WHAT TO LOOK (OUT) FOR...
by Takeo De Meter
buying a used Land-Rover ?
Everybody who ever wrote something about Landies must have handled this
subject at least once and all have reached, more or less, the same conclusions.
So why bother on a rainy and cold Sunday afternoon ? Becaused of bored
stiff ? Nah. Mainly because my loving wife threatened to slap me with
a wet floor mop if she would not hear my keyboard cracking RIGHT NOW.
So what does a decent guy do under such a threat ? Ya guessed it: get
on with it. So here goes. (grrr).
The seasoned used Landy buyer can skip my writings altogether, of course,
but some novice, aspirant, apprentice, candidate, dreamer (I almost wrote
wannabe) Land-Rover Owner may find some profit (I mean $$$) here if lucky.
When considering the purchase of a used Land-Rover, there are some preliminary
considerations to be considerated, which may not be directly related to
mechanical questions, such as budget, wifes / husbands yuck
tolerance threshold (if you have a zero yuck tolerance life companion,
forget it), driveway cleanliness factor, neighbour sleep factor (dont
buy anything with an unmuffled V8 if you like to wake up on Sunday mornings
at 5 AM and take her for a spin if yer neighbour likes to sleep in on
Sundays), kid quantity factor (get a 109 instead of an 88 if ya got more
than 8 rugrats), camper trailer factor - what do you want to pull through
da desert 1,200 lbs or 5 tons ? I do not mention horse boxes since horses
are considered food here and one is not supposed to play with his or her
food, and I think betting on food is also sick. $ 10 on a steak or 2 lbs
of baloney called Dancing Arabian Prince sounds real weird to me. Please
also add more of your own personal socio-cultural, environmental or just
mental, green (white, red and blue) factors to the list of other
than mechanical consideratations before counting you hard-earned greenbacks
in the hand of the guy who is ripping ya off anhyhow.
So, after carefully having examined the exogen factors for impedimenta
to your decision and having counted your black money, you may start looking
around. First of all, make sure to
click this link: and get familiar with the terminology used therein.
Then, go for it.
The ideal used Land-Rover ought to be dead cheap, not more than 3 (three)
years old, in mint (concours) condition, have not more that 500 miles
on the clock and a fully documented service history. New tires, hydraulic
winch, airco, documented waxoyl treatment, galvanized chassis, GPS, full
stainless steel roof rack and NO dog hair on the carpets are also to be
considered important assets. If you are now thinking that I am pulling
your leg, rest assured. I am.
For all I know there is no such thing as a decent-value-for-money
Landy for sale. Either it is way too expensive or there is a snag somewhere.
So what you are actually after, is finding the snags in the Landy that
carries your fancy.
So, for the sake of the argument, lets imagine that your eye fell
on an decent-looking 1982 Series III 109 V8 a.k.a. Stage One, offered
to you at the price of EUR 2,000. Sounds good, since the 109 V8 is slowly
becoming a collectors item, being the only decent Series III ever
built. So how do you go about it ? Easy.
Bring your overalls and crawl underneath it in the sellers yard.
Also bring a small hammer, about 200 grams in weight and tap ALL the chassis
surfaces you can get at. When the sound becomes duller, be weary and tap
a little harder. If a hole appears, you found a rotten spot. Thsi may
be local, however, and easy to repair, so make sure you tap ALL of the
chassis and get an overview of the bad spots so that you can decide whether
it is worth it or not.
Next thing you want to check for rot is the front bulkhead or firewall.
The side pillars should be good. Gearbox and engine can easily be checked
by driving the contraption for some 50 miles. Anything shorter will not
tell you anything about the vehicle, since you have to get somewhat used
to the sounds, particular to THAT vehicle. You will also find something
out about the brakes after 50 miles.
All the rest is relatively unimportant. Point is, that at the moment of
purchase, you have something that you can drive away. You know on beforehand
that after a while you will have to fix leaks, get a new battery, re-do
the brakes, possibly get another (cheap) engine etc. When your money is
paid and you are the proud owner of that piece of junk you fell in love
with, you will have been able to assess if this INITIAL investment was
well spent. You will also know that you may well spend the rest of your
miserable life investing more into it. After you paid your divorce lawyer,
So I think that the best buy is something that you can drive home and
of which you have a vague idea of how much you are going to spend over
the next years to keep it running. Look, if someone -anyone- tries to
flog you a fully refurbished, shiny and polished 15 year old
Landy, chances are that he is making a lot of money with a can of paint
and some cockpit spray. He would have the same expenditure
as anyone to fully refurbish anything that old and that would
make the old smoke prohibitively expensive in the first place. Be weary
of shiny stuff. Ever seen a poor used car dealer ?
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