Land Rovers in Africa
I bought my 1997 Land Rover Defender 110 Tdi in 2005, the vehicle was 8 years old and had 120 000 km on, I was to be the third owner. It served me well for the next 7 years but it was starting to show the signs of ware and tare. After spending most of its life at the coast there were tell tale signs of rust on the firewall, the paint work was looking tired and the headlining had all sagged down. The vehicles was in great condition actually so I was reluctant to replace it just to cure some cosmetic issues. After seeing the result of a friends Defender being re-sprayed I decided that it would be a good idea to do a Defender rebuild.
At first I thought that I'd just wheel it into the body shop, have it sprayed and that would be that. However after thinking about it and doing a bit of research I realised that to do the job properly it would be better to disassemble many of the panels. Then once I started this process I realised that there were many items that I should attend too while the vehicle was apart. So what followed was infact a complete Defender rennovation and rebuild that was painstaking but it yielded a beautiful almost new Defender Tdi.
Once I got started I soon realised that the Defender restoration was not that different from some of the earlier Series vehicles that I had rebuilt. Once you take away some of the plastic cladding, its just bolts and nuts that hold everything together. The disassembly was relatively quick, I tried to make a point of labelling, marking and sorting all the parts and bolts that I removed so that reassembly would be a bit easier. The main objective was to get the panels back to their individual sepparate parts without any fittings connected. This would make the spray painting easier and more thorough, thereby yielding a neat professional finished product.
The process followed was removing the roof and rear top sides, taking the doors off and disassembling them completely, removing the seats, removing the front wings, removing lights and body fittings, wheel arches and all the window glass and rubbers. Then everything had to be cleaned and repaired or replaced where necessary.