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Old 11-30-2002, 11:23 AM   #1
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Getting the lead out

The newer Safaris have a major advantage over our big brother the "Classic". The Safari is a 1000 lbs. lighter. From my viewpoint and probably most of my fellow Safari owners we haven't sacrificed much. I would like to go a step further and ask Airstream owners what have they done to further reduce their trailers weight!
I noticed on my 2001 Safari 27A that the wardrobe doors appear to be made from some light weight material - possibly a honeycomb laminate. However the panel below the two doors is conventional plywood. The weight penalty for plywood vs the door material is substantial. Eight ponds for a 15" x 45" panel compared to only 11 pounds for a 22" x 62" door. Adjusted for overall size, if the door was made from the thinner plywood it would weigh over 28 pounds per door or for both doors 57 pounds, instead of the 22 ponds that both doors weigh!
Anyway, I need to replace that 8 pound panel with a new panel so that I have easier access to my water pump and if I can get the same door material I will reduce the weight by 5 pounds. Doesn't sound like much, however that's 5 pounds of steak which sure tastes better that glue and wood. There are probably several other items that will yield even more weight savings. Let's here your suggestions!
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Old 11-30-2002, 12:28 PM   #2
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I am going to use plywood, masonite, or paneling with thermax or styrofoam cores in my interior. Should be light and strong.

John
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Old 11-30-2002, 02:30 PM   #3
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Lighter components

My previous SOB trailer, a TrailManor, used styrofoam-cored tops for every horizontal surface. At the factory, they spray the styrofoam sheets with contact cement and vacuum bond a layer of wood on both sides. Even the top of the folding table was foam cored.

The floor was 3" of styrofoam with aluminum bonded on both sides and 1/8" of wood bonded to the top surface of the samdwich.

The folding TrailManor was amazingly light for its size. It was 24' long folded and had the interior space of a 31' trailer when opened. The weight, packed for a trip, was only about 3500#.
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Old 12-01-2002, 08:19 AM   #4
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Cored walls

There is no difference in appearance between a styrofoam cored surface faced with thin, high quality plywood and a solid wood surface.

Like you, I also think that the interiors of the current Safaris don't stack up to earlier A/S, but I think the more classic appearance could be maintained with a bit of design work and still maintain the lighter weight.

The furniture in my new International is far too heavy, resulting in a very limited load capacity. For instance, the bedroom wall is essentially two 4x8' sheets of 3/4" plywood with a 3" gap between. Far better if it had been 4" of styrofoam with 1/4" of wood bonded on each side at half the weight. That's what engineers are supposed to do.
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Old 01-01-2003, 08:11 AM   #5
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Light Weight interiors

I appreciate you responce. Styrofoam cored laminate is a good idea and less expensive then honeycomb.
However, it seems like that every pound I remove from the Safari, I then turn around add two more pounds with things that we think we need to drag with us!
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Old 01-02-2003, 08:27 AM   #6
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I would think the battery is an opportunity to shed weight, my Interstate group 27 is heavy! The Optima batteries are supposed to be lighter, anyone tried one?
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Old 01-02-2003, 09:29 AM   #7
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Optimas are only 55 AH, about half of what a group 27 is, plus they cost twice as much.
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Old 01-02-2003, 11:31 AM   #8
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One of the main things I like about the 70's models is the use of aluminum for almost all the cabinets and interior dividers. They are light, east to clean, hold up well and don't gas off the glues, stink and chemicals that the wood products do. Just wish they would of used it for the floor as well, the one part that seems to have the most problems.

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Old 01-02-2003, 11:42 AM   #9
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I have to agree with you Chas, I am now on my 3rd Airstream product and they have all been from the 70's. Plus in the 70's you get vista views! The front lounge of my MH is open and bright. Besides I don't want to haul around all the heavy oak.
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Old 01-02-2003, 04:36 PM   #10
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Seventies Airstreams

I will have to start looking inside some of the vintage Airstreams. I agree with you about the oak, it ain't light.
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Old 01-02-2003, 04:54 PM   #11
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Drawers

My bone to pick with my new International is the drawers. There are 7 of them and even my small silverware drawer smallest weighs 8 1/2 pounds empty.

All the wood in the drawers is 3/4" thick, but the big weight is in the steel drawer sides. Think of the weight savings if the sides had been aluminum.

On my 5 smaller drawers, I ran the wood bottoms and backs through my surface planer and cut them down to 3/8" which is plenty thick for a small drawer. This saved some minor weight, but, short of building new drawers, I am stuck with the heavy steel sides.
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