Back to the Defender 90 Section
1997 Defender 90 5.2 V8 Soft Top
Upgrades and Repairs
This 1997 D90 from Maryland is one that we know well here at ECR. It has been here for upgrades and repairs twice before. Go here and here for those pages. Its been quite some time since we have seen the 90 and the local shops could not repair an EFI problem with the engine so it is now back with us. Along with doing the general repairs we will also be doing some updates and other upgrades.
The first step in getting the 90 back into top form is to undo what all the "local experts" have done wrong to the 90 with the wrong parts. Once we correct all the mistakes then we go ahead and fix the issue with a correct and proper repair using all Genuine parts.
Next up is to make the engine set up even better, so we will be adding a set of upgraded injectors, shown above, and giving the 90 an updated ECU chip set.
Its been a number of years since we originally installed the 5.2 into this 90, and we have done a lot more development on the 5.2 engines. So the original chip set, shown above will be updated with the latest software from Tornado Systems.
In fact the proprietor of Tornado System, Mark Adams (shown above working on a chip set at ECR), from the UK comes to ECR periodically to helps us with upgrades and development of the EFI upgrades we offer.
The result is a new software package that allows the 5.2 to idle and run better than it ever has. We can now offer these larger motors without the lumpy idle down side they used to have before Mark Adams came to ECR and worked with our team on advancements of the system.
Now that the ECU is up to snuff we need to get the exhaust up so snuff, so the old system has been tossed in favor of the new ROX 304 stainless steel system with Random Technology cats. This system breathes better and won't rust down the road, so it is a win-win situation for the Defender.
Along with getting the engine back up to speed, we have taken care of some other work orders as well. The door cappings on the 90 had some ugly paint chips, so we have repainted them in the correct British Racing Green and re-installed them onto the Rover.
We also upgraded the door hinges and added stainless steel hardware so that the hinges will continue to look good long term.
We also updated the GPS system and installed a set of front and rear ARB air lockers for even more off road ability. Above you can see that we have added the air locker switches to a new face panel that covers up and ugly old cell phone mount and makes the interior look nice and clean and keeps the locker switches in an easy to reach location
We also dressed up the upgraded top by powder coating the gutter kit. These pieces used to be bare galvanized steel (silver) and with the satin black coating they blend into the look of the truck better and help make a more detailed finished product.
To combat any future tail light issues we upgraded the rear lamps to a set of our LED units, thus ending the "fish bowl" '95-'97 lamps for good. More info on LEDs here.
To keep pace with technology we have updated the sound system with a new Alpine head unit and iPod connection. Just plug in your iPod to the cable in the cubby box and close the lid, you can now control the functions of the iPod directly through the Alpine head unit.
Here you can see the completed interior. Its a clean and functional look without too many things that look "added on". We also took care of an issue the 90 had with the after-market steering wheel. In the past it would not automatically turn off, or cancel, the turn signals. So we fabricated a small piece to allow the after-market wheel and the signal switch to work correctly together. Its a small thing, but a welcome relief instead of forgetting to turn off the signal and driving for miles with the signal on.
This image shows the engine bay back together and ready for action, and with the power of the 5.2 that is a lot of potential action. This engine moves this 90 unlike any other we have ever driven. It truly is a massive beast and it still gets stock fuel mileage as well.
Here you can see the 90 completed and ready to head back to Maryland with the owner. It has even more upgrades and the 5.2 is working better than ever, even though it is a number of years old. The new ARB lockers will help it perform even better off road and the other upgrades will help the 90 last a good long time.
If you have dreams for your Defender, contact ECR. We'll be happy to make your Defender world class... just like this one.