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Land Rover Defenders have gutters

The Land Rover Defender is certainly one unique vehicle. It has so many quirky and charming features that endear people to it.

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One of them has to be the gutters at the base of the roof.

History of the Land Rover Defender roof gutters

Working as a gutter cleaner in Cleckheaton, the other day, I was struck with deja vu. I remembered how I used to have wipe out the gutter on the Defender's roof a lot, all the way around. Stuff just falls in there and starts to rut. It's literally like a miniature house gutter.

Then I started to wonder, why does the Defender have a roof gutter? What's the story there?

We have to go all the way back to the Series 1. The great, great, great Grandparent of the Defender.

Land Rover Series One roof turn-up

Hard-top Series One's have a tiny turn-up at the bottom of the roof panel. Presumably, this is an engineer's solution to add additional rigidity around the perimeter of the roof.

This Series 1 has a roof rack

Series II Land Rover gutter

This Series II truck cab has a mini gutter on it

By the time the Series 2 makes an appearance, the channel was widened, turning it into a full-on gutter. It rounds the entire of roof's edge, even over the windscreen.

Series 3 roof guttering

It looks unchanged on the Series 3 Land Rover. The same guttering runs all the way around the base of the roof panel.

But when the Land Rover 90/110 came out, the guttering was interrupted on the front, thanks to the taller windscreen that juts up into the roof line.

Land Rover gutter runs over back door

I couldn't find anything official on why the folded back metal became a wider and stronger guttering channel. However, I strongly suspect it's to provide owners the ability to install a roof rack on their vehicle. The guttering makes a great place to clamp too and distributes the load through the roof sides, into the bulkhead. So this is likely why Defenders have gutters now. Interestingly, many Defenders seem to have a sealant that's applied to the base of this channel before painting, though some don't.

They do ofcourse catch rain water or melting snow coming off the curved sides of the roof, and Land Rover created small outlets for the water to drain out.

Defender gutter leak fix

Clever Defender owners have created a small extension for the Landy's gutter in various ways. The idea is to divert the water dripping down the a pillar, to directly onto the windscreen glass.

One owner used a caravan gutter extender on their Defender.

Defender gutter modification

While another custom made a metal extender from a scrap piece of bodypanel they had. They painted it body colour and it looks great!

L:and Rover Defender gutter extension

If you're having water ingress issues, this might help solve them, depending on the leak location.

Weirdly, the roof isn't the only place the Defender has guttering. The bulkhead also has a rain water channel. You can buy replacements from YRM Metal Solutions.

Finally, make sure you clean out the guttering on your Defender occasionally to keep it flowing - just like you would your house!

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