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Thread: Checking 20yo Defender for rust

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Douglas Park, NSW
    Posts
    9,338

    Checking 20yo Defender for rust

    I think this is the first time I've started a thread in here...

    I know Defenders suffer from rust issues in the firewall & doors but where exactly do you need to look? I've seen some rust around the windscreen frame to firewall (bulkhead?) brackets but I've also heard lower down rusts too. Do doors just rust along the bottom or is there internal rust issues too?

    It's 130 so I don't think the tubs rust too much.
    Scott

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    577
    pull the floor mats and have a very good look where your heels would rest. keep in mind it is a double skin bulkhead so have a look from inside and outside/underside. a 50cent piece used as a tapping device will give you a good indication as the tone changes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Tamworth
    Posts
    320
    areas I would check:

    1. rear cross member

    ( behind rear axle/ end of the tub)- this rusts internally - best way to check is with a torch - also look at the junctions between he rear cross member and the chassis rails - bad rust will show there. The rear member is made of several pieces joined together - so look for rust 'swell' in the joins.

    2. cross member under rear of cab ( the one that bolts onto the chassis)

    this can get full of crud and will rust if not maintained.

    3. ontop of chassis , where the cross member joins the chassis ( the welded one - just behind the one that is bolted on - the rear tub is mounted to this)

    This area has a mud trap -its right ontop of the chassis rails, where the tub mounts are located just behind the rear of the cab - i've seen otherwise good chassis totally rusted through at this point. This is also a know weak point of this chassis, so whilst you are there, look for cracks or repairs.

    4. between gearbox mount and chassis

    This is a bad spot to rust, as it can rust right through the chassis. Look for rust between the two plates either end of the gearbox mount.

    5. firewall footwells

    basically, expect some rust here - lift the carpets and look for rust in the joints, in the pans etc. look from both sides - also look for dodgy repairs here. often people will just bog it up, or even worse, weld a plate over the rusted section without cutting the rust out.

    6. Doors

    Doors will rust along the bottom rail, but will also rust/ crack at the juncture between the door and window frame. Basically they rust internally, if they look a bit dodgy but repairable, then expect them to be 10x worse when you pull the skins off to repair :-) Door repairs are very time consuming - basically if the rust is bad, you have to totally dismantle the door - remove glass, internals and then prize off the aluminium skin to be able to cut and re-weld the door frames.

    You possilbly ' could' just prize off the aluminium skin on the bottom and sides to cut out and replace the bottom frame if its bad.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Hamilton, NZ
    Posts
    73
    While you are checking the doors - dont forget to have a good poke around the rear door as well. On my 1992 defender what looked like a little rust hole that a small screwdriver went through turned into a replacing the whole read door - most of the frame was shot.
    Though not helped that I had been living in a geothermal area for a year. (Sulphur + steel = disintergration)

    Kerry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Logan
    Posts
    25,321
    All of the above plus recommend you flood the chassis rails with water and then with lanolin or a rust treatment. More is better.
    In the footwells the bolts on mine started to rust so I used rust converter on them. Water can get into the footwells through the air intake on the mudguard.
    2009 Defender 110 2.4. ARB bulbar, Ironman winch, Safari snorkel, Steinbauer chip, AP HD clutch, Lightforce spots, larger tank, Off Road Systems drawer, Traxide 160 controller, Tekonsha brakes, Mulgo seat runners, Uniden UHF, Nuggetstuff seat corners, breathers, Polaris GPS.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Logan
    Posts
    25,321
    One trick is to put the sprinkler under the vehicle and leave it on for a hour.
    2009 Defender 110 2.4. ARB bulbar, Ironman winch, Safari snorkel, Steinbauer chip, AP HD clutch, Lightforce spots, larger tank, Off Road Systems drawer, Traxide 160 controller, Tekonsha brakes, Mulgo seat runners, Uniden UHF, Nuggetstuff seat corners, breathers, Polaris GPS.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Douglas Park, NSW
    Posts
    9,338
    Thanks for the replies & suggestions. As the car is not local to me, a good mate offered to have a look & the only visible rust is in the N/S/F footwell:
    DSC_1141.jpg
    Is this typical Defender footwell rust or is it the sign of more in the bulkhead?
    My '87 RR had similar rust in the drivers footwell when I bought it in 2001 but elsewhere was fine.
    Scott

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Tamworth
    Posts
    320
    Quote Originally Posted by Scouse View Post
    Thanks for the replies & suggestions. As the car is not local to me, a good mate offered to have a look & the only visible rust is in the N/S/F footwell:
    DSC_1141.jpg
    Is this typical Defender footwell rust or is it the sign of more in the bulkhead?
    My '87 RR had similar rust in the drivers footwell when I bought it in 2001 but elsewhere was fine.
    I'd say its typical, and not indicative of more rust in the bulkhead - though thats not to say it wont be there or in other places :-)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    smurf village
    Posts
    8,321
    I just looked at a 200tdi defender on the weekend. It had rusted out door bottoms, some of the door further up was rusted too. There was some rust in the bottom of the footwells where it is very common. It also had some rust up the top of the firewall on the passenger side.
    The front chassis was quite rusted.
    Some of the outriggers were rusted as well. The rear x member wasnt but is common too.
    I found rust in other places too, but thinking it wasnt very common, but more so just this particular defender.

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