1966 Series IIA Rebuild - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old September 7th, 2010, 09:53 PM
punter
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1966 Series IIA Rebuild

I picked this truck up a number of years ago with the intention of fixing it up a bit and using it as a daily driver, then doing a full restoration several years down the road (It's a 1966 Series IIA Body mounted on a 1984 Defender 110 Rolling Chassis). Unfortunately, that plan went out the window (as they usually do) shortly after I got her home.

When I bought this vehicle, it was running roughly (a supposed vacuum leak) and had a few of the standard oil leaks. As best I could tell it appeared pretty solid beyond that.

After I got it home, I started working on the engine to get it running correctly ...after exhausting the possibilities of vacuum leaks, carb tuning, timing, etc. I decided to pop off the valve covers and have a look inside. As soon as I got a load of that, I knew I was in for a full engine rebuild. So, I pulled the engine, gearbox, and transfer case in order to go through all of them and be done with it.

Once I got them out of the truck, I was able to get a better look at the chassis and discovered a considerable amount of cancer that I couldn't detect when I was poking around from underneath ...so much for waiting to do the full rebuild.

So, I ordered up a new, galvanized chassis and began to tear down the engine for a full rebuild (that was in fall of 2006). It has been an epic experience since then, but I am now finally making some measurable progress on this build, so I figured I'd post some pictures.
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  #2  
Old September 7th, 2010, 10:49 PM
punter
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I was pretty stoked when the chassis arrived from the UK and I drove from North Carolina to Vermont to pick it up that weekend. Once I laid eyes on it though, I was extremely disappointed.

I chose this particular manufacturer in the UK, because they claimed to perform extensive finishing work on each of the chassis that they build. Of course, I also opted for a galvanized chassis, obviously I liked the protection that it offered and I think it looks pretty cool too.

As I looked over the chassis, I could find little sign of any finishing work that was done before or after the galvanization process. The entire chassis was covered with weld splatter that was not cleaned off prior to galvanization and created thousands of little stalactites (some of which were sharp as heck… I cut myself a number of times on these things) and bumps …it kind of made the entire chassis look like the face of an adolescent boy with horrendous acne.

The real problem was that I couldn’t sand/grind them off without ruining the galvanized finish. Along with the chronic acne, the chassis was covered in ash from the galvanization process… this cleaned up with a standard flap disk and a lot of time. What really got me, though, were the numerous poorly fitted parts and bad welds (there were welds with horrific pitting blatantly obvious even under the zinc coating).

I called the distributor and ultimately the manufacturer to raise my concerns (I even sent numerous photos), but was told in no uncertain words to pound salt. So there I was, stuck with a brand new chassis that looked (in my opinion) horrible and that I had no confidence in due to the poor workmanship.

The next four years were spent working around overseas deployments and the absolutely psychotic weather we have here in Eastern North Carolina, working in my back yard… sand blasting the galvanization off of the chassis, so I could grind down the weld splatter and sloppy welds, repair the bad welds, and have the entire thing re-finished.

Well, this past weekend I picked up my chassis from the powder coater and I finally feel like I have a worthy foundation upon which to rebuild my truck.

Below are pics of the chassis, as I received it …while I was working on it …and as it looks now.
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  #3  
Old September 8th, 2010, 07:55 AM
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Charles Galpin
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Interested to see how this progresses. Are you sure that's a IIA body? Windshield/roof looks like a defender. Do you have pictures of the dash?

What was the harm with the splatter? The only thing I can think of is that it might trap/hold dirt on a bit more.
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Old September 8th, 2010, 03:35 PM
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Scott,

Sorry to hear about your chassis. Mine is from Marsland and it too had splatter but all the welds are perfect. Your outrigger looks like I welded it - that's horrible. I assume yours is not from Marlsand as mine is stamped "Marsland" on the front horns. Good luck with the rebuild. I am going on 1 year and it's close to paint time. Please continue to post your progress!

I agree with Charles, that body does not look like a IIA body.
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  #5  
Old September 8th, 2010, 05:34 PM
punter
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cgalpin: Are you sure that's a IIA body? Windshield/roof looks like a defender.
Yeah, I see what you're saying... most IIAs I've seen have the split windshield and the safari roof. That being said, I have seen pics of Series IIAs without one and/or the other, as well. The door latches are right for that model, as are the side windows... the grill is definitely not.
It could be something wierd they did at the factory ...it could have parts poached off a Defender when the body swap was done ...could be a Defender with some Series parts on it ...who knows for sure?
The data plate on the bulkhead reads that it's a IIA, as does the title. So, for legalities sake, at least, it's a Series IIA. In the end, though, I'm not too hung up on all that. This truck is going to give all the purists out there a coronary by the time it's done.

Do you have pictures of the dash?
Not right now, I suppose I could take some. It's definitely from a Defender, though ...the entire interior appears either Defender or aftermarket. Most of that is getting pitched eventually anyway.

What was the harm with the splatter? The only thing I can think of is that it might trap/hold dirt on a bit more.
Purely cosmetic, for the most part. For me it's a little more, though...
The way I see it, if you claim to do extensive finishing work on your product and remove all that garbage, you should do it. Moreover, I see it as an indication of quality and workmanship. If you're capable of creating beautiful welds... I say, "show them off." ..if not, grind them down and make them look like you have some sort of pride in what you do. I was bent out of shape because, to me, that chassis looked like the builder just didn't give a rat's a$$ about what he was doing... and some of those welds really had me worried about the longevity of the chassis as well. Plus, If I'm going to put all this time and money into a truck I want it to at least look good for a little while.
In the end, though... the weld splatter itself isn't going to have any real negitive effects on the longevity of the chassis.

MUDSUX... no this chassis was definitely not from Marshland. Glad to know that you had better luck than I did. I'll be sure to recommend Marshland to anyone I know that's in the market for a replacement chassis, because I certainly willnot recommend the manufacturer I went with.

I'll try to get some pics up later of when I pulled the body off the old chassis and removed the axles. I'm going to start digging into the axles this weekend.

Cheers
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  #6  
Old September 8th, 2010, 05:40 PM
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Yeah that's a series vin on a defender. No worries. Just pointing it out so you don't waste time looking for series parts. Those door handles came on early 110s too.
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  #7  
Old September 8th, 2010, 08:09 PM
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Cool, thanks cgalpin

I uploaded some more pics from last weekend.

The engine, gearbox, and transfer case have all been out for quite some time, but I finally got around to lifting the body up off of the chassis this past weekend.

I removed the fenders first, which made life a lot easier when it was time to disconnect all the ancillary items that tie the chassis and body together (steering linkage, brake lines, wiring harnesses, and so on).

I lifted the whole truck up as high as I could, put it on some jack stands and then got on to all of the body mounts… the bolts all came off pretty easy and there was no drama there what-so-ever. Then I went through the truck from tip to tail and disconnected, cut, or removed anything that was still connecting the body and chassis.

Once I was pretty confident that I got everything, I braced the body and began to lower the chassis …stopping every few inches initially to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I did, of course, miss something too …the gas tank filler tube …biggest thing under there and I completely forgot about it. No issues though, caught it immediately, disconnected it and continued on.

Once the chassis was on the ground I was able to slip some 4X4s under the body, jack that up a bit more and then lower it onto some more jack stands. After that, I was able to just roll the chassis out from under the body and load it up on the trailer to bring home. The old chassis was a bit of a mess, lots of rot …very glad I decided to replace it right away.

With the chassis in the garage at home I started to strip the last items off of it …Axles, Fuel Tank, Suspension and Steering Items. This is when I came to realize that my angle grinder is the single best purchase I have ever made in my life …with my impact wrench as a not too distant second. I literally had to cut up parts of the chassis just to get at bolts that I needed to cut off. It was a bit tedious, but I was able to salvage all the parts I wanted before the rest went off to the salvage yard as a trailer full of scrap metal.

If all goes well, I’ll tear the axles down this weekend and get to work on rebuilding them.
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  #8  
Old September 8th, 2010, 11:15 PM
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Holy crap, are you doing a chassis swap in a U-Store-It?
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Old September 9th, 2010, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punter View Post
......This is when I came to realize that my angle grinder is the single best purchase I have ever made in my life ….
Yes my thought exactly when I did mine. I am on my second one!
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  #10  
Old September 9th, 2010, 12:25 PM
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While those welds are ugly and I appreciate your dedication in redoing them, I would have just cleaned up the welds and hit them with cold galvanizing compound. My experience is that the replacement frames (like the factory frames) are never perfect.

And yes, that is a 1984 110 body. If you can find the VIN on the chassis, maybe you can get it a proper title.
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Old September 9th, 2010, 09:39 PM
punter
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founD90...
Nah, I've got the new chassis in my garage at home and that's where I'm doing the majority of the work. I didn't have anywhere to put the old truck at home, so I had to put it in a U-Store It unit. I did have to pull the old chassis there, though ...and that was miserable. Really tight space and no power. Thankfully everything came apart pretty easily.

evilfj...
Yeah, the old chassis had a VIN that was consistant with a 1984 Defender (but it's in the scrap yard now)... there's a data plate on the Brake Servo as well with a matching VIN. I'm not too worried about the title... unless I have problems with the existing title, messing with it will just me a major (and largely unneccessary) headache. But thanks for confirming ...at least I know for sure what I've got.
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  #12  
Old September 11th, 2010, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUDSUX View Post
Yes my thought exactly when I did mine. I am on my second one!
Does it get any easier the second time around?

...well, if you see me about to do something stupid ...stop me, before I make more problems for myself
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Old September 11th, 2010, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punter View Post
...well, if you see me about to do something stupid ...stop me, before I make more problems for myself
Too late, you are already infected with the rover sickness
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Old September 11th, 2010, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by punter View Post
Does it get any easier the second time around?
I meant I am on my second grinder for one truck!
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  #15  
Old September 11th, 2010, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUDSUX View Post
I meant I am on my second grinder for one truck!
LMFO!!!!!
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  #16  
Old September 11th, 2010, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUDSUX View Post
I meant I am on my second grinder for one truck!
Haha, that's what I thought.

While I love my grinders, they still come second to my sawsall!
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  #17  
Old September 11th, 2010, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cgalpin View Post
Haha, that's what I thought.

While I love my grinders, they still come second to my sawsall!
...yeah, that just might be my next purchase.

------ Follow up post added September 11th, 2010 08:13 PM ------

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_lucas View Post
Too late, you are already infected with the rover sickness
Please allow me to rephrase...
If you see me about to do anything else foolish...
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  #18  
Old September 18th, 2010, 10:06 PM
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Correct me if I am wrong, but you are not required to have seat belts in this vehicle...because of the year.
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Old September 19th, 2010, 12:14 AM
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64 was the first year they were required in front seats.
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  #20  
Old September 19th, 2010, 09:54 AM
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Not being required isn't really a good reason not to have them Besides he might have a wife that won't drive with him without them for example
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