Land Rover Defender Chassis revival
Whilst Ventura has extremely good quality body work following the work done in the UK in 2022 by Stuart Brown, and the running gear is all in very good condition the chassis has always been a bit…original. By original what I mean is getting tired, needing attention and a proper cleaning and treatment to bring it up to standard. I have known this for a while, especially when all Portugese mechanics laugh at the condition the UK’s salty roads have left my chassis in, especially as Southern European Defenders don’t suffer from this fate.
I searched for Ice blasting or media blasting shops that could restore the chassis but time after time came up blank. Apparently even steam cleaning has gone out of fashion in Portugal, as there is simply no need when the weather conditions simply don’t warrant the use of salt on the roads and as such rust is almost non existent here.
So I went DIY. What a triumph and what a result, it couldn’t have been easier. I got the car up on axle stands and set about a furious few days of scraping, brushing, drilling, sanding and eventually had the car underside as bare as I could get it. I chemically treated the bare metal and rust with a Rust Converter that I bought from Leroy Merlin (The equivalent of Homebase) and then brush painted two layers of rust inhibiting primer.
I couldn’t decide on the final layer, I was looking at raptor coating (expensive and best applied from a spray gun) I explored Hammerite (Brittle and best applied direct to the rust) and settled on a brushed on black synthetic metal paint from the local paint store in Lisbon. Time will tell if it cures too hard and brittle and cracks, but at the moment I have an extremely high end finish to the chassis and axle.
I only have completed the rear section of the chassis, but will aim to complete the front end surrounding the engine over the winter. I will remove the rear section of the exhaust to allow access to the inside of the chassis rails, perhaps taking this opportunity to fit a silencer delete to gain a little more grunt from the exhaust.
The final results are excellent, but I have sealed up quite a few bolts that will definitely cause me issues in years to come. I suspect a bit of blowtorch action will remove that layer of paint to release the bolts when needed!