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8 Almost Useless Land Rover Mods

Oh so you've lifted your body 5"? Impressive...

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

June 11, 2014

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year
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8 Almost Useless Land Rover Mods

11th June 2014

Updated: What Makes a Defender Iconic?

29th November 2011

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This post will undoubtedly get on some people's nerves. Because, it's brutally honest. When you get a Land Rover, its only natural you'll want to modify it. But about 90% of those mods are purely for cosmetics. Simply to attain a little 4x4 kudos. Here's our list of 8 almost always pointless upgrades to Land Rovers.

NB: Some Landy drivers really do need these mods, in which case, you're exempt

01list

1. 3+ Inch Lifts

We get it, you like to off-road. But if you can't make it around an obstacle with less than 2 inches of lift, then you need to improve your off-road driving technique. You're also undoing all the hard work vehicle manufacturers put into finding the optimum set-up for handling and off-road ability. Some of the worlds harshest tracks were driven by students in bog standard leaf-spring series Land Rovers.

WARNING-THIS-LAND-ROVER-MAY-CONTAIN-NUTS-1973

2. Stickers

Racing cars are the only vehicles that look good coated in stickers. Land Rovers do not require them. I know the Land Rover is the best 4x4xfar and I can see when you're vehicle has rolled over - I don't need some smug sticker telling me so.

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3. Light guards

Light guards on a Defender do make it look more purposeful. However, they simply increase the likelihood you'll hit something, and on the rear they will catch on your door mounted spare, deforming the rear body. What are you planning on doing that requires that kind of protection? In cases like this, ask yourself "Would they do it on the Camel Trophy?"

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4. King Cab

Not a lot to say here, apart from you either need a Pick-up or you don't. A King Cab On your Landy decreases the rear load bed size to that of a Gnat's newspaper and gives you half a foot of awkward storage behind seats that weren't designed to pivot greatly. Nice move.

OVIK_PHOENIX_ALPHA_-_With_FORD_PUMA_Diesel_and_new_Land_Rover_Chassis

5. Puma Bonnet

It's the latest must have, the Puma bonnet with the power bulge and Land Rover lettering. If you have a 07 onwards Defender thats fine. You need it. This change was a purely functional one, to allow the fitting of a slightly taller engine and provide adequate cooling. If you have any other engine in your Defender, you don't need one. First, this bonnet weighs a tonne, it is less useful than the original, flatter bonnets and by purchasing these 2nd hand on eBay you encourage Defender crime.

my_landy_002

6. Sports packages

We're not against fitting new bushes, perhaps a roll bar, but lowering your Defender, fitting road biased tyres with huge alloy wheels should be made illegal. If you want to go fast, get a Sports car. If you want to go fast off-road, buy a Bowler.

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7. Tilt / Incline Meter

Why have one of these? How often are you really that close to rolling. You're probably a lot closer after your 2 inch body lift and 5 inch suspension raise but when you're at the Defenders maximum side angle, you'll know. You'll need several people to counter balance the weight. There's your land meter.

medscaleChrome Full LED Headlight

8. LED Headlights

You're driving a Land Rover. Even if you have a 14 plate model, it will still leak all over you when it rains. So do you really need £600 LED headlights?

What's your pet hate Land Rover modification? 

Related items for sale on eBay

1988 Land Rover Defender County Station Wagon 1988 LAND ROVER DEFENDER 110 TURBO DIESEL 200TDI
1988 Land Rover Defender County Station Wagon 1988 LAND ROVER DEFENDER 110 TURBO DIESEL 200TDI
$8,100.00
1980 Land Rover Defender 110 1990 land rover defender 110
1980 Land Rover Defender 110 1990 land rover defender 110
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1992 Land Rover Defender 110 County 1992 Land Rover Defender 110 200TDi
1992 Land Rover Defender 110 County 1992 Land Rover Defender 110 200TDi
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1991 Land Rover Defender DEFENDER 90 1991 LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90  TDI  TURBO DIESEL  4X4  5 SPEEDS
1991 Land Rover Defender DEFENDER 90 1991 LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90 TDI TURBO DIESEL 4X4 5 SPEEDS
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1997 Land Rover Defender Station Wagon 1997 NAS Land Rover Defender 90 LE 1 of 300 Auto Galvanized North American Spec
1997 Land Rover Defender Station Wagon 1997 NAS Land Rover Defender 90 LE 1 of 300 Auto Galvanized North American Spec
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1980 Land Rover Defender 110 Rare 1989 Land Rover Defender 110, Less than 10K ORIGINAL Miles!!!
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43 Comments

  1. sai raja says:

    Love the post .. lol but its true

  2. Bill Harvey says:

    Suspension lifting
    Wheels that extend outside bodywork
    Those that drive modified L/R’s.

  3. stephen says:

    ‘one life live it ‘ stickers

  4. Sebhelyesfarku says:

    20″ bling wheels with low profile sport tyres. Morons.

  5. Mike Rees says:

    People who comment on other peoples mods, grumpy old fools or jealous?
    not your business, move along!

  6. Fritz says:

    Sorry but what has a leaking roof got to do with buying decent headlights???

    • Ben Gribbin Ben Gribbin says:

      Hi Fritz, Don’t worry, this post was written with tongue firmly in cheek 😉 The roof / headlight combo is a writing technique known as a juxtaposition, pointing to the fact that perhaps it would be best to solve the basics (such as a leaking body) first rather than increasing the headlight output.

  7. Peter Hart says:

    Funny article, however as you mention in your disclaimer…. some of us actually do need modifications. As a forester/arborist a winch is essential for muddy forest tracks and pulling the odd tree over! Light guards to prevent unwanted breakages and given that I drive 130’s, wheel spacers help with the oil tanker like steering lock!

    • Ben Gribbin Ben Gribbin says:

      Great to hear from a pro who uses a Land Rover Peter, you’re absolutely right, modifying a Land Rover is often necessary in order to carry out a certain task or job.

  8. All your points are valid but surely the diversity of what you can do with a Defender is a large part of the attraction. I hope my Defender looks tasteful but to some it may not, to them i say “kiss my Diff!” Lets live and let live. How boring would it be if we all drove the same looking cars, in the same color, the same engine size, the same,,,,,, well, you get my drift. I drive around in my Defender and notice the majority of people who do just that! The only cars that stand out to me are Land Rovers and in particular Defenders. I can’t believe the IDIOTS who now own Landrover are going to stop making them when our closest rivals (Mercedes) are making a killing selling their G Wagons. Anyway I digress. Viv La Difference! Now, does anyone know where I can get a pair of Giant Eyelashes to put on top of my headlights?

    • Ben Gribbin Ben Gribbin says:

      Absolutely Gerard, this is one of the most versatile and practical vehicles still produced today. And at the end of the day, every Land Rover owner has the right to use and modify their Land Rover as they see fit 😉 Now on the topic of the G Wagon….

    • ron or any swear word that comes to mind says:

      how about an s3 with acorrectly fitted 200tdi ,overdrive power steering .prc320 radio(24volt?}engine oil cooler,power steering oil cooler rev counter12 meter pump up mast on the tail end 11 inch brakes all round 3leaf parabolic road springs manual and thermos controlled rad fan and quite often a mountain search dog sat on the passenger seat Note if you ever see it and look under neeth NO OIL LEAKS .two years ago I paid 30 quid for it as a wreck P S I have the lincence to operate the radio coverage .5 to 50Mhz

  9. Erik says:

    I take some exception to the LED lights. Living in a northern climate, it’s dark early at night and late in the morning for like 8 months of the year. The stock defender lights from my era (90’s) are about as good as having a candle in a fish bowl mounted out front. We’re dry here so I don’t get the connection/implication about rain and the lights. Other ones are decent points.

    • Ben Gribbin Ben Gribbin says:

      The point we were making here Erik was that Land Rovers leak in the rain, often quite badly. That would be a deal breaker with most other commercial vehicles. However, this post is meant to get some reactions 😉 We love LED headlights and understand their benefits

  10. i like seeing modifications on Land rovers, it shows the owner has a personality and is an enthusiast of the vehicle they drive.. some look good some look crap but at the end of the day, apart from it being dark , its different strokes for different folks , it would be a boring world otherwise…

  11. Peter Graham says:

    Great post. Made me laugh. You did miss one of my personal favourite “useless mods” and that’s chequer plate fixed to vertical surfaces. What’s the point? Chequer plate by nature exists only to form a tough non-slip tread on horizontal surfaces. Line your tub floor, or if you must, use some on the bonnet and wing tops, but on wing sides/corners and sills… who’s ever going to tread there?!

    • Dave smith says:

      Not got any chequer plate on my defender but I always thought it was a cheap way to cover and protect from damage / corrosion ???

    • David says:

      I hear you but I can give you rationale from my perspective which is to cover up the torn metal of my rear wing which occurred with a high (ish) speed blow out and the tyre slap from it shredding. Such is the balance between budget and needs must!

  12. Jim Ecker says:

    I really disagree with the LED headlight modification. When you are over 60 any additional brightness you can get from your headlights starts being a necessity especially in a Series truck.

  13. shaun says:

    Everyone has different opinions I guess each to there on lol

  14. Richeygfd says:

    Bit late to reply but to be honest land rover defenders are an icon….modified correctly they turn heads…the fact you wanted a defender to begin with questions your 4×4 choices….if anything it was born for unecessary mods becsuse its just a big box of fun…however i got to admit lowering a truck makes no sense to me

  15. Juan says:

    I live in the Falklands, there are just gravel roads everywhere. If changing your headlamps every three months because they get hitted all the time by stones is not a problem for you then light guards/covers are not needed. Unfortunately I can afford that so light guards are totally welcome on my disco

  16. Matt H says:

    Recaro seats and Chelsea wide tracks grind my gears – Get a Rangie!!

  17. bruser says:

    why mod a land rover, get your hands on a perentie and its already been done for you

  18. Daniel says:

    Good day
    with the Puma bonnet is there any way to mount a spare wheel

    • aldo says:

      Even if you did, you wouldn’t be able to see anything anymore unless you mounted a bicycle spare… 🙂

  19. Dave says:

    My defender is 2007 – totally original. But in original form they are utterly useless, poorly designed money pits. I went through a puddle and ruined the unsealed Ecu underneath the car. Have had a new gearbox, engine and turbo and the truck is under 50k miles. I can’t sit in the car during a car wash because it’s so poorly designed. Can’t drive without the window open unless I dislocate an elbow. The seat won’t recline, and I feel like I’ve driven a thousand miles when I’ve only done a 20 mile trip, with excruciating back pain and shoulder pains from the tough steering. I can quite understand why people spend the same as the purchase price of this on mods. Forget the fact that it would have been cheaper for me to maintain a Bentley, I’m supposed to be grateful that it’s still worth what I paid for it 5 years ago, it’s cost me £10k in the meantime. And an accident because having replaced the discs, pads and calipers (£1k) the old fashioned brakes wouldn’t let me stop a 2 tonne vehicle perform an emergency stop and I smashed into a car causing the guy in front to develop whiplash, anxiety attacks and psychological issues. Cheers landrover. Next time build the replacement properly from the very start.

    In summary they are not worth purchasing unless you are prepared to mod it like hell and do what the manufacturer should have done 20 years ago.

  20. Erik says:

    I don’t agree with the headlights one. If you want them for that in town “bling” look you’re doing it for the wrong reason. But the stock lights are like finding your way in the dark with a Zippo lighter. LED’s are sealed, fit perfect, and are finally cheaper in 2016. They make a world of difference. Especially in northern winters. Add a drivers heated seat module to the inside of the factory seats, therefore using the watts you’ve saved from the headlights, and you’re net ahead. It’s hard to criticize the heated seats as nobody knows its there.

    Leather seats are a dead giveaway someone is into image more than use.

  21. Bob says:

    stickers/king cab

  22. Although I agree with most of the grumpy comments about “If I want to jack up my truck…” but the Land Rover GT really made me laugh. WHY!

  23. I have put the LED lights on mine. I think they look cool and realy enhance its looks. My roof doesn’t leak but when it starts I’ll flog the lights, put my old ones back on and use the money to fix the roof. Hah hah

  24. cthulhu says:

    Actually, LED headlights are a good mod for older defenders – all the power for the lights runs through the light stalk/switch on the steering column. This much power eventually burns out that switch. Changing to LEDs allows for less power and thus less chance to burn your switch and improves the lights/visibility.
    Although, 600 quid for lights is excessive

  25. Steve Jones says:

    Ha Ha really good article, had a 90, only small mods, 110 hi cap lots of mods including IVECO engine to pull heavy plant trailer, Disco commercial lots of suspension mods to be able to safely carry upto one ton of gear, 110 CSW just brought about to have replacement chassis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Catlin Wolfe says:

    lol somebody is obviously European. half these items come with delivery in the usa. but than again we are in the woods(forest) and rock climbing almost every weekend.

  27. Farmer says:

    I have a Landrover series 3 it runs twin fuel tanks off road shocks its been lifted high speed diffs runs a fairy over drive box custom dash slide out draws in the rear with full size bed twin batteries with inverter and solar panels ect disco wheels with big tyres huge winch with steel bull bar overhead console with cb and cd player full gauge kit in dash, 186 Holden moter out of a monaro, its painted coras grey and massive thermo fan, and yes i get so many looks its not funny

  28. Farmer says:

    And i have just brought a county 110 wagon about 5 months a go it runs a 5.7 litre V8 Diesel with a Santana 5 speed gearbox old man emu shocks and coils, with twin climate controlled aircon front and rear was put in by Brisbane auto air after the V8 diesel conversion was done. by landrover conversions of Brisbane it has rock breaker side steps flares with sunrasia rims and its registered as a 9 seater. and i get so many comments on the V8 diesel conversion its not funny

  29. Bgarhan says:

    Great writing!
    I am awaiting delivery of my 1996 90 as we speak! I will be guilty of at least one of the fore mentioned crimes.
    Best part so far is my “willy” has already grown 2 inches and I don’t even have possession of the wagon yet! I will post again if it grows further upon arrival!

    cheers

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