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1997 NAS Defender 90 Repairs and Upgrades
This 1997 Defender 90 soft top has come to us from South Florida for some repairs and a number of upgrades. The Rover is in very good shape with very few miles, but as with any near decade old vehicle it needs some repairs and some service items. The owner wants to keep his 90 it top condition and also make some needed improvements so to that end the Defender has landed at ECR so that we can make it even better.
After our top to bottom evaluation of the Rover we discussed everything with the customer and made our suggestions. He then hand picked the work orders that he wanted completed and we then set off to get those items done for him. One of the items on the list of repairs is to get the rusty spare tire carrier back into shape. Here you can see we have started to remove the parts from the tire carrier. It isn't in bad shape compared to some, but the rust is starting and if we arrest it now the tire carrier will look good long term.
The 3rd brake light mount is another story though. This one is too rusted for us to restore. The cracked plastic coating has held the water against the steel and made the pits and damage too bad to ever make this look good again, so this hoop will have to be replaced, the rest we can restore.
Here you can see we have removed the tire carrier and taken them into the prep bay for stripping and media blasting back to white metal. We have also removed the tailgate as this 90 is getting a stainless steel bolt kit and some paint repairs to the RH rear panel, so its easy to just remove it at this time.
The low miles 90 is in great shape, but as with any Defender that has seen a salt environment there are some minor corrosion issues on the body. Here you can see we have stripped down the RH rear panel and scraped away the flaking paint. You can see that Defenders corrosion always start where the alloy (body) and the steel (frame) touch. When we restore Defenders we isolate these 2 areas, but the factory does not. The corrosion is minor on this 90 so we will remove all the corrosion and then epoxy prime and paint this panel in base/clear Beluga Black to look good as new. Then we will re-install the lamps and such to complete the job.
Here you can see the corrosion has been taken care of an numerous layers of PPG epoxy primer have been applied. Next we will spray the base color and then top it with 3 coast of clear for a long lasting and good looking repair.
This image shows the area going back together. The blisters are gone and the paint work is done. The logo and the light plinths and such are all going back into place.
The tire carrier parts have now been primed and painted as well and are being put back on the Defender. The new 3rd brake light hoop has also been installed and everything has been lubricated and installed with stainless steel hardware so that the tire carrier will be tight, rattle free and rust free long term.
Inside the Defender we are also taking care to replace items that didn't last that long from the factory. Here you can see the factory toe board panel. It is made of cardboard and usually they look just like this one, faded, sagging and broken. The green arrow points to wiring "expertly" installed by an alarm shop. Both these items are history.
Here you can see we have fixed the alarm system and installed one of our ECR ROX footwell trims. It looks like the original unit and fits the same, but it is made of alloy and polymer coated so it will never break, never sag and will stand up to muddy boots. Also notice we have installed new floor mats for a clean look inside the Rover/
In the rear of the 90 the customer wanted 4 jump seats installed. Land Rover never offered 4 jump seats in the back of an NAS Defender 90 soft top, but that doesn't mean we can't install them there. For a clean and factory looking install we start with a new load space mat, shown being installed above, that is installed and die cut where the seats will be bolted through.
Then we install the seats and seat backs. The hardware used is all stainless steel because under the wheel well of a D90 is a harsh environment and you may want to remove the seats some day. If we used standard hardware everything would rust in place quickly. We isolate the corrosive stainless steel hardware form the alloy body with Teflon washer to prevent any future corrosion. We also use small spacers under the seat brackets that allow the load space mat to be compressed, but not "Squashed" out of the way. This keeps everything in shape and working/ looking good long term.
Once complete the seat set up looks factory installed and give the ability to carry more folks to and from the beach, and if you aren't carrying guests you can fold the seats up for excellent cargo space.
The old sound system in this 90 is also history. To replace it we have installed a new Alpine head unit with Sirius satellite radio and an iPod connection. The small silver bracket you see in the cubby box (green arrow) is an iPod holder so that you can jack in your iPod to the sound system, then close the cubby box and your iPod stays safe and secure inside the cubby box while you access all your music files right through he Alpine head unit.
To get better sound out of the new head unit we have installed 4 Alpine 6" speakers throughout the Rover. In the front we also replaced the damaged and cracked door panels with new units to clean up the interior look.
New style door hinges were also installed once they had been painted in the Beluga Black base clear and everything was mated to the 90 with stainless steel hardware. We also set the body lines and door latches correctly so that everything works nice and easy.
Along with a host of small detail items and routine service to this Defender, we also installed a new upgraded soft top and a new set of BFG tires to make it smooth sailing for the owner. Once the 90 is complete it is tested and then cleaned up and made ready for delivery.
Here you can see the completed Defender project. It has been serviced, repaired and updated with some really nice tricks. The combination of work done has made this 90 a pleasure to drive and a pleasure to be in with the new sound system and such. It will now be collected by the transport truck and headed back down to Florida for more fun in the sun.
If you have needs for your Defender, from routine service to wild modifications, contact ECR. We'll be happy to help make your Defender world class... just like this one.