I’m glad you found us. This blog is about the building and enjoyment of our 1968 Silver Eagle. Our journey started in 2003, celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year. We have made many changes along the way and encourage you to surf around and check it out.
I had to hurry and copy some threads from my Project page on the Eagles International website, start this blog and make some quick changes. It appears that their website will be headed to the graveyard in the sky soon, so I needed to save as much as possible.
Feel free to leave me a comment as we embark on this new blog.
We are moving back into the bus at the end of this month, 7 days away from now. Our time here as a caretaker has come to a close as we’ve decided to downsize and prepare for our journey up to the Pacific Northwest later this year. We’ve enjoyed staying in this old house and it also gave me some space to paint the bus. Now it’s time to begin another chapter.
I never did get around to installing our Zip Dee patio awning after I painted the bus, procrastination at it’s finest I guess. I ordered the new Flex Key, 22′ of it and received it a few days ago. Now how am I going to get this heavy awkward awning up on the bus. I really do my best to figure out how to do things by myself to challenge my thinking. Sometimes it works, and sometimes not. This is one of those NOT times.
The last time I did this I had lots of help, 4 guys and great weather. This time not so much. It was a cloudy cool day with rain heading our way in the afternoon. Living in West Texas you can always use some rain so I’m not complaining.
I was very lucky to acquire the help of one friend, who is retired and available. I couldn’t sleep the night before trying to figure out how two guys could put it up without much trouble. I was successful in some of the planing, not so in some other. I won’t go into boring details on what I figured wrong, but highlight what went right. HA
It actually went up pretty good. I had installed the Flex Key on the leading aluminum slat the day before and needed to find a way to give me some help in holding it up while I slid one side into the rail slot and the other into the other slat section on the awning. I was parked under a tree and just so happened a branch was in the right location. I threw up a rope and ran the slat through it while I inserted it and slide the pieces together. My buddy was holding up the other end of the awning while I worked the sections together. Two guys standing on extension ladders 10′ off the ground is no picnic but we prevailed.
Then it was time to wind up the tension spring to help make it retract easier. The first time I didn’t have enough tension, so I gave it more turns while trying to not hit my buddy on the head. If you know anything about a Zip Dee awning, you know what I’m talking about.
It all worked out great, two guys, two hours and nobody got hurt. Here is the result.
Our 22′ Zip Dee Patio Awning
A very good friend of mine, Sonnie Gray, used this on his Eagle and had very good results. His aluminum siding had spots on it from a truck wash and it made them disappear.
Works great to bring back the color.
I went to Walmart and bought one bottle to try it out. I first used it on the plastic lenses and was amazed at how much better they looked. Went back and bought one more bottle to have enough to do the siding.
This is the kit to use.
I cleaned the siding real good with Dawn and water, let it dry and started applying it following the directions. I was really impressed on how easy it is to apply it. You just have to be careful not to get it on anything painted. It hides the milky appearance that many old Eagles have on their siding. It covered the ghost lettering so good you can’t even see it. It leaves a very slick surface, water beads up, dust does not cling to it.
I applied this in August and it still looks great in November. It’s supposed to last a couple of years, we’ll see.
Wipe New on the right, covers the hazy aluminum on the left.
Wipe New applied to anodized aluminum siding.
I still have some left of the second bottle. So for 40 bucks it was a great investment.
In the past I have tried brake fluid, WD-40 and PB Blaster. It looked good for a day or two but they collected dust due to the oily residue.
Our 46 year old anodized aluminum siding has new life!
Our new look
I guess I forgot to add a picture of the final result. Here she is in all her glory! We are so happy with the end result, it really made a huge difference in the appearance of our coach.
I really like the look by adding the front side slanted windows from a Model 10. They fit perfectly on our 01.
I got to make some sawdust this past week adding some red oak moulding and make up a cabinet frame for our towels. This was the last thing to do on the inside of our coach.
We had some plastic silver paneling left over from our bedroom that was used on the curved part of the ceiling, so I put it to good use. It really made a difference in the appearance. The light over the toilet is 12 volt, while the sink lighting is 120.
We have a pocket door that separates the bathroom and bedroom from the front half of the coach. I designed the bathroom that way to give us more room, I hate small cubby holes for a sink and toilet. Ours is very open and easy to get around in. We do have a curtain between the bathroom and bedroom for additional privacy if needed. There is a Fantastic Fan above the sink and toilet area for ventilation. To the side of the cabinet there is a switch to activate a 12 volt water pump while boondocking.
I really enjoyed this part of our build. It’s always enjoyable to come up with an idea and see the end result.
Silver Panel on Curved Ceiling
Red Oak Cabinet Frame
Red Oak Moulding and Trim around Mirrors
Red Oak Moulding and Trim
I thought I would share some information that I hope is helpful. I sanded the entire bus with 320 grit using a DA sander. I bought the sandpaper at Harbor Freight, trying to save a few bucks. The last batch I got from my paint supplier here in Abilene. The cost was a little over double for the same count, 100 on a roll. They are PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) discs. My experience was this. I should have used them from the beginning. They last over 5 times longer and don’t plug up. End result, better finish in much less time. The box shows holes in them, mine was a solid pad, therefore no holes. I guess they use the same picture on all of their sanding products.
I was able to polish the mirrors and install them along with painting the wiper arms a satin black. She is starting to look like an Eagle now!
We had a very severe hail storm on Thursday evening that did significant damage to parts of Abilene. Hail as large as a tennis ball were reported. Parts of Abilene just got rain, we got hail! I’m estimating that this stone was much larger as we didn’t arrive home until 45 minutes after the storm had left the area. Can you imagine the damage it can cause, Wow!
We did incur some to the bus. Several dents on the roof, barely seen from the ground. Roof marker light destroyed along with a marker light lens on the rear cap, our front and middle A/C shroud did not survive. They were very old and brittle, they will get replaced. I fixed the marker lights, will leave the dents alone for now, may not even worry about it.
I tried to clean off the silicone from a previous owners installation and failed, broke 3 or 4 light assemblies in the process.
Why anybody would do this is beyond me.
I did install new side marker lights/turn signals, both sides. I chose Grote LED’s to improve the functionality and brightness of them.
Here they are in action. I had one license plate light out, it has been replaced so all lights are operational! Yay!
It’s time to compare the before and after shots of our Eagle. We are very pleased with the outcome after many, many hours of work. There are a few things not finished, mirrors polished and installed, awning attached and final detail.
It looks completely different than when I first purchased it back in 2003. A huge difference than when The Dixie Echoes owned it. I’ll try to put together more before and after pics, at a later date, from my archives to show the transformation.
All beat up
A new look
All naked and ugly
All pretty now
What a day yesterday! I got everything masked and covered to prep for primer. I decided to go ahead and prime both sides and the front. It was a long day! I had to cover the freshly painted white on the roof, finished masking for the second time the passenger side windows. The first set got blown off last week during a storm. Painting in the great outdoors has it’s downsides here in West Texas. I pulled the front windscreen lock strip so I could get fresh paint under the seal. I used Windex to clean the rubber so the tape would adhere to the surface.
I moved the scaffold around the bus three times yesterday. That is a chore on gravel and an uneven surface, I was pooped!
Here is a couple of shots, one of me painting the last section of blue and the other is me mixing up a batch of primer. Becky took these as she was my helper. She got the visor ready for primer and helped with the air hose while I moved around the bus.
I will spray the final white today and then start unwrapping the bus. We are anxious to see the final result!
I finished wrapping the bus, front and rear, so I could tackle the roof. I sprayed primer and two coats of white. It came our great! A perfect day to “Git Er Done”!
Tomorrow is supposed to be nice also, very little wind and temps in the low 80’s. We’ll see what’s next!
I should have picked a smaller project, huh!
Curved roof is now white.
I was finally able to spray the rear of the bus with primer and Olympic White paint yesterday. It came out better than expected, nice and shiny. I am so happy as this is the first time the rear of the bus has had paint on it since I stripped it 7 years ago. I am relieved that the original 01 tail light holes came out so good. I had to do some repair work to cover them up. The previous party that did the work used cardboard and bondo to do the patch work. This time we welded aluminum pieces in and did it correctly. I’m also showing the Model 10 window on the passenger side. They will really add in the appearance to the overall look. The most challenging part of preparing yesterday was fighting the wind trying to secure the plastic to protect the coach from any over spray.
I really wanted to continue with priming and painting the curved roof today, but the temps stayed in the lower 60’s. Hopefully tomorrow that will get done.
Silver Eagle Model 10 Windows
Rear Cap Driver Side
Rear Cap Passenger Side