At what point is a problem truck not worth it? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old April 18th, 2007, 03:21 PM
Emerson00
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Matt J.
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At what point is a problem truck not worth it?

So I bought the ’95 RRC, and I paid a lot for it. Tried to buy my way out of used car problems, to be honest – I was willing to spend good money to get a truck that was in great condition w/o need of immediate repairs or long term issues (serious rust). Mechanics aren’t my specialty, but I can usually figure them out.



So I’m now into this RRC for over $14k – pushing $15k with my most recent order.



I’ve got a list of new small parts put on, and a couple of bigger items. It already had some work by the owner prior to the jerk that sold it to me which got the engine running OK.



I’ve still got two wheel bearings to adjust and two CV joints to service as well as the track rod/drag link/pan hard rods to service, then an alignment. Last, and certainly not least, I’ve got rust-through on the frame. It failed inspection for all these things.



I can manage all of them. I can even get the frame rust-through fixed, and then get the frame treated with Waxoyl or POR-15. Ultimately I plan to replace the engine with diesel anyway.



The big thing bothering me now is the extent of rust. Most parts that can rust, have done so. Every time I open something up, like the headlight boxes, the rust damage is extensive – from deep surface rust to rust-through. The inner fenders have rusted through in a couple places, the bottom of the space under the decker panel, and much of the bulkhead is rusted – in some places rusted through. Many of the panels under the the body have serious rust damage – some parts I can’t tell if they’re sandwiched metal parts or rusting into layers. The plastic trim pieces (where sliders belong) are hanging on by half the connections because the others have rusted off… The exhaust, upper tailgate, upper rear window frames, and under the cargo area also have rust issues.



The truck had a paint job, and the interior’s relatively clean (very few issues aside from no cruise control, no heated seat (whaa) and other more minor things). It looks good from far, but may be far from good. (<-- blinders on)



The question, then, to you experts in things “Rover”, is: is it worth fixing mechanical systems and such, or are such things as frame, body, and underbody rust long term killers for RRC’s? I know Defenders can be rebuilt rather extensively, but RR’s? If I push her along for a year or two before converting to diesel, can most of the rust issues be addressed with a thorough paint job at a good body shop at that time anyway? Am I really facing a $10-12k hit (if I sold at $2-4k)?



(oh, and yes, I’ll try to stop whining about the asshole seller or the POS dealer in Salt Lake that screwed me).
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  #2  
Old April 18th, 2007, 03:30 PM
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Jason Herring
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I have had nearly every component in my truck have at least minor if not major failure. I was completely screwed by the POS PO. Brakes, exhaust, head gasket, fuel injector, suspension (springs/tie rods/shocks), bushings, fan, electrical system, alternator, water pump, xfer case, transmission, front axle, u-joings, radiator, gas tank plate, side steps, bumpers (front and back) - all needed either MAJOR service or complete replacement due to previously existing conditions or catastrophic failure. This is within less than 3 years, and now I may have a slipped liner in the engine. I don't know anyone with a basket case like this! It is my daily driver, so I put some miles on it, but no harsh off-roading.
But I can't seem to get rid of it, love driving it when it lets me, and in good conscience could never sell it in a 'deferred maintenance' state anyway. The mentality must be "it's almost new in so many ways, what else can go wrong?".
Ugh. I have no advice for you, because obviously I'm not right in the head.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 03:48 PM
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Andrew Najarian
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Not to rub it in, but we just sold a gorgeous '95 with only about 58k on it for $7,000. It was black on beige with brand new coil conversion (that we installed) and the PO had installed a new upper tailgate...there was no rust in any of the normal places like the Tailgate or inner door jams etc.

I think you are right about what it will sell for, and the rust sounds awfully serious. I would probably start looking for a real clean body with a bad engine or trans etc. and swap everything like your interior and new parts you have ordered over. Then you can also keep the most exp. common problem parts as spares (such as the brake pump) and you can probably recover a little by selling some of the extra stuff you dont need. You should be able to find a decent body for around $1000-3000 I would think. If you really want to keep a RRC I would go this route, or you may want to just part it out and use the money to buy something different but, no offense, I don't think it sounds practical to repair the one you are working with.

I think you have already faced the fact that you aren't going to get your money back out of it (which is good). Whats that old saying...a boat is just a hole in the water into which you throw money! Cars are generally the same (not necessarily Defenders and collector cars but you know what I mean). I think it really boils down to what you really want to own and drive and how much you are willing to spend.

Just curious, why did you go with the RRC and not the 4.0/4.6 (p38) body? I personally love them both, but it just seems that the 4.0/4.6's are getting awfully cheap these days and parts seem to be more readily available.

Just my $.02 and good luck with the decision.

Cheers!
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Old April 18th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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nate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaherring
I have had nearly every component in my truck have at least minor if not major failure. I was completely screwed by the POS PO. Brakes, exhaust, head gasket, fuel injector, suspension (springs/tie rods/shocks), bushings, fan, electrical system, alternator, water pump, xfer case, transmission, front axle, u-joings, radiator, gas tank plate, side steps, bumpers (front and back) - all needed either MAJOR service or complete replacement due to previously existing conditions or catastrophic failure. This is within less than 3 years, and now I may have a slipped liner in the engine. I don't know anyone with a basket case like this! It is my daily driver, so I put some miles on it, but no harsh off-roading.
But I can't seem to get rid of it, love driving it when it lets me, and in good conscience could never sell it in a 'deferred maintenance' state anyway. The mentality must be "it's almost new in so many ways, what else can go wrong?".
Ugh. I have no advice for you, because obviously I'm not right in the head.
sounds pretty familiar. I bought my truck from somebody who had a good rep and knew a lot of people on this board and who had owned i think 3 or 4 previous D90`s throughout the years, so I figured he`d have taken decent care of it. Now I am about $12k deep in fixing BS problems.

At what point is it too much though? As far as I am concerned, that point is when you stop enjoying it. For as much BS as I put up with to keep this truck on the road, goddam, I love it.
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  #5  
Old April 18th, 2007, 04:05 PM
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I would patch it up and treat it. They can rust but at this point, just get it on the road legally. You will never get much out of it.

I am putting about 3k into my 95 lwb as we speak (tires, windscreen, hub seal, steering box, rear brakes, ignition, full service), plus about two days worth of me doing rust repairs by welding panels and treating stuff. I plan to keep it until I die or it brakes in half.

Also don't you all have only inspection once on a vehicle in maryland?
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  #6  
Old April 18th, 2007, 04:16 PM
Emerson00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stmpede
Not to rub it in, but rubrubrubrubrubrubrubrubrubr...


I just liked the classics better, I guess... We'll see where legal takes us as to getting my money back. Then I'll see about what's next (buy the company Jeep, D90, better RRC, DI or who knows what).
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  #7  
Old April 18th, 2007, 04:18 PM
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With the frame and body rusting out from under you I would not even consider putting in a new engine. I am afraid you have spent too much already. Keep it running for a daily driver for as long as you can but if you sold it you would be seriously screwed.
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  #8  
Old April 18th, 2007, 04:27 PM
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Dave Lucas
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Emerson,

The labor for replacing the frame and shell would get expensive if you can not do the work. Do you have a local rover club that might have some members willing to help for food / beer?

If you are really thinking about replacing the frame / shell I have a 1993 LWB (low mile 4.2 and updated LT230) that I was getting ready to put on ebay, it has been a Colorado/ New Mexico car for all of its life and as far as I can tell there is little to no rust at all on it.

If you are thinking about a shell & frame this would be a good one IMHO and I can take a bunch of pics so you know what you are getting

give me a call or email if you are intrested

http://www.slickrockfabrication.com/...new_page_2.htm
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  #9  
Old April 18th, 2007, 04:27 PM
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Andrew Najarian
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Hey, I don't blame you, I have owned a number of 4.0/4.6s but I am always on the lookout for an RRC if one falls into my lap at the right price. If I had been working at the time I would have probably picked up that '95 I mentioned. They all have their own appeal IMO.
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  #10  
Old April 18th, 2007, 08:05 PM
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Jeff
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have you considered buying used parts? 14K is a lot of money for parts.
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  #11  
Old April 18th, 2007, 08:38 PM
Emerson00
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Matt J.
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Thanks, guys. Not a lot of good news...

I'm embarrassed to clarify, but I have spent less than $3k on parts and service so far... I paid a lot for the truck - a few thousand about NADA high retail... I honestly thought it was near perfect, the inspection suggested only a minor seepage are the rear main ("that's normal for these") and "some body rust" ("no big deal, just more than we're used to in Utah")... I was in a hurry, saw Copely list a '91 for $14800, and figured real good examples sell high. I could afford the price, and was willing to spend it for the best on the market at the time (long story as to why I was in a hurry).

Maybe I'll find a semi-local Rover guy to look it over for me and see what he thinks. I do over-react sometimes, and aside from the 18yo Volvo... I'm not used to older cars. I'm going to need "expert" opinions for court anyway, so maybe a second set of eyes before spending for expert opinions makes sense.

Right now, I'm just going to get it running and on the road while legal channels wind their way.
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  #12  
Old April 19th, 2007, 01:42 AM
4x4sche
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My 94 disco with 100,000 miles and zero rust is only worth about $4,500 here. So why does anyone think a classic RR of this age is worth any more than that? Throw it away and buy a used disco in Washington.
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  #13  
Old April 19th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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Try treasured Motorcars outside of baltimore -- they' abosolutely the best and closest to Annapolis.

Tony
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  #14  
Old April 19th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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Jeff B
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I own two 91 RRs and a 93 LWB. I have minor rust on one of the 91s but it's a trail-truck so it's not a concern to me.

I think there were some serious issues with rust on the 95 LWBs. I don't know what the deal is with them. My 93 LWB has two small nickel sized rust spots on the rear most section of the quarters(where the small steel corners are) and THAT'S IT !! A friend of mine across town has a black 95 LWB that has major structural rust! The bulkhead is coming apart under the hood hinges, front inner fenders are shot, upper tailgate is completely gone, lower tailgate not far behind the upper, rear cargo floor has holes you can put your hand through......frame rust as well!

I would take the afore mentioned advice; patch,paint and just accept the fact that it's a goner... :-(
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Old April 19th, 2007, 11:01 AM
Emerson00
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Ah, well... shite happens, eh?

I guess, given that it has little value, I could always turn it into a trail rig... they seem to have little value anyway, so no harm done to the truck in that... It's not like I'd be taking an original RRC and destroying it's value.

I am fairly certain I can get the frame rust under control, though at some further expense (cut out, prep, weld in, and treat the whole frame).

The body rust is too widespread to "fix" but I can chase some of it with scrape/sand/rustoleum and just live with it as a beater (live with it in the sense that I'm going the legal route in the meantime so nurse it along...).
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Old April 19th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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There is one other option that may be possible. You could also take an advert out in the paper and just see what happens. Occasionally you will run across someone who loves a vehicle so much they actually don't care what it needs at the time. I am not saying to lie about its condition in any manner, but let the vehicle speak for itself. If you are not upside-down with it, you may get an offer that will get you out of it. Then you can look around and find one in good shape that you actually like. You may find this to be less expensive in the long run even if you loose some short term. I actually had the same issue with my very first vehicle (66 Cuda) and found a guy who liked it so much he didn't care. If you get no offers or none high enough, your only out the amount for the ad.
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  #17  
Old April 19th, 2007, 12:44 PM
Doug Crowther
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Doug Crowther
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Rust Bucket

Emerson,
I'm sorry to read your saga. My 93 lwb has a very small amount of rust around the rear lisc plate lights and in the leading edge of the hood. It passed Md inspection with flying colors a year ago as well as emissions. I am willing to help you anyway I can since I'm local. I never connected with your english friend but if he still wants a lwb I'll sell. Again I'm very sorry to hear about your truck being rusty. Thats the one thing I won't tackle and the reason I gave away my 89 county to a friend.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 01:23 PM
Emerson00
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Matt J.
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Thanks, all.

Doug, headed to kent island any time soon? My parents' garage is at the bottom of the island (it's much bigger than mine, and they had a space available). It'd be good to have a second set of eyes - familiar with Rovers, let alone specifically RRCs - look at it and see just how bad it is...

I think by brit buddy is still interested, though he's in AK for a couple more weeks (work). In fact I saw him before he headed north and he was wondering what happened.

Rust Bucket already got an emissions notice, too; I'm not sure I'll have it on the road by then.

BTW, Doug... should have bought yours, and I know it. At the time, I was looking for white and fell for the ad and inspection. I've heard from my wife a few times "how much did the guy in Annapolis want? (foot tapping in frustration )"
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  #19  
Old April 19th, 2007, 01:42 PM
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Jeff B
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If you have not already done so, Emerson00, I would suggest taking out all the carpet and more importantly the soundproofing/insulation under the carpet. Get down to bare floor and see what condition ALL the floors are in. Remove the front kick panels and see how the lower A-pillars are holding up. Check the inner parts of the sills/rockers. Check the rear seatbelt anchor points, especially the outboard one on the wheelwell. Also, water and debris love to collect where the bonnet hinges are and rust out the firewall. Obviously check the upper/lower tailgates and the hinge/floor of the lower tg.
Maybe, you can prolong it if it's not too bad in those areas...

Can you post some pics of the rust in question?
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  #20  
Old April 19th, 2007, 04:39 PM
Doug Crowther
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Doug Crowther
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Emerson,
Bottom of the island- Romancoke ? Sure I'll come help you. Weeknights are better than weekends for me. My boat was supposed to go back in on the 27th but I'm not ready. Quick answer is I will be on your Island a lot in the next three weeks. I have a new cell number 410-200-4386 give me a ring.
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