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  #1  
Old May 20th, 2016, 02:46 PM
rjwellman
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Left vs Right Hand Drive - first time Defender buyer

Not sure if this is the right forum to post this...

I'm looking to get my first Defender and am wondering if right or left hand drive is typically more valuable/sought after. It sounds like a conversion is possible to go from right to left if wanted?

Any advice for a first time buyer looking to not have to do too terribly much from a restoration standpoint is appreciated!
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  #2  
Old May 20th, 2016, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjwellman View Post
I'm looking to get my first Defender and am wondering if right or left hand drive is typically more valuable/sought after. It sounds like a conversion is possible to go from right to left if wanted?
Welcome.

More valuable in terms of what, exactly?

Are you planning on flipping trucks?

Yes, you can convert from RHD to LHD. Doug from Dividing Creek put up a writeup years ago. http://www.dividingcreekimports.com/...sionHowto.html
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  #3  
Old May 20th, 2016, 03:00 PM
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RHD trucks sell for a fair bit lower price. There is less market for them and a lot more available. On the positive side Defenders have more space in RHD configuration for the driver and are easier to work on.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 03:15 PM
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Couldn't have said it better John.
The only thing to add is that LHD ROW Defender style vehicles are less plentiful that RHD and thus harder to locate, especially when you take into account the language barrier in the places where you can find them.

When you first start driving a RHD vehicle, the driver suffers from the fact that they are use to the other half of the vehicle being on the other side of them. They easily forget and have a tendency to drift into the left lane.
This can be dangerous.
Also having to slide over or back through a drive thru window can be a little difficult.

Conversions are not extremely difficult, but are tedious and can get rather expensive.
The steering, petals, wiring, wiper motor location, heater, brake lines, clutch lines, power steering lines, accelerator linkage and/or cable all have to change. Some of the Later bulkheads are not ambidextrous and require modifications or replacement...
All in all, a lot of trouble.
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  #5  
Old May 20th, 2016, 03:41 PM
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Think of use, there are no right-hand drive, drive up windows, dropping kids off at school, paying tolls, parking tickets system. Left-hand drive is just more practical.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 03:54 PM
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LHD do cost more but RHD I find more fun to drive.
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  #7  
Old May 20th, 2016, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nos4ra2 View Post
Think of use, there are no right-hand drive, drive up windows, dropping kids off at school, paying tolls, parking tickets system. Left-hand drive is just more practical.
My RHD truck keeps me from eating fast food, having kids, driving on expensive toll roads....

I'd say I'm better off for it. Haha.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 04:52 PM
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Get the truck you want up front. If you're good with a wrench you can convert it later for a lot of money in parts and some of your time. If you're not handy with a wrench it'll be a lot of money in parts and a Hell of a lot of money in someone else's time (in excess of $4K).

Don't equate more desirable to more money. LHD will make it easier to sell but may not bring much of a premium. Do it because you want it.
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  #9  
Old May 20th, 2016, 05:05 PM
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Passing can be an issue with RHD if you don't have a passenger to tell you if it's clear or not.


However, if you are running a 2.5na diesel then that really isn't a problem since you won't be doing any passing.
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  #10  
Old May 20th, 2016, 05:25 PM
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85RED110 I stand corrected.

Right hand will save you

------ Follow up post added May 20th, 2016 03:28 PM ------

and give you a more enjoyable life ;-)
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  #11  
Old May 20th, 2016, 05:31 PM
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RHD is for closeted Torys who still support the Crown. LHD is for real 'Mercian Patriots who understand the significance of why we drive left-hand vehicles on the continent.
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  #12  
Old May 20th, 2016, 05:51 PM
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Drive them both and see which you like better. Then buy the best you can afford.

They are like buying a horse - the horse is the cheapest part. It's the maintenance and vet/mechanic bills that kill you.

A big drawback to RHD besides the others mentioned is that they usually come from the UK and if they don't have obvious serious rust issues then the seller usually has been working a welder and/or body filler to hide them.

Buy a West Coast vehicle, but no on Hawaii, unless you like salt air rust.
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  #13  
Old May 20th, 2016, 06:08 PM
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I especially agree with Uncle Doug's drifting comment. It happens to me every time I drive in the UK.
I've driven all combinations of RHD/LHD on both sides of the road. Once you adapt to where the bulk of the vehicle is, its easy.
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  #14  
Old May 20th, 2016, 06:58 PM
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I'm new to this forum and lurk for the expertise I see, but I just bought a RHD 1986 Ninety in March from a chap who imported it from the UK in the fall, is returning to the UK now, and didn't want to ship it back overseas. He sold it to me...actually more of an adoption with $$$ changing hands. Chassis are pristine, engine overhaul 2012, etc. I've since gotten her "papers" from British Heritage Trust. In any case, if you have experience with a street motorcycle, being on the R won't be a stretch for you. The shifter pattern will take a minute to learn--mainly because you work from the outside toward you shifting up through gears. I chose mine because of her pristine shape except for the foot wells...mild/moderate rust that should be an easy repair. Her previous owner loved her and wouldn't sell her unless he knew she was going to someone who appreciated Landys in general, and he had 2 of us vying for her. The hardest part of RHD in the US is having to pull straight up to a stop when wanting to go right b/c of the blind spot. Even with a signal going, jokers behind you thing you're going L or straight and pull up right beside you. It's infuriating so you have to pull up far right curb but still maintain straight ahead to see L oncoming traffic. My 90 is an investment, but not so much for the money for me...it's the love of the machine and its capability. Good luck finding your perfect fit.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 08:49 PM
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"buyer looking to not have to do too terribly much from a restoration standpoint"

I think that knocks out a conversion from RHD to LHD...

If you are going to use this as a 2nd or 3rd vehicle for casual use, I would say RHD would be fine. If you are going to drive it a lot, or in regular rotation with other LHD vehicles, RHD seems to be a real pain--at least that has been my experience.
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  #16  
Old May 20th, 2016, 11:53 PM
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My two current daily drivers are a LHD MoD 90 soft top with no side windows and a RHD 110 station wagon.

I've had the RHD for less than 2 months and I have to say, I've adapted. I'm quite comfortable in either one.

The LHD is defiantly more difficult dealing with traffic, parking and maneuvering because of the lack of side widows in the military soft top. If I need to drive in downtown traffic, I take the RHD because I have better visibility all around.

I use a $3 reach extender from Harbor Freight to pay tolls and access my employee parking. Even in a LHD I very rarely use drive throughs.

Because of the RHD and the lack of side windows in the LHD, I have relearned the art of using my mirrors!

Considering a RHD purchase? Try to drive one first (yes, I will try to accommodate people who want to try mine.) I believe anyone who wants to adapt, can adapt with enough practice.

Mike
San Bruno, CA
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  #17  
Old May 21st, 2016, 08:02 AM
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Don't let a RHD intimidate you. More room and it's the cooler side of the truck if it is a 4 cylinder. Learning to drive one is fun.
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  #18  
Old May 21st, 2016, 08:04 AM
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RHD on the right hand side of the road is pretty simple. RHD on the left hand side of the road is the tricky thing.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 09:07 AM
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When I had my RHD truck I adapted pretty quickly. I imported it myself and had it delivered to Charleston; I figured no better way to get it home than drive it. It was pouring rain, only one headlight worked, a 2.25 and my first time driving RHD.

It took me 4 hours to make what should of been a 2 hour trip……….we had to surgically extract the seat vinyl from my ass when I got home.


Other than trying to avoid something like that your first time, go for it……I'll own another RHD truck one day for sure.
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  #20  
Old May 21st, 2016, 11:28 AM
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I'll add that RHD is good for rural mail delivery.
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