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Old 12-09-2002, 04:33 PM   #1
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2003 25' Safari
Eden Prairie , Minnesota
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First trip coming up - a long one

I bought a new Safari 25 and will be picking it up on 12/23. Only problem it's in Florida while I'm in Minnesota. The price was thousands less than nearby dealers, and I'm heading to FL anyway for Xmas... so I'm trying to get ready for the big tow home.

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with the V8 and class III/IV tow package. From reading other posts I already know the group concensus is that nothing less than a Peterbuilt will do, but I am within the tow rating of the Explorer. I have ordered an Equal-i-zer hitch, and recently installed a Prodigy brake controller myself (easy!). Questions:

- What mirror extension have people been happy with? None seem to be custom made for the new Explorer, so I will need to buy a "universal" type.

- What speed do you typically tow at on relatively flat freeway?

- Any pre-purchase inspection items I should be looking for on a new unit?

- I remember my Dad's Airstream having lots of dents from rocks being thrown off the tow vehicle tires. Suggestions for mud flaps?

Other thoughts welcome - I will be towing 1800 miles!

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Old 12-09-2002, 05:35 PM   #2
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1992 29' Excella
madison , Wisconsin
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i don't have a peterbuilt. but i do have a large pickup so mirrors that came with my truck do fine.

are you planning on wet camping on the way home? if so have the dealer show you how to winterize your trailer before you get home to minn. if not, make sure the trailer is winterized by the dealer before you leave for home.

as for speed on a freeway, that depends on your experience level with heavy vehicles. you will be suprized how well your new unit tows. you'll keep up with traffic fine, except for the speed demons. i run with traffic as a rule. but, out west i've had it up to 75 for extended periods. go with what you think is safe and you'll do fine.

mud flaps, get them. or tape cardboard to the front of the trailer if your gonna do an extended run on gravel. a buddy of mine and i just made a bracket to hang mudflaps off the hitch. it slips over the hitch reciever.

sway control, get it also. your dealer should be able to set you up when you get to florida. just remember to let it off if you encounter snow or ice on the way home.

lotsa luck, post some pic's when you get home.


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Old 12-09-2002, 05:42 PM   #3
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2004 30' Classic Slideout
Fenton , Missouri
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Congratulations Dmac. Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you will get lots of feedback on your question. One thing I would do is to see if you can spend at least a night or two at the dealer's. Hopefully he has some hookups. This way you can shake out any problems and get them solved prior to you departing to the great white north.

You will have to deal with winterizing your unit at some point in the trip. Be sure you get that info from your dealer.

I put some universal extensions on my Chevy Express van. They clip on the existing mirrors.

Tow speed, is probably 65 mph tops for my comfort level. Keep in mind you probably will have to check those wheel lugs a few times at first. If the trailer was towed from Ohio to Fla. there probably won't be much movement but just play it safe and check them during the first few hundered miles. I think your manual may have some suggestions about this check.

Try out as much as you can. Everything electrical. Bring a TV and make sure the antenna conections work, front and back. Use all the water outlets including the shower. Check to make sure the shower door caulking keeps the water in the shower (mine leaked but only after the second person showered).

Be sure to have them show you the drain for the fresh water tank and the hot and cold drain valves used to blow out the water lines.

Note the position of the refrigerator high humidity control switch. Many batteries have been drained due to this switch being accidently left on.

Ask about tire pressures. I know of a fellow who bought a new Safari from a dealer in K.C. Mo. and attempted to tow it back home to Vermont. He pulled away from the lot and thought his Safari was a dog. He got to the first exit and checked the tires. All were low in pressure.

Obviously your dealer should prep your trailer and you should be shown how to operate everything on your Safari. This means all switches, valves, appliances, awning, etc. Each dealer has their own standards though. So while you got a great deal, don't let them make up for that by shortchanging you on the time and effort they spend on getting you on the road.

Stop in the Airstream Trailer Forums.

We have many postings on the newer Safari's that will help you with your new unit.


Jack Canavera
AIR #56
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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Old 12-09-2002, 05:46 PM   #4
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If you are looking for a cheap solution for mirrors check out this link. I have used these for two years. Yhey install/remove in seconds.
Jerry Sullivan
'01 Limited
'01 Safari
On The Road, USA
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Old 12-09-2002, 06:29 PM   #5
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Hello dmac welcome aboard.

Great advice above, however I noted your pickup date of 12-23.

I suspect that the dealer will close the next day at noon and remain closed thru the weekend for Christmas that's 5-1/2 days, with Christmas coming on a Wednesday this year. I figure this will be common hours thru out the nation. i.e. your hopefully un-needed backup network might be a bit out of reach for the time you might need them most. Wreckers usually work but how do you find a good one that can accomodate your double needs in a strange state on the I-state? You might want to join AAA and get the RV package. Take care of all your insurance now, those agents disappear at Christmas time too.
I agree that the trailer might have rolled from Ohio, or do they deliver them on a float?

If there is any problem in your initial checkup are you prepared to stay in Fla. a few extra days over Christmas?
I have always noticed that in my part of the country, all things service wise get a little "groggy" around the git-away day before Christmas. Not trying to rain humbug on anyone's parade, (and I bet you have no problems), but just something to consider from a contingency nut.

BTW will you have a spare tire and wheel?
Have em check the A/C shroud and make sure the entry door can't come open on the coach. I would carry some duct tape, cord, and some of those reflective flares that truckers use in case of a thin road shoulder. Be sure to get all the keys and I have been warned to make sure the compartment doors outside are securely in place.
When I pickup my (used) unit I will take a step ladder along in case I need to secure something up top along the way. Also an exersize mat in case I have to get underneath on a nasty roadside.
Here's hopin' all you'll really need is your credit card and your camera.

Happy Trails & Merry Christmas
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Old 12-09-2002, 07:35 PM   #6
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from florida

have a great trip. you will come to love and appreciate all that has gone into making your airstream the greatest class tow behind on the road.
regarding mirrors; camping world sells "slip on" mirrors which do just that. they slip on over your existing mirrors. installation and uninstallation is quick and easy. they work well and are inexpensive. i use them on my f 150.
keep your speed down. you are hauling a lot of mass and although it might travel behind very smoothly, all towed vehicles with that kind of inertia are difficult to bring to rest regardless of your tow vehicle.
i'd bring the trailer home to minnesota without water in the system. just take along water to flush the toilet and to use in the sink. you can add rv antifreeze to your drain system but you won't have to worry about blowing all the water out to the pressure system.
and of course, when you get home look for the Department 56 AIRSTREAM TRAILER MODEL.

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Old 12-10-2002, 07:32 AM   #7
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I have just the little round stick on mirrors that you can get at Pep Boys, Walmart...etc... on my mirrors. They worked really well - considering I too have the standard stock mirrors on my F-350 (which should be very similiar to your Explorer mirrors). One thing I did to enhance my visibility was remove the curtains and shades at front and rear of the trailer so that I could at least have some kind of view of the traffic behind me - doesn't work as well during the day - (tinted front) - but at night was a life saver. I just made the routine part of the hook / un-hook process.

Speed - take it slow at first. If you feel the trailer kinda pushing you or feeling jerky when you accelerate - you may want to tighten up your equalizer bars. Remember in most states - towing any vehicle towing a trailer falls under the same rules for speed as Semi's - just you don't have to pull in and get weighed at weigh stations.

Every 50-100 miles or so for the first few hours of towing - stop and check things out on the trailer inside and out. I make it a point of every time I stop for gas - I do a complete check around the trailer and then hop inside and make sure no doors have become unlatched - etc...

I would also advise getting a towing strap or a tow chain as well as a CB. Since you will be heading up north - you never know if you may get stuck and will assist someone else who may have a vehicle - get you out. CB is becuase not all the time will your cell phone be in range.

Actually that happened to me down in Kingsland, GA. I had stopped at my sisters house becuase my traveling companion had lost her glasses there the night before. Instead of trying to navigate the driveway - I simply pulled off the side of the road. Alongside the ditch. When it came time to move - It became apparent the grass had hidden the moisture rich ground and try as I might all I could do was bury my rear tire. Luckily - a farmer popped by and brought out his tractor and got us out. (Later I discovered that I probably could of gotten out of the situation on my own if I had got out of the vehicle and locked the front hubs - apparently w/o doing so - 4wd is just a indicator on the dash and not what the vehicle is in)...

Congrats on your new purchase
Jody - Jody's Website
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Old 12-10-2002, 08:02 AM   #8
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Ford Explorer

Welcome fellow Minnesotan. I'm from Rochester and the proud owner of a 1963 Overlander given to me by my father. He recently purchased a 2002 Safari and pulls it with his 2002 Ford Explorer V8/tow package. He loves it and doesn't miss his 1985 Bronco 5.9 V8 one bit. I now have the Big Bronco to pull my AS. By the way, I think it's your Explorer that Airstream features in their ads as the vehicle towing the Safari.
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Old 12-10-2002, 08:58 AM   #9
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When I purchased my Safari I was given one year of free roadside assistance through THOR corp. You should check with the dealer and see if it is still available. I have since renewed the insurance because they will tow your trailer to the nearest authorized Airstream repair facility.
Jerry Sullivan
'01 Limited
'01 Safari
On The Road, USA
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Old 12-10-2002, 09:48 AM   #10
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I'll second the CB. Channel 19 is good for all kinds of road and traffic info. If nothing else it is great entertainment in backups. Even the cheap $40 walkie talkie ones will work.

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Old 12-10-2002, 10:44 AM   #11
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2003 25' Safari
Eden Prairie , Minnesota
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Thanks eveyone for the replies!

I will be staying in Florida visiting relatives for a week, so any problems I discover should be fixable before I start the return trip.

I used to own a motorhome so I have winterized before. I'm bringing some RV antifreeze along since it may not be readily available in Florida!

The trailer has the option package that includes a spare tire.

My Equal-i-zer hitch has been shipped, looking for it any day now. That should handle the weight distributing and sway control.

The only towing I have done is our 19' boat, which only weighs ~2000 lbs. At least I know how to back up!

I'll take some pictures to post when I get back.

Dan MacDonald
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Old 12-24-2002, 08:12 AM   #12
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1999 25' Safari
Edina , Minnesota
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These are the best mirrors I have used for slip-on type mirrors:
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Old 01-07-2003, 02:14 PM   #13
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1986 31' Sovereign
Lenox , Georgia
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Dan, my only suggestions.....

I don't know which way you plan on leaving the great state of Florida. If it is on I-75, expect good roads until you hit the Georgia line, and then periodic construction all the way to Atlanta. If you are taking I-95, expect periodic construction north of Melbourne on up to Jacksonville. The construction won't slow down the loonies nor the semi trucks, regardless of the posted speed limits of 60 in the construction zones. I set the speed control near the posted limit, stay in the right-hand lane, and let them fly by. In spite of the narrowed road beds due to construction, your rig and that hitch should prove okay when the big rigs blow by you. Be careful of getting too close behind the crazies, as they will lock the brakes suddenly to avoid each other. Slowing all that metal behind you isn't as easy as stopping your old mama's Buick. I like earlier suggestions about having an exercise mat (or even an old piece of clean carpet) along with you. I'm always under the trailer for one thing or another it seems, and it has been wet in Florida and Georgia for weeks. Keep your vehicle and trailer tire pressures checked, and if you get in trouble between January 10-13 in south-to-mid Georgia, call 229/546-4652. I'll come running!

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Old 01-07-2003, 04:30 PM   #14
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Austin (Hays County) , Texas
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Good suggestion

to carry something with you to get down on the ground on.

I carry a used shower curtain for that purpose. It is big, compact, waterproof, and expendable.

John W. Irwin
2005 Classic 28 "Sabre-Dog III"
2013 Silverado 2500HD Duramax/Allison LTZ
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