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  #1  
Old November 5th, 2012, 11:03 AM
makefast
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Am I crazy?

Well, I'm on a Land Rover board, which means I'm crazy - but am I TOO crazy? I posted this elsewhere but thought I would try here.

Okay, I live in the US (Wyoming to be precise) and it has always been a dream of mine to own a D 90/110. Well, the ability to import mid-80s Defenders seems to have driven the price down a bit and my wife and I are now looking for a second car (we moved from a big city where we only needed one) - I'm considering a D 90/110 but want to know if I'm crazy. Well, if I am TOO crazy.

We have two daughters both currently in car seats, our second car would need to be able to carry them - which means we would need forward facing seats in the back. There seem to be mentions of a few options for a D90 but I would need to import them from the UK it seems? Is it possible to retrofit in other seats (I know the Honda element has fold up rear seats - wonder if they would work)? Other option would be a 4 door D110.

This would be a daily driver - I know all about the troubles with older cars (have owned 70s and 80s era VWs) and don't mind a bit of wrenching every now and then, but are they as unreliable as some people make them sound? Further, I would want a diesel but am wary of the difficulty of finding parts in the US since I don't think that the diesel engine is very common.

Finally, heat. Wyoming gets cold. Like, really cold. How well do the heaters work in the D 90/110? I don't mind wearing layers, but don't want it to be an issue for the wife/daughters.

Any input you guys have would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old November 5th, 2012, 11:53 AM
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Land Rover like anything else is personal preference...I would suggest reading the posts on this board for a month or two before pulling the trigger.
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  #3  
Old November 5th, 2012, 12:57 PM
makefast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Larson View Post
Land Rover like anything else is personal preference...I would suggest reading the posts on this board for a month or two before pulling the trigger.
I've been reading since September (and other boards like Expo Portal for years) and you guys still haven't scared me off yet!
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  #4  
Old November 5th, 2012, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JSBriggs View Post
Id say a 110 would be a better choice. Once you get 4 people in a 90, there isn't much extra room.

-Jeff
Kids seem to get bigger every year too...

A 110 or 130 DC would be far more livable on a daily basis.

Not an inexpensive second vehicle, but well worth the investment if you use and enjoy it.

Plan to spend either upfront in a well sorted restoration or on the backend in a rebuild or chasing down and repairing as you go. The costs seem to level out in the long run. Cant speak for the gas engines, but the TDI powered trucks are OK on heat - insulation matting is your friend to keep the heat inside.
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  #5  
Old November 5th, 2012, 01:13 PM
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I suggest you find someone in your area and drive around "shotgun" with them. You might not like the "Rover Experience"

I ALWAYS WANTED A 200/300 TDI AND NOW I HAVE PERMANENT HEARING LOSS... After a trip with a fellow board member in his D110.

Also, get AAA Plus policy. So you can get 100 miles when you get towed. (Yes. I said when... It's inevitable)

Don't get me wrong... I've owned Rovers for a while and I love them (I have 4).

If you are not mechanically inclined... They are not for the faint of heart. The shops will charge you an arm and a leg for anything on these trucks.

The men and women here will help you with all your technical questions and will even give you a hand.

Good Luck and hope we are not scaring you with blunt information.
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  #6  
Old November 5th, 2012, 01:23 PM
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If you want to remain inconspicuous, get a Honda... A 90/110/130 is an attention getter. People will flag you down driving down the street, come over and talk at gas stations, post offices and grocery stores.

On the other hand, you will smile every time you are behind the wheel.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 01:29 PM
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I don't know your time frame to "get behind the wheel" of one of these bad boys but, IF you decide to import one, it make take quit a bit of effort to really get it worthy of daily service. I'd get a gasser D110 to start with, and the intent to install a 2.8 TGV diesel. I drive a D90 with a 300tdi auto box & I'd say the tdi is marginal in power for it (hills slow me down to 50mph). So putting a 300Tdi in a 110, well there are others here who say it's OK, but it wouldn't work for me & I'd love to have a 110.
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  #8  
Old November 5th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makefast View Post
This would be a daily driver - I know all about the troubles with older cars (have owned 70s and 80s era VWs) and don't mind a bit of wrenching every now and then, but are they as unreliable as some people make them sound?
If you buy a brand new Land Rover 2012 Defender, then I don't expect you'd have much trouble for 100-125k miles.

If you buy an 80's import Defender, then there are two extreme cases:
1. It's a truck that's been driven for 150-200k miles, nothing has ever been replaced, and basically it was run until it started leaking/falling apart, at which point it was parked for 10 years until the owner's wife demanded it to be sold.
2. It's a truck that's been maintained very well and had virtually all of its parts replaced (engine, tranny, and transfer case included) and is pretty much a "new" truck mechanically.

And everything in between.

If you get a Defender as per case #2 above, then I imagine it would be as reliable as a Honda Civic, just purring along. The problem is that finding a truck like that for little money is rare.

What you get 99% of the time is something near the case of #1. In that case, you will have to either replace a whole bunch of seals/belts/parts one at a time or all at once. What typically happens is that the new owner has no idea what is going to break first, so they will just fix each thing as it breaks. When that happens, it could take a day to fix, or a month or two until parts become available.

In that case, you'd better own a very reliable second car to drive around.
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  #9  
Old November 5th, 2012, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woldd90 View Post
If you want to remain inconspicuous, get a Honda... A 90/110/130 is an attention getter. People will flag you down driving down the street, come over and talk at gas stations, post offices and grocery stores.

On the other hand, you will smile every time you are behind the wheel.
hey and dont forget the- hey Mister can I take a photo of your truck!
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  #10  
Old November 5th, 2012, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrc.swb View Post
I ALWAYS WANTED A 200/300 TDI AND NOW I HAVE PERMANENT HEARING LOSS... After a trip with a fellow board member in his D110.
Guilty as charged, but I actually daily-drive either the 110Tdi or NAS90. As many alluded to, be prepared for things to spring up that need attention. I've rolled the dice with these as daily drivers and they've yet to let me down (knock on wood). And when things do arise, most of the time they are easy fixes.

For example, last month was getting some odd noises from the rear axle on the 110. Realized a wheel bearing was shot. Hit Napa, picked up (2) BR37 (to do both the inner and outer bearings), grabbed a seal from a friend that was local and had one, and this happened late on a Friday and I was driving the truck by Saturday morning.

On the other hand, had a rear pinion bearing issue on the 90, which snowballed into me doing both wheel bearings and all u-joints. It took 10 DAYS to get the rear pinion bearings from one of the parts houses since I ordered it as a kit...but it was shame on me, I should have just matched the bearing numbers up and purchased at Napa/etc and it would have probably been down for just a couple of days.

Moral of the story is things will happen, most will be easily fixed, but this lends itself to the understanding or assumption that you will be on top of or ahead of schedule on maintenance. I rarely go even a few miles over on oil changes, check the condition of things underneath the truck and inside the engine compartment on an obsessive basis, and generally catch things before they're due and make sure everything is in good working order. Ignore these things and they will definitely snowball and catch up with you.

It also helps to have your own parts-stash on hand for things that pop up. I've justified owning too many Rovers since they all share the same damn parts anyow! (case in point did the Clutch Master Cylinder on the 1971 Series over the summer, then when I did the same master on the 1994 NAS realized it's the exact same part...go figure).
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  #11  
Old November 5th, 2012, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woldd90 View Post
If you want to remain inconspicuous, get a Honda... A 90/110/130 is an attention getter. People will flag you down driving down the street, come over and talk at gas stations, post offices and grocery stores.

On the other hand, you will smile every time you are behind the wheel.
X2 - Or Home Depot! It's the worst, takes me 30 min to get out of the parking lot! But I love it. It drives my 11 year old daughter nuts because she has heard the whole spiel 100 times. " It's a 2.5 n/a diesel bla bla bla."
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  #12  
Old November 6th, 2012, 11:28 AM
makefast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanwind View Post
Moral of the story is things will happen, most will be easily fixed, but this lends itself to the understanding or assumption that you will be on top of or ahead of schedule on maintenance. I rarely go even a few miles over on oil changes, check the condition of things underneath the truck and inside the engine compartment on an obsessive basis, and generally catch things before they're due and make sure everything is in good working order. Ignore these things and they will definitely snowball and catch up with you.
I'm pretty used to this after driving the VWs around as DDs for a while (and taking some 3000+ mile trips in them). Always carrying spare filters in the van and having a stash of parts at the house (along with taking the VW directory of 'people who will help you if you break down' everywhere).

Thanks for the honest feedback from everyone. We have time to wait and try to find the right vehicle. And I am going to see if I can find a club or something in the area that I might be able to ride shotgun in - although there isn't much in Wyoming so I will probably be heading down to Colorado.
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  #13  
Old November 6th, 2012, 04:40 PM
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My $0.02 - I have a D90 that i converted from the fold-up side seats to a forward facing rear bench seat to accommodate two car seats. Easy to convert and the bench seats are typically available for ~$500. A little narrow for both car seats, but my boys love it. Doesn't leave much storage space, but that is what roof racks are for. Plus roof racks look better with stuff in them anyways. Heater is also no issue. Good luck!
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