1996 Jayco Eagle 222RK Class C

Tried and true 7.5L - 460 engine coupled to the overdrive auto transmission.  

I've had the suspension redone by Boise Spring Works, installing the extra heavy ford 1 ton "new" coil & leaf springs and then Bilstein shocks.  Wow, what an amazing improvement in handling! 

I tried a couple high dollar steering stabilizers but none worked or retained a natural feel, as well, as a simple upgraded stock dampener type.  

The most recent improvements: 

A set of Michelin XPS Rib tires with warrantee.  These are steel cased tires bead to bead and have just had the nubs worn with well under 1k miles on them.   I'm told they're tough as nails and shouldn't get flats like the mushy Firestones.  Ratings from different places for MH tires always had these listed at the top.  The original tires still had plenty of tread but they were only a marginal match for a loaded chassis.  Also, I was tired of getting flats.

New, Eagle - both sides polished multi-position rims (they match the name!) - Away with the stainless liners!  This makes checking lug nuts and air pressure a far easier task than with the stainless wheel liners and slightly improves the look too.  The liners are not balanced with the tires so inevitably cause at least some out of balance when used.  But they do look nice ... so I used one on the spare tire and took off the white vinyl cover that has seen quite a bit of on-off use.

Best gas mileage around 10mpg and the worst is 8mpg.  On the low side contributing factors could have been bad fuel, 87 or less octane and pulling a large tire jeep vehicle with all fours down.  Generally the mileage is between 9.2 (w/jeep) and 9.7 with 89-91 octane.

Oil change interval has been right at the 3Kmi or 6mo interval religiously.  I'm now running a synthetic that's quite expensive but appears to make the engine run cooler.  Can see temperature gauge peaks and hot day driving are lower and shorter now.  Also I hit the best gas mileage at 10+mpg driving back home from the coast through central Oregon.  This is not flat country and I was running 91 octane just after going to the synthetic oil.  Mileage is now about .5 better!

Wheelbase-to-Length Ratio for Motor homes

Most RVers have never heard the term but to me a most critical factor in selecting a motor home. I'll give you the basics. Say the overall length of the MH is 36 feet. That's 432". Say the wheel base is 228". The ratio is calculated as 228 ÷ 432 = .528 = 52.8% (call it 53%). Anything under 50% is unsafe for highway travel. 50 to 53% is a bit dicey (driver fatigue and stress). Only ratios of 54% or more are considered safe. Lower ratios will wear out your suspension as well as being unsafe. (Now you know why so many motor homes are a pain in the ass, literally, to drive.) People then write RV magazines and ask how to "beef up" the suspension. I've never seen one of the experts reply that the wheelbase-to-length ratio is screwed up and the thing is inherently dangerous; only recommendations for various add-on equipment. The add-on stuff does help the suspension (usually), but the RV is still dangerous.

This Jayco is: 23'7" so that's 283" long with a 158" wheelbase for a 56% wheelbase-to-length ratio.

A screen room that fits around the awning has never been used.

The microwave and oven have only been used a few times, if ever.

Generator has very low hours but is run regularly to maintain seals etc... Good excuse to run the coffee maker.  It is fairly quiet and starts right up with a button push on the inside control panel.

TV/VCR is brand new, with remote, of course.  The power amplified, inside adjustable, antenna make local stations easy to receive

CB was professionally installed and matched.  Has the weather broadcast bands.

I made a smaller (perfect for 2) oak table for the dinette to open up the living space a bit.  I still have the original tabletop, as it would be needed, to make the dinette into a bed.

A full custom fitted cover makes winter storage a snow free affair, still, allowing ventilation.

MaxxAir covers allow roof vents to be open and protected, providing noise free airflow even in the rain.

It is built with an aluminum frame structure so you'll never have an issue with structural dry rot.  Have manufacture print & specification sheets.  Also the sales brochure.

It could seatbelt 9 and bed sleep 6 if needed (neither have been tried).

Rubber roof for better insulation and water protection (this was an "option" upgrade on original purchase).

Cab external window privacy cover

Original documentation and maintenance records

My Decisions and Requirements

My Purchase Decisions:

- It was the best layout and structurally put together Motor Home found, anywhere under $50K (extensive looking).   Impressed by all the details not found on other to include new units - price for price this Jayco was the best pick rig to last a long time into the future.

- In 98 the V10 was an offering on some Ford Chassis rigs and this was a drawing point for me (grunt).  I'm now elated that I got the older reliable 460 due to all the problems experienced by other RV'rs and their early Triton 10's.   Many say the 460 is a better motor, even now that the V10 has been improved.  But on the Triton side; it is more environment friendly with emissions.  Idaho's strictest county, Ada,  does not currently require an emission test for RV's with the 460 motor.

- It seemed that most newer under $70K RV's lacked fit and trim from early 90's and on.  When looking around, many, even only slightly used RV's rattled down the road like a wreck going somewhere to happen.  They don't build them like they used to!  Jayco had one of the best track records of this period an hadn't succumbed to the "build it cheap" philosophy yet.

- Narrow body at 94", essentially the width of a crew cab dually pickup and not much longer, contributes greatly to maneuverability.  Most standard width was 97" and wide bodies at 102".  Now I see that 99" is a common width.  I've had several occasions to appreciate this narrow width by being able to cross bridges with only a couple inches to spare.  At the lube station my mirrors actually touch the rubber seal on each side of the bay door, so... any wider I'd have to go somewhere else equipped to handle RV's.  That would also compute to higher operating costs and longer service times usually by appointment only.

- The 158" wheelbase was the longest one found on any coach this size.  I felt this essential to highway stability and less rear overhang.  Take note: I've never had a problem dragging the rear end.

- Rear window works well for viewing lane positions while driving.

- Of course, the aluminum coach frame and chassis frame attached hitch receiver requirements were completely met.

My Purchase Requirements

- Since we had manufacture issues with our trailer that were never fixed with over a year of trying.  Under warrantee didn't mean a whole lot here!  Quality construction practices and components used in the manufacture process are top requirement now!

- Short enough to be maneuverable and act as primary transportation just about anywhere in the city or back country. 

- Maximum use of space, but still enough left over to be livable for a week or so travels.  

- Ford chassis as it had/has a much higher GVWR and ground clearance than the Chevy chassis.  A big plus for towing and  clearance for dirt road camping.  The Ford chassis added a few $K to a new MH price.

- Enough internal storage so as to be able to keep it stocked with clothing and stuff ready to go without loading and unloading all the time.  

- No - slide out (opinionated)

-- Not worth the additional purchase price, cost of maintenance, time, repair, loss of storage and cargo-carrying capacity and just one more thing that can go wrong.

-- Slide mechanisms can experience breakdowns. Electric motors and hydraulic pumps can stop working. Hydraulic hoses can leak or rupture.  If this were to happen while extended you would be stranded!

- Power to tow a trailer, boat or dingy vehicle (i.e. No 350 thank you).  Pulling also means a chassis frame attached hitch as some are attached to the house frame.  

- No wide-body (another opinion)

-- Many remote bridge structures are built to the widest legal vehicle specification of 96".  

-- Oil change and service facilities can be limited because of bay door widths.  

- Steel or Aluminum structural frame, NOT wood.  This one really limited selection choices to only a few higher end RV's.