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Author Topic: Towing with an Eagle Bus  (Read 5611 times)
harley86
1977 Eagle 05
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« on: January 23, 2011, 07:48:10 PM »

I am seriously considering purchasing a 1977 Eagle bus but have a few concerns.Can I buy a hitch for a Eagle bus or build one and could I pull a 26 foot 8,000 pound trailer?

This bus has a 8V71 with a manual 4 speed is it possible to add some kind of gear splitter, overdrive unit or swap to say a 10 speed roadranger for towing or will the 4 speed work OK?

What kind of millage should I expect?

Thanks Kerry
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white-eagle
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2011, 08:24:12 PM »

i'm sure it will pull fine, just don't expect to break any land speed records.
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Tom
1991 Eagle 15 and proud of it.
8V92T, 740, Fulltime working on the road.

Fran was called to a higher duty 12/16/13. I lost my life navigator.
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2011, 08:40:38 PM »

If you're going to keep the 8V-71 a natural set at 300hp and 800lb/ft torque (with 65 injectors) then Eaton/Spicer makes a 6spd overdrive transmission that is fully synchronized.  So you'd have an extra low and an overdrive.  Or you could go with the spd non syncho'ed 7spd that also has a overdrive but 2 gears lower then your 4 spd and the gears spaced closer together.  The 9 or 10 spd would be the way to go, but just have to set up the air lines to the shifter for the range selector.  I don't believe you'll be very pleased with the performance of the 4 spd pulling the trailers-especially trying to start on a steep hill.
If you install a hitch, make sure you run a 2" square tubing from the hitch then bolted to the bulkhead so the pulling and stopping force are being transmitted directly to the rear bulkhead-and not through your engine cradle. 
If you could find a 2spd rear axle setup-that would work too.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2011, 09:56:39 PM »

Kerry, there are really two issues you have to consider.  First do I have the gearing/power to get the job done, and secondly, do I have the structure to handle the load.

Tom C has covered the transmission options.  Several folks have opted for a 10 speed truck transmission and the conversion is said to be pretty straight forward.

I always look forward to Tom's responses and the spot on technical detail.  However, I need to make a couple of corrections.  First, the Eagle would be an 05 and that would have a drop box which eliminated the possibility of a two speed rear end or some sort of splitter box (most other makes do not have room for them either).

An 8K trailer will put between 400 and 800 pound ***static*** load on the hitch.  Our buses were not  designed for that load.  Tom mentions bulkhead, and an Eagle does not have that type of construction.  It is a tube frame and part of the engine support comes from the roof structure.  Eagles (and other buses) can have some pretty significant rust - especially in the engine compartment.  Any hitch will attach to the engine support structure.  If the tubing is compromised (likely) then you risk a structural failure.  I emphasized static earlier.  The dynamic loads are what can really load up the structure. 

I have presented more of my trailer towing thoughts at:

http://www.rvsafetysystems.com/Trailer%20Towing.htm

I am always careful to say that lots of folks with Eagles tow that kind of load  without problems.  My approach is to play devil's advocate.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
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RJ
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2011, 02:17:58 AM »

Kerry -

Supplemental thoughts to Jim & TomC's comments:

You don't mention what part of the country you're located, but if you're strictly traveling the Midwest (Mississippi River drainage), an Eagle would do fine pulling a trailer with the stock powertrain.

OTOH, figure second gear and 35 mph pulling the 6% grades you'll find on either coast, moreso out west.

Lots of options for re-powers on an Eagle, and by far the majority include automatics, not manuals. 

Regardless of engine/transmission, figure fuel mileage in the 5 - 7 mpg range.  Empty or loaded, a bus is a brick, aerodynamically.  And the faster you go, the bigger the brick.

Best bet for towing that heavy trailer?  A Trailer Toad.  Pricy?  Maybe, but also a lot less than a broken engine cradle repair.  See the recent discussion here:

http://www.busnut.com/bbs/messages/11/45945.html?1295450774

Oh, and do your homework before buying a bus - they're easy to buy, but it's very, very difficult to sell a mistake!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
PD4106-2784 No More
S13406 1978 MC-5C Converted
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S14947 1980 MC-5C Shell
6V92/HT-740
Cheney WA
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2011, 04:22:23 AM »

Check to see if your combined length is legal in the states you plan to travel.

Art
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Art & Cheryll Gill
Morehead City, NC
1989 Eagle Model 20 NJT, 6v92ta
Gary LaBombard
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2011, 05:43:37 AM »

I will tell you what, Jim shepard and RJ Long are the guys you can depend upon for detailed information and I do.  What a great subject here.  I won't need it but know lots I see towing big trailers do!!  Thanks guys for the research and sharing of all the in & outs you know of for this post.
Garylee
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Gary
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2011, 10:31:53 AM »

Doyle the Texas Boarder Dude has towed his 30 ft trailer all over the US with a 8v71 I traveled with him he doesn't have any problems with his 8v71 and 740 well maybe one he is tuff on peoples fence lol

good luck
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boxcarOkie
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2011, 11:18:50 AM »

Doyle the Texas Boarder Dude has towed his 30 ft trailer all over the US with a 8v71 I traveled with him he doesn't have any problems with his 8v71 and 740 well maybe one he is tuff on peoples fence lol

good luck


Hey Cliff, is Doyle the Texas Border Dude, he the one that has the dog he calls Chocolate?  Is that who we are talking about here? My trailer project is coming along rather nicely, the "Pimp Lights" came in this week and i have them pre-wired and ready to go.  




Soon as the weather cleans up, I am going to start throwing it all together.  Won't be long until I am out in the Smart Aleck lane stylin with the Big Boys on the Super Slab ... Can I stay at your house for a couple of months?

BCO
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2011, 12:21:02 PM »

Don, the dog's name is Coffee but you were close lol  guess who showed up at the Eagle rally you owe me I'll be there next month to collect


good luck
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2011, 12:25:04 PM »

  Cracks are caused by flexing, flexing is caused by movement. Movement can result from vibration as well as any other cause. While many of these Buses were never engineered to pull a trailer or carry a heavy weight on the rear bumper, they are quite overbuilt.

  When I was young, I used a VW Bus to pull a trailer, and went around collecting scrap metal. I ultimately put a reciever hitch on that Bus and was pulling trailer loads that exceeded the weight of the Bus. I am not saying I was smart, looking back on it a lot of stuff I did was pretty dumb. The point is that by using common sense and proper loading you make things work.

  How many ever balance trailer tires? How many ever give equipment any kind of serious inspection before they start using it or adding to it or welding/bolting something to it? How many bother taking the time to think about how they load a trailer? You could put several tons of tounge weight onto a Bus bumper and never see it settle under the weight. 8000 pounds? Is 90% of that weight being carried on the trailer axles, or is 50% on the ball? Could you tell?

  I once misloaded my 16 foot enclosed trailer I pull behind my Motorhome by not paying attention during loading. Thankfully I didnt have it on the motorhome, and in fact needed to move it with my Ford Expedition to be able to hook up to the motorhome. Incredibly, it sank the Ford almost to the ground. The motorhome wouldnt have barely settled under that weight, and I would not have noticed it, but it would have greatly exceeded the weight the motorhome was designed to carry back there, as well as the rated tounge load of the hitch itself. You could argue the case of being fooled by a well oiled 5000 pound trailer jack. The jack didnt seem difficult to crank at all. Now I always load it while its attached to the Ford, and only when the Ford has light tounge weight do I hook up to the motorhome. Probably time I bought a tounge scale.  

    
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boxcarOkie
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2011, 12:53:35 PM »

Don, the dog's name is Coffee but you were close lol  guess who showed up at the Eagle rally you owe me I'll be there next month to collect


good luck

Story of my life, "close but no cigar."  Yeah I know, he called me on Sunday and told me where it was that he was calling from.  Put what I owe you on HIS ticket when you work on his old hoopie at the end of the month.

Tell him I said it was alright.

BCO
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