Back to the Refurbished Rover 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.

1963 Series IIA 88 Station Wagon
Refurbish with tons of updates

This beautiful, although slightly battered, 88 was located by ECR a few months back. It has 33,000 original miles and has been stored in a barn since 1969! We found this 88 with the 1969 inspection sticker and license plates still on it under many years of dust. We arranged to sell it to a customer that could see past the dents that is has, and appreciate just how rare and cool this 88 Wagon was. The 88 is totally rust free and doesn't need any chassis or bulkhead work, but it does need some modernizing and the customer also has a long list of updates to make this 88 even better. We'll be installing everything from Defender 110 16" steel wheels with Good-Year MTR radials, full galv. roof rack and a rear ARB locker, to HD 24 spline rear axles and a Stage 1 CV joint front axle. We'll also be doing safety items such as dual circuit power brakes, inertia seat belts, anti-burst door latches and halogen headlights. We'll also be re-powering the 88 with a new Turner HP 2.25 petrol engine and a R380 5 speed conversion so that it will cruise on the highway with ease.

Want to step back in time and see just what a Series IIA Wagon interior should look like? Here you go. All the interior trims are still in place and in near perfect shape. All the elephant hide seat covers are in good shape and will clean up to looking great. The dash is complete and has no goofy additions of any kind, even the factory ashtray still remains, and this image is before we have cleaned anything up!

The first step in the refurbishment of this 88 is to strip out all the parts that will be removed and get back to basics. The frame is in great shape, as is the bulkhead, but as this customer wants a Rover that will perform well as well as look cool, it means a lot of the original systems have to go. The generator, 4 speed gearbox, bad brakes, old engine, etc. are all slated for the scrap pile. In the image above you can see we have removed the front bodywork and also removed the engine and gearbox. The brake lines have been removed to make way for the new dual circuit power brakes, and the clutch pipes have been removed to make way for the 5 speed system. Next we'll remove the suspension and pull the axles to get them updated and repaired as needed.

Inside the 88 we have gutted the floors and the seat box to make ready for the 5 speed install. Here you can see that we have cut away the gearbox crossmember. We'll be moving it 4" further back to accommodate the extra length of the fully synchronized R380 5 speed we will be installing, and we'll be cleaning the 88 from top to bottom to get the 30 years of dust and dirt off everything.

This images shows the 88 still in the tear down process. The suspension has been removed and the axles have been stripped down to make way for the new updates. Next we'll get ready to remove the bulkhead. Why remove the rust free bulkhead from this 88 you ask? We'll be removing the bulkhead and running it through our dunk tank system and giving it new layers of epoxy primer and new coats of PPG paint because the new owner of the 88 plans to drive the vehicle and he wants the bulkhead to last a long, long time. If we left this bulkhead alone with its ultra thin layer of factory paint the elements would quickly attack it and then the customer would be in for costly bulkhead repairs down the road. This preventative strike at bulkhead rust will mean this 88 will be cruising around for many more decades without bulkhead rust.

As the tear down of the 88 continues we can start to refurbish and update the running gear. Here you can see the rear differential that we have rebuilt with a 4.70 ring and pinion and all new bearings and seals. We've also added a 24 spline ARB Air Locker for added traction once the 88 hits the trail. ECR's experience with Series Rover running gear pays off big when you do this type of project. We have mated the Defender 24 spline locker, to the 4.70 gearing and utilized the stock Series Rover diff. assembly. Most shops will tell you that this can't be done, but as you can see clearly above, it can. We use special set ups that allow us to install these combinations and we've been doing it for years even when others said it couldn't be done. ECR's experience, quality parts and attention to detail will make this 88 perform both on and off road.

The image above shows the 88's stock Series transfer case mated to the new R380 5 speed gearbox. This will not only give years of trouble and leak free service (unlike a Series gearbox with an Overdrive), it will give the 88 all its gears on one lever and last for the life of the vehicle. If you are trying to make your 88 perform well as a daily driver, this is one of the best upgrades going, and it will help make this 88 a great all around vehicle for fun and for transportation.

Another item that will make the 88 a blast to drive, rather than a slow traffic blocker, with be the Turner HP 2.25 engine. This set up is already built with all the updates for modern unleaded fuels and more performance, but it bolts directly in with no needed modifications. However, as good enough is never "good enough" at ECR, we'll be topping off the HP 2.25 engine with a 2 bbl carb and a new intake/ exhaust system for even more grunt. More images of that system later on.

Here you can see the bulkhead has been removed from the 88 and stripped of all its parts. It was then media blasted back to white metal and run through our "dunk tank" system where the top section and both door posts are totally submerged in rust resistant primers. As you can see the thick rust resistant primer flows inside the top section and the door posts. A messy job for sure, but one that is needed to make sure your bulkhead lasts a long time. The areas that we dunk are the most commonly rusted on Series Rovers, so with this heavy duty primer now on the inside, and our epoxy primers and paint soon to be on the outside, this rust free original 1963 bulkhead will have a good shot at staying rust free for years to come.

This image shows the bulkhead just after priming and painting in our 1,000,000 BTU spray booth. On bulkheads we shoot 3 coats of epoxy primer and we let that cure overnight, then we lay on 3 more coats of top coat, in this case the factory correct blue, and bake that at 145 degrees for a fully cured bulkhead that is rust free and looks even better than it did of the assembly line in 1963. The bulkhead will now get re-installed on the 88.

One of the upgraded system that is now ready to install into the 88 is this High Performance 2.25, now fully built up and ready to drop in. The high flow intake and Weber 2 bbl have now been installed with the correct exhaust manifold, so unlike some of the older 2 bbl manifolds that used to be used on Rovers, the set up we use won't have any trouble with carb. icing on those cold mornings. The alternator conversion is now installed, along with a new engine wiring harness (our wiring harness' come pre-customized so that you can install an alternator with no wiring modifications!), thermostat, water pump and all the other goodies that will make this nearly 40 year old Rover daily driver reliable.

This image shows the rear suspension going into the 88. We also replaced the frame's suspension bushings and upgraded the set up with parabolic springs and gas shocks. This will make the Rover ride and handle better on the road, and give it more articulation off road. Next we'll install the freshly built rear differential with the ARB air locker and 24 spline heavy duty rear axles. That beefy set up will make broken rear half shafts a thing of the past in this 88 and make it a true performer off road.

Here you can see that work continues on the 88 Station Wagon. The bulkhead is being re-installed back into the 88 and now the systems will begin to take shape. You can also see that the front parabolic suspension is in place with the new gas shocks and that the 5 speed has been installed and awaits the new engine. We'll now install the brake and clutch systems with new stainless steel pipes so that rust or corrosion will not be a factor and then re-install the heater. We have also removed the headliners and removed what was left of a mouse nest... hey, that's what happens when a Rover sits for 33 years.

The image above shows the bulkhead system coming back together. The vent flaps have been painted to match the bulkhead and installed with new rubber seals. The Kodiak heater and steering parts have now been refurbished and re-installed as well. The clutch and brake systems are now in place. Notice that the brakes have been upgraded to dual circuit power brakes for safety and stopping power and the clutch master has been updated as well.

This image shows the new dual power brake system and the custom fabricated brake pipes. All stainless steel tubing has been used to plumb the hydraulic systems in this 88 so that the owner will never have to replace a rusted brake or clutch pipe on this 88. Next is the wiring harness, axles and the engine install.

Here you can see that the Stage 1 front axle has been fully rebuilt to new standards. The swivels and all the needed parts have been replaced as needed to make the set up last long term, and all the pre-loads are set to correct specifications so this 88 will steer like a dream. We get a lot of complaints about Series Rover steering, and we always find that the customer's Rover has been screwed up, or the steering relay has not been kept lubricated. In a well set up 88, the steering is very nice. If your's is fighting you, it's time for a trip to ECR to have it set up correctly. For those of you who don't know what a Stage 1 front axle is, it is the front axle that was used in the early 1980s when Rover started putting V8s into 109s. These Stage 1 vehicles had full time 4 wheel drive which meant they needed to run a CV joint front axle instead of the original weak U joints. We've taken these HD CV joints that used to be in a 109" Rover with a V8, and done a few tricks to graft them into the front axle of this cool little 88. This will make the Rover perform better on and off road and the owner won't be having to change any of those tiny Series Rover U joints when he hits the trail. As a side benefit if the customer ever wanted to he could now swap to an LT230 transfer case and give his leaf sprung 88 full time 4x4 with a center locking diff!! We've also done some tricks like a longer front brake flex lines for use with the added travel of the parabolic springs and gas shocks.

In the rear of the 88 we have finished installing the HD 24 spline differential with the RD56 ARB air locker, and have installed the shocks, check straps, rebuilt the brake system with all new parts and set up the HD 24 spline axles. This means that the 88 won't be breaking any axle shafts anytime soon. These ultra duty units take the abuse of lockers in Defenders with diesels and V8s, so in this 88 with 2.25 power these units will be basically bomb-proof. If you've ever seriously off roaded in a Series Rover you know just how weak the 10 spline axles are. The 10 splines are way too small for the job, and as you can see the HD 24 spline set up even retains a nice stock look
10 vs 24
In the image above you can see a side by side comparison of the tiny Series 10 spline axles and the HD 24 spline units we supply. The picture speaks for itself. Add to this that most axles in Series Rovers are at least 10 or 20 years old and you are asking for trouble.
These 24 spline units cure the problem completely.... done deal.

Here you can see that the 88 is coming along nicely. The new Turner HO 2.25 engine will all our updates has now been installed as has the new wiring harness and a lot of other small parts. The electrical system has been checked out, and items like the wiper motors have been rebuilt as needed to make everything function correctly.

Here is a common problem with the early Rovers. The sending units that tell the fuel gauge what level of fuel you have in your tank commonly go bad. No big deal... just replace the sending unit right? Unfortunately not. The early style sending units are NLA (No Longer Available). The only ones that are available are the later style, and they are not compatible with the early style gauges. So when your fuel tank sending unit goes bad you have to replace the entire system with Late SIIA/SIII style parts. Unfortunately this 88's fuel sender went bad from sitting in an empty rusting fuel tank for 33 years so we had to change it. However, instead of just carving things up or installing a Series III gauge cluster we did things the ECR way and made a few mods. We added the needed voltage stabilizer behind the dash and then removed the original fuel gauge. We then took a new Series III style fuel gauge and gutted it and installed the face of the early Series IIA gauge into it. The result is what you see above, a correct looking Series IIA gauge cluster with a Series III style fuel gauge disguised to look as stock as possible in this 1963 SIIA. It's all in the details, and honestly... it didn't take any longer to do this then it would have to swap it all out to Series III parts anyway. It doesn't take any longer to get it right.

Speaking of "getting it right" in a fuel system... it isn't often that ECR offers up a hearty "job well done" to any other shop. In most cases we find other shops lack the attention to detail to make them great, but in the case of a gentleman named John Gerding from Forever Rover fabrications we have found a fellow craftsman. John makes stainless steel parts for Series Rovers and Defenders. The beautiful 88 fuel tank you see above is one of his creations. This tank will be going into this SIIA 88 to complete the fuel system and make a for a long lasting repair. This tank is so pretty we hate to stick it under the Rover where it won't be seen, but we'll rest easy knowing that it will be doing its job for decades to come. If you need any of John's stainless parts let us know we'll hook you up with him. The parts aren't cheap, but for the quality and longevity they are an absolute bargain.

Inside the 88 is also starting to come together. The floors are now installed and new hardura trim is being installed on the freshly painted bulkhead. Notice how nicely the freshly painted bulkhead matches the original dash cluster... attention to detail again. We have all but finished up the R380 5 speed conversion, and as you can see when we install the R380 5 speed into a Series Rover almost everything looks stock. The 4x4 transfer case controls stay in their stock locations and still function the factory way, as does the handbrake. We have Badger Coachworks make us a nice stock looking center tunnel cover out of the factory hardura that gives a very factory look to the interior even with the fully synchronized 5 speed residing in the 1963 SIIA 88 Wagon. Next we'll install the shift lever and the shift boot and continue with the details to finish off the interior.

That R380 5 speed will be driving all new rubber on the Wagon. Here you can see that new wide offset Defender 130 16" rims have been painted in Limestone and topped with Good-Year MTR 265/75R16s to give this 88 great highway manners and good bite on the trails as well. You can also see that the new stainless steel NRP exhaust system has been installed (sticking out there behind the tire) and that the HD 24 spline axle set up really does take on a stock look once everything is installed.

Inside the 88 we have made some updates also. The image above shows the modern inertia seat belts that we installed for the driver and passenger. The middle passenger gets a new lap belt. If you look closely you can also see that we have installed modern anti-burst door latches so that the doors are easy to lock and unlock from inside or out, and they won't pop open in case of an accident. These modern latches also have a nice bonus, they open and close much easier that the standard SIIA latches.

The rear jump seats in the Wagon get the same safety precautions. Lap belts at all four seats have been installed with large backing plates just in case they are ever needed. The rear door also gets an anti-burst latch that has been modified to take the old style upper door handle to retain as much of the stock look, with modern convenience, as possible.

This image shows the interior nearly complete. Notice that the R380 5 speed set up is now fully installed with its shifter and boot, and that it keeps a very stock look to the interior of the Series IIA. The Kodiak heater has been re-installed, new hardura kick panels and even the factory add-on ash tray has been cleaned and put back in place. We still need to install the dual oil pressure/ water temp. gauge that is being rebuilt by Nisonger in NY, and clean everything up, but it is almost ready for the customer. We also need to install the switches for the ARB air locking differential, but we are making a new panel for those switches that will be located near the driver so that we keep a stock look, but won't mess up the very original looking dash area.

Speaking of ARB systems, here you can see that we have nearly completed the engine bay and the ARB system install. We've install an Optima battery so that dead batteries and jump starts will be a thing of the past for the 88 Wagon, and as we have changed the carb to a Weber 2bbl with a different intake system, we had space behind the battery to mount the ARB compressor and wiring, making for a clean install that isn't in the way of other service items. Nearly all the moving parts in the engine bay are new, but as this is not a full restoration, what could be re-used from the original Rover is being re-used so that is why you'll see some age on some of the parts.

This image shows a nice overview of that nearly completed engine bay with the H.O. 2.25 engine and all the other updates like power brakes, new wiring throughout, etc, etc. Simple, tough, strong, reliable and all Land-Rover.

The image above shows that the majority of the front body work (knows as the front clip) has now been re-installed onto the 88. The arrows above point to another area where we get the details right so that your projects looks and acts right. We've seen a lot of places add dual power brakes to the older Rovers, and what they do is cut out a big piece of the fender to clear the new brake system. We've even seen this cut go so far out that you can see it when the hood is closed! At ECR we have jig that makes the cut correctly so it stays unseen with the hood closed and it rolls the edge just as the later factory Series III fenders did. The arrows above point to the rolled edge. This gives a correct factory look, keeps your fender top from flapping around as it would with a hack job straight cut and keeps the cut in the right place so water doesn't drip off the hood and onto your bulkhead.

Here you can see that the 88 Station Wagon is really starting to look together. The roof rack and rear ladder are now fully installed, as are the doors and front bodywork. We have a few more items to finish up, then we'll do some road tests.

As we finish up the details we head back into the dash area. The 88 now has an ARB Air Locker in the rear, so we made a panel that fits in with the stock dash and painted it to match, and installed it with the correct screws. This gives a very stock look to such a modern thing as an ARB air locker system. Then we installed the locker and compressors switches. The customer indicated to us that he may want to add a front locker someday, so we pre-wired everything and installed the extra switch. When he adds the front locker all he'll need to do is install the air solenoid and plug it in, no dash work will be required. In the long run this will save him time and money. The large hole in the other dash panel is where the oil pressure and water temp gauge goes, but that is out being rebuilt currently and will be installed as soon as we get it back.

Here you can see the 88 really starting to look completed. We still have to do the ECR ROX sliders, but it is nearly ready to go. You can see that we have given the paint a quick once over with the buffer and the 88 now looks a lot better. We are really happy that the new owner of this 88 could envision the final product and see past the few dings and dents, and faded paint that the 88 had. This one is turning out to be a great rig, with all the stuff you need, and no goofy extras that are "over the top".

In this images you can see the front of the 88 looking much better. We've installed a new front bumper as well as 2 recovery points that are bolted to the frame and the bumper, new Halogen headlights, repaired the turn signals, cleaned up the paint and we even made a custom tire mount for the hood that will look like the factory mount, but will hold the more modern 265/75R16 on the Defender 130 rim (we'll install that last). The old style factory mounts won't hold these modern tire sizes, so we have to customize them. Compare this image to the one at the top of this page... could you see through the missing parts and damage to see this gem underneath? We could, and we are happy to be putting this 40 year old Rover back on the street, with a little ECR style.

Here you can see the completed engine bay for the nice little 88. Initial road tests prove that the engine and gearbox combination on this 88 bring the vehicle into daily driver status. This thing goes! We'll get you some performance data once the engine is broken in, but power is smooth and it has plenty of it. The power from our custom engine set up when mated to the R380 5 speed makes this Series IIA a joy to drive in any situation.

The inside of the 88 is just as nice as the engine bay. All the small details have now been done and everything has been triple checked. The 88 will be ready for long term ownership, with long term reliability and even some off road fun with its many upgrades. A few more adjustments and some more road tests and this Series IIA 88 Station Wagon will be ready to head to NY for years of service and fun for its new owner.

One of the last upgrades we will be doing to this Series IIA is adding on some ECR ROX sliders. The image above shows the basic slider installed onto the 88. These units are fully frame mounted and made from heavy box section steel. The ECR ROX sliders for this 88 look a little different than our Defender sliders. We've made them more closely resemble the Series IIA factory sills for a vintage look, yet still keeping them fully functional for hard off roading. This RH slider also incorporates a fuel tank skid plate so that no damage happens to the nice stainless steel fuel tank.

A view from the top shows that the sliders may look stock from a distance, but they are fully functional off road. Notice that the sliders stick out from the body side a bit, so that glancing blows from rocks and stumps do not go up the slider, and then into the door. The sliders being slightly offset outboard helps protect the body from damage. We've also added Hi-Lift jack points front and rear so that if a Hi-Lift is ever required it won't "kick out" to the side. The Hi-Lift points hold the Hi-Lift where you need it.

This image shows the front mounting point for the ECR ROX sliders. This is much like our Defender mounting system, but in this case we have strengthened the Series frame with heavy steel plate so that it can take the abuse. The sliders are mounted with 5 bolts front and back. The prevents flex when the sliders are used off road, and is one of the reasons we offer a lifetime guarantee on the ECR ROX sliders. It is also the reason we don't offer them mail order. We need to make your Rover tough enough for our sliders, and we can't do that via UPS. The owner of this 88 has decided to have us galvanized these sliders. That will give the sliders a very cool "Series Rover" look and be a great finishing touch to this 88.

Here you see the 88 awaiting the return of the sliders from the galvanizers. Road tests of the 88 with its Turner 2.25 HO engine, 5 speed gearbox and our 2 bbl carb set up with free flow exhaust have turned out great. The 88 cruises easily at 65 mph and has tons of torque around town. This combination makes a really nice set up and transforms a "vintage Rover" you may only want to drive occasionally, into a capable daily driver.

This image show the ECR ROX slider for the Series Rover. These sliders have been galvanized for a nice vintage look in keeping with the rest of the Rover. You can clearly see the Hi-Lift points above that makes these units fully functional for all kinds of uses.

Here you can see the RH slider and the fuel tank guard that is built into it. The Hi-Lift points are also visible, and at the rear of the slider you can see the opening that allows the use of the Hi-Lift at the rear on this side, even though the fuel tank is there. We doubt this 88 will need much "Hi-Lifting" with its MTR tires, 24 spline axles and ARB air locker, but its always good to have the option.

Here it is, a fully updated and reconditioned, great Series IIA 88 Station Wagon, ready to head home to the new owners in NY for years of fun both on and off road. If you have Rover dreams that need to be fulfilled, contact ECR and we'll do all we can to help make your Rover world class... just like this one!

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