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pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/27/22 4:30 p.m.

As for the A/C, I bought this a while back: 

For $130, it has allowed me to do a lot of A/C work on my own. On the Cherokee for example,  I was able to snag much newer components from the junkyard, swap hoses, and refill it all  myself.  I redid the A/C on the Sedona as well, the rear lines were toast so I grabbed new ones from the U-PULL-IT and presto, full-van AC. It's not as hard as you think.  

 

 

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
4/5/22 4:12 p.m.

I'm going to keep that AC kit in mind.  

Another small update: while checking the rear brakes (starting there to address/diagnose soft brake pedal,) I decided that the aluminum running boards had to go.  So they went.  I am glad that I took them off.  The van has a cleaner look without them.

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
4/5/22 4:29 p.m.

Speaking of the brakes being soft, I found this mysterious semi-liquid on both sides of both wheel cylinders.  Upon first glimpse of it, I thought that it was brake fluid residue.  But it doesn't look like any brake fluid make I have ever seen.  It looks more like a lubricant that somebody applied to the wheel cylinder.  After taking this picture, I collected some with a pocket screwdriver, then smeared a little between my fingers.  It doesn't have that odd feeling of brake fluid.  It feels more like a grease.  Also, I would expect a brake fluid leak to cause rust all over the place inside the drum.  Still, it doesn't look like anything I have seen before.  Would anybody care to speculate as to whether it is brake fluid?  Obviously, if so, I'm going to be replacing the wheel cylinders.  

In the meantime, I sprayed it all down with brake cleaner, tightened the manually adjustable drum brakes, and reassembled.  Manually adjusted drums.  I don't know if I have ever owned a vehicle with drums that had to be adjusted.  I'm used to self-adjusting drums that absolutely don't self-adjust and must be manually adjusted anyway.  

The rear brakes did accept quite a bit of adjustment before the drums were snug to install, so all of the mush could have been in the adjustment.  I hope so, because these are probably the most Rube-Goldberg-ish drums brakes I have ever seen.  

Dirtydog (Forum Supporter)
Dirtydog (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/9/22 9:51 a.m.

In on this.  My son just picked up a 2005 Astro, with a 120,000 miles, from his FIL.  Very nice condition.  I have been following this from afar, good luck with the project.

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
4/9/22 11:42 a.m.

If my memory serves, Astro/Safaris (before 03 when they went to 6 lug 16" wheels) had the same brake hardware as B bodies. Had several '92s along the way - still have a '99 and a'98 parts van. The few I did rear brakes on, did have self adjusting, albeit, I'm with ya on the seldom functional part!

Always planed to do a V8 and MT; even had a 97 LT 1 and 6mt Formula doner for a bit, but life always got in the way. 
I'll live vicariously through you for this one. 
BTW, I like the pre 95 look better!

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
4/9/22 11:51 a.m.

In reply to Dirtydog (Forum Supporter) :

The 03 and up did have a few upgrades over the 95-02 vans. But the '80s to 93, in my experience, got better mpg, if driven reasonably. Any one of the newer ones I've owned, driven, or talked to that track mpg correctly, only get 19, as opposed to up to 23 from the earlier ones. 
But, with a V8 swap, YMMV! angel

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