Back to the Defender 90 Section
1994 Defender 90 Soft Top
Galvanized frame and numerous upgrades
This 1994 Defender 90 has come to us from Florida for a new galvanized frame. The first step in the process is to remove the body from the 90 in our unique frame swap system. This will give us easy access to the V8 drivetrain and allow us to do the work in an efficient manner.
Here you can see that we have removed the body from the D90 in one piece. This is done on projects that are getting new frames, but do not need paint work, or structural repairs. Lifting the entire body saves hundreds of hours of costly remove and replace work, and will allow our customer to get the galvanized chassis under his D90 without breaking the bank. We pioneered this frame swap system in the USA in the mid-1990s, and we have refined it to be the best way to get a new frame under your D90.
This image shows the rolling chassis removed from the D90. At this stage all the suspension and axles will be removed from the rolling chassis and the engine and its associated parts will be removed.
Here you can see we have stripped out the engine and drivetrain from the chassis and removed the front axle. Next the rear axle and suspension will be removed and then it will be time to start setting up everything on the new ECR galvanized frame.
This is the new LT230 1.4 ratio transfer case that will be mated to the new Tdi R380 5 speed gearbox. The 1.4 ratio is needed to compensate for the different power band, and to keep all the functionality of the D90. The Land Rover factory sets D90s with larger tires, like this D90 has, up with the 1.4 LT230, and so do we. Other places may cut corners and offer you a conversion that is done with old parts, used parts, or a half-ass set up, but here at ECR our goal is to set up your Defender as close to factory specifications as possible. That way everything works the way it should, including starting off on a steep hill, in 1st gear when you D90 is loaded with gear on a camping trip. That is one area that would suffer greatly if you left the old 1.2 ratio LT230 in place. Completely re-engineered, not converted is how we like to think about conversions. No adaptor plates, no bodged wiring, no parts you can't get directly from your favorite Land Rover parts source.
Here you can see that we have brought in the new galvanized NAS chassis and set it up as a rolling chassis with the axles and suspension from the D90. The front springs have been upgraded to handle the extra weight and everything else has been bolted up. The new Tdi engine has been installed into the chassis and at this stage we are starting to hook up the smaller systems and get items like the rear wiring harness installed and ready for the body.
In the image above you can see the new R380 gearbox mated to the new 1.4 transfer case. A new clutch and all associated parts are also installed and then the driveshafts are installed, making this new galvanized diesel rolling chassis complete and nearly ready for the body. Before we install the body we'll run all new stainless steel fuel lines for long life without corrosion.
To make his D90 go even better the customer has decided to have us upgrade the rear differential with an ARB air locker. This selectable locker will offer a normal open diff on the street and trail until you engage it. Once you engage the unit it becomes fully locked and offers power equally to the rear wheels. The selectability of a locker like an ARB is great as it keep your on highway manners just like a stock Defender, but gives you the option of a fully locked diff. whenever you want it. Above you can see that we have pulled out the rear diff and are setting up the ARB air locker. Once the install is complete it will go back into the rear axle housing to complete the Rovers rolling chassis.
In this image you can see that we have run the air line for the rear ARB locker, and we have installed the new ECR ROX stainless steel fuel and brake lines. The lines are exact duplicates of the factory originals, but they use stainless lines and fittings for long life. No more corroded brake or fuel lines for this Defender.
Another ECR ROX product installed to combat the typical corrosion issues on a D90 is our rear fuel tank skid plate. The ROX slide plate is made from alloy, with an alloy front stiffener bar, so there are no steel pieces to rust out back here. As you can see the ROX fuel tank skid plate allows you to keep your factory sway bars if your want them, and also allows you to keep the factory rear step/tow bumper (both seen installed here). Now that the new brake and fuel lines have been run it is time to install the body onto the new rolling chassis.
Here you can see that we have put the body onto the new galvanized rolling chassis and we are starting to hook up all the systems. A galvanized frame, stainless steel fuel and brake lines as well as a long lasting, trouble free engine... this Defender 90 is now ready for the long haul.
The original AC system in this D90 was in pretty hard shape. The news that is even worse is that Land Rover no longer makes parts for the early NAS AC systems, so it couldn't be fixed. Instead we have installed a new AC system, as installed on a new Defender, and adapted it to the 1994 Defender 90. This will give better cooling in the summer, and Land Rover will have parts available for this system long term. Above you can see that we have removed the old AC system and installed the new system in its place.
To control the new rear ARB locker and air compressor we have added a center switch pod for easy access by the driver and a clean factory look. We even think far ahead for you here at ECR. Just in case this customer ever wants to add a front ARB locker to his Defender, we have already installed the switch and all the wiring. So all the customer need do is install the locker and he won't have to do any wiring, or digging into his dashboard, it is all in place already.
On the gauge cluster we have also finished up the needed wiring changes. The green arrow points to the new dash binnacle that has all the correct markings for a Defender, such as the glow plug warning light.
To make the engine be able to breath in deep water, or heavy dust, we have installed a raised air intake.
One of the upgrades the customer has requested is a new sound system safely tucked inside a new center cubby box. In this image you can see that we have installed a new Tuffy box to house the new sound system and serve as a secure locked space inside the soft top D90.
Inside the box we have installed a new Alpine head unit with iPod interface. The padded angle bracket on the side of the box (green arrow) is where you iPod sits. This bracket holds the iPod securely even in off road situations and allows you access to all your music files directly through the Alpine head unit. In the background you can see that we have installed some new Alpine speakers in the door panels. We modify the set up to use the factory speaker grills so that the look of the D90 stays clean, and no one will know you have better speakers, until you turn on your system.
To keep the sound system playing and to allow for maximum winching power (a 9000 winch will be added soon) we have installed a set of batteries in the stock location. This will mean no power problems for this Defender, no matter what the requirements. We also removed and welded the seat bases so that the seats no longer "click" and rock side to side. More on what that is about can be seen on this D90 project.
Another upgrade is the addition of the new style hinges, painted to match the body in Coniston Green. The new hinges, combined with the customers stainless steel bolts will keep the hinges looking good long term, unlike the original hinges that rusted the first time you opened the door. More information on these hinge updated can be found here.
In the rear of the Rover we have removed the spare tire carrier so that it can be treated and repainted. It is common to have rust issues on the tire carrier and third brake light mount so we will be restoring these pieces so that they will last long term, without blisters and without rust. In the case of this Defender the third brake light bar was rusted in half, so we will replace that part and restore the other pieces. In the cargo area of the 90 you can also see that we have started to install the customers requested 4 jump seats for maximum people carrying ability.
Here you can see that all the pieces of the tire carrier have been removed, stripped and blasted back to white metal. They are now hanging in our bake booth and will be getting 3 coats of PPG two part epoxy primer and then at least 3 coats of PPG 9300 Black to keep the elements away from the steel and make the tire carrier look better than new. We also now offer alloy 3rd brake light bars for longevity.
Another upgrade for the D90 is a full seat of upgraded seat covers. These units differ from the factory seat covers because the seat base, that periodically has to be removed to access batteries and gear, is a separate cover. So removing the lower seat cushion is a quick and easy job, unlike the one piece genuine seat covers.
In the rear of the Defender we have added 4 jump seats and seat belts. To give a really nice look, and great wear-ability, the rear seats are also covered in upgraded seat covers.
Here you can see the nearly completed interior. The new AC system, ARB locker controls, Tuffy box and all the other goodies make this D90 look great, and it will function better as well.
To continue with the longevity upgrades on the 90 we have added a set of ECR ROX footwell trim panels to replace the ridiculous cardboard panels that came factory. The ROX panels are alloy and coated in a heavy duty polymer for long life without any sagging, even if you get them muddy.
Here you can see that we have assembled and installed the restored rear tire carrier. No more rust bleeds or peeling powder coat here. All the fasteners used in assembly are stainless so this area will be good to go, long term.
On the front of the D90 we have added a new ROX bumper and skid plate, along with a new Warn 9000 winch. To make the best use of the winch we also installed 2 ECR ROX recovery points. These will allow easy use of a snatch block or a strap for numerous off road recovery actions.
Inside the final pieces have arrived and the interior is now complete other than a good cleaning. Everything works 100%, from the dash lights and the iPod sound system to the new AC system and locker controls.
Here you can see the nearly finished, galvanized frame, NAS Defender 90. This great looking and long lasting rig is nearly ready to head back to the customer for years of trouble free service.
To make this Defender 90 even more trick the customer decided to send us a new roof top tent for us to custom fit to the 90. Here you can see we have made some modifications to the factory roof rack to allow for easy of use of the new roof top tent. The rear ladder on the factory roof rack acts as great access to the tent, and to keep the body in good shape while you unfold the tent we added a set of wing top guards so that you can stand on the fenders without damaging them. In the closed position the tent looks like what you see above.
Open the tent and you get a great place to camp without the need for setting up a tent on the ground, with this rig if you have your Rover, you also have your lodging for the night! Way cool. The tent allows for easy access up the front ladder, or up the rear ladder on the roof rack. This cool tent set up along with all the other tricks on this Defender 90, from reliable turbo diesel power to an ARB air locker have transformed this Defender 90 into the ultimate back country cruiser.
If you have dreams for your Defender, contact ECR. We'll be happy to make your Defender world class... just like this one.