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Old 11-04-2006, 04:03 PM   #1
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Torn between Safari & Classic

We've been researching Airstreams now for months and are ready to buy. The Safari 25 w/ twins is the length and floorplan we want. Options would include the Safari Upgrade Package, Panoramic front window and 2nd Fantastic fan. This coach weighs- 5274 lbs. as configured. We've found an '05 Classic 25 w/ twins which, in addition to the standard Classic equipment has the Galley Skylight, Spare Tire and carrier and Window Awning package. It weighs- approx. 6223 lbs (not sure the exact weight of the Awning Package- guessed at 100lbs.)

Our tow vehicle is an '06 Nissan Titan w/ Big Tow package. It's rated to tow 9200 lbs. (4X4 model), have no problem with hitch weight- Safari- 860 lbs., Classic- 870 lbs. I've spent countless hours reading " Nissan Titan Tow Vehicle" threads and, for the most part, feel comfortable that the Titan can pull either trailer, but 1000 lbs. is 1000 lbs. We live in Denver and will make most of our trips west- so we'll be pulling over 10,000 ft. mountain passes. I don't really care if we're slowed up a little on some steep grades, but I don't want to have a constant problem when we are summiting Vail or Wolf Creek Pass.

The Classic is, definately, are nicer, better appointed trailer- so that's our 1st choice- It's also about the same price as a pretty well discounted '07 Safari with the equipment listed above. Next week I'm going to pull the Classic on the 1st good pitch on I-70 out of Denver- about 5500 ft. up to 7500 ft. in 4 mile stretch and see how it does. I don't have a Safari 25 to compare the Classic to, so I can't find out the difference between the two.

Would greatly appreciate feedback from those who've towed these coaches with a Titan or those with experience with high altitude towing.
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Old 11-04-2006, 05:08 PM   #2
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Hello Franz -- and welcome to the Forums! The Safari Upgrade Package -- that's a familiar name and I should know more but I'm not finding it on airstream.com. Is it the LS package? (at page bottom on this link) The LS package is highly desirable due to the electric jack, Fantastic Fan, larger A/C. It is easy to tow an Airstream below 45mph on 3 tires so need for the spare tire is equivocal -- until you hit a road hazard that flattens 2 tires on the same side -- I like the spare.

At the 25' length I definitely prefer the twin beds. The tightness of the queen in a 25' gives absolutely no other function to trailer front than bed. 28' trailers have more space around the queen. The other option is the Classic 27' FB Limited -- again good space around the queen. Both 27' & 28' trailers are clearly beyond the Titan's capacity IMO. But I do have a 25' Safari with twins -- a reasonable compromise since the shorter length has gotten me into tight campsites in smaller state park and state/nat'l forest campgrounds.

Classics are heavier trailers. Corian counters (although thin) and hardwoods add to the equation. I walked through several trailers with the skylight before buying our Safari. Even with the shade drawn there was significant infrared (heat!) emanating from the skylight. I'd vastly prefer to camp without the A/C and this skylight was a real negative to me.

Mountains? We flatlanders are comfortable filling the water tank before we head away from home -- probably not the best option for you. It is nice to see somebody who has researched threads. You'll probably recognize I was a former Titan owner and have posted heavily on the topic (I was the first Titan owner on the Forums). With possible exception of altitude effects on normally aspirated engines I would say that the Titan drive train is fully up to the task* of pulling a 25' -- and I pulled my new '06 Safari all of Sept-Oct 2005 with great results. Is it better than any SUV (except the largest; eg, Suburban or Expedition) -- Yes. The biggest restriction on the Titan is the load capacity of 1300-1400#. Tongue weight, passengers & cargo in the box must not exceed this amount. I accomplished this by not having the topper that I wanted. A buyer presented themself and I sold it in January '06 a year before I would have otherwise and bought a Duramax-Allison powered GMC 3/4-ton.

Final analysis? Buy the trailer you will really be happy with. You are going to keep it a long time. Within 2-3 years you will make other decisions on your tow vehicle. Replacing the TV in the course of events would be a cost you would bear anyway. You may decide to go diesel -- I surely would if dealing with altitude, fuel economy, distant travels, etc. I think your assessment is very proper for where you're at right now.

* The asterisk: I appreciate any vehicle that has a tranny temp gauge. The Big Tow Package's is dummy style -- green into red and doesn't show specific temperatures. Early in my ownership I did have an experience of it going into the red on grinding uphills pulling my sub-4000# Argosy on an old switchbacked highway in West Virginia. This was the very old US-50 and speeds could not exceed 20-25mph uphill -- and that lower gearing may have been the source of heat buildup. The temps were 25-30 degrees F at the time, so seemingly no heat stress from the weather. Most distressing. But it did cool off relatively fast if I pulled off to the side of the road with the engine idling so that tranny fluid would circulate.'

Your thinking through this subject is very good. Kudos and karma -- a long happy Airstream life to you, but only if you come back here and tell us how your story turned out!
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Old 11-04-2006, 05:12 PM   #3
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Hello Franz -- and welcome to the Forums! The Safari Upgrade Package -- that's a familiar name and I should know more but I'm not finding it on airstream.com. Is it the LS package? (at page bottom on this link) The LS package is highly desirable due to the electric jack, Fantastic Fan, larger A/C. It is easy to tow an Airstream below 45mph on 3 tires so need for the spare tire is equivocal -- until you hit a road hazard that flattens 2 tires on the same side -- I like the spare.

At the 25' length I definitely prefer the twin beds. The tightness of the queen in a 25' gives absolutely no other function to trailer front than bed. 28' trailers have more space around the queen. The other option is the Classic 27' FB Limited -- again good space around the queen. Both 27' & 28' trailers are clearly beyond the Titan's capacity IMO. But I do have a 25' Safari with twins -- a reasonable compromise since the shorter length has gotten me into tight campsites in smaller state park and state/nat'l forest campgrounds.

Classics are heavier trailers. Corian counters (although thin) and hardwoods add to the equation. I walked through several trailers with the skylight before buying our Safari. Even with the shade drawn there was significant infrared (heat!) emanating from the skylight. I'd vastly prefer to camp without the A/C and this skylight was a real negative to me.

Mountains? We flatlanders are comfortable filling the water tank before we head away from home -- probably not the best option for you. It is nice to see somebody who has researched threads. You'll probably recognize I was a former Titan owner and have posted heavily on the topic (I was the first Titan owner on the Forums). With possible exception of altitude effects on normally aspirated engines I would say that the Titan drive train is fully up to the task* of pulling a 25' -- and I pulled my new '06 Safari all of Sept-Oct 2005 with great results. Is it better than any SUV (except the largest; eg, Suburban or Expedition) -- Yes. The biggest restriction on the Titan is the load capacity of 1300-1400#. Tongue weight, passengers & cargo in the box must not exceed this amount. I accomplished this by not having the topper that I wanted. A buyer presented themself and I sold it in January '06 a year before I would have otherwise and bought a Duramax-Allison powered GMC 3/4-ton.

Final analysis? Buy the trailer you will really be happy with. You are going to keep it a long time. Within 2-3 years you will make other decisions on your tow vehicle. Replacing the TV in the course of events would be a cost you would bear anyway. You may decide to go diesel -- I surely would if dealing with altitude, fuel economy, distant travels, etc. I think your assessment is very proper for where you're at right now.

* The asterisk: I appreciate any vehicle that has a tranny temp gauge (or would get one installed aftermarket). The Big Tow Package's is dummy style -- green into red and doesn't show specific temperatures. Early in my ownership I did have an experience of it going into the red on grinding uphills pulling my sub-4000# Argosy on an old switchbacked highway in West Virginia. This was the very old US-50 and speeds could not exceed 20-25mph uphill -- and that lower gearing may have been the source of heat buildup. The temps were 25-30 degrees F at the time. Most distressing. But the gauge did cool off relatively fast if I pulled off to the side of the road with the engine idling so that tranny fluid would circulate.

Your thinking through this subject is very good. Kudos and karma -- a long happy Airstream life to you, but only if you come back here and tell us how your story turned out!
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Old 11-04-2006, 05:31 PM   #4
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A different way of looking at it -- would I recommend buying a Titan if somebody already had a new 25' Safari or Classic? (ie, nearly 1000# heavier than similar lengths 20 years ago) I might if the owner understood the conditions and limitations. I do believe one factor would be mileage that is very difficult to get above 10mpg while towing. I loved the interior comforts of my Titan though ... . However I sure could be tempted by the new larger San Antonio '07 Toyota Tundras once they've been on the market a couple of years. My Duramax probably won't let me look 'Back to the Future' on that topic though. Diesel power and mileage is great once you've made the leap.

Note: Actual tongue weights will be 200-300# heavier than the unloaded base tongue weights listed in Airstream specs.
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Old 11-04-2006, 05:51 PM   #5
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Hi Bob, Thank you for the thorough response. I was hoping you'ld reply to my post since you have 1st hand experience w/ the Titan and Safari 25- I have read your previous posts. Yes, the LS package is what I'm referring to when I say "Upgrade" package. Your comment on the skylight is food for (more) thought!

I did consider and drive an '06 GMC Duramax/Allison before buying the Titan. The power is incredible and clearly turbodiesels at altitude are a match made in heaven. Ultimately, the GMC would barely fit in the garage- 1.5 inches to spare- and since I also use the truck for my daily driver the GMC was a little too "heavy duty" in the ride department.

It seems that you feel the Titan will be satisfactory for my needs. maybe not perfect but satisfactory nonetheless. Is this correct? Am I overthinking the 1000 lb. difference? I know my wife thinks I'm nuts doing this relentless research, but this seems like the correct thing to do before, not after, the purchase.

Has your position on the Titan moderated a bit since some previous posts on the Titan towing subject? You seemed to be more negative about the Titan then. Maybe you could clarify this. I look forward to your further comments.

Franz
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Old 11-04-2006, 07:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
Note: Actual tongue weights will be 200-300# heavier than the unloaded base tongue weights listed in Airstream specs.
Almost 100% of 60 pounds of propane and 80 pounds or so of hitch, a fairly high percentage of 130 pounds of batteries, and hopefully at least 10% of the weight of the "stuff" you carry in the trailer, including freshwater at about 8.3 pounds per gallon.
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Old 11-04-2006, 08:38 PM   #7
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I had the same decision.

I had to make a similar decision last year.

I Already had the Titan non-tow package and then decided to buy the Airstream. Safari vs Classic. We bought the Classic.
I agree with the others buy the trailer you want between those two 25ft.
Our first trip was to Rocky Mountain NP and then over the top I believe 12,000 ft then on to Moab with 115 degree temps. Then on the return through the Eisenhower tunnel 85 degree day and we slowed to 40 mph at the top running 2500 rpm. We have 11,000 miles on this setup now and we couldn't be happier. Any way one trip out west not exactly a full test of the truck but I thought I would share.

Hope this helps
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Old 11-04-2006, 09:53 PM   #8
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FranzB--We owned that combination also.{Titian-25' Classic} You'll find some here that will put the titian down, especially when towing a 25'Classic. We towed ours with no trouble. As to the Classic-Safari decision I would go Classic. While a bit heavier it is worth the difference in comfort. All the interior is much better from cushions and upholstry to curtains. In general the Classic is a warmer more comfortable unit. Pieman
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Old 11-04-2006, 10:25 PM   #9
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Hi, FranzB. Your Titan can tow about 300 lbs more than my Lincoln Navigator, according to your information. I bought an Airstream Safari 25-B rear queen for several reasons. I like the floor plan on the rear queen. I like the smaller windows for retro looks and better insulation. I did not want to tow the same exact floor plan weighing an extra 1000 lbs. I did not want to pay an extra $15,000.00[list price] for the same floor plan. [I did not finance] My options were, spare tire, electric tongue jack, one Fantastic Fan, and belt line moulding. Like the sky lights, the larger windows make it hotter when hot out and colder when cold out. And I have heard several complaints about sky lights leaking.
On the LS package, I like the larger A/C, although I'm fine with mine. I like the A/C heater thermostat. I changed my heater thermostat to digital. I like the spare tire. I don't like the sky light. I like the Fantastic fan. and I don't like the huge kitchen faucet. I could live with the large front windows, but preferr the smaller one.

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Old 11-04-2006, 10:30 PM   #10
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We have a 2005 25' Sfari with the LS package and a Hensley (adds about 150# to tongue weight) with two different TV's. One is a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe with the 5.3 liter V8 and Autoride (self leveling). The Tahoe does a good job and I don't have any real complaints. Our other TV is a 2005 Suburban 2500 with the 6.0 liter. The Suburban just feels better when towing the Safari and does not strain on steep up grades. I'm afraid that I am sold on 3/4 ton TV's. They are just much further into my comfort zone.
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Old 11-04-2006, 11:06 PM   #11
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hi franzb and welcome to the forums...

buy the trailer you really really like.
period...
.

just ask carol (wheel interested), who special ordered a safari whatchamacallit...

only to trade it a few weeks into ownership, when she saw the classic version that she really wanted.

oh, and she upgraded the tow vehicle to meet the needs shortly thereafter...

have fun with the test tow...

its great the dealer is allowing you to do that...

wonder how insurance figures into the issue?

they must really really wanna sell u a trailer...

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-05-2006, 01:55 PM   #12
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Hi All, Thanks for the input. How much of the total hitch weight (including additional weight of propane, etc.) can be re-apportioned off the hitch to the trailer and front axle of TV with a weight distributing hitch? My dealer is recomending an Equalizer brand hitch.
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Old 11-05-2006, 08:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FranzB
Hi All, Thanks for the input. How much of the total hitch weight (including additional weight of propane, etc.) can be re-apportioned off the hitch to the trailer and front axle of TV with a weight distributing hitch? My dealer is recomending an Equalizer brand hitch.
well this gets confusing, tongue mass, hitches and so on....

actually tongue mass is tongue mass...

a w/d hitch redistributes the tongue mass so all of it is not behind the rear tv axle.

properly adjusted a w/d hitch reloads the front tv axle and reduces the rear tv axle.

but the tongue still weights what ever it started at...no magic reduction in tongue weight...

your hitch, what ever brand doesn't add to the tongue mass like lpgas, batteries, spare tire and so on...

you can only estimate the true tongue weight until on a scale, where it can be measured.

the gear inside the trailer can be arranged so that the tongue is 10-15% of whatever the trailer total weight is...
fill the tank with water too....for this calculation.

once adjusted the hitch weight is on the truck not the trailer....so the hitch doesn't count for tongue weight...

sure it's confusing, you need to read some more about these issues.

lots of info in the archives so search a bit...

toasty's dad has a couple of thread where we discussed these issues in great detail...

he tows a bambi with a ridgeline, but the math and explanations all still apply...

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-05-2006, 09:29 PM   #14
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FranzB, whether it technically becomes part of the trailer tongue, like the Hensley, the weight of the hitch behind the rear axle, whether it's attached to the truck or thrown in the back of the bed, adds to the tow vehicle rear axle weight and reduces the front axle weight, just like the tongue. Even after adjustment of the spring bars, MOST of the weight of the receiver, hitch head, spring bars, chains or screw jacks, and in the case of the Hensley, that big orange and black thing, comes out of the GVWR of the tow vehicle, just like most of the tongue weight.

Most of what you're doing when you tighten the spring bars is to put back onto the front axle, the weight that was leveraged off it and onto the rear axle by the tongue weight. You can put some of the tongue weight on the front axle (keeping in mind the springs aren't usually as highly rate as the rear), and are putting some back on the trailer axle(s), but it's not easy to calculate or predict how much. Knowing takes going to the scales.
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