Back to the Defender 90 Section
1995 NAS Defender 90 Soft top
Pursuit 4.6, Full color change paint job and numerous upgrades
This 1995 Defender 90 has come to us from Texas for a full round of upgrades and repairs. The owner wanted a number of changes and upgrades to make it better and unique, so he sent it to ECR for expert work. The first step with any Defender that comes to ECR is for us to do a full evaluation of the vehicle. This D90 needed a full evaluation as it is a new purchase to the owner and it has nearly 100,000 miles, so there is typically a lot required to get back into shape. We then supply that information to the owner so that he can pick and choose what he does and does not want done. On top of the service items that need to be taken care of we will be adding a host of upgrades that the customer wanted, such as a new Pursuit 4.6 power plant, a winch bumper, a new sound system, a new Badger Coachworks top and much more.
The new owner also requested that the D90 be changed in color from the original Beluga Black to a custom color of his choice, Caledonia Blue. So as you can see in the image above we have started to tear down the Rover in order to make the full color change. Each panel will be checked and repaired or replaced as needed so that it is 100% after the new paint, and any and all corrosion issues are taken care of at this point for a long lasting paint job.
Here you can see that the 90 continues to be taken apart and each panel checked and repaired as needed. Once each panel is prep'd it will be epoxy primed and then painted in the customers custom color for a really great looking and unique Defender.
One thing that we usually find in even the nicest Defender is hidden past body damage. This D90 is no exception, the RH rear body of the 90 has been hit and then covered up with new paint and body filler. Above you can see that we have found this previous damaged once the paint started to be stripped down for the new custom color. The area around the gas tank fill had to be repaired to be straight again.
In the RH rear panel of the Rover the damage was worse. The damage is pretty minor, but the previous body shop just filled it all in with a ton of body filler. Here you can see that we have removed all the body filler and we have straightened the panel so that there will be no body filler, there will just be the alloy panel as the factory intended. This area will now be primed and treated and made ready for the new primer and paint. When the 90 is done, there will be no hidden damage, we will have exposed and corrected it all.
Here you can see the 90 has moved to the mechanical side of ECR. The needed body work to the rear body is done, and those areas have been primed and are ready for paint. Now we will move on to the mechanical refurbishment of the 90. Everything from new shocks to suspension bushings as well as normal repairs will be completed and then the 90 will be sent back to our paint dept. for paint and final assembly. Above you can also see that the engine is already out.
The stock 3.9 (at about 160HP) is being replaced with a Pursuit 4.6 (about 275HP) to make a welcome change to the slightly under powered Defender. The old leaky 3.9 shown above will be stripped of its needed parts and then the brand new performance 4.6 will be installed.
Here you can see the brand new, zero miles, Pursuit 4.6 being made ready for the engine bay. At 275hp and trail/street friendly, this engine is the cure for the Defenders lack of power and you sacrifice nothing. It still idles well and even gets slightly better mpg.
While the engine is being assembled on the mechanical side, our paint crew is hard at work getting the Rover ready for the new engine. Here you can see the bulkhead has been stripped and primed. Now we will put on the custom blue and then the clear coat. In an ECR color change we make it so you can't see the old color anywhere. As you can see this D90 is getting a frame on refurbishment. In most cases we install a new chassis at this stage, but as this D90 is headed back to TX soon, it won't have a rust problem on the original chassis.
This image shows the new color for the Defender, the customers choice of Caledonia Blue. The primer and base coats have been applied, and then topped with 3 coats of clear for a deep shine. Once the paint had baked in our paint booth, you can see we have already started to put the bulkhead back together.
Here you can see the new Pursuit 4.6 has been fully built up and installed in the engine bay. All the engine concerns have been addressed from exhaust manifolds to oil pump and all the wiring for the EFI system has been put back in place, as has the radiator and all the ancillary parts. You can also see the new AC compressor and lines have been installed so that the new, more efficient, AC system will keep this 90 cool down in Texas.
This image shows the extent of an ECR color change paint job and our attention to making your Defender last long term. Above you can see the tub (rear body) has been repaired and all body filler removed, then it has been primed and painted in the customers color choice. The outside is painted, and the inside is painted, just like it came from the factory in this custom color. You will also notice that the body cappings are not on the tub. We prime and paint these off the vehicle so that rust bleeds won't occur a few years down the road on this 90, like they did with the factory paint jobs.
One of the nice things about all new paint and having everything this clean is that we can easily add sound deadening materials to make the 90 a nicer ride. Everywhere we can on this 90 we have added dyna-mat to help reduce road noise and make the 90 sound more "solid". So everywhere we can hide the material under carpets and mats we will be installing the material to help keep unwanted noise out, and help keep the sounds from hurting the performance of the upcoming Alpine sound system in.
Here you can see that the body is nearly back together and we have started to get the wiring back in place and add wiring for the new sound system. The next step will be to fit the doors with the updated (no rust) door hinges and front body work. Then we will start to get the interior together.
As the interior comes together electronic aspects of the 90 are sorted. This image shows the fuel injection ECU. We have installed a new performance chip that allows the ECU (EFI brain) to understand what we have done to the engine, in both a displacements change and our modifications, and this gets us the maximum performance and reliability from the engine.
This image shows the front bodywork in place and the marker lights and small details are starting to go back together. As you can see the full color changes paint job means just that. We don't tape off around your lights and re-spray the car, we remove everything and correctly change the color. This eliminates ugly tape lines that appear in most paint shops work and gives our Defenders a better than factory appearance, especially in this cool custom color.
In the rear body of the Rover we have laid down a layer of sound insulation to keep road and tire noise down, then added a new cargo mat that is now being cut to fit for the brackets and the bench seat. This will give the rear section a stock look, but with a much quieter ride, and better sound system performance.
Here is an image we don't normally show you. Above you can see all the sound system equipment that needs to be installed into this Defender 90. The Rover is getting a new Alpine head unit with an iPod interface, a CD changer, XM satellite radio and all new Alpine speakers. In most of our project images we just show you the clean and tidy end result. This time we thought we'd show you just how much equipment (all the stuff on the bench above) needs to be installed into the small Defender 90 cabin to make the system work correctly. Once it is complete you will see our normal clean looking and functional install, but remember all this stuff is in there.
This image shows the seat box area coming together, with the sound system installed. The new Alpine head unit and iPod mount have been added to the Tuffy center cubby box and the cubby box has been installed. We have also installed new seat box trims to make sure the interior of the 90 looks as clean and fresh as the exterior. The old dry rotted tunnel covers and other trims have also been replaced with new pieces. The white material you see everywhere is a protective film we use so that we can still work on the 90 without hurting the new paint. Its the same stuff you see on new cars when they are being shipped to the dealerships. Its the level of attention your Defender gets here at ECR.
In the RH tool locker we have installed the upgraded EFI computer and the control units for the input selector and the XM radio receiver. To make sure these pieces last as long as possible we have installed them on risers so that they are well off the floor of the tool locker. That way, if some water or off road mud does find its way into the tool locker, these parts won't be sitting in it.
In the rear of the 90 we have finished installing the sound insulation and the new rubber mat and we have started to install the new Tuffy side boxes, These will hold an Alpine 6x9 speaker on each side and give a nice secure spot to store items. They also double as an arm rest for passengers in the rear bench seat.
This shot is also a good example of a color change paint job. As you look behind the Tuffy box and at the tailgate you see nothing but the new color blue on this 90. People frequently ask us why its costs so much to color change a Defender, and you are looking at the reason. Not only do we have to paint the outside of the Rover, but the inside and all these little hidden areas as well. Imagine if the outside of this 90 was this cool color blue and that these areas were still black! How stupid would that look?... but believe it or not that is what we see in a lot of other Defenders that have had "color change" paint jobs done at lessor shops. You get what you pay for.
Here you can see the Defender 90 starting to look like a Defender 90 again. Next we will finish the install of the safari cage and start adding on the new upgrades.
To add protection and function to the front of the Defender we have added an ARB winch mount bull bar with a Warn 9000 winch. This set up will come in handy for all kinds of things, from off road recovery to protection the front of the Rover from brush and even parking lot mishaps. It also incorporates 2 recovery points that are built into the bumper.
At the rear of the Defender we have restored the spare tires carrier and 3rd brake light to better than new standards (no more rust, no more peeling powder coat) and installed it with new bushings and all stainless steel hardware to assure long life. Going one step above what the factory did, we also spend extra time mounting the tire carrier to make sure the tailgate closes easily and securely, one thing a lot of D90s have trouble with.
In the rear cargo area we have finished up the new Tuffy box and Alpine speaker install. To make this set up look as close to factory as possible, we have fabricated some alloy spacers/ trim pieces (arrow) that cover the area behind the Tuffy box, but that still allow for full function of the rear bench seats seat belts. The spacers are then painted in the same color as the body to make them blend in and look correct. The spacers also keep items and debris from getting behind the cubby box were you couldn't reach it.
To keep up with the heat in Texas where this 90 is headed for, we have installed the latest AC system, shown under the factory dash, to assure cold air when it is desired. These systems also run on the latest environmentally safe refrigerants.
Here you can see we have finished installing the rest of the painted roll cage pieces and have installed the windscreen and windscreen frame with all new seals and gaskets for a factory fresh look.
Now that the safari cage is back in shape we have started to install the new upgraded top. The gutter kit for the new top is one of the reasons it is far superior to any top Land Rover offered. As you can see by the arrows above the door seals now have a galvanized steel structure than securely seals the door and door top, eliminating leaks and air gaps.
The rest of the top is made from upgraded materials that will last a long time and look great. Plus you can have a custom look, like this tan top vs. the standard black that comes stock with a D90.
Here you can see we have fitted the doors (with new style door hinges) and installed the Alpine speakers and new door panels, along with stainless studs and speed-nuts to secure the door top in place, and make it easy to remove if the customer so desires.
Next it is on the all the small details to get the 90 tested and ready for delivery, but it is looking good and nearly ready to go.
As were getting the 90 ready for delivery the customer called with a few more requests. So we have now added some essential off road items to make the 90 at home on the street or on the ranch.
To protect the exposed tie rod we have installed an ECR ROX tie rod guard. This protects the tie rod completely by surrounding it in heavy gauge steel. This unit does not interfere with suspension flex or the use of sway bars (shown above with sway bar installed) and offers 100% protection for the tie rod. You can even jack up the vehicle by it if you like. Other shops install heavy duty tie rods, but hit the wrong rock at a good clip on the trail and no HD tie rod will fend off the blow (it will bend or sheer off the tie rod end). The ECR ROX tie rod guard will stand up to the blow and protect the tie rod and tie rod ends. The tie rod is the lowest point on a Defender, it deserves the best protection, even for those who only do mild off roading. It only takes one stump hidden in the tall grass to mean you are walking home... if you don't have an ECR ROX tie road guard that is.
To protect the front steering gear, or drag link, we have installed an ECR ROX HD drag link. This unit is made from heavy duty materials and will take a shot from a rock or stump that gets into the wrong place. This set up makes your steering gear almost bulletproof. In this image you can also see the upgraded steering stabilizer and the front differential guard that we have installed to protect the front axle case from off road hazards large and small.
In the rear of the 90 we have installed a simple but effective rear recovery point. Recovery points are essential for off road or ranch use. In case you do get stuck, you need a safe and secure place to hook a winch or strap too to get unstuck. The factory did not offer any safe recovery points on a Defender, so this simple unit plugs into the trailer hitch outlet and works very well. For more information on the basics needed for off roading check out this page:
ECR's Off Road Basics
Here you can see the new Pursuit 4.6 installed, tuned and ready to go. With about 280HP this 90 will no longer have any trouble with long hills or lack of grunt. As you can see our 4.6 engines bolt in and require no modifications to your engine bay.
Inside the 90 we have finished up the sound system and installed the XM radio antenna and tested all the systems. The Alpine glide-strip head unit we installed in the Tuffy center cubby box loks great and makes it simple to control the head unit and the iPod.
This image shows the inside of the Tuffy box where we have mounted an Alpine CD changer and a mount for the iPod. Just plug in your iPod and put it in our custom made padded bracket and close the cubby box. Now you can control your iPod through the Alpine head unit and have access to all your iPod music files.
In the back the new 6x9 speakers have been installed along with the rear bench seat and a new set of Badger seat covers. The sound system will sound great and the new seat covers give new life to the tired 100,000 mile seats in the Rover.
Inside the 90 we have removed all the damaged and broken bits of interior trim and replaced what was needed with new. We also added new floor mats and tunnel covers to give the 90 a fresher look.
Here you can see the completed Defender 90 ready to head back to Texas. It is all tricked out with everything from a new custom paint color, to a new custom tan upgraded top and even a Pursuit 4.6 motor and much much more.
If you have Defender needs from a small job to a full blown rebuild like this one, contact ECR. We can help make your Defender dreams come true and make your Defender world class.... Just like this one.