Possibly buying a 1974 Series III 109 V8 RHD - Defender Source
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 03:22 AM
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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Buying a Series III 109 V8 RHD - stage one?

I'm throwing this out here in this forum because it seems like the best place to ask questions about series III's. The for sale forum seemed geared more towards commerce.

I stumbled upon a land rover and think I'm going to buy it, but I am a bit confused about what I have on my hands. I have always loved the older rovers but never read much about them. The past few days I've been absorbing a lot of info and the first thing I gather is that any rover in the US that's on the older side tends to have a confusing story/pedigree/import story.

The rover is listed as a LR Series III 109" 5 door station wagon. I think the engine was swapped/upgraded to the stage one config in 1982, the body looks like a newer style, 5 door station wagon. It has something called a safari roof and I think it was imported from Australia. The VIN is shorter than I had expected but it checks out with the DMV (numbers match on frame and bulkhead).

The owner said there was an engine swap done in 1982 as well, it has a 3.5L V8 petrol Land Rover engine. It's RHD as well....

The motor apparently has a cracked head or something is wrong with the pistons. Basically the owner is selling it because he has no time for a project car.

Mileage is unknown, the odometer says 24k but that could also be 124k 224k 324k.

Should I run towards or away from this rig? I kinda fell in love with it at first sight.
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 07:22 AM
LR Max
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Thomason, Max
1973 Series 3 109
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Posts: 348
Rust is the biggest issues. Also when these trucks sit, stuff starts going wrong.

Put on your work jumpsuit and crawl around underneath. See what is surface rust and what is legit rot. Pretty much anywhere on the chassis can be rotted, always check on the "inside" frame rail. If the frame is rotted, you have a problem. Also people say, "Oh just this one section is rotted". Na. This one section right now is showing rot. In the next 10,000 miles the rest of it will show up.

Same with the bulkhead. Primarily there is rust right at the A pillars.

Do some research and figure out what trans and transfer case it has. If it has the stock series transmission and transfer case, that is gonna suck. However if its been upgraded with the Stage 1 drive train as well, then it should be alright.

For the engine, you've got so many options. Rebuild, replace, upgrade the V8, or diesel. That is a topic of discussion for another time.

Looks like its got a decent interior and the body is straight. Probably needs new paint but that is to be expected.

Brakes and clutch probably need to be redone. Looks like the trans and transfer case need to be resealed.

I'd say if the chassis and bulkhead clears and you can get it for $4k or so, it would be legit. If you do stick with a carb'd V8, do yourself a favor and upgrade to an Edelbrock intake manifold and carb. You'll get more reliable power over the crap carbs that came on these trucks. Also if you have to take it somewhere to get it worked on, any good ole boy can pop the hood and understand what you got going on there.

You could take it one step further and upgrade to a later 5 speed manual trans and LT230 transfer case. This would help you out A LOT in terms of driving the truck. Would also open up using the truck beyond just in town comfortably.

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Old July 23rd, 2014, 07:34 AM
The Dro's Avatar
The Dro
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1988 Ninety
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Annandale, VA
Posts: 6,375
contact Firemanshort... he's the Stage 1 guru
Originally Posted by MonLand View Post
Online speculation will not replace onsite inspection.
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 07:48 AM
Ren Ching's Avatar
Ren Ching
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Skinny Pete
'84 90 "Yamelo"/'88 RRC "Chewbacca"
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Downtown
Posts: 4,556
First of all, it isn't a Stage 1. Its a 74 and those didn't come out until the late 70's/early 80's.

Have you ever owned a Land Rover? Can you do all the repairs yourself? If not, then unless you have very deep pockets for the work that will be needed to repair the engine and over the course of your ownership, run away.

Given this is a SIII with the plastic dash, 110 body, and 110 engine, just save the headaches and get an early 110. Then you will have better suspension, less maintenance-intensive disc brakes, (on the front anyway), power steering, and a better transmission.

Good luck
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 09:43 AM
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3
I should add that the owner wants $9500 for the rover, yes it's listed as a 74.

The interior seems to be in great shape, it's the engine and drive train I'm concerned with. I'll go back to test drive it and look for drive train numbers. The owner said the trans. was also upgraded and it can do 80mph on the highway no prob.

I'm fairly handy with cars and learning/doing things myself. But this would be my first land rover.
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 09:55 AM
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LRC Customs #003 D110 Soft Top
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Location: Jersery Shore
Posts: 636
Looks like a fun truck. Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 10:22 AM
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1997 D90 ST #1444
Site Team
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Location: Georgia
Posts: 5,187
I'd say double check the rust prone areas, then the mechanicals, then take it for a long test drive, at least 2 hours. Drive in traffic, the highway and an easy trail or open field. After that you will know what to do.

But, be careful, the addiction rate is high... You can never have just one.

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Old July 23rd, 2014, 05:59 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: TN
Posts: 2
If it's your first truck, I'd try to find one as original as possible. It will be easier to work on because it will have parts and problems that are fairly well documented in the manual. It will also hold it's value better.

That said - this truck has a lot going on that is not even close to stock (for a 109 or a D110). I'd stay away, but as in all things... the heart wants what the heart wants.

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