Our Van Conversion

1/12/2019 – Day #13: Journey’s Conversion (Remove the brake shoes & cylinder on driver’s side, clean all the parts, replace with new ones, re-install)

Today’s Goals:

It’s 2019!! Yippee! This is the year for Journey…I can feel it! 🙂 Today was an exciting day as this was the first time we have removed a part of Journey and got to put new parts immediately back in after cleaning them up. It has been fun working on her but it is hard sometimes as it feels like all we are doing is stripping her down so it was fun today to remove old 40 year old parts and put the new parts back in.

Side note: My new shocks also came in and so I am excited to remove the old ones and put these new ones in. That isn’t in the plan for today though, but here are the ones we got. They are Rancho RS55113 RS5000X Shock Absorber shocks for the rear. Good thing we decided to replace the shocks as when we looked up the shocks that were put into Journey before we got her, the data online shows that the part number for the ones on her now were for a Fiat 500!!!! Gulp! She is no way even near a Fiat 500! These will work perfectly and are compatible with my G30! 🙂 Once we remove the old ones, I will take a pic of the old ones next to these new ones.


Our goal for today was to remove one or both of the brake shoes, wash all the parts we were keeping, and then put on the new brake shoes with new springs and such. It took longer than we expected so only got to replace the drivers side, which is A.OK. with me as that is still progress and hubby and I got to spend some quality time while doing it.

Below is the process we did and I hope things go smoother on the rear passenger side when we can work on that next.

Total Work Time: 3.5 hours

disk breaks

Here was our process:

  1. The first thing we had to do was begin to remove the brake shoes by starting to unhinge all the springs, pins, clips and retainers so we could remove the whole unit as well as I wanted to clean it. Below you can see the whole rear brake drum unit in tact before we began taking it all apart.

2.  Then after many steps and expressive words along the way, we got the shoes off and so you now see the brake unit bare with only the cylinder still attached. Getting some of the springs detached was a two person job and detaching the brake line from the back of the unit was hard to get to due to its location but hubby is brilliant and got it all done perfectly. On the left is the brake shoe and I was relieved to find out that the whole part is replaced which I didn’t realize in my naivety. I really thought I was going to have to remove more rivets and get that pad off. Lol!

3. We got the unit removed and now it was time for me to clean and scrub it in my parts washer, then scrub again with soap and water and then dry really good. Next to the unit, you can see in the first picture the old cylinder that we are replacing that was still in place in the pic above. Excited to get new parts in her! 🙂 I was thinking of painting this but since it is completely hidden and we are going to spray the undercarriage with a protectant soon, i decided it would be a waste of paint and time. So i just cleaned it really well before putting it back on.

4. Below is the brand new ACDelco 18k561 Professional Rear Drum Spring Kit with clips, springs, pins, retainers and washers. Feels so exciting to change out 40 year old springs and grungy parts with brand new bling for Journey to perform at her best!

The second picture is of all the parts that come off of the brake shoes and backing plate as we removed the shoes and the springs. Those are the vital parts of a brake unit! Cool!

6. Oh whew! Below are the old brake shoes (bottom) for my girl and the new ones (top) that will be put on. A few things I noticed….the old ones were made seemingly more sturdy. The pads were held on with rivets in the old shoes but the new ones were not. It also seemed that the old brake shoes were overall heavier when held up than the new ones. I can’t imagine that the brakes were original but they were definitely made differently than they are made now.


7. And there we go! We only got one side washed and replaced due to the time it took but looks awesome, don’t you think You can see we colored the new cylinder red, and the springs already came in different colors.

The cylinder that fit my van was the ACDelco 18E112 Professional Rear Drum Brake Wheel Cylinder Assembly pictured below.


We passed the brake line through the backing plate and so now we are ready to add the new shoes and associated springs.


Finished! New brake shoes, springs and cylinder in place. One side done and we will attack the passenger side next work day! Yippee! Great job Team Journey!

Hubby, thanks for teaching me even more about Journey and what she needs! You are one amazing man! HUGS!


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.


Instagram: #Journeyinavan          Facebook: Journey in a Van

Happy 2019 adventurers and vanner family!!!

— Owl & Hubby

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