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Old 03-23-2023, 09:36 AM   #1
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1998 American Eagle Project: What is it worth?

Iím researching purchase of a 1998 American Eagle with 200,000 miles. Cummins, Freightliner 40 ft. 3 legged jack system.

I havenít yet taken a look. Here is what the seller tells me. It has been sitting for seven years. Started and ran just fine until recently. Has inverter trouble, had pipe froze/burst and had water on the floor. He said they dried it all out, after it happened. The carpet in the rear would need replacing. The front windshield or maybe both have popped out at the top.

It will need tires Iím sure and the things like oil and filter changes that something sitting that long would need. The fuel is what they put it in when they bought it. (They purchased it back in the day to live in while they built their house. So it mainly got driven to the house lot and there it sits ever since.)

I like to camp in state campgrounds and my drive will torque a body quite a bit as the rig turns into the drive. My big question is is this rig so heavy, so prone to windshield troubles that I should walk away quickly?

What else should I know about this and what is a ballpark idea of a fair purchase price? Before the inverter quit and some time ago he said he was offered $12,000 for it. Now I think he would take $12-15,000 depending on what offers he gets. What might it be worth if in good condition?

Iím looking for a project but donít want one that I can never get to where I trust it. For example, I donít want to always be holding my breath that the windshields will pop. What else should I be watching out for?
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Old 03-23-2023, 09:42 AM   #2
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You are looking at a real project here. I would plan on putting at least $15,000 into it provide it does not have any structural damage due to leaks or needs a new roof. This is to get it to a trusted road worthy condition. If it needs engine or transmission work....big bucks here.

Personally, I'd offer him $5,000 and no more unless he could get it running properly for a test drive.

Ken
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Old 03-23-2023, 10:29 AM   #3
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Thanks Ken, that is helpful. Assuming the roof hasnít leaked and assuming there is no delamination, Iím not afraid of inside repairs or component replacement or repairs, the windshield and chassis repairs are the big concern to me. I will be interested to see what other prospects offer him before he gets back to me. (I told him to see what others offer, if they do offer, since he didnít really have a hard price in mind.) If others are willing to offer him more, given its condition, he should sell it to them.
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Old 03-23-2023, 12:40 PM   #4
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I would only consider this at salvage value. Do you have a RV Savage Yard near you to find out what that value would be? That is of course considering you can get the thing there without a tow bill.

Also, I would not attempt to start and run the engine until all filters and fluids were replaced. Even then, there could be water in the fuel which has damaged the fuel injection pump. Having the fuel injection pump rebuilt is several thousand dollars. There could even be water in the oil indicating even more expensive repairs that could require engine removal.

What about all of the rubber parts like hoses and suspension air bags. Again, many thousands of dollars in parts alone. Do you have the facility to work on heavy duty diesel engines and drivelines?

From your signature, you don't have the wallet for this!!
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Old 03-23-2023, 07:16 PM   #5
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Actually, I do have the wallet now and sure enough I didnít in the past! Several years have gone by since I put that signature in there. BUT, I donít want to empty that wallet on a project that goes nowhere. Nor do I want to put hours and hours of my time into something that might end up being junk. In fact, as I think about it, I donít want to put lots of money and hours and hours into a project at all. I might as well purchase one that is up and running.

I appreciate the input.
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Old 03-23-2023, 08:41 PM   #6
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American Coach rigs those years are well built, but shop around and find one that has been taken care of.

The water intrusion would make me leave it alone.
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Old 03-24-2023, 08:53 AM   #7
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I like projects, too, but this isn't a project, it's a rebuild. Unless I missed it, there is no mention of the status of the roof. If the roof needs replacing, I can't even imagine what the interior looks like...ceiling/walls/floors.
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Old 03-24-2023, 09:14 AM   #8
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I like projects, but my concern is I might end up with more money in this then I would have in an equivalent known working unit. Not to mention the time involved. I can do most of the work involved including much of the chassis work but any serious engine, chassis work would be difficult given my age, lack of diesel experience, lack of tools and my shade tree shop.

He says the roof and walls are OK. Of course Iíd have to have a good look. Any damage there would stop me before I looked further. Again, I can fix those things, but I have no interest in doing so. Putting down laminate in place of flooded carpet, those kind of things I can fairly easily do. Repairing and replacing the components that will have aged out I can do. I donít want to get into something with major pending engine/chassis issues and it sounds like that is a high potential for this one.
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Old 03-24-2023, 03:23 PM   #9
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At 200k miles it will need front end parts.the Spartan MM chassis is a good one but the seals/boots disintegrate and the ball joints do not have grease fittings. (I added fittings to mine).
The windshield being loose at the top letting water run behind it will be a can of worms Iím afraid because the cowl area at the bottom of the windshield may be rusted away.
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Old 03-24-2023, 05:25 PM   #10
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It is supposedly on a Freightliner chassis. Either way, the windshield more than anything is what curtails my interest. Had to have been a lot of water down in there for a long time. You are right about that.

And, . . . Given the road I live on, and the roads and areas I camp, I don’t think I would ever trust that windshield even if there is no real damage.
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Old 03-24-2023, 08:05 PM   #11
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1st I apologize for the long post....

I've not seen American Coach that vintage on a Freightliner chassis, all American Coach that vintage I seen or heard of are Spartan or Gilling, not to say it ain't, but I don't think it's a Freightliner.

I bought my 1999 Eagle (now at 120k miles) that sat for 3 years without starting or anyone even opening the door. But it had been fairly well maintained and was stored in a barn.

Here's my list after 7 years-

Not to be a buzz killer but....Even a decently maintained American Eagle that year will need all air suspension bags replaced, ball joints and tie rod ends, steering stabilizer, all 4 shocks.
The exhaust is probably rotting off from sitting that length of time, all 6 batteries, the American Coach inverter/converter source manager Which includes the transfer switch, as well replace the old analog TV's,
If by chance the power gear leveling system doesn't work, the controller and touch panel is obsolete but can be updated ($$$$)

It's a great coach, solidly built and easy to work on with a side radiator.

I would not be scared of the one you're looking at, but the windshield being out for that length of time is sketchy.

Put a couple of chassis batteries in it, pull the ECM, it's in a fuse holder at battery, crank it over a bit to get things lubed up, reinstall the fuse and bust it off... it'll probably have lots of blow by, and maybe a few stuck piston rings that hopefully will free up after running a bit.

Good news is there's several of these coaches owners on this site with a lot of knowledge on them.
You'll have a lot of help!
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Old 04-07-2023, 03:43 PM   #12
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I'd run not walk away and I can fix and repair almost anything.
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Old 04-07-2023, 06:17 PM   #13
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Yeah, Iím like you. I can fix almost anything and I have followed the majority advice on this one. Iím still looking at my humble Bounder out the window. It will taker me whenever/wherever I want to go. Iím up for a project but not one with that many what ifís.

Thank you to all who have shared your wisdom.
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Old 04-08-2023, 07:41 AM   #14
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First thought is he should have taken it if he was offered that.

It's irrelevant that it ran recently or worked the last time he used it.

What matters is does it run now and what condition it is in now. This sounds like a poorly maintained rig, so who knows what kind of fun and costs you're in for. If you're willing to pay $12K to $15K now plus whatever budget you need to fix it up, I'd say hold out and spend the money on something that doesn't need this kind of work.

You'd be in for a healthy expense even if this coach were given to you.
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