Towing with a Land Rover Defender

Discussion in 'Horse and Rider Safety' started by Nicki, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    Does anyone have any experience or opinions on towing with a Land Rover Defender 110? Will be for a two horse straight load, probably extended (haven't bought a float yet but the one we borrow at the moment is extended). The usual passengers are an approx 15.2 chunky gelding and a 13.3 chunky pony but may have larger horses on board at times. We will be in the Gidge/Mundaring hills area so need to travel up and down Greenmount Hill and Red Hill.

    My husband is having trouble with his knee and getting rid of his car that's too low to the ground and will be taking my Audi Q7, so I want a Defender for banging around in everyday. The Defender will be new and only for towing around the Perth Metro area, any further will be done in the Audi - a much nicer place to be for long trips.
  2. Dusty Road

    Dusty Road Well-known Member

    I used to tow with my landrover Freelander. It was a dream to tow with and handled the float with ease. I wouldn't see a defender struggling if the Freelander didn't :)
  3. izzy2512

    izzy2512 Gold Member

    Lucky- I love the look of them ( and the Q7's! )

    They have a 3500kg towing capacity, but after reading this I wouldn't be inclined to get one! Of course from a couple of years ago so could have changed :)*
    Australian Land Rover Owners
  4. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    Which bit of that forum do you mean? The link just goes to the main page. Is there a section on Defender problems lol *#)

    I love the look of them, they're timeless and classless. Was thinking either a Defender or a Landcruiser Workmate but the husband prefers the Landy. Being a Londoner I think he's always wanted one but could never justify having one. We will buy new and have it spec'd the way we want then keep it forever. Will be perfect for carrying our giant dog and being able to hose the thing out when it gets dirty inside is a definite selling point for me! No carpet means no horse/dog hair mess :D Plus, I really enjoy driving a manual and I think it will be a lot of fun to get around in and not have to worry about getting it dirty or scratched etc.

    My car before the Audi was a manual petrol Rodeo 4x4 dual cab (ex Tasmanian police rescue vehicle with bullbar, winch etc) and it was awesome, so practical and great offroad but pretty gutless for towing. We got the Audi when I was pregnant for my comfort - the electric seats are fully adjustable for lumbar and all that) and convenience with the tiny baby.

    Edit: I've just been looking at this bit of the Defender section where people post pics of their trucks, wow some amazing offroad pics!

    I may have to take some offroad lessons - that looks like mad fun!!!
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  5. izzy2512

    izzy2512 Gold Member

    Basically just saying they have maximum download of 120 kg
  6. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    Oh :unsure:

    What does that mean?
  7. izzy2512

    izzy2512 Gold Member

    You wouldn't be able to tow anything near 3500kg with a tow ball download that low, dangerous and would void your insurance. I was told towball weight should 8% minimum of the float weight, preferably more like 10%. So if your float, tack and horses weighed 2000kg, you'd need a tow ball download of at least 160kg. To compare, I towed recently with a friends landcruiser 200 gxl that had a max ball weight of 350kg.

    You could replace factory hitch with something else like Hayman Reece but I'd be double checking figures pretty closely.

    This explains it better than I could :p Trailer & Tow vehicle specifications explained | Motoring | RACQ
  8. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    Rightyho, I've done some reading and seen some discussions about what you mean. But I found this thread, Bushtracker Forum :: View topic - Land Rover 110 Defender as a tow vehicle? and in particular the comment by the site admin 'Bushtracker' with this quote from Australian Towing Guides:

    "Updated Towing Mass Guide January 2009
    Following advice from Land Rover Aust, the towing specification in the November 2008 Towing Mass Guide has been amended to reflect an upgrade to the allowable tow ball download for the Land Rover Defender 110 Td5 and 130 Td5 models that were released from 03/1999 to 10/2007. If these vehicles are fitted with Land Rover accessory tow bars, Pt No RAA 608 for the 110 model and RAA 607 for the 130 models, the tow ball download can be increased to 250kg provided the vehicle’s GVM and axle loads are not exceeded. The Towing Mass Guide on the industry website has been upgraded to show the new specifications."

    I personally can't find any information about later/current model towing specs apart from they have 3,500kg towing capacity and lots of people (particularly in the UK) use them to tow horses and all sorts of other things seemingly with no problems.

    Definitely food for thought though and thanks for the heads up. I will definitely bring it up when we talk to the dealership and make sure we can get a tow hitch upgrade to be legal and safe! **)
  9. izzy2512

    izzy2512 Gold Member

    Yep I'd just check it out first :)* And you might change your mind after a test drive- been told they're pretty uncomfortable cars! But they look very nice ;)
  10. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    Went for a drive in it today and I really liked it! Yes it's rather military/agricultural and austere as far as mod-cons go but was nice to drive and seats are surprisingly comfy. It has a good aircon, Bluetooth and Alpine stereo, power steering and anti-stall function which husband says is good for women, but all the cars I've had bar the Audi have been manual so I'm pretty darned good at changing gears thankyouverymuch! The driving position is 'trucky' and high with good visibility, you wouldn't want to be a larger person driving it for long periods as there isn't a great deal of elbow room on the door side but I fit in it nicely and that's what matters. My husband is a big guy and he said it felt fine.

    Re: the towing. The hitch on the demo we drove was stamped 3500 towing and 250 ball weight and apparently that is the standard hitch. So I suppose it will do the job for what we need. If for some reason we have to pull anything really heavy we can use the Audi which would drag our house up Red Hill and not break a sweat.

    It's reasonably priced for a new vehicle of its type with very few factory options but from what I gather most people like to customise them for offroad, camping etc and there are a huge range of things you can do to them to make them just right for your taste and needs. Things I would change are: mirrors - would replace rear view and wing mirrors with bigger ones, and side-steps - would try to find some wider checkerplate tubular ones. The truck is high and the steps were too narrow to get a foothold on when getting out so I had to sort of slide out and scraped the back of my leg on the plastic edge of the step. That would piss me off if I had to live with it.

    The other thing I will have to do is get anchor points installed for a child seat. We had to get some installed on my husband's Jag when he brought it over from England with him before we could register it and from memory it was only a couple of hundred dollars so that's not a big deal.

    I loved the big space in the cargo area, and there's even a little step to get in the back, so hopefully I can train my dog to use that instead of having to lift his big arse in there. He's only nearly 8 months old and over 50kg already, doesn't like getting in the car because he gets a little travel sick. The side windows in the cargo area of the Defender are slide opening so he could get some fresh air in there and maybe feel a little better to travel. I've tried to get him to turn around in the back seat of the Audi and look out the window but he prefers to sit with his head tucked under Chelsea's car seat feeling sorry for himself. Poor puppy!

    So in summary, yeah I could get a dual cab ute that has vinyl floors but then all my stuff and shopping is in the tray and then I have to think about lockable rainproof tonneau covers etc and there's the issue of where to put a giant dog who is still growing and already a tight fit in the back seat with baby and I'm pretty sure won't ever be a 'back of the ute' sort (and I'm not a dog in the back of the ute sort anyway). Could get a Landcruiser Workman, but the Landy looks so much better! I think I'm sold. There's a dark metallic blue one coming in next week that we will have a look and it's spec'd up and what we want so I think that's what we will end up with.
  11. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    Well, after all that it looks like I get to keep the Audi so won't need to look for a new vehicle. Husband is going to get a new car for himself, since he's the one who's requirements have changed. I just hope he finds one soon, the 2 door Mercedes CLK350 is not too great for carting children, dogs and horse gear!

    I still want a Defender but will wait until 2015 when they launch a new model. Apparently safety regulations mean they have to redesign the front to be more 'pedestrian-friendly' and will most likely add other safety features while they're at it.
  12. Faxie

    Faxie Well-known Member

    Just be prepared for parts and servicing to be mega-bucks and you'll be fine ;)
  13. I heard they are very thirsty as well even driving, let alone towing.:eek:
  14. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    I was lucky enough to be lent a Land Rover to tow my horse to the beach. now it was an older one so not the current model but it was a strange car to drive.

    It had a shock system that adjusted to the conditions and it was very strange to be sitting still and feeling the car adjust how it was sitting on the road. It didn't seem to do it when teh road was level but I was sitting on a slight rise with the float on level ground and the car was twitching around as it pumped air into this side or the other

    It did seem to have less power then I expected as it was very slow to get up to speed but I am a granny driver with horses in the float so maybe that was more my driving.

    However the biggest negative was the maintenance costs. These friends had it for only a short time but spent thousands and thousands of dollars to fix problems that were cropping up. He did talk to me about selling it to me but did not want to lumber me with a lemon which is what he thought the car was.

    The genuine parts are thousands of dollars compaired to hundreds for holden's.

    I think a brand new one would be more reliable and maybe they are wonderful when brand new but after my little petrol chewing drive I wouldn't get one.

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