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New project - farmer spec Land Rover Defender 90


Blake's Den
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Its time to introduce you to my new project – Land Rover Defender 90 300 TDI in farmer spec.

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I’ve been working on this off and on (mainly off) for the last 10 months or so. It was bought new in 1996 by my wife’s grand father and it is about as basic as Land Rover’s get. The only option ticked was a step on the drivers side, there is no step on the rear or the passengers side. No radio, no central locking, no airbag, no aircon (or heating at the moment), it is very basic motoring.

It’s the 300 TDI engine which I understand are fairly reliable. It needs a good service which is one of the first things on the list to do. It has plenty of oil leaks as standard so they need to be looked at too. My plan is to keep it standard – no big suspension lifts or big tyres. It has been a working vehicle and it is going to stay as a working vehicle.

Its going to need a new rear cross member very soon as it is more plate and weld than original. Being a pick up (or truck cab) it should be a fairly easy job to fit one with chassis leg extensions.

I’ve got a feeling that this one is going to keep me very busy! I’ve always wanted a Land Rover so this one is defiantly a keeper.

I should hopefully be posting some regular video updates on my youtube channel. Oh and thanks to @Minimad5 for the bumper 😀

 

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I was littered thinking about this yesterday 😅 .... but my piss poor memory ensured I couldn't recall the username of who to ask 🤷‍♂️.

Looks mighty fine with that bumper up front. Any plans for a Winch on it ? (Seriously handy bit of kit, if not for dragging yourself unstuck, then for moving others out the way)

Shall follow the thread and await more pictures 😊

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9 hours ago, somewhatfoolish said:

TADTS.

Amongst other things. Several other things. 

I've found memories of one of those. Dad had one for many years, a 200Tdi. Good wagon but it was nearing needing chassis repair even 10 years ago. 

I did my driving test in one, a van body. Checking blindspots basically meant trying to look through metal 😂. When we had that savage winter in 2010 we had to put a load of canvas over the radiator to allow it get slightly warm. 

Love them even with their foibles and flaws. Dad does regret selling his. He got his purchase price back but given the price of them now he gets upset when reading adverts for them. 

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11 hours ago, Blake's Den said:

My plan is to keep it standard – no big suspension lifts or big tyres. It has been a working vehicle and it is going to stay as a working vehicle.

The internet is going to hate you!!! HOW DARE YOU NOT MODIFY THE DEFENDER SO IT LOOKS STUPID!!!

Good luck with it, and as always I am envious of people who can fit in these Defenders.

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56 minutes ago, St.Jude said:

The internet is going to hate you!!! HOW DARE YOU NOT MODIFY THE DEFENDER SO IT LOOKS STUPID!!!

Good luck with it, and as always I am envious of people who can fit in these Defenders.

Thanks :-)

I just about fit. The engineer's at LR clearly had no understanding or ergnomocis when they designed it back in the day.

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1 minute ago, Blake's Den said:

Is that at one of those pay and play off road places?

Was that an ex rescue and recovery vehcile? Just thinking why anyone would buy a new one in bright yellow!

Yes it's Hill 'n Ditch in Mouldsworth, only took it here to see if the 4WD system actually worked properly, was quite fun & certainly stopped my mate from bugging me about Green laining, for a few weeks (Yes I didn't want to take it 'properly' off-road incase it got damaged / stuck/ broken)

 

It was an Ex Aberdeeen city council car, why they specced a 110 Hi-Cap, instead of a normal 110 I'll never know 🤷‍♂️. Would love another Defender.

Keep the pictures of yours coming 😎

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18 minutes ago, Blake's Den said:

Thanks :-)

I just about fit. The engineer's at LR clearly had no understanding or ergnomocis when they designed it back in the day.

I've tried to sit in a Defender a girl I used to work with had, I couldn't get my legs under the wheel. She wasn't much shorter than I was, had the seat back apparently, but there's no way I could drive it like that. Then over the weekend I sat in @mat_the_cat's Series 2, and I could fit but it's like I sat in a cupboard taking a dump. So I'm happy enough to know I'll never drive one or own one!

Which is mental, as I'm 6ft 3. I don't consider myself that tall, but I wonder how tall the farmers were back in the late 40's to drive these things!

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For the love of all that is Holy, please no bloody chequer plate! They look just right wearing their faded paint and dents with pride and when sat on 205s or 7.50x16s (235/85's if you must).

Please also get some decent physical security as they are so easily nicked to order. The pedal box 'safes' and lockable handbrake levers seem to get decent reviews. 

I've owned four (plus a few series too, the first being a marine blue swb truck cab)  and regretted selling all of them. The last was a Hicap I dropped a Dicso 200tdi into just before prices went stupid. I've also had many many miles driving and towing with a fleet of 110's stretching back to tdi days. I'd have another but the current prices are just ridiculous and finding one that hasn't been OLLI-ed is getting harder.  Well done for saving this one.  

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2 hours ago, leafsprung said:

For the love of all that is Holy, please no bloody chequer plate! They look just right wearing their faded paint and dents with pride and when sat on 205s or 7.50x16s (235/85's if you must).

Please also get some decent physical security as they are so easily nicked to order. The pedal box 'safes' and lockable handbrake levers seem to get decent reviews. 

I've owned four (plus a few series too, the first being a marine blue swb truck cab)  and regretted selling all of them. The last was a Hicap I dropped a Dicso 200tdi into just before prices went stupid. I've also had many many miles driving and towing with a fleet of 110's stretching back to tdi days. I'd have another but the current prices are just ridiculous and finding one that hasn't been OLLI-ed is getting harder.  Well done for saving this one.  

Thanks.

Yes, I have considered security. I didn't want to show it on the video for obvious reasons. I've learnt from experience, pretty much any key will unlock the doors!

And yes, definitely no chequer plate or 'One life, live it' stickers 😁

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  • 4 weeks later...

One of the first jobs that I wanted to do was to intsall a CTEK battery charger. I've had one on my Mini Cooper MPI for over 10 years at it has been faultless. Sure the CTEK chargers are not cheap but in my opinion they are well worth the money.

I seem to be attracted to cars with batteries in unusual places. In the Mini it is in the boot, in the Defender it is under the passenger seat. This makes it difficult to run the charging lead to the outside. However Land Rover has saved the day by installing terrible weather seals around the doors. This makes the Defender draughty but it does allow the cable to pass without snagging.

I've ordered a service kit so hopefully I'll get the oil and filters changed before it gets too cold / wet / dark.

 

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Then Landy came with a canvas back and hoops when I acquired it. However it had never been fitted. As I'm a bit tired of the pick up bed filling up with water in the rain I decided to have a go fitting it. After looking at youtube, photos and parts diagrams I have concluded that the cannvas back that I have isn't for a Defender! Its likely a Series 3 88" one.

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Confusingly I have three hoops but there only holes in the body for two hoops. So I think that the hoops are from a LWB series model too! I'm also missing the clamps which hold the hoops in position but I reckon that I can bodge this with some 25mm U bolts/exhaust clamps.

Not sure about the massive gap at the front. There should be a frame which fits around the cab rear window and acts as a rain channel. If I had this (which I don't) then it wouldn't fit anyway as the canvas is too short. It should do as a short term fix, the first drive wil be fun!

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I do like a proper Land Rover, I managed to pick up a second hand Ifor Williams metal top for my truck cab, it didn't cost much and it's only four j bolts to fit it.

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it was light enough that I fitted it on my own. I did have to wear it like a tortoise shell to climb up into the back. I really miss that Land Rover.

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Some tips for hanging onto a Defender: Use multiple layers of security. Whatever other security you've fitted, I'd recommend a Disk-lok on the steering wheel because they're highly visible and crooks know they're a pain to deal with. Also, park with the steering on full lock to make it difficult to winch onto a trailer. Wherever possible, I park mine very close to a wall or behind a height restriction to make it difficult to steal with a hi-ab, and I use some kind of immobilizer every time I step out of it even if it's just walking to the kiosk in a petrol station.  Another tip is to leave the transfer box in neutral; that'll baffle most casual theives for long enough that they abandon the effort.

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20 hours ago, Dead_E23 said:

Some tips for hanging onto a Defender: Use multiple layers of security. Whatever other security you've fitted, I'd recommend a Disk-lok on the steering wheel because they're highly visible and crooks know they're a pain to deal with. Also, park with the steering on full lock to make it difficult to winch onto a trailer. Wherever possible, I park mine very close to a wall or behind a height restriction to make it difficult to steal with a hi-ab, and I use some kind of immobilizer every time I step out of it even if it's just walking to the kiosk in a petrol station.  Another tip is to leave the transfer box in neutral; that'll baffle most casual theives for long enough that they abandon the effort.

This.

Security on these things is comical. I accidentally picked up my mini keys instead of the land rover keys but was still able to unlock the door!

I've got various security items fitted to it but I'm not discussing them on here or YouTube just in case.

On one of the land rover FB groups someone called out a post asking for people to "show us pics of your defender". Apparently thieves have been known to ask this, spotted what they like then looked at the user profile to see where the owner lives. It makes you think.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A bit more progress on the old Defender. When I was watching another YouTube video I realised that my glow plug light wasn't coming on. I thought that the 300 TDI didn't have glow plugs or that they were only fitted when operating in extreme temperatures. But after popping the bonnet I saw that they were there! It has always been a good starter so I thought that I'd investigate further.

After a full investigation of the glow plug relay and circuits I discovered that all was in order. Eventually I traced it to a dodgy wire on the warning light cluster. So they were working all along, just that there was no light to show them working!

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Getting this sorted allowed me to get a full set of warning lights up on the dash. And yes the dash is scruffy, I still haven't cleaned it yet.

In other news I have concluded that the canvas back is of a Series 3 but it seems to fit and do that job. I've had it up to 50 mph and it hasn't blown off so I'm calling that a win 😀

 

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  • 1 month later...

I've had the Defender on trailer duty recently. I'd normally tow with my Santa Fe but that has a problem with petrol not going into the engine which is a minor convenience. My trailer isn't too heavy, I reckon that I was trailing about 400kg. There was no reduction in Land Rover performance if performance is the right word to use!

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I noticed that it has been losing coolant. The 300 Tdi engines don't like running low on water as the water pump sits high on the engine. I suspected that the 'P' gasket had failed on the water pump. With it running I could feel some spray on my hands and face when I was looking at the pump. I left it a while then realised that the spray was actually oil from one of the many oil leaks!

I took a step back and realised that I could see water driping, you can see it on the steering damper and drag link in this photo.

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A quick peer through the radiator shows that it is very crusty at the bottom. So it looks like it is new radiator time. It is also an oil cooler (but not the intercooler) so its a bit more complicated to replace than a normal car. I've changed radiators on an Alfa 156, a Toyota MR2 (SW20/23) and my Rover Mini Cooper MPI so I know what I'm going to be up against. Time to find a radiator in the January sales!

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