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1997 Defender 90 Soft Top
Upgrades and Repairs
This 1997 D90 has come to us from Nantucket. Its in very nice shape, but it need some routine service to keep it that way, after all it is over a decade old. It also needs some general repairs and upgrades to make it better suited to the customers needs. As with any Rover that comes to ECR we have done a complete evaluation of the vehicles condition and then discussed that evaluation with the customer to make a list of what the customer does and does not want done. Above you can see the 90 in the works in ECRs 10,000 square foot Land Rover dedicated facility ready for the repairs and upgrades to begin.
As repairs on the basic Defender continue we have started to do some upgrades as well. To combat the troublesome rear light on 95-97 90s we have updated the rear lamps with our LED units and we have removed the damaged lamp guards. The lamp guards will be replaced with new units and combined with the new LEDs it will make the rear of the truck look better and function better too.
Inside the 90 there are a number of small work orders to address. We need to fix some minor damage, wear and tear and also do some upgrades. One upgrade will be the install of a new Alpine sound system with iPod connection, an amp and a new subwoofer.
The old sub box on the rear door of the 90 wasn't any good anymore. It was originally made of fiberboard and over the years it had started to decay and fall apart. To make sure that doesn't happen again we have made a new sub box from better materials and test fit it to the tailgate.
Along with the new sound system we will be changing the Rover over to new roll up window doors. Here you can see that we have primed and painted the doors and installed them onto the 90. The paint work that we do on these doors, priming and painting them inside and out, will keep all these new parts looking good for the long term.
The new style door hinges have been installed and upgraded with all stainless steel hardware so that everything looks great, works great and will continue to do so.
Inside the 90 we have buttoned up the various work orders that needed attention, so now we can turn our attention to the upgraded sound system. Here you can see the new Alpine head unit has been installed and the iPod connection has been routed into the cubby box. Simply plug your iPod into the cable and then store it safely in the cubby box. The new head unit controls all the functions of the iPod and keeps it charged as well.
Here you can see the new subwoofer installed. The box has been coated to prevent it having any issues in the salt air environment of the island and the stainless steel grill will not rust and keep the speaker from harm. Everything is installed with stainless steel hardware for longevity as well.
The front doors are now complete and the new Alpine speakers have been installed. These roll up window doors make a better weather seal against the elements and with the upgraded speaker hidden by the factory speaker grill it makes for a nice clean looking install that doesn't scream "upgraded stereo". Our hope is that with a subtle system the thieves will look at other cars with a lot of "bling" and leave our customers to enjoy their upgraded sound systems.
To stand up to the elements we have also added a full set of upgraded seat covers. These covers look and work great and also cover up any seat imperfections that have happened to the seats over the past 11 years.
Here you can see the rear seat covers installed as well. You can also see the upgraded rear speakers hiding out in their factory locations. This new system with the Alpine head unit, digital amp., 4 speakers and subwoofer looks factory and sounds great.
Another upgrade that is great for a Defender that sees beach use is the Oasis on board air system. This system fills tires as fast as our shop air compressor and means no more waiting in line to "air up" your tires after driving on the beach or off road. Our Oasis system fits neatly under the passenger seat and allows easy access too. Simply remove the seat base and the tool locker cover, flip the red switch and the compressor is ready for action. Plug in the supplied air hose and it will reach all 4 tires and you can fill them up with the supplied air chuck with built in pressure gauge. The only down side we hear about this system is that owners of the ECR installed system end up filling up all their buddy's tires as well!
The 3rd brake light mount on this 90 had seen better days, so it was redone to make the rear end of the 90 look better. The rusty hardware in the rear was removed and the tire carrier was adjusted to stop the rattles, making for a much more pleasant ride.
A lot of the island Defenders we work on spend a good deal of time waiting for summer, so to end the dead battery problems for good we have installed a battery cut off switch that is easy to reach. This NAS Defender 110 style cut off switch means you can disconnect the power without having to go under the seat and you don't need any tools either.
Here you can see the 90 after some test miles. Next it will be cleaned up and made ready for transport back to the owner. One thing that we usually don't show on the project pages here is the work lists from customer cars, but in this case we wanted to share the work done on this 90. Owners of Defender sometimes forget that these cars are getting older and that a lot of service and routine repairs are needed to keep them in good shape. This 90 is a pretty low mile vehicle (41K miles), and it had a number of upgrades done, but the upgrades shown in the images above are only the tip of the iceberg. Below is the actual list of work done to this Defender 90 in order to keep it in top shape. Defenders don't usually come to ECR for one or two things, some do, but it is not the norm. Pages and pages of work orders mean a costly project for sure, but a very nice finished project and apples to apples we are cheap in comparison. If you took this list to your local dealer or repair shop it would cost you a lot more and it would not be done to the level of quality that ECR does these repairs and upgrades.
This image shows the completed project cleaned and fully tested, ready to head back the owner in CT and later back to the island for a summer of fun. The upgrades will make it so that the 90 will be better for its intended use and the repairs will make sure that the 90 keeps going strong.
If you have dreams for your Defender, mild or wild, contact ECR. We'll be happy to make your Defender what you want it to be... just like we did with this one.