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1995 NAS Defender 90 Station Wagon #110/500
Engine fire repairs, Galvanized frame and Upgrades
This '95 Defender 90 has been sent to us from New Jersey Unfortunately it had an engine fire that roasted the wiring and under the hood. The good news is that the entire truck didn't go up and we can make this 90 good as new again. Unlike the other shops that didn't have the parts to fix this 90 correctly, we have everything to make it 100% again. We have inventory of tons of NOS (new old stock) parts that other places say are NLA (no longer available), so when your Defender really needs the right parts installed correctly there is only one source... ECR.
Here you can see some of the engine fire damage. It not only took out the engine's EFI harness, but numerous engine parts and even the AC hoses.
The heat even got to the washer reservoir and melted the plastic parts in the heater matrix, as well as the hood release cable and tons of other small parts.
Outside the heat blistered the paint off the hood and even buckled the hood. It also scorched the bulkhead badly and melted the vent flap seals, so needless to say this isn't a small job, or a quick fix, but the good news is that it can be brought back to life.
This repair should have never been needed. The cause of this fire was the 12 year old oil cooler lines, a long known problem with the V8 Defenders.
Here you can see the split in the oil cooler line. Normally the evidence of an oil cooler line fire is burnt up with the truck, but as this one was put out quickly we can see the "smoking gun". You can clearly see the split in the line (green arrow). This sprayed a mist of oil onto the hot exhaust manifold and then started the fire.
We offer a complete update for this problem and if this 90 would have had ROX oil cooler lines installed this would have never happened. We've been on top of this problem for many years now, and there is no reason why any 90 or 110 should have this issue. Update your oil cooler lines today. No, seriously, don't wait. Do it today.
Next step is to remove all the damage parts and get the truck over to our paint department for repairs of the fire damaged areas.
In taking the 90 apart to sort the fuel system we found some nasty rust spots, along with a really poorly installed skid plate (only a couple bolts holding it). Once we advised the customer to the extent of the chassis rust, he decided to do a preemptive strike on the frame rust and just pull the chassis and go with a new galvanized unit. We could get away with a new rear cross-member here and some patching in the front, but the owner plans to keep the Rover, so a new galvanized frame will mean this Defender will never have to worry about chassis rust issues again.
So out comes the old frame, seen above after we have removed it as a rolling chassis and then stripped off all the parts we intend to re-use.
Then the new galvanized frame is set up with the running gear and made ready to fit back under the body. The new galvanized frame will mean that this 90 will never have to worry about frame rot again. We are also taking this time to replace items that need attention like suspension bushings and other items that are much easier to do at this stage.
One addition that this 90 needed was upgraded fuel lines. As you can see above we have installed a set of our CNC stainless steel lines. These upgraded lines won't rust and the latest versions now come with stainless steel flex pipes to attach to the fuel pump.
The Defender is also getting other long term ECR ROX solutions like stainless steel brake pipes and much more.
Now that the drive-train parts are all set up on the new galvanized frame it is time to address the fried wiring in the body and get the body and chassis ready to go back together.
While the body assembly takes place the new body panels are made ready for primer and paint. Here you can see the new hood has been prepped and is ready for 3 coats of PPG primer and then 3 coats of PPG paint.
This image shows the 90, now back together on its new galvanized frame, in the paint booth getting ready for repair of the areas that got scorched by the oil fire. The rest of the body will be masked off and then we will prime and paint the entire area in the correct Coniston Green.
Here you can see the 90 out of the bake booth and ready for assembly. The fresh paint looks great and next the body parts will be assembled so that we can get to some tests on the systems. The doors are removed in this image because the Rover is getting upgraded door hinges and those have just been painted as well and will now be installed.
Inside the 90 is getting some upgrades as well. The original AC system has been removed, it got cooked too, and we will be installing the new style system that works better anyway. Once the new AC system is installed we will get it correctly tied into the EFI system so that everything works correctly.
The headliners have also been replaced. The original units were badly sagged and nothing makes the interior of a Defender look worse than saggy, flopping headliners. As you can see above the new headliners make the interior look fresh and clean again.
Outside the exterior parts are going back on, the wiring issues have now all been corrected and the Defender now runs again.
Here you can see the updated door hinges that have been installed with stainless hardware. These will eliminate the rust bleeds common in the stock NAS Defender hinges and keep the outside looking nicer.
This images (yellow arrows) shows the ROX oil cooler lines installed. Sadly these have been installed after the oil cooler line fire happened, instead of before, but at least now the owner of the 90 can rest assured that the factory oil cooler lines, and all their issues, are gone for good.
Now that the body and frame are back together and the systems are up and running we can address some of the smaller problems with this 90. One complaint the customer had was a loud noise from the rear door. Once we did a few test miles we found the issue was way the original installers set up the Mantec spare tire carrier. It rattled badly and was not correctly lined up with the door. We removed the tire carrier and set everything up correctly so that the geometry all worked as it should. End result: No rattles and a rear door that is easy to open and close.
Another aspect of the rear end rattles were some broken welds in the rear door frame. After we removed the interior panel and tig welded up the cracked areas we added some braces so that the cracks would not happen again and then re-installed the rear interior trims. Now when the 90 heads down the road and doesn't have any annoying clicks or rattles coming from the rear end.
Speaking of rear ends, we dressed up the rear of the 90 with a set of our LED tail lamps so that it won't have any tail light issues like a stock 95-97 NAS Defender can have. Go here for more details.
Here you can see the engine bay of the Defender looking much better than it did in the images at the top of this page. The fire damage is gone and a large number of things have been updated along the way and best of all everything works correctly.
Its the small details that make ECR's body and repair work different than your local body shop. As you can see above the new hood gets correct replacement decals that duplicate the originals. Its a small and inexpensive touch, but it makes everything look factory correct.
Inside the 90 the details are also done. All the right screws and fasteners are used to repair the fire damage and everything looks great. The new AC system pumps out cold air much better than the weak old factory unit and everything inside works, right down to fixing the power locks that were poorly installed elsewhere. Now its time to log some test miles to make sure everything is right with the Rover.
Here you can see the finished product, without a hint of fire damage anywhere, ready to head back to NJ for the owner to enjoy. The 90 looks good, is repaired correctly and has a host of repairs and upgrades, from huge changes like a new galvanized frame to small things like new LED tail lights. All the work orders, large and small, tie together to make a great driving and long lasting Defender 90.
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.