I’ve been down this road enough times with defenders that I’m going to go with what I know definitely works. My wife’s d1 has one of those aftermarket fan clutches that is locked up 90% of the time. I’m done with that.
I don’t know why anyone would go through all that work and leave it a 4 speed transmission. I use a 6L80 or AX15 if the customer wants a manual. We’re redoing an LS swap another shop did with the NV4500. That shifts like crap in my opinion.
I'm not sure with a cable, but my experience has been that the thimble will collapse slightly on the shackle screw which makes it difficult to remove. If you have a gusseted tube thimble this is a nonissue.
I'm sure it is better, but it is simple and cheap to add hydro-assist without doing high steer on those axles since they are actually strong.
The Toyotas I have seen rust even more than Rovers. Even in NYC, Rovers didn't have rust issues. After working as a mechanic Manhattan and Long Island...