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  #1  
Old March 24th, 2009, 12:41 PM
Jeff
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90's Defender 90 or 03' Discovery SE

Ok, I found this site hoping that you guys could help me make up my mind. I specifically want a vehicle to take to the mountains and desert for extended periods. I'm completely new to the Land Rover in general, but have had Jeeps in the past. My question is, for the money which would you guys/girls prefer? Now I know the D90's are somewhat rare, and valuable too by the price they are going for around here in California. But, I found a 2003 Discovery Special Edition that is pretty well equipped for a decent price. Should I hold off and save some more money to buy a D90, or buy this one? Is there a performance advantage to a D90 or is it just the newer Land Rovers have more creature comforts.... Thanks for any advice.

Jeff
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  #2  
Old March 24th, 2009, 12:43 PM
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D90. Much cheaper to keep on the road that a Disco II.
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  #3  
Old March 24th, 2009, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij
D90. Much cheaper to keep on the road that a Disco II.
Could you elaborate any, as I know nothing about these vehicles. Thanks.
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  #4  
Old March 24th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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My suggestion would be to go and find a D90 to test drive. It will answer a lot of your questions.
I would say that a Disco II and a D90 are two different beasts.

Defenders are simpler, less electronically oriented as compared to discos. Probably easier to maintain if you are a DIY guy.

You can hose out a Defender after a long, dusty/muddy trip but you will probably be wanting a long rest afterwards (and a beer).

With a Disco you can get there with relative comfort, but it won't get you as far as a Defender on more extreme conditions.

It all depends what your needs are. Will it be serving as a daily driver as well?? Do you have more than one passenger along with you? Many thing you must consider before deciding.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmityD90
My suggestion would be to go and find a D90 to test drive. It will answer a lot of your questions.
I would say that a Disco II and a D90 are two different beasts.

Defenders are simpler, less electronically oriented as compared to discos. Probably easier to maintain if you are a DIY guy.

You can hose out a Defender after a long, dusty/muddy trip but you will probably be wanting a long rest afterwards (and a beer).

With a Disco you can get there with relative comfort, but it won't get you as far as a Defender on more extreme conditions.

It all depends what your needs are. Will it be serving as a daily driver as well?? Do you have more than one passenger along with you? Many thing you must consider before deciding.
Thanks for the reply. Yes I would have 1 other person, and my 2 labradors. Most outings would be 4-5 days, with a few longer trips in between. It wouldn't be my daily driver at all. I don't know how many extreme cond. environments i would get into, but it would be nice to get through them if needed. It's just hard to justify 30K-40K for a D90....I would imagine I could do alot to an already well equipped Discovery for an extra $20K.
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  #6  
Old March 24th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Having both, as long as you don't mind the increase in noise go Defender every time, then D1, not D2. The maintenance costs on D2 are insane, hubs fail regularly at $400 each (I've needed 3 in 2 years), locks fail regularly at $130 each (I've needed 3 so far), you have to rebuild/replace the front propshaft or it explodes (proximity to exhaust and non-greasable) and the front and rear overhangs are immense and always the limiting factor off-road.

I listened to people who said to go D2 vs Defender and I regretted it almost right away, spent a whole lot of money and still ended up with something I wasn't happy with.

Oh and look at the relative depreciation curves.... D2's are plummeting while Defenders maintained properly can go up in value.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:48 PM
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D90 and DII are very different beasts as mentioned above.

That being said, the D90 is extremely capable, but has a very high price due to the rarity of it.

Now there are tons of different factors that must be accounted for to make your decision;

1) Mechanical Skill Level
The Defender is definitely easier to work on in a lot of aspects since there are less electronics on it. The axles are free floating, so you can easily replace them if you break one while offroading, and there are just less computers to go wrong. The Discovery2 though, is not impossible to fix while offroading, there are a few things (such as the axle shafts) that are not as easy to fix without a properly equipped shop, but for the most part, with the proper spare parts, you can get it back on the road. There's also the Discovery I (94-99) or Range Rover Classic (1987-1995 in the US), which are very similar to the Defender when it comes to the mechanics of them.

2) Storage and Space
You mentioned that you have a passenger and 2 labs, and plan on being out for a few days on end... will the Defender satisfy your storage needs? The Discovery II is 6" longer than the Discovery, but you do lose a bit of the departure angle. If you're going that extended, I would get a truck with a roof rack and have it loaded up, the Discovery/RRCs can be setup very nicely for excursions.

3) Economics
You can get a built D2, D1 or RRC for under $10k, sometimes under $5k. The max you'll pay is around $18k for a fully built 2004 Discovery II (See below for comparisons). The Defender will generally cost you in the $20k's, depending on what you need ($15k for a beater, $20k for a nice 94/95, $30k for a nice 97[automatic]).

4) Comfort
The Disco2 is probably the most comfortable out of the mix... you'll need to sit in all of them to decide what feels best to you.


Now, if you decide to chose a Discovery, which one do you get?

Discovery I is more simple mechanically, but since they are older, they'll have more miles on them, and I personally find the DII to be a lot more comfortable.

The Discovery II came out between 1999-2004, the 1999-2002's had a 4.0 Liter engine in them, and did not come with a Center Differential Lock, but a Traction Control system which likes to break often, you can add the CDL in the future though if wanted. In 2003 there was a facelift and the trucks got a 4.6 liter engine, which is very nice, and very noticeable.... but these 2003s were still without the CDL, and also had a major rash of oil pump problems that were completly destroying the engines [there is a TSB out with the vin range to watch out for]. The 2004s are considered the cream of the crop when it comes to Discovery IIs, 4.6, CDL was put back, still has TC, etc.. winning combination all around.

Just keep doing your research heavily and don't make any decisions until you feel you are well informed, this forum will definitely answer any questions you have in regards to Defender 90 and 110s, and you can also check out www.discoweb.org for information about Discos. Btw, there are a few for sale on there that are set up nicely for not too expensive.
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  #8  
Old March 24th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff
Yes I would have 1 other person, and my 2 labradors. Most outings would be 4-5 days, with a few longer trips in between.
Sounds like you might need something bigger than a D-90, unless you either a) pack extremely light b) plan on using a roof rack for a good portion of your supplies or c) plan on pulling one of these with you. Perhaps a 110 would be a better choice for you than a 90?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff
It's just hard to justify 30K-40K for a D90....I would imagine I could do alot to an already well equipped Discovery for an extra $20K.
If the cost is an issue (it would be for me), consider an '83 110 imported by someone like Maryland110 (forum member). You can get alot of truck this way, and still have that $20K to modify it to your hearts content (verses a clean NAS 90)...
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  #9  
Old March 24th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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Thanks for all the info guys, I really appreciate it. I think I'm leaning towards a 110 actually now that I've read up more on them...what does it cost to import one?
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  #10  
Old March 24th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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As Scott mentioned, talk to Doug (Maryland110).. his website is http://www.dividingcreekroverimports.com ...
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  #11  
Old March 24th, 2009, 02:37 PM
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The more I work on D2s the less I like them.

What I don't like:

Coolant leaks lead to overheating (worse than other rovers)
Coil pack location = hard to change plug wires
whining sound that they make under normal operation (BMWs fault)
CDL was option for some year models
non greaseable front double cardon ujoints
location of the window washer jug
stake nut is torqued to 250+ ft/lbs
mushy brake pedal when operating properly
Crap fuel mileage (14mpg)

What I do like:

Drive very well
Capable off road
Quick
comfortable
reasonably dependable
Changing brake pads is a breeze
Pulling front axles is a breeze
Changing front wheel bearings is a breeze

The D90 is a great truck, the D2 is a very nice truck. If you like camping and roughing it get the D90 if you like AC and music and comfort get the D2.
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  #12  
Old March 24th, 2009, 03:11 PM
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Honestly, they are both great in different ways, as others have said. Drive both, that will probably answer a lot of your questions. Just about everyone loves the Defender for it's rugged looks, rarity, and positive attention that it draws everywhere you go, but not everyone is cut out to drive such minimalistic vehicles when it comes to creature comforts.
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  #13  
Old March 24th, 2009, 03:19 PM
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Smile discovery

If I were in your shoes, I would look for a 2004 Discovery S model with lowish mileage. A soft top D90 will not hold much gear by the time you get your wife and dogs in there. Not too mention the fact that the gear would not be secure from theft. For the dessert, unless you are totally badass, you would probably want air conditioning, which every disco has, and many softtops do not I don't think. The advantage of a 1994 or 1995 D90 is that you can get a manual transmission which you might want.

Even though D90s hold their value real well, they are getting older and older and are much more likely to need a ton of maintenance than a newer Disco. The Disco's actually represent a great value right now. The most drastic depreciation on those trucks has already happened.

I have had a 1994 D90, and while I loved it, if I had 20K dollars to spend on a Land Rover, I would buy a 2004 Disco II and put the remaining 10K in my bank account!

Good luck; you will like either one I'm sure
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Old March 24th, 2009, 03:57 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I found a 94' D90 for just under 20K with around 130K miles on it. What kind of money do you think it would cost for parts that will need to be replaced with that kind of mileage? Just a roundabout $$$ amount....

Follow-up Post:

One other question....can you make a Disco just as offroad capable as a D90? As in mods wise?

Thanks again.
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  #15  
Old March 24th, 2009, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff
Thanks for the replies. I found a 94' D90 for just under 20K with around 130K miles on it. What kind of money do you think it would cost for parts that will need to be replaced with that kind of mileage? Just a roundabout $$$ amount....

Follow-up Post:

One other question....can you make a Disco just as offroad capable as a D90? As in mods wise?

Thanks again.
That is a loaded question because a lot more depends on its maintenance history than anything. Personally, I would rather buy a 100k D90 that has been religiously maintained than a 20k mile one that is all original. At this age original rubber will be very deteriorated in most cases, so there is some advantage (aside from price) in buying a higher mileage one that has had the belts, hoses, tires etc. replaced. If you want a reasonably priced, very capable Defender 90, you might want to consider this one. Here is a thread on this forum about it too.
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  #16  
Old March 24th, 2009, 04:20 PM
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Defender vs. Discovery

I also have both a Disco II and a Defender 110. Unless you can find a good 2004, I'd stay far away from the Discovery. I have a '99 Disco II and it has had nearly all the maintenance problems descibed in this thread and then some. I love my 110. It actually has a more comfortable ride than the Disco.

Given the declining value of the Discoveries, I could see at least a dozen potential problems that could make my truck worth $0 if they happen.
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  #17  
Old March 24th, 2009, 04:27 PM
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Everyone has given me a ton of good information. I really appreciate it. I think I'm going to go look at the D90 and go from there. Anything in particular I should look for when I go? Certain things other than rust that i should look for?
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  #18  
Old March 24th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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Bulkhead and frame rust - everything else is just an opportunity to upgrade
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  #19  
Old March 24th, 2009, 04:48 PM
ajh
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I also found the seats in my 110 more comfortable than in the Discovery II, the D2 seats give me a backache but the posture position in the 110 is much nicer though less variable.

Follow-up Post:

Oh another option is to have someone take a poor-condition cheaper 90 and upgrade it to a 110 for you, obviously ECR does this, not sure what your final cost would be though.
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  #20  
Old March 24th, 2009, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff
Thanks for the replies. I found a 94' D90 for just under 20K with around 130K miles on it. What kind of money do you think it would cost for parts that will need to be replaced with that kind of mileage? Just a roundabout $$$ amount....

Follow-up Post:

One other question....can you make a Disco just as offroad capable as a D90? As in mods wise?

Thanks again.
If a D90 with that type of mileage is regularly maintained, it will still have some issues based on age alone. But if all the service documentation is available, you will know what upgrades/replacements you will need to do in order to keep the rig running well.

My rig has 111K miles on it and has had relatively good maintenance records from previous owner so I feel relatively confident that it will keep on going as long as I keep up with the maintenance.

When I got her, I immediately did a 90K maintenance regimen, replaced the dangerous oil cooler lines that could blow up a defender, and also got the recommendations for future work to be done. Of course all of this has a price tag that comes along with any higher mileage vehicle of any kind. If you are mechanically inclined, you can probably save yourself alot of cash.

My wife and I used to have a DII and traded her in for a LR3 after the warranty was up. To be honest, it would of been a real gamble maintenance wise to keep her. It was in the shop alot more than I thought it would (under warranty).

On a side note, the LR3 has been better than the Disco II we owned, but I can say we will probably be doing the same and trade her in after it's warranty expires. On a down note, LR3s are super expensive to mod and probably not worth doing unless you really don't mind dropping alot of coin.

As to your question regarding modding a Discovery to be (almost) as capable as a Defender...well there is a lot of great aftermarket support for Discovery I and IIs. and you can check out discoweb or if you are into expedition travel - check out the Land Rover section of expeditionportal. Lots of nice reference and member build ups there for Discoveries, Defenders, Series and more.

Good luck! I found this site to be extremely useful using the search tool and the members here are very knowledgeable
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