LR D90 vs. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old November 8th, 2004, 11:09 PM
discokid99
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Scott Torbett
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Question LR D90 vs. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Hey yall,

I have a 99 disco with all sorts of goodies i have put on it. I am very pleased with it but i want another rig. I have looked at defenders and wranglers and both have their pros and cons. I have driven them both and i like each. They both scream 4wheel the hell out of me! Wranglers are much more inexpensive and defenders are pricey. Wranglers have more aftermarket accessories and are much cheaper accessories. I love defenders and wranglers but i just want a fun vehicle that i wont regret or wish i had the other one. I know that you guys are all for rovers and so am i but this one i have a hard time with. Let me know what you guys think. I appreciate it!

Scott
(99 Discovery on 33's)
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  #2  
Old November 8th, 2004, 11:15 PM
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Chris Davis
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We don't have to live with the decision--you do. Don't wuss out--only you can make a decision and not kick yourself over it later. Besides, practical people don't visit this board. And they are boring.
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  #3  
Old November 8th, 2004, 11:16 PM
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what do you expect to hear on a D-90 site, duh get the Defender. I wouldnt think the W had more stuff availible than the D. If you have a Rover you should know what you would be getting in to. ALso I think the W needs more mods to do what a relatively stock D-90 can accomplish off the road.
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  #4  
Old November 8th, 2004, 11:33 PM
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Dennis Meek
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Scott
I am fortunate to own both a 95' Defender 90 and a 95' Wrangler YJ. I have put a 4" Black Diamond suspension in the Jeep with ARB lockers front and rear, a J&B tailshaft conversion so that I can put the transfer case all the way up without driveline vibration, ARB Bullbar with Warn 9000lb winch, rock sliders, internal after-market roll cage, heavy duty swing out tire carrier with optional 2-5 gallon gas cans and minor other modifacations.
I bought the Jeep first and when the 95 Defenders hit the market I couldn't resist. My opinions are what is different between the two. Even with the air lockers and 4" suspension the Defender will match or just surpass the Jeep. The Defender has stock axles but with OME suspension. I have removed the sway bars front and rear and have installed long extension OME shocks. I have wheeled most of the trails here in Washington with both and I prefer the 90. I love the coil suspension on the rough trails. I also ditched the LR seats and installed Mastercraft seats, which I love.
But I think that you will find that the new Jeeps with coil suspension will without a doubt be very impressive even if stock. I have trailed with the TJ's and boy are they tough to beat.
Maintenance wise, the Defender beats the Jeep. The Defender is over built, parts last longer and it has stood up to extreme off-roading better than my Jeep.
But heck, four wheeling is four wheeling and in the end, all it matters is that you are out four wheeling.
Good luck.
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  #5  
Old November 9th, 2004, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davis
We don't have to live with the decision--you do. Don't wuss out--only you can make a decision and not kick yourself over it later. Besides, practical people don't visit this board. And they are boring.
RIGHT ON!


And don't any one of you tell me you are practical!
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  #6  
Old November 9th, 2004, 12:30 AM
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It depends on if you mean a TJ or a Rubicon. A stock Defender will eat a TJ alive and crap it out. A Rubicon will beat a Stock D though. But, Ruby's are expensive, have crappy lockers, and you have to lift them 4" to get the same stance as a stock Defender. So, you can buy the Ruby, lift it 4 inches or buy a defender and put lockers in. But, the Jeep has a far inferior suspension. Sooo, I say go for the Jeep, buy all the bolt on crap that Jeep owners do and don't look back, because you will see 1000 jeeps just like yours on the trail behind you.
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  #7  
Old November 9th, 2004, 12:57 AM
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Personally, I like to sometimes carry more than my lunch, in which case the d90 is the clear choice.
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  #8  
Old November 9th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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Get the 90. As evidenced by your visiting this board and soliciting feedback, it is obvious you really want the 90. So justify the expense of the 90 in your mind somehow, or drink a couple of beers real fast before you contact the seller, and get it done. This is a path you will regret not taking if you go with the Rubicon. Just imagine driving around town one Saturday in your Ruby, not wheeling but just on an errand, and across the street you see a badass D90 headed in the other direction. That's when you will realize buying the Ruby was a colossal blunder.
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  #9  
Old November 9th, 2004, 11:02 AM
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Dave Souza
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This has been discussed before, the whole Rubicon vs. D-90 thing. Perhaps some of you know who Doug Aitken is, past President of the Houston LR club and has been in the d-90 world a long time, commonly found on the d-90 yahoo group. Anyway, a while back when the Rubicon came out, there was some talk about the Rubicon/D90 thing, more from a trading in the 90 standpoint, but I think its relevant (and humorus). Below is the question posed, and Doug's answer. I hope he doesn't mind me reposting:

Quote:
Question:
"I could really use a little advice on what to do. I stopped by the Jeep
dealership yesterday to check out the new Wrangler Rubicon. It's pretty
nice. I'm sure most of you know of it's D44s, lockers, 4:1 low range, and
so on.

It turns out that I can basically do an almost even trade-in of my D90 for
a brand new Rubicon. In fact, with $0 down and 0% financing I could
actually make a little money on the deal.

My eventual goal is to have capable trail rig on 35s that is still somewhat
streetable. When I start running the numbers of how much it will cost to do
all the mods on my D90, the Rubicon starts looking even more attractive
because the few mods it will need seem relatively inexpensive. In addition,
my D90 is going on 7 years now so it's really going to need a lot of its
original parts replaced like the battery, belts, hoses, brakes, and so on.

Over the years I have grown extremely fond of the D90, so I'm not sure if
I'm ready to part with it. Anyhow, I suspect many on this list have owned
and/or wheeled with TJ Wranglers so any insight into their strengths and
weaknesses would be most welcome. Feel free to email me off list if you
prefer."

My reply:

"Hey, George; don't you know anything about marriage and the seven year
itch? That flashy bimbo will probably be just as high maintenance as your
old faithful wife! In time, parts of her will sag (unless you give her a
lift) and her complexion fade (requiring more cosmetics to cover up the
blemishes.....)
And her plumbing will need just as many high-cost specialist visits, as you
start to go through the rougher passages that come in all relationships.
And don't for one minute think she will be satisfied with the jewelry she
came with: You will be down at the store in a heartbeat after the first
party you go to and she sees what the other gal's are wearing!

So why not settle in for the long term with the one who has shared the
tough years of you growing up.....
She has got to a point in life that she will require a little TLC, but that
is all she deserves!

And don't forget her superior breeding. even a bit worn round the edges,
she will elicit positive reactions (and you can bask in the reflected glory
of having made an excellent choice of a mate). And still be able to stalk
through the doors of the best restaurants and demand the best table.
Whereas the guys who traded in for a flashy "trophy wife" are consigned to
sitting in the local ice house with all the other poor fools whose bimbos
have got a bit rough around the ages and feel more comfortable eating in
the local Pizza Parlor...."

-Doug A
cheers
-Dave
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  #10  
Old November 9th, 2004, 11:47 AM
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Keith Duckett
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I have off roaded in Rubicons - unmodified there is no way a D90 will wheel as well as a Rubicon (though the current UK spec TD5s with traction control probably would). But they do not have enough ground clearance - and need suspension and body lifts. 90s are far superior to stock TJs but that's not the question. The Defender needs lockers/LSD to beat a Rubicon. 90s suspension design is superior. It's easier to just fit bigger tires to the 90, but you end up with higher than ideal gearing. The 90 has way more carrying capacity and much superior forward visibility too. The TJ is more refined on road and and is generally more comfy. 90s are aluminum and will last longer. Many more parts are available for Jeeps and much cheaper. Its easier to have the roof on/off with a Jeep. Jeeps have better heating! The biggest crunch maybe that LRs here have far more charisma - too many Jeep are just ridden by on road poseurs. Who doesnt off road a 90? 90s look better but that's a matter of opinion. You can sit 3 in the front of a 90!
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  #11  
Old November 9th, 2004, 03:01 PM
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Michael Spellman
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I weighed both options (sorta), the Rubicon actually led me to the Defender…

My first car was a Wrangler(1995), I loved it, 4wheeling, no top/doors etc. I sold it in 1999 for a sports car. I used to take it up to my house in Plum Island MA every summer, nothing beat bombing around in that thing.

Fast forward to July 4th 2004 – my buddy just got back from Iraq, to help him unwind me & 4 other buddies decided to all go back up to MA for old times sake. We hadn’t been up there together since he enlisted 5/01/01. I decided to borrow my sister-in-law’s ’95 Wrangler…for old times sake. We had a great 4th, and I really enjoyed the Wrangler, no top, taking it offroad. I get home & continue to look for a suitable 4wd car for my wife(325ix, Disco, S4). Being that I just had a great time in her sister’s (& my wife’s old) Jeep, I threw that out as an idea. She was agreeable to it, we went & looked, the only one we both really liked was the Rubicon…for $28k. It had the offroad beans, the right stance, everything. Walking out of the dealership, I said “For 28k we could get a Land Rover Defender ferchrissakes”. Much to my surprise she was all over it, she actually knew what it was & so forth. Come to find out, the guy she bought her Wrangler from was an old family friend, and he sold her father the Jeep to make room for his brand new D90.

Keep this in mind… THE MOST EXPENSIVE part about owning any vehicle is the depreciation. I think that a $25k well maintained 1995 Defender will be worth a lot more money than a 2004 Rubicon come selling time. Now, I understand that maintenance & something major letting go will eat into that argument, but that is a risk I was willing to take given the exclusivity of the Defender. Plus I don’t feel like a high schooler when I pull into a nice restaurant or golf club.
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  #12  
Old November 10th, 2004, 02:55 AM
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Michael Elliott
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Scott,

I have a Defender (97 SW) and a Jeep Wrangler (98 TJ Sahara Ed). My experience with both vehicles, as well as other four wheel drives that I have owned in the past (71 Bronco, 93 Suzuki, 94 Wrangler JY), is that the most important aspect to consider when buying is exactly what you intend to do with the vehicle. The advantages/disadvantages of each has been debated endlessly here and in quite a few other forums. It seems to me that it is completely pointless to argue which vehicle is "better"--the real question is which vehicle is better for you and your intended use. If you don't believe me just go to the JeepsUnlimited.com site and conduct a search for this same topic. You will be amazed at the number of times this debate has come up and the level of criticism the Defenders recieve from former Land Rover owners, especially those in Europe and Australia, who provide very specific reasons as to why they prefer the Jeep Wrangler.

I would point out a few issues however that might help you in making your decision. First, do not compare an 86 or older Wrangler (YJ) to a Defender. This is the original version of the Wrangler with a leaf spring based suspension. It would be more appropriately compared to a Series era Land Rover than a coil sprung Defender. I owned and drove one of these vehicles (94 YJ) for four years and can tell you without any reservation that they are inferior to the newer version of the Wrangler (1997 and newer--the "TJ") in nearly every category. I think my 1973 Series 3 actually has a better ride than my 94 Wrangler, if that gives you any indication of how stiff the ride was.

Secondly, if space really is a concern, check out the new Wrangler TJ Unlimited, which has 15 inches of extra space behind the driver. I did a side by side comparision the other day against one with my D-90 and was surprised to see that this version of the Wrangler has more cargo space in the back. Personally, I think the Defender, while slightly smaller in this regard, is still more functional and a better design. But that is based on the type of items and equipment that I like to carry. The added wheelbase on this model should also make it ride better on road and climb better off road.

Finally, if you do decide to go with the Jeep I would seriously consider whether the Rubicon is truly a better equiped vehicle for off road. In my experience, and the experience of all of my friends who have TJ's, it is cheaper in the long run to buy the standard sport/Sahara/Unlimited model and have ARB Air Lockers, new ring and pinion gears, rear disk brake conversion, 4:1 Tera Low t-case w/slip yoke eliminator kit and HD driveshafts, and a good lift kit installed yourself. You will get everything but the Dana 44 front axle, but who cares--the D-44 they are using in the Rubicon is a low pinion model that uses the same outer U joints as the newer Dana 30's and has been breaking on many users who go to 35 inch tires. This approach also would allow you to pick the exact ring and pinion gear set that you need for your intended application and tire size. Good luck getting the Jeep dealership to split open your differentials and install 4.56 gears on the Aisin air locker in your new Rubicon--your 3/36 waranty will expire about 1 second after you pay the outrageous labor bill.... Better to do it right yourself with a friend or go to a good off road shop that knows what they are doing.

Hope that helps. Just my two cents... It sounds to me like you would be much better suited to getting a Defender, especially considering your knowledge and experience already gained by owning a Discovery, which is quite similar mechanically to a Defender. But then again, I am not sure exactly what you want to do with the vehicle.

Michael
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  #13  
Old November 10th, 2004, 03:14 AM
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Larry O'Hara
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D-90 and Jeep side by side - visually anyway

I agree with others . . .its all in what you want.

I have and /or do own both (images of mine side-by-side attached) . I have owned others Rovers . . .still kinda miss my cushy 00 RR that I opted to sell to buy a X5, but that’s another story . . . uh horror story. I have also owned other Jeep models (years back)

I always wanted a Defender, a D-90 Wagon in Alpine White to be exact. In 1997 I wanted it so bad I could taste it. But the spouse wanted a Disco. The sales rep did not help with the “much more comfort with the same drive train” pitch. I went home with a Disco. I have kicked myself many times for passing that deal – as they ceased the imports..

The band-aid was a Jeep for a “toy”. While the Jeep has been solid since day 1 it just simply was not what I wanted. I later added more “tape” with a new Rangie, and she really was not bad.

I finally got exactly what I wanted in August of this year. Ironically, by the time I get finished with her, I’ll have far more $ in her than if I’d bought new. Of course, at least I will know every bolt, nut and wire and she’s cheaper than a mistress.

Since I am not as experienced as many are here I can only offer the following:

Since I have had my 90 I cannot even leave the house without someone approaching me entering or exiting the wagon. I found a couple of instances humorous. Last week as I was fueling up, a Sheriff did a U’y to come back and not only inquired "what is that" but had to get in her. A couple of days before I actually had an elderly black lady follow me into Krogers and say “I’ll trade rides with ya” :o

I guess you might say, the Defender spikes the “neat-o-meter”

However, IMO, if you want something you wont have to maintain and/or want a “warranty” then the Jeep might be more practical.


Also, as far as accessories, I am not sure I agree . . . my brother-in-law could have bought a Defender + options for what he has sunk into his CJ. But . . . he likes Jeeps.

What would I do . . . (a picture is worth a thousand words)> http://www.lanziant.com/jeep.htm If you want a Jeep – she’s for sale – I just don’t drive her anymore. Just add/beef up a bit.
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  #14  
Old November 10th, 2004, 03:33 AM
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Michael Elliott
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Larry,

The photos are hilarious--I think you and I have an exact matching "pair" of vehicles, except my D-90 is Arles blue. Scary....

Is your TJ a 98?

Michael
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  #15  
Old November 10th, 2004, 11:37 AM
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Larry O'Hara
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LOL . . . Yep . . . she's a 98 Sahara.
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  #16  
Old November 10th, 2004, 06:05 PM
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Russell Newton
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Just my opinion, I have wheeled in both a rubicon and a d-90. Yes a rubicon will do better on the rocks but in my personal experience in florida mud the d-90 is superior. Also as many others have said jeeps are a dime a dozen be unique. Having owned a jeep (tj sahara) D-90s are much, much more usable in every day life. In the jeep the steering was so sensitive and unpredictable every time i went above 45 i felt like i was going to oversteer and flip. Another point In the quality department shut the door of a defender and it feels tough and solid shut the door of a wrangler and it feels like closing a cabinet. The defender Is a tried and true vehicle as proven by it's military and expedition history. You don't see the current jeeps driven by the U.N., SAS, or Commandos now do you? Nothing against jeeps but they are sort of boring even the rubicons. Go with the "British Bulldog" you will get more chicks that way!
P.S. this video that Sonny posted will help sway your decision.
http://www.lrfaq.org/BBC-TopGearLandRover.wmv
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  #17  
Old November 10th, 2004, 08:53 PM
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Jeeps are great. Had a 96 sahara and loved it but they are "me too" cars. Everyone has one. In a D-90, eveyone stops and looks. That alone is worth the extra money and maint.
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  #18  
Old November 10th, 2004, 09:54 PM
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The perception of Defenders stateside and in the UK are of course very different. In UK they are simply part of the countryside - farmers, police, all sorts of maintenance vehicles and so on. Military ones are also a common sight. Here it's some kind of extreme jeep recreational vehicle. But a TJ in UK has nowhere near the caché of a defender here, and are rather pointless. No one uses them as a working vehicle, which is primarily what it is there.

Soccer superstar, 18 year old Wayne Rooney crashed his Escalade SUV in UK yesterday which prompted a "what the hell is an Escalade" in the media.....unlike the US anyone in the UK is free to import anything they like. Clearly Rooney has no taste. TopGear apparently reviewed it and said it was truly terrible.
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