THE SERIES type front wings, bulkhead and front panel (ahead of the radiator) form a complex interconnected structure whose fasteners are not very accessible, so patience is needed here. The first task on Series or Defender is to disconnect the wiring from the front lamps and the inner wings, and to release the washer pipe system. On Series models, the radiator can be removed first or it can be lifted out complete with the front panel to which it’s mounted. The decision may be affected by the number of bolts found to be seized and, in my case, I finished up taking the front panel, radiator and a front If the doors are still on, they need to be removed now before we lose stiffness from the front structure. An impact driver will be needed. The SIII’S mudshields are unbolted from the bracket in the tops of the front wings. Captive nuts on the back can be accessed from above. The rear lower corner of each inner wing is bolted to the bulkhead support brackets. You can get two spanners on from in the engine bay. wing off in one piece to dismantle later on the bench.
Probably the most awkward job here on the Series vehicles is in removing the mudshield from under each front wing. They’re bolted at the bottom across the bulkhead footwells where the bolts rust heavily. Try hammering a slightly undersized socket on, or cut them off using an angle grinder if necessary. The upper bolts go into captive nuts behind a bracket attached the underside of the wing top. These take a bit of patience. You can access the captive nuts via the cut out at the back of the wing top from in With the grille removed, the front lamps harness on this SIII is disconnected after labelling each connector, even though colour-coded. Lower down, the mudshield is bolted to the bulkhead footwell. The box (right) covers the steering box and needs to be unbolted from the inner wing. The wing tops are held to the bulkhead by a single bolt into a captive nut. If seized, try easing oil on the nut, reaching underneath. the engine bay, and it’s worth wire brushing them and leaving them to soak with penetrating oil before trying to release them. Too much braying here may damage the soft aluminium wing top, and using an angle grinder inside the wing is dangerous due to the confined space, and also risks slicing into the wing.
The Series front panel can be tricky to unbolt from the chassis at the right hand side due to the half-inch AF bolt head being underneath the horn’s mounting plate. It works to jam a socket, universal joint and wrench bar in there (see photo), or unbolt the plate. In the engine bay, washer pipes and harnesses are detached. Cables are disconnected from the front lights circuit under the right wing. This mudshield can’t be freed from the upper flange, so it’s left dangling until the wing is removed to give access to cut the bolts safely. Under the front wheel arch, a vertical line of bolts holds the inner wing to the body front panel. The nuts are reached from here.