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Old 10-27-2003, 09:30 PM   #1
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Guess what followed me home?...

Thanks all for your suggestions, comments, etc over the past month! Well, something big and shiny followed us home the other day...here's the skinny!

The Unit

2004 Safari 28W. A real beauty with all the fixins' (Amarillo trim package, 2 Fantastic vents, skylight, electric hitch, spare, No Fuss Flush [std on 28W]). Dealer installed a Reese Friction Sway Control system and a Tekonsha Voyager. Also got the 5 year additional warranty for peace of mind. Got the best RV insurance quote from RV Alliance America ( www.rvaa.com ) who had the best benefits including Total Replacement Cost (and much more) at $40/month, which is significantly better than Foremost ($60/m), USAA ($36, no TRC) and State Farm ($60, no TRC).

The Dealer

Bought her at Windish RV in Denver (closest A/S dealer at 300 mi). It was convenient for us that we didn't have to order from the factory and were able to look at the unit on the dealer lot. Overall, we had a pleasant and satisfactory experience there. I had read some comments about them in the forum which states they were a little snobby, but I didn't seem to notice. Brad (sales) was informative and helpful. Wouldn't recommend Bill (sales, initial contact) who wasn't willing to confirm the trim color on a unit which turned out to be 10 feet away from his desk ("I think it's yellowish.") Chuck (A/S mechanic) seemed to know his stuff; he used to work at the A/S factory and lives full time in his 34'er on the dealer lot. No bottle of champagne but we did get a $35 gift certificate to a very extensive catalog to choose stuff from. Would rate 4/5 stars.

The Trip Home

She weighed just over 6000 lbs UVW with full propane and a full fresh water tank (which I drained). Was a little nervous after reading posts about my 2003 Chevy Suburban 1/2 ton with 4.10 and towing her home over I-70 which includes two 10,000 ft passes. Not to mention that this was the first time towing a 44 ft rig, learning to see through CIPA slide-on mirrors and use an electric brake controller.... But we actually did real well and felt confident. Averaged about 55 mph over 300 miles with 11.5 mpg. Stayed above 40 mph up 6% grades and kept below 3000 rpm for the most part. Don't have a transmission temp guage, so I don't know how things were heating up but the Suburban has a warning light that turns on when things get warm (which it didn't even with the long descents). Overall, I was pleased with the performance of the 1/2 ton. Must be that 4.10! Will see how it holds up for the long haul, but we're planning on getting a 3/4 ton in a few years.

Well, it's a lot of fun to be on this side of the forum (the owner side that is!). Now a whole bunch of questions and comments will likely follow that comes with ownership!

My wife and I are going to decorate the Safari in a Halloween theme for this weekend and give treats from it. We'll have to take some pictures!

Thanks Again,
Abe
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Old 10-27-2003, 10:00 PM   #2
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Abe,

Congrats on the new Safari!

You might want to check in soon on a Trans Gauge ... that dash light will probably go on once it is too late. I never trust lights.

Also, thanks for the insurance info .. we are in the process of shopping the rates.

Are you going to give WBCCI a try? Hope to see you out on the road some day.

This wait is killing me!
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Old 10-30-2003, 08:54 AM   #3
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Abe,

Can you post Picures soon? Your Safari is a twin of ours, due in January...

Please

1000 thanks in advance...
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Old 10-30-2003, 06:12 PM   #4
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Hohne,

Congrats on your upcoming arrival! When's it due? I don't think I could have waited for an order; I'm glad our local dealer had it on their lot.

I just got a larger CF card for the dig. camera. Will try to post pictures soon! It might have some cobwebs and stuff (Halloween deco) but you'll probably get the idea.

Abe.
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Old 10-30-2003, 06:44 PM   #5
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Lucky Guy!
Great Post!
You're right. Buy it off the lot!
I ordered a new pickup once. Made for a long, grim wait.
Now I only buy them off the lot.
Good luck with your new Trailer.
Jerry
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Old 10-30-2003, 06:49 PM   #6
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Re: Guess what followed me home?...

Quote:
Originally posted by docbluedevil
[
Don't have a transmission temp guage, so I don't know how things were heating up but the Suburban has a warning light that turns on when things get warm (which it didn't even with the long descents).

Thanks Again,
Abe [/B]
Abe, that light will probably come on just after your transmission turns into a mass of molten lava...
It would be a very good idea to get a gauge as soon as you can.
Other than that, congratulations on your new obsession!
Terry
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Old 10-31-2003, 09:35 AM   #7
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Well, we saw the 28 foot ccd and a 25 safari with the amarillo, so we have an idea...

abe, we are in the same boat as far as tow vehicles as well. Lemme know how you resolve the tranny temp gauge...or vice versa -- I have not started the research yet, as the AS is two months out
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Old 11-04-2003, 07:18 PM   #8
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Abe,

I have read about the issues with your new Safari on the 'Track the Quality of the 04's' thread...

Apart from those things that need corrected,

-What is your biggest pleasant surprise about your new AS?

-What things do you like best about it?

-If you could change a couple of things about it, what would it be?

-What one thing dissappointed you?

Abe, I live in Ohio (real close to roadkingmoe) and do not have the mountains to deal with that you do. I have begun looking into a transmission temperature gauge, and also am considering putting on something like an Amsoil by-pass filter. Our 2003 Suburban has 1800 miles on it...

I was not clear earlier, but our delivery date is in the middle of January. I hope to arrange a visit to the factory about when our trailer goes through the leak test, and maybe a couple of days after that when the interior is mostly installed. I used to fix airplanes, and would love to spend the day when they do the QC at the end of the line, but I am afraid that would be pushing my luck too much -- I think that would probably annoying and might cause too much of a distraction. (I used to work on the flight line of a business jet manufacturer and we would get visits by the owners...)

I am worried about sometheing RoadKingMoe said about what road salt does to clearcoat. Now, aroundhereabouts, January could be pretty mild (temperatures about 40 during the day) and about 25 at night, but some years we get a bunch of snow. I am not intending to drag it through a bunch of slush on the way home, and hope to avoid even getting the residue on it, but I am wondering what to do when we get it here -- I was thinking of carefully rinsing it if the temperature was above freezing. Dunno.
I could hook up to the house hot water heater and rinse it with warmish water, and that might dry a bit better. I might tell Paul Sherry just to park it until we get a window to fetch it. Maybe rinse it and blow it dry with my leaf blower...

How do you like your brake controller? I have an Activator II from the SOB we owned previously, and plan upon upgrading it.

I have rambled enough...

-Rob
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Old 11-05-2003, 12:01 AM   #9
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Rob,

The wait has gotta hurt!

1) What is your biggest pleasant surprise about your new AS?

The L-sofa. It's not as comfortable as a sofa option to sit on (really firm), but I think it's a more comfortable bed because of it's length (6"). You can always add a foam or nicer pillowtop for comfort; I've heard of complaints of the sofa as a sleeper. The short portion of the "L" makes a great chairback with a built-in ottoman as well for reading a book next to a window. Looks more modern as well in some aspects, like the CCD.

2) What things do you like best about it?

The floorplan. It is very liveable. It's the smallest, "full-on" A/S model out there. You get a separate living room, dinette, bath area, and bedroom. This was the most important aspect about our decision as we have a growing family and why we chose it over the 25 SS (only an extra 500 lbs).

The Amarillo package and Kitchen. Especially the dark countertops, wood laminate floor, stainless appliances. This is a great aesthetic compromise between the CCD (new agey)and Classic models (kinda old school). In fact, I believe this is what last year's International A/S looked like, the cousin of the CCD. Buy a lot of IKEA and we can rival the CCD line with a much warmer look!

Separate shower and bathroom. When we vacation, we are really active (biking, hiking, etc) and it's nice to have a separate shower and bathroom that two people could use simultaneously. Also, I didn't like the half bedroom/half bath option in the 25 SS. In the 28W, someone can use the bathroom with less likelihood of waking people up in the bedroom.

Ton of interior storage. Shower stall also has a ton of space for wet raincoats, discrete garbage can hideout, dog's bed, etc. Good size exterior compartment (e.g. golf bags too) and adequate-size bumper compartment.

3) If you could change a couple of things about it, what would it be?

Well, there's no place to put a microwave. It's not even an option. We debated if we really needed it too. There's a pretty decent thread "Oven or no oven" that addresses this. If you want one though, you'll have to bring it out when you need it. One of the overhead L-sofa cabinets though may be big enough to place a small 0.5 or so cubic foot microwave as a permanent location.

The windows aren't the fancy full open CCD windows. Only the bottom 1/5 opens out. But all windows are good-sized. The drapes are not light-blocking and look dated. Will likely change them over the day/night shades at some point.

The accordian doors are merely privacy barriers, not sound. Would rather have pocket doors for better soundproofing but no space. They're not very attractive either. However, we have found out that if you swing the bathroom door open and use the midship accordian door cover open (you'll know what I mean when you get it), it essentially makes a pocket door and is much better at soundproofing. We're probably going to remove them though and place better looking curtains instead.

Wish the shower stall floorspace was bigger. They made a raised seating area that takes up half the floorspace. You're forced to shower in a smaller shower than it appears. I supposed if you're disabled it would be a blessing though.

Wish I had an LP gas level indicator in the monitor panel like the CCD and Classic. Maybe it can be installed by the dealer.

4) What one thing dissappointed you?

There's a certain sense of "cheapness" to the interior that is accentuated by less than ideal workmanship and attention to detail in our unit (see my '04 QC thread). Don't think that this is a Safari model problem (vs. the more expensive Classic). Just a QC issue likely.

Overall, this is our ideal A/S. Same A/S exterior and engineering with a good-looking interior at a savings of about $10K over CCD/Classic. Don't anticipate we'll need anything bigger ever (honestly!). And it's towable with our current 1/2 ton Suburban until we eventually get a 3/4 ton.

Abe.
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Old 11-05-2003, 10:58 AM   #10
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Abe,

Wow, that was a great post...

Our previous camper (2001 Coleman Bayside) did not have an oven or a microwave -- we packed along a GE toaster Oven. I am not sure if a microwave would be worth it, as our kids (7 and 4) are passed the bottle stage. I think my wife is more concerned about it, but to be honest, I am the one who uses the microwave at home the most...I would probably stow it under the dining room table in a rubbermaid container, if we carried one, and maybe even set it up outside if we need to use it.

Our Coleman had 4 inch foam mattresses over OSB, and the girls slept very well on it. The front couch will seem like deluxe digs, for them to sleep on. Do you like your bed, in the back?

We tucked Therm-a-rest backpacking pads under the mattress on our side, and it enhanced the sleep comfort of the Coleman quite a bit.

You know, I agree about your comments about the interior schema. Airstream is best at the structural part, and they would be quite clever at implementing a lightweight, strong pocket door, that would probably not impact a floorplan at all, as far as form factor.

I have some concerns about the foam-covered stuff in the interior. We plan on keeping this trailer through college -- we use things gently and keep things maintained, but I fear that the parts will just plain wear out fast. I wonder if it would be smart to pick up some matching laminate sheets while they are still using it in Jackson Center...

-Rob
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