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1993 NAS Defender 110 Station Wagon #1/500
Repairs and Upgrades
This nice NAS Defender 110 has come to us from Ohio for a round of updates and needed repairs. This 110 is kind of special, it is #1 of the 500 numbered 110s that were brought into the USA. The owner sent the 110 to ECR to make it better and to make it last longer, as he knows the level of workmanship he can expect from ECR is much higher than that of any local shop. The good news on this 110 is that it has very low miles and is in pretty good shape. The bad new is that this 110... is a 110, and that means we need to go back through and fix some things that the factory did incorrectly to make it better.
The #1 thing we need to address? Corrosion. As you can see in the image above we have removed the doors from the 110 and are working on the sills. The running boards have also been removed because they were rusted out. In the image if you look closely you can see the sill area of this 110 looks to be in very good shape. No rust is visible and only a few rust bleeds are present.
However, as you can see in the image above, once you look deeper you can see the corrosion and rust that all NAS 110s have. We've removed the spot welded sills from the driver's door area and found this scale and rust is really starting to take hold. Soon it would have eaten through the T support and caused all kind of problems, The owner of this 110 #1 wants to keep it in great shape, so he is having us remove this rust and fix it correctly before it gets too bad.
The passenger door areas fair no better as you can see above. What is the reason for this? If you look closely at the T support above you will see that Rover didn't apply any paint to these areas. No paint means instant rust. In Europe you buy a 110, it rusts, you get another. Here in the USA we don't have that option. The 1993 NAS 110s are all we have (legally) so these areas need to be repaired to make the 110s last as long as possible. We'll be grinding out all the corrosion and then treating the areas with rust resistant primers and paint, and then topping it off with new sill retainers so that rust won't be a factor in these areas for a long time.
Here you can see that all the rust and corrosion has been removed. The areas have been treated with rust inhibitors, epoxy primed, then painted in PPG alpine white. Unlike when the 110 was delivered, now these areas will be rust and corrosion free for many many years, and keep in mind this repair isn't even done yet! This is just the first stage. Next we add stainless steel seal retainers and new seals on top of all this paint and primer.
The next step for this 110 is to have the commonly corroded rear tub trim pieces repaired. These trims, what we call cap rails, are already starting to show rust, so the owner has decided to have them re-done before they get any worse. In the image above you can see that we have removed the safari cage and have stripped out the interior. We then lift the rear section of the roof up a little and remove the steel cap rails and light trims. We'll media blast these pieces back to white metal them treat them inside and out (unlike the factory who only did them on the outside) to epoxy primers and new paint. The green arrow above points to the area where the cap rails used to be. You can clearly see that no paint was applied to these areas, and that is why this rust is so common on NAS 110s. As with anything on an NAS 110, we can fix it, or make it better, and in this case it means making it better and doing it correctly.
This image shows the freshly epoxy primed and painted (inside and out) cap rails re-installed onto the 110. The roof is then set back down and everything in the rear body is reassembled. This repair will assure that no rust bleeds will occur from the cap rail area in the future and will make NAS 110 #1 last a long time, while still retaining a factory look.
The rear corner plates and the side trims are treated to the same process of removing the sub standard paint and laying on 3 coats of epoxy primer and 3 coats of Alpine White top coat. As you can see without any rust in these areas the 110 starts to take on a "fresher" look.
This NAS 110 is not only getting repairs done to it, but also some really nice upgrades. The image above shows that the 110 has been moved from our paint and body area to the mechanical side of ECR. We'll now be adding some great upgrades and additions. We'll be adding a Safari Gard front bumper and a Warn 9000 winch to name a few things. We've removed the stock front bumper, and installed our turn signal conversion kit (remember the old front turn signals were in the bumper) and we are getting ready to start updating the 110.
One of the best upgrades for the NAS 110 is to get the brakes working better. These 1993 110s came with solid rotor disc up front, and drum brakes in the back (the same drum brakes used in the 1960s!). In the image above you can see we have tossed out the old thin rotors and replaced them with a set of modern, cross drilled and vented units. We've also upgraded the brake pad material for better stopping power.
In the rear of the 110 we have removed the drum brake rear axle. While we have the rear axle out we'll be installing a new NRP performance stainless steel exhaust system. This will give the 3.9 a little more power and will mean no more rusty exhaust systems. They also have a nice exhaust note.
In place of the antique drum brake axle we have installed a late model Defender 110 unit with new disc brakes. The 4 wheel disc brakes, combined with modern pad technology will make the heavy 110 stop much better, and it will make servicing the rear brakes much easier. We find that most 110s need their rear brake drums adjusted, and these new disc brakes remove that need forever, and they will add stopping power, a win-win situation.
Inside the 110 is still gutted from lifting the roof away, but now that the roof assembly is back on and seated correctly on all the gaskets and seals, we'll soon move on to installing the new headliners and making this look like a 110 again.
The image above shows that we have removed the interior safari cage, as well as the rear floor. This was done because a really cheesy rear heater (more like ankle warmer) was installed in the RH seat box. We've removed the aux. heater, but the installers cut some huge holes in the rear toe board and the seat box itself, so to keep NAS 110 #1 in top shape, we've got to replace those pieces for a correct factory appearance.
Here you can see the LH seat box base has been removed. The installers of the aux. heater butchered this box, but fortunately replacements are cheap and go in quite easily so we can make this area look as good, if not better than stock.
The image above shows the new rear toe board has been primed and painted in the correct alpine white and is now being installed into the 110, minus the huge holes that someone cut for the heater. These areas will be trimmed with new carpets and will not be able to be told from factory original once we are done.
Here you can see the new seat box base has been painted and installed into the 110. This gets rid of all the past damage and makes the 110 look like new in this area.
This image shows that the structure work has been done, and the new factory carpet trims are being installed to make everything look as good as new.
Now that all the large work orders for the interior of the 110 are done it is time to install the new headliners. Here you can see the new front headliner has been installed and the trims and visors are being added. Next we'll reseal the safari cage roof connection to assure no water gets in to damage the headliners and continue with the rest of the headliner pieces.
Another upgrade that the owner desired for this 110 was a new bumper and winch. The original 110 was fitted with an 8000 pound winch located up and under the stock front bumper. In nearly every one of these set ups we have seen the winch is seized from being down there in the road debris and muck while off roading. This 110 was no exception, the winch was roasted and the mount was a joke. The solution is to install a new Warn 9000 winch wrapped in a new front bumper and skid plate. We'll be topping off the bumper with a set of Hella HID lights so that the owner can have instant daylight at the flip of a switch. We'll also be adding the ECR ROX recovery points to the bumper later on, for the ultimate in recovery flexibility. Notice now how our turn signal conversion kit makes the front end look stock, even though the turn signals in the bumper are missing.
Speaking of "missing"... this evil little device should be "missing" from all NAS Defender 110s, but it is in there. This little circuit board is called the "signal conditioner" it is wired in line between the engine and the temperature gauge in all NAS 110s. What this little board does (normally it is wrapped in electrical tape. We have cut it open to show you what it looks like) is "condition" the signal from the coolant sensor on the engine before it gets to the gauge. This box does not allow the gauge to read at the correct setting if your engine is running hot. Basically, at almost any engine temperature this will make the gauge read a little below normal. So if you ever blow a coolant hose and your engine temperature rises quickly, this little device will make it so you never know about it. We have no idea why Rover installed these, likely to keep the temp. gauge readings low so the customers would not worry, but we take these things out of every 110 we can find, so that the driver can correctly monitor his engines temperature. If you want to remove yours it is located just behind the dash, and is wired in line to your temperature gauge. Just unplug it and plug the main harness wires back into your temperature gauge. Yes, your gauge will read higher than it used to, but it will be reading "actual" temperature vs. "conditioned" temperature. We know of two cases where these little devices caused complete engine failures because the driver was not alerted to what was going on under the hood.
This image shows the safari cage being re-installed onto the 110. Now that the cap rail corrosion has been addressed we can install the cage, seal everything correctly and start getting the 110 back together again. You may notice that we have not fitted the common stainless steel bolts to the safari cage. We don't use SS on stress areas that are as important as your roll cage. In an accident the stainless bolts are not up to the task of holding your cage together, they are only for looks. So corrosion resistance is nice, but safety is first, so the factory HD grade 8 bolts will be used.
Here you can see the interior of the 110 starting to look factory new again. This entire area had to be gutted to remove the goofy aux. heater, and now with our attention to detail, you can begin to see just how "factory fresh" this 110 will be when we get done with it. The stainless steel lower door seal lips are now fabricated and will be painted in alpine white and installed after they cure.
We talk a lot about "factory correct" here at ECR, but that doesn't mean we think the factory did everything right. We'll commonly make a piece that "looks" stock, but that is actually far superior. Case in point is shown above. The upper footwell trims on Defender 90s and 110s were originally made of cheap black cardboard. These lasted about 15 minutes with wet feet, mud and such getting on them as people got in and out of the vehicles. We remove the cardboard and replace it with these heavy duty units that are made from alloy, then covered with hardura fabric to give a factory, look, but you can hit them with your feet, wipe off the mud and they stay in place, keep their shape and keep coming back for more. It may look "factory" but it actually works.
Now that the front bumper has been installed we have wired up the lights and the Warn winch. The winch control box was relocated to the engine bay, but to keep easy and safe access to the winch control, we have mounted it on the front of the car as shown above, on the LH (driver's side) side were it should be. This will make the winch control easy to plug in, and it will help keep the winch control cable from getting close to the winch drum where it could be sucked in and damaged.
At the customer's request we have also added a set of wing top guards and built a set of limb risers from marine quality stainless steel parts. We fabricated stainless steel bumper mounts for the limb risers (this bumper did not have limb riser tabs) and small stainless tabs on the upper roll cage mount as well. You'll notice the hood has been removed from the 110.
The original hood had a lot of damage on it so it is being replaced with this new unit that we have already fully epoxy primed and painted in the correct Alpine White. We've installed the new hood along with all stainless steel fasteners for a nice clean look, long term. We even go as far as to install the correct factory decals on the bottom of the hood so that no one will know you have had any body work done.
Here you can see the doors have been re-installed on the 110. We installed new rust free hinges and sued all stainless steel for the assembly so that rust won't come back anytime soon. We also lined up the doors so that they look even and correct on the body and so that they close correctly and latch easily. A few door seals needed to be replaced as well, so we took care of that at this time.
Now that all our corrosion repairs are done, the insides of the door jams on this 110 sparkle, and show no rust. Keep in mind we rebuilt this entire area with stainless steel, so no rust will come back to make this look like most stock 110. Next we'll install the seat box trim cover and start to finalize the details on Defender 110 #1.
For a long lasting and performance touch, we installed a full stainless steel NRP exhaust system on the 110. In this image you can see the nicely polished exhaust tip. This system will not only last, but it gives the stock 3.9 a little more breathing room as well.
|In the rear of the 110 we have replaced the broken tool box carrier and supplied a new tool kit for the customer. We also installed new hinge kits on the rear door so it closes and opens easier and installed the door with all stainless steel hardware for longevity and good looks.
Here you can see the 110 taking shape again after its corrosion repair. Here everything is being tested, door and striker alignment tweaked and everything is being fully gone through prior to delivery. Upon inspection we found a bad water pump bearing, so we installed a new water pump on the stock 3.9 to make it 100%. Without testing (most shops do not test vehicles the way we do) the customer would have received his 110 and the water pump would have gone on him. Testing and making everything right makes ECR's service and repairs better than all the others.
Inside the 110 we have completed the install on the new headliners and set up everything so that is factory correct. All the factory fasteners are used so that the interior looks clean and fresh, even though it is 11 years old.
In the front of the 110 you can see that we have completed the winch install and installed new shackles on the ECR ROX recovery points. The new Hella HID lights will be able to see for miles down the road and look great along with the new bumper and front skid plate.
In this image you can see the stainless steel limb risers we installed on the 110. These will help deflect brush and limbs over the top of the vehicle. We have these units made by the local ship yard so we know they'll stand up to the abuse and won't ever corrode or rust because they are stainless steel as use din yacht rigging.
These images show NAS Defender 110 Station Wagon #1 completed, cleaned up and ready to head back to Ohio so the new owner can have some fun with it. We've gone through it and made some moderate upgrades, done a lot of preventative items and turned back the clock for the look of this 110. As you can see above there are no rust bleeds from the safari cage, no worn out door hinges and no rust blisters on the rear body cap rails.
NAS Defender 110 #1 of 500 is now ready for another decade of service and the owner is already talking about sending it back to ECR in the future for a Pursuit 4.6 upgrade, because he knows that a special Defender, any Defender, deserves the level of quality and attention to detail that ECR will give it. If you have Defender needs or desires feel free to contact ECR. We'll be happy to help make your Defender world class... just like this one.