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Old 15 Apr 2011
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It's a Friday morning, my car is being repaired (again) and I've been idly browsing second hand Landys when an idea popped into my head.

My wife and I want to get something for doing various trips and I've been looking at something along the lines of a Disco 2, as it's more comfortable than a Defender, and if I'm honest, we'll spend most our time on tarmac.

I was wondering if it would be feasible to pick up a cheap Freelander and make it competent off road, rather than tracking down a clean Disco?

I'm perfectly happy to have my idea ripped to pieces by people with more experience than myself but if anyone has any experience in this area then I'd love to hear about it.

And no, I have no intention of buying a Landcruiser.


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Old 15 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by Fet600 View Post
And no, I have no intention of buying a Landcruiser.
You've committed the first cardinal sin, right there ^

I've had a couple of FL1's and they are more capable than people give them credit for, sure they are not a Disco, or a Defender, and never try to be so they are no mud plugger. But in the 'soft roader' catagory they are very well equiped to deal with life.

Mine would quite happily pull a 3/4 ton boat out of a soft estuary, up and incline and would be very happy on the Byways (where ground clearance wasn't a problem) and highways. Neither (the Mk1 or facelift model) gave me any problems although the early ones are better suited to a bit of rough treatment (IMHO) having more exposed plastic, the facelift had painted panels.

Obviously stick to the TD4, and give a wide berth to the K series, and make sure some divvy hasn't converted it to 2WD.....

(We did once recover a Shogun that had got itself stuck on the beach with a flowing tide, I think it was more driver error than capability - but I can't mention it here or I'll upset the purists)

I have to say though, the little FL1 is a bit short on space for a overlander - but it depends how much space you need!

I too would like to hear from anyone who's taken one of these out of it's comfort zone, and how it performed
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Old 16 Apr 2011
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If you were buying something along the lines of a freelander.....I would buy a Suzuki Vitara. Easy to do a lift and get bigger tyres on = more ground clearance.

I can vouch for the Vitara's off-road capability. And they are very rugged.

Only downside of the Vit, is the front shafts (If your tyres are too aggressive and your giving it beans).

But.....I have a Disco 'at the moment'.
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Old 22 Apr 2011
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Freelander's fine

Hi all,

The Freelander is very capable indeed. I've taken a FL1 to the Sahara 4 times and off road across most of Europe. Fit a Mantec sump guard, steel wheels and BFG all terrain tyres and you'll be fine. An auto will make up for the fact that there's no low ratio.
I took the rear seats out of mine, put in a base board and load guard and Fitted a fridge, replaced the rear door trim with a ply panel and cooker box There was plenty of room for gear for two.

If you want more ground clearance, Bearmach do a 50mm lift kit.

Happy trails,

Atlas Overland - Specialist adventure tour company providing off-road holidays for 4x4 enthusiasts in Europe and North Africa.
Tours to Morocco, Tunisia, Arctic Circle, Alps, Pyrenees, Eastern Europe, Corsica, and UK weekend tours.
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Old 9 Jul 2011
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Originally Posted by GasUp View Post
Obviously stick to the TD4, and give a wide berth to the K series, and make sure some divvy hasn't converted it to 2WD.....
If you're on a budget, don't rule out the earlier non-TD4 diesels. They go for a lot less than the TD4s and are thought to be more reliable. Just don't touch the petrol ones.

The other common issue with freelanders is the transmission but this is easily avoided. Rather than a centre diff the freelanders have a viscous coupling unit (VCU) linking the front and rear. As these get older the fluid inside thickens effectively locking the front and rear which puts additional stress on the entire drive train. If left to continue this will result in an expensive failure! So long as the VCU is replaced (about 80k miles) their fine. The 2WD conversion is usually a cheap fix after somebody has failed to replace the VCU and it has knocked out the IRD or the rear diff.

Using worn tyres on one axle and new tyres on the other can also stress the transmission and is best avoided.

Loads of info on the landy forums.
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