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Inspecting an Eagle

This is a public forum to discuss Eagle related technical issues. If you are having a problem with your Eagle, this is the place to find help.
Re: Inspecting an Eagle
Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:46 am


Walter brings up an interesting thought of looking for an entertainer coach. I suspect that commercially done entertainer conversions have a pretty good chance of being properly done since they are intended to be used commercially.

Now for my thoughts on buying an owner converted coach - hold on to your hat. :D :o


I am going to use my bus as the basis for my discussion. This is especially topical, since I have thought often about selling our bus since we don't use it as often as we should and I hate to see it sit.

In order to follow this discussion you should read my project pages (link in my signature). My project pages can serve to help the reader understand some of the cost and labor involved in an owner conversion. However, I am going to use those pages to emphasize some points about owner conversion.

The biggest factors in an owner conversion in my mind are: 1) was it done with safety in mind; 2) were the mechanical components properly addressed; 3) were the rust issues properly addressed and preventative measures taken; 4) were quality parts used in the conversion; 5)was the interior conversion done at an acceptable level of quality ?

Obviously the safety issues are the major factor. One of our members had an Eagle that was so rusted that the engine was about to fall out. On older Eagle the brakes were smaller than the model 10/15/20 and they were marginal. Obviously repairing all of the brake and steering system components becomes important with our older buses. The other major safety issues are wiring and gas plumbing. Wiring is a huge subject unto it's own. Obviously the big wiring items involve correct wiring practice and proper use of protective breakers.

Item three is hard to evaluate. Many of the structural tubes rust from the inside out. The critical tubes around the engine area need to be tested with a drill or an ice pick to make sure that the tube walls are not compromised. Since most Eagles have rust issues, the main issue in my mind is the caliber of the rust repair. As many of you know, I can be a bit anal about some things and this is one of them. Most repairs are done with MIG welders and that is a huge concern for me. MIG welders are fairly cheap to buy and a new owner can learn to make decent looking welds with a little practice. However, learning to get strong welds takes a lot of practice. Getting good penetration is an acquired skill. When a tube repair is done by cutting and splicing in a new tube section, I cringe. That repair relies on a butt weld and only very experienced welders can make that repair as strong as the original structure. I prefer plating the area or "double tubing" the weak tube (adding an adjacent tube welded to the old tube). Bottom line, a potential buyer needs to be aware of the quality of the rust repair.

I will address items 4) and 5) in another reply.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net Note: Email sent to the this address requesting technical advice will not receive a response
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Re: Inspecting an Eagle
Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:07 pm


This thread has become a pretty comprehensive compilation of considerations when looking at purchasing an Eagle bus. My last couple of posts have been my attempt to add to that compilation.

In my last post I was addressing owner-for-sale buses and listed 5 considerations. I am finally getting around to addressing items 4 and 5 of that post:

4) were quality parts used in the conversion; 5)was the interior conversion done at an acceptable level of quality ?


The value of an owner conversion depends on all 5 factors (and lot of other factors covered earlier in this thread -- such as type of engine, tire condition, Torsilastic condition,etc).

Assuming that items 1-3 were addressed properly, items 4 and 5 are what often determine the selling price of the bus.

Let's talk about item 4. Many owner conversions use simple stick and staple RV components. That is OK, but does not offer much that will increase the value. Other owner built conversions use top shelf components. In my case it includes things like Wrico generator, Aqua-Hot water/domestic heat/engine preheat, Trace full sine wave inverter, large holding tanks, washer/dryer etc. All of these were purchased new for several thousand dollars. Those kinds of parts should raise the value, but the purchaser will be paying pennies on the the dollar for the "quality" parts. I guess that all I am trying to do here is to point out that two buses being equal, I would always go with the one that has the best conversion parts.

Now for item 5. First of all I should have included both interior and exterior level of quality. I have already mentioned safety which involves wiring and gas plumbing. So we are really talking more about the purchaser's image and plans. If the purchaser plans on redoing the interior/exterior, the whole question is moot. However, if the purchaser plans to use the bus as is and make small changes as time and money allow, this becomes a rather large factor. Again, using my bus as an example, the exterior needs paint. The interior, while fully functional, could be a big turnoff to many folks. My 12V and 120V wiring are what I consider to be safe, but some folks might argue that it would not meet code (BTW, there is no wiring code for RV wiring that I am aware of). The engine and transmission wiring in the dash area is a rat's nest that was done in a huge rush to get the bus on the road many years ago and never updated. It has worked almost flawlessly, for over 14 years, but it would not be fun to troubleshoot. So, my bus would loose some value to most folks that want a finished, fancy bus.

So, how does one balance the 5 items I listed (plus all of the other considerations listed int this thread). Of course there is no universal answer. It would be a very rare situation where a purchaser found a bus that met every checklist item. In almost every case there will be compromises.

I have to laugh out loud about Bob Belter selling his bus. He is an electronic guru who had a huge amount of very "specialized" electronic wiring/control boards including a manual shift lever that was set up like a fighter plane joy stick with all kinds of buttons and switches. I always enjoyed talking to him about all the bells and whistles on his bus, but always went away thinking that he would never be able to sell the bus. Turns out he sold it rather quickly. I would love to meet the person that bought it {grin}.

Just more rambling.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net Note: Email sent to the this address requesting technical advice will not receive a response
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