Okay, so I lied when I said I was done working on the Previa. It seems like more work and problems are always just around the corner. This time, it was an expensive one.

The brakes on the van were a bit weird. The brake pedal feel was good, but if you braked too hard, the whole van shakes. Sometimes, even if you didn’t brake hard, the van would shake to a stop. There was also an echoing sound from the rear drum brakes. Figured from a safety perspective, the brakes needed to be changed.

And if I was going to have them changed, might as well change it all:

I ended up going the whole nine-yards. New front rotors, brake pads, rear drum, drum shoes, and drum springs. I even had to change the front calipers. While the van was at the shop, I got a call to come check it out. The passenger side front caliper turned out to be leaking rather badly, so I had to buy a new set of calipers.

Meanwhile, since the coolant was a dirty orange color, I decided to give it a flush.

I threw in some Prestone Coolant System Cleaner. Luckily for the refill, I have some Prestone Antifreeze lying around.

Now with the brakes, things have gone FAR over budget. Also, I found out the Michelin wiper blades won’t work with the Previa, because it requires some stupid specific ones that have a washer nozzle in them. I was originally going to use the Bumper Coating to refresh the wiper arms, but now I’m going to say screw it. The tally has been adjusted with those two items omitted, and with the addition of the brake job.

  • Purchased Vehicle: $1250
  • Smog Test (Failed): $31
  • Coolant Leak Diagnosis: $10
  • Coolant Pipe from Junkyard: $24 + $2 entrance fee
  • Mobil 1 Oil: $27
  • Oil Filter: $4
  • Sea Foam: $9
  • Bosch Upstream O2 Sensor: $78
  • Bosch Downstream O2 Sensor: $50
  • AC Delco Battery: $56
  • Work for Coolant Pipe and New Belts: $180
  • NGK Iridium IX Spark Plugs: $29
  • Direct-Fit Catalytic Converter: $154
  • Magnaflow 5×8 Race Muffler: $130
  • BWD Spark Plug Wires: $49
  • Floor Mats: $16
  • Muffler Shop Work: $220
  • Fuel System Cleaner: $8
  • HEET Gas Antifreeze: $2
  • Smog Test #3 (Pass): $20
  • DMV Title Transfer Fee: $15
  • Prestone Coolant System Cleaner: $8
  • Brake Overhaul with Labor and Parts: $615

The new and hopefully FINAL total price of this whole restoration project:


Now the Previa has gone a whole grand over budget. :( I thought about picking up a set of Diamond Racing steelies for the van, but so much for that. I’ll have to go the ghetto way now, a.k.a. remove the hub caps.

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