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Defender 90 Puma Seat Conversion & Rollcage


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Hi all. First topic so please be gentle. Just thought I would share my last project on 'Rosie' my 1993 200tdi Defender 90.

With a 1year old in the house and potentially another one on the way I set about making Rosie a bit more child friendly and a bit safer too. Perhaps even comfortable?

 

Some compromises definitely had to be made due to budget. Now that the work is complete I wish I had been able to find a full internal rollcage in my budget.

I went with a RBL033 5SSS-B from Safety Devices. I had to buy through them as no one had stock, it was also discounted as it was a canceled order, and it was the only one I could think about affording 😅

Now some might rightly point out that I should have just gone for an external cage. There's a few reasons this wasn't an option for me:

  • I picked up a second hand patriot roof rack which would interfere with the rollcage
  • I didn't want any holes in the wings or roof
  • Relocating snorkel is a pain
  • unsure of interference with seat conversion
  • mentioned already - not in budget

This is also my first DIY project on a car and with so much new to me this was the route I thought would fit within my untested skillset.

 

I used the fitting guide from another well known defender forum - not sure about the rules for linking to other forums so I will just say google "defender puma seat conversion" 😉

The tub insert is the Wildbear Puma tub conversion kit form fleabay.

All seatbelts, reels and brackets are OEM new.

Tub support brackets and fixing kits for the underside of the wheelarch are from YRM metal solutions - galvanised.

Seats and mechanism second hand from ebay.

 

1. Remove all the seats, lap belts, brackets and tub supports.

I didn't know about dissimilar metal corrosion - in for a steep learning curve 😱

Ground away the dreaded white stuff on the surface and cut back to good metal.

At this point I already knew the plan was going to have to change  and so started prepping the underside of the tub for re-skinning it. The only surefire way I thought I could stop future water ingress was with new 3mm sheet riveted through the wheelarch and tub insert, creating a three layer sandwich with the old original metal in between. All sealed with CT-1 Adhesive Sealant.

Rivets are 6.4mm sealed end rivets. Probably overkill but I wanted to be sure. This also has the benefit of creating a composite sound deadening panel 😁

Jumping ahead slightly - first order of business was test fitting everything.

 

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2. Test Fit Tub, Rollcage and Seats

Seats arrived and this let me figure out how far back I could mount them to give as much space as possible for passangers. No worries there - the Wildbear insert can be mounted hard to the rear of the tub. This has the benefit of leaving enough clearance for the front tub support bracket. (if your front support brackets are in better condition than mine you could even leave them in place)

I would have been able to re-use the existing mounting holes but in my case the extra thickness of the new 3mm skin on the underside of the wheel arch offset all the holes by the thickness of the new sheet 😢

 

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3. Sandblast all original support brackets and paint

At this point I didn't know what I would end up re-using so I just did them all. Sandblasted, red oxide, black hammerite over. I know its carp paint - at this point I hadn't done enough research but its all I had to hand (and all I could afford)

 

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4. YRM tub support bracket prep & paint

This is also the seatbelt mounting point and ties everything back to the rear crossmember. Mine arrived a bit warped. (I fixed this issue in the end by fixing to the tub first which by now was much stiffer due to the extra skin of 3mm alu sheet, tub insert and many many many rivets. The bolts I had loosely in place and tightening them up straightened the bracket.

As the were galvanised I did at least use an etch primer before coating liberally in hammerite. When I'm done with everything I'll look into gravel guard and the Gwyn Lewis mudflaps for additional protection.

 

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5. Tub re-skin

3mm Aluminium sheet cut to size, etch primer, hammerite and left to dry.

I made angled spreader plates for the tub insert as well as anywhere I would need fixings. Once these are riveted in place it gives the bolts for the seats at least 6mm of aluminium.

I also made sacrificial plates for any point I was going to have dissimilar metals touching.

 

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5. Headliner repair & Insulation

This is a bit of a 3D jigsaw puzzle. The headliner was gubbed and would need doing now as once the rollcage was in - access wouldn't be an option anymore. Same thing goes for insulation and sound deadening.

I took the opportunity to run speaker cable down either side of the roof channel with two coils left behind the trim above the rear door for future audio upgrades.

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Continued below......

 



 

Edited by PolarBlair
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6. Moment of no return - glue and rivets

Everything glued and riveted at the same time to provide a continuous seal.

I left as many of the original tub strengthening ribs in place and used these as the rivet points.

At this point I found more corrosion where the wing stay is mounted back to the tub. Why landrover?! 😭

Ground back and fixed with fiberglass. I'm sure this is terrible for many reasons but I had zero aluminium left and no money to buy more.

I used some Dynamat as a barrier between the roll cage support bracket and underside of tub - plus a lot more CT-1.

The more eagle eyed will notice the smaller bolt in the rollcage bracket. In my sleep deprived stupidity I matched the rivnut to the existing hole. I then picked up the actual bolt and realised my mistake. (I'm currently replacing the tubular outrigger on both sides so now I have space to get the drill in and replace it with the correct size) :blush:

 

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7. Seatbelt bracket and trim

Seatbelt brackets were a bit of a pain. I used a thread extension and an outer sleeve to clamp the bottom of the bracket through the tub. The stock bolt in the corner of the tub isn't long enough otherwise. Other than that, bolted them in at the top and cut the trim while trying to keep as much of it as possible for a factory look.

 

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8. More sound deadening, insulation and carpet.

The roof was done with dynamat xtreme and dodomat 6mm super liner. I kept it thin as I was worried about the headliner not having enough clearance.

Sides and roof above the front cab were done with more dynamat and yoga mats spray glued in place.

tub was done with generic 10mm closed cell self adhesive foam from ebay.

The 4 way stretch van liner was the cheapest stuff I could find on ebay. At this point all the monies were properly gone.

 

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9. Tub Floor

Here I used the last of the dynamat xtreme with the oem rubber liner on top. The tub insert was cut down to clear the seat brackets and rear threshold strip repaired.

 

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10. And Done!

Took on a small test drive. No more rattles, no noise from the rear tub at all even on gravel. Usually the sound of gravel hitting the underside of the wheel arch was pretty deafening.

 

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Whats next?

As I mentioned earlier - I noticed the rear tubular outriggers were heavily corroded. The one pictured is the GOOD ONE. On the other side the underside of the tube is gone.

Naturally the seatbox sides are also rotted through, sills, fuel tank, front seatbelt brackets, door strike plates, front of rear tub where it meets the outrigger - also gone.

Footwell, bulkhead and the list goes on. Payday came and went and now I'm waiting on a delivery of fresh metal, a budget MIG, as well as various Dinitrol products.

 

The adventure continues. :im-ok-smiley-emoticon: Bit shell shocked but being thrown in at the deep end I think I can at least say that I float. Now just need to learn how to swim (and weld)


 

Edited by PolarBlair
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22 hours ago, Snagger said:

That’s really good work, especially for someone new to it.

Thank you kindly! :D

This was me a few days back though. If you look closely you can see the pain in my eyes :(

Welder arrives tomorrow so need to get my skates on and get all the corrosion and rust cut out ready for the new metal.

How hard could it be? :blink:

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23 hours ago, Maverik said:

Cool truck and very good post, now make sure you get some decent security features fitted, you don't want to lose her prematurely. 

I've been giving this some thought. Looks like she had a factory alarm fitted but I've never had a fob for this so could be quite a bit of work getting that functional. Other than that I always leave the steering wheel locked and use a clutch claw too.

Probably look at a gearstick & handbrake lock on top of that. Won't stop anyone determined but would slow them down and hopefully act as a deterrent.

Although it's not going to stop someone lifting on to a flat bed so I had considered a professional alarm system with tracking capabilities. Is the factory 10AS alarms worth salvaging or is it better to go for a fresh install with all the bells and whistles?

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19 hours ago, Arjan said:

Nice !

Cage is a very personal thing - both have pro's and con's

Good project.

Protection will be important I'm afaid

Now that its in I would recommend this rollcage to anyone that just wants more rigidity, less noise and additional safety for the drivers. Its clearly not beefy enough for serious offroad use. In most of the pictures I've seen where defenders have ended up on the roof its the windscreen frame, front roof and bonnet that take most of the damage. They trucks end up wedge shaped with the rear of of the roof taking less damage - makes sense as the weight is up front. This should give a bit of a safety zone 'triangle' with the cage and the engine block providing high points. Certainly better than nothing!

Its very easy to fit and the only holes to the outside are the four bolts in the feet of the cage which bolt through the load area bed - less chance of water ingress. All other fixings through bodywork are on internal flanges.

Future plan is to extend the cage internally to cover the rear load area but the bulkhead repair will have to come first. Currently trying to determine if its a repair or replace job 😭

At this rate I'm not going to have to worry about security for quite a while. Ideally I'd like to be back on the road for the winter season. Without it I'm not getting to work 😬

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I have the same bar in mine, I picked it up second hand and can’t fault it.

Did yours come with chassis mounts? and if so have you got any pictures of these? Mine were missing when I got it, but they want a lot of money just for 2 simple brackets 
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Thanks

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2 hours ago, Jon W said:

I have the same bar in mine, I picked it up second hand and can’t fault it.

Did yours come with chassis mounts? and if so have you got any pictures of these? Mine were missing when I got it, but they want a lot of money just for 2 simple brackets 
 

 

Thanks

Yep this is it. They are just a simple 'L' bracket. You are probably best making your own as the holes in mine were off by at least 5mm (in the wrong direction too so I couldn't use a spacer). Had to drill new holes and grind them in to slots to keep it neat. I suspect all defenders are going to have variations in the distance between underside of tub and chassis.

Have you called safety devices? I got my cage directly through them. They don't generally sell to individuals but a bit of sweetalking goes a long way.

I can PM you the details of the person I spoke with if that helps?

There are a few extra brackets/ angles that let you bolt it to the junction flange where the side panel and roof meet. Do you have these?

 

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Thanks for the pictures. I had a price for a set of brackets off Devon 4x4 who could supply them but would have cost be £195 for 2 bits of metal. 

Having seen the brackets now, it looks quite easy to get some knocked up as they aren't as big or substantial as I thought they would be. I thought they would be like roll cage brackets and be a U shape channel which bolts over the top of the chassis.

@Maverik was looking at getting some of these brackets for his 90 I think to tie in with his cage 

 

Thanks 

 

Jon 

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47 minutes ago, Maverik said:

Quick question, I see the main hoop to chassis brackets are bolted by 3 bolts to the chassis? how are they fixed in?

Its really simple  - the three holes in the side of the chassis rail should already be present. You just drill them out to accept M12 (I think) rivnuts.

I wouldn't bother buying a rivnut tool though. They are fine for smaller sizes but anything M10 and above, it becomes really difficult to crush the collar that clamps the rivnut to the metal.

I just used the bolt and nut method - plenty of youtube tutorials.

Then that just leaves you with three threaded holes to bolt the bracket to the side of the chassis.

Jon - £195 for two brackets is beyond taking the p*ss especially considering mine didn't even line up. I can't imagine Safety Devices would charge that. Looks like its time to break out the welder.

 

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16 hours ago, Geojake said:

This looks great! Good work and giving me ideas for my own! You should finish the interior off with a tubular bulkhead removal bar to let it all flow. 

I thought about it but I prefer the bulkhead in place. It just makes more sense with my two greyhounds. There's also brackets for things like the long oem jack and other tools.

Im considering mounting an aux heater behind the centre seat too.

Just way too useful as big mounting board for tasty accessories 😋

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16 hours ago, PolarBlair said:

Its really simple  - the three holes in the side of the chassis rail should already be present. You just drill them out to accept M12 (I think) rivnuts.

I wouldn't bother buying a rivnut tool though. They are fine for smaller sizes but anything M10 and above, it becomes really difficult to crush the collar that clamps the rivnut to the metal.

I just used the bolt and nut method - plenty of youtube tutorials.

Then that just leaves you with three threaded holes to bolt the bracket to the side of the chassis.

Jon - £195 for two brackets is beyond taking the p*ss especially considering mine didn't even line up. I can't imagine Safety Devices would charge that. Looks like its time to break out the welder.

 

Interesting, thanks for that, I'm suprised they advised rivnuts but good to know for future, previous ones I've seen are generally spot welded there.

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5 hours ago, shanecl said:

Hi PolarBlair would you have a part number for the rear seat belt brackets 

I just had a look and can't find the part number. But if you Google Td5 rear seat belt bracket it will come up.

Pretty sure I just got mine off eBay as a pair.

They are handed and only for hard top

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13 hours ago, western said:

click on the item number & a small box will appear with the part number.

2007 on http://cat.lrparts.ru/?category=57281

upto end 2006 http://cat.lrparts.ru/?category=117875 & http://cat.lrparts.ru/?category=117908

I think those brackets are for the standard inward facing seats?

The brackets for seatbelt mount to chassis with forward facing seats look different. They fit under the tub and bolt through the rear cross member.

Mine were from YRM:

 

LHS & RHS REAR SEAT BELT TO CHASSIS BRACKET FOR FORWARD FACING SEAT HDG

https://yrmit.co.uk/product/rhs-rear-seat-belt-to-chassis-bracket-for-forward-facing-seat-hdg-2/

 

They sell all the conversion parts separately including the tub insert and the support panel.

You can but the complete conversion kit but I couldnt afford it. Also I had the rollcage to consider. The YRM tub insert is a complete reskin for the wheel arches.

In my setup it would have actually prevented the rollcage from fitting. The clearance was already zero between the wheel arches. Something to bear in mind for anyone looking to use this cage with a rear seat conversion.

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14 hours ago, western said:

click on the item number & a small box will appear with the part number.

2007 on http://cat.lrparts.ru/?category=57281

upto end 2006 http://cat.lrparts.ru/?category=117875 & http://cat.lrparts.ru/?category=117908

Should of been these http://cat.lrparts.ru/?category=57222

http://cat.lrparts.ru/?category=57251

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