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Galv chassis complete


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I have finally got round to posting my thoughts about the chassis swap now it is complete.

After seeing the inevitable rot set in on the 110 hardtop, I decided that the chassis swap was the final solution. The defender has been across the Sahara, tows a mobile sawmill and also a speedboat in and out of the sea. I am sure this led to the accelerated corrosion despite best efforts, waxoil, power washing etc.

So, with absolutely no budget in mind, but a rough idea of what i wanted; improved handling, better brakes, plus gearbox as mine showed signs of wear. I started to investigate chassis suppliers and settled on Richards. The chassis turned up as promised and looked really impressive esp with removable gearbox x-member.

I wasnt crazy about the look of the Galv so decided to paint using mordaunt solution, POR-15 and then chassis black top coat. (this took over a week) The results so far after 4 months have been superb (despite naysayers saying it would peel off) it still looks brand new.

During the rebuild, I decided to have my axles completely refurbed using KAM, based in Surrey. They collected and assessed the "wear" on my axles and phones with the results the following week. I was told that it was a miracle the rear worked at all (bent etc) but the front was salvagable but very worn. I sourced a brand new axle (TD5, short nosed diff) and set about how far to go with front. Top and bottom of it, new Cv's, half shafts, stub axle, refurbed diff, new swivel housing (so basically completely new!) and left a cheque for £850. The new axle for the rear was £850. nb,new prop shaft at rear to accommodate new diff!

The method used for changing chassis was to jack it up on a ramp and use scaff poles, undo everything and then lower to remove old chassis. This worked a treat.

So, with rolling chassis complete, i ordered a new gearbox from Ashcroft transmissions, new suspension (big bore Terrafirma and Old Man Emu HD shocks) and a bunch of other stuff inc: stainless steel bolt set for entire car where appropriate, new Superpro bushes, new tie rod and all ball joints, steering arms, cranked trailing arms, vented and grooved discs and pads, new brake servo, new tyres (BFG, KM II mud terrain) anti-roll bar, Allisport intercooler and pipework.

Minor gripes: the chassis brake lines had to be drilled into chassis, the gearbox felt very stiff for about 3 days, now perfect.

The entire swap took 2 guys 8 days. Not super quick but this was not a swap, more of complete renovation. I cannot even possible justify what i have spent so far, this project was over £12k, but the result is a much improved handling Defender that should last for years.

My thanks for exceptional service from; Steve of KAM diffs, Ashcroft transmissions, JSF 4x4 of Norwich, Frosts paints uk,Gumtree 4x4, Richards Chassis, John Langbridge (for doing 90% of work and patience with dealing with me!) Pictures to follow, next job interior, fit Scheelman seats, make rear storage solution for expedition and bodywork!! ouch.

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Nice work :)

I had a Richards galv chassis fitted to my 300tdi last year, very pleased with it.

Can you tell me the proceedure you used to apply the POR15 please. Did you have to T-wash or etch prime the chassis prior to application? I wouldnt mind doing my rear crossmember, rock sliders and front bumper perhaps.

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Procedure: Give it a gd clean, apply marine clean (degreaser), apply metal ready or mordaunt solution, give a wash with soapy warm water. The metal will go black. Apply POR 15, it is very expensive, so use whole tin in one go, supplied by Frosts paints. (I used 2 coats of grey primer). Then apply POR chassis black, again , i used 2 coats. Take your time to get first steps done correctly. Dont get primer on your hands, it really sticks!!! I also did front trailing arms and axles, the axles were a pig to do as primer only started to stick on third attempt properly. There were 2 reasons for painting, firstly to chnage colour of galv and second to give another level of protection. I plan to waxoil the cavities soon. Good luck!

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yeah, it worked out better than i expected to be honest, however, dont believe anybody that says chassis swapping is cheap. I was lucky that the bulkhead didnt need changing or it would have been a much bigger undertaking. Hopefully it should last for few years now. Next job in spring, the interior!

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And my pre-Ford and pre-BMW 1995 110 came new with a galvanized chassis. LR have always made excuses about this although others seem to be able to galv the chassis quite well. I notice that the locally made Jap bakkies (pickups to you lot) are also coming out with galv chassis.

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Procedure: Give it a gd clean, apply marine clean (degreaser), apply metal ready or mordaunt solution, give a wash with soapy warm water. The metal will go black. Apply POR 15, it is very expensive, so use whole tin in one go, supplied by Frosts paints. (I used 2 coats of grey primer). Then apply POR chassis black, again , i used 2 coats. Take your time to get first steps done correctly. Dont get primer on your hands, it really sticks!!!

Thanks for the reply :)

So if I read it correctly, after applying mordant solution you then gave it two coats of primer and then the POR15?

Think I'll have a go this spring. Cheers

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% wise how much did you reduce your vibration by doing all this work?

What was your most worthwhile development mechanically?

I'm trying to make mine a more comfortable drive and was interested to know what you achieved.

Thanks

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People may say 12k is alot but for that you've re-framed it and given it a near complete (bar transfer box) drive train overhaul.

Id have said that you did well.

H

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Couple of points ref handling and drivetrain of original vehicle.

The gears seemed to really clunk when clutch released, the gearbox was ok although pretty worn. I had recently fitted HD clutch. The suspension was very poor around corners(Procomp shocks fitted 2 years prior with original HD springs) and was pretty awful especially over things like speed bumps and braking whilst turning.

So, having put the Terrafirma big bore and Old Man Emu HD springs, Super-pro bushed and new A-frame assembly, it is difficult to assess exactly which component had the most effect. The suspension is now 1000% better, in damping and ability to ride out bumps. The handling around the corners is more surefooted. I rang around alot of people with regards to suspension set up and am extremely happy with the results.

The gearbox took few miles to bed in, it was difficult to get into revers. On ordering, i upgraded to a cross drilled input shaft in the process. Again, the sloppiness had gone, it feels tight and corerct like new.

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ps with ref to paint job. The POR 15 is the primer, sorry if unclear. Ideally do whole coat at a time and apply the next coat just prior to being hard. The frosts customer service guys were extremely good. Believe me, this paint goes like granite. I would do a test run on something like trailing arms first, remember about thorough degreasing and follow steps to the letter. The chassis black is made by the same company. Check out Frosts website or order catalogue.

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The POR-15 paint is funny stuff.. and most definately the best paint I have ever used (I have used it several times on the Disco -so far it's stood up to everything).

Couple of things to be aware of...

  • You can only use POR Solvent to thin it, or clean off surfaces. Normal paint thinners, White spirit etc - do NOT work!
  • There is a specific process to follow for applying it (de-grease, Chemically Etch, apply POR-15, apply UV top coat)

POR-15 is UV sensitive. You have to apply a non-UV sensitive top coat - for any surfaces that will get sunlight... I figured everything get's sunlight in snow! So I always applied a top coat. Not all paints will adhere to POR-15 either... in short, get helps from Frosts.co.uk - they we're great with me.

The process is here

Youtube Video here (a bit "american" but you'll get the idea)

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I don't live far from Frosts, and when I called in to buy some they advised me of 2 things. One was if you didn't finish the tin to cover the top surface of the paint with cling film then trap it in place with the lid -stops it skinning, and the the cling film round the lid aperture stops it sealing the lid of the tin on - I found this partially successful. The other thing was a) don't get any on yourself or b) if you do clean it off asap or be prepared to wait for it to wear off.

Nigel

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I actually got an itch during painting and accidentally scratched my nose when using the POR15 grey primer. Needless to say it looked pretty funny going to work for 10days with the paint on my nose!

Try and gauge exactly how much paint you are going to use and use the whole tin in one go. They do 2 sizes. I had one tin lid glue itself on and ended up using screwdriver and decanted into plastic container. This is expensive stuff!

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