wts: one-of-a-kind 1985/1995 rhd land rover defender

Yup, I still have it, and yes, I would still very much like to sell it.  Changes from the last time it got posted include better differential gear ratios (3.54:1 versus 4.7:1, which means the V8 can maintain highway speeds all day long without any heat problems), the heater core works now, and all of the exterior lights are 100% good to go.  The Craigslist ad is live, and it is reproduced here: 

How is this a 1985 / 1995 Defender?  Easy – the original, from-1985 2.25L I4 engine that was in the truck when it was shipped over from Great Britain decided to spontaneously connect two of its cylinders, and the fix was to replace it with a refreshed 3.9L V8 from a 1995 Discovery. 

All of the work was professionally done by Braddy’s British Motorworks in Youngsville, NC, as seen in the attached invoice. 

– The 2.25L was taken out and replaced by the aforementioned 3.9L EFI aluminum-block V8 (on which the lifters, rod bearings, head gasket, etc. were replaced).
– The ZF4HP22 automatic transmission and 1.22 LT230T transfer case (both from the same donor vehicle as the engine) replaced the manual transmission that was there before.
– A custom center console was fabricated to hold the new shifter.
– The original, tiny radiator was replaced with one designed for a Defender V8 and an electric fan was added to supplement the belt-driven one on the engine.
– An all-new exhaust system was fabricated and installed.
– The front and rear driveshafts were replaced with ones from a Range Rover Classic.
– The front and rear differentials were replaced with more V8-friendly 3.54:1 gears (rather than the 4.7:1 that were in before).
– A secondary, 15-gallon fuel tank was installed underneath the rear bed along with a remote-controlled pollak valve to allow you to switch between the two tanks on the fly.
– A battery cut-off switch was installed for added security and peace-of-mind.
– LED indicator lights were installed all the way around to replace the woefully inadequate original incandescents.

The truck does not have air conditioning (it never did), but the compressor is still attached to the 3.9 and blanked off if you want to add it in the future. The right hand drive was retained, as was power steering and power brakes (disc fronts, drum rears). Thanks to the new-to-the-truck engine, transmission, and differentials, the truck can cruise at highway speeds all day long without any trouble.  Heck, it even has cupholders now!  The engine has all of about 204 miles since the refresh (about 90k before), though the body has 154,208 miles on it. The refreshed engine and all new parts included in the install are covered by a 12-month, 12,000 mile warranty from Braddy’s British Motorworks, and the transmission, transfer case, and all other used parts are covered by a 6-month, 6,000 mile warranty. No other warranty, implied or stated, comes with the vehicle, though.

This is a bad-ass, go-anywhere, all-wheel-drive-all-the-time, British truck that thinks it’s a tank, and everything else on it is pretty much ready to go. It comes with a hard-top – which can be removed – and a fold-down windshield for the full summer driving experience. All four wheels have desirable Wolf (6.5Jx16x20.6) rims, the lower door frames have been replaced recently, and the frame and body are in great shape. The rear spare tire is being held up by a Mantec spare tire carrier, the front grille is protected by a newly-powder-coated and -installed brush bar, the original Land Rover jack is included, and it’s currently wired for stereo (though the person who sold it to me lost the faceplate for the existing one).  It’s currently set up for "station wagon" configuration with two seats in the front and four sideways seats in the back. The front upholstery has been replaced with Exmoor Trim "Denim Vinyl" and heated elements have been added to those seats.

So why am I selling it? Honestly, the project took a lot longer than we were planning on, and my family’s vehicular requirements changed drastically over that time.  We would love to keep the Rover around, simply because it is an awesome truck (I mean, it’s a *Rover*) but we just don’t have the garage space to do so right now. 

For those keeping up with the news on Defenders, this one was 100% legally exported and imported, and both its VIN and original British license plate check out as being old enough to import. In fact, you can check for yourself: the original plate is C689 TRT and the VIN is available on request. The truck is currently registered and plated in Wake County, NC, and I have the title in-hand with no lien or loan.

Known issues include a dash blinker indicator that doesn’t blink (could be due to the LED indicator light installation… could be a blown indicator bulb, haven’t checked), a bent door stop on the driver’s side and a missing door stop on the back, and the wear and tear of being a 30-year-old truck along with the usual sporadic Land Rover surface rust.  The rear crossmember was replaced long before it was imported to the States, the passenger (left) side seat box bottom has some rot on it ($100 in parts and some quality time with a rivet gun or spot welder), and the door frames have a little rust at the bottom leading corners on both sides. None of the rust is outside the realm of "normal" for a Rover of this advanced age.

Right now, it would make a great daily driver, grocery-getter, shop truck, farm truck, or a mostly-daily-driver-that-you-don’t-feel-bad-about-taking-off-road… and with the RHD, it would be a truly attention-grabbing promotional vehicle.  Really, this is a pretty enjoyable truck as it sits right now, buty it would not take a lot more to make it a truly impressive vehicle… We’ve just run out of steam and a place to keep it. Our loss – literally, we are asking less than we have invested already -  your gain :).

Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Current asking price is $26,000, but I am open to any and all offers. Willing to work with shippers on your dime. I have additional pictures; please to email or call.

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12 hours left on the defender

If you were hoping to get a pretty awesome truck at a pretty decent price, you have 12 more hours to hop on the eBay auction for my 1985 / 1995 Land Rover Defender 90

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You know you want it. Hell, I want it, if it were not for the fact that we were already over-budget on it.  But I am sure it will serve someone in good stead for a number of years to come. 

1985 / 1995 rhd v8 land rover defender 90, now on ebay

In an attempt to get the Land Rover Defender 90 I have for sale in front of more people, we have listed it on eBay as well as Craigslist and everywhere else I can think of.  Someone has already bid on it, which I guess is a good thing, but it has to hit the reserve price before we will get really excited… so get bidding!  The worst that can happen is you do not have to spend the money if you do not break the reserve… or you do, and you end up with a pretty awesome truck. 

Anywise, bidding ends next Sunday at 1718 PDT and 2018 EDT, so you have a little time to shake down your couch. 

fs: one-of-a-kind 1985/1995 rhd land rover defender

The Craigslist ad is live: 

How is this a 1985 / 1995 Defender? Easy – the original, from-1985 2.25L I4 engine that was in the truck when it was shipped over from Great Britain decided to catastrophically connect two of its cylinders, and the fix was to replace it with a refreshed 3.9L V8 from a 1995 Discovery.

All of the work was done by Braddy’s British Motorworks up in Youngsville, NC. The 2.25L was taken out and replaced by the aforementioned 3.9L EFI aluminum-block V8 (on which the lifters, rod bearings, head gasket, etc. were replaced); the ZF4HP22 automatic transmission and 1.22 LT230T transfer case (both from the same donor vehicle as the engine) replaced the manual transmission that was there before; the original, tiny radiator was replaced with one designed for a Defender V8 and an electric fan was added to supplement the belt-driven one on the engine; an all-new exhaust system was fabricated and installed; the front driveshaft was replaced with one from a Range Rover Classic; a secondary, 15-gallon fuel tank was installed underneath the rear bed along with a remote-controlled pollak valve to allow you to switch between the two tanks on the fly; and LED indicator lights were installed all the way around to replace the woefully inadequate original incandescents. The truck does not have air conditioning (it never did), but the compressor is still attached to the 3.9 and blanked off if you want to add it in the future. The right hand drive was retained, as was power steering and power brakes (disc fronts, drum rears), and a custom center console was fabricated to hold the new shifter. The engine has all of about 35 miles on it since the refresh (90k before), though the body has 154,039 miles on it. The refreshed engine and all new parts included in the install are covered by a 12-month, 12,000 mile warranty from Braddy’s British Motorworks, and the transmission, transfer case, and all other used parts are covered by a 6-month, 6,000 mile warranty. No other warranty, implied or stated, comes with the vehicle, though.

This is a bad-ass, go-anywhere, all-wheel-drive-all-the-time, British truck that thinks it’s a tank, and everything else on it is pretty much ready to go. It comes with a hard-top – which can be removed – and a fold-down windshield for the full summer driving experience. All four wheels have desirable Wolf (6.5Jx16x20.6) rims, the lower door frames have been replaced recently, and the frame and body are in great shape. The rear spare tire is being held up by a Mantec spare tire carrier, and the front is protected by a newly-powder-coated and -installed brush bar.

It’s currently set up for "station wagon" configuration with two seats in the front and four sideways seats in the back. The front upholstery has been replaced with Exmoor Trim "Denim Vinyl" and heated elements have been added to those seats.

For those keeping up with the news on Defenders, this one was 100% legally imported, and both its VIN and original British license plate check out as being old enough to import. In fact, you can check for yourself: the original plate is C689 TRT and the VIN is available on request. The truck is currently registered and plated in Wake County, NC, and I have the title in-hand with no lien or loan.

So why am I selling it? This thing has been an ongoing project, and our most-recent discovery is that, despite being a Defender, it left the Land Rover factory with Series gear ratios in the front and rear differentials. So while the V8 may be more used to 3.54:1 ratios, it is actually trying to turn wheels that are hooked up to 4.7:1 ratios. The current ratios are great for off-roading, rock-crawling, cruising around town, and that kind of awesome stuff, but I bought this truck to be a daily driver, and it really does not like highway speeds. The fix is to take the front and rear axles off a Discovery and bolt them onto the Defender, but that’s somewhere north of $2000 that we weren’t planning on spending… and we’ve reached our limit. Braddy’s does have these parts available – from the same vehicle that the engine and transmission came out of – if you wanted to pursue this option. Alternative fixes include an overdrive (maybe?) or figuring out what size wheels/tires make the ratio work out to being nearly correct.

Known issues include a heater core that is jammed on (you have your choice of no blown air or hot blown air), a dash blinker indicator that doesn’t blink (could be due to the LED indicator light installation… could be a blown indicator bulb, haven’t checked), a leaky right-rear wheel hub (a $5 seal and an hour or two of time, or it can be fixed by replacing the axles), a bent door stop on the driver’s side and a missing door stop on the back, one of the LED brake lights does not fully illuminate (faulty part, replacement is in the mail and will be included with vehicle), and the usual sporadic Land Rover surface rust. The rear crossmember was replaced long before it was imported to the States, the passenger (left) side seat box bottom has some rot on it ($100 in parts and some quality time with a rivet gun or spot welder), and the door frames have a little rust at the bottom leading corners on both sides. None of the rust is catastrophic or outside the realm of "normal" for a Rover of this age. Finally, someone tried to fix a scratch on the passenger door using some rattle can paint; it doesn’t exactly match, but it’s not painfully obvious (much less in person than the pictures, actually). The touch-up paint will likely buff off.

Really, it wouldn’t take much for this to be a pretty awesome Rover, but we’ve reached our own personal limits. Our loss, your gain :). And, really, I just wish my commute did not involve interstates… if you want an awesome town cruiser that you can take out on the trails on the weekend, this is definitely it.

Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. Alternatively, the truck is currently parked at Braddy’s British Motorworks if you want to see it in person.

Open to trades of small trucks or SUVs; four doors and 4×4/AWD are mandatory. Current asking price is $28,500, but I am open to any and all offers. Willing to work with shippers on your dime. I have additional pictures; feel free to email or call at eight-six-five-two-seven-five-five-zero-four-four for them.

(The transmission in the bed has been sold. The other parts back there are leftovers from the 2.25L conversion, and can be yours or scrap, as you like.)

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For those keeping score at home, the brake issue has been resolved by way of a colder thermostat on the engine keeping the cooling system on for longer, and keeping the engine at a lower operating temperature.  I still strongly disrecommend long-term, or really any, highway driving, but the brakes work, and work quite well for their age.  Drop me an email at “linoge (at) wallsofthecity (dot) net” if you are interested, or point people at the Craigslist ad if you know anyone who might be interested.  Thanks! 

time to exit, stage left

It is kind of impressive how functionally all of the problems a vehicle is having can come down to one, little thing. 

In addition to the brakes failing, the Rover was also having a difficult time maintaining highway speeds as well as cooling its engine.  Defenders lack a lot (well, all) sound and heat insulation, but even through the bulkhead, I could feel – and especially smell – that the engine was getting really, really warm. 

Well, as with the last post, there is a reason for that.  For all of that, actually. 

Land Rover did a, frankly, shitty job with making changes to their vehicles.  Improvements were gradual, often spanned models and year changes, and were really, really poorly documented.  All of the documentation I read on Defenders indicated that all D90s had 3.54:1 differentials front and back, removing the need for an overdrive, and making them highway capable.  On the other hand, Series Rovers (i.e. I, II, IIA, and III) all had 4.7:1 differentials on account of the anemic 2.25L I4 they were built with – great for torque, not so much for top speed. 

Remember what engine my Defender originally came with?  A 2.25L I4.  Not so shockingly in retrospect, that means my Defender came with 4.7 gears. 

So, basically, the 3.9L V8 was having to literally work 1/3 again harder to maintain highway speeds than it was “expecting”, and those high RPMs (mind you my truck does not have a tachometer, annoyingly enough) were overheating the engine.  That excess heat was probably affecting the vacuum hoses or master cylinder in such a way as to cause the brakes to fail (at least, that is the working hypothesis of the shop at this point). 

The “fix” is to remove the front and rear axles of a Discovery (basically the same vehicle as a Defender, just with a different body and, conveniently, 3.54 gears) and bolt them into my truck.  All of this will “only” cost another $2000, on top of the more-than-I-was-planning-on-spending costs I have already sunk into the vehicle – a lot of which, mind you, were due to oversights of the shop working on it, including this one. 

Better Half and I have concluded that it is probably time to pull the ripcord.  It is going to be three weeks before the shop can get to the truck, so we are going to list it on Craigslist, Defender Source, and this site (look for the post tomorrow, probably), and if it sells in those three weeks, great.  If it does not… we will figure it out then.  The good news is those 4.7 gears will make a rock-crawler or other off-roader very happy… but are basically useless on the interstate or for commuters like me.  And the additionally good news is that the brakes can probably be fixed without swapping out the axles; it will just involve rerouting conduits and/or heat shielding and/or something else.

Well, that was a year of my life I will never get back, and a not insubstantial amount of money to boot. 

behold, the rover

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Nope, that is neither my driveway nor my garage. 

There is, unfortunately, a reason for that. 

So Better Half and I drove up to the shop and we went through the whole pre-hand-off inspection, including a test drive, checking all the lights (one of the LED arrays has gone bad, but I am going to have to talk to the people who sold me the bulbs, not the shop), making sure everything still works the way it is supposed to (the blinker indicator on the dash does not flash any more, but that could be due to the LED conversion), throwing all the switches and levers to ensure they are still connected (apparently the heater core may be jammed “on”), and so on, so forth.  The V8 barely fits in the hole left behind by the I4, and all kinds of parts had to be shoved in random corners throughout the engine bay just to get everything to play well with one another. 

Anywise, we signed off on it, and settled up on the bill (which was about 1/3 higher than we were expecting, which was a whole separate problem), and I started to drive it home with Better Half tailing behind me to ensure nothing fell off or looked bad.  The engine felt and smelled stupidly hot – the temperature gauge was useless since it is set up for the old I4, not the new V8 – but it is going to run warmer regardless, and the smell was probably just a rebuilt engine breaking in (the shop only put about 20 miles on it). 

Thankfully, we were planning on stopping off at a mall on the way home, otherwise all of this could have gone sideways on the interstate. 

It got up to highway speed just fine (though the speedometer is about 10mph slow – apparently Rovers run the sensor to the transfer case, and different engine + different transmission + slightly different transfer case = whacky speedometer), and I pulled off the highway to start winding our way to the mall.  I made one turn just fine, and then made another turn to line up on the final turn into the mall’s parking lot, and time… got a little wibbly-wobbly. 

I was about six to seven car lengths from two cars ahead of me in the turn lane at the stop light, and there was traffic to the right of me and more cars in another turn lane to the left of me.  And that is about the time I realized that the truck was doing about 25-30, my right foot was flat on the floor, on the brake pedal, and the I was not slowing down. 

At all. 

I remember a few distinct things after that point.  First, I tried the pedal again, you know, just to be sure.  No dice.  Then I remember thinking, “Well, [deleted], what the [deleted] do I do now?” almost simultaneously with, “I just picked this [deleted] thing up and I’m going to [deleted] wreck it on its first drive.”  And then I hit upon the correct answer, or at least a correct answer, and cranked the bejesus out of the truck’s parking brake. 

For those unfamiliar with the platform, Defenders’ parking brakes are also part of the transfer case, and, predictably, all four tires locked up.  Solid. 

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I dorked with the colors and contrast in the above image enough that, if you look at the closest turn lane, you can see the right hand tracks left behind by the truck entering before the arrow to the left, and exiting off the right side of the image.  You cannot quite see the left hand tracks, but, by God, I kept the bloody thing in its lane.  The noise inside the cab was pretty impressive, and Better Half, who was still driving behind me at that point, tells me the smoke plume bordered on “epic”. 

At least, that is what she told me once she calmed down. 

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Once we calmed down enough and called one of the guys who worked on it, we checked, and there was no fluid leaking out from underneath it.  Given that I could pump the brakes back into very brief life, it seems likely that something in the master cylinder failed. 

Good times. 

So now I am about to head back out again and meet the gentleman so he can flatbed it back to the shop where it has been for the past 9 months. 

At this point, I am almost wondering if I should just get it running and sell it.  Of course, by now, I have almost replaced everything that can be replaced, so… yeah.  As someone recently said on Facebook, if it were not for bad luck, I would have no luck at all.