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1997 NAS Defender 90 Station Wagon
Repairs and Upgrades
This 1997 NAS Defender 90 Station Wagon (hard top) has come to us directly from the point of purchase. The new owner in MA wants the truck fully sorted and some upgrades installed before he takes delivery. This D90 is a decade old, so it does need a good bit of attention. Its a nice vehicle, but it does needs some TLC and some upgrades to make it better. To develop a base line for the vehicle, we have completed a full evaluation of the 90 and have discussed that list with the customer to find out what he does and does not want done. For this 90 we will be doing mainly mechanical items, removing the previous owners "upgrades" and getting the interior back into shape to get the 90 that has over 100,000 miles ready for some more action.
As with most 90 Station Wagons this one suffers from water leaks. Luckily after all the Wagons we have worked on we know all the problem areas and how to stop a hard top Defender from leaking water. The first step to cure the water leaks is to remove the roof so that it can be properly sealed and then repainted. Here you can see we have removed the safari cage and the rear interior parts and we are just about to pull the roof.
Inside the 90 we are turning everything back to as stock as possible. All the missing bits and the hacked in wiring is being gutted from the car and everything that is broken or worn out is being replaced so that the interior will be a nice place to be as the customer heads down the highway. Here you can see we have removed the seats, as they need some work, and next we will pull out the console and remove the doors in order to get the new Alpine sound system installed and other upgrades completed.
Here you can see the 90SW still in the tear down phase. It always gets worse before it gets better, but with as many Defenders as we have built and rebuilt this kind of tear down is a breeze and only means this 90 is on the way to becoming a better Rover. We still need to pull the windscreen frame in order to change the windscreen from the current cheap-o heated unit to the correct factory unit.
This image shows upper roof section removed and in our paint shop. The old dry rotted sealer has been removed and all the gaps have been prep'd and sealed with new sealer that stays flexible so that these water leaks won't happen again. Once the sealer sets up we will repaint the roof section in Alpine White and make it ready to go back on the Defender.
Inside the 90 we have had to dig pretty deep to get rid of the incorrect wiring add ons and to find all the broken plastic pieces that need to be replaced, but the good news is that the 90 is in very nice shape and once everything is returned to stock it will be a great driver.
As the tear down continues the parts that are off the 90 are upgraded and made ready to go back on. The doors are upgraded with new style hinges and the new Alpine speakers are installed on the bench so that the door is 100% ready to go when it is re-installed.
In this image you can see that the windscreen frame is back on the 90 with the new heated screen installed. These heated glass units make quick work of ice in the winter and are a great addition to a Defenders "adequate" defrost capabilities.
Another upgrade on this D90 is the addition of our LED tail lights so that the owner of this 90 won't suffer from tail light issues like the previous owner did. In the tail harness we found a number of spliced in repaired wires and those silly tail light boot thingys. Luckily the LED units are sealed so none of that band-aid approach is needed. We repaired the harness with factory connectors and plugs in the LEDs and now the tail lights on this Defender won't be a concern, they'll just work.
Here you can see the roof panel has been repainted and all the glass and trims have been installed to make it ready to bolt back onto the Wagon. It looks stock, but its better... it won't leak.
This image shows the roof section going back onto the 90, and at this stage the 90 is outside of the vehicle is starting to look more like a Defender 90 again.
As the outside comes together its time to turn our attention to the inside. The drivers seat in this 90 has seen better days, as you can see above.
The cover on the seat was in good shape, but the foam was badly ripped and it was making the seat frame stick into your back as well as offering no support. To fix it we have removed the seat cover and we are left with what you see above. You can see the rip in the foam and the seat frame poking through.
Here you can see we have removed the foam and we are down to the bare bones of the seat.
Next we install a new foam insert onto the original seat frame and then shape it to fit correctly.
Once it is shaped the seat cover itself is reinstalled the seat now looks as good as new, and in repairing the seat the customer spends less than half what a new seat would cost.
Here you see the seats installed into the 90. We added some seat covers to help protect them as well, and now the driving position and comfort level of the interior is way up from the hugely uncomfortable damaged seat that was in the 90 when it arrived.
We also added seat covers for the rear seats and a full rubber cargo mat to keep the carpets safe.
We also removed the cardboard kick panel and replaced it with the ROX unit that is made from alloy and polymer coated for a factory look, but with the ability to stand up to muddy boots.
With the roof secure the new headliners have been installed. These really freshen up the interior of the 90, plus with all the old water leaks the old headliners were full of mold, yuck.
The new front headliner also gives the 90 a much more pleasant looking interior. Other small changes back to stock were the removal of a Euro rear view mirror in favor of the correct factory unit and a few other odds and ends to make things right.
Now that the interior is starting to look good again we have to make some upgrades. To that end we have installed an Alpine sound system with 4 speakers. The system is iPod ready and your iPod just plugs in and you close it in the cubby box and control all your MP3 player functions through the radio itself. We also replaced or repaired all the damaged items and that includes installing the cubby box lid that was missing in the Wagon.
Under the hood we have completed a full service of the engine and all the fluids and filters and we addressed a number of other concerns as well. Items as large as curing the power steering system leaks to as small as installing the windscreen washer pump in the correct port on the washer fluid reservoir were all taken care of to get this 90 in condition for the new owner.
Outside on the Rover we upgraded the old door with the new style hinges with stainless steel hardware for a great look, with no rust issues.
To control the new heated windscreen we have installed a correct wiring harness that contains a timer system so that the heated screen operates just as the factory intended. All the parts to this system are easily available from Land Rover in case of future repair needs and even the control switch mounts correctly into the wiper motor cover. We also did a number of smaller jobs like replacing a sticky ignition switch and putting the gauges back in the stock locations.
This image shows the 90 outside during some final tests. We have serviced all the needed systems and replaced the damaged items with upgrades like our LED tail lights, our ROX stainless steel exhaust system and much more. The last order of business was to adjust the previously installed Mantec tire carrier to cure the annoying rattle. Now we will road test the 90 for a number of miles to make sure the Rover is ready for customer delivery. These tests include all systems from light tests to aiming the headlights, leak tests to normal driving to make sure it drives correctly.
Here you can see the 90 a few minutes before it is loaded on the transporter to head back to MA for enjoyment by its new owner. Had the owner taken delivery of the 90 before we did, he likely would have had a sour taste in his mouth about a Defender with systems that did not work and the leaks and all. However, now that this 90 has been gone through by the team at ECR he is assured of having a great driving experience knowing that all the problems have been addressed and/or upgraded so that he can turn the key and go, without issues.
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.