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  #1  
Old March 18th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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California Spec Defender?

Greetings all,

I'm just starting to look for a D90. I live in California. Are there 49 state versions and 50 state versions, or can I buy any NAS Defender and legally register it in California?

TIA,

Spalding
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  #2  
Old March 18th, 2006, 07:36 PM
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You can buy any NAS Defender...they are legal in all 50 states.
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  #3  
Old March 19th, 2006, 12:41 AM
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Many thanks.
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  #4  
Old March 19th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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George Kase
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Hey Captain...

Recognize your name from the G wagen lists...are you switching over to LR or keeping your Gwagen too?
You'll find this list a great resource if you get a D90...
George
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  #5  
Old March 19th, 2006, 04:51 PM
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Might be switching teams.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gkase
Recognize your name from the G wagen lists...are you switching over to LR or keeping your Gwagen too? . . .
Hi George, nice to see someone familiar here. That question is at the center of some deep soul searching for me right now. I'd be very interested to hear any thoughts you have on the subject.

- Spalding
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  #6  
Old March 20th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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George Kase
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Here's my take...

I started in 4x4s back in the mid eighties with a Dodge Ramcharger, then a sequence of about three Ford Broncos (nice trucks) and just for fun bought my first Land Rover, a 1967 Series IIa short wheelbase(88")...it needed some frame welding and engine, wiring and transmission work but I got it all put together and felt that it just wasn't safe to use as an everyday contemporary vehicle as it had drum brakes, no ability to go over 50mph (realistically) and it got crummy mileage...so I looked at getting either a Series III or maybe a Defender. I ended up buying a gray market 1990 Defender diesel. I ended up selling it (to one of the guys on this list, as a matter of fact) and then got a 1994 NAS D-90...for one reason or another I had a series of two of these and that's when I bought my Gwagen. For a while, I was convinced the Gwagen was a better vehicle (luxury appointments, "reliability" reputation), but the Land Rovers kept gnawing at the back of my mind. The Merc was well built and trouble free and had all the luxury you could want but the Landies have a sort of character that says fun to my mind. I'm not all sure the Mercs are really any less trouble than the Land Rovers. The Rover is a MUCH simpler vehicle and is way easier to understand and work on. The vastly superior source of information and supply in the Landy community has the Gwagen beat by a MILE. There have been times that I would need a wheel bearing or an axle seal and can go to my local (plenty to choose from) Rover dealer and just buy it. None of the quizical "trout" looks that you get from Merc dealers when you try to order such things from them. Plus, there is England. There are several enthusiast magazines out there with tons of ads and places to buy parts directly ( and sometimes quite cheaply) from the home territory. I am converting my new (to me) 1995 NAS Defender to a 300Tdi turbo diesel set up and ordered the whole ball of wax as a kit from a specialist in England (engine, trans, transfer box, intercooler, exhaust, etc), a bolt on project with plenty of support from folks who have done this many times before. Very reasonably priced too. Try to do that with a G Wagen. I know my way around a wrench but I am not the expert that some of the guys on the Gwagen list are. They can invent their way through a project with their abilities and talent...blazing new trails as it were. I like doing stuff that's been done before so that when I need help (which I assume I will) it might be available. There are things to watch out for in buying a D-90 (as with any truck) but some are indeed predictable. For example, in my opinion, it's a waste to look for low mileage trucks. They are high priced and when they reach 100K miles, things begin to break down in a predictable sequence. Oft times a high mileage truck is a better bargain cause a lot of the typical stuff has been done. I would look for a rust free example of a 94 or 95...the 95s have round rear tail lights and I think it looks more traditional. At somewhere around 100k the Rover 3.9L V8 begins to have leaking issues...head gaskets, valley gasket, water pumps...stuff like that. There are some minor predictable electrical issues that are easily handled or prevented...transfer boxes and gear boxes are easily (relatively) unbolted and swapped out...readily available from stateside suppliers (like www.roversdownsouth.com or roversnorth.com or others)...order a catalog from roversnorth.com and see what parts cost...also, remember, if in a pinch, any Rover dealer can take care of your truck (for a price of course) and there are many independant shops that specialize too. I have a Rover tech that free lances when I need help...other folks may have other opinions, and I suppose one should never say never, but the fun personality and extensive available support of the Defender will keep me driving one and I doubt I'll go back to the G...
If I can help...just gimme a shout.
George
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  #7  
Old March 21st, 2006, 02:26 PM
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Hi George,

Many thanks for your comments.

I have been a long-time G devotee, but my patience is wearing thin with the whole gray-market thing. You are spot-on about the parts issue. The dealers in my area have always been very unresponsive. Europa was even hit-or-miss, and now they've closed their doors. Sean at Eurotruck seems to want to carry the torch, but who knows how long that will last. G's are really reliable - but let's face it, a 15 year old truck is going to need parts.

Then there's the dearth of aftermarket parts. I gave my 300GE a modest spring lift. What a pain. ORC's springs were way too stiff. Extreme.de offers springs, but no one has any experience with them. So I went the stock spring route, weighing each corner of the vehicle on a truck scale and studying the spring-rate charts to find the right springs. And then, to find those springs - a headache all its own.

Then there's the shortage of expertise that you talked about. So true, and I have been left stumbling through the dark on my own more often than I care to remember.

The G is a wonderful truck - the cabriolet especially so. But keeping it in top condition or making modifications is a huge chore. Maybe I'm just tired of beating my head against the wall.

So, I am considering switching teams. I appreciate the advice you offered vis-a-vis high vs. low mileage vehicles, etc. What I'm looking for is a station wagon - a nice low-or-no rust truck that has been a pampered boy's toy and spent its life garaged. In Los Angeles, land of a thousand G500s, none of which have ever left the pavement, hopefully finding the Defender I envision won't be too difficult. If you have any thoughts re: places to look online, please let me know.

In terms of my first hand experience with Defenders, I have sat in two and driven one. Both were convertibles. One was leaking fluids from every pore. The other, the one that I drove, was a tired old soldier. The owner obviously wheeled it hard. There were air lockers and a compressor installed, and the bodywork had seen many coats of paint. There was definitely a motor-mount issue when I test drove it, but it reeked of fun! On both of them, the interior was shot. Not just worn. The door panels were cracked. Center consoles coming apart, etc. As for the road feel, smoothness of the motor, shifting, etc., compared to the G, the Defenders I looked at are a very blunt tool. To be fair in that assessment, I really do need to find that pampered boy's toy and give it a test drive. And what a luxury to be able to get parts from among so many sources. To actually price-shop for parts. Unheard of for the G. You just pay what you're asked or go away. And it will be such a General-Foods-International-Coffee moment as I sit in my kitchen, leafing through the many aftermarket Land Rover parts catalogs, daydreaming about which winch bumper or roof rack I want. The Defender's charm, certainly, is undeniable, and if I ultimately choose to forsake the G, the Defender will be the truck for me.

Thanks again for you thoughts.

- Spalding
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  #8  
Old March 21st, 2006, 02:46 PM
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Spalding,

I think there is blue SW for sale at Anaheim Hills Land Rover.

joe
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  #9  
Old March 21st, 2006, 02:48 PM
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George Kase
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here's some further thoughts...

In terms of shopping for one, you're probably well situated out there to hook a nice rust free truck...
the places to look are ebay (buyer be ware of course applies to all but especially ebay), this site (d90.com) and other club sites across the country. Also, must mention www.LRX.com which is dedicated to buying and selling Rovers and parts. Then some of the merchants have classifieds such as britishpacific.com and roversnorth.com...Also, don't overlook the www.traderonline.com route either. Or even the local paper's website. Also, there's cars.com which I think is national in scope but is sponsored locally by the Chicago Tribune here in the midwest...As I began to shop a few months ago I put out feelers to all these resources and accidentally stumbled across an independant Rover dealership in Georgia of all places...www.bvlr.com which is where I got my truck. As to price range, you should be able to find a truck that isn't used up easily in the low $20s. The 95 I got was only $14,995. and is the cleanest truck (next to a new one) that my Rover tech had ever seen. It has 162K miles on it, doesn't leak a drop (no, it's not dry of fluids!) and has no rust on it anywhere. It's really incredible but true. It needed a top and that's it. But, as I say, I think I really lucked out. My last defender was a Station Wagen (hardtop) that I had to sell (wish I hadn't of course) and it went for a paltry $17k and I did everything to it that it need mechanically...so, seek and ye shall find. They seem to come in waves, so if there aren't a lot out there, wait a bit, keep checking and on will pop up.
keep us posted on the progress of this illness of yours...misery loves company!
George
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  #10  
Old March 21st, 2006, 02:51 PM
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Brian Terpstra
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You're not selling the G, are you?


BT
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  #11  
Old March 22nd, 2006, 08:55 AM
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"Blunt tool" That's a pretty good description of a Defender. That's part of the attraction, I like the utility. I think the series II guys would consider them refined though.

I would be very very surprised if you find a clean Defender for under 23K but I haven't been shopping so maybe they are out there.

Good luck!!!
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  #12  
Old March 22nd, 2006, 08:18 PM
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Retraction and more questions.

Hello again everyone,

Today I drove down to Anaheim Hills to drive the Defender for sale at the LR dealer (thanks for the tip, Joe P.)

It was a very clean truck. A blue '97 station wagon. Around 55k miles. The merest hint of rust. The headliner was sagging a bit in the rear, and a drop of fluid on the bottom of both the t-case and transmission. Under the hood, residue of burned oil was evident on many of the components (oil cooler hose burst?) Otherwise clean clean clean. After driving it, I offer a total and complete retraction of the "blunt tool" remark and hope you will all forgive me. The first two trucks I saw must have been abused.

The salesman explained that the truck belonged to a friend of the general manager, and was there on consignment. Asking price: $44,500.

George, I know you think that price is way too high, but as I look around the net, I'm not seeing the low-dollar offers you talked about. Nothing even close to the low $20k range at Copley (I know they always ask top dollar), LRX, or anywhere else I found. I checked completed sales on eBay, and the lowest sale was $30k.

So, the question offered: $44k reasonable for the truck I've described, a little high, or stratospheric? I'm willing pay for a truck in top condition, but . . .

Thanks again everyone for your comments so far.

- Spalding
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  #13  
Old March 22nd, 2006, 08:35 PM
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Spalding, truth be told people here talk of what I consider to be super low prices. [I havent been looking since I paid too much for mine] but I dont think I've seen much in the way of those low prices for clean trucks except once in a blue moon after someone else has pimped the link. I'd say they are out there but you gotta look and gotta know how/where to look (something I havent figured yet).
But to answer your question - stratospheric! Copley sells to the super rich that can afford and will pamper imho.
One other factor - all 97s are autoboxes and so are more expensive. 94-95s are all 5spds. (there is a minor motor difference, but the transmission is the key determining factor for those who decide 94/95 vs. 97).
YMMV
-scott
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  #14  
Old March 22nd, 2006, 09:08 PM
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That's high. By any standard.

If you want a deal, you have to sit tight and keep the search on. My truck fell into my lap when the buyer ahead of me couldn't come up with the $$. By that time, the seller was ready to deal. I had been looking for about a year.

I'd say your best deal is a high miles truck that might need some TLC. Preferably from a warm, dry state. The fact is these rigs are growing old and most of those $44K trucks have far too few miles on them. So the seals leak, the gaskets leak, the rubber bits are starting to rot, etc. You'll pay 44K for that truck and end up dumping more $$ and time into it to do a head job or short block, replace a clutch, or fix swivel leaks. Or you can buy something lower down in price, that's been driven and may need a few things addressed. Just as the $44K truck. But you may only have $25K into it.

Don't let the fever get to you too fast.
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  #15  
Old March 22nd, 2006, 09:48 PM
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I've seen some VERY nice trucks go through Bear Valley's inventory for MUCH less than that - they typically sell most of their D-90's in the $25 to $30K range - exceptional, low mileage vehicles will sell for some where in the $30-35K range. They recently sold a high mileage (178K)D-90 for $14,900 - they even have a feature where they can alert you via e-mail when they have a D-90 on the way - check their website at www.bvlr.com - I live about two miles from their shop so I drop in every other week to say hi and check out the inventory.


$44K is too much - just be patient and a better deal will come along.
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  #16  
Old March 22nd, 2006, 10:13 PM
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One more thing to keep in mind, those high prices are the sellers asking price. Usually not the sale price.
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  #17  
Old March 22nd, 2006, 10:41 PM
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Michael Jekogian
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http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1997-...QQcmdZViewItem


If the link work it will show you a Arlis 97 D90 that is for sale down here in Costa mesa I have seel it on the strets and it looks good.
If your looking for a SW. You origonally said ST.
I can drive by and get the $ and Phone or at least try.
Michael
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  #18  
Old March 22nd, 2006, 10:58 PM
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George Kase
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I bought it...

Yup,
that was my truck from bvlr.com for $14995.00...162k and rust free with no leaks....it happens...patience is the word...
anything over $25k is tough to rationalize unless its a diesel or something really special. I'd say keep looking for under $20k and see what happens...
George
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  #19  
Old March 22nd, 2006, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjekogian
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1997-...QQcmdZViewItem


If the link work it will show you a Arlis 97 D90 that is for sale down here in Costa mesa I have seel it on the strets and it looks good.
If your looking for a SW. You origonally said ST.
I can drive by and get the $ and Phone or at least try.
Michael
Thanks Michael,

That eBay truck is listed on LRX for $42k. The owner put up a web page with photos. It's in about the same condition as the one I looked at today, I think.
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  #20  
Old March 24th, 2006, 11:07 PM
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Unhappy Defendus Interruptus . . . or . . . Curses, foiled again!

Dash it all. I saw an add for a white '97 SW , 96k total miles, 30k miles worth of LR dealer service records, down in Newport - at a used car dealer. Talked with the salesman ad-nauseum on Thursday morning. I was mentally prepared to go down there this morning, test drive the car, and do some dealin'.

At 9:30 AM I called him up to let him know I was on my way, and he told me the car had been sold! To a buyer up north in San Francisco, who bought the truck sight-unseen, and FedEx'd a check for the full $32k asking price.



The hunt continues . . .

Thanks everyone for you continued encouragement.
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