Back to the Refurbished Section

Please be aware that ECR is now a Defender repair and modification shop only.
We no longer work on Range Rovers, Discos or Series Rovers.
These pages are from work we did in the past and left up for your enjoyment.


1973 Series III 88 Hard Top
Galv. frame swap and Service

This Series III 88" has come to us from New York. It has been owned by the same folks for a long time, but it has become too rusty and too worn out to continue driving. The good news is that we can fix anything, and even though this project will not be a full restoration, we will be doing a mid level refurbishment to the 88 so that it can get back on the road safely. 30 plus years of service isn't bad for a stock 88.

The first step in the refurbishment process is to strip down the Rover and see what is good, what needs work and what needs to be thrown away. In the image above you can see that we have started to strip down the 88. The 88 will be reassembled on a new galvanized frame, so that in the Rovers next life it will last even longer and chassis rust will not be a factor.

Speaking of chassis rust, here you can see we have stripped down most of the Rover and what is left is a very badly rusted chassis. This frame is way past the point of patching, so it is headed for the scrap pile, along with the worn and rusted springs, blown shocks and the other worn out bits. Next step, bring in the new galvanized chassis and start to prep the old pieces for assembly.

Here you can see the new backbone for the 88, a new galvanized frame. This new frame cure frame rust in one shot, and will make the 88 last long term. You can also see above that we have stripped down the axles and removed all the old broken and worn out pieces, and then installed the original axle tubes into the frame on new leaf springs.

Rust had not only eaten the frame of this 88, it had taken just about every other steel part along with it, like the fuel tank. The old fuel tank has been removed and to go along with the longevity theme we have installed a new stainless steel fuel tank onto the new galvanized frame.

Any doubts about the condition of the old fuel tank were put to rest when we had a look at the fuel pump sediment bowl. The brown crud in the bottom of the bowl is rust and debris from the old fuel tank. That isn't liquid in that bowl, that is a solid mass of rust and dirt. So needless to say the new stainless tank will be a welcome addition.

In the front of the 88 we are getting all the worn out bits replaced. New shocks have been installed and the entire front end is getting rebuilt with new Genuine Land Rover parts. The seized steering parts have been removed and replaced with new and even a new rear wiring harness has been installed.

Here you can see the new swivel balls and seals. The front end has been built and shimmed correctly so that steering effort and road manners will all be just like the day this 88 rolled off the assembly line back in the 1970s.

The old engine has been replaced with a new Turner 2.25 HO engine. This engine is fully set up for unleaded fuel, unlike the original, and will offer some extra power for the Rover as well. As we have the body off it is the perfect time to make repairs to systems that are hard to reach when the body is on. To that end, we have installed a complete new set of stainless steel brake pipes. That will help this 88 run for another 30 plus years without rust being a factor. Next we move on to the gearbox and overdrive rebuild and get ready to finalize the drivetrain.

The old rusted steel wheels have also been replaced with new 16" wheels. Here you can see the new wheels just out of our paint/bake booth with numerous coats of primer and paint applied, now they are ready for the new tires.

The 88s has all new brakes (everything was bad) and all new steering parts and a new suspension, so it is like new. This is not a restoration so the parts have not been detailed, but the mechanical items are all new and will give the 88 a new life. In this image you can see the new brake parts as well as our factory look stainless steel brake pipes.

The clutch and gearbox have also been replaced with new units to get rid of leaks and to make the 88 drive like it should. We also fully rebuilt the overdrive and installed it onto the new gearbox.

Here you can see the nearly completed rolling chassis nearly ready for the body to go back on. This new galvanized back bone, along with the stainless lines and nearly all new running gear will keep this 88 on the road for another 30 years.

Now that the frame and running gear are nicely sorted out, it is time to turn our attention to the other key structural part of a Series Rover, the bulkhead (or firewall). Series III bulkheads are prone to rusting, but they can be brought back to life. To bring this Rovers bulkhead back to life we have stripped it down and installed it in our bulkhead jig. We then cut away the badly rotted areas that we will be replacing with new steel, as shown above. For more information on bulkhead rebuilds, go here.

The door post and footwells on a Series bulkhead are easy repairs. Where it gets tricky is in the small repairs where patch panels are not available. The image above shows one of those areas on this SIII bulkhead. The lower windscreen gasket on this Rover has been leaking for years, and over time that eats away at the steel where the leak is happening. Here you can see the results of that leak, through rust inside the dash area. All this rust will be cut out, and a custom made patch panel with all the correct contours will be made and installed in its place.

Here you can see the same area after the repair. All new steel is in place and it is not laid over the rust. The rust has been removed and new steel installed. Once the area is prep'd for paint no one will ever know a repair took place.

This image shows the repaired bulkhead ready for media blasting, and paint. All the small rusted areas have been replaced and new feet, kick panels, door posts and footwells have been installed. Now the bulkhead will move from our fabrication area to our paint prep area where the problem areas will be submerged in rust resistant epoxy primer to assure a long life. We call them "dunk tanks".

In this image you can see the bulkhead has been dunked in our dunk tanks to get rust resistant paint inside the trouble areas on a bulkhead and then the exterior has been media blasted back to white metal. What you see above is bare metal, ready for primer, as you can clearly see there is no rust of any kind on this bulkhead.

The bulkhead is then moved to our spray booth where numerous coats of PPG epoxy primer are applied so that the bulkhead is sealed and ready for the new coats of Marine Blue paint.

Here you can see the fully restored bulkhead in place on the Rover. The combination of the ECR bulkhead rebuild and the new galvanized frame means that this 88 will last a long time. All the other parts can be fixed if you have a solid frame and a good bulkhead, and this 88 now has both.

This image shows the rebuilt bulkhead on the Rover, as you can see even though this is a refurbish, and not a restoration, the parts that we need to rebuild are still top quality. We want these Rover to outlast us, and as you can see this Series III bulkhead is perfect in every detail.

Now that the bulkhead is in place we can start to line up and install the rest of the bodywork. Most shops think you just bolt these parts down, but you actually need to make sure everything is lined up correctly and adjust it as needed so that the doors work easily and so that the front bodywork will look correct. It is a step we take that few other shops do, but then again the doors on our Series Rovers open and close with ease, and we can't say that about most other Series Rover we see. At this stage in the build up all the rear wiring has been addressed as well, with a new tail harness and all the lights have been repaired/ replaced as needed.

To completely cure another commonly rusted area on Series IIIs, we have replaced the rotted out radiator support with a new stainless steel unit. The stainless support has been primed and painted in the correct color and then installed in the front clip of the 88. This, like the frame on the Rover, will never need to be replaced.

Inside the engine bay we have started to button things up. All the hydraulic systems are complete, with all brake and clutch pipes made from stainless steel pipes to assure long life, and we have also installed a new updated Mansfield heater, shown above, so the Rover will actually have working heat and defrost in the colder months.

As the refurbishment continues, the original interior trims are re-installed into the Rover. This project is a mechanical and structural one, so these older pieces are going back into the Rover, but as the Rover will run and drive correctly, these trims can be replaced later on, as the 88 is being built to last from the bottom up.

Here you can see the 88 starting to look like a Rover again. The main parts of the body are back in place and the Rover is nearly ready to start some tests of the systems to make sure everything is 100% mechanically ready.

The new 16" rims look great with the new Good Year MTRs installed and it gives this 88 a much better stance and look vs the old 15" rims.

Here you can see we have completed the engine bay and fired up the new engine with an all new fuel system and a new wiring harness. This 88 may look old on the outside, but everything underneath the skin is like new, because it is new.

Inside we have replaced a few select dash pieces to freshen up the interior. We got rid of the old cracked dash top and rusted out lower section and as you can see above, even though it is not complete yet the new interior pieces make the 30 year old interior look great again.

New seat bases and safer inertia seat belts also make the interior a more comfortable place to be.

Now that most of the new wiring has been installed there are only a few small details to finish up and then the 88 will be ready for the first road test of its new life.

This image shows the 88 after its first road test. Everything is going perfectly and all the system are working as they should. A few small adjustments to make and then the 88 will be ready to had back to its owners for decades more faithful service.

Here you can see the nearly completed interior with all the soft trims and floor mats installed. The interior and exterior of this 88 are a far cry from what was delivered to ECR, and with all the guts under the Rover being even better than the cosmetic look of the 88 this Rover will be ready to what ever owners want to do with it.

Here you can see the completed project. This nicely refurbished Series III 88 is basically mechanically new and has numerous updated for safety and longevity. It may still need a paint job, but in a way we love the old original look of these older Rovers just the way they are. The important parts of this Series III are all new and top notch and that it what is important in an old Rover. This great looking Series III will probably outlast all of us.
If you have a Series II-III Rover or a Defender that needs work contact ECR. We'll be happy to tackle anything from a full restoration to a complete mechanical refurbish like this one to help get your Rover into the shape you want it to be in.


ECR