Pre-weekend read here
Having read the run up to the weekend on page 1 of this rebuild, you`ll know that; we were putting a galvanised chassis on my 1993 Defender 90; our magazine editor, Si, was willing to donate two days of his life to the cause, as was Peter, another member and Landrover parts specialist; Rob Walker of A1 Autogas (LPG conversions) was good enough to lend us his lovely new workshop.
The 90 had been stripped of its kit (winch, roofrack, ladder, spotlights, interior trim and mats, toolboxes, alloy wheels etc), thoroughly steamcleaned wherever we could get to and for the three weeks prior bolts were drowned in WD40. New bolts were planned and purchased ready for the re-build.
The original plan was to re-chassis the Defender in the three days of the bank holiday weekend, May 5th-7th.
Si, our mag editor (and mechanic), and Peter (parts specialist) then decided that the three of
us could do it within the two days of Saturday and Sunday. Okay, I thought - I`d been told when pricing the job up that it`d
take about a week. Nothing like confidence, eh?
The weekend started on the Friday night - nothing to do with the chassis, more that it was my parents 25th wedding
anniversary and they had a party in which Peter and myself were more than happy to attend. Being their son, I had been
helping all day and started drinking about 7:00pm. By midnight we`d lost count of the vodkas that had gone down!
Now, imagine waking up on the Saturday morning. You begin to realise what lays ahead, as your head spins and the
contents of your innards make the decision to "abandon ship". Yep, the weekend had begun.
Wisely, I had loaded up the 90 the previous morning. The drive to Rob Walkers workshop was not pleasant;
dark glasses on and a carrier bag was in place for any further stomach contents going awol. I arrived at the garage at
9am and phoned Peter - him and Si were tucking into a brekkie at a cafe opposite the ships were I work. The thought of
eggs, bacon and beans didn`t help my health.
They pulled up ten minutes later, unloaded the boxes of tools as loudly as possible and grinned each time they
looked at me. Lovely lads. Full of sympathy. The 90 was driven onto one set of ramps, whilst the tools
were lined up at bench height on the ramps next to it. The job begun.
First to come off were the doors. Easy enough. 14 bolts and three pins and it looked like we`d been working for an hour.
The decision to take the body off in three parts had been made wisely by Si the week before. It`s been heard of
that the body can come off in one, and this was certainly possible here as Rob had a 3 tonne roof winch in the workshop.
However, (for the sake of a couple more bolts) we didn`t want the hassle of lining everything up. It`s much easier to line
up the front end, the rear tub and seatbox and then the roof seperately than all at once.
Doors off, we began to unbolt the windscreen from the bulkhead (6 bolts) and the rear roof (four bolts). Seatbelts off and
the three of us lifted the windscreen, roof and rear windows off. At this point my Dad turned up unexpectedly. A very welcome
sight in my condition - I could now be substituted if I fell over. Problem was, he`d only arrived back from his party
at 4:30am. I bet mum was not too pleased - probably the reason why he was here so early!!!
The rear tub was unbolted from the chassis, and the seatbox from underneath and the sills/bulkhead. Unplug the filler neck
and off came the rear tub and seatbox. It had just turned 11am.
Up went the 90 into the air on the ramp, and time to unbolt the front end (bulkhead forward). As I stood by the ramp,
still feeling sick and dizzy, Si decided to see if a technical piece of equipment was still working - a large hammer.
It came down on the floor of the ramp about three inches from my head, and had the effect of a rather large bomb going
off - I lifted off the floor, and landed, shaking, eyes tight shut. On opening them there were even more
large grins from the other three. To say I was not amused would be an understatement!!
At this point I decided to get some fresh (quiet) air and arrange the lunch. On return the front end had gone, and was
sitting on the floor next to the other two bits of body. Radiator and intercooler came off and were taken to my place
of work (2 mins away) for a thorough steamclean. Looking at my baby it was now a rolling chassis!!
Engine and boxes came off as one, as did the power steering (saves bleeding) leaving the 1993 chassis looking very used and abused.
The wiring loom had been cut by the plugs (badly corroded) leaving enough to wire them back in once
we had the new chassis in place. Wiring loom was pulled out of the old chassis, checked, cleaned and re-covered.
Having spent it`s first seven years in the hands of Merseyside Police (much of it on the beach) certainly showed in the chassis.
I`d had a plate welded on the side of the chassis, and the rear crossmember was completely shot. Surprisingly, though, under
the layers of mud that were not reached by the steamcleaner, it was surprisingly sound. The decision was then made
to keep the old chassis and build a 90 based trailler at some point. More fun to come...
The old chassis was removed, with the exhaust system still there for now, leaving just the two axles, shocks and springs sitting
there - as if the rest had been blown away. Very strange sight, looking at the vehicle I`d been driving not five hours before!
This way the halfway point. Whilst my dad unbolted the exhaust from the old chassis, and a few other bits, the new galvanised
chassis was hoisted into place and bolted onto the suspension.
Time for some food for the lads, and crack open a can for those not driving. I was not driving, but (looking at my health that morning)
decided not to allow alcahol into my system for at least the next lifetime or four. Once full, we set about again. It was now about 6:30pm!!
Over came the engine and gear/transfer box, and in it plopped. The steering was hooked up again, as was "all those fiddly bits in the
engine bay". The wiring loom was attached to the wire Peter and myself had previously threaded through the chassis, and was
pulled through with ease. The front end was picked up with Robs roof hoist and lowered into place.
Si set about with the new copper brake pipe, telling us we would be going no further until this looked perfect - apparently
a pet hate of his, this pipe must be straight and look genuine before any other jobs continued. Perfectionist!!
Must say: when finished, it really was perfect, too!
The decision was made to lift the rear tub into place, and call it a night. We did so, and stood back and admired the project.
8pm now, and 11 hours into the job the 90 looked almost ready to roll. We still had to do a bit of wiring, put the seats and
roof back, and a few more fiddly jobs but the majority was done! We packed up the tools, cleaned up a little and set off for the night.
Si wanted to experience the scouse drinking scene, so after we set off to my house first (Si was staying there the night).
A quick shower and bite to eat and we set off to meet up with Peter and headed to Wavertree High Street.
I refrained from allowing Vodka into my system, but did join in with the admiration
of that girl in the blue skirt....