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1993 NAS Defender 110 #69/500 Service and Upgrades
This 1993 NAS Defender 110 has come to us from Nantucket so that we can make it into what the customer wants it to be. This 110 was recently purchased and it doesn't fit the new owners intended use and it needs a fair bit of work to be solid and reliable. The good news is that we can get this 110 massaged around to be exactly what the new owner wants it to be. As with any 110 that arrives at ECR, the first step is to fully evaluate the vehicle from top to bottom. Then we discuss that evaluation with the customer and go over what he/she does and does not want done to the vehicle. In this 110s case it will mean returning it to a more stock exterior form and making the interior a much nicer place to be.
One of the first things to do on this 110 is to remove all the seats and get them ready to be recovered in black leather. The 110 had after-market front seats as well, so we have removed those and sourced a set of factory front seats that will be set up with new foams and new black leather. In removing the seats we found an all too common problem with the 110, busted up rear jump seats. Some of this damage is due to age, and some of it is because some folks don't know how to use the jump seats. They forget to put the support leg down and they sit in the seat, thereby breaking it over time. The image above shows the rear jump seat base removed from the 110.
You can also see that the fiberboard bottom cover is damaged and cracked and generally just looks nasty. The new 110s use plastic in this application, but that cracks too.
Dig a little deeper into the jump seat base and you can see the wooden frame that supports the seat.
After a few times of the seat being used incorrectly and over a decade of use the wooden frames just give up. They were made from some pretty poor materials anyway. You can see the broken seat frame above.
To combat this problem we throw away the old wooden seat frame and make a new one from much stronger materials and with better techniques. This new frame will now stand up to the seat being used incorrectly, if that happens, and will not rot and decay quickly like the original. You could buy replacement seats, but those are made from even weaker materials than the originals were, so we find this to be the only solution for a long lasting repair
Here you can see the new seat frame ready for its new covering of black leather. When the leather work is done we will trim the bottom with a piece of powder coated aluminum for the ultimate in a long lasting rear jump seat.
While the seats are out getting done it is time to turn our attention to the mechanical aspects of the 110. As the 110 is a decade and a half old and has high miles it has a number of issues that need to be addressed. It also suffers from being repaired at the hands of some British car company with little Defender experience, so it has lots of issues. We'll also be making some upgrades as we go along in order to not only make the needed repairs, but make the 110 better rather than just a stock repair job.
One issue with the 110 was the brakes. Most of the brake parts were worn out, so instead of replacing the parts with the original drum brake rear end parts we will be upgrading the rear axle to disc brakes and also upgrading the front to vented discs. Here you can see that we have stripped the rear axle down and are making it ready for the correct Salisbury rear axle disc brake parts. Also notice that we have removed the lifted springs and we will soon be setting up the suspension with stock springs and Bilstein shocks for the ride and stance that the new owner desires.
The interior has mechanical issues as well. It has a ton of really poorly added on wiring that needs to be removed and sorted back to stock and the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air cond. system) is a mess. The bad news for these NAS HVAC systems is that a lot of the parts for them are NLA and the systems were weak on a good day anyway. So to make sure the AC is cold and the defrost works when the new owner needs it this customer has decided to scrap the troublesome NAS HVAC system in favor of the later model set up. Our next step is to gut the dash back to the bulkhead and rebuild it back up using the late model dash parts to make the 110 a much nicer place to be. Once that is done we'll need to address the automatic install. The gearbox is not tied into the EFI system like it should be for correct idle operation in traffic or on the trails and the safety aspects of not being able to start the truck in gear are also not hooked up, its was basically a hack job of an install. The good news is that we do lots of automatic conversions and making all the needed changes to make this set up like it came from the factory that way is no problem.
The rear of the interior needs help too. As you can see the headliners are sagging badly and we have had to remove some bubbling window tint that makes the 110 look cheap. We'll get the interior cleaned up and have the windows tinted by a 3M professional so that it all looks perfect.
The next step in getting the 110 ready is to address the rust in the sills before the T supports rust away completely.
Here you can see we have removed the trim piece and exposed the rust. We will grind this area down to good steel and then get everything primed and painted so that it not only looks good but will last as long as possible.
This image shows the 110 a little further along. Sadly a prior owner installed a non-factory sunroof in the wrong spot and drilled a number of holes through the roof for wiring and work lights, so we will need to change out the roof panel to one that is stock. Then we will install a correct sunroof in the right sport so that the headliners all work correctly and there are no extra holes in the roof panel.
While the 110 is apart this far to do the roof we will also address the rust in the body cappings and get those pieces painted inside and out for long lasting rust prevention. It may look drastic, but the great thing about Defenders is that they can be easily repaired, unlike unibody cars, so replacing a roof panel may look scary, but for us it is a simple repair.
Here you can see the rust in the body cappings. This rust is common and it usually looks a lot worse than this in a 15 year old 110. The reason for this is that Land Rover only gave these parts a coat of paint on the outside, so as time goes on they rust from the inside out.
With the cappings removed you can see the paint line on the rear body... no paint under there, and no paint on the underside of the steel body capping either. We will replace the rusted and pitted cappings with our galvanized units and epoxy prime and paint them in the correct color (yes, we have the technology to make paint stick to galvanized parts) and we will paint the inside and the outside of the parts. The epoxy paint combined with the galvanizing will mean this problem won't come back in this 110s lifetime.
Here you can see the 110 a little further along. The body is back together and the roll cage has been reassembled and sealed. The rust from the sills and cappings is gone and won't come back anytime soon. At this stage, before the interior goes back in place we have sent the 110 out to our window tinter for professional application of 3M window tint. It is best to do the tint at this stage so that all the windows can be easily accessed and it makes for a better looking job than if the interior was in place.
Next up for the 110 is to gut out all the goofy and poorly done add on wiring and get everything back to stock and then upgrade it the right way, and that will include sorting the automatic gearbox conversion and curing some of the mechanical leaks. So the 110 heads onto the lift were we can address all the mechanical items underneath the Rover before we start working on putting the new interior together. New bushings, tie rod ends are all done as needed to correct the poor driving characteristics the 110 had and make it as close to factory as we can without doing a restoration.
Here you can see the upgraded front brakes. The vented front rotors will make a welcome addition to the 110 and the new stock springs and new shocks will give the new owner the ride and height he desires.
At the rear we have finished up installing the rear disc brakes, converted from drums and installed the new springs and shocks out back as well. You will also notice the 110 is wearing smaller shoes now as well. The off road tires have been swapped for some wide BFG All Terrains that will handle beach duties on the island well.
Along with the service needs of the engine bay we have also added a safety upgrade, our ROX oil line kit. NAS Defenders have a nasty habit of going up in flames. Our ROX oil cooler lines eliminate the weak factory oil lines and make this major issue, a non-issue. For more on oil cooler lines go here.
Here you can see a shot of the new front seats already done in black leather by Shoreham Upholstery. They continue to get our soft trim work done beautifully and above our levels of demand for quality and they always deliver on time. These seats will look great inside the 110 and along with the new dash and audio system the 110 will be a great driver.
This image shows the newly reworked sills. You can see the rust is gone and if you compare from the pictures above you will se a big difference. On the bottom of the door you can see the new door seal that works better and lasts longer than the factory original units.
As seen from the top the new sills really help the look of the truck and with all the epoxy primers and paint work done they will stay looking good for the long haul, and that is important in an environment like Nantucket.
Now that the major mechanical issues are done it is time to start putting the interior back together. Here you can see that the the carpets have gone back in over a layer of sound reduction material to help keep the road noise down and the side panel trims have been cleaned up and are going back into place.
At the front the old dash system has been gutted and we have started to make the needed modifications to install the newer style dash and AC system. The wiring looks like a mess right now as we sort through everything and make all the needed changes and additions, but in the end it will all be looking good and the truck will have everything from an iPod connection to Bluetooth capability built right in.
The upper sections of the interior are coming together as well. The correct sunroof has been installed and the new headliners have been set up to make everything look like it was a factory install.
Shown from the back the new headliners and updated interior lights look clean and new, making the "feel" of the interior much better. A small but welcome change is the addition of interior light triggers on all doors. That means no matter what door you open the interior lights will come on. That may sound like something you would expect anyway, but in an stock NAS 110 it only had one interior light and it only came on when you opened the driver or front passenger door.
Here you can see we have removed all the HVAC system parts and installed the later model AC system and the correct automatic gearbox cooler and cooler lines.
The front gill surround has also been replaced with the automatic version that has the needed cooling vents.
This will help keep the automatic running correctly and cool in Nantucket traffic jams.
This image shows the interior coming along. The new leather covered jump seats are going into place and some new carpets to replace worn out units are being installed.
Under the hood things have been cleaned up, serviced and tested. The new heater has been installed and all the AC lines run. A full tune up has been completed and all the fluids and filters changed to make it ready for life on an island where Land Rover service does not exist.
Back inside the 110 we have started to install the new sound system. Here you can see we have installed a set of JL Audio speakers in the front doors, a far better location than under the dash with a build out like we see in some 110s. We have also replaced some trims and carpets to make sure everything looks nice.
We have also completed the automatic conversion in the 110 by hooking everything up the way it should have been done and then adding the details that sets our work apart from other shops. We have installed the correct dead pedal, the correct brake pedal and all the associated small bits that make everything look and act right. We topped that off with our upper alloy kick panel to make sure that the footwell area keeps looking good long term, unlike the factory cardboard pieces that fail after the first rain.
Here you can see the 60/40 middle seats have been installed. The new black leather looks great and really helps set the interior of this 110 apart from others like it.
The small details make the difference and we have even had the roll cage covers done in the same black leather so that everything matches nicely.
This image shows the new dash layout. Gone is the weak and troublesome original heating and air conditioning system. In its place is the later specification dash with the under dash AC system that blows much colder than the original unit did on its best day.
The new center dash section houses all the correct switches, with their correct plugs for easy long term parts replacement, and the new audio system. A new Alpine head unit offers AM/FM/CD and MP3s as well as having a direct iPod connection in the cubby box and full Bluetooth connection right through the head unit, so you make calls to and from the truck, not your phone. Your phone stays in your pocket or in the cubby box. It is a safer set and a just plain cool.
To make the 4 JL Audio speakers sound great we have added a small subwoofer box to the rear of the 110. The box itself is made out of tough materials and the Rhino-Lined so that it can stand up to beach gear being tossed in the back of the Rover. The two 8" subs give plenty of punch to make any style of music sound great and we have them protected by our stainless steel grills that keep the speakers from harm. you can also see the heavy duty rear load mat in the back of the 110 in this image.
The new sub box does not take up much room and still allows for four jump seats to work correctly in the rear area. The tougher frames we made for the new rear seats means that this side of the truck does not require the legs for the jump seats, the simply lay flat on the tub and sub box for ease of use. As you can see they can still be folded up out of the way as well if you need to carry gear.
This image shows our alloy bases for the jump seats. These are long lasting and heavy duty. Compare this to the first few images of the original jump seats and you will see a world of difference. Years from now these seta bases will still look just like this. The originals would have decayed into dust by then.
Running boards and updated hinges with a full stainless steel hardware kit have also been added.
Here you can see the rear twin bulb work lamp installed on our 110 bracket. This bolts onto existing holes and needs no holes for wires. One thing we will not do to your Defender 110 is drill holes in it. There is no need. A rear work light can be easily added without any drilling or wrecking of costly body parts. If you decide some day you don't want the work light you just remove it, no harm done. This work light serves two purposes. It can be left off completely, or it can be switched to come on and off automatically when you select reverse gear. It can also be turned on manually for loading or unloading gear at night all via a switch on the dash.
It is now time to start road tests on the 110 to make sure everything is 100% and then it will be ready to head to the island for the new owner to enjoy.
This image shows the interior of the 110 just back from the detailer. Everything on the inside looks neat and clean and additions like a factory sunroof are all installed, tested and looking great.
The new black leather front seats are a welcome addition and with a set of our seat rails on each seat taller folks will have no problem enjoying the 110. In this image you can also see that because we moved the radio to the new dash we fabricated a small storage area where the console radio position was. We made it just the right size for cell phones or sunglasses and as interior storage is at a premium in a Defender dash, this will make a welcome addition.
Here you can see the completed interior set up. We have done all the small details to correct the previous automatic install and then updated the dash and all the other interior equipment, making a much nicer place to be, no matter if you want to easily listen to your iPod songs, make a Bluetooth call through the truck or just enough real air condition.
The completed NAS Defender 110 project looks great and is more along the lines of what the new owner was looking for. It has still has some protection and recovery items that will help it on the beach, along with a wider tire for sand driving so it hasn't lost any of its off roading roots, but the 110 now has a much more luxurious interior that will serve the new owners intended uses. It doesn't matter if you want a huge lift to your Defender, or to make a newly purchased Defender a little more comfortable. We are experienced in all aspects of Defender 110s from mild to wild, and having done everything in-between means you won't be paying someone to think things up along the way. We have already done it and probably have those parts on the shelf to make your project go smoothly and with great results.
If you have needs for your Defender, from routine service to wild modifications, contact ECR. We'll be happy to help get your Defender back into shape.