Back to the Defender 110 Section
1993 NAS Defender 110 #6/500
Repairs and Upgrades
This NAS 110 has come back to ECR from Nantucket for a new round of upgrades, some repairs as well as a complete front to back service to make it ready for the season. A few seasons ago we did a number of things to this 110 Wagon that you can check out here: NAS 110 #6 and here. Nantucket is a great place, but the island environment means rust, and rust is one of the killers of Defenders. So before this 110 gets too bad we are going to go in and correct as much rust as possible to keep this 110 going as long as possible before a frame up rebuild is needed.
Here you can see that the rust on the bulkhead (firewall) is starting to take hold. This rust needs to be correctly repaired asap if this 110s bulkhead is going to have a chance.
The RH side of the bulkhead has the same sort of rust. Luckily this rust looks nasty, but it can be fixed quite easily and we can make the 110 good to go for more summer fun on the island.
The first step with any rust repair is that the rust has to be removed, all of it. That means grinding or media blasting, or in this 110s case, cutting out the rusted areas completely. Here you can see we have cut out the rusted areas and have exposed the second layer of steel in the bulkhead (Defender bulkheads are multiple layer in many areas). These areas will be ground down to bare metal and then weld through primer will be applied before the top patch panel is fabricated and installed. This will make for a long lasting repair.
This image shows the repair completed to the LH side. All new steel has been tig welded in place in the correct size and shape to match the original bulkhead.
The RH side is also repaired and looking good. These repairs will now be finish ground and then primed and painted with numerous coasts of epoxy primers and paints to make sure the repair is a solid and long lasting one. On a lot of 110s we find rust holes filled with body filler in these areas. That type of repair only lasts a few months and in the long run does nothing other than cover up the problem and make it worse. A correct all steel repair is what is needed to keep a Defender on the road in good shape.
To match the load carrying/handling needs of this customers 110 we had to add some more dampening to handle the loads it carries. To make that happen we set up a set of twin Bilstien shocks on the rear axle by installing the rear shocks mount and fabricating a lower shock mount on the back side of the rear axle.
Up front we installed a twin shock mount that is galvanized for long life and will allow the twin shocks to do their job. This set up should make the 110 do the jobs that the owner requests of it and make it one step closer to what he ideally wants from his Defender.
Since the last time this 110 was at ECR a few years ago a number of upgrades have come around. One of those is the new style door hinges that resist rust much better. Here you can see we have painted a set in Alpine White and have installed them on the rear doors with all stainless hardware. This will help keep those rust bleeds that come from the typical stock 110 hinges in check, and keep the truck looking great. You can also see in this image that the previous rust repairs we did to the sills with our stainless steel sill panels are looking great (purple arrow) and are not showing any signs of decay.
To make loading and unloading of beach gear easier on this Defender we have added a rear work/ reverse light. This set up can be used automatically with the reverse light or it can be turned on manually when you need to light up the camping area at night. We fabricated a small alloy bracket to hold it in place and painted it in white to match the rest of the cage on this 110.
To help with the beach duties of this Rover we have removed the tall and skinny tires that were on it and installed a set of BFG 265/70s for a nice wide footprint to help the 110 "float" over the sand. We also stripped, re-primed and painted the rims to get rid of the rust bleeds and pits.
Now that the steel work is done, the 110 is moved to the paint and body side of ECR and the areas are finish ground and spot primed. The areas are then blocked out (sanded) and high build primers are applied. There is no filler in our steel repairs, we do not use body filler or "bondo" anywhere on a Defender. Once the areas are blocked out the truck is completely masked off (this partial mask is only for spot priming) and then moved into our bake booth for 3 coats of PPG epoxy primer and 3 coats of Alpine White.
Once the primer and paint have been applied the 110 is baked for 45 minutes at 140 degrees to properly cure all the chemicals in the paint. We then move the 110 back to the paint prep area and remove all the masking as you see above.
The rust is gone and won't come back anytime soon as the repair was a proper one. You'll also notice that areas that are not supposed to be painted are not, and those that are, are. We see a lot of 110s with the gasket between the windscreen frame and the bulkhead painted over. It is not supposed to be painted. Next we will assemble the doors and roll cage back onto the Rover to complete the job.
Here you can see the completed repair. All steel, no filler and correct paint technics and products. We only do body work one way... the right way.
This image shows how with just a few changes the entire look of this 110 has changed. The fresh paint on the rims, the rust on the bulkhead repaired and the new style door hinges all work together to make this 110 look much better and give it a much "fresher" appearance, as well as longer lasting rust protection.
A few years back we added rear AC to this 110, but the Elite rear AC unit had the controls mounted on the unit in the back of the 110. This works great if you have rear passengers to flip the switch for you, but not so great if you don't. To make the system more driver friendly we have removed the switch from the rear AC unit and relocated it to the front. The problem in doing this is that on the NAS 110 dash there is basically no room for a switch as large and deep as the rear AC unit, so we had to come up with a solution. The solution was to utilize wasted space between the sun visors for the rear AC switch. In a Euro 110 the rear view mirror is in this area, but in an NAS 110 the area is blank. We fabricated a small pod and painted it to match the grey in the dash and installed the rear AC switch there within easy reach of the driver or front passenger.
We then blanked off the rear AC switch location with the correct textured plastic for as clean a finished look as possible.
It has been a few years since we have seen this 110 and back then we didn't have a great solution for the crappy cardboard kick panels, but we do now. So we removed the old units and installed a new set of our 110 kick panels that are made from alloy and polymer coated to look closer to the original pieces, but these actually stand up to foot traffic inside the Defender.
The drivers side footwell trim was also updated to our latest version.
The last detail was to install the control for the rear work light. This factory 3 position switch allows the unit to be "off" when the switch is up. Flip the switch to the middle location "rev" and the rear light comes on and off as you select and deselect reverse gear for added light when backing up at night. (especially handy as this 110 has tinted windows). Flip the switch all the way down to "work" and the rear light comes on manually so that you can light up your camping area or just find all that gear you left out on the beach as the sun set and safely load it into the rear of the Rover.
Here you can see the completed NAS 110 fully serviced from front to back, repaired where needed and modified to be even better than it was. It will now be loaded on our transporter and delivered to Hyannis so that it can make the ferry and be ready and willing to provide a summer of trouble free fun to the owner.
If you have Defender needs, anything from a full restoration to just some repairs and service work like this 110, contact ECR. We are your Defender source and we can make your 110 world class... just like this one.