Our Van Conversion

9/03/2019 – Day #16: Journey’s Conversion (Remove driver’s side windows)

Today’s Goals:

Happy September all! I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to the less than 100 degree temps as working on Journey in that heat just ultimately sucks! We have had a few developments since my last update on Journey almost 3 months ago! I promise we are still working on her and making progress, even if it is one millimeter at a time.

So what’s been keeping us busy? Well, I took the boys on a 31 day road trip covering 6000 miles this summer. We left Texas and headed over to NM, Grand Canyon, Vegas, Redwoods, up to Oregon, down Hwy. 101 to San Fran and then east over through Yosemite for about 8 days, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, etc. So as a result we were gone a lot of the summer.

Then about 2 weeks after we got home, we got a new puppy for our 14 year old son and boy it is like having a baby in the house again!

But the real exciting thing is that we are having a shop built on our property so I can work on Journey, day or night, rain or heat and hopefully that will help make the progress faster! It appears it should be finished by December! So, a little more patience and hopefully she can hang in there.

I am going to be honest about this journey with Journey. It has been frustrating as I can see her full awesome potential…all the way down to the tactical bumper and up to her solar panels on the top…but days like today I just feel knocked down and overwhelmed by the amount of work she needs. I even went on Craiglist for the first time since bringing her home and was looking at other buses for sale that don’t need as much work because right now, I am just completely overwhelmed.

I have been asked why I didn’t just get a van that was already empty, or newer to ensure less work like a Sprinter. Well, honestly, I can’t afford a Sprinter and truly I have always been one to not follow the crowd. I love the Sprinters and think they look amazing! However, it seems like everyone is converting Sprinters and so when I saw Journey for sale, she looks unique and she immediately captured my heart and imagination as to what she could become.

But, the going is slow, every day that passes I feel anxious because I know she is weathering and aging faster. This is why I went in and wire wheeled the inside of her and the roof and then painted the rust stop stuff on her in June to help slow that process.  So when you see pics of her, don’t worry as that golden color is just the rust stop and not actual rust.

So what is the next step you might ask, well that is when my panic attack seems to come on within my spirit. It is keeping me up at night because the doors don’t seal and need to be worked on, there are still over 2 dozen holes in the floor where the linoleum was just screwed into the frame, broken windows everywhere…so I say I need to seal her up. But with the door issues, the flooring issues and the windows, it all just seems impossible to get done.

Brian went to the junk yard and found 2 windows that we wanted for Journey and had them removed from a junk van there for $20 each. This is awesome because the sprinter windows I was looking at run about $300 each used.  Last week, I picked up custom sheet metal from a metal shop in San Antonio for $140 to seal in and remodel the side of the van to make it look like it has always had one window on that side. So, I finally had a task I could do. Remove the windows first on the drivers side.

Now coming back to my comment about being a little blue about Journey. As I removed the windows today, she really looked like she belonged in a junk yard and my heart sank as I just wish I could work on her faster. She looks pretty sad right now, so just trying to stay positive and remember that it is ok if it takes years to get her done…I will have set a goal, seen the potential and seen that seemingly impossible task through. I just hope I am not 50 and she isn’t done! We have places to go in her and things to see!!!!

Anyways, Embrace the Journey and meet yourself where are you NOW. No judgement, right?

Total Work Time: 2.0 hours

Here was my process:

The first thing I needed to figure out as how do I get one of the windows out in the first place. This is all new to me and each step with Journey feels like I am earning a degree in a totally new subject matter!

There are window frames screwed into the body on the outside of each window so I unscrewed those. Then I used a screwdriver to pry the window flashing around the windows from the sticky insulation/material from the body of the van.

Then I had to go inside and bend the flashing at the bottom of the window so that it could then slide out easily without getting caught by the metal.

And viola! One window out!!!


Now onto the second, third and fourth windows! Now that is rust at the bottom of each window where the metal was welded over the windows…guess water got trapped there at some point. Doesn’t matter though cause all of that will be cut out and replaced with nice new sheets of metal.


And they are out. This is the point when my heart sank and I stepped back and saw how sad she looks. 😦 Stay positive, see the potential and keep working, right?


A view from the inside. 🙂 The boxes are measured and placed where the counter and such will be be with the sink, oven/stove combo, etc. Again, measuring and planning keeps me not focused on how much work there is till left to do but what she will be like in all her glory. 🙂


So, here she is windowless on the drivers side, but if you look closely, you can see I am holding up the new window from the inside so we could see where we measured it to go. We will have one window over the sink and the rest will be sealed in as the bed and such will be in the back and we didn’t want a window at our heads there. Privacy will be very important to us.


What’s next? This weekend, I will see about prepping the area to install the window on this side and see what I need to do to fab the metal to begin closing her in where those other 2 back windows were.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.