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  #1  
Old July 31st, 2013, 09:45 PM
Anschluss
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T B
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V8 concerns

Hey folks; I have an opportunity to get a very low mileage 1997 NAS D90. Yay me...but I have concerns. I have researched and found the later engine has quite a few weaknesses.

1. The cylinder liners have a tendency to slip.

2. The coolant lines in the block can crack through.

3. The aluminum can rot from the coolant.

4. The cam and timing chain wear out well under a hundred thou miles.

5. Etc, etc.

What I'm trying to gauge here is how common are any of these items? Yes they have apparently all happened...but do they all happen to every one all the time? I get that I'm not buying a Rav4 here and look forward to thoughtful, preventative maintenance but I have gotten a little spooked.
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  #2  
Old July 31st, 2013, 10:02 PM
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Brian Kandefer
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Every vehicle make has its issues, with the abundance of Land Rover parts and so many knowledgable sources I wouldn't worry to much. I would recommend sourcing a reputable garage to go over any vehicle prior to purchase. Good luck, there isn't a vehicle out there that someone hasn't bitched about! General maintenance will decrease a lot of issues, neglect will cause the most reputable of vehicle to have issues! Every individual vehicle should be inspected thoroughly to prevent possible lemon issues!
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  #3  
Old July 31st, 2013, 10:20 PM
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Joshua
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Very low miles can still be a rust bucket. Coming from Ontario, that's what I'd be more concerned with.
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  #4  
Old July 31st, 2013, 10:22 PM
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Ray Gerber
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Don't forget that your oil cooler lines are a ticking time bomb and assuredly the rear cross member is held together by bits of rust and some paint remnants....

I am kidding, for the most part.

The issues you list are potential problems but in reality the 97 GEMS motor's aren't all that bad compared to issues later in the P38 or Dii's for example. Also keep in mind that the internet is generally populated with people looking for solution's to problems-i.e. it can be overly-biased toward the perception that there inevitable negative issues. The reality is a bit more nuanced. Should those things be kept in mind as potentials, absolutely. Is it assured to happen? No way.

I'd say the single biggest thing to look for is some indication (maint history, apparent condition of the vehicle) of the treatment this now 16yr old truck has had through its lifespan. Plenty of low mileage trucks are total POS's due to lack of care, and plenty of high mileage ones are fantastic because the miles have come with requisite attention.

Either way, as you point out, its def not a RAV4-it will have quirks and character but that should be one of the things to embrace if you're jumping off the deep end and getting into Rovers. Good luck!
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  #5  
Old July 31st, 2013, 11:26 PM
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Chris
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Thought it was the 2003/4 years that were crud due to worn out tooling?
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  #6  
Old August 1st, 2013, 07:48 AM
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the 4.0gems is a solid engine. It has served me well for 9 years as a daily driver and 120k miles thus far. A good mechanic should inspect the cooling components and do a full/proper compression & leak down check to give you comfort of its current condition. Probably a good investment decision if everything else checks out.

Clay
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  #7  
Old August 1st, 2013, 07:57 AM
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You should probably buy a JK with a warranty
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  #8  
Old August 1st, 2013, 08:27 AM
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Steve Maietta
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All engines have weakenesses if they are not treated like they should be. And every engine can be treated differently. These V8's should be looked after, but they don't need to be babied either.

The 2 main things (Obvious but true):
1-Don't let it overheat. Flush the cooling system, fill with good coolant and verify engine temps with a thermometer. The gauge can go south so you must verify temps with a thermo. Fix it so it runs cool.

2-Preventative maintenance. Regular oil changes. Tune up shit. If the engine has 100k, you probably should change the timing chain, correct. It will run much better. Do the oil and water pump while you're in there to keep the vital fluids flowing. It's not a new vehicle with a warranty. Its not a 2011 design that can go 10k btwn oil changes. It's a 1960's design and must be treated as such. A Defender should not be treated like a fashion statement. It must become like your dog. You care for it, feed it, and learn to love it. Or else it will bite you in the ass and you will grow disgusted with it. As was mentioned above, plan to get involved with the truck not only to save $$$ but because it will just require it.


And Defender specific -Oil cooler lines must be replaced if they haven't already or your truck will burn. The minute you put $$ down on the truck, you should buy a set of new oil lines.
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  #9  
Old August 1st, 2013, 07:18 PM
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John Oates
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I agree with all the comments above. I was in the same position as you a year ago and took the plunge. I have come to love, not hate all the issues. One of the most enjoyable parts of the day is grabbing a beer, heading to the driveway with the dog and tinkering with the truck. Its not a point A to point B vehicle, its a hobby with wheels and should be treated as such. Go for it. But just in case, keep a few G's stashed for the inevitable trip to the garage unless you have a good set of tools and know how to use them. I planned on spending 10-20% of the purchase price cleaning up neglected issues from the previous owner and a year later that's about where I ended up after new exhaust, new radiator, diff issues, hub seals, new AC, soundproofing, cubby box, seat covers, new tires, hellas, towing package, floor mats, dog guard, roof rack, spare tire carrier, etc. Don't kid yourself- you're going to want to get it in fighting shape as soon as you get it, so make sure you plan for that.
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  #10  
Old August 1st, 2013, 07:48 PM
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Jason England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anschluss View Post
Hey folks; I have an opportunity to get a very low mileage 1997 NAS D90. Yay me...but I have concerns. I have researched and found the later engine has quite a few weaknesses.

1. The cylinder liners have a tendency to slip.

2. The coolant lines in the block can crack through.

3. The aluminum can rot from the coolant.

4. The cam and timing chain wear out well under a hundred thou miles.

5. Etc, etc.

What I'm trying to gauge here is how common are any of these items? Yes they have apparently all happened...but do they all happen to every one all the time? I get that I'm not buying a Rav4 here and look forward to thoughtful, preventative maintenance but I have gotten a little spooked.
On a 17 year old truck your chances are a lottery depending on what happened to the truck in the time before you owned it. Low mileage can be the result of a speedo swap as they are prone to fail too. The headlining sags and doors and footwells rot. The chassis is made of blotting paper steel and they leak water like a sieve. They'll roast you alive in summer as the cats are directly under your feet and you'll freeze in the winter as the heater is pathetic. AC if fitted and more remarkably working is akin to an asthmatic kitten sucking a mint breathing on you ...

The windscreen wipers are a joke and the headlights are like something from the flintstones. The electrics were created by the prince of darkness himself as a cruel joke to keep people from making it to church on sunday.

The oil lines can fail which would be OK except they were run next to the exhaust so you'll find plenty of photos of these trucks burned to a crisp ...

The aluminium body and steel chassis combo is chemically designed to rot ... aluminium doesn't rust but it does a great job of crumbling into aluminium oxide ... a dust like white powder.

The weight of the spare wheel on the back door literally pulls the door apart.

The locks and security are a joke ... most people leave them open to avoid the expensive damage of someone breaking in. Your potential purchase is even worse as it has a slush box so moronic car thieves can joy ride it ... ( mine is a stick which is effectively an IQ lock )

The windows rattle in the back of a station wagon and the back seats are uncomfortable for anyone over the age of 8 ... which is unfortunate because the sideway seating is dangerous in an accident .... which brings me to the comprehensive list of safety features ...

There are none. no ABS. No airbags. no crumble zones. no side impact protection. The only think between you and a whole load of hurt in an accident is a structure the strength of a fast food container and a very good insurance policy.

The good news is the gas mileage is bloody atrocious low teens at best ... add that to a comically small tank you'll visit a garage every 160 miles or so.

The engine you apparently worry about are available second hand for nothing from the millions of Disco's rotting away in breakers all over the country ...

The engine is the least of your worries ...
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Soapy water / KY jelly, etc. is is basically a must. Yes, good idea to remove trim panels - only takes 5 more minutes to do so.
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  #11  
Old August 1st, 2013, 08:37 PM
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Russell
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Jason, that was epic! Would make for a great eBay description as well.
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  #12  
Old August 1st, 2013, 09:05 PM
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John Oates
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hilarious...but true. great post
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  #13  
Old August 1st, 2013, 09:19 PM
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Rick Newman
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Hell man...it could be a 2.5 NAD.
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  #14  
Old August 1st, 2013, 09:26 PM
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Scott
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Jason, the only thing you forgot is: "You will love and cherish every day like a crack whore jonesing for your next fix". Not to mention the 1000's of productive hours you will waste on this site, instead of working!
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  #15  
Old August 1st, 2013, 09:36 PM
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Jason England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woldd90 View Post
Jason, the only thing you forgot is: "You will love and cherish every day like a crack whore jonesing for your next fix". Not to mention the 1000's of productive hours you will waste on this site, instead of working!
Very true!

We should create a truth about defenders sticky and invite newcomers to read it!
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Soapy water / KY jelly, etc. is is basically a must. Yes, good idea to remove trim panels - only takes 5 more minutes to do so.
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  #16  
Old August 2nd, 2013, 08:47 AM
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