Monthly Archives: November 2015

Gear ideas.

For some reason gear becomes an obsession to a lot of people, I’ve fallen into gear obsession from time to time. I believe the obsession comes from what an object represents and what it can possibly do for you in the future. My advice is to try not to fall to far down that rabbit hole that is gear obsession.

With that being said, here’s stuff to feed your gear obsession.

Overlanding can learn a lot from what other people are doing in other ventures. I find sailing blogs to be a particularly useful resource to follow. They have to go out to foreign places for long periods of time with nothing to rely on besides what they bring with them. Just like overlanders they tend to have very limited space as well.

Here is a great place to start with sailing gear blog:

Master Cylinder Replacement

Did you know that you’re supposed to bleed a master cylinder? This is one of the things I’ve learned in my refreshing and updating of my Van’s brake system.

To do a Vanagon master cylinder properly you need to buy two of the bleeding kits as you need two of the exact same size fitting and every kit I’ve ever seen only comes with a single fitting for every size imaginable.


Here’s the current shape of my master cylinder, as I said in a previous post I went to drive it and found the master cylinder bone dry. I ended up filling it up again to try and chase down the leak.

20151023_171359 20151023_171429



Brake Line Replacement

This fall I got the Vanagon into running shape and went to take it out for a test drive when I pressed in the brake pedal and it just slammed to the floor, no pressure nothing. I popped the instrument panel cluster and found a bone dry hydraulic system reservoir. I say hydraulic system because the clutch and brake cylinders are run off of the same reservoir. Before I fix the master cylinder I decided to go through the brake system and do some minor upgrades and check for any other potential issues. I started off with replacing all the brake lines with some nice braided stainless steel upgrades.

It’s a fairly simple process at least until you go breaking things.


  • 14mm Open Wrench
  • 11mm Flare Wrench*
  • Lug Nut Wrench
  • Jack & Supports

*You’re going to need a flare wrench in this application to get those 20+ year old brake lines separated, if you try to use an open wrench you run a high likely hood of stripping the hard line bolt, as I did.


  1. Break Lug Nuts Loose
  2. Raise and Support Vehicle
  3. Remove Wheel
  4. Remove one end of flex connector from the hard line. I found it easier to remove the flex line closest to the vehicle first. Now you have options to quickly cap the brake hard line to not loose a bunch of fluid, or in my case I was replacing the master cylinder and I drained out all the brake fluid first for each individual line through the bleeder screw. If you do go with the cap it quickly option make sure to keep an eye on the reservoir level.
  5. Remove the other end of the flex line.
  6. Install the new Line.
  7. If you choose the quick cap option now would the opportune time to bleed that corner of the vehicle.
  8. Re-install the wheel.
  9. Rinse and repeat until finished.

Issues I Ran Into

I ended up stripping one of the 11mm fittings on the hard line located on rear trailing arm of my van. I ended up having to spend a couple hours with a small hand saw removing the old line and then another hour trying to get the slightly small 20″ hard line that I bought from a local autoparts store to work in this application. I had to replace the brake retaining spring due to me damaging it in the sawing action.


Here’s the shiny new line, clip, and flex line.