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Author Topic: What happens when an Eagle rusts?  (Read 6866 times)
Len Silva
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« Reply #45 on: October 19, 2009, 02:52:55 PM »

If it's not a silly question, does anyone know why Eagles rust so badly? Is it bad design (eg. water traps), bad construction (eg. lack of rust protection), bad materials (eg. wrong type of steel), or something less obvious such galvanic corrosion between the different materials? Or is it all a myth and they're actually no worse than other buses of the same era?

Jeremy

It's all a myth.  Eagles are no more prone to rust than any other bus of the same era with the exception of the GMC's
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« Reply #46 on: October 19, 2009, 04:18:19 PM »

Jeremy -

Your question is not a silly one, it's actually one that really hasn't been addressed w/o lots of smoke.

As Len pointed out, some of the rusting Eagle stuff is a myth, often perpetrated by those who really want to skewer Eagle owners for whatever reason.  But he's right in the sense that other brands from the same era suffer rust problems too - some early Prevost Champions and LeMirages for example, are just as bad, if not worse.

Yes, GMCs are less prone, due to their high concentration of aluminum in their construction, but they, too, have corrosion issues.  Just ask anyone who has let one sit outside with peeling paint along the coasts.

But to answer your question, with the exception of the NJT Eagles and later when Eagle switched to Cor-Ten steel, it was a combination of all three factors that you threw out there that created the problem.  When you look at the exploded birdcage construction of the frame schematic that Van posted, you can see where the potential is, especially with untreated (or under-treated) steel in the wheel well areas.  The frame itself, btw, is extremely strong.

As you can see, a leaking window or exterior light, could allow water to run down inside the walls and pool at the floor = hidden damage.  But this is the same problem MCI & Prevost owners face.  The GM guys don't usually talk about this, but the later models, especially the Buffalos towards the end of production, have some serious rust problems, primarily around the upper deck transition area.  You rarely hear about corrosion on a 4104 - some say this was the most over-engineered coach ever built, as GM went to great lengths to minimize corrosion, not only of the aluminum, but also to reduce electrolysis and rust where steel was incorporated into the suspension mounting points along with other nooks & crannies.  After the '04, however, the bean counters cheapened the highway coaches right up until the end of production.  (All this from a GM owner, too!)

In my years in the bus industry, I saw few Eagles out here on the West Coast with corrosion problems, mostly due to our lower humidity and lack of using salt on the snow-covered roads in winter.  That's why you often hear "try to find one from the SW portion of the US".

I know that the Europeans often use body-on-frame construction techniques, so you face different issues.  But this gives you a general pic of what happens to our coaches over time.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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Fredward
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« Reply #47 on: October 19, 2009, 05:11:11 PM »

Wayne/Jim,
thanks for the willingness to help. The seller has received an offer and has withdrawn the bus from the market right now. Maybe this one will fall through like his last offer did. It would have been fun to come out and meet you guys.
Fred
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kyle4501
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« Reply #48 on: October 19, 2009, 05:14:05 PM »

If it's not a silly question, does anyone know why Eagles rust so badly? Is it bad design (eg. water traps), bad construction (eg. lack of rust protection), bad materials (eg. wrong type of steel), or something less obvious such galvanic corrosion between the different materials? Or is it all a myth and they're actually no worse than other buses of the same era?

Jeremy



Tubing construction has the disadvantage of once water gets inside the tube, it keeps the inside wet for a very long time. If you have ever tried welding something air (water vapor) tight, you know how difficult it is to do - especially when it is a structural framework.

It is difficult to apply corrosion inhibitors inside the tubes  - If done before fabrication, the heat of welding will burn it off. The weld joints are the areas of highest stress. Strange thing is that the higher the stress level, the higher the rate of corrosion.


If the framework is sheet metal bent in a Z profile, there isn't the problem of trapped water inside. Also, it is easy to apply the corrosion inhibitors after welding.

Also, Eagles use the tubing frame to carry all the structural loads - The GM construction used the siding (inside & out) to help carry the structural loads.

Different design styles have different 'issues'. If it can be converted in to a motorhome of your liking, then it is a good bus. Choosing the best of the available buses/ shells will save time & $$$.

I haven't seen one yet that couldn't be rebuilt if enough $$$ was thrown at it.  Grin
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Tenor
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« Reply #49 on: October 19, 2009, 06:06:05 PM »

 I just can't help myself here - The joke keeps staring me in the face.  I love ALL buses!  So here goes:

Question: "What happens when an Eagle rusts?" 
Answer: "An angel get's it's wings!"

 Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
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« Reply #50 on: October 19, 2009, 06:38:38 PM »






                                                                                         Kiss
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Bob Belter
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« Reply #51 on: October 19, 2009, 07:32:49 PM »

Ahoy, BusFolk,

Yah, I have an Eagle.  Everything above which is said is true.  We rust!!!!

A 'small' repair job on an Eagle looks to me like a terrible piece of work.  Hard to get at.  A 'big' repair job which plans that you will have 'a bare bones frame' is not that much more work.  I would NOT consider an Eagle which did not go down to 'bare bones'.

On my -01 Eagle, there is very little steel within 1/2 foot of the bottom which is not new.  And, all the skin, except the roof, is new.

The thing which is not stated is that all of the 'very substantal work' goes very fast!!!
A friend and self did all the flat skin on my Eagle in less than a week.  I ain't that difficult!!!

And, when you are done, you have a really fine bus to start your bus conversion.

Not likely to rot-out on your watch
 
Enjoy   /s/   Bob
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gus
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« Reply #52 on: October 19, 2009, 08:09:45 PM »

Ob1quixote,

Of course all that is true for some Al alloys in theory and in the lab, but try telling that to some hapless airplane owner who sees his nice shiny toy fall apart from corrosion!!

Any corrosion involves outside forces, including rust. However, those forces are right there from the day the metal is formed - trying to return the metal to its original raw material form.
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Jeremy
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« Reply #53 on: October 19, 2009, 10:51:17 PM »

Thanks for the explanations; I had wondered whether it was something to do with the monocoque design, although I had thought it might be because the tubing was thinner-wall rather than because it being stressed that caused more rusting (that's something I've not heard before). The majority of European buses are monocoque as well, but I don't know enough about the different makes to know whether any have a particular reputation for rusting - I dare say some are just as bad.

The tubing on my bus is bare steel inside, which I've always thought was strange given how easy wax injection (for instance) would be. All the lower sections do have rubber drain tubes in them, and I've let to find any serious rust anywhere. The roof and various other parts on mine are aluminium as you would expect, but the main side skins are galvanized steel.

Jeremy
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tomhamrick
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« Reply #54 on: October 20, 2009, 05:11:41 AM »

As Kyle stated, one problem with the tubing is once water or condensation gets in, it can not get out. When i converted out model 10, I drilled holes in the bottom of the inside wall tubing and water ran out of some of them. I followed what other Eagle owners have done and drilled holes in all my tubing and filled it with spray foam. that stopped the condensation and water in the tubes. It also helps with the heat and cold transfer to the inside of the bus. On a cool damp morning I cannot see the tubing on the sides of my bus like a lot of others so I know the spray foam is working.
Tom Hamrick
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Tom Hamrick
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« Reply #55 on: October 27, 2009, 07:49:41 AM »

Guys, Guys, Guys, Guys - we got kind of off track here.

Do the wheels fall off? Does the bus break in the middle? Do the torsilactics pull out of the frame and the body rubs on the tires? Engine drop out? I'm guessing the stainless siding would hold it all together for a long time.

FRed
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Fred Thomson
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« Reply #56 on: October 27, 2009, 08:49:37 AM »

Guys, Guys, Guys, Guys - we got kind of off track here.

Do the wheels fall off? Does the bus break in the middle? Do the torsilactics pull out of the frame and the body rubs on the tires? Engine drop out? I'm guessing the stainless siding would hold it all together for a long time.

FRed

Fred the Eagles used Aluminum!
And just to quote a well known bus salesman that sold my uncle an Eagle once back when he was in the charter bus business after the sale was done, papers signed, $ & TITLE EXCHANGED.
"Well this deal is done. Now you do understand if it breaks in half pulling out the gate, both halves are yours right?"

Well you know the saying "live & learn"?
My uncle sure learned on that one! It was only the second or 3rd bus he'd bought and boy did he learn! After that he took someone that knew a little about inspecting one with him to buy! (usually dad or I!)
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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« Reply #57 on: October 27, 2009, 09:01:52 AM »

Just can't recall ever seeing a eagle that broke in half, I do know where a broken MCI sits tho lol.
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kyle4501
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« Reply #58 on: October 27, 2009, 09:26:04 AM »

Most are smart enough to recognize the signs of impending failure before it separates into two pieces.
Examples
- it looks like it is sitting in a hole while on level ground
- rivets are unzipping along a seam or two
- body pulling away from the window frames
- floor is buckling

I did see a picture of a bus on the side of the road with the engine & transmission still in the traffic lane. . . I do wish I had saved that one.
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rusty
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« Reply #59 on: October 27, 2009, 09:33:11 AM »

I have seen eagles with alot of rust and still going down the road. I think that tells a little about how over built they are. I would be carefull of a lot of rust on the engine cradle. That cradle was made to hold the engine and most put a toebar on that cradle. The extra stress with a lot of rust and the engine could come lose. The rust around the Torsilastic mounts is another place to look. My 05 had a lot of rust there ( about 40% rust) and the bus was still OK   ( I did replace it). The bottom rail of the main frame ( the one at floor level ) is the one I would look at. This tube is mostly in tension and is very important to the strength of the frame. The fender wells are there to hold the siding and not real important. Hope this answers the original ?

Good Luck Wayne
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