Is This 97 D-90 Worth Purchasing? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old December 15th, 2004, 03:37 PM
jchan88
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james chan
1997 Defender 90 ST white
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Is This 97 D-90 Worth Purchasing?

Hey all,
first and foremost I would like to thank Mike Hippert and Hans from NY for their greatly appreciated input. You guys are awesome!!! Many, many thanks GUYS!!!! okay, I have the opportunity to purchase a local 1997 D-90 alpine white with approximately 78K. I would be the 3rd owner, the guy has all the service records and seems very knowledgeable and honest. About the car: the frame/chassis is pretty much rust free, just a bit showing on the tail pipe area. The body is awesome, no scratches, hail damage whatsoever, just one little door ding and thats it. The interior is about the same, no cracks or rips on any of the front and back seats, console is good shape the only thing i saw was a crack on the black bezel thing that "frames" the vents. the driver side floor board does have a quarter size rust patch-surface rust, nothing going through. The guy let me take the car home for a few days and no leaks were found on the garage floor and he said nothing on his garage floor either since he has had it. However, here is the bad news: It just came back from the Land Rover people and this is what they found: headgasket leaking coolant, rear main, t box, front crank seal, lower oil cooler line, power steering hoses, l/f swivel seal, trani pan gasket and water pump. the costs of repairs are $4450.00 from LR. Guys, inside and outside is awesome, but what scares me, b/c im a poor college student are these issues the LR mechanic found. I asked my local mechanic here that i trust and he says he could do it for about 1900-2200 dollars. The guy was asking 25.5K and after i mentioned and showed him the list of mechanical problems, which he says is total "B** S***"!!! we finally got the price to 22.5. is this a fair/good/bad deal. should i go through with it. please help your input is greatly appreciated, and thanks to all in advance. Happy holidays.....
Respectfully,
future d90 owner........
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  #2  
Old December 15th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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Chris von C
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James, we will be moving this to, hmmmm.. lets try the Tech section for now I guess. Could be some good info one the gang starts posting.

My 2 cents... The $4450 from the dealer does not suprise me when looking at the parts they are listing. From a dealer, consider you are paying the highest rates and most likely prices on parts. but labor is the biggest killer there especially with the head gasket job which alone is about an $1800 job, mostly consisting of 12 hours labor and I think a $35 gasket (I think that is what I was quoted recently for mine). I would take it to a local Rover guru and have them look it over. Some of these parts may be leaking but are for the rest of us, considered part of the norm on a Defender and really can make due for the time being.
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  #3  
Old December 15th, 2004, 03:56 PM
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Phil
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I would guess that the laundry list of needed repairs is accurate. Things like oil cooler lines, swivel seals, gaskets, p/s hoses, water pump, are going to need replacing at that kind of mileage. I just had oil cooler lines and a swivel seal done on my truck. Your decision should be based on whether you can find a truck that doesn't need that kind of work for close to the same price, same mileage. If not, then maybe it's a good deal.
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  #4  
Old December 15th, 2004, 04:03 PM
jchan88
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james chan
1997 Defender 90 ST white
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thanks a bunch chris, phil....wanted to hear from a few more before i take the plunge or not.
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  #5  
Old December 15th, 2004, 04:09 PM
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Mike Hippert
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Just some ideas

headgasket leaking coolant - Agreed it is a big money job, did they say if it was leaking internally into the engine or into the oil or just leaking out?

rear main-hmm, I think there would be spots on the driveway
t box-same there should be spots on the drivway
front crank seal-Spots on the driveway
lower oil cooler-line Replace anyway
power steering hoses-they all leak some but if no spots then thats normal
l/f swivel seal-mine do since I bought it, good excuse to work on it as gear oil is cheap.
trani pan gasket-no spots again but it is an auto so I don't know?
water pump-do it yourself job takes about 4 hours to a day, you can tell if it is bad by trying to shake the pulley and if it moves from side to side then it is on it's way out.

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  #6  
Old December 15th, 2004, 07:21 PM
Eric Siepmann
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Eric W. Siepmann
1997 Defender 90 SW
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1800 is right on the money CvC. Mine were just done, along with the front main seal, all new wires, plugs and radiator as well. Ouch.

The dealers will give you this BS about "weeping" along the gaskets. I was told the same thing when I first brought mine into the dealer. I waited until I saw oil on the block. Usually they leak from the rear cyclinders first. If the truck doesn't overheat, there's no coolant, and no oil, wait until they appear to have it done. You will see the oil on the front of the block if the front main is leaking. Your rear main leak is probably a oil pan leak. Mine was. Dealers want cash.

can't really offer any advice on purchasing because you really have to see a truck to do so.
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  #7  
Old December 15th, 2004, 07:57 PM
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Sounds like a fair deal to me especially if he has the replacement parts. I had a head gasket replaced for under $500.00 including getting the heads decked and pressure tested. I would take the discount, and if you had it several days and didn't actually have spots under it I would say it is normal for a rover with over 100 miles, yes 100. Mine have been seeping since 99 on my disco , and has yet to leave a spot on the pavement.
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  #8  
Old December 15th, 2004, 07:57 PM
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Mike
'97 Defender 90 SW
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If you can afford the truck and the upkeep then I vote to get it. You will love it for sure. If the body is in good shape and all the work you mentioned is needed then you will have a pretty damn good vehicle for a fair price. I'll tell you, if you put even the dealers $$$ into it, you still aren't at the price I paid for mine 1 1/2yrs ago. However, I had none of these problems either and have not needed to bring any of my repairs to any mechanic ...yet! Therefore, I wouldn't be selling mine for that price. Not even close. Good Luck
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  #9  
Old December 15th, 2004, 08:13 PM
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kevin
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If you had it parked for a few days and NO spots showed up on the floor, assuming there are fluids in the truck, sounds like the 90 is doing better and in better shape than most. I think the LR dealer is just trying to get your money. If it runs good and you trust the buyer then I say go for it. 22.5k for a 97 aint too bad. My swivels leaked and I replaced the 90wt with the grease that you can get from LR or LR parts house. It is a good call to replace the oil cooler lines anyway. If it aint broke dont fix it. Even if it is broke you can prioritize and do the crucial ones first. I have had leaks in my driveway for the last 8 years. I just keep topping fluids off and have had NO major problems. Dont be too picky or you won't be buying any LR product. Owning a LR is a hobby. Enjoy the new truck.
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  #10  
Old December 15th, 2004, 09:15 PM
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Chance
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Bring it down to Pikes Peak Rovers for evaluation. Those guys are the best. I'm sure Luke will give you a practical list of what's wrong with it. $22.5k is a good deal for 97. I paid $26.5k for mine (58k mi) and had to ship it from Seattle.
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  #11  
Old December 15th, 2004, 10:13 PM
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Robert Dassler
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James,
I think the price you have negotiated sounds good. I also wouldn't be too upset at the list of faults that the dealership found...probably all of the problems mentioned will eventually need to be addressed in some fashion...but probably not all right now. Keep in mind, when you take a car to them for a prepurchase inspection, you are paying them to tell you what is wrong or may potentially be wrong in the future to help you make an informed decision and aid in negotiations with the seller. If you managed to negotiate a $3K discount based on their findings...I'd say that inspection was money well spent.
Cheers, Rob
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  #12  
Old December 15th, 2004, 11:49 PM
jchan88
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james chan
1997 Defender 90 ST white
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Guys,
thanks so much, I am pretty sure this will be my Christmas present pending the loan goes through....and if anyone has anymore thoughts please feel free and let me know...thanks ALL
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  #13  
Old December 16th, 2004, 12:11 AM
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Hans Haase
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Just as a point of reference for you. Your current purchase price is $22.5
I paid $19.9 for mine, and it's a '94 with the same milage but more problems.

I just checked Cars.com for all Defenders in the US.
Cheapest 1997 $31,000 with 38,000 miles
Highest 1997 $44,500 with 80,000 miles

For all years... only 2 of the 40 trucks are under $20,000 and 1 of them has over 100,000 miles

It appears that the asking prices continue to climb :-)

-Hans
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  #14  
Old December 16th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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Jesse McCoy
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James - Buy it.
I bought mine my senior year as a broke college kid too. Totally worth it.
What you need to realize is you'll have to put a bit of wrench time in on it to keep it running but other than that, it's totally worth it (And for some that's why it's worth it). You'd be surprised how long they can run with the check engine light on as long as you keep all the necessary fluids in it.
Good luck!
-Jesse
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  #15  
Old December 17th, 2004, 03:10 PM
BarryO
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Barry O'Mahony
97 D-90 SW LE
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OK, I'll agree with the others that: 1.) these repairs are not surprising in a '97, 2.) the quote from LR sounds about right for them, 3.) you should be able to have an independent do it for alot less.

If it was me and i was in the market for one, I'd buy it. My only hesitation is the "poor college student" part. Remember this is a 7 yr. old car; repair issues are going to come up occassionally. It's a european import, so parts and repairs can be pricy. In other words, know what you're getting into - this ain't a 3-yr. old Toyota.
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  #16  
Old December 17th, 2004, 04:55 PM
jchan88
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james chan
1997 Defender 90 ST white
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Hey all!!!
i just bought the car and I really feel good about it-thanks to everyones help and input. Merry Christmas
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  #17  
Old December 17th, 2004, 05:02 PM
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kevin
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Lets see some pictures when you get a chance.
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  #18  
Old December 17th, 2004, 05:25 PM
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Jesse McCoy
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Congrats James!
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