03 November 2022
Instead of simply restoring a Land Rover to original, why not eliminate the inherent weak spots to avoid future corrosion and damage. Ed Evans meets a team that can help
The Land Rover parts scene is ever changing, and always for the better. LRM recently visited family firm, YRM Metal Solutions in County Durham, having heard that the business not only supplies some obscure repair panels for utility Land Rovers, but also aims to provide improved components that eliminate some of the original Land Rover weak spots. That’s the philosophy of founder, Ronnie Maughan senior who, with wife, Lois, son Ronnie junior and daughter Carly, plus a small workforce, has spent years dismantling Land Rovers to discover every weakness and every corrosion point with a view to correcting and improving the components.
It’s not only rust that this business is attempting to eradicate, but the more visible electrolytic corrosion that plagues aluminium doors and body panels. The team also considers how things come apart and go back together again, and then designs its parts to simplify and improve Land Rover re-construction after restoration.
Extra strength and corrosion resistance is achieved in four ways, according to the product’s use and its method of manufacture. Steel panels and brackets are hot-dip galvanised, aluminium components are made from thicker than original material to give increased strength, machined components and fasteners are produced from 316 grade stainless steel (used in marine environments for its high corrosion resistance), and by supplying bespoke gaskets which prevent direct contact between aluminium and steel components, thus reducing electrolytic white-spot corrosion that destroys aluminium panels.
Established 12 years ago, YRM continues to seek out troublesome areas in Series and Defender models, and to develop a long-lasting solution. The business also supplies parts for Discovery 1 and Range Rover Classic. As Ronnie senior explained to us, these vehicles are getting older and that means new, age-related problems are always coming to light.
The traditional utility Land Rovers are among the easiest classic vehicles to restore so, illustrating a sample of YRM’s product lines, we’ll take a look at what’s available to rebuild and improve your Land Rover.
Bulkhead saver: Let’s start with part number 001, YRM’s very first product and still selling – the bulkhead front corner repair panel which has saved many bulkheads over the years.
Skill needed: Correctly fitting a bulkhead front corner repair panel needs competent welding and good body re-finishing skills, plus working clearance gained by removing the door and lifting the screen.
Side frame: Moving back, Defender 110 side frames corrode badly along the C-post behind the riveted body panel and at the lower half of the B-post and along the structural sill…
Galvanised replacement… but the complete new galvanised side assembly is available for the 110 Defender. This one is undergoing dimensional and alignment checks at YRM after fabrication and galvanising.
Stronger wing: This aluminium stiffener reinforces the weak bottom edge of the 110 rear wing. Supplied as a pair with stainless nut, bolt and washer fixings plus seam sealer.
Improved stays: The 110 wing stiffener is further reinforced by this very stiff, thick aluminium rear wing stay-bar, replacing the original and relatively flimsy steel item (90 version also).
Rigid sills: Standard aluminium lower side sills are notoriously easily damaged off-road or simply by leaning against them. These 3mm thick one-piece aluminium sills provide a tough and authentic alternative.
Fighting corrosion: These gaskets, cut from moisture-resisting closed-cell foam, prevent metallic contact to reduce electrolytic corrosion. The material is also available in rolls of varying widths and thicknesses
Improving the underside
Renew rusted brackets: The axle brackets to which the rear trailing arms are bolted commonly rust away. These 6mm-thick steel replacements can be welded straight on. Other axle brackets also available.
Long-life fittings: These stainless steel washers are designed for use with Polybushes (rear washer countersunk to suit radius arm shoulder). Tube inserts, damper mounting washers and chassis bolts also available.
Fuel support: These post-1998 110 fuel tank guard cradles in 6mm-thick aluminium
will replace rusted steel originals. Associated tank straps are supplied in stainless steel.
Rear tub upgrades
New panels: The rear of this 90 is rebuilt with YRM’s replacement aluminium interior panels. The wheelbox profile accommodates front-facing rear seats. Note bulkhead deletion bar.
Wheelarch repair: As with the floor section, part numbers 395A/B left- and right-side 90 wheelarch repair sections with recess to accommodate forward-facing seats are available individually.
Wheelbox closing panel: This is the forward end of a 110 rear wheelbox, showing the sloping end near the side door, closed by a replacement forward panel in the standard shape.
Split seats: This wheelbox demonstrates a closing plate kit that accommodates 60/40 folding second row seats in the 110. The top of the wheelbox will be cut to suit the shape.
Corrosion protection: The wheelbox with standard end plate is upturned to show the position of YRM’s replacement galvanised steel seat mounting bracket, complete with gasket to avoid electrolytic corrosion.
Under the rear tub: They’re usually hidden from sight, but those transverse steel crossmembers underneath the tub rust badly, especially on early vehicles, though they’ve lasted well on this Defender…
Dissimilar metals… but when the crossmembers are removed, the longitudinal aluminium top-hat stiffeners are found to be corroded away where they were in contact with the steel crossmembers.
Lasting solution: All can be replaced by new galvanised crossmembers and aluminium top-hat stiffeners, all riveted in using insulating gaskets between them to help prevent future electrolytic corrosion.
Fettling the seat box
Replace parts or build new: Repair panels are available; also a kit of parts to build a complete new aluminium seat box with battery compartment. Deep driver’s underseat box is optional on some types.
All parts for all types: Seat box kits are available with the relevant front panel to suit your specific model and its gearbox, whether R380, or Series type. Gaskets and screw plugs included.
Organised manufacturing: YRM’s premises is teeming with new parts of all descriptions, immaculately catalogued and organised ready for despatch to restorers
Precision bending: Complex 3- and 2-dimensional pressings are sub-contracted to trusted local specialists. This bending machine is forming the shape of a prototype rear tub wheelbox on a pre-cut panel.
Shaping up: YRM’s UK-based suppliers use an assortment of press tool dies in a press or bending machine to produce an exact fold or bend for each specific body component.
Perfectly formed: This small die is used in the bending machine to form the complex contours of a fuel cooler mounting plate (see inset), laser-cut from 316-grade stainless steel.
Budget Digital Subscription
Get access to over 7 years of Land Rover Monthly – that’s almost 100 issues plus the latest digital issue. The issues are fully searchable so you can easily find what you are looking for and what’s more it’s less than 10p a day to subscribe. Click here and start enjoying all the benefits now.