(20th September 2013) 1990 Land Rover Defender Diesel Manual Pickup by Mick
I found mine to have a very spartan interior and drive like a small lorry but with a bit of care and attention it just goes on and on.
They have a very generous towing limit of 3.5 tonnes and are very capable of towing it, something which nearly all of competition just cannot do, legally.
I found that spares are readily available both new and secondhand.
In my opinion the 200Tdi engine, which has a proven record of reliability, is probably the best of the bunch, as it doesn't have any niggling electronic control units to worry about. This results in an engine which is easy to repair by any competent mechanic as a computer is not required to reset or setup the engine.
The four wheel drive system is a direct implant from the Range Rover, with high and low gear ranges, a total of 10 forward and 2 reverse gears are available as well as a diff lock in all gears.
If you are thinking of buying one be sure to check out the following:
Make sure that the high/low gear selector and diff lock are all working as they should.
Also make sure you get under and check the chassis is not rotten especially the section just behind the front wheels, and just in front of the rear wheels. The rear crossmember is prone to rust as well. These are all MOT fails. A chassis which has been professionally welded will be OK but check for a bodged job and be prepared to walk away. A replacement chassis would not be a consideration.
Check out the steering box, engine, and gearbox/transfer box for oil leaks. You will usually find these are all leaking, a small amount of oil is acceptable but a drip will cost money and may be a MOT fail.
Look at the swivel joints on the ends of the front axle on the inside of the wheels, you will have to get underneath again. Make sure that the shiney silver swivels are not pitted with rust and are not leaking oil as these are expensive to repair and are an MOT fail.
Check the interior seats are OK and not badly worn or torn, they are an easy fix but expensive to replace.