We purchased our Eagle 05 in August of 2006 from a gentleman in Ft. Myers, FL who had it listed through Heartland Coach. It has an 8V71 engine, and a five speed automatic transmission.It was professionally converted to a motor coach in 1988 by Hercules Coach Conversions out of Louisville, KY. They did a great job with the conversion, but they issued our bus a new VIN # and had it re-titled, so we are not sure of our bus' original year or VIN, and THAT is our current quest. From the research we have done so far, we believe it is a 1972. Part of the conversion included raising the roof and putting new skins all around. It has a newer style dash and new square headlights. It is all electric and has a 15k Kubota diesel generator. It has two 2-ton central air and heat units. The interior includes custom-made solid oak cabinets and trim. New leather furniture was added in 2004.
Here is a picture of my wife and I at our first Bus Rally - Arcadia Dec. '06
As you can see from the previous post and the pictures of our bus as it was when we purchased it, it appeared to be in pretty good shape, but we did want to address some maintenance issues that were called to our attention when we had the bus inspected before we purchased it.
The first day we saw our Eagle, we met the previous owners at Heartland's Coach shop in Arcadia. Being a newbie, we wanted to have the bus inspected by a qualified shop, so we set up a time to meet the owners (and of course the BUS) at Heartland Coach. It's funny because when we first stepped inside, it smelled so nice and the music was playing and the atmosphere was set (pay attention now) all this was for a purpose. We later realized on our trip home a week later, WHY it smelled like air freshener...it was to hide the horrendous smell of the exhaust fumes coming inside the bus. The inspector had told us the mufflers probably needed to be replaced, and HE WAS RIGHT!!! So as soon as it was ours, we set up an appointment to have that issue addressed. We had new mufflers installed, the front seal bearings replaced, some of the air lines replaced, and we also had the exhaust from the generator reconfigured so the tail pipe extended to the side so the fumes would not be coming up into the bus from underneath. We also had the generator serviced and the oil changed. These maintenance improvements made a HUGE difference in our bus!
My next project was to clean up and detail the engine. I wanted to restore it's original DD engine color, but prior to doing that I wanted to find a way to catch the excess oil from the slobber tube, etc. so I did some research and found out about a product from Walker Engineering Enterprises out of CA. They developed a remote airsep kit (seen in the 3rd and 4th pictures below - black canister looking device). It does a pretty good job of catching the blow-by from the engine valve cover.You'll also notice the pvc pipe. That's something I designed myself to catch the slobber from the engine. Once I corrected most of the oil spill problem, I painted the engine, and WOW, what a difference that made. Of course, as we all know, the 8V71 will always leak some oil. I have found that if I periodically clean the engine (with gunk) the engine stays pretty clean.
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:04 am Posts: 335 Location: Lexington Kentucky
That's one nice coach there buddy. Its the details like you keep adding that make all the difference in the world. Hows about some pics of the bays. I'm guessing that they are pretty nice too? You have to watch out for me as my idea antenna is always on and listening.
The next issue we wanted to address was to provide more sleeping accomodations. The couch does make a pretty nice size bed when open, but we have older kids both married, and one of them gave us one of our greatest joys three years ago...our sweet granddaughter Hannah. Sometimes they get to travel with us, not all at once, but still, we wanted to make them comfortable when they are with us. We also were not happy with the table and two chairs (as seen in an earlier picture). It just wasn't practical. So we did some searching and actually got a pretty neat idea from a bus family who were traveling full time for a few years. They had an idea for converting a dinette into a sleeper. So we took the basic idea to Creative Coach in Lakeland, FL and together we came up with this dinette/sleeper/storage and it works GREAT!!! It wasn't cheap, but they did an excellent job and we are SO pleased with it. It was one of the things we kind of splurged on, but it was important to us. By the way, Creative Coach has probably one of the finest paint and body shops in the country for big rigs. It's really their specialty. We have seen their work and it is awesome.
This first two pictures show the dinette. The bench cushions were made at a local upholstery shop.
The table top comes off and you'll see the tall removable polls underneath. When the table is off we lay it up against the inside wall of our bus behind our leather chairs.
Once those taller polls are removed it is replaced with a shorter poll support. We keep this stored in a closet inside the bus when it's not being used.
Now you are ready to flip part of the bench lid over to rest on the shorter support. Notice the back bench lid has piano hinges. This will be the foundation for the mattress. By the way, there is plenty of storage available under the "L" shaped benches. We keep our sheets, blankets, towels, and pillows stored there.
Here is the mattress. We had this made at the same local upholstery shop that made the bench cushions. We had them also make a vinyl envelope style cover that the mattress slips into so we can store it in one of our bays when not being used.
Ever since we've had our bus there was a problem with the brake light switch. It would stay on all the time. When we went to the 2007 Arcadia Rally, which was just a few months after we got our bus, I started asking around to see if another Eagle owner may have had the same problem, or know how I could fix it. It just so happens that Sonnie Gray was at that rally. I met him and asked him for his advice. He was kind enough to help me look for the brake light switch, supposing that it was under the dash, but it wasn't. His next thought was that it must be in the tunnel in the back, so when I got home I started digging,removing the carpet in the rear, removing the bed, etc. and sure enough, there it was in the tunnel! I ordered a new switch from Jefferson out of OK and replaced it and that did the trick. Of course, now I was left with having to repair (or replace) that carpet in the back, which we weren't that crazy about anyway, so we decided to replace it. We bought new carpet (actually a remnant) and new padding, both at a good price, and had a fellow busnut friend, Ace, (who happens to be an excellent carpet installer) put it in for us.
Here is the old brake light switch in the rear tunnel
Here is the prep work before the new carpet was installed