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  #1  
Old April 8th, 2015, 06:39 PM
LeroyMusigny
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Joseph Wu
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Advice for buying a Defender

Hello All--

Spent the last few days reading this board, great group with tons of knowledge! I am considering buying a Defender and wanted to get your opinions on how to go about it.

First off, I love the look of the truck, as I assume all of us here do, and would prefer to stay with the model. However, if it is just not suited for what I am looking to do, I understand and will walk away.

I live in LA, so it would have to pass CA emissions.

I am looking to use this for off-roading mainly...for camping and hunting trips. Will drive it maybe once or twice a month, but it will be driven hard. 2-4 hours highway to the location and then very difficult terrain. I've seen 4x4 pick-up trucks stall on these dirt hills.

I am not looking to buy a "collector's item," I want a working car that I can use. Not interested in upgraded radios or sat nav or luxury packages. I want a reliable truck that will get banged up a little bit.

I have a couple 1997 NAS 90s in mind:
1) Very clean, low mileage, expensive.
2) Clean, no structural rust, but high mileage, moderate in price
3) Some rust, even on the rear crossmember, moderate mileage, cheap.

Should I run from the cheaper one? I had an estimate of $6-7k for repairs which would still put it much lower than the other two. Once there is rust on the crossmember, is it the end of the story?

Also, am I looking at the wrong vehicle? Should I just get a 2 yr old Jeep and be done with it?

Thanks,
Joe
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  #2  
Old April 8th, 2015, 06:55 PM
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drdread
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Honestly? If you're a practical person you'll jump all over a 4 door jeep or 4Runner or FJ and hook the shit out of it and be happy.
If you're nuts. Then keep reading.
Welcome to the club! But in all honesty rethink the choice if you're not up for heartache & $$$$ sunk.
If I was buying a trail project & absolutely had to have a LR Id def not be getting a nas defender 90 from the most overcharged year. Get a row in decent shape & make it yours to do what u want. If u were daily driving it. Sure spend NAS prices. AnywY just my $0.02. Plenty more have plenty of opinions.
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  #3  
Old April 8th, 2015, 06:56 PM
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Do you enjoy replacing and fixing parts?

Does the idea of a rolling restoration scare you?

Can you weld?
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  #4  
Old April 8th, 2015, 08:06 PM
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Niall Johnson
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Go Land Rover (Defender or Series) if you are looking for nostalgia, like wrenching, have a lot of spare time and cash; and your wife feels the same.

Go Land Cruiser if none of the above.

BTW, the financial compromise to a Defender may be a RRC, just as capable as a stock Defender (some could say more with TC) but at 1/3 the cost. IMO NAS D90 are way over priced for what they are, $30K for a 20 year old truck, to me, is crazy town.
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  #5  
Old April 8th, 2015, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDrum View Post
Go Land Rover (Defender or Series) if you are looking for nostalgia, like wrenching, have a lot of spare time and cash; and your wife feels the same. Go Land Cruiser if none of the above. BTW, the financial compromise to a Defender may be a RRC, just as capable as a stock Defender (some could say more with TC) but at 1/3 the cost. IMO NAS D90 are way over priced for what they are, $30K for a 20 year old truck, to me, is crazy town.
Umm... Have you seen the ass end on an rrc... I beg to differ...
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  #6  
Old April 8th, 2015, 09:34 PM
richord
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I appreciate the advice I read on this site but there is only one factor you have to consider when buying an old Rover. Do you dream about owning one? it doesn't matter which one you buy you will regret it but you will rationalize your love affair. Yes, it is an affair!
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  #7  
Old April 8th, 2015, 10:52 PM
LeroyMusigny
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts. To answer a few questions:
1) I'm not practical. I usually go after what excites me.
2) I am not very mechanically inclined. I used to be, but honestly, my time these days is limited to spend in the garage tinkering
3) I have dreamt of owning one, yes...

The old RRCs scare me even more on the reliability scale than a Defender. Remember, this would be my off road/camping/hunting car, out in the middle of no where with no back up. Huh...did I just answer my own question?

Joe
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  #8  
Old April 8th, 2015, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeroyMusigny View Post
Huh...did I just answer my own question?
Yes!

Go lurk: IH8mud.com
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'99 UZJ 100 - for glamping and grocery getting
'94 FZJ80 - our Costa Rican coffee mule
'96 FZJ80 - 3XL, racked, shaved and dipped in Raptor coat
'70 Petrol SIIA 88 - a Costa Rican expat now with US citizenship!
'70 Petrol SIIA 88 - for Central America surf & coffee exploration
'56 Petrol S1 86 - a whole new kind of land rover hell...
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  #9  
Old April 8th, 2015, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeroyMusigny View Post
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. To answer a few questions: 1) I'm not practical. I usually go after what excites me. 2) I am not very mechanically inclined. I used to be, but honestly, my time these days is limited to spend in the garage tinkering 3) I have dreamt of owning one, yes... The old RRCs scare me even more on the reliability scale than a Defender. Remember, this would be my off road/camping/hunting car, out in the middle of no where with no back up. Huh...did I just answer my own question? Joe
They actually can be made fairly reliable with some money invested... But depends on what you want... I went the forerunner route... All I can say is defenders kick ass...
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  #10  
Old April 8th, 2015, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeroyMusigny View Post
Remember, this would be my off road/camping/hunting car, out in the middle of no where with no back up. Huh...did I just answer my own question?

Joe
Joe - if that is really the case then you need to go diesel ROW truck...they have a few fuses but NO ECU's if you go old school on the diesel. Most shade tree mechanics can get around many things but no one can deal with fried ECU's on a truck - unless you carry redundant spares. Even the NAS90 trucks have them. Not as many as RRC's but, stay away from them if this is absolutely a must for you.
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  #11  
Old April 8th, 2015, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
Joe - if that is really the case then you need to go diesel ROW truck...they have a few fuses but NO ECU's if you go old school on the diesel. Most shade tree mechanics can get around many things but no one can deal with fried ECU's on a truck - unless you carry redundant spares. Even the NAS90 trucks have them. Not as many as RRC's but, stay away from them if this is absolutely a must for you.
X2

For reliability and for range... You can get your 300tdi to run with a single wire...
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  #12  
Old April 9th, 2015, 07:26 AM
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I wish I could recommend a LR for what you describe but it's really hard to do so without saying I think it depends on timing. If you have the time to purchase and go through the vehicle with care and attention then I would recommend it whole heartedly. These are as reliable as the last maintenance check. Which is fair IMO. But they are not Toyota reliable. Evidenced by what is used in the real world these days. I agree with everything the guys have said above thus far. Diesel should get you further range but they are rare animals, parts are tougher to get and you need to be sure your mechanical assistants can handle the subtle differences and quirks of one. And I'm not sure a diesel is even a viable choice given your state. Others here can give you their opinions in that though.

All the luck!
Clay
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  #13  
Old April 9th, 2015, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1of40 View Post
I wish I could recommend a LR for what you describe but it's really hard to do so without saying I think it depends on timing. If you have the time to purchase and go through the vehicle with care and attention then I would recommend it whole heartedly. These are as reliable as the last maintenance check. Which is fair IMO. But they are not Toyota reliable. Evidenced by what is used in the real world these days. I agree with everything the guys have said above thus far. Diesel should get you further range but they are rare animals, parts are tougher to get and you need to be sure your mechanical assistants can handle the subtle differences and quirks of one. And I'm not sure a diesel is even a viable choice given your state. Others here can give you their opinions in that though
Very well put, should be stickied
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'99 UZJ 100 - for glamping and grocery getting
'94 FZJ80 - our Costa Rican coffee mule
'96 FZJ80 - 3XL, racked, shaved and dipped in Raptor coat
'70 Petrol SIIA 88 - a Costa Rican expat now with US citizenship!
'70 Petrol SIIA 88 - for Central America surf & coffee exploration
'56 Petrol S1 86 - a whole new kind of land rover hell...
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  #14  
Old April 9th, 2015, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeroyMusigny View Post
Remember, this would be my off road/camping/hunting car, out in the middle of no where with no back up. Huh...did I just answer my own question?
Wrangler Rubicon. Unlimited if you need 4 doors.

A Defender could be your truck, but not for the weak of mechanical ability or interest.
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  #15  
Old April 9th, 2015, 09:46 AM
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If you've dreamt of one, then nothing else will do.

Acknowledge your weaknesses and make them your strengths (find a good mechanic, use us to source parts, carry critical spares when you're about, etc).

Having a reliable defender is not a crazy idea. Start with a good cold starting one, that drives well, has little corrosion and smile while driving. You can have it worked on over time.

Sure you need a good sense of humor when you own one, but she'll be as loyal as the dog you grew up with.
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