How ToLand Rover Defender

How to remove the hard top sides on a Land Rover Defender

In my quest to make the back of the Land Rover a bit more secure, and free from prying eyes, I recently fitted a dog guard to separate the cab from the rear of the Landy.

Now following on from that, I have changed the windowed side panels that you see in the photo above for some hard top sides that I got from eBay.

The side panels are bolted into place, so changing them just requires some spanners or socket set. This is how I did it.

For the job you will need:

  • Socket set or spanners (8mm, 10mm & 13mm)
  • Car jack
  • A metal or wood bar to support the roof whilst the panels are off
  • A helper – for assistance when removing the side panels

Undoing the nuts & bolts

Its best to take out one side at a time – leaving the other side in place to help support the roof. The instructions can be applied to both the 90 and 110 Land Rovers.

1: The first bolts to undo are the ones securing the roof to the side panels – there’s a lot of them, but they are not fiddly and should come undone with minimum of effort.

2: Then turn your attention to the bolt arrangement behind the front doors as shown in the photo on the left below. Its all fairly straight forward and as you undo them it will become clear how everything fits together.

Remove the door seal too, and don’t forget to undo the top seat belt anchorage point – again – simple nuts and bolts.

3: The photo in the middle below shows the rear corner bolts – these have to be removed too. Again – simple nuts and bolts mechanics!

4: Just inside the rear door is another set of bolts which have to be undone too – the third photo below shows the position. Remove the door seal to get better access.

5: The last bolts to undo are inside along the lower edge as shown in the forth photo below.

6: Don’t forget – if you taking out the right hand panel, you will have to remove the top hinge bolts for the rear door!

These bolts secure the hard top just behind each doorThe hard top is secured in each rear corner with these boltsThese bolts are just inside the rear door on either sideInside bolt location on the bottom of the side panel

Jacking the roof

Notice the jack holding up the roof - this is on my old 110With all the bolts undone, you can now get ready to jack the roof up.

I had a long metal pole which I placed in the cup of a trolley jack which I had placed on the floor of the Land Rover.

Slowly jack up the roof and you will see the roof come away from the side panel. You have to jack it up around 3 inches at the rear so the side panel can be lifted up and out.

Removing the side panel

With the panel removed, this is what it looks like. You can just see the roof is supported by a metal bar insideThe side panels can be removed with just one person – but its much easier to have two people as you have to jiggle the panel around a bit to get it to come out.

Lift the side panel and pull it out from the bottom first. This will allow it to clear the front and rear mounting bolts which will still be in the body cappings at this stage.

Treating any rust

Once the panel is removed, you can deal with any rust in the body cappings. There was a little bit of rust in mine, so gave the areas a good wire brushing, and then a liberal splashing with rust cure.

Once this had been done, and the rust cure had dried, I painted the areas with hammerite paint.

The front mounting point had badly corrodedThe rear mounting point wasn't as bad as the frontThe corroded areas treated to a liberal splashing with rust cure!The corroded areas treated to a liberal splashing with rust cure!

Side panel rubber seals

I was able to reuse the rubber seals to fit to the new hardtop sides.

Before refitting I cleaned them up, and smeared some waterproof grease along the top and bottom seals. This will ensure there is a good watertight seal when you mount the sides back in again.

Refitting the side panel

Refitting is basically the reverse of taking it out! The time consuming bit is going through all bolts and remembering where everything went!

The final outcome

My Land Rover 110 with the new hardtop sides fittedSo here it is, the new hard top sides fitted to my 110. Yes, it needs painting, but i’m not to bothered with that for the time being, as I will be painting the whole Landy at some point.

So now I am well on the way to securing the back end of the Land Rover.

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