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Hi everyone,

I have decided after many years of dreaming to get a Defender 90 in the new year but don’t have a clue as to what to look out for when buying second hand , I have a limited budget as most of the money will be borrowed so I’m looking up to £9000 max .

The plan is to upgrade over time and won’t be using it for heavy off-road yet as I won’t be able to afford the fixing as I will be saving for tarting her up !

I have read that the tdi is the more reliable and have seen one on autotrader for £8995 that looks ok, it’s a 2.5 tdi pickup (see pic).

Just looking for advice for a newbie to the obsession that is defenders , any help would be greatly appreciated!

cheers 

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That seems a lot of money for a Tdi with a commercial hard top and damaged front door (the chequer plate by the mirror is a warning sign of bodged repairs), but the body looks very clean and straight otherwise.  Shame the respray work didn't avoid over-painting various  fixings like the door hinge bolts.  Does the colour match the insides and engine bay?

 

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Take a torch crawl underneath and inspect chassi for heavy rusting, holes and repair work, fuel tank, springs and dampers..... Pull carpet/mats back in both front foot wells again checking for rust damage then the same in the back.

Dont get carried away and buy the 1st. One you see just because you get excited, and take some one with you that knows LR Defenders if you can.

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if your mainly using it on road I would go for a td5 with remap 15p lump the tdi is a great bit of kit but a remapped td5 imo is far better more power more torque an a lot smoother than a tdi an sound better than a 4 pot ive had na dervs tdi's td5 an v8's the td5 is the best derv out the bunch ive never had a tdci defender but had a couple of transits there also a grunty lump but don't seem to last 

theres a lot of info on the net for the newer models and with code readers readily available don't be worried that there hard to work on

bodys rot everywhere where steel meets ali check the bottoms of the doors seat belt mounts footwells tub cappings seat boxes battery tray

chassis rot from front to back mainly outriggers and rear x member an behind where the front x member is an the rear chassis where the a frame bolts on

as above take someone with you who knows landrovers don't wear rose tinted glasses your budget will get you a good truck if you don't rush into it you will find exactly what you want

Edited by L90-v8
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Thanks all , I know the vehicle won’t be perfect and I’m not expecting it to be , I can get bodywork repaired easy enough , surely as long as the chassis and engine seem in reasonable order that’s all I should expect for a vehicle that age !

as you can see in the pics it looks like it’s been wax oiled ? And there’s an engine where there should be 😂

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I was in a similar position to you about a year ago with a similar budget but was looking for a county 110. I can only echo what everyone else has said about looking at and driving as many examples as you can and preferably taking someone with you that has some experience. I would say that unfortunately 90% of the people/dealers I met told at least one bare faced lie and tried to pull the wool over my eyes in one way or another. Not sure where you are but I'm in SW Scotland if you look at one anywhere around here let me know and I'll come and view one with you. I can recomend an honest and knowledgable dealer near rossendale if you're near there as well, he would charge but it's peace of mind and if you don't end up taking the one you go to see you will have learned enough to look at more on your own. I looked at nearly 20 defenders over about 6 months before I settled on one and even then I've ended up with work to do that I hadn't caught during a couple of inspections. Do all the usual vin checks before parting with any cash, check it's MOT history online to see what kind of life it's had and the RAC check to make sure it's legit, don't buy from anywhere other than the address on the v5 if it's a private sale.

I'm not sure I can really summarise what to look for but for £9k you should be getting a good example and I'd want a service history of some kind for that amount of money. The centre rails of the chasis are the most visible but are less likely to be bad, have a good crawl around in the dirt with a magnet and check over the rear crossmember, outriggers and bulkhead. Look into waxoiling, a good job isn't as simple as spraying some waxoyl around but that will hide a multitude of sins so don't assume it's fine because its been waxoyled. A lot of buyers would prefer to see it in it's untreated state to assess it properly so ask yourself why they've done it recently? Out of the goodness of their hearts or to hide something.

I'm happy with my 300tdi, it's got enough oomph for me, easy to work on and the parts are cheaper. The TD5's are great engines though, more fun to drive and still workable on at home. Most engine issues on the 300 are easy enough to fix, check for any sign of head gasket failure and if there's any sign it's been overheated in the past walk away. They're pretty bomb proof but with your budget you shouldn't really be getting one with black smoke pouring out the back, knocks/bangs, serious oil leaks etc. It should run nicely.

Anyway good look, it's a nice looking landy but if you don't end up with that one then there will definitely be another just around the corner which you'll want just as much!

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Corrosion bits would concern me more.

Wouldn’t read too much into the MOT stuff either, it’s a very subjective process. 

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Good luck on finding a Defender WITHOUT an oil leak, mind you it might be that one parked next to the Unicorn over there? 🤣🤣🤣

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On a more serious note, i thought i heard somewhere that the 1st. Lot of Td5's the engine was a bit laim power wise and the motor didn't improve till after 2007?

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2007 was when the TDCI came in, so no TD5 improvements would have happened then.  I've never heard of power issues on a batch of TD5s.  Defender engines have lower power settings than Discoverys, which is why they don't warp their manifolds and rip studs out of their heads unless chipped.  I think a standard TD5 is quite ample for a Defender.  They tow well and easily keep up with traffic.

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My landy leaks quite a lot and I've never had "oil leak" as an advisory so there's a chance that it's just a picky MOT technitian but there's certainly things to investigate there. The inadequate repair sounds like a bodger and corrosion (crossmember) could potentially be an expensive job. As I mentioned above, why have they waxoyled over corrosion? Have a look through previous MOT's as well, if the same advisories crop up then you're buying from someone who clearly didn't give their landy regular maintenance and you might just be taking on all the problems they couldn't be bothered fixing properly.

I presume they're going to get it a fresh MOT for purchase, if it doesn't have one already then you haven't got long to test drive it before it's MOT runs out.

If you're really keen on that one then at least you've got a lot of bargaining chips.

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11 hours ago, Mutley said:

On a more serious note, i thought i heard somewhere that the 1st. Lot of Td5's the engine was a bit laim power wise and the motor didn't improve till after 2007?

by 2003 they moved on from the 10-14p engines to the 15p its basically the same engine with the revised head without the extra fuel return drilling that commonly cracked also had different injectors and fuel regulator not sure about the bottom end the very early td5 were a bit unresponsive the power was there but they felt like they needed winding up to get going not sure when this got sorted by land rover    having driven a standard 2004 15p its a totally different machine tune wise to the early one from the late 90's the later ones are a joy to drive

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I have had a chat with the seller who is open to offers and has a bit of history of work done and the rear crossmember has been replaced and also other work since the MOT , if I buy the vehicle it will come with 3 months warranty and 12 months MOT ! 

The question is what do I offer him do I be cheeky and go as low as £6500 ?

and thanks again everyone for your advice ! 

 

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A paint job that covers the door hinge bolts and rear cross member flanges, and forgets to paint the tub cross member below the rear door is unlikely to have been done with much care in preparation.  I bet it'll start peeling or blistering within a year.

 

It does all rather smack of being tarted up for inflated sale while covering a lot of sins.

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Leave it where it is!!!..... As previously said a lot of better ones out there for your money, personally i think you are being a bit too eager? If i was looking at spending 9 Grand on a motor, i would be doing my home work driving round and seeing as many examples as i could private sales and dealers. Plenty out there on the net get some of the LR Magazines check the adds etc. For the sake of 9k spending a couple of hundred quid on fuel to go looking around and some mags and the likes could save alot of grief. Nothing worse than being impetuous and buying a top dollar bucket only to drive round the corner and find a mint bargin dream machine at half the price!

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I’m still struggling to find a better looking 90 for £9k , is there such a thing for that price and where else do I look other than autotrader ? Has it had a paint job ? And what are the rear cross member flanges ? Are you advising me to steer clear of this or just knock the price down ?

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forums facebook and e bay I find the mags to be on the pricey side theres a 2008 tdci for £9995 113,700 miles white 90 on e bay

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11 hours ago, Ihavenoideawhatiamdoing said:

I’m still struggling to find a better looking 90 for £9k , is there such a thing for that price and where else do I look other than autotrader ? Has it had a paint job ? And what are the rear cross member flanges ? Are you advising me to steer clear of this or just knock the price down ?

Yes, it has been given a cheap and ill-prepared respray.  Look at the door hinges, and the bolt heads are all painted.  They should be bare.  The back end also shows a bad job - the rectangular tabs that stick up from the chassis onto the bottom of the tub should all be black, with bare bolts, but those outboard tabs have been sprayed green because the painter couldn't be bothered to do two minutes of masking up.  The tub cross member between those rear panels should also be green (with black chassis tabs), but is completely black, sprayed at the same time as the chassis.  That is a bad job.  That means the job was cheap and the customer didn't care about the result.  Notice they also didn't straighten the buckled rear panel between the left end of the door sill and the left-most chassis tab.  Botch.

A freshly waxoiled chassis is a major red flag.  It could be innocent, but it's normally done to hide bad rust.  Innocently applied wax from a caring owner would have been applied a while ago, and would have that honest road dirt.

It's price is not commensurate with those details, but is consistent with a rogue garage pulling a fast one.  Three months warranty sounds like trade, but is useless - anything less than six months is a waste of paper as most bodged repairs won't show themselves for a while.  I would never buy trade with such a small warranty unless sold at private sale prices.

None of this is for certain, of course, as it's all based on photos.  It may be worth a look with someone who knows Defenders, and then haggling for a 12 month warranty or a hefty price reduction.  But just as it stands, I have many doubts.

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Ok that’s the kind of advice I’m looking for , so I’ll keep shopping and pester you all soon with more pics of defenders for sale ! 

I’m not going to bother making the 2+ hr journey to see this one !

thanks again guys 

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Don't be in too much of a rush to buy, the right vehicle for you is out there and may not even be for sale yet! Winter is not the best time to buy a 4x4 as the demand for them is higher at this time of year.

Remember the old advice: Buy in haste and repent at leisure!

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In the mean time ask the jolly fat guy in the red suit for a good quality shiney new socket set ;)

Oh yeah and keep looking on here, browse some of the threads, will give you an idea of some common problems and how to fix, will also give you an insight into the vast knowledge that this forum holds, for if and when you need it!

Personally I think it's the right call if that helps eases the "i want it NOW!" pain?

Edited by Mutley
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when I've ever had that issue of "NEEDING" a land rover my local LR garage is actually pretty helpful, just take a few out for test drives usually scratches that itch... :)

Now don't fall into the trap of buying in a rush... I did... and its only about ooooo 5 years on I've managed to pull my little old truck into something like the condition I wanted really from the beginning... and I've forked out quite easily 4x what I initially paid... interesting journey mind but...

 

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