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Old 09-01-2004, 01:10 PM   #1
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27' B tank layout and weight reduction questions

My wife and I may be going to look at a 27B Safari (2002) this weekend. I would like to know in advance :
1) What was the tank layout in relation to axle location as the toilet is aft on this model and shower forward.

2) Ideas from those with 27B's as far as weight reduction oportunities as my 1/2 ton is at or over (GVWR), I am o.k. on GCWR. Would like to tow with current setup and packing light/leaving canopy at home, and possibly getting flow through tail gate to cut weight and wind resistance.

Should be o.k. on flats and minor hills based on inputs from other with similar tow rigs and weights close to mine, but we have big mountains out here and trucking up may be in the future, but the 200 miles to get this thing home would be nearly flat and I have driven these same roads for 20+ years...
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Old 09-01-2004, 02:06 PM   #2
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I forgot the bed configuration on this unit. I had a 2001 27' Safari with the rear twin bed configuration. Tank wise your fresh, black, and gray water tanks are located over the axle area. So any liquid weights will be borne by the axles. I think fresh water was the most forward tank.

I pulled with a '99 Chevy Express van. 5.7 liter, 3.73 rear axle. Maximum towing capacity was 6,500 lbs. The sticker on the closet door stated that the unloaded weight of the Safari was 5,500 lbs. My Safari loaded with normal travel gear, but no liquids other than propane came in at 6,000 lbs. I towed in 3rd gear (no overdrive). The largest grades pulled were in the Missouri Ozarks and in the Smokies.

Jack
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:41 PM   #3
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Thanks Jack

Jack,

Thanks for the quick reply. I am looking at the rear queen bed model.

Truck is 1/2 ton crew cab, with lots of bells and whistles which drives up GVW fast, thus cutting available tongue load capacity. We will be well within GCWR, but pushing or slightly over GVWR of tow vehicle unless a way is found to lighten (like leaving canopy at home and using a vented gate to lessen air load) tow vehicle. Long term may look at trucking up, depending on performance and maintainence.

R.E. Location of tanks:

If Clean H2O is forward of axle, then black is aft and grey is over axle?

I know on 25B and C the fresh H20 is over the axle set, on the B the Black tank is forward of the axle and the Grey tank front edge is almost even with the door ((Good for going out dry camping but overweight on hitch comming back)) while on the C the grey tank is aft and Black tank is in aft corner outboard of frame rail due to rear corner bath making it tail heavey comming back from dry camping.

Wish they would put black tank Fwd and Grey tank aft of axle with fresh over the axle ((would require two drains)) but be nice for those who dry camp; I could live with moving the hose at the dump station and no one would accuse one of putting bad water down the grey water drain at campground.
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Old 09-01-2004, 05:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pneum0
Jack,

Thanks for the quick reply. I am looking at the rear queen bed model.
R.E. Location of tanks:

If Clean H2O is forward of axle, then black is aft and grey is over axle?

I know on 25B and C the fresh H20 is over the axle set, on the B the Black tank is forward of the axle and the Grey tank front edge is almost even with the door
OK here is my take. My Safari had the side bath across from double closets. Toilet was to the left in the bath with the shower on the right.

Fresh water tank drain was just to the rear of the front tandem axle. I used to reach between the curb side tires to access this valve. I'm assuming black and grey tanks fit in the remaining area. I'll check further at home since I have a picture of a Safari frame with the tanks in place. It may help. Needless to say there should be no concern with the 27' units since all of this weight is concentrated around the axles and both have the same side bath configuration. The 25' units are a whole different issue....but you did say you were looking at a 27' unit correct?

Jack
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Old 09-01-2004, 07:11 PM   #5
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The biggest issue with the 1/2 tons is the rear axle and the trans. The engine is MORE than up to towing, even in mountains. Keep in mind any cargo or things in the truck lower the towing weights.

I placed 3.73s in my 5.7L Chevy sedan. Towed up hills and upwards of several thousand miles. The 4L60 trans did it, but it didn't like it all that much. Our Safari is about 6300lbs wet.

The fresh tanks are over the front axle on our 25 C. I believe it's pretty much the same I think for all the 25-27 units, with the exception that the C units have the black tank further aft to accom the rear bath. Plus the rear black tank is smaller as well. I think the grey is the same though....
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Old 09-01-2004, 07:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pneum0
Wish they would put black tank Fwd and Grey tank aft of axle with fresh over the axle ((would require two drains)) but be nice for those who dry camp; I could live with moving the hose at the dump station and no one would accuse one of putting bad water down the grey water drain at campground.
My tradewind has the fresh tank ahead of the axle, and it tows substantially more stable with a full 50gal fresh water.
The added tongue weight is desirable, not a hinderance in towing. weight distribution will take care of the added tongue weight. I realize that the 27 Safari is heavier and longer, but the basics would not change by much.

I doubt you can slim a 27ft safari enough to make a huge difference. Unless you tow completely empty, which is defeating the point of having a camper. I tow with a 1/2 ton also, and it's a joy,actually, even on grades. The problems with power start at altitudes over 5000ft.

What's a grey water drain at campgrounds? Never ran across that yet.
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Old 09-01-2004, 07:26 PM   #7
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I'd have to agree. When my fresh tank is at least 1/2 full, the trailer does seem more stable.
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Old 09-01-2004, 10:28 PM   #8
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leave the canopy on

The canopy improves the airflow over the truck and trailer, making it flow almost like one large object. Taking it off and adding a vented tailgate will disrupt the airflow. Most of your horsepower at highway speeds is used to overcome wind resistance so you gain more by leaving it on.
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Old 09-01-2004, 10:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71_safari
The canopy improves the airflow over the truck and trailer, making it flow almost like one large object. Taking it off and adding a vented tailgate will disrupt the airflow. Most of your horsepower at highway speeds is used to overcome wind resistance so you gain more by leaving it on.
I believe this is true. Back when I was towing with my full size van, there was definitely less wind buffeting between the tug and the trailer than when I tow with my current tug, the Suburban. The van was 1ft appr.higher, and the airflow hit the trailer right at the rounded segments, even slightly above. I could tell by the water lines when towing in the rain.
A pickup probably makes an awful turbulence between the truck and trailer. I doubt the tailgate would make much difference.
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Old 09-01-2004, 11:36 PM   #10
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O.K guys, from the Aerodynamics side I agree about leaving the cap on the truck, I was just looking at the Gross weight issue.

As to the older streams towing better with water in the tank under the front gaucho. The old units had the battery in the aft corner (1960's and 70's) the frig was smaller, and placed about the same distance aft of the door as the 6 or 8 cubic foot units are now. The new model Safari's have these huge articulated front Lounges (r.e.) Sleeper sofa's that weigh maybe 200-300 Lbs? set right in the nose, not light framed balsa plywood and foam of the past. If you look at the historic weight tables, older units are lighter in the nose and lighter overall.

If I could talk the wife into a vintage unit and restoration I would but she wants a newer "wide-body".
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Old 09-02-2004, 12:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pneum0
O.K guys, from the Aerodynamics side I agree about leaving the cap on the truck, I was just looking at the Gross weight issue.

As to the older streams towing better with water in the tank under the front gaucho. The old units had the battery in the aft corner (1960's and 70's) the frig was smaller, and placed about the same distance aft of the door as the 6 or 8 cubic foot units are now. The new model Safari's have these huge articulated front Lounges (r.e.) Sleeper sofa's that weigh maybe 200-300 Lbs? set right in the nose, not light framed balsa plywood and foam of the past. If you look at the historic weight tables, older units are lighter in the nose and lighter overall.
Silvertwinkies is an 04 Safari SS, mine is a 1971 Tradewind. So, the towing dynamics don't change much by the year, I guess.
Basically, a certain amount of tongue weight is essential for safe towing, and it is proportional to the trailer weight. Moving weight back over the axles, or even worse, behind the axles, will definitely result in severe handling problems.
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Old 09-02-2004, 01:56 PM   #12
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Safari Owners Manual May Help...

Here is the owners manual for the 2002 Safari, towards the back there are some schematics for the fresh water and drain system. You should be able to infer the location of various tanks from these. See: 2002 Safari Owners Manual
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Old 09-13-2004, 12:33 PM   #13
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Centerline diagrams

Dan,

I've gotten good centerline diagrams from tech services at airstream before, just had to ask.

The CLD's, have stations defined from a certain frame member all the way to the hitch ball. As a Stress Analyst in Commercial Aircraft, I can do the math if I know the Center of Gravity and the moment arms; including the nose dive efffect (hard stop) of an overhead AC unit rotating about the axle line....

Mark W.
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