Back to the Defender 90 Section
1995 NAS Defender 90 Station Wagon
Galvanized Frame Swap & More
This 1995 NAS Defender 90 SW has come to us directly from the point of purchase (a dealer) for a host of upgrades before the owner takes delivery. The 90 only carries 19,000 miles, is in very nice shape and the owner wants to keep it that way. In a preemptive strike at what can happen with a D90 that is used year round the owner has sent it to ECR for a galv. frame swap, stainless lines and a ton of other upgrades that range from a new 4.6 V8 to upgraded door hinges. The first step with any 90 that comes into ECR for the first time is for us to do a complete evaluation. We then forward all that information to the customer and discuss with them what they do, and do not, want to have done. In this 90s case we'll be tackling most of what the D90 needs, short of a new paint job.
Here you can see that the once the evaluation is done and we have the customers build list, we dig in and remove the body from the frame in one piece. Unlike some other shops we do not take a ton of hours to remove all the body panels one by one, we lift the entire vehicle as a unit and we can get to this stage in less than a day. See if your local body shop offers you money saving systems like this.
Next we'll slide the rolling chassis out from under the body and start to set up the galv. frame with the new stainless fuel and brake pipe, and we'll yank that 3.9 and strip it down to get ready for the new 4.6 install.
Out with the old and in with the galvanized! Here you can see the galvanized frame riding on the axles and ready for the new parts to start going on.
This image shows the old 3.9 on the way out. It will be stripped down and some parts will be used and some will be replaced depending on what is good and bad.
Good news for this D90 is a brand new ECR 4.6 V8. You can see that we have started to cross over parts from the old engine and we've made a few upgrades to the 4.6 as well. We have converted it to the 14CUX EFI system so that it will work in the 90 and installed a dual roller timing chain to replace those wimpy factory plastic timing gears We've also installed a new set of manifolds that are Jet-Hot coated for long life, increased performance and reduced under hood temps.
As the engine is being built up the fuel and other system are being installed on the frame. A new fuel pump was required due to corrosion on the old one and the factory fuel lines have been replaced in favor of our stainless steel fuel lines. Brake lines are also going stainless steel and new Bilstien shocks will help keep everything riding nicely.
Here you can see the new ECR 4.6 has been set up, mated to the gearbox and installed in the chassis. This engine even runs our performance injectors and will be getting our X38 EFI chip to make everything run smoothly and with tons more torque than stock.
This image shows the rolling chassis nearly complete and almost ready for the body to be set back into place. A few more odds and ends and then the body will be reunited with the frame and running gear.
As this customer was looking for a preemptive strike on problems with this 90, we have added a host of ECR upgrades. Green arrow shows the Jet-Hot manifolds for the benefits listed above. Orange arrow shows the bottom half of our SS clutch line, no more rusted lines. Everything that is not SS is coated with products that will allow you to service the car with ease down the road as well. The blue arrow shows the new ECR ROX SS exhaust system with Random Tech cats. This is a full 304 stainless system with 304 flanges for a truly long lasting exhaust system. Likely the last system this Defender will ever need.
To continue with the rust prevention theme we have ditched the factory fuel tank skid plate in favor of the ECR ROX alloy skid plate. It will not rust, is tough as nails and allows you to use the factory step and town bumper if you so desire.
Here you can see we have re-installed the body back onto the galvanized frame and are starting to hook up all the systems. The AC parts have been added and things are starting to take shape. The wheels shown are temporary as the factory alloys are getting their new Good Year MTRs installed at the moment.
To make sure all this work does not go up in flames, literally, on this D90 Wagon (one of only 500 stick shift Wagons imported) we are adding our updated ROX oil cooler lines. In the past it has been impossible to use the performance stainless lines in the 1995/ late style radiator, but where there is a problem with a Defender, there is an ECR solution. The orange arrow above points to our custom made radiator adapters that allow us to use the factory radiator and mate it our performance fittings. After all you would not want your new pride and joy to end up like the Defenders on this page!
Now that the body is secured to the galv chassis we can start to work on the interior upgrades. This 90 will be getting everything from a new Alpine sound system to heated seats, so the first step is to gut everything that we will be changing and get it ready for the modifications.
One modification that makes the 4.6 we just installed be all it can be, is the replacement of the stock EFI chip with our X38 chip in the engines computer. Without this chip, the EFI system has no idea it has a 4.6 and not the old 3.9. These chips are specially made for ECR by Mark Adams in the UK, and unlike his other generic chips, sold by other vendors, these chips work correctly with the unique EFI systems of the NAS Defenders and support all the on board diagnostics just like the stock chip did.
A nice comfort addition to this D90SW that we are installing is heated seats. Here you can see we have removed the seat cover and are adding a 2 stage seat heater (hi and lo settings) to the seat back. We will also add one to the seat base. Once wired up these can make a cold 90 a nice warm place to be on a winters day.
One of the work orders on this 90 was to replace the headliners. They had sagged over time and gotten moldy. Sadly, moldy means water it getting in and this 90, like most D90 Wagons, is suffering from a poorly sealed roof. We have removed the roof and will cure the problem for good. We have also removed the windscreen frame so that we can change the windscreen gasket. The UV damage to the rubber seals on this 90 was pretty bad, but that is common in a decade plus old vehicle that sits outside.
Here you can see the roof panel in our paint shop getting the flaws corrected. We'll fix the leaks and take care of that dent on the RH rear as well. We see a lot of "creative" ways that people try to stop the leaks in a D90 Wagon, but there is really only one way to solve it. The leaks we are talking about get inside the vehicle and are most commonly seen after a rain storm. You drive the 90 and when you turn or hit the brakes water runs down the inside of the windows or down the A pillar area (windscreen corners).
We see people buying new alpine window seals, new door seals, new everything in efforts to stop this, but although those areas can leak, it is usually not the cause of the mystery leaks. The real problem is the sealer that Rover used to seal these roofs when they were made. In the image above you can see the sealer, that covers the area where the roof and the drip edge are crimped together (yes, crimped, not welded) has started to crack with age. These cracks let in water.
This image shows a seam on top of the roof. You can clearly see the gap that has occurred over time. Water runs directly into this area and is then inside the car, ready to wreck your headliners and cause "mystery" water leaks on the interior.
Here you can see the solution. We remove the old dried out sealer and install a self leveling sealer (meaning it finds its way into all the small areas, unlike calk or silicone that just sits on the surface). We do the outside and also the inside of the roof, just in case any small cracks still exist. This makes the roof water tight and cures the mystery leaks. The sealer we use is more advanced and will stay flexible and is UV safe, so your leaks won't come back. Once the sealer is dry we will give this roof a fresh coat of Alpine White and get it back onto the Rover and install the new headliners.
This image shows the roof panel going back into place. The water leaks have been cured and new rubber seals have been installed to replace the dry rotted ones in the alpine windows and the windscreen itself.
While the body assembly continues we have also added some nice upgrades to make this 90 a very capable dual duty Rover. Above you can see we have added a new winch mount front bumper and skid plate. We have also added our HD drag link, a differential guard and a Warn 9000 winch. To make night time driving easier we have also added a pair of Hella 4000 driving lights and just in case the 90 does get stuck we have installed a set of ROX recovery points.
Underneath we have made the steering system off road ready by adding the ROX tie rod guard that completely surrounds the tie rod keeping it from harm. You'll notice that our ROX guard works with the factory sway bar in place for those customers that want a dual duty on and off road rig. In this shot you can also see the new GY MTR radials that have been installed for great dual purpose traction.
We have also added a set of our LED tail lights to make sure this 90 will never suffer from corroded and non-working rear lamps. These sealed LED units mean no more messing with rear bulbs or connectors, ever. More info here.
Inside the 90 we are making some changes at the customers request. The 90 is going to be used like a Defender should be used, so we are setting it up to be ready for that. We have installed a full layer of dyna-mat under the new rubber floor mat and we have fabricated the no longer available brackets for the rear forward facing bench seat that came with the vehicle. We have also fabricated new mounts for the seat belts that will work in this hard top 90 and give shoulder inertia seat belts for the 2 forward facing rear passengers. The forward facing rear jump seat was never offered in the 1995 D90 Station Wagon, but once we are done you will think it was a factory installation.
So what happens when one of the engine builders at Land Rover leaves an "extra" head alignment dowel inside a cylinder bore? You get to destroy a piston when you start up the brand new 4.6 thats what. You can see the damage done. Sadly things like this do happen, everyone is human, even Land Rover.
Once we pulled the head and the piston we found the reason the new engine had a knock, and you can see the damage done even after only a few seconds of running. After quite a few swear words tossed Land Rovers way (remember this was a brand new factory engine, not a rebuild) we have removed the new 4.6 from the 90 and are setting up another new 4.6 engine for the customer (and yes we checked all the bores for "extra parts"). At another shop this might mean massive delays as another engine is located, but here at ECR we have these parts in stock so only a little time will be lost as we remove and install another engine, and obviously the customer will not be paying for any aspect of this problem. Why do we tell you this? Because not everything goes according to plan, but what matters is how you handle it. Here at ECR we handle it with ease and with no hassle to the customer. Think your local repair shop can do that?
Here you can see that as we work on getting another 4.6 installed the work on the body and upgrades continues. The safari cage is now in place and numerous small work orders have been completed, from fixing broken dash trims to installing new seals on leaking pinions.
The sound system this 90SW is getting is top notch. An Alpine head unit with iPod hook up, Sirius sat. radio, Bluetooth hook up, digital amp., 2 8" subs, 2 rear speakers and a pair of separates in the doors. All that equals quality sound no matter what you are playing. Above you can see that we have made up some sub boxes. These have the look of the Tuffy rear boxes we frequently install, and will match the interior well, but they will also house the Kicker 8" subs that will be on each side of the rear tub.
Once they have been smoothed and primed we coated them with truck bed-liner to make them really tough and to keep with the rugged "puke proof" interior theme of this 90. The front face houses the Alpine 6.5" speaker for the rear and the Kicker sub hides underneath the box, out of sight and protected. These rear boxes also double as a nice arm rest for those sitting in the rear bench seat.
Up front we have installed the amp and the cross-overs and the Alpine speakers in the front doors. These will fill in the highs while the rear drives the bass. Quality sound is quality sound, and having 2 subs doesn't mean you are going to blast rap music (although you could if you want to). Even if you listen to classical music you need to have the sound reproduced correctly, and that takes this type of equipment.
A few more small items at the customers request were front mud flaps and running boards (the same style as used on the 1997 D90SW Limited Edition). Those have all been installed and are ready to go.
Another in the long line of "no rust" upgrades for this 90 is a set of upgraded door hinges, shown above. These combat the old rust bleeds from the original units and coupled with the stainless hardware it means these hinges will look great, long term. More hinge info. here.
All these tricks going into this 90 means we can't have sagging headliners capping off all the cool upgrades that will be in this 90s interior, so a new set of headliners have been installed to freshen up the decade old interior.
4.6 install, take 2... This time everything went as it usually does and the engine is running as smooth as silk and sounds even better.
Here you can see the ROX upgraded oil cooler lines installed on this 95 D90 with the fixed fitting radiator. These performance lines will reduce the chance of possible oil line fires that Defender are prone to, and will give the owner great piece of mind knowing that the decade old, original style, oil lines are no longer a concern.
This image shows the rear interior of the 90SW all set up and ready to handle the customers kids in a safer situation than the side facing jump seats. The speakers and subs are installed, as is the rear bench seat with its inertia shoulder seat belts. The rear bench seat has been treated to a seat cover as well for a nice finished look.
In the front of the interior we have finished up most of the changes and upgrades. We also have added Air Conditioning to the 90 and converted the front from carpet to the heavy duty rubber mats for better "hose out" ability. The Tuffy center cubby box has been installed with the new Alpine head unit, iPod hook up and Bluetooth system and everything is taking shape.
One disturbing thing we are seeing on service Defenders that are coming into ECR is that installers of these new AC systems are not wiring them into the EFI system. For correct operation of the engine, and to maintain idle performance, the EFI system needs to know when the AC compressor clutch is going to come on, otherwise you will get odd shifts in idle and maybe even stall the engine in some cases. The Defenders EFI computer is all set up to handle this, but as it is not covered in the instructions from the AC kits supplier, other shops don't seem to be doing these install correctly. Without the EFI inputs and outputs wired correctly, the engine will not be happy. Be sure if you add an AC system to your EFI Defender that it is wired into the ECU as it should be. We also see this a lot in Automtic gearbox conversions, the installers get the automatic in there, but they don't hook it into the ECU, so the at idle shifts have lots of flare and it might it even stall the engine sometimes. Like we say, ot doesn't take any longer to do it right.
Here you can see the interior trims are back in place and the new headliners and sunroof trim are all set and ready to go with the now leak free roof.
The front seats have also been treated to some new seat covers. We like these covers over all the others because the material is better and the seat covers, like the seat itself, are two piece. This means when it is time to service something under the seats the seat base lifts out easily like it should. This is a far superior design when compared to the other seat covers on the market.
The seat heaters have been finalized and tested and with the bases welded, new seat covers and heated backs and bases... these are some nice D90 seats.
Here you can see the 90 ready to go to NY. We have completed everything from a new 4.6 install to upgrading this 90 with all our stainless steel products and even installing a new galvanized frame. After a few hundred test miles this very nicely modified and rust resistant D90 Wagon will now be loaded on the transporter for delivery to NY, where the owner will be able to enjoy years of service from his nicely set up Defender.
If you have needs for your Defender, from routine service to wild modifications, contact ECR. We'll be happy to help make your Defender everything you want it to be.