Tell me why I should/should not buy a D90 - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old February 11th, 2006, 01:44 AM
fustogrande
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brian girasoli
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Smile Tell me why I should/should not buy a D90

I know this is on a D-90 board anyway, so I have a feeling the answers might be skewed, but ...

I ask this because I have always been interested in Defender 90s. However, after doing some snooping, I am pretty much stuck back to where I started from.

I am very familiar with earlier Land Rovers, I am not a newbie. I restored, from the ground up, a 1967 Series IIa a couple of years ago. I knew that thing like the back of my hand. However, because I was going back to school to get a masters degree, it had to go to pay for that. I've always regretted that decision, but it was necessary back then.

So, while I love land rovers, a Series would just not be practical as an everyday car. I have about a 30-minute commute into work each day and a 30+-year-old car, well, I wasn't too up for that. It's too bad, because there's a '69 IIa that's fully restored near me for sale that I keep driving past and I wind up getting neck cramps.

Hence, the D-90.

I have never been in one for a drive. I'm assuming it's bumpy, but I could care less; my everyday car is a '99 Ford Ranger 4x4 where you can feel every bump no matter what. Is it loud, like the early Jeep CJ's? Or like the Series?

I would assume the D-90 leaks a lot less than the Series (although I could be wrong)? Is the maintenence schedule more/less/the same than a Disco?

I know they get bad gas mileage, but my truck gets around 12-14. So again, that's not a problem - unless it gets measured in gallons per mile. Does it cruise comfortably at 65?

Are they drafty (with the soft top)? Elements stay out? It always laughed at the river I had going down my driver's door in the Series IIa when it rained (and could never seem to fix it).

These are just a few questions I have. I look forward to going back and forth with you guys on this. So tell me why I should buy one. Or why I shouldn't buy one. I could buy a new Wrangler, but I don't want to.

-brian
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  #2  
Old February 11th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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They ride a ton better ten a series truck. I have both. much softer. Rides better then a wrangler for sure.. Not as noisy as a series but not quiet like a Ford Ranger.. no prob driving it everyday. most people here do.
Less leaks too
Same drivetrain as a dico so similar maint....
My ST is not drafty but its colder in the winter. You could always look at a SW (starion Wagon) Hard Top
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  #3  
Old February 11th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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gh
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Hey Brian,
Before I purchased my 90 a couple of years ago a number of people tried to steer me away from a 90 because of the ride. One guy who was selling one (a dealer) referred to it as a "bucking bronco". After hearing some reviews such as this I really hesitated on the purchase. Ultimately I pulled the trigger and could not have been happier. I ran the stock suspension and it was more than fine and now after mods with the suspension and lift (I'm running the Rancho 9000) you can change the ride stiffness with a touch of a button and it is AWESOME!!! With the 3" lift and big tires etc., it runs on the Interstate perfectly. Typically I cruise at 75mph. It leaks a little but not a big deal. I have owned jeeps and do not like the ride at all, I do have a SW and would not consider an ST. Although I have never ridden in an ST the road noise has to be much louder. My 90 is not my every day driver either but wouldn't mind if it was. I've owned a Disco and the service requirements are no different, I find it much easier to work on my 90 than my Disco (probably becasue I am much more motivated with the 90). Gas mileage is less than desireable and it does feel like a moving wind dam. Those are my only cons. Overall, I give it a thumbs up. If mine were an everday driver I would keep the stock tires and suspension especially if you were driving on the Interstate a whole bunch(like you mentioned above). Good luck and let us know what you decide. gh
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  #4  
Old February 11th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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Mike Hansen
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When it comes to Defenders you are either all in or all out.

There are alot better trucks/cars to have as a daily driver. I personally would not use my defender for a daily commute to work.

If you can only afford to own 1 car, then the defender is most likely not for you. Putting alot of miles on a 13 year old truck will require alot of maintenance. even if you find a low mileage truck, belts hoses seals tires brakes clutch weather stripping etc. is still old and will require replacement.

Makeing payments to the Bank and also to the repair shop or parts suppply house could suck.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 12:29 PM
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Many things do carry over from a Series truck, so it's best to compare that way.

Think of it as a Series III in many ways. Same drafts, similar fuel mileage, probably just as noisy.... after all,the body design is pretty close to being the same.

But the ride is light years ahead in smoothness, very improved. More power. And yes, it CAN cruise at 65 easily now. And the heat is better. Mine doesn't leak around the doors at all, though the sunroof does drip a lot.

-Hans
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  #6  
Old February 11th, 2006, 01:11 PM
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Life is short... Buy the truck. Being that it is a unique truck, within a close knit community, help is relatively close by. Most of the guys on this board would travel to come help you with a repair, upgrade or if you were broken down. Read through the posts in the help section, the stories in the Misc- Chit chat section and the parts section, these guys will help with what ever may come in the future.

Just like the series trucks, the 90 gets a lot of attention. You will come out of the grocery store to find people walking around it, they will want to ask you all sorts of questions. It seems to bring out peoples desire for an adventurous life...
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  #7  
Old February 11th, 2006, 04:02 PM
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Why not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by woldd90
Life is short... Buy the truck.
Here here. I have always wanted one and never owned an LR before it. I bought my 9 months ago, and kick myself for not having taken the plunge earlier. I have owned Jeeps in the past, and by far the D90 is probably the best of those rides both on road and off trail. I comfortably cruise in the 70mph range and commute everyday about the same distance you do. I looked for six months until I found the one at a dealership of all places. I paid a little too much but like above, life is too short NOT to have owned one of these trucks. I wouldn't trade the it for anything.

It just simply makes be very happy.

Now as for me, I bought my 95 with 83k miles. I have replaced all the fluids, keep the oil changed regularly, swivels and lube everything, replaced belts and hoses, water pump, oil cooler lines, partial exhaust, and in the near future a power steering pump and rear brakes. Now that being said, some of it I chose to do it just because I thought it needed done and I needed to drink some beer with a buddy of mine.

The community here is invaluable. Everyone has helped and even donated pieces to get me back on the road when I needed them(thanks Rod!). There is nothing like it anywhere else.

Simply, I get happy when I drive the truck. I promised myself when I bought it I wouldn't drive it everyday, but I just can not leave it sit. yeah, it is loud sometimes and it has its problems, but so does every other vehicle I have owned. I wish I could express in words how FUN the truck is.
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  #8  
Old February 11th, 2006, 04:18 PM
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I tell you what...ones you own one, you'll either love it or hate it !!
I am just about certain that 99.9% of people here on this site love there's.
I for one love mine...its big, its loud, cold in the winter, hot in the summer
damp when it rains ect, ect....
and I absolutly love every minute spend in it, no matter what mother nature throughs
at it.
I didn't even know there existed, until one day at work I saw one parked outside in the
parking-lot.
I was instantly hooked and knew right then and there, that I would had to have one of my own!!
Little did I know just how few of them were out there and how expensive they really are
considering there age, modest intereor and so on.
But I didn't care, my mind was made up, I sold my Corvette ( to my husbands utter surprise )
and started to save up for the Defender 90.
Well, back to your question...Yes I would go for it, life is all about taking chances, right!?
Now get your butt away from the pc and get that TRUCK that YOU know you WANT !

Cheers
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  #9  
Old February 11th, 2006, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans
Many things do carry over from a Series truck, so it's best to compare that way.
Think of it as a Series III in many ways. Same drafts, similar fuel mileage, probably just as noisy.... after all,the body design is pretty close to being the same.
[..]
-Hans
I'd say thats about the best way to look at it... I've got a softtop, so my experiences probably will be a wee bit different to what you are looking for with a wagon. I was going to say run away (I sometimes wish I had kept my wrangler [I know, heresy]), but seeing as you have had a series, you know what its all about. If you loved the series, you'll probably love the Defender. Only difference really I think would be the suspension and drivetrain.
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  #10  
Old February 11th, 2006, 06:30 PM
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I bought my 95 D90 about 8-9 some odd months ago, and I use it as a daily driver. Cruises beautifully at 75, and personally, I have found that the maintenance is not half as bad as I would have thought it to be. I spend more money keeping my 2001 Volvo S60 on the road than I do keeping my D90 on the road. That aside, it is an absolute blast to drive, and if you are into projects, which it sounds like you are, it is awesome in that the possibilities are endless.
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  #11  
Old February 11th, 2006, 08:51 PM
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The main difference between a series and a D90 is the 90 travels a lot faster and stops a lot better. They leak the same (tops doors etc.). The ride is slightly better stock to stock, but rusted leaves on a series will skew this to the D90.

If you can't live with a series, and it was because of anything other than speed you are buying the wrong truck. That being said, there is no reason not to buy a D90 and a disco or range rover. This is what I have always done. D90 for fun, DD the disco/RRC.

Given decent disco Is and RRCs are under 5k, just buy a slightly less nice D90 and it will fund the other truck.

Plus when something breaks you can swap parts back and forth to find the problem!

Ron
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  #12  
Old February 11th, 2006, 08:54 PM
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a wonderful machine i have nothing to complain about other than gas milage and that I can seem to get it offroad enough. However otherwise its a super machine I feel confident going anywhere anytime any distance. It has been fun to work on I have learned a lot and found it easy to get information parts for. Go for it, the rover could potentially have som issues in the beginning but i am sure if you hold out through some rough time the good fun will most def outwiegh the headache
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  #13  
Old February 11th, 2006, 09:55 PM
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I bought mine new 11 years ago.........Loved it. Sold it after 7 years of being my daily driver - to one of my best friends - when a long commute made it impractical as a daily driver.

When my friend went to sell it.........my wife and I decided to buy it back. The same one. We knew what we were getting into and still decided to.........We missed the truck, and missed all the memories of it. It would not have to be a daily driver this time.........

I agree with one of the posts from above. You are either "all in" or "all out". Don't buy this truck because you think it will be perfect, cause it won't be. If you are not sure I would not do it.

Mine has loud air conditioning that is too stong in the summer. It is cold in the winter. It is damp when it rains. It is loud. Trouble seeing the guages at night. Bad Gas mileage. Hard to hear the radio on the highway. Windows get stuck at the most embarrasing times.....It will be a long term battle against rust. It wont fit in a parking garage..........and the list goes on and on.

But you see - we KNEW all this and bought it back. It is an incredible vehicle. It makes me happy to be in. It is very unique. It really can go just about anywhere. WE LOVE IT. I doubt be will be selling it again..........

So are you "ALL IN"?

Flagg
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  #14  
Old February 11th, 2006, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhansen
When it comes to Defenders you are either all in or all out.
Ahem. "And that's goddamn right." They're not for someone whose looking for a trouble free vehicle. Each one is completly unique, although most leak some type of fluid sooner or later. You should fine one and just take a stroll in it. You'll know by the end of the ride whether you're in or out. Good luck!

DJ

Follow-up Post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagg

But you see - we KNEW all this and bought it back. It is an incredible vehicle. It makes me happy to be in. It is very unique. It really can go just about anywhere. WE LOVE IT. I doubt be will be selling it again..........

So are you "ALL IN"?

Flagg

Perfect example of an enthusiast.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 02:26 AM
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See, this is exactly why I posted here. Exactly the responses I had imagined, and hoped for!

Evilfij: I actually loved driving the Series BECAUSE it was slow! Growing up and working on a farm, I guess you have a special appreciation for slow vehicles (we had a '48 Chevy 1-ton where first gear went from 1-3 mph. That was fun to drive). My series did not have overdrive so the top speed I got it to was 43 mph.

Woold90: Life is short. That's why my dad bought the Wrangler last year (read below). He actually got the idea because he fell in love with a red and black D-90 softtop at last year's British Cars by the Sea in Waterford, Conn. (If that was yours, I thank you).

My father bought a brand new, '05 Wrangler last year. He loves it, and I too will admit it's nice to drive. But it's not a Land Rover.

Right now I'm in the midst of the great New England blizzard. On my way home from work tonight, it felt good to have the 4-wheel-drive of my ranger, but I wish I had a Defender.

I guess if there's any problem in stopping me getting one, it would be that I have virtually no place to work on it. I live in a downtown (Mystic, if any of you are from Connecticut/Rhode Island) and have to park on the street - no garage. That's what was nice about my old Series, I lived in a condo complex with a huge parking lot. That made having to work on the the carb (common) and voltage regulator (more common) easy. Here, not so much. I guess that's the reason why we own (or owned) Land Rovers - they're fun and conversation pieces.

I will say I didn't know Defenders get rusty - my old Series had two (!) frames on it, one boxed around the other and both were rusty as shit - because they don't use aluminum anymore? Are the bulkheads and frames still more vulnerable than anything?

Well, keep feeding me your responses as to why I should or shouldn't. Chances are I will be at some point this year - the ol' Ranger has close to 130,000 miles on it, and I'd like to get something for it - but I'd still like to hear from you all why you do/did own one.

-brian
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  #16  
Old February 12th, 2006, 02:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fustogrande
I will say I didn't know Defenders get rusty - my old Series had two (!) frames on it, one boxed around the other and both were rusty as shit - because they don't use aluminum anymore? Are the bulkheads and frames still more vulnerable than anything?

-brian
The body is aluminum, but allll the fasteners are steel, which obviously leads to rust. This is a relatively quick and easy fix... Just buy stainless hardware. There are companies out there that offer stainless fastener kits to retrofit the entire truck. Also, as for the bulkheads and frames, at least from what I have seen, they are just like any other truck. Very susceptible to rust, but if you take care of the truck properly, it really shouldn`t be much of an issue. Just make sure you check for rust when you purchase the truck.
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  #17  
Old February 12th, 2006, 09:30 AM
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I think of the Defender as an SUV that is very light on the S and heavy on the U. That's what appealed to me.

Just be careful, I bought mine primarily for a hunting/fishing truck with a high cool factor, but it has taken on a life of it's own.

I think if I were buying one for use as a daily driver that has to be parked on the street I would want a hard top.
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  #18  
Old February 12th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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Chris Davis
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Wink

You need to make a fundamental commitment to stop being a wuss and then buy one because you want one emotionally OR be practical and not buy one. Really, that is all.
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  #19  
Old February 12th, 2006, 09:41 AM
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Jesse McCoy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davis
You need to make a fundamental commitment to stop being a wuss and then buy one because you want one emotionally OR be practical and not buy one. Really, that is all.
Yep.

And either buy a wagon or a ST with an aftermarket hard top. Sounds like you need the security, soundproofing, and water tightness. Also, with a ST you can get a badger top that is tight, but if someone cuts that on the street it's a $3K top...
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Old February 12th, 2006, 09:46 AM
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I'm having a tough time understanding how someone who restored a Series "from the ground up" doesn't know that the frame is, was, and always has been steel?
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