Our Van Conversion

1/15/2019 – Day #14: Journey’s Conversion (Remove the brake shoes on passenger side, clean and paint fuel tank filler neck, differential cap and associated parts)

Today’s Goals:

Sooo….Hubby has been very busy with work and I honestly just felt bad for Journey sitting there lifted on cinder blocks so he suggested I try and remove the brake pads on the passenger side of Journey alone. Sounds silly, but I was nervous but excited. I had watched every move he made while we got the driver’s side brake shoes and components off and so I decided to give it a try. Also, I needed to clean the fuel take filler neck and associated metal from the fuel system, remove the rust and paint it.

Total Work Time: 1.5 hours

Here was my process:

  1. First I decided to start simple and clean the fuel parts we had removed a week or so ago. Man, they were grimy. First I washed them both with gentle soap and water, then used a wire wheel to remove the rust that was present on each of the parts, then washed them in the parts cleaner basin. After that, I washed them again with gentle soap and water so remove any residual oil that was still on the parts. I also decided to clean the rear differential cap while I was at it since it was waiting for me too.

The picture on the left below is the differential cap before it was cleaned. The differential gasket arrived and so once cleaned and such, it will be ready to be put back on Journey. One thing at a time though. The pic on the right are the 3 parts that I was focusing on.

2. I decided to paint undercarriage parts red that are hidden from view when standing beside Journey to indicate fuel lines or danger so when I need to work on her again, anyone can tell which lines and such mean fuel. Her under parts sure clean up nicely don’t you think? 🙂 She’s looking perty!

I was disappointed as even with all my cleaning and use of cleaning solution, there apparently was still oil on the parts as there are small defects in the paint of all three parts. You can see the bubbles in the picture of the now black differential cap below. It isn’t a big deal since no one can see them from the road, but I really cleaned the heck out of each part. So, will have to take even more time with future parts.


3. After that was all done, it was time to get brave and try and see if I could remove the brake shoes and springs alone. Sounds silly I know, but you have to understand…this is all totally new to me and I am not engineer or mechanically minded for the most part. Ha! I am trying though!

Well, after only about 15 minutes, I did it!!!! Some of the springs are extremely difficult to get off and they take 3 hands but I was able to figure out how to do it. I did get bit by Journey for the first time in the 14 work days we have done on her and she drew blood, but it’s all good. We are now bonded in blood, sweat, joy and tears officially! 🙂

Below is the picture of the rear passenger brakes before I got all the brake shoes, springs and levers off and the right picture if with everything out except the back plate I didn’t attempt to remove as the brake line was still attached and I didn’t want to do that without Brian there to guide me. I also wasn’t able to get the brake cylinder off without removing the back plate. That’s ok though!

4. Yay! I love seeing all those old nasty parts off of Journey soon to be replaced with all new ones! I was feeling quite accomplished. Ha!

5. So, now we have old parts below on the left from the driver and passenger rear brakes and new springs to be added back next work day! Yippee!

6. Time to wash the few brake components that I am not going to replace but instead just need to wash really well and clean up. So I utilized my new handy dandy parts washer bin and there you go! All cleaned up!

7. That’s a wrap for my solo work session on Journey! Dirty hands mean a good day on Journey! Great job Hubby mentoring me, as you are an amazing instructor shown by the fact I got everything off on my own due to your patience of showing me how! I can’t wait to work on her again. That day can’t come too soon! 🙂


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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Happy 2019 adventurers and vanner family!!!

— Owl & Hubby

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