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Wolf. Reliable daily driver or a project to tinker with?


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Hi folks,

looking for some help here.

I'm not a novice when it comes to LRs - I've done a few Series restos, including one nut and bolt build. I've had a few 300TDI Discos (all seemed great but rust became a problem later) and have had one ex-MoD vehicle (a lightweight - which despite being abused by its first private keeper was absolutely rust-free).

Usually my land rover projects stay in the barn (there's a few Series projects in there now) and day-to-day I drive new, leased saloons. However my current lease is coming to an end and I really want to replace it with a non-project Defender - one with reliability that suits the miles I do on and off-road.

As LR can't supply one new, I have been looking at the second hand market. The biggest thing for me is rust - any rust is too much - so I've been looking at the ex-MOD stocks. The biggest appeal is the choice - I could go and look at a dozen in a day.

I can live with bad paint and basic interiors but what I want is one with no rust and with a good service history.

Is it realistic to expect a demobbed Wolf to be an immediately-reliable daily driver (I'd need to pick it up then use it the next day) and equally is it realistic to expect to find one at Withams and the like with no rust - one that I can waxoyl regularly maintain and never need worry about having to replace the chassis/bulkhead?

I only focus on the Wolf as it already has the TDI/R380 combo I like - I could repower a 2.5NAD Ninety to TDI spec but time is against me.

The alternative is trawling the private ads for dry-stored TDi/TD5s or even (heaven forbid)… leasing a new Hilux.

Also any tips on recommended civilian improvements for the XD would be very welcome.

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Reliability for daily drivers has nothing to do with it being a Land Rover. It is purely down to the owner, the good ones do preventative maintenance and look after them so they are reliable. The bad ones just use cheap parts when they've got no choice but to fix the latest failure, and then moan that the Land Rover is unreliable. Really piddles me off that people bang on about 'unreliable' owners, it's unreliable owners that are the problem, not the Land Rovers.

<rant over>!

That said, the MOD doesn't buy cheap parts and the vehicles are looked after, mechanically at least.

Having said that, if the vehicle has been sat for any great length of time, things do need to be looked after to bring them back to life. A Turbo that's been sat will have drained it's oil and will eed the system repriming before it runs at any speed, but the oil may well benefit from being changed first. I'd expect to spend a week giving it a going over before using it, and I certainly wouldn't be driving it home

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Thank you - exactly the sort of insight I've been looking for.

Wolfs used to be shockingly-expensive. Now the rest of the Defender market has gone through the roof, as the Wolf price has stayed the same they all of a sudden look very reasonable.

If I had the time, my preference would be to find a peach of a 2.5NAD Ninety and fit a 200TDI/Stumpy R380 combo - the budget and skill set is there just time is against me.

You've hit the nail on the head with one of my other concerns on private-used Land Rovers - cheap pattern parts.

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Just because it's ex-MoD doesn't mean it's in good condition: I've seen plenty of just-demobbed ex-MoD stuff that's had banana-shaped chassis, water rather than brake-fluid in the master-cylinders, and sand in places there definitely should not be sand! Despite this they usually sell for high prices.

Also, odometer mileages on ex-MoD stuff is not to be trusted.

If I was you I'd look for a privately-owned or ex-fleet TD5 Defender: if you definitely want something with 'military' undertones then look at the disposal auctions for what are known as 'white fleet' vehicles (those leased to the services for non-combat use) - they've generally got better spec than pure-military versions (I for one would not want to be doing regular significant mileages in a Wolf - a 'County'-spec TD5 is much faster and quieter!) and because they're often on a fixed-time/mileage lease with significant financial penalties if they're mistreated, are often in better condition.

it's a while since I was last closely involved in that sector but "Lex Defence" used to be the MoD's white-fleet provider - see here: http://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/2003/2/13/lex-wins-100m-defence-contract/13317/

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Wolf/XD 110, most are staying in service for at least another 15 years, but some get cast to auction at Withams,

the XD 90 is being cast, not enough space for the bowman comms kit & crew kit,

WithamsSV have this 110XD hope you've got deep pockets, they asking 17,500 for http://www.mod-sales.com/direct/vehicle/,25,/79344/Land_Rover_.htm

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It waaay simplifies things saying that Wolfs are good. Several have had a hard life and some have been abused - get once of those and your ...

We have a working Ninety that never lets us down, goes everywhere and does everything we ask and more.

However, it doesn't look pretty. But for going 4,000 miles with a trailer to collect a dead motorbike it was perfect. Like said above, it comes down to looking after the vehicle and the quality of parts etc. used.

And we have both 200 / 300 Tdi / LT77 / R380's and both have their pro's and cons.

Happy hunting.

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Given their age, you can expect any MoD vehicle to have rust inside the bulkhead. How bad depends on its history rather than age. But given the choice between a 12J powered 90/110 or a Wolf in similar condition, I'd go for the latter.

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