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Old 10-19-2010, 11:56 AM   #1
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1973 Safari purchase questions

Hi, everyone...

I signed up for the forum (and have read HOURS for at least a week now..great knowledge base here!) and I would like to ask specifically about a vintage airstream that I'm considering...

I haven't viewed it yet in person,but the photos appear as if it is in generally good condition...my question centers around the value of a 'remodeled' airstream v. a restored airstream....the safari in question looks "ok" but it certainly does not reflect my personal taste (lace curtains??) but all of the 'basics' seem to be there....how much 'premium' is reasonable for a 'remodeled' airstream considering I will most like replace the 'new' finishes?? I've checked this website:


Price vs. Condition - Airstream Values

at worst $4k, at best $2k...
also it is a single axle trailer, are there any major concerns i should have about that?

thanks to any and all responses...

this is a WONDERFUL group of airstream contributors....all the best!
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Old 10-19-2010, 03:12 PM   #2
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Hey - Welcome!

Price vs. Condition is a terrific tool, but approach it with an open mind. This are intangibles that Price vs. Condition can't account for. Figure out if there is anything about this particular airstream that makes it worth more to you than the guide might suggest. The '65 Safari I found was nearby and was a year and model I wanted. For me the short haul and the availability of a full service RV deal nearby made me much more comfortable and saved me money, so I went above what the guide suggested. Although part of my bellypan was missing, the floor is rock solid. Knowing I didn't have to replace the floor made the Safari more attractive to me.There are some jobs that you are more willing to do than others. An plumber might pay more for a trailer that needs pipes replaced but has intact cabinetry, whereas a woodworker would pay less.

I have heard about people printing out the Price vs. Condition guide and bringing it to the seller as a negotiation tool - let the seller get the info straight from the source. That could help get your price down.

A double axle trailer will cost you twice as much when you replace the tires or the axles or repack the bearings but if you have a blowout you're less likely to get body damage because the other wheel will keep the trailer from dropping to the roadway. Also, the extra axle will cost you more on a toll road. I think that's really the only difference - the number of axles is merely reflective of the weight and length of the trailer

I could be wrong but I think a '73 Safari is a dual axle trailer. Is it possible that you have the year or model wrong? Look here for pictures of other models. I understand your desire to keep the location private for now, but can you give us anymore information without leading someone else to your deal? How has it been "remodeled" and what do you expect to replace? Can you share the pictures?

The bottom line is always that a thing is worth what a person will pay for it.

Dag

P.S. resist the urge that this is the "one for you". That will just make you overpay. Over 60% of all Airstreams made are still on the road - If you don't get this one you'll find another - maybe even a better one!
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Old 10-19-2010, 03:47 PM   #3
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Hi Dag,

Thank you for the response and welcome!

I'm planning on taking a look this week, (no pics to post) but from my email exchange, it is a SINGLE axel..has new wheels, tires, 'newer' holding tank, shocks, bearings, water pump etc....I asked if it was 'polished' and he said no...assuming everything he says, I would say it is in 'good' condition for its age...

This will be my first look at an AS, so if anything I'll probably more hesitant than over-anxious to buy considering this is a brand new endeavor for me...oh, he also said the refrigerator was replaced, but it is just a small 'dorm' type unit

As far as the remodel goes, I didn't see anything particularly unappealing, but mostly 'meh'...I can well imagine I would replace the soft materials, maybe even the cushions

I agree with vintageairstream.com that the market is soft right now both seasonally and also due to the continuing recession and banking woes...basically I'm trying to get a sense of what others have paid for 1973 Safaris in similar condition...

In my research I read something about Beatrice Foods acquiring AS in the 1970's and the quality suffered....I don't know whether that is relevant (other than potential resale value?)

Other than that, I can't say much more until I actually look at it...

I appreciate yours and anyone else's insight into purchasing one of these models...

BTW...My anticipated use is long trips...I've lived out west for a number of years and recently did a PNW road trip, and made the decision that a smallish TT (no more than 2 travelers) would suit my needs...

bad news if I purchase one, it means trading in my 2009 Forester...great car, but no where near sufficient for towing...

Thanks again!
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:29 PM   #4
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"Dorm Fridge"????

The refrigerators in many travel trailers are small...but the phrase "dorm fridge" makes me think that its an electric (110volt) model...if so, its a huge detriment, imo. Can't run it while traveling, and you'll always be dependent on 110 volt hookups. Big $$$-off the price, imo.
make sure it has a gas/electric (amonia absorption) rv fridge. they're very expensive, so its not uncommon for people to cheap-out and stick a cheap-o electric fridge in there. price accordingly.

In 1973, the 23' Safari was available as either a single axle, or a tandem axle.
another advantage of the tandem axle is higher gross weight and more stability on the road. a flat tire won't necessarily leave you stranded, as the dual-axle trailers can still travel with 3 wheels.
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:42 PM   #5
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Chuck,

I don't know for sure its a 'dorm fridge'

From the picture it looks pretty small

something like this:

DAR440 Midsize Danby Counterhigh Energy Star Compact Refrigerator

and it was placed directly across from the sink/counter...a very rough mod, appears to have cut out a section of the original panel and just framed up a 2x4 for it to sit against

thanks for the heads up....if this is a 110 volt unit for sure i would replace it with a gas/electric....easily over $1000, correct?
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:50 PM   #6
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I'm sure you'll find people here who love the 70's models and as many or more that hate them. You should read up on what the common troubles of that particular model and year are. I think the 70's units frequently have issues with the rear frame - search for "frame separation". Are you prepared to get dirty and do some work?

Also, find out whether there is a grey water tank. I think 1974 may have been the first year they put in a small one.

-Dag
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:53 PM   #7
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yeah, thats the general size/proportions of the fridge. The description of the install doesn't sound promising. can't just "slap in" a gas unit; the surround has to be sealed up, because it requires a chimney draft effect in order to work properly, whether running on gas or electric. and with the gas, it needs to vent exhaust fumes, too, although thats pretty minimal. (early models didn't vent externally; they just had an open slot in the back edge of the counter top, and just vented into the cabin.)

Personally, I think the whole "Beatrice" thing is just a bunch of bunk. All years and models have their own set of issues.

The "separation" issues were in the later, longer models. I don't think you'll find this much in the shorter models, like the Safari. They're pretty stout trailers. There isn't much behind the axles, flapping around there with the loooong moment arm. Later models added weight, (grey tanks) and lightened the frame.
74 was the first year with grey tanks, so this one didn't come from the factory with one. No way to know what mods may have been done to any particular unit, though.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:10 AM   #8
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You'll get lots of *help* identifying potential problems and/or reassurances if you post a few pictures! This advice might be really valuable so I encourage you to do so. I wish I had known of this site and been able to pick the brains of the veterans here in advance of my purchase.

There are an array of things that need(ed) repaired/replaced on my '73 that I did not account for or know of when I made my purchase. Some costly, some labor intensive. The PO was also unaware of many of these issues and/or the PO wasn't concerned about such. For example, PO wasn't impacted by the installation of a 110 refer or the lack of an inverter/charger. PO wasn't aware of the axles ever needing replaced. And I didn't know to check the window/door seals, the umbilical modification, heater recall, etc...... I paid well in excess of $4K - don't feel I was taken advantage of but wish I had known in advance of what additional costs were required to make the Silver Olive the trailer I desired... no regrets though - she's a lot of fun!

Laura
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mdrive View Post
Hi, everyone...

I signed up for the forum (and have read HOURS for at least a week now..great knowledge base here!) and I would like to ask specifically about a vintage airstream that I'm considering...

I haven't viewed it yet in person,but the photos appear as if it is in generally good condition...my question centers around the value of a 'remodeled' airstream v. a restored airstream....the safari in question looks "ok" but it certainly does not reflect my personal taste (lace curtains??) but all of the 'basics' seem to be there....how much 'premium' is reasonable for a 'remodeled' airstream considering I will most like replace the 'new' finishes?? I've checked this website:


Price vs. Condition - Airstream Values

at worst $4k, at best $2k...
also it is a single axle trailer, are there any major concerns i should have about that?

thanks to any and all responses...

this is a WONDERFUL group of airstream contributors....all the best!
That trailer was originally made with a single axle, that was changed to a tandem that same year.

You can check the axle out yourself, in a few seconds.

Read the axle article that's in the Airstream Central portion of this Forums.

http://www.airstreamcentral.com/arti...xle/Page1.html

Andy
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:49 AM   #10
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Chuck...

Judging from the picture I have, it does appear to be 'slapped' in as you put it...won't know for sure until I talk to the owner...I don't think its a deal breaker, just a negotiating tool...obviously I want to have a fully functioning fridge...


Dag...

Yes I am indeed prepared to get dirty and work...(although sometimes I question my sanity on this score as I am just finishing up a total condo remodel with my husband)...

Funkill...

I will post pics as soon as I am able to figure out how to do so, I just registered on this forum, and haven't been able to navigate the functions that well yet

The bottom line is that I am questioning paying for another's mods and remodel that I am not particularly impressed with....the basic stuff (wheels, tires, tanks, etc) yes, those are real value added, but the fridge mod is a good example of something I would have to correct, so imho, his mod creates a problem that I have to rectify

I'm just not sure how all this plays in with pricing...I have a feeling he might be offended by my offer, but hey, that's nothing new!
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:02 AM   #11
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Andy,

Thank you so much for that link...just scanning it, appears to have a good deal of technical info that will be quite helpful....

In searching on the Axel forum, I see you posted this:

Quote:
The longest single axle Airstream ever built, believe it or not, was a 30 footer, many years ago.

After that a 24 foot was tops.

Of recent vintage, 1969 and up, it was 23 feet.

However the 23 foot single axle was short lived, as Airstream changed it to a tandem axle, for a number of reasons.

A single axle 23 foot can be changed to a tandem, but only if you have the original drawings which also require some floor plan changes.

Changing the 23 fron a single axle to tandem, is not for a DIY.

Of immediate concern if your towing your trailer, is the condition of your axle.

1974 and older axles will all fail in due time, because of the incorrect composition of the rubber rods that were used then.

The following will help you to chck out your axle.
my question is, in your experience have you seen problems in the 23' single axel Safari's enough to warrant changing over to a tandem? I'm curious about what those reasons are....the owner is saying that it tows well (to be expected) but he did tell me that it is paramount to make sure the trailer is level before towing
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:14 PM   #12
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... I am questioning paying for another's mods and remodel that I am not particularly impressed with....the basic stuff (wheels, tires, tanks, etc) yes, those are real value added, but the fridge mod is a good example of something I would have to correct, so imho, his mod creates a problem that I have to rectify ....

Yep - and sometimes fixing the mod is more involved than just getting a *non-working* appliance repaired or replaced with a unit that you appreciate.

FYI: The ONLY negotiating I did for my trailer was based on the 110 refer! I asked the PO to split the cost of a new rv refer with me - so I deducted $500 from the asking price. Accepted. If I'd only known how the other mods would have affected my trailer, I would have been able to negotiate more - or at least tried. One example was the auto charger that sat where the original univolt did. I had no idea how different the charger was compared to a charger/inverter! Doh. I'm not certain you'll get much consideration for strict cosmetic changes in a 70's unit. I just don't think they're that highly regarded. But I guess some mods that appear cosmetic in nature actually might alter the original integrety - like painting (of which I did embark on).

If you don't want to offend the owner, just focus you negotiations on the mechanical/electrical/structural repairs or rework that you plan to make anyway. You could estimate that new axle, inverter, weatherproofing, refer and maybe a grey tank to be $2-3K, depending on it being DIY or hired out. Add polishing to "return her to her former glory" and you're really talking some $$$.

Laura
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:28 PM   #13
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i still can't figure out how to post pics on this forum but i set up a quick flicker account so you can see the refrigerator mod that i am referring to...i'm guessing that this is an electric only unit, and note the damage done to the curved wall piece to make room for the rough 2x4 framing 'wall'

graduationairstream 052 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:39 PM   #14
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Andy,

Thank you so much for that link...just scanning it, appears to have a good deal of technical info that will be quite helpful....

In searching on the Axel forum, I see you posted this:



my question is, in your experience have you seen problems in the 23' single axel Safari's enough to warrant changing over to a tandem? I'm curious about what those reasons are....the owner is saying that it tows well (to be expected) but he did tell me that it is paramount to make sure the trailer is level before towing
For any given size Airstream, obviously a tandem tows better than a single axle. A tandem is more stable and has far less vertical movement when hitting bumps. Because of the torsion axles, you can tow a tandem on 2 or 3 tires, in case of a flat. With a single axle, you should always carry a spare. Braking with 4 brakes instead of two, of course has it's safety advantages, especially if the tow vehicle brakes fail and your totally dependent on trailer brake.

Other than that there are no serious towing problems with a single axle 23 foot Airstream.

Andy
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