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Old 16 Jun 2011
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New 2.4 Defender 90's

Anybody got one? any good? any problems?
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Old 20 Jun 2011
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I work on them for a living (of sorts!) Majority of the car is the same as the last 20 years but IMHO I think the engine fitment was a bodge to please Ford - the sump is VERY close to the front axle - was subject to lots of modifications including extended bump stops to avoid contact but they can still touch during "spirited" offroading, and should you trap even a small rock or branch in there...
The engine drives quite nicely but it is no "developing world" motor - even just changing the fuel filter can require a special valve and vacuum to get the fuel to flow and the engine to run. A friend of mine who drives big yellow recovery trucks says the most common white van he picks up is the Puma engined Ford. Read into that what you may but it doesn't sound great to me.
Front axles are weak,especially off road in low ratio where the very low 1st gear and engine braking characteristics of the engine caused numerous front half-shaft breakages at Eastnor - a shopping trip to Ashcrofts Transmissions for heavy duty halfshafts and cv joints would be the best investment you could make. Anti-stall system is amazing though.
Inside the cabin it's the most cramped Land Rover yet - try before you buy and imagine a long journey, or perhaps just trying to crawl from the driver's seat into the back when the side doors are trapped shut by traffic, deep ruts or because of bad weather.
I've had Land Rovers for 24 years and I love them despite their shortcomings, but I would never buy a new one because I think the last honest Land Rover was the 300tdi. I know they're not as nice to drive as a TD5 (while it's running properly at least, but that's another story!) and the R380 gearbox is not as smooth as the current offering but the most common phrase in the workshop is "Why did they do it like that? At least on a 300 you could..." (fill in the blank with "reach, change, fix, bodge") It saddens me to say that the current sales success of the Defender range is purely a triumph of marketing and brand loyalty.
Sorry!
Decent tyres and a roofrack and they still look damn good in the desert though - THE overland icon. (Just leave the bonnet down for the photos!)
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