing on as its due time for you to enjoy your rig.
The importer never takes possession of the truck. That's not really his job. He's not in the same state. He's just paperwork and phone calls.
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  #12  
Old November 12th, 2015, 07:49 PM
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barry f
94 ST #395
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Where did the SVX grill go that was in the original pics?

Looking back I don't see any pics of the truck apart during paint. I assumed it was painted apart but I guess that was a bad assumption.
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  #13  
Old November 12th, 2015, 08:34 PM
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Brian Oswalt
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$45k is a lot to spend on a project.
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  #14  
Old November 12th, 2015, 08:36 PM
javelinadave
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Thank you for posting this up. This is how we as a community keep the vendors honest. Any other customers of Rivermike having a similar experience?
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  #15  
Old November 12th, 2015, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javelinadave View Post
Thank you for posting this up. This is how we as a community keep the vendors honest. Any other customers of Rivermike having a similar experience?
I agree here Dave. As long as the information being shared is truthful, I don't see anything inappropriate about it. It wouldn't be any different than posting on Yelp or Google+. It is probably better that these are posted here with other centralized Defender support. I know of several instances where customers have not posted "negative information" about a vendor or user because they didn't want to be perceived as a simple complainer or vendor basher. There should be a good guy/bad guy section where people can post their reviews for vendors or other users, with supporting evidence only.

The information not being shared publicly could potentially be the information that saves a guy from handing over 50k cash to a young guy, clear across the country, selling dreams that turn into nightmares.
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  #16  
Old November 12th, 2015, 09:51 PM
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My 2cents

I too bought a truck based on photos and put 90% money down before it shipped stateside. It was not one of River Mikes but was through someone on this site.

First, my experience was not quite as bad as Jason's. I also got a truck with a fresh respray so it looked really good in photos and when I asked for more photos of the "worst rust you can find" I got some photos that still looked pretty good. But when the truck arrived and I had a chance to get under the carpet and look more closely at the bulkhead i found that it needed new front footwells and there is a fair amount of additional corrosion that required a lot of work to control.

For me there was upside. There were good things about the truck, and after a couple hundred hours of monkeying around and fixing "stuff" I have a rig I enjoy, that is reliable.

My point is that you really never know what you have (or are buying) until after you've looked in all the usual places- and all the unusual places. And if you import one without looking at it yourself - its unlikely it will be what you expected when it arrives.

As is true for most of us we love working on our rovers but somehow its just not as enjoyable fixing stuff that you reasonably expected to be in good shape when you bought it.

So all thing considered I agree with Jason - buy a Defender that's here or go to the UK and personally buy one there.

In aviation they call what Jason's truck got an IMRON OVERHAUL, a purely cosmetic effort to mask all that's really wrong with it underneath the paint.
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  #17  
Old November 12th, 2015, 10:29 PM
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What a bummer. Original ad says PUMA dash. Then page 2 of the ad looks like in one of the pictures you have an NAS110 dash. Am I missing something?
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  #18  
Old November 13th, 2015, 02:55 AM
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Michael
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RX6RCROL View Post
What a bummer. Original ad says PUMA dash. Then page 2 of the ad looks like in one of the pictures you have an NAS110 dash. Am I missing something? [ATTACH]
My bad , ofcoarse this is not a PUMA dash, it is the NAS style dash.

------ Follow up post added November 13th, 2015 09:01 AM ------

Quote:
Originally Posted by akrockhound;688046.
But when the truck arrived and I had a chance to get under the carpet and look more closely at the bulkhead i found that it needed new front footwells and there is a fair amount of additional corrosion that required a lot of work to control. My point is that you really never know what you have (or are buying) until after you've looked in all the usual places- and all the unusual places. And if you import one without looking at it yourself - its unlikely it will be what you expected when it arrives. In aviation they call what Jason's truck got an IMRON OVERHAUL, a purely cosmetic effort to mask all that's really wrong with it underneath the paint.
Quite a statement, Jasons truck did not have need new footwells or bulkhead, there was corrosion on the sill sections which could not be removed without taking out the T pillar. With US customs strategy in mind it is hard to juggle between what can be done to legally enter the country and what should be done. More info in my post below.
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  #19  
Old November 13th, 2015, 03:17 AM
DailyDrivenDefende
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Quote:
..This is more reason doing a resto in the USA makes sense. That is if you can find someone you trust. The list gets shorter daily.
I agree. I also think The owner ought to be part of and participating in a restoration project.

I didn't know there was a list of people you can trust getting defenders restored. There are so many crooks out there specially in Defender scene both in Us and abroad.

I just don't trust people who work on cars. It is just entertaining to hear some of them talk when they assume I don't know a thing. Then I pretend I really don't know anything to see what kind of bull shit they pull out their holes. Tire fluid hasn't come up yet though. But I tend to notice, more I pretend to know nothing, the same job goes up in estimate when it is inquired at the same shop about a few weeks apart.
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  #20  
Old November 13th, 2015, 03:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason1st View Post
I knew for $45K this wasn't going to be an Icon or Himalaya...But I do feel for $45K I should have gotten something that actually worked.
You should expect a really nice truck for $45k. A LHD creampuff with major upgrades, imo.
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