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  #1  
Old August 30th, 2014, 11:43 PM
angdefeo
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Angelo DeFeo
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Start a Defender Build or go another route?

I am new to the Land Rover Defender world but have admired these trucks since i first saw the North American Defenders at the Philadelphia Auto Show in the 90’s. Back then i could not afford one of these trucks. Now i am older and can afford one of these beasts but i don’t know if they will be able to satisfy my requirements. This is why i am creating this post. I am trying to figure out the limitations of a Defender. And if it possible to modify a Defender to fit my needs?

So if you could, please take a minute to read and give me your honest opinion. I have pretty thick skin so help me figure this out. Should i go with a Defender or a just give up and go with another brand that is more comfortable, already has modern interior and electronics.

What i want from my truck:

- Drive it without being bounced all over the drivers seat on varying road conditions, from smooth highways to badly potholed city and state streets.
- Have a quiet enough cabin that i wont feel like i just left a rock concert. (Dnyamat the interior in order to make the cabin quiet.)
- Ability to drive over 65 mph on the highway and not feel like the truck has hit a wall cause the pedal has to be floored and that the suspension is floating over the road cause you are above its capabilities.
- Have A/C and Heater that will keep me comfortable.
- An interior that is capable of supporting modern electronics like jacks to supply power to phones, etc. Modify it enough to support a modern gps head unit.

Here are some of the things to take into account.

- I have access to 25yr old Defenders that i can import into the USA. Their cost is pretty low including the shipping but one of these trucks would be a pretty rough and raw diesel with over 100k miles.This option would need major work and modification to get it meet some of the requirements. Either paying a local shop for the labor and buying the parts from one of the many capable vendors on the site.

- There are some really nice North American trucks available here or at some local dealers. These trucks are more refined but still need some modifications to be brought up to livable standards.

So what should i do? Move ahead with a major overhaul to a Defender or just save the money and aggregation and get another brand truck like a 4-Runner(much bigger than i would like) or a Land Cruiser Prado (aka Lexus GX). Or can the Discovery with some modifications be a suitable option?

Thank you for reading. Let me know what you think.
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  #2  
Old August 30th, 2014, 11:58 PM
javelinadave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angdefeo View Post
I have pretty thick skin so help me figure this out. Should i go with a Defender or a just give up and go with another brand that is more comfortable, already has modern interior and electronics.

Thank you for reading. Let me know what you think.
I think you answered your own question.

http://www.jeepforum.com

You have to REALLY want a Defender to live with its issues. They leak, they are noisy and they require constant upkeep. A modern Jeep starts every time, it's quiet and it has nice electronic features. If that's what you are looking for you will probably be better off with a Jeep than a Defender money pit. I'm not trying to dissuade you from a Defender but they are a lot of work or they require a lot of money to pay somebody to do the work for you.
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  #3  
Old August 30th, 2014, 11:59 PM
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NPT90
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Search; then put aside $30k; it's never going to be comfortable; it's like driving a tractor... Once you decide if you can live with the back pain, welcome to the club; we're all employed, and we're closet wrenchers.

After that you'll be alright; happy hunting
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  #4  
Old August 31st, 2014, 12:25 AM
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Rocky
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Chris
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Think a weekend on a defender is called for.
He'll know the way to go after that.
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A friend of mine runs a land rover / range rover specialty repair shop. Based on his experience, they are capable of stopping anywhere, anytime, at any cost.

I don't know about the brakes, only their unreliability.
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  #5  
Old August 31st, 2014, 12:28 AM
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Jon Ruti
'94 D-90, #20
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You're forcing it. Stop now and give up. Unsubscribe from your thread and google when the next Toyotathon starts.
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  #6  
Old August 31st, 2014, 01:09 AM
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Don Bunnell
'86 110 3dr ST
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angdefeo View Post
What i want from my truck:

- Drive it without being bounced all over the drivers seat on varying road conditions, from smooth highways to badly potholed city and state streets.
The seatbelt will keep you within the car on the bigger bumps.

- Have a quiet enough cabin that i wont feel like i just left a rock concert. (Dnyamat the interior in order to make the cabin quiet.)
If you just saw Slayer, then maybe it would be quiet enough

- Ability to drive over 65 mph on the highway and not feel like the truck has hit a wall cause the pedal has to be floored and that the suspension is floating over the road cause you are above its capabilities.
Anything over 65mph will be an exercise in both handling and trying to keep it as that speed. That is with a good running V8 or Tdi. 2.5NA? hahaha

- Have A/C and Heater that will keep me comfortable.
Heater is wearing a layer of wool, then down and a shell to keep the wind out. A/C? wet board shorts and a tank top. Open bulkhead vents help a little.

- An interior that is capable of supporting modern electronics like jacks to supply power to phones, etc. Modify it enough to support a modern gps head unit.
Phone is good to call AAA or search D-90.com for a solution when you are broken down. Electronics that really should be of concern are EGT, Oil Pressure, Water Temp, Tach, Voltmeter
Sounds like what you really want is a G55 AMG.
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  #7  
Old August 31st, 2014, 01:40 AM
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One Ten
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Sam
1994 NAS SW
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I think what you want in a Defender is very possible but it means buying a nicely restored and upgraded truck in the $75k and up price range. What you want is out there, it just takes some research and $$$.
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  #8  
Old August 31st, 2014, 01:56 AM
defender1844
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Amit Likhyani
95 D90 Soft Top Estoril Blue 6.2 LS
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A stock motor is not going to do it for you. I've bumped mine close to 300 horsepower and it will cruise at 80 but 65 is pushing it OEM. It's never going to have a smooth ride. Living in Texas, I only have a roof on mine a couple of months a year. In Philly, it would have to be a 3rd car. They are so much fun with no roof and offroad but it's never going to be a good road car.
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  #9  
Old August 31st, 2014, 02:37 AM
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sonoronos
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Buy an lx470. Or a range rover if you want land rover. A defender meets none of your criteria. Even if you spent $100k on a Defender it would be worse on the inside than a $20k Honda Civic.

Also, didn't you used to own a 1989 defender 110? Google says you used to have a truck in the registry...
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  #10  
Old August 31st, 2014, 09:23 AM
angdefeo
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Angelo DeFeo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
Buy an lx470. Or a range rover if you want land rover. A defender meets none of your criteria. Even if you spent $100k on a Defender it would be worse on the inside than a $20k Honda Civic.

Also, didn't you used to own a 1989 defender 110? Google says you used to have a truck in the registry...
I sold it before i got a chance to drive it.
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  #11  
Old August 31st, 2014, 09:30 AM
the rover shop
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shayne young
89,93 & 95 camel trophy 110s 06 130
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If you bought a 110 and sold it before you drove it.... Then you don't need to be on this board.. You can't want a defender bad enough to put up with its idiosyncrasies .. As mentioned...stick with a cheep....I mean... Heap...I mean yeep..I mean that J word..
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  #12  
Old August 31st, 2014, 09:39 AM
angdefeo
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Angelo DeFeo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the rover shop View Post
If you bought a 110 and sold it before you drove it.... Then you don't need to be on this board.. You can't want a defender bad enough to put up with its idiosyncrasies .. As mentioned...stick with a cheep....I mean... Heap...I mean yeep..I mean that J word..
I still have access to the 110 and will drive it later in the week. I am waiting for the local title and tags to come through before i can "drive" it. I don't consider the few laps in the parking lot around the shop a real drive. So these trucks have that many idiosyncrasies that you have to have so much dedication and love to the Defender that you have to blindly accept them in order to be happy?
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  #13  
Old August 31st, 2014, 09:43 AM
the rover shop
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shayne young
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Now he gets it...
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  #14  
Old August 31st, 2014, 09:44 AM
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Rocky
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Chris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the rover shop View Post
If you bought a 110 and sold it before you drove it.... Then you don't need to be on this board.. You can't want a defender bad enough to put up with its idiosyncrasies .. As mentioned...stick with a cheep....I mean... Heap...I mean yeep..I mean that J word..
I second that emotion, better yet buy a Toy.
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A friend of mine runs a land rover / range rover specialty repair shop. Based on his experience, they are capable of stopping anywhere, anytime, at any cost.

I don't know about the brakes, only their unreliability.
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  #15  
Old August 31st, 2014, 09:50 AM
the rover shop
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shayne young
89,93 & 95 camel trophy 110s 06 130
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Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
I second that emotion, better yet buy a Toy.
I'd say a 4-runner.. Or a rav4..
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  #16  
Old August 31st, 2014, 10:06 AM
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rover4x4
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Phillip
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a long wheelbase JK will be perfect for you
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Poor gas mileage gets you to the best places on earth
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  #17  
Old August 31st, 2014, 10:37 AM
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sonoronos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angdefeo View Post
So these trucks have that many idiosyncrasies that you have to have so much dedication and love to the Defender that you have to blindly accept them in order to be happy?
Well, that's a somewhat severe way of looking at it. I have other cars that are much more comfortable and appropriate for daily life. I would never own a Defender as an only car, and it could never fill that role.

The Defender has advantages over other vehicles, but none of those advantages are on your list of requirements.
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  #18  
Old August 31st, 2014, 11:20 AM
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Don Bunnell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
Well, that's a somewhat severe way of looking at it. I have other cars that are much more comfortable and appropriate for daily life. I would never own a Defender as an only car, and it could never fill that role. The Defender has advantages over other vehicles, but none of those advantages are on your list of requirements.
This.

The Defender is not about convenience or comfort. When I want or need that I drive one of the other vehicles. The Defender is like a smaller fishing/open hull boat - you are going to get wet, be hot, be cold, will need to be prepared for a number of things, have a bouncy ride, and it will be hard to talk to the people around you. It's work. But like when the boat is on plane and you are going with the wind on a sunny day there is nothing better.

I still remember all my trips to go off-roading. Like running out to Rausch with the top off at 6 am to meet up with a crew. Wasn't going much over 65 and the stereo wasn't on, and I had some layers on to stay warm. On the highway the Defender can do fine, but lock it in low range and give it some hard looking terrain and the truck just transforms. I would always think when off road - why is the 3.9 doing so well? Not many sweeter sounds than that V8 burble coming down a steep in low/1st. Or the clackity clack of a diesel idling up a big rock at a crazy slow speed.

The Defender is answering the same questions at the local 7-11, loading the surf boards, bikes, fishing gear, enjoying the breeze with the top off and windows out, helping someone out on the trail, having someone help you out, picking a line up an obstacle, needing a pull off an obstacle, limping home with a buddy, and swapping wrenching and wheeling stories by the camp fire.
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  #19  
Old August 31st, 2014, 12:07 PM
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Bigdoh
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Brian
94 D90 #1642
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Quote:
Originally Posted by don View Post
This. The Defender is not about convenience or comfort. When I want or need that I drive one of the other vehicles. The Defender is like a smaller fishing/open hull boat - you are going to get wet, be hot, be cold, will need to be prepared for a number of things, have a bouncy ride, and it will be hard to talk to the people around you. It's work. But like when the boat is on plane and you are going with the wind on a sunny day there is nothing better. I still remember all my trips to go off-roading. Like running out to Rausch with the top off at 6 am to meet up with a crew. Wasn't going much over 65 and the stereo wasn't on, and I had some layers on to stay warm. On the highway the Defender can do fine, but lock it in low range and give it some hard looking terrain and the truck just transforms. I would always think when off road - why is the 3.9 doing so well? Not many sweeter sounds than that V8 burble coming down a steep in low/1st. Or the clackity clack of a diesel idling up a big rock at a crazy slow speed. The Defender is answering the same questions at the local 7-11, loading the surf boards, bikes, fishing gear, enjoying the breeze with the top off and windows out, helping someone out on the trail, having someone help you out, picking a line up an obstacle, needing a pull off an obstacle, limping home with a buddy, and swapping wrenching and wheeling stories by the camp fire.
Well said!
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  #20  
Old August 31st, 2014, 12:15 PM
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Reese
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If you want to mitigate noise then a ST is not an option. You describe something above that will take some real investment to even get close to achieving and I would not put that kind of money into a ROW. A smoother ride sounds more like an upgraded NAS 110. I agree with an earlier post of $70k+.

Unless you are obsessed and irrational about defenders (most of us on this forum are) then you are better off going with something else.
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