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Old 10-05-2014, 08:26 AM   #1
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1978 23' Safari
Verona , Missouri
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 15
'78 Safari Trailer Modification

Hello all--
This is a great forum.

I have a 1978 23" Safari that came apart last weekend. The aft end of the trailer has some modification that does not look factory to me, i.e., torch cuts, wimpy sheet metal for an aft structural member, etc.--was wondering if anyone has pics of what this is supposed to look like?

The bent steel angle in the pic of the shell was riveted to the outer skin between the skin and the bottom channel but did not have bolt holes in it--looks like some improvised modification to tie the aft end down like the front where the skin is riveted to a plate that is welded to the frame?

Any thoughts are appreciated. I'm thinking of modifying the frame to incorporate a larger gray water tank--welding is not a problem.

Thanks--
Tim
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Old 10-05-2014, 04:09 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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You have sure made a lot of progress in a weekend! I thought I'd chime in and ask the 78 Safari experts to post a picture of their rear ends. (I hope that didn't read wrong.)

The 70s era trailers were infamous for their rear body attachment method and in resulting rain water incursion. It kinda looks like the rear panel has been changed sometime over the years. Maybe someone was trying to repair rear end separation with the angle iron.

I'm sure someone will get you a reference picture.

David
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Old 10-05-2014, 11:01 PM   #3
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1976 25' Tradewind
Oswego , New York
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Thats the same as mine, pretty sad state of construction. Mine is a 76 and the way it was put together makes me wonder if they cared at all about how long it would last.
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:00 AM   #4
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Let's just say the trailer "design" changed a lot during the Beatrice years. But many folks have made great vintage Airstreams from 70s era trailers. If you read some of the restoration and renovation threads in the Airstream Knowledge Base for Safaris you will learn how others strengthened the frame and body attachments, especially in the rear. And you will learn how to keep the rain water out of the subfloor "sandwich". Judging by your photos and posts, you will have no problem building a stronger Safari.

My 66 Trade Wind had rear floor rot, but the frame was still solid. I did not remove the body, just replaced the last 4' of subfloor in the bath area. I did improve the body to floor to frame seal in along the rear.

David
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:21 PM   #5
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1978 23' Safari
Verona , Missouri
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Mine had serious rear rot, rodent invasion, etc. One concern is that there is really no frame support for the shell in the rear contour area from the last outrigger to the back flange of the trailer. The shell is only attached to the wood floor in this area. Planning on fabricating some steel support in this area below the shell, 3/16 plate cut to match the shell contour and supported with some short gusset outriggers.
Tim
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:24 PM   #6
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1978 23' Safari
Verona , Missouri
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It took more like a month of weekends to get to this point--and a few beers!
Tim
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:04 AM   #7
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Oh, I understand. "a few beers". That's why you have made such good progress.

You'll learn that the Airstream body is self supporting. The body actually helps hold the frame together. You probably noticed how strong it was when you removed the shell. I think if you fabricate a sturdy support across the rear of the frame between the rails to attach the rear of the body, you will be good. The curved corners of the end cap are supported by the wood floor, and the outrigger support. The body holds the floor up, and the floor holds the body up. You may not need the perimeter support you envision. Maybe it's a little like a car's frameless "unibody" construction.

You can read about what others have done in this area in the Airstream Knowledgebase on this website.

David
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:43 AM   #8
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1978 23' Safari
Verona , Missouri
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Thanks for the info David--
I was considering just what you suggested as well. maybe two points along the rear contour. I'm probably going to re-do the aft frame due to corrosion and a new tank system.

Where is the "knowledge base"? Is this a location I haven't found yet or just the vast collection of knowledge in this great forum?
Tim
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Old 10-10-2014, 09:04 AM   #9
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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I find the Airstream Knowledgebase, and then Airstream Trailer Forums very informative in the details surrounding a particular model and year.

Find these forums toward the bottom of the homepage. The Safari is such a popular model there are forums for almost every year. I don't know how to make a direct link to the 1974 - 1979 Safari section, but here is the path.

Airstream Forums > Airstream Knowledgebase > Airstream Trailer Forums > Safari > 1974 - 1979 Safari

You might find pictures of the Safari frame in this section, and what others have done to strengthen the rear body mounting supports.

David
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Old 10-14-2014, 04:01 PM   #10
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1976 23' Safari
1962 22' Safari
1961 16' Bambi
Philly burbs , PA
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Rear End mod

I went this route when redoing the rear section. I had a stainless steel "L" bracket made for the new hold down plate. Then installed some vinyl between the bracket and chassis and bolted and riveted everything together. Finally, aluminum sheeting was fit, slide up between the outer skin and riveted. I had to cut back the pan that holds the gray tank.
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Old 10-14-2014, 07:17 PM   #11
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
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Surfpod, that looks very good. It doesn't look like water can migrate into the floor sandwich. Thanks for the photos.

David
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Old 03-16-2017, 05:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfpod View Post
I went this route when redoing the rear section. I had a stainless steel "L" bracket made for the new hold down plate. Then installed some vinyl between the bracket and chassis and bolted and riveted everything together. Finally, aluminum sheeting was fit, slide up between the outer skin and riveted. I had to cut back the pan that holds the gray tank.
Is that the same trailer that was on Surfer shack.com?
I was wondering if you have any pictures of the final product after the project was done.
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