Land Rovers in Africa
I have chosen the 110 TD5 Defender as my first serious 4x4 for the following reasons: 1) Solid axles, coil springs, good articulation, good gear ratios, good clearance etc: better than anything else for R 300 000. In fact, just better than anything else. 2) Nice load space and unlimited ways of customising the vehicle to suit. You can bolt anything to a Defender and it looks just great. 3) Somehow, you feel OK driving a brand new Defender through thornbushes.....
After driving it around for four months, I feel I made the right choice. All of it's shortcomings are curable and these are in order of importance:
1) I installed sound dampening rubber and felt to make it bearable at 120 km/h! 2) Must get a Maxi-Drive rear diff lock to get out of those places that Landcruisers can't get in to. 3) Unscrewing that idiotic Aircon panel from the dash and throwing it away. This will result in a huge increase in front passenger legroom. I will build the heat exchanger into insulated air ducting in the engine compartment and channel this to the cabin like LR should have done in the first place. The handbrake problem was easily cured by bending it to the side... 4) Throwing out the rear bench - must have been the same idoit who done the aircon! I will look for a suitable seat and move it back about 100mm to increase legroom. This will require mods to the seatbelt points and rear fenders too. 5) Put in a real sound system! 6) Make a plan with the exhaust system. Mine resonates at 1200 rpm and 3100 rpm. 7) Put in a Uni chip and bigger intercooler 8) Think long and hard about what to do to the door seals! You would think LR could do better after 50 years! I have a plan but will only bother with this later on.
Other nice to haves would be: 1) Front Maxi diff lock 2) Overdrive unit (Something like 1200 Pounds!) 3) Even lower ratio low range from Maxi-drive 4) Bigger wheels
Mods I am also busy with for my own needs is a custom camping setup consisting of cupboards and a slide out kitchen/freezer unit in the back plus a 4 sleeper rooftop tent etc.
In my case LR's after sales service scored a resounding 0/100. As usual a tracking device had to be fitted to the vehicle and in the process the vehicle's ECU was damaged. I brought the vehicle in to be repaired. It took LR more than three weeks to sort this out. When I came in to collect the vehicle, my aircon no longer worked, the alarm did not function correctly and the dash was put back together like sh##.
I fell in love with this vehicle. It has charisma. If LR was focussed, the Defender could have been Brittain's Hum-V.
I drive a 90 because I think its the best looker, the best Landy ever made, and just really fun to drive. Performance wise there is not much between them, I guess the 90 is a bit quicker because it is smaller, and fuel consumption is also very similar. Generally though the 110 has a smoother ride due to longer wheelbase and greater mass. It is especially noticeable on dirt roads and corrugations, where the 110 is way better than the 90. For heavy duty off road the 90 is the vehicle of choice, with much better approach and departure angles and greater wheel articulation.
Space wise the 110 has its obvious advantages, although the load bay on both vehicles is virtually identical, except that the 110 has an extra row of seats, which is useful for passengers, but not much else. The shorter wheelbase of the 90 also means that there is slightly less space to install onboard fuel or water tanks, so jerry's may have to be carried. Whereas with the 110 all fuel and water can be carried via the fitment of additional tanks.
Strength wise they are fairly similar, except for the rear axle (maybe also the front) on the 110 being stronger to handle the increased load.
Most couples opt for a 90, which can be fitted with most of the exterior accessories that are common on 110's. Id say the deciding factor is how many trips you will do compared to how much you'll use it as a commuter vehicle. If you go away really often on long trips then the 110 is better, but if its the annual vacation or less, I'd go for the 90.
I am fortunate though as I have the best of both worlds. I have a SII 109" built into a camper which I use for long trips.
It's not really fair to compare the two vehicles, since they are very different, but I thought I would give my first impressions, just for interest's sake...
On Road driving:
The V8 has a lot more power available when pulling off, so the acceleration is better even on the heavier vehicle. However, top end speed there is minimal difference, given that the V8 has a huge air dam on the roof. 110 Kph is about the best speed for both vehicles. Steep hills defeat both vehicles, and requires changing down to 4th.
At slow speeds, i.e. in traffic, the Tdi is much, much easier to drive. It is far more flexible at slow speeds in stop start traffic, and the clutch is much lighter. In the V8 if I drive very slowly in first (high range) it tends to judder and jerk, so I have to engage/disengage the clutch the whole time. Could be a tuning problem on the V8, since it idles at about 1200rpm, which I am assuming is too high.
Off Road Driving:
That V8 has PLENTY of power!!! Driving in the Atlantis dunes, I could use 3rd, 4th or 5th low range for just about anything. 5th was sometimes a bit high, and 4th was good for anything. Only occasionally I went to 3rd, more out of habit than anything else. The judder/jerk exists at low revs as well, but in the sand I can either change down a gear, or just put my foot down, and off we go.
The Tdi is almost as good in thick sand. The only problem is when you need quick acceleration to build up momentum. Sometimes use a gear lower than the V8. Otherwise drives beautifully. Andre Mostert in C.T. says there is one dune at Atlantis which the TDi's can't handle, because they can't get up to a high enough initial speed. I did not try that one, since Andre got us lost trying to find it (but that's another story...). I have yet to try the V8 in other off road conditions, so can't compare those.
Tdi less than two thirds as thirsty. Around 12l/100 compared to 20l/100km on the V8. This will improve when I take off the big bull bar and roof rack, for city driving. Diesel is much cheaper than petrol as well.
The R380 gearbox is a lot easier to use, but that may be because the older one on the V8 (LT77???) has more than double the mileage. It has just been reconditioned, and 3rd replaced, but is quite cranky, and slips into reverse quite easily instead of first. Changing down from 5th to 4th is tricky as well, because it needs quite a hard pull to get it out of fifth, so a quick change down with a double declutch is usually not as quick as desired.
I suppose I will get used to it, but it is much harder to use when a lot of changes are required in city driving. I had a small problem on the dunes when I needed to changed down to 1st, after charging up a dune in third. I should have stopped on the crest, changed down and then gone down the other side, but I hadn't paused at the top, so needed to get into 1st in a hurry. Even with double declutching I only just got it in in time. The Tdi would not have been a problem at all. Last thing I need is to go down a steep dune in neutral, but it was my own fault.
The 110 it quite top heavy with the stuff on the top, and braking is definitely inferior, with the drums on the back. The 90 has extra sway bars which make top heavy driving much easier. Also the V8 needs the preloads checked on the front which apparently leads to a bit of steering wander, as well as the steering wheel shudder over bumps.
I have always liked the sound of the Tdi motor, but the V8 with the free flow is awesome. Turns heads wherever I go. Perhaps I'll get a .wav file up. The interior sound levels are higher with the V8, but that's more to do with the exhaust. No problem having a conversation or listening to the radio though, with a bit extra volume.
I have a 110 Tdi and a 90 Td5. I sold my BMW recently (tired of rust on a 18 month old car and bad service) and bought the Td5 90. It is used as my daily transport and to do the odd trail when I am not taking the family in the 110. The difference in power between the two is massive. The Td5 pulls well in all gears and doesn't die on hills like the Tdi. In sand dunes I drive my Tdi in low range 3rd most of the time whereas in the Td5 low range 5th or high 2nd or third works very well. When you want to climb a steep dune in the Td5 you simply put your foot down in low 5th and it sails over without high revs or straining whereas in the Tdi a steep dune is a major obstacle. When I drive my Td5 flat out I get 11litres/100km and when I drive a bit more carefully I get 9 litres/100km (it doesn't have a roof rack on). The build quality on the Td5 seems to be better than my Tdi although this could just be my particular vehicles. The Td5 is said to be quieter than the Tdi however at high speed I find it noisier possibly due to no soundproofing in the bonnet. It took me a day to get used to the throttle and I never stall, I have however driven other Td5's whose throttle was more sensitive than mine. High 1st and 2nd in the Td5 have a lot of torque and can be used for offroading where you would change to low in the Tdi.
The only downside of the Td5 is wading as all the electrics are under the seat. You can do some waterproofing to improve matters however I don't think I would take my Td5 wading with the same confidence that I do my Tdi. In the event of the electrics getting wet or damaged, the Td5 apparently has a limp home facility which would allow you to keep moving but at low speed. Off road I prefer my Tdi 110 due to it's longer wheelbase and mods however on road the Td5 is tops.
If your bush driving involves a lot of water crossings the Td5 might not be the best choice however if it's predominantly dry it would be mine. In terms of economy and power it is excellent.
After 45K the only problem I'm having is the need to replace the second wiper motor, which decided to loose functions, interval - wash interval. Maybe if I can fit a Toyota unit it'll last, ha-ha. Otherwise awsome vehicle with enough of everything, i.e. power, torque, good fuel consumption of 10L/100km cruising at 100 to 110km/h. Although a little cramped at first, the driving pos is fine, and getting out of vehicle every 2 hrs with some calistinics will revive driver, no problem. Good on long hauls i.e. Nam, EC, NC etc. Pick up offers unreal load space, and a recent survey of CAR mag price list shows very little on the market as far as LWB 4wd turbo diesels are concerned. I believe it's a better deal than Toyota LC pick up, more value for money, and the LR Defender is just too much fun. Of course when the road deteriorates to sub goat track, then this vehicle is in a class of it's own. Perm 4wd is great in wet on tarmac or slippery dirt, and gives positive feedback when doing corrugated dirt at 80km/h or so. I assume LR SA do not want to market the LR Defender range as aggressivly as they'd like because of production capacity, but if they want sell more pick ups to farmers, maybe they can widen their support network by including some basic service facilities through their Ford dealerships/workshops out in the rural areas. This'll probably irk the brand wallahs, but I'm seeing far to many new Landcruisers out there because Toyota's got the footprint to give superb service.
Finally, I believe you need to stay in shape in order to fit into the cab/driving pos comforably. A former beefalo front rower might not fit as comfy as possible, so there's the incentive to stay as lean as genetics allows. LR Defender in it's latest configeration mix is truly a superb machine..
I agree unfortunately my 2.8 has had a few mechanical hiccups. In the two years that I have owned my 2.8 the following item have had to be replaced
I had done a serious amount of mud driving during last winter which I believe was the root of my problems. Mercifully the vehicle was still under guarantee. :) But in saying that I'm happy with my choice. I like having 142kw under the hood. I am of the belief that you can never have two much power, as long as it is controllable.
A regular argument in favor of the diesel is often that it delivers good torque at low rpm but so can petrol motors. (eg 2.8 +- 220 nm @ 2500 rpm). A lot of people complained about the electronics, but I'm afraid that's becoming the norm even with the diesel motors. (Td5 for example). As I understand it international motoring manufacturers are being pushed in to ensuring that the on board ECU comply to a design standard called OBD / OBD II and so wont be long before you will be able to obtain cards that will plug into a standard pc / notebook which will have the diagnostic capabilities as per the LRSA approved workshops. These kits are already available for certain vehicles but a bit pricey.
I have a BMW 328 with over 150 000 km on the clock. Other than a leaking radiator I have had no hassles whatsoever with the motor. This was a big deciding factor when I went for a 2.8 landy instead of a Tdi/Td5 . If I had to choose again , I would probably go for a Tdi . I've had no hassles with the 2.8 , but from a fuel consumption / low end torque point of view , the Tdi would be better suited. The 2.8 is brilliant on the road , and has ample power off road , but it is prone to excess wheel spin , and the engine braking sucks. It performs well if driven with those 2 points in mind. To be over critical about the problems you've had , none of them are related to the motor as such , but more to standard Land Rover issue items (other than maybe the alternator)
How have you found the motor in water . I've not done much wet driving , but have never really had any problems
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