Back to the Refurbished 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.

Series IIA 88 Custom Refurbish

This 88 is being built for a customer that lives in the British Virgin Islands. The customer, who already owns another ECR 88 at his home in the US, looked to ECR to build a Rover that could stand up to the harsh salt environment and be a fun vehicle as well. Our answer... No problem. We'll be using stainless steel everywhere we can (radiator support, fuel tank, exhaust, etc.) and galvanizing everything else. If we can't use stainless or galvanize it, we'll epoxy prime and paint it to make this 88 work as the customer desires. As this 88 will be in the BVIs, it will also be getting made a little simpler. You'll see what we mean as the project comes along. The first step is to bring in the ECR supplied donor 88 and tear it down. The roof system was damaged on this 88, but that works out well as the 88 will be getting a full soft top. It is the Virgin Islands... you gotta have a soft top.

The engine bay of the 88 is a perfect starting point. It hasn't been messed with too badly. We'll be removing everything and starting over with all new major components, but all the basics are here, and in good shape to start a refurbishment. The first step is to tear the 88 totally apart and get rid of the rusty chassis, and get down to parts that we can start to restore.

Once the 88 is fully apart we can start to get the major parts ready for assembly. This image shows the bulkhead from the 88. It is rusty, but not bad. We'll get it into the bulkhead jig and do all the repairs on it to make it better than new. As that is being done we'll sort through all the steel pieces and see what we can galvanize and what needs to be painted or fabricated from stainless steel. Next we'll sort through the axles and get the new galvanized chassis into the shop to start setting up the drivetrain.

In this image you can see one of the larger parts of an 88 we have to work on. This is the seat box. You can see that we have already removed the rusty tool locker from under the drivers seat and we have also removed the side panel, as this commonly corrodes along with the tool locker. We've cleaned up the seat box and now we'll install the repair panels.

Here you can see that the new galvanized tool locker has been installed and now the newly fabricated side panel is being installed. The side panels we use are made from heavier gauge aluminum to make for a longer lasting seat box, and with the tool locker being galvanized the rust and corrosion common to this area will not come back anytime soon. We'll also fully prime and paint the new panels and fully seam seal them so no corrosion can start in the seams.

The bulkhead has now been cleaned and moved into our bulkhead jig. You can see that the rusted areas are being cut away. Once all the rust is removed the bulkhead will get sandblasted and then the fabricators at ECR will fully rebuild it to better than new condition. For more information about ECR bulkhead rebuilds go here!

While the fabrication work is being done, the new Turner 2.25 HO engine is set up with the needed new parts. For ease of maintenance we have installed a spin on oil filter set up that eliminates the sometimes troublesome, and often leaky canister filter. This engine is also set up for unleaded fuel and has more power than the stock 2.25 engine to boot. It also gets all new ancillaries so that the owner will get years of trouble free service from the 88 without having to do repairs.

The bulkhead is coming along nicely and will soon be ready for final media blasting and then epoxy primer and paint. An unusual thing you will notice with this bulkhead is that there is no opening on the RH footwell. Typically the heater is mounted in this area, but as this is a custom built 88 the heater has been deleted and we have used a piece of galvanized plate to replace the thin steel from that area. This makes for a longer lasting bulkhead and just what the owner desired.

This image shows what looks to be a Rover skeleton! Actually this is how we double check to make sure that we have all the correct pieces prep'd and ready to be galvanized. You'll see some things in this image that aren't usually galvanized, but in an effort to combat corrosion in the harsh salt environment where this 88 will live, we are galvanizing everything we can. You can also see from the photo that each piece we send out to be galvanized is fully stripped of any paint or crud and then sandblasted to white metal. We have found that this is the only way to get the correct pattern and texture from the galvanizing process so that it correctly duplicates the factory appearance. The parts will now be sent out to be hot dipped galvanized so that rust will not be a problem with them.

Once the fabrication is done on the bulkhead, we run it through our "dip tanks". We've found from years of looking at rusty bulkheads, that as much rust happens from the inside out, as it does from outside corrosion. To combat this on ECR bulkheads, we have made dip tanks that fully submerge the problem areas in a heavy duty, rust preventative coating. Even when we lay on wet coats of epoxy primers in our spray booth, we can't get much paint on the inside of the steel panels, but the dunk tanks can! Our bulkheads are dunked along the entire top section and the left and right door post areas. The photo above shows this 88's bulkhead being removed from the RH doorpost dunk tank, a messy job for sure, but well worth it to help make these beautifully restored bulkheads last and last.

The rear body, or tub, of this 88 also had some very typical damage and corrosion. The rear mounting tab areas had some corrosion, so we replaced the rear cross section. As seen as the new black part in the photo above. The floor and cross supports also had some corrosion, we'll be taking care of that as well. As you can see in the photo above we have removed the cross braces (we'll replace those with new galvanized units later) and next we will install a new heavy duty floor section and new stringer supports. The tub also had some very poor body work done to it, so we'll be stripping out the bondo and making the body straight again with proper bodywork techniques, unlike the last shop that just filled the dents with gallons of body filler.

Here you can see the rear tub with a coat of primer on it. We've straightened the side panels (no body filler here!) and repaired all the corrosion with new alloy. We'll sand this primer one more time and then give it another 2 coats of epoxy primer and then 3 coats of Poppy Red top coat.

The floor of the tub had some typical corrosion spots that had eaten right through floor, so we replaced the floor and the floor stringers with heavy gauge alloy to make for a repair that will outlast any of the original pieces. This image shows the tub floor in primer waiting for final prep. and paint.

The new panels that we are using on the "Island 88" (doors, door tops, etc.) have already been modified, sealed, primed and painted and they now await assembly once the project starts to be assembled. The doors (shown above) have to be modified as this 88 is a Late IIA, and only Series III style doors are available today. We fabricate and install the needed door catch locations to make these Series III doors correct for the application. In cases where true originality is the focus, we even change out all the factory pop rivets for the correct hammer rivets around the door pocket.

Here you can see the freshly painted tub, or rear body, being assembled with the new galv. trim. Once completed it will be set on the new galvanized chassis and bolted down with all stainless hardware.

As we have removed all the galvanized pieces from this 88 we obviously need to put them back on. The way you tell a quality project from just another rebuilt Land Rover is the attention to detail. The image above shows the correct hammer rivet that is used to hold the trim in place. We don't use pop rivets or some other incorrect fastener, we use the original hammer rivets, with factory tools to install them, and the resulting look is clean and correct, as the image above shows. It doesn't take any longer to get it right.

The tub of this 88 has some special tricks that apply only to this project. The customer didn't need any rear lighting for the 88 (other than a work light) so to cut down on things that can decay and corrode we have blanked out the rear tail lights and will be eliminating the rear wiring harness completely. In the image above you can see that we have welded covers over the light openings and then sent them to be galvanized for a finished look.

Here you can see the seat box. You will notice that we have primed and painted our repairs to the seat box (see the images earlier in the project) and the seat box tool locker will now be free from rust for a long long time. The rear of the seat box will now be stripped down and readied for install. You'll also notice that some of the seat box has the original paint. This project is a refurbishment, not a restorations, so some painted areas, where corrosion is not a factor are being left as they were.

This image shows the completed bulkhead: rebuilt, dunked, epoxy primed and painted. You can also see that anything we could galvanize, we did, so the pedal box area was galvanized and then assembled onto the bulkhead after paint.

This image shows the new galvanized chassis that we are setting up with the parabolic springs and axles. The seals, swivel balls and axles are all being rebuilt to new standards so that the 88 won't need any repairs while it is used on the island. Next we'll start running the brake and clutch pipes. We are using all stainless tubing for the brake and clutch system, so the owner won't have to worry about rusted brake lines.

This image shows the 88 coming along nicely. The engine and gearbox are now in place and being hooked up. The rear axle is now built up as well with new brake parts and parabolic springs as well. Next we'll start to assembly the body with the rear body tub and the front fenders.

One of the common things that go bad on Series Rovers is the fuel tank, and in the island environment this 88s stock fuel tank would not have lasted long. So in this image you can see we have installed a new stainless steel fuel tank made by our friend John Gerding from ForeveRover. His stainless pieces are true works of art, and we use them as much as possible. We'll also be using his Series IIA stainless radiator support later on.

A little further along you can see that all the systems are taking shape and everything is either galvanized, stainless steel, or epoxy primed and painted to make the 88 exactly what the customer ordered.

In these images you can see the 88's body taking shape. The new HD rims (epoxy primed and painted in Limestone) are now installed, along with the new BFG Mud Terrains. The brake and clutch systems are now 100 percent and all the aspects of the axles and front end rebuild are done. Next we'll move on to doing the wiring and building up the rest of the body. From here on it goes quickly, especially as this 88 is a soft top.

This image shows the nearly completed engine bay. The wiring is now complete and the engine and all the other systems have been bench tested and are ready for road tested, Notice that the wiring has been simplified for long term reliability and that all the brake and clutch lines are made from stainless steel. The battery box, bulkhead supports and battery hold down are all galvanized for long life without rust, and the electrical system is topped off with an Optima battery that won't leak and has plenty of extra power for the 88.

Here you can see the 88 coming together. The rear wheels have been removed so that we can fabricate the frame mounted supports that will hold up the 4 point safari cage that will go in the 88. These brackets will also be galvanized for long life. You can also see the stainless steel grill support made for us by John Gerding, this piece is a true work of art, and will never rust. The customer choose to leave this piece unpainted and it adds a great custom touch.

The interior of the 88 is also being made as simple as possible. This image shows the completed dash area. The heater has been deleted as well as anything that didn't need to be there. We added an oil pressure gauge to keep track of the engine and we also re-wired the headlights so that the Hi/Lo beam switch is on the dash, not on the floor where it could rust or corrode. In the image you can also see that the floors have now been installed and you can see some of the other galvanized pieces around the steering column and the tunnel cover.

Now running and driving with all mechanical systems tested and operating properly the 88 is coming together nicely. Notice that we have set up the body on the 88 so that the door gaps and body lines are perfect. The ECR jig built bulkheads make it possible to achieve better than factory body line ups for doors that swing and close easily and tight body gaps that do not allow leaks of air or water. Next we will move on to finishing up the body and getting the 88's custom items fabricated and installed.

This image shows the rear of the 88. Here you can see that we have installed a swing a way tailgate for ease of entry and exit into the back of the 88, and we added a heavy duty work/ reverse light. We even galvanized the mount to the work light for longevity. Still to come are the rear bumperettes.

Here you can see that the 88 is really coming along and is nearly ready for on road testing. All the lights are installed and all the electrics tested, brakes, clutch, engine, all done and tested. Next we'll install the custom front bumper and fabricate the safari cage.

This image shows the 88's clean and functional interior. Everything you need, and nothing to clutter up the inside or get in the way for the Rover's intended use.

Here you can see nearly completed door assembly installed on the 88. We have used the Defender style, all alloy, door tops to prevent any rust issues and to solve the old Series Rover "rotted window track" problem. We've also gone one step further with the door bottoms. Those of you with Series Rover know that the lower doors take it hard from your feet, as the area left to get in and out of an 88 is a little small. To combat the customer's feet from scuffing off the paint over time (and then possibly causing rust on the door frame) we have had the inner section of the door Rhino Lined for the ultimate in protection.

This image shows the 88 now looking almost complete with the soft top loosely fitted undergoing road tests of the mechanical systems.

The engine bay is now complete, and road tests have shown that the 88 is ready to go. The Turner 2.25 is flawless as usual and the SIII gearbox makes shifting easy.

Here you can see the "Island 88" as it has become known here at ECR nearly completed. All the systems have been tested and all the work is complete except for fabricating the 4 point safari cage. The image above shows many of the details now in place. The custom made ECR ROX heavy duty front bumper has been galvanized and installed. It appears just like a stock unit but is made from heavy gauge steel and supported throughout so that it can take the abuse that pulling a boat in and out of the water will put on it. (Notice the 2" trailer ball mounted on the HD front bumper) Try that with the stock Series bumper. Can you say "pretzel"? The galvanized rear bumperettes are now in place as are all the seats and the rest of the interior. Next we'll bring it back inside and complete the 4 point safari cage that will hold the shoulder seat belts and the interior/ work light.

The owners of this 88 wanted a safety safari cage for the 88 just in case the worst ever happened, and as you know those tiny soft top hoops aren't strong enough to support the vehicle's weight, so we'll be installing a 4 point cage in the back of the 88. The first step is to fabricate the 2 main hoops and install them into the 88, as you can see we have done in the image above. These hoops are made of .120 wall 2" seamless tube so they are tough and durable. The hoops are made as close to the soft top hoop set as possible to maximize interior space for carrying people or gear. This images also shows the rear bumperettes, as well as our swing away tailgate.

A safari cage that is bolted to the thin alloy bodywork of the Rover isn't going to do much good in an actual roll over, so to make the ECR safari cages strong we always frame mount them, in this case we used 4 locations. This image shows the rear frame mounts. These units are made from the same heavy duty .120 wall tube, and have been galvanized for long life (considering they sit inside the wheel opening). All the cages we build are made so that you can still repair your Rover in the future. Some shops will bore holes through your body panels and then weld the cage together. That is fine for a race car that has short lifespan, but not for a Rover that may need to be taken apart for repairs down the line. As you can in the image, all of our safari cages easily "un-bolt" from the mounts. That way it can be removed later, or taken out while other repairs are done. If it was welded in, you'd have to cut the cage to do major service to the Rover, and that isn't thinking ahead.

The front frame mounting points are made from heavy gauge steel that has been strengthened and then galvanized for long life. As you can see all these points tie directly into the frame with numerous attachment points and high grade hardware, so if a roll over does happen the strongest part of the car is going to protect those inside the cage. We hope that never happens, but if it does, you need the strength of a well built ECR safari cage.

The safari cage tubes are made to be strong, but also to be versatile for using and repairing the 88. The image above shows the rear hoop and bars for the 88. The hoop and forward arms bolt in so that they can be removed if need be. The bars are media blasted to white metal, then given 3 coats of epoxy primer on all surfaces. These bars are in primer, but the final color will be a Land Rover light gray, along the lines of what was used on the interior safari cages on NAS D90 Station Wagons. Why aren't the bars black as usual you ask? Well, this 88 is headed for the British Virgin Islands, and if you know how strong the sun is down there, you know you don't want to grab onto anything that has been sitting in the sun that is black. Remember that feeling you get walking across the parking lot in bare feet in the summer? Ouch! We didn't want our customer's having that feeling if they were using the bars on the safari cage to help themselves in and out of the 88. Its a small detail, but its part of the attention to detail there at ECR. It doesn't take any longer to get these things right.

Here you can see the front hoop of the safari cage. It also has been blasted and primed with 3 coats of epoxy primer and is now ready for the final 3 layers of top coat. This bar not only makes up part of the frame mounted cage, it also makes it possible to install secure mounting points for updated shoulder interior seat belts in a soft top Rover! The yellow arrow on the far left points to the heavy steel bracket that we fabricated to hold the seat belt's inertia reel (one is installed on each side). The far right arrow points to the shoulder pivot location for the belt. This means that a more modern, safer seat belt system can be installed. Combine that with the cage itself and the soft top 88 has a lot more safety than those that just have a lap belt and the tiny hoop set to protect you. Not convinced you need an ECR cage in your soft top Rover? Well... we hope you never do, but that is why they call them accidents, and we want to give you all the protection we can so that you stay a Rover fan.
The upper yellow arrow points to a bracket we fabricated to hold an interior light for the 88. There is a novel idea, and overhead interior light in a soft top 88, that should make life a lot easier. No more feeling the dashboard for where that ignition key is supposed to fit in!

This images shows the safari cage installed into the 88. It takes up as little room as possible and still offers good protection for the passengers. It also makes a nice grab handle for getting in and out of the 88, and for hanging on down those bumpy island roads.

Here you can see a detail of the seat belt mount. The modern inertia seat belt mounts directly to the cage, as does the upper pivot, so that even if the soft top is removed completely the shoulder belts will still remain fully functional.

The green arrow above points to the rubber coated work/ interior light that we installed (rubber coated to resist rust and corrosion). The wires for the light are hidden and protected in their own tube so that no ugly wires are seen going down the safari cage, and the light can be angled to light up the dash, or give an "all over" illumination to the 88's interior.

The image above shows another interior upgrade we installed. To make the 88 as comfortable as possible, but also as long lasting as possible, we have set up a combination that didn't exist from Rover. We have installed the Deluxe seat backs and bottoms with the older style seat tracks. We even galvanized the seat tracks so that they won't rust and used all stainless hardware in fitting them. This combination of the deluxe seats, without the sliding tracks that commonly corrode, makes the most comfortable, and longest lasting set up for the "Island 88".

Here you can see the completed project. A nice and simple 88 with numerous upgrades that will help it do its intended job with longevity, safety and style. If you have Land Rover restoration or service needs contact ECR. We can handle any project from a simple repair, to a full blown specialized build up like the one you see above. We can help you make your Land Rover world class... just like this one.

For a photo gallery of the finished 88 go here!

Here is a great shot of the Island 88, now at home in the British Virgin Islands!

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