2006 Eagle Camper Build and Questions


Dec 9, 2020
Los Angeles, CA
I have had my Eagle since 2020, using it on climbing, surfing and snowboarding trips around the west and in Mexico. Love it, but I have been noticing that I'm jealous of my van friends when it gets cold, and then when I start to look at where I would install a heater I realize that there is a lot that I would want to change or upgrade to make this thing great for my uses - as a home when I'm traveling and an office at the beach when I'm home. One thing always leads to another and then I just don't install the heater because there are 20 other things I would want to do if I'm opening up that can of worms.

Over the next few weeks I'm doing the research and purchasing items, then in June I'm hoping to take a few weeks at a friends house in San Diego to take the camper off the truck and get to work.

I REALLY REALLY APPRECIATE WTW. Definitely have spent a lot of time on here browsing and looking through other setups. It's very helpful and I really appreciate the community.

My Eagle has been neglected the last couple years. We moved to California from Colorado and I don't really have a garage or driveway to take it on or off anymore and so haven't been able to do repairs on it and have been too busy to bother. The battery died and I've basically just been using it like a tent. I spent a week with a buddy in Mammoth and we ended up hanging in his cozy sprinter the entire time because it was so warm. I want that.

I do like my setup even though the Tacoma is a bit underpowered and the gearing is annoying. I'd like a re-gear, larger tires, a bull bar (too many close calls in Wyoming!), and honestly just a flatbed but those things will have to wait. I really like the streamlined size of the eagle and how it fits on the truck.

Some of my travels and photos are here: instagram.com/mikeycrouch


Current setup:
  • Kitchen setup with propane box on the side, propane stove, sink and 20gal water tank on drivers side.
  • Small battery on the passenger side under the seat.
  • Not hooked into my current 2021 Tacoma alternator (will be soon)
  • Side dinette on passenger side with a table that pops up from the middle seat.
  • Norcold fridge near the door on drivers side.

My current thoughts and plans are below and are subject to change! I'm just writing this currently to gather my thoughts a bit so it might look similar to a creative brief.

  • Heat for cold nights!
  • Running water, no hot water
  • Surfboard storage inside.
  • ability to nap or sleep with top down.
  • Fridge access with top down.
  • Heat: Propex HS2000 heater
    I already have this heater and it sounds like it works reasonably well besides some condensation. I've slept in the camper when it was 10 degrees and it was not comfortable - but not bad either with the right amount of blankets. I'd just rather be able to walk around in my underwear and be able to get out of bed without layering up.

  • ICECO or Dometic fridge - Not sure which one yet. Depends on the discount I can find, but it sounds like they're about the same except I'm going to need a better discount on the Dometic to make it work.

[*]Electrical: this will be a whole separate post as I'm working it out right now and obviously this is the most complex part of this whole endeavor. But:
  • 206ah sok battery
  • 200w solar panel up top (should I just get two? - worried about surf racks up top and how that would affect solar.
  • Alternator connection and wiring upgrade to 6awg
  • I am thinking of keeping the iota for shorepower but I don't really understand it yet.

[*]Stove: I'm not sure about this. I actually think that old stove on the eagle is pretty elegant and simple, I just don't cook on it (always cook outside). I also just use a jetboil for hot water and coffee in the mornings, then we always cook outside, hooking into the propane via the door on the side of the truck. Ideally I'd get rid of it to gain more space, but I'm worried I'm going to want it, especially in the winter time when I have the heater.
[*]Storage: This will be another longer post as well, but I'm hoping to keep the same general layout in the camper due to the access doors being built around the water, propane and fridge, but update a couple things on storage and expand the available space to put things while keeping my bed/couch.
[*]Couch/Bed Update: I've looked into some new cushions for the bed and couch. Considering what others have done on here with the 4" bed half that sits in the bed and splitting the other half to store it as a couch back in the camper when the lid is down. Found some guys that do good upholstery work in TJ that I'm going to try out too.
[*]Dining table/work table. Looking at something like a Lagun table but not trying to spend $500. Any suggestions? Also considering making something that slides out of the kitchen area.
[*]Cab window delete: I have a window on the front of the camper facing the cab. It opens but I've never opened it since I first got it because it's a pain. I don't really see the need for it, and I was thinking I might remove the window and replace it with insulation and possibly try to figure out a maxtrax holder between the camper and the cab. The benefit of this is that I can turn that entire wall into storage, and I think I should be able to figure out a way to fit a maxtrax box on the outside of it as well?
[*]Under camper storage: Since the bed walls of the Tacoma are taller, we had to build a stand for it to sit on in the bed. It's 2x4's so it's 3.5" tall underneath. I'd like to build something about 3.75" tall and have a drawer that pulls out where I can store some things inside.
[*]Odds and Ends:
  • Installing Yakima tracks on top soon. There were some Yakima feet on the top of the camper and one of them has come loose from a tree incident. I'm going to be installing the solar onto the racks along with some yakima bars to hold surfboards.
  • I've got what looks like might be some stress cracks on the front of the camper above both corners of the window that I'm going to have to inspect when I get it off the truck.
  • Rotopax on the back of the truck using bolts from the step that I will be taking off. I am going to use the through bolt connections on there and considering cutting a piece of aluminum to back it up on the inside of the camper - is that overkill?
  • I want to paint the jack connection points - they are rusty and look like ****. I've noticed that a few of them are missing some screws so looking into getting into the frame to adjust them, although I'd like to not take off the siding to do so. Going to play this one by ear.
You are going to have your hands over full for a “few weeks”. Consider shortening your list. Things always take longer than you expect.
Ha! I'm aware. This is just the beginning as I'm going through the planning stage. I will have a good chunk of time to do it and am hoping to phase it while I've got the camper off the truck for a bit. Priorities are electrical, heater, storage. Everything else will be extra or I am doing the next few weeks in my spare time like Yakima tracks/rotopax.
So many great mods folks have done and posted photos of either in their 'build' threads or in the photo gallery. I have picked up a bunch of good ideas from just looking at what others have done or seeing where people put various storage and appliances. For instance. I have a 2011 Eagle. I tore out the count top, removed the sink (kept the water spout but moved it) as we never like to clean dishes inside and use a tupperware which is also good to pack items. That leaves a big counter top too. Moved the stove to where sink was as when the bed is pulled out and "someone" is sleeping I can still make my morning coffee. As heat rises furnace should be low. I bought a table (forget name at this moment)_ many here have the same. mounts on side floor wall and is removable , swivels around adjustable height. I've even see someone make a mount for it on the corner bracket outside. Mods ... half the fun of owning a camper is making it fit your needs. This forum is a wonderful group of people with smart ideas. Have fun.
I was gonna recommend a different brand battery but now see SOK have dropped way down in price so sorta irrelevant now, (powerurus made by roypow is also a well built option). One thing for consideration though is two 100ah batteries, purely from the "two is one and one is none" basis, the BMS can and do occasionally fail, I'd rather still have 100ah at my disposal if one battery bricks while I deal with that.

Also on solar, I've noticed just in the last year or so they started releasing bifacial solar panels in 12V configurations at a reasonable cost, I'd definitely check those out. Bifacial are clear on the backside and the backside of the cells can adsorb as well, so light reflecting off the top of the camper (either from the sides or that went around the gaps between cells) can provide a minor boost in capacity. Since they are minimal cost difference now it seems a no brainer. I wish they were out a few years ago when I put 400w onto my trailer.
good luck. i am a fan of propex. if i can install one, i am sure u can.
if u put solar on top, i would go with 2 panels, and that might help with solar collection if one is obscured. 200w solar was able to charge my 100 amp lithium batt, and keep dometic fridge/freezer going.
any chance the surfboard could go on the side of the camper, and supported by camper jack brkts ? they hang them on the sides of vans, so that may free up roof for solar.
good luck.
Thanks for the replies.

Pods8 - Oh man, that is pretty cool - I hadn't seen those bifacial panels before. I'll keep that in mind, after a quick search and now looking at my camper I am already realizing some of the ideas I had in my head were a bit too much. I am thinking about trying to fit 3 100w bifacials on now.

Goinoregon - Good to note! I'm excited about the propex. I've thought about the side carriers for surfboards and I'm less excited about it. Also generally I don't have two layers of boards so I don't think it is a big deal for the minimal amount of time they are up top I'll normally be driving and charging via the alternator.
Okay running into funny issues as I am ordering things and taking measurements in the evenings.

YAKIMA TRACKS : I realize that a 60" track is definitely not as long as i'd like to have on the camper if I'm going to have boards and solar panels on the truck. My question is: if you are installing two tracks to take up the entire 10ft of area on the truck, do you just butt the two extruded pieces together or do you find a way to connect them somehow? I've also read that you use #8 pan head screws but people have mentioned 3/4" or 1" - which is it?

CRACKS ABOVE CAB WINDOW : So I have these two cracks above both corners of the window on the cab side of the camper. Is this going to be an issue for me? Has anyone else had these, and should I be calling FWC about this?


Truck's dirty right now just got back from Mammoth...

DOOR STOPPER - any suggestions on a good stopper? I'd like to find either the same one to re-use the screws or a nicer one if possible.

First off - door stopper. You can get the same ones online... i've tried a number of magnetic ones, and they have not held up in blustery winds. ATC is now using a latch style... less convenient when trying to close the door from inside the camper, but they don't slam shut on you either.

Next, the bad news... those cracks above your window likely indicate broken welds in the framing under the sheet metal. The good news is you can get new siding and have those cracks in the framing welded up.

Now for some good news... check out Lee Valley or other find woodworking store for the rails they use to make jigs. I have been using these (WAY less expensive than those other brands) for years to carry solar panels and canoes with no issue. And I just butt them up against each-other. To mount, I put 1"x1/8" Butyl tape under them, and in each screw hole I put 3m 4200 before inserting the 3/4" #8 screw. If you can, I'd use a countersink and "wood" screws with the tapered seat instead of rounded head metal screws... less likely to interfere with the T-nuts sliding in the rails.
I used aluminum unistrut on my trailer to mount my solar panels to, similar to what Vic was suggesting.

On the frame cracks, if you don't have the ability to get it welded up you can rivet aluminum brackets as an option too.
Thanks Pods8. Looks like I'd have to take it up to Sacramento to get anything like that fixed as the Rancho Cucamonga location will not work on it.

Considering the rivet + 5200 method that others have spoken about on here - I'm not sure if I've seen any writeups on how well it worked. I think we might be able to get a welder out to the shop pretty easy to work on the camper while it's off so that's an option as well.

I really didn't want to take it down to the framing, but it is feeling like this might be the case here since I'm likely going to delete that front window anyways. These projects are always a slippery slope!
mikeyc said:
Thanks Pods8. Looks like I'd have to take it up to Sacramento to get anything like that fixed as the Rancho Cucamonga location will not work on it.

Considering the rivet + 5200 method that others have spoken about on here - I'm not sure if I've seen any writeups on how well it worked. I think we might be able to get a welder out to the shop pretty easy to work on the camper while it's off so that's an option as well.

I really didn't want to take it down to the framing, but it is feeling like this might be the case here since I'm likely going to delete that front window anyways. These projects are always a slippery slope!
If you're deleting the front window you can do some bracing/rivets that would definitely stiffen that all up. I'm not anti-welding by any means (I'm welding for my own) but just tossing ideas out, I know my buddy with an old grandby overhaul fixed issues in his decently without welding.
I deleted the front window on my Puma/Grandby build. I recall adding a few braces using the 5200 and screw/rivet method. No visible issues so far, many km traveled since.
Seeing that wall of cabinets you've got was actually my inspiration for that, Vic! I'm currently emailing ATC about getting some replacement siding for the outside.

In other news, ordered more Yakima HD Tracks for the top of the camper. I realized that I couldn't order two 60" tracks because the roof is actually a bit shorter than that. So a 54" and a 60" is what I'll be using on top. I looked into the other extruded aluminum and it was about the same price with a discount I receive from the company and I figured it'd be easier than returning them.
Can anyone confirm what type of screw I should be using? I feel like I've seen a few different things, but I think it's a #8 pan head that's either 3/4" or 1"?

Next, I'm thinking that I'm going to be installing an ICECO, Dometic or other fridge depending on who will give me a discount. I'm thinking that it'll likely go on the passenger side floor right by the door so that I can access it from the outside of the camper. Since the fridge is currently on the drivers side (3 way norcold), it'll open up a lot of space for storage there. One thing I was considering was using the air vents on the outside of the camper as access ports if I can find a replacement locking door. Anyone done this before? I figure someone has but my google skills haven't been able to find it.
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