Defender Defender Puma as a daily commuter





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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Defender Puma as a daily commuter

    Folks,

    Before I took the plunge and got my Defender, I did a lot of web research trying to understand whether I would be able to live with the Defender as a daily commuter. Many of the articles that I read talked about the 'utilitarian ride', 'lack of creature comforts', 'poor accelaration' etc. etc (you've all read the articles). I also took several test drives of both TD5's, Puma's and Jeep Wranglers (old and new shapes). It would have been wise to try and rent one for a while but ultimately I had to make a quick decision or risk losing what was a great deal on a Puma D90 with, low mileage and lot's of extra's. So I bought the beast.

    So: how is the D90 Puma as a daily commuter? JUST GREAT!
    * It cruises easily at 120km/h without any stress and is able to maintain the speed up hills. The 6th gear makes highway driving easy.
    * The roll-on torque is just fine for overtaking in just about any gear. You won't get a nosebleed but I've never been stranded without 'oomph'
    * I get about 900km off 100L in fuel in urban driving. This is 11litres/100km. [Aux fuel tank installed]
    * I have a black D90 but the cabin temp is just fine. The factory tint on the windows is quite good and the near vertical windscreen doesn't let in as much sun as conventional sedans. The aircon is quite powerful - no issues there. The heater is pretty potent too though a right vent would have been nice. Mid winter on the highway at night my left shoulder gets warm but leakage past the door seals is felt as a draft on my right shoulder!
    * Sure there are some squeaks and rattles inside. I solved this one by pulling out the complete original sound system and replacing it all along with an amp and a new age compact sub-woofer that installed neatly behind the centre storage box without taking up any loadbay space (courtesy of Sandton Sound who did an amazing job).
    * A little bit of roof-rack noise at high highway speeds but it's not intrusive and I don't hear it at all anymore.
    * People give way in traffic. Even taxi's. I signal an intention then move into the gap with the behemoth.
    * The high driving position is fun.
    * The spare tyre started rattling in a really irritating way and I can't seem to see why (the bolts are tight). I cut some pieces of a pool noodle and wedged that behind the tyre and it's quiet again. Would like a better solution for this one [Advice anybody?].
    * I feel safe and invincible in inclement weather conditions. I can't tell you why - it just feels that way.
    * Driving ergonomics seat: Ok, I'm 5ft6 and that's a big help. Lumbar support is just fine. Clutch and accelarator are heavy but you stop noticing after a while. In traffic the D90 will crawl up hills with foot off the accelarator and this really helps. Only ever use the handbrake when parking and I don't notice it anymore.
    * Problem: At 2.2m with roof rack it's too high for most shopping malls where I stay. This isn't an issue but you do have to do some recce work before parking.

    Best thing is that it feels special every time I get in it. The articles were right about one thing: driving it is the adventure - even if it's a 35km commute to work in traffic most of the time.

    Hope this helps if you're thinking of getting one.

    [UPDATE AFTER 10 YEARS OF OWNERSHIP: It's still my daily driver. No regrets. Looks even better now and I won't sell it. It's taken my family to all kinds of places and several countries with all our gear and never broken down or needed a recovery]
    Last edited by plasticine; 2020/12/01 at 06:56 PM.
    07 Defender Puma, black and chrome (under the dust)

  2. #2
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    The only problem I had with my very old 110 as a daily commute, was that the clutch chowed my left leg muscles something awful in stop-go traffic! But I think the newer Defenders have a far more gentle clutch - the 1985 vintage you REALLY had to use muscle power to shift all the iron around in that LT85 4-speeder.
    Dries Venter

    2006 Discovery 3 V8 SE aka TuTix
    Opgegradeer vanaf
    Groenie die Draak - 1999 Disco I V8i
    Gelie - 1985 110 Hardtop V8

    "I like the Land Rover Rock'n'Roll"

  3. #3
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    Plasticine, it's always brilliant to hear of someone really enjoying their Defender; I also feel happy every time I get into my Landy, too. I can't say the fact that people give way and let me in upsets me either! (It's true, they do - whether it's because the Defender is so much bigger than them, or they see the mad glint in my eye, I have no idea.)
    My spare wheel rattles too (2001 110 so I cant complain) but I'm going to try the pool noodle trick tomorrow. I suspect I need to get a whole new bracket thingy for it though.

    Enjoy your Landy

  4. #4
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    Plasticine, removing your roof rack will improve your fuel consumption even more.

    What spare wheel bracket do you have or is it mounted directly to the door? I have a "Big Country" bracket and have managed to get it 100% quite albeit with a simple modification.
    2004 Land Rover Discovery 2 VNTd5 ES

  5. #5
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    Welcome to the club, mate!

    I hope to own my own Puma before they kill the Defender as we know it. Something about legislation in Europe?

    In the mean time, I drive a 12year old Tdi as a daily runner. Everything rattle, there is no more seals that is working (having it washed is interesting) The method of heating is by donning a thick jacket, and the cooling is highly effective, but only at speed. There are some rattles, coming from all over the place. No sterio, aircon, carpets, leather. At 6ft2 I'm a very thght fit. I found no problems with heavy pedals. I will complain about the platkar's pedals, it is too light.

    You know what, I dont care. I love my Landy to bits, and will probably never sell it. I will (have) take it into the highest peaks of the Maluti mountains in winter, and to the equator in summer at a drop of a hat!

    This is symptoms of being bitten by the Landy bug. I hope you get it too.

    Dont forget to wave!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by plasticine View Post
    * The spare tyre started rattling in a really irritating way and I can't seem to see why (the bolts are tight). I cut some pieces of a pool noodle and wedged that behind the tyre and it's quiet again. Would like a better solution for this one [Advice anybody?].
    Hey,

    Your sp.wheel bracket has cracked between the wheel nut-bolts & frame of the holder...same thing happened to me, but replaced under warranty. I'm now on my 2nd broken one.
    When LR take it off & replace it, get them to weld around the weak point to make it stronger...or get someone to do it for you.

    Enjoy!

    P.S: Black 90's rule!
    Mike

  7. #7
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    Plasticine! I owe you a huge debt of gratitude!

    Following your very original advice about the pool noodle solution for the wheel bracket, I sprang into enthusiastic remedial action this morning. My husband was greeted by the alarming sight of me with an old purple pool noodle in one hand, and an ancient penknife in the other.

    I'm not sure whether he drew some terrifying allusions from this image, but in a flash he was off without a word. Half an hour later - new wheel carrier ordered, arriving tomorrow, the husbeast will fit it for me.

    So thank you, Plasticine - your advice was most excellent!

  8. #8
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    Hi
    DEFENDER is the best 4X4 X FAR

  9. #9
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    It's a pleasure, Loretta. He should have ordered two (one as a spare that I'll keep for you...).
    07 Defender Puma, black and chrome (under the dust)

  10. #10
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    Plasticine, removing your roof rack will improve your fuel consumption even more.

    What spare wheel bracket do you have or is it mounted directly to the door? I have a "Big Country" bracket and have managed to get it 100% quite albeit with a simple modification.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fontuin - I use the roofrack for my bicycles so it stays on. The spare is bolted directly to the door. I'll take it in to Land Rover and have them check the bracket out as Mike suggests.
    07 Defender Puma, black and chrome (under the dust)

  11. #11
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    Plasticine, here it is on the floor of my study, awaiting installation tomorrow. And yes, I know it's upside down in the picture.
    Very pleased with myself about this - only mod on my Landy so far is a Safari snorkel, which was a bit of a saga to install, and only achieved thanks to advice from the Landy guys here.

    Enjoy your black Defender - I've seen Mike "Black 90"s Defender, and in fact had a nice ride up the quarry in it - and have to say if I could choose a colour it would be black, too.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #12
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    Plasticne, what a nice write up for the 90, you might have just put some thoughts into my mind .
    ORA
    -------------------------
    Ian

  13. #13
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    Default Spare Wheel Carrier (bracketthingie)

    Hi Loretta

    I saw the pic of your bracket thingie. Exactly what I am looking for. Where did you get it and how much did you pay.
    Regards
    Gero

    Quote Originally Posted by loretta View Post
    Plasticine! I owe you a huge debt of gratitude!

    Following your very original advice about the pool noodle solution for the wheel bracket, I sprang into enthusiastic remedial action this morning. My husband was greeted by the alarming sight of me with an old purple pool noodle in one hand, and an ancient penknife in the other.

    I'm not sure whether he drew some terrifying allusions from this image, but in a flash he was off without a word. Half an hour later - new wheel carrier ordered, arriving tomorrow, the husbeast will fit it for me.

    So thank you, Plasticine - your advice was most excellent!

  14. #14
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    The original Spare wheel carrier has a number of weaknesses. The door and the bracket meet each other as two "pipes". The one sleeves and moves over the other. This assumes that each should be 100% aligned. Because this is never going to be, it grows stiffer and stiffer. The hinges rust over time causing more stiffness and wear. Independent4x4 make a stainless steel bracket that uses a tapered mechanism to improve things. This costs less than the original. Send me a message and I'll email you the detail.

  15. #15
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    Hi JJ
    Great, please send me the details.
    My email: [email protected]
    Thanks and regards
    Gero

  16. #16
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    Gero,

    Mine is a Frontrunner, I think it cost about R 2 000 but it was a Mother's Day present. Installation wasn't too bad, although more holes had to be drilled (which I wasn't expecting). Pleased to say 95% of the work was done by my kind husband. I made the coffee and held a spanner for a bit....
    I've attached (I hope) a picture of the process, and finished product - taken from the side so you can see that it possibly protrudes a bit more than the original wheelcarrier.

    I'll email supplier details.
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  17. #17
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    Loretta,

    Frontrunner are around the corner from me so I'll go and check it out.
    http://www.frontrunner.co.za/fr_prod..._brackets.html

    Do you have to open and push the spare wheel bracket aside to open the rear door or can you open the rear door in one motion?

    Plasticine
    07 Defender Puma, black and chrome (under the dust)

  18. #18
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    Hello plasticine,

    The wheelcarrier doesn't affect the functioning of the door at all - it has a sort of piston-type thingy (OK I know I'm not too articulate at this technical stuff) so you open the door just as you always do.

    My husband says it has some vesconite (sp) self-lubricating tube. Or something like that. If anyone can make sense of what I think I'm saying - great!

    The dreadful rattling noise has ceased, which is the main thing.

  19. #19
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    Almost at 60000km now and no change to my original opinions. The vehicle now has the Frontrunner spare wheel carrier, a Thule bike rack on the spare wheel, NL auxilliary charging system, aux battery and an Engel fridge. We'll be off to the Okavango shortly.

    Still my daily commuter and still working on the original vacuum pump (!).
    07 Defender Puma, black and chrome (under the dust)

  20. #20
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    My Defender features quite strongly in this video of our Bots\Zambia trip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uvoSOiNfE0
    07 Defender Puma, black and chrome (under the dust)

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