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1988 Land Rover Perentie Defender 110 long-term review part 2: 4x4 Shed

By Matt Wood, 07 Jan 2018 Reviews

Land Rover Perentie Defender 110

Perentie fever has well and truly taken hold.

I’M AFRAID Perentie fever has well and truly taken hold.

That’s the thing about these Landies: they’re basically a big Meccano set that invites you to pull stuff off, bolt stuff on, and generally tinker with it. After the big shakedown trip from Darwin to Brisbane (June, 2017), it was time to get the old bucket of bolts roadworthy.

I tackled the obvious stuff: keyed ignition, light switches, wiper rubbers and shock absorber rubbers. The only issue that was presenting a real challenge was the intermittent jumping out of high range. And while I’m loath to treat specialist businesses as a free information resource, I finally bit the bullet and had a yarn with Brad at KLR in Sydney – these guys specialise in Perenties and really know their stuff.

1988 Land Rover Perentie
I was changing the oil in the transfer case anyway so, while I was at it, I removed the locking plate on the main gear cluster shaft. Sure enough, there was some play in the shaft, so I nipped it up, put the plate back on, and the issue was solved. While I was at it, I changed all fluids and filters to ensure all moving parts were happy and healthy.

So, with a Queensland safety certificate in my hand, the Landy was soon wearing a set of shiny new number plates. It became clear after a camping trip to North Stradbroke Island that the military rubber had to go.

While the stiff army-spec run-flat Michelins will probably last forever, they are crap on sand and there’s very little bag to be had from dropping tyre pressures. Plus, being on tubed rims meant sand was getting between the sidewall and the tube, making annoying little pinhole punctures. So a set of 16x8-inch steelies soon came my way, and I opted to shod them in 265/75R16 Mickey Thompson ATZs. A review set of Narva 215 LED spotties also landed on the Perentie’s snout, but some mounting tabs needed to be fabricated to get them into the right place, which wasn’t an issue.

Perentie Defender 110  steering wheel
My attraction to the Perentie is based on it being a tough and reliable beast rather than any passion for military history, so the camo canvas top got the flick as well as a lot of the supporting bar work. Long-term plans are to ditch the camo paint job as well, but that will be a while down the track. The 4BD1 Isuzu engine may be a bulletproof powerplant with a very usable torque curve, but it’s a pretty agricultural thing. It’s loud and lacking finesse, and the torsional stresses it creates means it’s essentially trying to destroy the rest of the vehicle.

New Land Rover Defender coming in 2020

New engine mounts are on the shopping list. On the other side the coin, the engine is pretty simple and easy to work on. I realise the Moab crawler meets Land Rover look I’ve gone for may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it makes for a pretty awesome beach buggy. Mechanical upgrades are sometime down the track, but in the meantime I’ll keep on grinning every time I head out. Even if I do end up with bugs in my teeth.