Land Rover horror stories

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
My mate is thinking of buying a Defender 90. I've tried steering him towards a Jap pickup, but he reckons the insurance is too much or something.

He's found some ragged old piece of shit for 4.5 grand and he wants me to go and have a look at it with him.

He is not the sort of dude who is gonna be getting under it and tinkering. Naively I think he's expecting this to just do what it's told and work. I've tried explaining that this simply won't be the case and that any 20 year old car is gonna bring some serious trouble his way at some point....especially a Landy.

I realise there is a wealth of expertise on here regarding these, so if possible I'd like to hear any advice you have about buying one. I.e. known problems to look out for, rust traps to check etc.

I've also not completely given up on steering him towards something less shit, so some good old Landy horror stories that I can regale him with would be great.

We're looking at a P reg 90 2.5 TDI with 84k on the clock. Every panel on the thing appears to be dented and the bottoms of the doors and tailgate look corroded from the phots. It's got bigger wheels and offroad tyres on, also has a snorkel and it looks like it's had a winch at some point which is now removed.

I've got a really bad feeling about it, the thing just screams misery, pain and freezing cold mornings under the bonnet trying to get it going.

Many thanks in advance.
 
Can he weld? He need's to be able to weld and to have a decent welding kit or at least access to one.
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
When he smugly thinks he's replaced everything that can go wrong, he will start over again. In the end he'll learn helplessness and the term 'spending good money on bad'.
Eventually he will realise he could have bought something that
 
If you buy a Land Rover you have to make it an authorised signatory to your bank account.
I love my Disco II to pieces, but by God it is amazing just how once you have fixed one thing another will start to go wrong.
I have owned a jap 4x4 before this and whilst horribly reliable were a bit souless and older Land Rovers don't need any of that computer diagnostic rubbish.
You just have to look underneath and see where the latest leak is coming from or check the colour of the exhaust smoke to see if it's a coolent or oil problem this week as some kind of washer/gasket has once more given way 2 hours worth of labour to locate in the engine bay.
 

philc

LE
Oh difficult one.

Am on my second Defender, this one is a 54 plate so not old, so far in 9 months, new master clutch cylinder, that crapped out in France so not only the cost of the repair but 6 nights in a hotel, new fuel gasket on pump, new seal around the front passengers door and it still does not close properly, been told its one of those Landrover things and am now awaiting on Autoglass as we speak for new rear wind screen.

Am thinking of bining it and getting a Freelander.

Loved the Defenders but getting to old for the painful ride, awkward driving position, and being cock freezing in winter.

I may get an old one just for the odd job, but that's about it.
 
Pah, I have a 1967 petrol 88" a fine and reliable tool. It has had a bit of welding and a new carb and tilt, oh and an alternator.

However I have owned it since 1990. Not helping really am I?
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
Oh difficult one.

Am on my second Defender, this one is a 54 plate so not old, so far in 9 months, new master clutch cylinder, that crapped out in France so not only the cost of the repair but 6 nights in a hotel, new fuel gasket on pump, new seal around the front passengers door and it still does not close properly, been told its one of those Landrover things and am now awaiting on Autoglass as we speak for new rear wind screen.

Am thinking of bining it and getting a Freelander.

Loved the Defenders but getting to old for the painful ride, awkward driving position, and being cock freezing in winter.

I may get an old one just for the odd job, but that's about it.
Don't do it!
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Cheers for the replies and good shout on Withams.

Might make a little trip down there at some point. Anyone bought an ex MOD Landy? What's the scoop on getting it registered on to normal plates? Will it end up on a Q?
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
Cheers for the replies and good shout on Withams.

Might make a little trip down there at some point. Anyone bought an ex MOD Landy? What's the scoop on getting it registered on to normal plates? Will it end up on a Q?
No, you get a form, can't recall which one but I copied mine. Get an MOT, go or send to DVLA and they give you an age related plate. Haggle hard at Withams.
 

4(T)

LE
As mentioned on other threads, I've long been thinking about getting a newish Defender 110 station wagon.

I finally got to sample one, as a courtesy car when my Freelander was in for service. A mint 2.2 dealer test vehicle.

Sadly, my test drive experience finally cleared the Land Rover sentimentality that clouded my normally very rational and pragmatic judgement.

Superficially, the car was very nice:

- finally, after 50 years, a half-decent centre console and heating/ventilation system
- not too bad driving position
- good six-speed gearbox (on road at least)
- Transit engine ran ok despite the EU-restrictions;
- unmatched king-of-the-road driving position!

However, most of the stupid faults are still there:

- still grossly underpowered for a universal working vehicle; needs a 3.0 turbo diesel IMHO;
- wtf didn't they fit some "bulged" doors as an easy solution to improve 1960s ergonomics?
- shurely they could by now have found some cheap switchgear and indicator stalks to replace the 1950s items?
- headlining already beginning to sag; door rubbers peeling off;
- utterly shit door and panel alignment (ffs - I worked at the Lada factory site in Russia for nearly three years. Even that backward stone age car factory eventually managed to sort out its body jigs and panel fit!!!)


The most depressing part came when I had to drive it back to the dealer one morning. We had typical savage UK weather, a mild -2oC frost.

- the central locking was all frozen solid, and the doors couldn't be opened!

At this point, I ran into the other Land Rover issues that are typical of the reasons the vehicle remained undeveloped and uncompetitive in the international market. I actually had planned to buy an export Defender, run it in UK for a bit, then take it back out to Russia/Kazakhstan.

I pointed out that door locks freezing in a mild frost was not much use in countries where winters can easily hit -40oC. I asked what spec was used on LRs for Scandinavia and Russia and, if it was better than UK-spec, could I have one of those?

I was told I couldn't have a foreign spec LR registered for temporary use in UK, and a UK spec one could not be upgraded to foreign spec. "Sorry; EU rules". I didn't get an answer on whether the spec was actually different for cold countries - I'm guessing that it isn't.

So, thats me - like thousands of export customers - thinking, "oh well, I'll just get a Land Cruiser 200 GX instead".
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
What the Freelander or bining the Defender?

I am open to alternative suggestions.
I'd steer clear of anything Land Rover. I learnt my mistakes years ago. My hands are always clean now and I don't have to spend my spare time under a pile of junk.
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
As mentioned on other threads, I've long been thinking about getting a newish Defender 110 station wagon.

I finally got to sample one, as a courtesy car when my Freelander was in for service. A mint 2.2 dealer test vehicle.

Sadly, my test drive experience finally cleared the Land Rover sentimentality that clouded my normally very rational and pragmatic judgement.

Superficially, the car was very nice:

- finally, after 50 years, a half-decent centre console and heating/ventilation system
- not too bad driving position
- good six-speed gearbox (on road at least)
- Transit engine ran ok despite the EU-restrictions;
- unmatched king-of-the-road driving position!

However, most of the stupid faults are still there:

- still grossly underpowered for a universal working vehicle; needs a 3.0 turbo diesel IMHO;
- wtf didn't they fit some "bulged" doors as an easy solution to improve 1960s ergonomics?
- shurely they could by now have found some cheap switchgear and indicator stalks to replace the 1950s items?
- headlining already beginning to sag; door rubbers peeling off;
- utterly shit door and panel alignment (ffs - I worked at the Lada factory site in Russia for nearly three years. Even that backward stone age car factory eventually managed to sort out its body jigs and panel fit!!!)


The most depressing part came when I had to drive it back to the dealer one morning. We had typical savage UK weather, a mild -2oC frost.

- the central locking was all frozen solid, and the doors couldn't be opened!

At this point, I ran into the other Land Rover issues that are typical of the reasons the vehicle remained undeveloped and uncompetitive in the international market. I actually had planned to buy an export Defender, run it in UK for a bit, then take it back out to Russia/Kazakhstan.

I pointed out that door locks freezing in a mild frost was not much use in countries where winters can easily hit -40oC. I asked what spec was used on LRs for Scandinavia and Russia and, if it was better than UK-spec, could I have one of those?

I was told I couldn't have a foreign spec LR registered for temporary use in UK, and a UK spec one could not be upgraded to foreign spec. "Sorry; EU rules". I didn't get an answer on whether the spec was actually different for cold countries - I'm guessing that it isn't.

So, thats me - like thousands of export customers - thinking, "oh well, I'll just get a Land Cruiser 200 GX instead".
Withams had some brand new non EU export only models. Then why bother.
 
I have a Discovery 1 300TDI. It was man enough to pull a JCB 1.5 ton excavator with assorted buckets on a fairly heavy trailer, on a weekend, chuck the wife and 3 kid's in the back and get down the coast for a weekend and on caravanning holidays, it always towed the caravan off the site regardless of the weather conditions while your neighbours watched in envy through the windows of their ford mondeo's.

I've put three head gaskets in the thing over the years though. Two of them were put in by fitters who obviously didn't do the job properly so I did the last one myself. As a result, the top half of the engine was rebuilt. I've also replaced different engine components and various other bit's and pieces over the years.

It's the underside of the body that's defeating me at the moment so it's been sat in my garden. The rear floor has gone and the underside need's extensive welding work done to it. After researching what was needed, I went out and brought a brand new welding machine and all the associated tools and sourced the various panels and some box sections to replace the rotted sills.

That's where I've left it up until now. A combination of being really busy with work and then subsequent ill health has left me unable to do any real work on it but my legs are a lot better now so I'm hoping to get start getting some work done including teaching myself to weld and possibly get it back on the road for the summer.

That will shut my missus up who has nagged me to get rid of it for the last 4 years and no doubt the neighbours will be gobsmacked that I have actually got it back on the road because when they have asked me what I'm doing about it and I say, oh I'm going to fix it, they just look at me in disbelief. :)
 
Last edited:
I have a Discovery 1 300TDI. It was man enough to pull a JCB 1.5 ton excavator with assorted buckets on a fairly heavy trailer. On a weekend, chuck the wife and 3 kid's in the back and get down the coast for a weekend and on caravanning holidays, it always towed the caravan off the site regardless of the weather conditions while your neighbours watched in envy through the windows of their ford mondeo's.

I've put three head gaskets in the thing over the years though. Two of them were put in by fitters who obviously didn't do the job properly so I did the last one myself. As a result, the top half of the engine was rebuilt. I've also replaced different engine components and various other bit's and pieces over the years.

It's the underside of the body that's defeating me at the moment so it's been sat in my garden. The rear floor has gone and the underside need's extensive welding work done to it. After researching what was needed, I went out and brought a brand new welding machine and all the associated tools and sourced the various panels and some box sections to replace the rotted sills.

That's where I've left it up until now. A combination of being really busy with work and then subsequent ill health has left me unable to do any real work on it but my legs are a lot better now so I'm hoping to get start getting some work done including teaching myself to weld and possibly get it back on the road for the summer.

That will shut my missus up who has nagged me to get rid of it for the last 4 years and no doubt the neighbours will be gobsmacked that I have actually got it back on the road because when they have asked me what I'm doing about it and I say, oh I'm going to fix it, they just look at me in disbelief. :)
I'm going to fix it. Honest
 
Oh difficult one.

Am on my second Defender, this one is a 54 plate so not old, so far in 9 months, new master clutch cylinder, that crapped out in France so not only the cost of the repair but 6 nights in a hotel, new fuel gasket on pump, new seal around the front passengers door and it still does not close properly, been told its one of those Landrover things and am now awaiting on Autoglass as we speak for new rear wind screen.

Am thinking of bining it and getting a Freelander.

Loved the Defenders but getting to old for the painful ride, awkward driving position, and being cock freezing in winter.

I may get an old one just for the odd job, but that's about it.
Be warned if you get a free lander the master cylinder for the clutch is a sealed jobbie shared on the MGZT and not accessible so I am told, so if the clutch feels a bit soggy knock them down about £200. I'm bereft I've lost me old classic and the V8's were cheap as chips to repair. More to the point it wasn't unreliable at all and that's been proved by Jeremy Clarkeson. He says so.:-D
 

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