Santana Series IV / Defender 110 Overland Build


I am starting my build thread on my 1991 Land Rover Santana Series IV 110. It is a crazy homologation of Land Rover parts and Spanish ‘upgrades' which is basically a Series III frame with leaf springs and a Defender body. It has a 110 wheelbase (not 109) and wider defender axles with 10 spline inners/24 outers. I imported it in June of 2017 from Barcelona and finally have it registered and ready for my build. In stock form, it is basically a tractor with a roof with a monster 68bhp 2.5L diesel engine that heaves and puffs. Coming from Spain, it lived in a warm, dry climate and has no rust on the frame. Being left hand drive is also a bonus for a US truck. While in Spain, I had my contact do some work to update the grill and lights, add a tubular front bumper and change out some clunky lights to LEDs.

Here she is when she arrived:



And already meeting friends:


Plans for my build include new/used engine, AC, sound proofing, axles, exocage and full build-out for overlanding.

Once in my possession, I drove it about 10 miles before the front right rotor broke from the hub. In my futile search for replacement parts, I decided to swap out axles for true defender parts. A pair of Santana rotors stateside was ridiculously priced and with my future upgrades, didn’t feel the small solid discs and rear drums would be sufficient. I talked with Forbyn Bros in Placerville, great guys who make some amazing big brake kits and conversion parts for Series trucks, but the more I thought about the truck, the more I wanted it standardized to Defender parts. While I still would like to buy a big brake kit, I didn’t want to keep the Series-type axles.

Close-up of broken disc/hub:



Here, you can actually see that the Series swivel balls are bigger and more robust than the Defender parts. In fact, the Santana CVs are the biggest in any Land Rover.


Some of big brakes kits available from Forbyn Bros. Awesome 13 inch vented discs with 6 pot Wilwood calipers....drool...

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I bought a pair of axles that were already built to my plans.

Front axle:
-24 spline RoverTracks chromoly inners and CVs
-4.11 Ashcroft R&P
-ARB air locker
The axle was from a RHD defender but we have the parts to convert to LHD.

Rear axle is a similar set-up:
-disc brake Salisbury (Dana 60)
-Ashcroft 24 spline chromoly shafts
-4.11 R&P
-ARB air locker.


Cleaning them up:




Hey! Glad the axles made it in one piece.

The guys over at Forbyn offer a big brake kit for Defender axles as well...I used one on a 90 build a long time ago and was very pleased with the components.



Hey Ash! Thanks for the axles. I ditched the sewer cap casing for a standard range rover casing after cleaning up another defender casing that had some seriously rusted bolts. I also ordered up a new ARB seal kit as the front diff was leaking and the copper hose was a bit worn. Will be installing it soon. The chromo axles are shiny!





While the bulky work is getting done at a shop, I was also working at home trying to make the Santana more livable and hopefully a daily driver. All old rovers are in serious need of sealing and sound deadening. I bought some 80 mil butyl sound deadening mats similar to Dynamat and then am covering it with closed cell foam 150mil and 315mil where I can. I have covered the inside of each door and am also covering the door cards as well. Eventually, I would like to add some leather to the door cards, but that is very low on my list of priorities. With the sound deadening attached, the doors close with more of a 'thunk', rather than a 'tink'. Its truly amazing how little material makes up the Defender door skins! I hope the cover the whole bulkhead if possible. The previous owner already covered the footwells and rear with Dynamat Extreme.






Three criminal heroes
Cool project!

As those axles are made for coil springs, are you converting the chassis to coil (pita) or adapting the axles to leaf springs? Also, as the Santana keeps the leaf springs, does it have the Series III style steering with the steering and relay boxes or does it have the Defender style with a single steering box? This is important as it opens up more engine options.


I am going with a hybrid suspension system. The Santana comes with parabolic leaf springs from the factory, which are longer and give a better ride than the standard rover Series 3 springs. I am planning to keep the rear with leafs, as they have better load bearing capacity (think pickup truck: IFS front, leaf rear) and am planning on doing a custom 3 link coil-over in the front. We measured up the frame on the Santana vs a NAS defender and the outriggers on the Santana would require too much modification to weld in the Defender parts from YRM. So we will be using a castor corrected front radius arm with heim modification where it attaches to the frame. In addition, using a coil-over in the front will allow greater travel and spring rate choices. The Santana does have a power steering box, but it is mounted a bit differently than a Defender/RRC/D1 box. It looks like the pitman arm is close to the same spot, but I also would like to get rid of Santana parts in the engine bay as sourcing them is too difficult. I may grab a P38 box as they are used on a few series power steering conversions.

I already have a 300tdi drivetrain lined up and we pulled it last weekend. Will be posting it soon.

I really wanted to drop in the new Cummins engine, but the running 300tdi was local.


Three criminal heroes
That is simply ************! I look forward to following your build, seems you are doing it right. Well done!


Bought some 33 inch mud tires for the build. Nice step up from the 29s. Planned to put them on before it heads to the shop for the transplant. Fitted them up and then noticed the fronts rubbed...damn... The whole drivetrain looks shifted forward an inch or two compared to a true defender. I guess when the leaf springs compress the axles shifts backwards. Regardless, she needs a lift and we r planning to move the axles back.



Yanked the anemic 2.5L diesel and all of its glorious 68hp. Went pretty smoothly and wacked off a crossmember that hung pretty low. We will fab up brackets for the 300tdi and R380.



We did notice the passenger side front frame rail has some damage and needs repair. The rest of the body and frame are in great condition. No rust underneath!