Our Van Conversion

12/22/2018 – Day #11: Journey’s Conversion (Remove wheels/brake shaft/drum and inspect brake shoes)

Today’s Goals:

I hope this post finds everyone’s tummy full, spirit soaring, and hearts filled with joy and peace!

Today was a great day to work on Journey. Our goals for the day were to remove the wheels, then remove the drive shaft, then the drum and inspect the brake line, springs and shoes. Then we can access what needs to be replaced or just cleaned up. Gonna be a dirty day but we are loving it! 🙂

Total Work Time: 3.0 hours

We started the process first removing the cap from both of the wheels to expose the lugs underneath.

We removed the lugs after putting liquid wrench on them to help loosen them up and then used our impact gun cause they were on tight as they should be. We raised the rear end of Journey with a jack and set 2 stands underneath so we could safely removed the wheels. Then we removed the wheels exposing the massive drum and rear hub. The white part below is the axle flange. This was cool to me as I had never seen the inside like this.

Once we removed the bolts on the axle flange, then the axle slid out. This thing was massive! As we pulled the axle out, we let the gear oil drip.

So that is where that thing goes! Now I can understand what folks are talking about when they say they were stuck on the side of the road with a cracked or broken axle! That would suck!

Next the hard part came and Journey actually bit hubby! 😦 We began the process to remove the hub and drum….that drum is massive and so heavy. It was being stubborn coming off and on one of the tugs, if came off and landed on hubby’s finger. We totally thought it broke the finger as he never complains when hurt but this one hurt him. Poor guy! First injury of this journey with Journey.

Now that the drum is off, we can see that there was definitely a leak on the passenger side but the driver side drum was clean. Notice the caked on gear oil and grease below in the drum? So this means the bearing seal is bad.

You can also now see the brake shoes and brake assembly….that axle housing is HUGE! So we know make notes that we need to get new brake shoes ($39) and drum brake wheel cylinders ($18) for both sides and a new spring set ($7.50).  I also will need to get a new rear brake hose ($14.99) and 2 rear axle shaft flange gaskets ($8.38) to help keep from future leaking. Journey will be getting an all new brake system in the rear!

Hubby is going to take the hubs and drums to get inspected before we put everything back on when the new parts come in. We still need to separate the hub from the drum. We are also still considering replacing the leaf springs you see in the below picture as the passenger side shows evidence of damage when they had whatever accident happened those year back. But we are still researching that.

So today (12/27/18) I walked into Auto Zone with my list of strangely named parts that I now know what they are and asked for them. What an empowering feeling to walk into a store so far out of my element 3 months ago and I feel confident asking for parts for my 1978 Chevy G30 1 ton baby! After making my parts request of the ones I needed them to pull for me, I walked out with my first ever set of Duralast Brake Shoes – #452!

Sounds cheesy but was so exciting! Now I will pick up the other parts listed above I needed tomorrow as Auto Zone ordered them for me. This weekend we will work on removing the old worn 40 year old parts and replacing them with the new ones. Also, hubby is supposed to give me my first welding lesson this weekend…so excited for a fun next few days!

I hope each of you has a wonderful weekend doing something you enjoy that energizes you and brings you joy!


Thank you so much for following our journey with Journey!! Make sure to subscribe if you want to be notified by email when new posts are made.


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Merry Christmas fellow adventurers and vanner family!!!

— Owl & Hubby

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