The Rolling Restoration & Customization Of My 88' RRC

#1
Update 2/2/2012

I thought I should take some time to update this first post and outline the overall plan for the build of my Range Rover Classic. This build thread started out when I was preparing it for a 6000 mile trip at the end of July 2011. Even though I didn't end up going on that trip, I did still go on a smaller 2700 mile trip, but sadly that trip was not done with my Rover. However, not being able to take my Rover is not something I am planning to let happen again because going on long trips is the main reason I am building my Rover the way that I am.

The overall goal in the simplest term is that I want to make an "Expedition ready" Range Rover Classic for use in long road trips, Overlanding, and as my daily driver.

I do want it to be an expedition ready vehicle with a bit of a difference though, because I want to put in as much luxury as I can without sacrificing functionality. Which I suppose is what the Range Rover has always been about. I still want all of my creature comforts, luxury features, AND have all the functionality/versatility of an expedition vehicle that is ready to go anywhere at the drop of a hat.
In then end I want my Rover to be a vehicle that I am able to walk up to and know that it will actually back up its rugged looks. Then be able to open the door to a luxurious interior which is relaxing, comfortable, has all the "bells and whistles", is entirely functional, and still very versatile. Think of something like….Overfinch meets Camel Trophy/G4.

It has to be able to handle: being a daily driver, one person on extended trips/overlanding with a heavy load and set up to sleep in, two people and two dogs for long trips/short trips/overlanding, and four 6ft+ 200lbs.+ guys comfortably with all their gear for the shorter (few hundred mile) trips.

I will post a "To Do" list and maybe later on a "Done" list that I will do my best to keep accurate.

Anyway, if I think of anything to add to this I will update it later on….

"To Do/Still To Do" List:

IBS dual battery system
Dual electric fans
Drawer system and other misc. rear storage compartments
Safari Snorkel (originally off of a Discovery)
Sway bars
Long range fuel tank
Power inverter
Axle swap w/lockers Front and Rear
Winch in front ( I am thinking about using an ARB Discovery bumper because they look better than the ARB RRC bumper)
Winch in rear
Bed liner the underside
Rebuild power steering pump
Rebuild power steering box
On-board air compressor
Custom rear consoles w/ cup holders
Modified sliders I bought in November
Skid plates for vital areas
Heavy duty springs and Bilstien shocks that I bought in November (not sure how much of a lift they are)
Custom center console with cup holders
On-board water filtered water system with two faucets
Glind shower system
Whatever I have to do to make it so my RRC will have a 1000 mile range between fill ups (i.e. long range fuel tanks and at least 25mpg)
Etc……



Original Post 05-27-2011

So I figured it is time for me to start a build thread, especially with all the work I am doing to prepare the Rover for the 6000 mile road trip I am going to be doing at the end of July.

So the first step is a brief recap of what I have already done to it:

I bought it 3 years ago as a basket case for $550 in Seattle and drove it home 170 miles with 7 out of 8 cylinders firing and a warped water pump that leaked very noticeably. It had engine problems, electrical problems, interior thrashed, exterior had seen better days, but it was straight underneath and had virtually no rust at all. Believe it or not it got me home with only one stop to refill the cooling system. I have since rebuilt the whole top end of the motor, gone through the electrics, restored the interior, and cleaned up the exterior. I then swapped the roof from a 1993 RRC onto it because I wanted the glass moonroof instead of the metal sunroof.

Anyway, without further delay I will get to the pictures of what I have done and the stuff that is going to go on. There will be plenty more pictures in the month to come…hope you either enjoy it or I hope it helps you out.

Have a good one!

Jon

IMG_8081.JPG IMG_2116.JPG IMG_2119.JPG IMG_2161.JPG IMG_3022.JPG IMG_3020.JPG IMG_2180.JPG IMG_2625.JPG IMG_3013.JPG IMG_3015.JPG
 
Last edited:
#2
When I was installing the new hoses I found a tool that is for a popping the door panels off, is well suited for getting at the heater hoses that are connected to the front of the intake manifold. I also found that one of the hoses rubs on the valley gasket so I used a piece of the old radiator hose to help protect it.
IMG_4082.JPG IMG_4084.JPG IMG_4085.JPG [ IMG_4093.JPG IMG_4091.JPG IMG_4095.JPG
 
#3
Hello everyone,
First let me start of by saying that I am a home DIY’er like most of you guys and gals. I am no expert; I just do my best to research the decisions I make before I put my money, my Rover, or my butt on the line. So I will explain to you why I bought what I bought, how I installed it, and how it holds up in the long term. If I am wrong at any point in time, please feel free to let me know.

A couple weeks back, one of the fan blades on my mechanical fan decided to let go and turn my fan-shroud into shrapnel. It made a loud bang and then the engine started idling very roughly. I thought I had broken a belt but after I pulled over, I found that my fan shroud was in pieces and one of the fan blades was missing. So I decided to limp it the 20 miles back to my house. On the drive home I weighed my options and decided to go for electric fans.

I know that this can be a hotly debated topic with both sides swearing by their results, because I have been through forum after forum and article after article until my eyes hurt. I will give you my take on it though.
A mechanical fan will sap some of the power from the motor because it is still attached to the motor even when it isn't really "in use", by going to electric fans that extra rotating mass is removed which frees up the some power and provides benefits such as horsepower, better mpg, less wear an tear on the water pump, less wear on the belts, and less wear on the engine overall. However, when the electric fans kick on that puts a load on the alternator, which then saps power off the motor doing the same thing as having the mechanical fan if it were still attached (kind of a catch 22). Any of you who have ever had a large stereo system or have used a winch will know what I am talking about with the alternator.
The way I see it the only real way to gain anything from the swap over from mechanical to electric is to lesson the amount of power needed to drive the fans. In other words to find the electric fan with the highest cfm and the lowest amperage draws possible.

One thing to be aware of though, and this harkens back to the putting my Rover and myself on the line. I have been told that when a mechanical fan clutch fails, it “fails safe”. Meaning that a mechanical fan clutch will lock up and then rotate with the motor 1:1 which means you can still get to safety. When an electric fan fails, it fails. Now, that kind of decision can have a high cost that is more than money depending on where or when you are stuck. I look at it this way though, for my normal everyday driving I will be fairly ok it were to fail because I know the areas I drive and my AAA is fully paid up, but for the longer trips I will carry a mechanical fan along with the numerous other parts and things I will carry.
To me the simple fact is that the benefits of having an electric fan (i.e. better mpg and less wear on the motor) will save me much more than the fans cost in the long run and be dependable enough for my needs. Besides, most of the cars these days run on electric fans and I felt safe in my Honda’s, Chevy’s, Ford’s, and Jeep’s, why not feel the same way about my Land Rover with an electric fan.

After much research and shopping around, I came to the decision to buy the Flex-a-lite 298 for a many reasons, Flex-a-lite is a company that I have heard of and that has been around for awhile so the likelihood of the warranty being honored is good (if I need it), and I should be able to buy spare parts in a couple years if I need to do so; also, these fans can move 4600cfm of air while pulling only 28amps.
I know 4600cfm is more than I need but I do not want the fans to be running at full tilt for daily driving, because that is hard on the fans and the electrical system; not to mention, I want the option to have more flow if I am going someplace that is very hot or have some type of cooling issue.
The other reason is because they only pull 28amps, while pretty much every other set of fans I saw pulled 50amps. So with 28amps(at full potential) being the lowest I could find, I went with those.

Some things to be aware of though, the fans cost me $380 + sales tax and they do not come with the adjustable thermostat which is an extra $100 + sales tax. So shipped to my door the bill came to around $500, which I feel is pretty exorbitant. Here is the reasoning used to make my decision though; the cheaper fans were from companies I have never heard of, didn’t pull the cfm I was looking for, or ran high in the amperage department, and these were only about a hundred dollars more than the average price of the non-name brand fans, so I went with the “you get what you pay for” rule and looked the other way when the sticker shock came.

I guess the nice thing for you guys is that you can read my review of these fans after I have put some mileage on them before you make your decision on whether to switch over or not.


Ok, now lets get to the install:

When I went to install the fans and I ran into a couple minor problems, which worked to my benefit (at least in my eyes). The main problem being the lower radiator outlet takes a hard turn as it comes out of the radiator and the fans interfere with it. The other problem is that the fans are a bit taller than the radiator.

I have been thinking about having the radiator completely rebuilt anyway and now that the lower outlet and new fans interfere with each other I have my excuse to get it all done and modified. As for the too tall part, I will fabricate a piece to of sheet metal that will pick up the slack and it might give me a place to run the cable for my dual batteries across the engine bay.

I took the radiator to a local radiator shop and it should be back next week so I will hopefully have an update on that a next week.

IMG_4048.JPG IMG_4049.JPG IMG_4051.JPG IMG_4054.JPG IMG_4056.JPG IMG_4057.JPG IMG_4058.JPG IMG_4060.JPG IMG_4065.JPG IMG_4063.JPG
 

Dendy Jarrett

Expedition Portal Admin
Staff member
#4
Jon:
I had the radiator go on mine and had it rebuilt. The shop that rebuilt it has been doing Land Rover Nashville's radiator work for years. He says that on the DI's and RR Classics that the tubing in the radiators was simply engineered too small thus causing the temp to hoover in the mid range of the temp gauge. He rebuilt my radiator using larger diameter tubing (not by much but enough that a piece of sand can't block the tubing) and my truck ran extremely cool, yet had no problem generating heat in the winter.
The other thing that it (or any radiator upgrade can lead to -- is if your heater box is marginal, any improvement can cause added pressure, thus blowing your heater box core (no fun event nor no fun replacing) - just so you are aware.
Looks like it is a nice project.
Dendy
 
#5
Hi Jon, looks like you've done a fair bit of work on her already :)

My plastic fan had split but I caught it in time before it flew apart. I replaced it with a new plastic fan but had thought about electric fans at the time, but they will have to wait until I install a second battery with split charge.
Keep the pictures and postings coming as I will be following with intrest.
 
#7
Making new power seat switches

Ok everyone, since the radiator is still at the radiator shop being rebuilt I figured I would pass the time by making some new power seat switches.

I have had the idea to make seat switches for quite a long time now. It all came about when I was restoring the interior of my Rover. I must have had the seats in and out 4 or 5 times. I found that there were four motors which control the functions of the seat. Each motor goes forward and back which is pretty simple right? So why the overly complicated Land Rover (Mercedes) switch? Why not just you a momentary On-Off-On switch like power windows.

Anyway in the following pictures are the results. The top one is the switch I made. The middle is the Land Rover (Mercedes) switch. And the bottom one is the first version I made (prototype). I am a little unhappy about the size of the switches on the final version but I couldn't find a smaller 30amp switch. When they are mounted together they will fit in exactly the same size space as the OEM Land Rover switches. I guess the upside about their size is that they will be easy to operate with gloves on in the winter months. ; )

I made the final version with longer wires so I can mount the power seat switches in the console next to the power window switches.
IMG_4207.JPG IMG_4212.JPG
 
Last edited:
#8
Jon,

Looking good. Those rear buckets should make your back seat passengers happy. How is head room in those seats? Where are you headed in July?

Mike and Myles

ps check out eliaschristeas on Land Rover Repair Forum. He had early RRC parts for sale.
 
Last edited:
#9
Jon,

Looking good. Those rear buckets should make your back seat passengers happy. How is head room in those seats? Where are you headed in July?

Mike and Myles

ps check out eliaschristeas on Land Rover Repair Forum. He had early RRC parts for sale.
The headroom is comparable to the front seats, but the real gain comes by mounting the rear bucket seats back five inches so four guys taller than six foot can all lounge in comfort even with the front seats all the way back and leaned. I am 6'2" and I can have my laptop on my lap quite comfortably while sitting in the back buckets.

I am going to be leaving in mid/late July to go on a 6000 mile (roughly) road trip from my home in Washington across the United States to New York and then going back through Canada from Ontario to Vancouver B.C.. I don't have a finite itinerary at this point, just taking a month off and going to see what is out there. I am going to find as many thrill rides, museums, national parks, and scenic byways as I can though. Anybody have any recommendations for places I should check out along the way?

Thanks for the advice on the parts source, I will look into what he has got for sale.
 
Last edited:
#11
The to do list just became longer...

Hello everyone,

Sorry I haven't updated in a little bit, but I have been waiting for parts. In the mean time though, I was trying to figure out the floor mounting structure for the rear seats and drawer system; however, when I was stripping the interior out to look at the placement of that structure, I found a little moisture under the rear rubber mats (which is the dryer place in the Rover). So I immediately walked to the front and put my hand underneath the front rubber mats. Both the driver side and passenger side were wet underneath. The passenger side in particular though was sopping wet; it was like wringing out a car washing sponge (see pictures).
Keep in mind that I have already been through this once when first bought it. I stripped, primed, and repainted the whole floor because there was a small amount of surface rust on the floor. So you might be able to imagine my surprise/frustration to find that there was rust in the same places again. I decided this time I was going to make sure it would not happen again! The problems that caused were many, because to take care of it in a way that it would not happen again meant that I had to push my plans for the rest of the interior forward so it is going to be a very busy month for me. Added to the list besides the rear floor structure is now: the modified 95’ RRC steering column, modifying the dash, custom console, lowering the front seats, auxiliary fuse box, other misc. wiring, and sound insulation (Lizard Skin).

I am in the middle of the interior right now and have it completely stripped out. So figured I would show you a few in-progress pictures. As well as the pictures of where the leak was coming from. It turns out that the vent door foam was perished and was letting in a lot of water. If you are curious about your Rover, check under the front floor mats for signs of water, then pop out the outside vents on the cowl and you be able to see the vent door. I took it a step further and removed my cowl entirely to redo the seam sealer and check for rust. BEWARE! Removing the cowl is a careful two or even three man job, do not attempt it by yourself!

Anyway, there will be more work going on this week and I will try to update with pictures but in the mean time feel free to ask questions and I hope you all have a good one!
IMG_4226.JPG IMG_4227.JPG IMG_4228.JPG IMG_4230.JPG IMG_4231.JPG IMG_4234.JPG IMG_4262.JPG
 
#12
I get the same problem with wet foot wells on my 95 RRC, particularly the driver's side (UK, so right hand side like you suffer). I don't have a sun roof, so can rule that out a source. I'm told the o-rings on the heater matrix joints perish and split, but I'm not loosing any coolant, the water in the foot wells doesn't have any odour or taste of anti-freeze and I had understood the o-rings to be a P38 rather than RRC problem...

I'm also told that the top of the bulkhead below the scuttle panel you removed often becomes perforated with rust holes and that causes the leaks into the foot wells. It's a big water trap. Can you see any drain holes for that void? I've yet to remove my scuttle panel - I hope to get the vehicle repainted in the next year of so (I've been saying that for at least five years, though), so would deal with it all in one go.
 
#13
Pictures of the amount of water found

So I forgot to post pictures of the actual amount of water I found inside my Rover. Keep in mind that two years ago I went through sanded out the rust, primed everything, and painted the floors. I also replaced all of the sound deadening that is glued to those mattes two years ago as well. So things can happen pretty quickly. You might take a look under your Rovers rubber floor mattes...just in case. IMG_4139.JPG IMG_4148.JPG IMG_4143.JPG IMG_4150.JPG IMG_4152.JPG
 
#14
Cleaning, inspecting, and organizing the wiring

So on todays agenda was to start cleaning, inspecting, and organizing the wiring. Tomorrow I am going to be starting the cutting, fabricating, and welding for the two patch panels in the floor and also for lowering the front seats. I am not looking to cut, burn, or in any way cause a problem with the wiring, so I am taping the dashboard wiring out of the way for the moment and also beginning the process of putting plastic sheathing on all the wires in the vehicle because it never came from the factory with any protection for the wires. While I am putting the sheathing on the wires, I am inspecting them for nicks, cuts, melted insulating, and really sharp bends not to mention detangling and simplifying complicated areas.
IMG_4300.JPG IMG_4301.JPG IMG_4302.JPG IMG_4308.JPG IMG_4381.JPG IMG_4317.JPG IMG_4314.JPG IMG_4390.JPG IMG_4396.JPG IMG_4399.JPG
 
#15
Here is what the wiring looks like after I have finished sheathing it. The purple wires by the window is the dome light wires that have been zip tied up out of the way to protect them.
IMG_4425.JPG IMG_4428.JPG IMG_4452.JPG
 
Last edited:
Top