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'94 D90 POE #1500, '97 ST #23
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I have a '94 POE that needs some love and I'm looking for a good and trustworthy shop to do the work. I'm in WI but I'll drive it to almost anywhere. I been pestering ECR for a while but as I'm sure you know, they're so busy that they're not even putting anybody on their waiting list anymore.

I did talk with Mike at the 4x4 Center in Burlington, VT, and was wondering if anybody here had anything good or bad to say about them.

Like I said, it's a '94 POE that has had (I believe) six previous owners. We've had it since '09 and I'd like to keep looking as stock as possible. The frame is bent from a couple of previous owner "incidents." It's got about 140,000 on the clock and the engine, gearbox, and t-case are all rebuilt within the last 10,000. My possible to do list includes:

Galvanized frame,
rebuild axles
repair floorboard rust
new tail light assemblies (square)
new CHIMSL light (I have the bar)
reseal swivel balls
upgrade brakes

Thanks!
 

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Depending on your timeline we may be able to help - scheduling projects +/-120 days out at this time.

Not close geographically, but you can road trip or ship.
 

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your gonna open a can of worms with the little list


galvanized frame..
so new
brake lines
fuel lines
bushings
Fuel pump
hardware
shocks
springs

Rebuild axle
Do they need a rebuild?

repair floorboard rust
repair floors or bulkhead
Floors just bolt in

reseal swivel balls
So just replace the swivel ball seals
or are the bearings leaking?

Upgrade brakes
So do you want something like Wilwood brakes?

depending in how you answer that is a $15000 to $30000 bill
 

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your gonna open a can of worms with the little list


galvanized frame..
so new
brake lines
fuel lines
bushings
Fuel pump
hardware
shocks
springs

Rebuild axle
Do they need a rebuild?

repair floorboard rust
repair floors or bulkhead
Floors just bolt in

reseal swivel balls
So just replace the swivel ball seals
or are the bearings leaking?

Upgrade brakes
So do you want something like Wilwood brakes?

depending in how you answer that is a $15000 to $30000 bill

^this
but also probably more like a $20k-60k bill
 

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'94 D90 POE #1500, '97 ST #23
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191 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I was thinking the cost would be along those lines. The $60K might be a little steep for me, but I basically want it to look close to stock and like it gets used for what they built it to do. It doesn't need to look perfect and I don't want any zoomy flashbang gadgets on it...just a '94 POE that's got no rust/corrosion issues, everything works perfectly, is extremely mechanically sound. I do use it for work and so it sees a lot of dirt, mud, and rocks; and it lives in WI so it also sees a lot of salt in winter.

You guys know waaaay more about these trucks than I do, and I want somebody that knows them well to do the work. So, to respond to your questions, that little list is of areas that I know need to be addressed. I'm open to discussions as to HOW they get addressed, and to what collateral areas would be involved.

I'm not sure if the axles need to be rebuilt, but the diffs are sloppy for sure...esp the front one. What exactly is done with the brakes is TBD. They don't need to be as effective as an F1 car, but they need to stop the truck better than they do.
 

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Can you take pics of the bent frame? If it is not rusted, they can usually be straightened easy enough. I guess my point is it may not (yet) need a complete resto. As far as brakes, just replace everything. Calipers, pads (genuine), rotors, rubber hoses, MC, repack or replace and repack wheel bearings. It’s about a grand in parts (push or shove depending on what parts and where you get them) and less than a day in labor. Any mechanic can do the job. If the lines are not rusty, they can wait. If not, they can be done in situ if needed.

Same deal with the axles, what is actually wrong? If it is diffs, pull the pumpkins (when you are doing brakes and swivel seals) and do exchange with units with trutrac or ARB.

I think a lot of people say “oh, everything is worn out, let’s do a full resto now” but it’s really just deferred maintenance and some repairs. Now if it were a rusty hunk of junk, full rebuild makes sense. I mean I patched my floorboards in a couple hours.
 

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I think you would be better off selling your truck and buying a nice one...

There is a white one in the for sale section/////\
 

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'94 D90 POE #1500, '97 ST #23
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191 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Can you take pics of the bent frame? If it is not rusted, they can usually be straightened easy enough. I guess my point is it may not (yet) need a complete resto. As far as brakes, just replace everything. Calipers, pads (genuine), rotors, rubber hoses, MC, repack or replace and repack wheel bearings. It’s about a grand in parts (push or shove depending on what parts and where you get them) and less than a day in labor. Any mechanic can do the job. If the lines are not rusty, they can wait. If not, they can be done in situ if needed.

Same deal with the axles, what is actually wrong? If it is diffs, pull the pumpkins (when you are doing brakes and swivel seals) and do exchange with units with trutrac or ARB.

I think a lot of people say “oh, everything is worn out, let’s do a full resto now” but it’s really just deferred maintenance and some repairs. Now if it were a rusty hunk of junk, full rebuild makes sense. I mean I patched my floorboards in a couple hours.
Copy all that on the brakes. The frame is whacked in a couple of spots in front and back from PO "incidents." The left front frame horn is bent up from one of the hits and the body shop did the best they could to pull it back down. Rusted spots have been already been patched and the 3rd member is pretty rusted out.

I will probably do the axles just because they've got 140,000 miles on them, and the diffs are loose and clunky, esp. the front one. I will take your advice and exchange them. I've never done that before so where is the best place to do it?

I tried to upload some pics. All the pics were JPEGs and within specs but for some reason, the server "unexpectedly dropped the connection" about six times. I'll try it again later.

I've decided to have it done at local place here in Elkhart Lake called Wolf Motorsports (Wolf Motorsports ? We Can Fix That.). Initially, I thought I needed a place that had a lot of experience with Rovers, but these guys deal with vintage race cars, some worth millions of dollars, on a regular basis. They're old friends and so very trustworthy. And since it will be local, I will be able to see the progress and discuss problems while I'm looking at the truck. I'm hoping to tap you guys for advice specific to Defenders over the winter.
 

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'94 D90 POE #1500, '97 ST #23
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191 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Did you talk to Wolf Rovers? I believe they are in Milwaukee ([email protected])
I never knew they were there until I started this research and I was going to call them when I was still thinking I had to have a "Rover" expert to do it. Then I talked to Wolf Motorsports in Elkhart Lake would be willing to do it. I know them well, they do amazing work and they're in my backyard.
 

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'94 D90 POE #1500, '97 ST #23
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191 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Here are the pics I tried to upload earlier. It's kind of hard to tell, but you can see in the ones of the front that it's not straight, and it pulls pretty heavily to the left under braking.
 

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'94 D90 POE #1500, '97 ST #23
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191 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Here's a pic of the bent frame before and after we chopped it up. We used a plasma cutter to cut it up for the scrap guy and when the first cut got through the rear main rail, the whole frame sprung and twisted about 2 inches more. Not sure why, but I saved the right front frame horn with the VIN stamp.

The panel to the left of the clutch pedal with the VIN sticker on it was too far gone for rehabilitation, but I saved it too. There's a place called vehiclevinstickers.com that can make a replacement for about $120. There are other places too, but not sure of the quality of any of them. It seems expensive but it's my understanding that in some cases for the DMV or DOT or somebody, the VIN needs to be in two different places on the vehicle to determine authenticity. Maybe it's just for importation.

442188
442189
 

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Not sure why, but I saved the right front frame horn with the VIN stamp.
The panel to the left of the clutch pedal with the VIN sticker on it was too far gone for rehabilitation, but I saved it too.
I'd definitely save them both.

There's a place called vehiclevinstickers.com that can make a replacement for about $120. There are other places too, but not sure of the quality of any of them. It seems expensive but it's my understanding that in some cases for the DMV or DOT or somebody, the VIN needs to be in two different places on the vehicle to determine authenticity. Maybe it's just for importation.
The 2 different VIN placement thing came up when I bought a '90-ish 127 licensed/titled in Colorado & tried to register it in NM for the first time, so it's not necessarily a one-time importation-into-the-U.S. thing - it wasn't necessarily gonna be a deal-killer, but it would have required a LE-administered VIN inspection vs the quasi-retail clerk's visual verification of the 2 VINs. And I'm not an attorney, but I'd be leary of relying on "vehiclestickers.com" and/or a diy'd or a pro's stamp of the VIN onto the replacement frame for something that is or was there to represent an authentic factory designation. Maybe get a friend to go in & get a take from your local LE VIN inspector or consult WillH from on here? As I understand it, some of this stuff is supposed to be done within a state-supervised procedure, including frame disposals in some (or all?) localities...
 

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'94 D90 POE #1500, '97 ST #23
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191 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
The frame is long gone, but I did save the right front frame horn, and I have a ton of pics to back up the swap. I never really plan on selling it, but with all the work that's being done to it now, it will absolutely out live me. I've indoctrinated my kids to love old trucks, and I hope that my grandkids will be afflicted as well. I also have WI Collector plates on it already and unless they change the laws, it will never need to be inspected/registered again. So, who knows if this will ever be an issue.
 
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