FAQs
FAQs
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What is the Extent of the Defender Restoration?

Body: The entire body is disassembled and removed to expose the frame. All body parts are checked for corrosion and rust then replaced or repaired. They are sanded, primed and painted and reinstalled with the correct rivets and bolts to ensure rust will not be a concern for many years to come if ever.
Exterior bumpers, grille, headlight surrounds, step up bars, wipers, bolts are all replaced with new.
Frame is inspected and if any rust is present it’s removed and repaired. Then it’s sprayed with rust preventive chemicals and painted.
Engine is checked for compression and leak down then wearable parts are replaced. e.g. water pump, radiator, seals and gaskets, exhaust etc. The 200 or 300 TDi engine is then tuned for optimal performance.
Transmission is rebuilt, clutch, bearings and seals are all replaced with new.
Drivetrain drive shafts, joints, suspension bushings, shocks, springs are all replaced with new.
Lights are all rewired and replaced with brighter led lights.
Brakes, calipers, rotors, wheels, tires are all replaced with new.
Doors, hinges, door and window seals are all replaced with new.
Interior Sound proofing installed, seats, center console, carpet, steering wheel, headliner are all replaced with new.
Quality Check: I drive the Defender for several weeks to ensure everything is perfect.

Do You Sell Right Hand Drive Defenders?

Sorry but my Defenders are only Left Hand Drive.

What About Rust since You’re in New York?

I find my Defenders in warm and dry climates. The restored Defenders have no rust at all since it was a frame off restoration and everything that had any rust was removed and replaced. In the restoration process we make all the updates to prevent any rust or corrosion in the future.
I also do not drive the restored Defenders once the roads have been salted. I have Defenders that are for that time of year. You will also see in the descriptions I will tell you if there’s any corrosion, paint bubbles or rust.

Importing a Land Rover Defender

Importing a Land Rover Defender can seem like a daunting undertaking. Sure, there are a number of things that can go wrong, like the Defender being held at customs or not be allowed to enter the United States unless thousands of dollars worth the updates are made. I have seen un-knowing and knowing individuals list a Defender for sale with the promise that it would be easy to import and register. However after the unsuspecting individual paid for the Defender, they found out their vehicle was not allowed for import and they were out the money. Defenders that have a great price or are listed for sale in another country could possibly be a great bargain— but with that comes a level of risk. However, it’s an easy process once you know all the laws and regulations, and we know how to import Defenders. Plus, regardless of any potential importing issues— Helderburg guarantees you will receive your Defender, or you pay nothing.

Now here are some basics about Importing a Defender and can also be applied to other vehicles.

  • The Defender must have a build date of a minimum of 25 years prior to the date of import into the United States. This will allow you to register and insure it in some states as a classic vehicle, if you wish. This saves you money on registration and insurance.
  • A Vehicle Identification Number must be present on the frame and body. The plate can not appear to be tampered or added. Numbers on the engine and transmission must match with the VIN.
  • The engine and transmission must be the original specification to the Defender. Swapped motors will prevent the Defender from being imported.
  • Excessive add ons, upgrades and modifications might flag the Defender for further inspection and cause it to fail and not allowing it to be imported.
Reliability of a Land Rover Defender

The name Land Rover strikes fear about reliability but there is a big difference between a Defender with no, or minimal, electronics versus a Discovery or Evoke with complicated electronics and computers controlling every function. The later Land Rover models e.g. Discovery were generally not very reliable, but a Defender is different and this is why…

A Defender is a very simple design, with the motor and transmission design lasting for many, many years. Whenever you watch movies or shows where people are in the Outback and African Safari, what kind of vehicles do you see? A Land Rover Defender or a Toyota Land Cruiser are the vehicles of choice due to their simplicity and reliability. I have seen Land Rover Defenders with over 500,000 miles and maintenance has been minimal. Parts are easily accessible and they are inexpensive when compared to modern vehicles. It’s also a lot easier to find mechanics to work on a Defender. I am not implying you will not have maintenance or you will not break down– they are, after all, 25+ year old vehicles but with preventive maintenance, a Defender is a vehicle that will serve you for a long time. These trucks were originally built for farmers and can be fixed in the bush with duct tape, hammer, screwdriver and adjustable wrench in most cases. Ok not exactly like that, but close!

Can you make a Right Hand Drive Defender into a Left Hand Drive

In the United States and abroad, you can buy a Land Rover Defender for a very low price if it’s a Right Hand Drive. Right hand drive vehicles are simply not very desirable and the price reflects it. So does it make sense to buy a RHD and convert it to a LHD? Not really. It’s a lot of work and is costly even if you do all the work yourself. Several parts will have to be replaced or re-fabricated to change the right to left. Welding and removal of the body from the frame would be required. Prices I have seen people pay to have this conversion can be in the range of $20,000 and you will still have a Defender that was RHD converted to a LHD. That means the value of your Defender will still be less than that of an original Left Hand Drive Defender.

Don’t all Defenders start out Right Hand Drive and are converted

No, there are both versions original from the factory and the Left Hand Drives are harder to find than Right Hand Drives due to supply and demand. Purchasing a RHD will save you money but will also be harder to sell if you decide to sell later. Conversion of right to left drive will increase the value minimally, but will be less than what you have invested. So if you can’t afford a LHD, we advise you wait until you can unless you are OK with driving on the right side.

Can you use a Land Rover Defender as a Daily Driver

Yes you can and I know several that do, including myself. It’s generally not as quiet inside and lacks cruise control when stock, but it is really no different than driving a Jeep or a Mercedes G Wagon. I can assure you of one major difference, though; whenever you stop for gas or groceries, curious individuals will want to take pictures and possibly even ask some questions. Seeing a Land Rover Defender is rare throughout the United States and always seems to make people smile and give you a thumbs up.

A Defender with a 300TDI has plenty of power and can maintain a speed of 65-75 on the highway without issue. We also add Dynamat type soundproofing so our Defenders are quieter than most, so it’s easy to have a conversation with your passenger or on the phone. So, why not drive a Defender daily? They are unique, look great, have four wheel drive, put you up a little higher to see better and have comparable gas mileage to a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.

What Engine is in the Land Rover Defender

We import Defenders with a 200 TDI or 300 TDI diesel engine. These two engines are well designed, provide ample power and will last a very long time. They have been in production for many years, so parts are easily accessible. These engines are both highly desirable and increase the value of a Defender. We don’t import Defenders with the 19J motor since they are prone to problems and lack sufficient power. If you are purchasing a Defender, you definitely want to ensure it has a dependable engine and transmission. Otherwise you will be spending approximately $18K – $22K more to get them replaced.

Diesel vs. Gas Defenders

Our Defenders are all Diesel which provides better MPG, longevity and is just cooler. Diesel engines are better than gas engines, in our opinion. Think about it, there must be a reason farm tractors and semi-trailers are all diesel engines!

What Kind of MPG is Average for a Land Rover Defender

Where I live in Upstate New York, there are a lot of mountains and hills and I average in the upper teens to low 20s for MPG.

Do Defenders come with an Automatic or Manual Transmission

The vast majority are 5 speed manual transmissions, but there are conversion kits to make it an automatic transmission which are fairly easy to have installed or DIY if you’re handy. Rovers North in Vermont sells these kits and any other part you might desire.

Can I Register a Defender in my State

Yes it’s easy and we provide the paperwork to register a Defender. If you have any specific questions, call us.

Defender 90 vs 110

The Defender D90 is a three door with one door on each side and one door in the rear. The Defender D110 is a five door with two doors each side and one door in the rear.
The Defender 90 has two front seats and can have a bench seat or two bucket seats in rear or side facing jump seats mounted on the rear wheel wells/tubs. The 90 can sit four adults or two adults and four kids.

The Defender 110 has two front seats and can have two buckets seats with a center console or one bench seat. You can also opt to have two additional bucket seats in the very rear or facing jump seats on the wheel wells/tubs. The 110 can sit four to nine adults depending on seat configuration.

What is a Pre-Owned Defender compared to a Restored Defender

On this page you will find gently used Land Rover Defenders we have purchased, traded or are selling on consignment. These Defenders are in good condition, but are NOT in “showroom condition” like the Restored Defenders or Bespoke Builds we offer. Mechanically, they are excellent and we would not hesitate to drive them anywhere— but expect some rust. We’re enthusiasts and therefore don’t mince words about the shape of our Defenders just to sell them. You can be sure what you read about or see is what you’ll get when it comes to a Helderburg Defender.

If anything has been needed mechanically, you can trust it’s either been taken care of or has been disclosed in the vehicle description. We would not hesitate to drive these Defenders anywhere and Pre-Owned Defenders provide an excellent way for you to test the Defender “waters,” ensuring you like the Defender Lifestyle. If you decide it’s not for you, or want to purchase a Restored or Bespoke one, it will be easy to resell your Pre-Owned Defender.

If you have any additional questions, click to call or request for us to contact you.

-Paul

What has been done to a Restored Defender

Our Restored Defenders are made by a friend and his craftsmen in England. I have spent extensive time deciding every fine detail on each one of these Defender builds. I have carefully selected paint colors, leather shades and seat styles, as well the 300 TDI engine and suspension upgrades you’ll find in our builds. These trucks were built with extreme thought and care, ensuring they’re absolutely stunning and in showroom condition.

We go for different looks on our Restored Defender Builds, e.g. Urban, Classic or Adventurer. Helderburg builds are generally more of a modern, urban look with a slight hint of classic. People often compare our Defenders to a Mercedes G Wagon. I can tell you that every single time we drive one, people stop and ask questions. The biggest question we receive is, “Are they new,” and the look on peoples’ faces when we say our vehicles are over 25 years old shows us we must be doing something right.

Our Defenders have been stripped down to the frame and everything has been repaired or replaced that was in need of attention. All rust has been cut out and repaired WITHOUT bondo. Body panels, bonnet (hood) and doors have been replaced with new, shocks, springs, bushings, hinges, window, door and top seals. All brakes, rotors, wheels, seats, complete interior and all wearable parts have been replaced with new. The original 300TDI engine is low mileage and has been checked, adjusted, tuned and repaired if needed. 5 speed standard transmission, clutch and bearings are also all new.

Our Restored Defenders are always left hand drive and started life as a left hand drive. We never get Defenders from Turkey, Spain or where there are going to be known issues in the original build and original source of parts. If you are considering a Defender on eBay in another country that has to be imported, I would say proceed with caution. eBay reviews might look good and the price might be great— but it’s the price you might have to pay that concerns me. It becomes an expensive toy when the carpet is peeled back, when you have to register and plate it, or find out it’s been pieced together with a Santana Defender or other model..

If you would like to have a Defender 90, 110 or 130 with a 200 or 300TDI built specifically for you… we can do that! Every detail will be decided by your team with my help.

If you have any additional questions, click to call or request for us to contact you.

-Paul

How Long Does it Take to Restore a Defender and What is Completed

We have Defenders that have already been restored and are ready for purchase now, or you can have one bespoke (custom) built to your specifications. We also have Defenders that are used and in great condition that can be purchased now.

Generally the restoration process and quality inspections take 5 months and can be longer. This is dependent on the level of custom interior work performed. Then, the import and final inspections take an additional 30-45 days.

  • The restoration process is quite extensive because it is a frame off restoration.
  • Every body panel that has a dent or rust is replaced. We don’t use bondo.
  • Doors are replaced and epoxy coated to prevent rust. All seals and felt strips are replaced. Existing glass is used if in good condition.
  • Puma Bonnet/Hood, wheels, tires, seats, carpet, headliner, bumpers, shocks, springs, rear tire carrier, step up bars, fender flares, LED headlights, LED marker and stop lights are all replaced and new.
  • All door hinges, windscreen hinges and bolts are replaced with new and advanced design.
  • Frame is cleaned, prepped and coated with rust preventive chemicals.
  • Hoses, belts, water pump, suspension bushings, filters, brake calipers, brake disc and brake lines are all replaced.
  • Transmission is replaced with a new, remanufactured unit. Clutch, bearing and rear main seal are also replaced new.
  • Engine is checked for performance and all the parts that are auxiliary wearable parts or known to wear out are replaced. E.g water pump, belts, tensioners, etc.
  • Boost ring, pin and EGT delete are all added to increase engine performance.
  • Entire Defender is sanded to metal and painted to high specifications.
  • Multiple layers of sound deadening (Dynamat type product) is added to entire truck.

In a nut shell— when the restoration is completed, the Defender looks brand new. People will find it hard to believe it’s 25 years old or older. It’ll be better than it was when it was on the showroom floor!

Call or email me with specific questions.

Have they been wrecked before

No wrecked Defenders are restored. We do have Defenders with bumps and dents— but any parts, body panels, doors, bumpers or hoods are replaced with new ones. We don’t cut corners on our Restored and Bespoke Defenders. You will never find bondo in one of our Defenders… we simply disassemble and replace it.

If you have questions, just ask.

Ask Paul
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