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Old 04-30-2016, 05:02 PM   #1
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De Soto , Wisconsin
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 5
25ft '92 Classic/Excella vs 25 ft '98 Safari

Hello,
I am completely new to Airstreams and this site but sure appreciate the wealth of knowledge it contains. After a lot of looking, my wife and I have decided we want to begin our camping adventures with an Airstream. Currently, we are looking at a 25 foot '92 Classic/Excella and a 25 ft. '98 Safari. Both seem to be pretty well cared for. The older Classic has been well maintained, had a new floor and a number of updates. The '98 Safari has sat indoors for three years and is pretty much original but well taken care of otherwise. Any ideas as to which is the better choice? Any thoughts of what are reasonable values?
I was once told by a person that Airstream had a time period when it switched manufacturing plants and that for a few years they were perhaps not constructed as well. If there is any truth to this, does anyone know what years are better to stay away from?
Thanks for any advice.
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Old 04-30-2016, 06:27 PM   #2
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2000 25' Safari
1999 34' Excella
Davidson County, NC , Highlands County, FL
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,571
I think the quality of construction of those two trailers was similar when they were new, the classic having slightly better interior. If they both have been "maintained well" either will serve you for years. Many trailers have not been maintained well, so be careful, especially if the new floor covering is covering up problems with the subfloor (think rot from water leaks)
If I was choosing one of the two, (if both were in the same condition) I would chose the newer one. That's just me though, others might choose the older one.
My reasons:
(1) The newer one is 6" wider, so more interior space.
(2) It is newer, maybe there's less to fix.

Reasons to choose the older one:
(1) The cabinets are better quality (real wood)
(2) The older one weighs less.

PS: welcome to the forum
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Old 05-01-2016, 07:34 AM   #3
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De Soto , Wisconsin
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Thanks for the input. Can you talk a little about clear coat and the maintenance of it?
Hypothetically, does anything have to be done to the exterior of an airstream to maintain the integrity of the outer skin or is maintenance purely for cosmetic reasons.Obviously we want to have our trailer looking nice, just trying to understand whether it is best to re-clear coat every five years - as I have been told is necessary -
or if it is best to remove it and polish it every two years. Thanks.
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:02 AM   #4
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2000 25' Safari
1999 34' Excella
Davidson County, NC , Highlands County, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Pedretti View Post
Thanks for the input. Can you talk a little about clear coat and the maintenance of it?
Hypothetically, does anything have to be done to the exterior of an airstream to maintain the integrity of the outer skin or is maintenance purely for cosmetic reasons.Obviously we want to have our trailer looking nice, just trying to understand whether it is best to re-clear coat every five years - as I have been told is necessary -
or if it is best to remove it and polish it every two years. Thanks.
Airstream suggests wax/polish.
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:37 PM   #5
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1996 25' Excella
Tillsonburg , Ontario
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The 92 Classic is a narrow body, the 98 Safari is wider by 6". The Safari has "cheap" windows with steel frames that seem to rust and the windows only open on the lower part. The Classic will have aluminum frames and hinge at the top. The interior cabinetry in the Safari is lightly built, but entirely serviceable. The Safari may be a bit lighter in weight and Perhaps someone else could maybe weigh in here, but I know several Safari owners who have had to change axles as the originals failed in some way. I don't hear that story with the top line models. There may be other important upgrades in the Classic like better mattresses, but those are replaceable. We personally passed on several 97 Safaris. Did not like the starkness of the interior and the exterior condition of window frames, and we finally bought a 96 Classic. Worst thing is the peeling decals...that's another thread altogether.

JCW
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:51 PM   #6
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2007 25' Classic
1993 21' Sovereign
Elm Grove , Wisconsin
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 52
Great that you are asking a lot of questions! Air Forums is a wonderful place to have a lot of those issues discussed. Another place that might be of help is the Vintage Airstream Podcast or the VAP as it is also known. Do your research and list the things that are most important to you.

Some things to consider when looking at the '92 Classic vs. the '98 Safari:
The Classic has in my opinion has better windows, ie more light, larger openings & better ventilation. The wrap-around front window makes the interior feel larger. The cabinets are of heavier construction. Numerous other more "deluxe" features may or not be of benefit to you. Again, do your
research. The Safari has the more typical RV windows with no wrap-around in the front. Details are less elaborate than on the Classic.

The two Airstreams that you are considering have potential plastic cote issues. Some people look at this as an opportunity to strip and polish. The question is are you willing to spend the time, effort and money to do so. Depending on your propensity for that perfect shine, this could take 200 plus hours. Having a quality specialist redo the plastic cote is another option. Cost here can vary, but $200 per linear foot is not unheard of. Keep in mind that many Airstreamers live with the patina of older units. It's whatever is paramount to you.

I think that is important for you to find out what size and floor plan works for you. If budget permits, a post '99 coach might be worth considering. Keep in mind tow vehicle requirements (another topic of endless discussion). Look for an Airstream that has the best skin that you can afford and do your do diligence as to it's structural integrity and functionality of the components.

Good luck in your search!

Juergen
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Old 05-01-2016, 02:38 PM   #7
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2000 25' Safari
1999 34' Excella
Davidson County, NC , Highlands County, FL
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You got some conflicting information.
If you want to find facts this is a good place.

https://www.airstream.com/service/manuals/
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:44 PM   #8
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1992 21' Sovereign
Daphne , Alabama
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 74
92 vs 1998

Count the rivets and see which one is built better, check out the windows and see which is better, Clear coat 92 oil base clear coat, 98 water base clear coat. Ceiling in the 92 vs 99 see which one you like. See which steps you like. The 1992 is one of the best trailer Airstream made and I have one, I've had an 87 25 ft Sovereign,an 88 25ft Excella, a 1989 25 ft Excella , and 2002 25ft classic( Queen bed) the 87'88,&89 were twins. The 92 is a double with a vanity and 2 closets.Dry weight 5100 lbs.
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