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Viewing a 90 soon, what should I look out for? Help!

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Hi everyone,

Apologies if there's something similar out there but I couldn't find any!

So I'm biting the bullet and getting my dream car - A Land Rover Defender 90 CSW. I've found one which is absolutely wonderful: 1988, 200tdi Disco engine swap, loads of money spent on it after various issues in the past (praying that the jobs were done well), and just generally a smart-looking truck.

My problem is that I'm a bit of a beginner, and although I have a few friends that know a lot more than I, they're all working when I have my viewing - and it's a fair drive away! So, I was wondering if anyone could give me some tips with regards to what to look out for? I'll keep trying to have someone who knows something come with me, but I don't want to miss out if I can't! I should be going to view next Thursday!

My other question would be, which company is best/cheapest for a young driver's insurance on a Landy?

Thanks in advance,


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Common sense is your best weapon. Land Rovers have to be about the easiest car on the planet to inspect. That and every single part of them is replaceable, so at worst you just over pay for one. I'm sure if you try Google there must be 100's of buyers guides.

Just remember they are unrefined argricultural vehciles, with limited comfort. If you want a comfy, roomy refined truck. Buy a Discovery, as they are essentially the same under the body, but solve pretty much all the things people don't like about Defenders.

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First thing is to make sure you take a good bright torch with new batteries in it to have a good look around under the body at the chassis, they rust in places you can't see very well without a torch and those places are behind the suspension springs, up under the outriggers against the chassis side rails, on top just in front of the rear shock absorbers, basically anywhere there is a right angle. The rear crossmember can be a rust area. Seat belt mounts are another area to look and also in the battery box compartment under the passenger seat for battery acid corrosion. Look at the brake disks for rust and feel them for rough grooves and ridges and if they are pretty grooved or ridged they could do with replacing, also feel if there is a ridge on the outer and inner edges of the outside diameter of the disks, if there is a ridge or 'step' that indicates wear as well. Look for oil damp areas around the bottom of the gearbox casing, black oil could mean a leaking rear engine oil seal, look around the front of the engine as well, around the crank pulley area. As said,everything is pretty well replaceable but the more you need to do the more you'll end up spending. Ask questions, how much documented and service history it has, and make sure there is no outstanding finance on it. As for insurance, if you're under 25 be prepared for a bit of a shock, friend of mine has a 17 year old Son who is just starting to drive and for my friend to add him to his Defender insurance was quoted £4000.

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With admiral multi car I was quoted 1200 for my first year on a defender when I was 17

Took it of the road a year after that to do an engine swap and other bits and pieces and now I'm 19 I'm getting quoted £1200 again but by Adrian flux and another company I'll have to check the name of but that's with all modifications declared.

Hope this helps

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Different insurance Companies will vary widely in their premium quotes, these will depend on a plethora of things like your Post code, where the vehicle is kept, on road, private parking, secure garage etc., the type and level and type of cover you require, annual mileage and what you're using it for.

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Where abouts are you Will? :)


Where are you based?



The car is based in Hucknall! I've had one friend offer to come and view it with me (who does know his stuff), but I'm still all ears when it comes to things to check!

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