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Paime's 90 TD5 Chassis Swap


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I think you’ve probably got a mount slightly off somewhere on your new chassis, not unheard of sadly.

The chassis mount at the front of the seatbox should be slotted to allow fore/aft movement?

The body overhanging the rear crossmember by 5-10mm is normal on later vehicles with the moveable rail, often on one side but not the other!

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I've checked the old chassis and that front mount isn't slotted either so I think it should be fixed. Today I moved the rear tub back to lined up that mount and it looks better than I thought. Only about a 3mm overhang so nothing to worry about. I now have a better gap at the bottom of the doors but it reduces the higher up the door gap I measure by about 10mm. Any ideas how I might make it parallel? 

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If it's not parallel then undoing the hardtop/windscreen rail, and the wing fixings? and pulling the top of the bulkhead forward with some ratchet straps? Once you are happy with the gaps then pull up tight with the footwell plates and the wings.

As a guide i went for 6-8mm gap all round the door. A good indication was to shove a couple of 8mm bolts in the hinge side of each door top and bottom, then tighten the hinges up. It was more obvious then if the waistline/seams and the bottom of the door lined up.

 

Pete

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It’s slotted on all the ones I’ve seen, but hopefully you can work around that.

To set the door gaps parallel you adjust the height of the front of the tub and the rake of the bulkhead. With the tub fixed at the back and the bulkhead fixed at the bottom draw a string line tight down the line of the bulge in the body side and across the same point on the bulkhead. This will allow you to set the height of the front of the tub to match the bulkhead. Then adjust the rake of the bulkhead to make it parallel with the tub, so that the door gap is the same at the bottom and top hinge points.

The rest is done in the roof and screen.

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String method in use on my 88” a few years back. Door was in place here but you can set the height without it. This ensures that the barrel shape lines up right down the vehicle from the bulkhead, through the door and onto the tub.

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I've been trying to avoid it but I think the reality is I'm going to have to take the wings off and probably take the windscreen out as well. That string method looks ideal, thanks for the pointer. Might need to take a day off work for all this...

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1 hour ago, Retroanaconda said:

It’s slotted on all the ones I’ve seen, but hopefully you can work around that.

You can see them here on the new chassis, the old one was the same. 2001MY 90 TD5 and the chassis is a shielder one. Maybe it's a TD5 thing?

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4 hours ago, paime said:

I've been trying to avoid it but I think the reality is I'm going to have to take the wings off and probably take the windscreen out as well. That string method looks ideal, thanks for the pointer. Might need to take a day off work for all this...

Should be able to keep the wings on. Just keep the bolts loose? They're floppy enough they they'll move as needed. The windscreen can also stay in, I'd just slacken the row of 5 or 6 bolts along the top. 

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Ran some string down the tub tonight out of curiosity and sure enough I'm currently way out. I've already loosened off the front wing bolts and taken the footwell/chassis bolts out to let everything move. When I took those bolts out the brackets moved quite far forward so the holes in the chassis are covered by the brackets. That feels like a tomorrow problem though! Next up I'll slacken the wings along the tops and see if that helps the bulkhead move forward any.

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It’s a drastic measure but if it comes to it you can cut the bolt tube down on the bulkhead foot to gain some more distance in the door gap. I had to do that on my 88” because an outrigger was welded on c. 10mm out.

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1 hour ago, Retroanaconda said:

It’s a drastic measure but if it comes to it you can cut the bolt tube down on the bulkhead foot to gain some more distance in the door gap. I had to do that on my 88” because an outrigger was welded on c. 10mm out.

Luckily the new chassis outriggers don't have any tubes so I've got more room already. The trouble with doing that is the wing acts as a pivot and pushes the top of the bulkhead forward which closes the gap I'm trying to lengthen. Also, the chassis bulkhead brackets are already too far forward i think. I might have to drop new holes in those if I get everything else lined up ok.

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Retro is meaning the tubes on the bulkhead, not the chassis. Have you got the footwell side of the brackets loose too? A slight hole enlargement there makes for a surprising amount of movement at the chassis side.

One thing which might help is checking the bulkhead mounts are actually vertical, and not pulling the bulkhead one way when the bolts are tightened. 

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Just thought i'd check in with you Paime, see if we can offer any help or remote assistance, the weather has been reasonable for a couple of days. So much so i broke out a tin of lumpy green paint today. 🙂

Have you managed to get any ideas on the alignment of the bulkhead vs doors.

 

Pete

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36 minutes ago, ThreePointFive said:

Glad you got it sorted but as I am doing this job in the next two weeks, I am really not looking forward to it. Especially as I have zero patience when things don't fit immediately.

I don't want to put you off but the job genuinely upset me for about a week until today. I made simple mistakes like forgetting to slacken the bolts along the sill and floor plans, not thinking to undo the windscreen brackets and also keeping the slam panel tight. I only had to move the top of the bulkhead forward by about 7mm on both sides and at times it felt like 7 miles!

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Had a wee test drive this afternoon (closed roads) in advance of Monday's MOT. Lots of rattling from the rear and the traction control was stuck on so every time I hit the accelerator it made that usual TC grinding noise. A couple of questions:

- how tight do all the nuts and bolts have to be around the trailing arms and A frame? Do the bolts actually squeeze the bushes tight or are they just there to act as a pivot point?

- what could be causing the TC issues? I've got 2 new ABS sensors on the rear and I think I've got them on the right wheels. The sensors are pushed as the way home but I've put 2 new bushes on so maybe they're not far enough in?

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Don't know  about your TC issues but your trailing arm, radius arm and A frame arm bushes need to be tight its the rubber in the metalastic bushes that allow the joints to flex regards Stephen

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Quote

how tight do all the nuts and bolts have to be around the trailing arms and A frame? Do the bolts actually squeeze the bushes tight or are they just there to act as a pivot point?

As tight as you can get them, 

all the rear suspension torque setting ---- ALL Newton Metres

trailing arm forward end to chassis 176 big nut

forward end bush to chassis 64

A frame arms to chassis 47

top ball joint to axle 176

top ball joint mounting to axle 47. 

 

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Sounds like a job for the garage on Monday which also sounds like a cop out but they'll have better access than me. The rear axle still isn't centred after the drive either so I'll get them to look at that, too.

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As you are now approaching the end of this project (abit with a few items still to be resolved), if you were to tackle it again or pass on your experiences to anyone else would you do anything differently? I guess what I am getting at was your decision to move the body across as a single unit successful or would you next time split it into separate components (as I did)?

Certainly I didn't have any of the alignment issues you seemed to have. The tub was the main datum, the bulkhead aligned to this and then the doors & wings fitted on seemingly with very few issues. Did moving the body across as one actually save any time and if it did was this a good trade-off against the ability to separate all parts and check condition of mating surfaces, seals, fixings etc? I know space can also be a problem, although my driveway is quite long it is only a single vehicle width so most parts had to be moved from F-R with little ability to work from L-R. The end of the garden was a graveyard of parts for several weeks and while it is one thing to move seats, wings, doors, bonnet etc through the garden gate, items such as the bulkhead had to stay where they were and be moved direct from one chassis to the other. Also my decision to leave the axles until the very end seemed to work for me. I had nowhere to move the new chassis to so it made sense to position it correctly at the start and leave it sitting on axle-stands until the very last minute, with the vehicle practically fully built it was only then I removed the axles from the old chassis and rolled them under the new. Only at this stage did the old chassis then become immobile.

The other thing was how much work had to be done during the chassis change (planned or unplanned)? I had been planning this for some time and had already accumulated a vast stock of new items that were being replaced just because I could. Wiring harness, brake & fuel pipes, fuel-tank, SS exhaust, fixings etc. Many people also see this as a good time to replace suspension & brake components but I had already done this so the axles could be removed from one chassis and rolled under the other without the need to check / replace anything. Likewise the rear-tub and doors. I took the tub off last year to have localised corrosion sorted and have it resprayed, that way I was confident that I could swing it straight across with no remedial action necessary. Likewise the doors, I fitted a pair of galvanised front doors last year (read my comments about SP4x4 for the gory details!) so having already had them sprayed and built-up I just had to swop them over. I am glad I did it that way as it did mean that I could be confident that certain items would spring no surprises at me.

Time, did it take longer or less time than you were expecting? I was really surprised, I started on 1st April (last year) and was expecting to be working all through the summer but as it happened it was all done & dusted by July. Admittedly the weather was fine (an advantage when working outside) but we had just gone into lockdown and as an essential worker I was working fulltime so was only working on the vehicle at weekends, bank-holidays and the occasional day of A/L (all singlehanded). I did make an early start on the new chassis, that arrived mid-March so I had a couple of weeks to clean, etch, prime, paint & Waxoyl it so when I SORN'd the 90 on 1st April I could get stuck straight in.

Facilities, how did you get along with regards to tools etc? I had already bought a 2-ton hoist, load-leveler & strops and it is safe to say that I just couldn't have done it without them. Afterwards I sold them on and "lost" very little money, certainly a fraction of what it would have cost to hire them and in the meantime it meant that the hoist was there every-time I wanted it. The only other tool I bought (and kept) was a brake-pipe bender, fantastic little item!. Tools such as axle-stands, 3-ton jack etc I already owned. I think the only tools I thought I would want to use and ended up up not using them at all was my 100L compressor, impact gun & ratchet. I had bought them in advance thinking they would be just the job for when I did the chassis but I didn't use any of them. I have since sold the compressor & tools and replaced it with a nice little 25L unit (just for tyres).

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@Litchexcellent post there and here are my 'lessons learned:'

On the topic of body dismantling vs moving everything as one, i think it really depends on what you're working with. My bodywork isn't great and it's one of those jobs where once you start you can't put it back together in it's rusty state so the cost of replacing bits is just too much. I'm planning on a new bulkhead, doors, body cappings and seatbox bits for next year so at that time i'll have everything apart and hopefully it'll be easier to get it back together again. My alignment issues probably would have been lessened somewhat if i had moved things across piece by piece but then i'd be remortgaging to pay for all the extra bits i would be needing.

On the process as a whole i think i did things in roughly the right order which was to put the old chassis/truck on axle stands, take everything off, get it blasted and painted then re-assemble on the new chassis which was sat next to it on stands as well. I needed new bushes, bolts/fixings, dampers etc so it made sense to dismantle everything completely. Had i given it to a garage to do i'm sure they would've taken the axle with springs and radius arms etc off in the oner then stuck them on the new chassis but i didn't really have that option. If i was to be unlucky enough to have to do all this again in the future i would make sure to take the A-frame across at the same time. Mine needed the bolts cut off to free it from the old chassis and i did this after the body was transferred to give me room with the cutting disc. That has definitely contributed to my wonky axle as all the weight has difficult to move around to get the A-frame centred.

I thought it would be a good idea to paint the chassis with etch primer then a black top coat and i wouldn't do this again. I have zero luck/skill when it comes to coatings and in a few places i've knocked the finish with ingoing parts and the paint has chipped. The only part of the chassis that will be visible once the rock sliders are on will be the rear crossmember so that's the only bit i would paint after everything was back together.

I learned during the build that making a list at the beginning was useful but ultimately my contingency was nowhere near enough once i got going. There were so many parts that i didn't ever think about replacing but either thought it best to do it whilst i had access or the old ones were too far gone to save. Having a TD5 with the DMF didn't help budgets either and i considered not replacing it at the same time as the clutch but in the end bit the bullet. I also completely re-did the brake lines and unions which was theraputic in the end it's given me peace of mind for quite an important system on the vehicle! New swivel balls and swivel housings were also a bit pricey but i think worthwhile. I would buy a heap of M8 bolts if i was to do it again and not even bother trying to undo some of the rustier fasteners i had, just get busy with the cutting disc again.

From a time perspective, i started in August last year so with an MOT date of tomorrow that would make 7 months. I had 3 months in my mind as a planned duration so that clearly didn't work out how i thought! Lockdowns, work and having a daughter all conspired to drag things out a bit and i wasn't going at it every day so given ideal conditions i could probably half that time.

Having owned a Defender for about 8 years now i have accumulated most of the usual bits and bobs and to be honest i didn't need much else than things that people would have in a standard tool kit. My 13, 15, 17 and 19mm spanners and sockets were the most used and i felt grateful for the breaker bar on more than one occasion. My big learning outcome here is never to buy cheap cutting discs again. I spent £1 more on my discs and was amazed both by cutting performance but also by the longevity. The cheaper onces had a nasty habit of exploding as well which was never nice to experience. I was lucky enough to borrow a 1.5t engine crane for the job which initially helped life the engine out, then the gearbox and before long was used for lifting up the body so i couldn't have done the job without it. My socket set is a Halfords job from 15 years ago and it's still going strong with the spanners being Teng Tools. I don't have any high-end tools and i don't think it slowed me down any.

Someone asked me the other day whether, knowing what i know now, i would do it again myself or would i put it to someone else. I wasn't sure to begin with but now i think about it i would definitely do it myself. I now know my 90 inside and out including all the good bits and bad bits. I have renewed or upgraded all the safety critical elements including the fixings and have also liberally applied copper grease everywhere. The chassis is galvanised, cavity waxed, epoxied and undersealed so should hopefully outlive me. The next step in her journey will be new body parts next year and hopefully tomorrow's MOT will go smoothly....

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9 hours ago, paime said:

 

I thought it would be a good idea to paint the chassis with etch primer then a black top coat and i wouldn't do this again. I have zero luck/skill when it comes to coatings and in a few places i've knocked the finish with ingoing parts and the paint has chipped. The only part of the chassis that will be visible once the rock sliders are on will be the rear crossmember so that's the only bit i would paint after everything was back together.

Did you use Twash/mordant solution on the chassis first? That's a big part of getting paint to stick to galv, short of leaving it outside for a couple of years. I used it, followed up with POR15 metal prep and then POR15 black and its held up to everything other than a slip with the grinder.

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