Back to the Defender 90 Section

1995 NAS Defender 90 Soft Top
4.6 V8 Install and Upgrades

This Defender 90 has come back to us from Texas for a new 4.6 liter engine and some upgrades. Overall the 90 is a very nice lower mileage Rover and this is its third trip to ECR for upgrades and repairs. To see the first two go-rounds take a look at this page and this page. This time around the call is for more power and to that end we will be installing a new ECR 4.6 V8. The ECR 4.6 is not a used or rebuilt engine, it is a brand new factory engine that is slightly modified by ECR so that the 4.6 V8 can run correctly in the 1995 Defender 90, and after all the 4.6s we have installed over the years you'd be amazed how many folks still think a 4.6 won't fit in a Defender. Well, it will, and here goes another install here at ECR.

First step is to remove the old 3.9 and strip it down for parts that will cross over onto the new 4.6. Here you can see the 3.9 removed from the Rover and just about stripped down. The take off parts will be inspected and replaced as needed and everything will be cleaned up and detailed as required.

Now that the 3.9 parts have been cleaned up it is time to start setting up the brand new 4.6. The image above shows the 4.6 ready for the ECR 4.6 camshaft and Edelbrock dual roller timing chain. The factory timing gears are plastic and the dual roller chain and upgraded cam help make the ECR 4.6 a much better engine than a stock set up.

Here you can see the engine set up and ready for its ancillary parts to be installed. The internal work is done and everything is pre-lubed for a smooth start up ensuring long life of the engine. We have topped the engine off with the stock 3.9 intake and upgraded injectors for smoother operation and better fuel atomization... those factory injectors are like a hose, they don't atomize at all.
Next up we'll get the engine installed with a new clutch and all the other parts that are smart to do when the engine is out and then get the engine installed and fired up.

While the engine is being installed we have started on the other upgrades for the project, such as the sound system. The 90 will be getting a new Alpine system with a CD changer, iPod hook up, amplifier and a 10" slim-line subwoofer, shown above. The sub box is made from heavy duty materials and is then Rhino-Lined for extra long life, unlike a cheap box that would never stand up to the beach environment this 90 sees annually. We have also added a layer of dyna-mat under the rear cargo mat to reduce a little road noise from the tires and make the 90 a nicer place to ride. Next we will make a stainless steel speaker guard for the subwoofer so that the owner of the 90 can still use the Rover hard, as it was intended, without worry of harming the subwoofer.

One aspect over-looked by most Rover places is the need to make the EFI system understand that is has a 4.6 now, not a 3.9. To that end we have installed the latest software from Tornado system that was developed just for us. Once the new chip is installed the EFI system will make the most use of the 4.6 engine and still return good mileage. The throttle response and drivability is also greatly enhanced with the new chip. The chip alone is worth a full second off the 0-60 times, so imagine what that means coupled up with the new 4.6... and the same, if not a little better, mpg.

The help the new 4.6 and EFI system with updated injectors breath better, we have installed a full ROX 304 stainless exhaust system with Random Technology free flow catalytic convertors. This long lasting system will not rust and adds performance and a great exhaust note to the Defender. Unlike other available exhaust systems the full 304 stainless system for ECR will not rust or fall apart and you'll see mild performance gains and increased ground clearance just by installing the system. It is a win win situation.

Back inside the 90 we have removed the interior trim on the seat box that was starting to fall apart and have Rhino-Lined the seat box. This 90 spends its summers on Nantucket, so the added ruggedness of the bed-liner will be a welcome addition for washing out beach sand and it is a great way to replace the aging soft trim with a product that will last long term but still look quite good.

While the seat box was out we also did the floors and then re-installed everything with stainless steel hardware for a true long term solution. We bed-liner all the pieces while they are out of the truck and apart, that way if you need to service the gearbox or something the parts can all be removed the way the factory intended. If you spray the bed liner with the parts in place you'll never be able to service aspects of the car and that is short sighted.

On the subwoofer box we have added a stainless steel grill that will keep the speaker from harm when the 90 is used to haul cargo. Stereo shops sell subwoofer grills too, but those rust in about a month in the island environments and they are weak and dent easily. Our solution works better because it is stronger, looks good and will last as long as the Defender itself.

The last time this 90 was here at ECR we added the roll up window doors, and a visit before that we added the upgraded soft top, but the galvanized door gutter parts just never did look right. They look great on a Series Rover, but not a Defender. So we have removed them and powder coated them in satin black. Now those parts are nearly invisible and the entire truck looks better, but still works the same.

To make driving the freshly re-powered 4.6 90 even better we have finished up the install of the new Alpine sound system. The system can now play CD, MP3s, radio and even hook up to an iPod. All the equipment is nicely and securely tucked into the customers Tuffy cubby box that can lock to keep the equipment secure even if the top is off the 90.

At the customers request we have also added heated seats to the front seats on the 90. These 2 stage units give "warm" and "hot" settings with nicely illuminated switches that are located in the side of the cubby box for easy reach.

One last small detail to finish off the interior was to recover the arm rest on the Tuffy box. The original fabric didn't last very long so we have re-covered the arm rest in better materials that will last longer, and it looks good too. At most shops you can get your engine installed, but then you have to take it to another shop for the sound system, then another for the custom fabrication, then another for upholstery, then another for paint/powder coat work and yet another for Rhino-Lining... here at ECR we do it all, anything you need, we are your one stop Defender source.

Here you can see the interior and seat box areas back together and ready to go. The look remains basically the same, but everything here is now "puke proof" and will stand up to the harsh island environment far better than the factory parts.

This image shows the new ECR 4.6 installed and running great. The added torque and power from the new engine is a welcome addition and with the new EFI upgrades the mpg on this set up will be the same, if not slightly better, so again we have a win-win situation. Next up we will put some test miles on the Rover to make sure everything is 100% and then get it down to Hyannis, MA for the ferry ride to Nantucket for another summer of fun.

To make trailer maneuvering and recovery a breeze we have added a Class III hitch to the front of the 90. This set up is securely bolted to the Rovers frame and will help the customer move a boat trailer around or help the 90 out of deep sand if it happens to get stuck.

Here you can see the 90 has been tested and is ready to head to Hyannis, MA to the ferry terminal so that it can head to Martha's Vineyard for the summer, then back to TX once the summer is done. The new 4.6 and the upgraded sound system will make those road trips a pleasant experience and will make the 90 a lot of fun on the island as well. If your Defender needs and engine or a new sound system, or both, we are your source.

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..

Contact Information