29 Aug Offroad Monkeys Hardware
The doors on our Defender have sagged for a while. The original cast steel factory Defender hinges are 23-years old and they are tired.
As you can see, we have just under a centimeter of door droop. We’re also experiencing some vibration in the doors while driving. It’s been a good run, but everything comes to an end and we’re excited about upgrading; it’ll be refreshing to close the door and have it actually catch!
The main issue with factory Defender hinges is that over time you’ll get metal-on-metal rubbing where one half of the hinge meets the other. This wear, called hinge slop, leads to the infamous rust bleeding we see on Defender doors and requires routine door adjustments as the metal wears down.
New Hinges & Brackets
We looked around for the best Defender hinges and opted for Offroad Monkeys‘ heavy-duty billet aluminum hinges and windscreen brackets. We knew we liked them as soon as they arrived in the mail – they seem to be really well-crafted and solid. Feast your eyes on these beefy beauties!
We were drawn to these more robust pieces because we like components that last. They’re a huge step up from the worn hardware we’re replacing. The new door hinges have a replaceable stainless steel friction bearing, as well as greasing nipples so we can keep them well-lubricated. This improved design and the anodized finish on the aluminum should prevent corrosion.
Making Defender Hinges
There are two general ways to make Defender hinges: through casting or through the carving of billets. When casting, melted metal is poured into a mold to create the part. With the billet method, the part is carved from a solid block of metal. Casting is less expensive but doesn’t offer the same dimensional precision. The Offroad Monkeys‘ pieces are all billet aluminum – carved, not cast.
Here you can see the difference in the finishes produced by the casting and billet methods. Casting often uses a mold made of sand, which leaves a texture.
Installation has been pretty straight forward. You definitely need the new hardware as the original hinge bolts don’t make it all the way through these fatties.
The most involved aspect of this job was hanging the doors so that they were properly aligned. We raised and tightened the striker into place, closed the door, and lifted the door just a little more before tightening the hinge bolts. This worked well.
Here are some in-shop photos of the parts on our NAS D90 (we’ll get the right bolts on the hinges soon). We’re stoked to try these parts out in the wild and we’ll get some better shots in the sunlight soon. For the moment, we’re not going anywhere because we’re in the middle of an engine overhaul! Stay tuned for more on that project.
Special thanks to our friend, David, for helping us with this project and many others at his workshop, Check Engine, in Tuxtepec Oaxaca.