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Old 11-08-2016, 09:27 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Kearston91's Avatar
1973 23' Safari
Texarkana , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 8
Question Value of 1973 Safari?

Wanting to know opinions on this Airstream. I am new to this world but super excited! My husband & I are going to start traveling soon so now seeking out an Airstream, we really need 24 feet or less. I have found a 1973 Safari 23 feet... would appreciate any tips to look for.

Seller says there is slight denting to skin near the awning, Inverter not working, Polishing not complete. Other than that he says the floor is in good condition, no leaks. Asking $8500. Is this a fair price?

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Old 11-08-2016, 10:16 PM   #2
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1977 23' Safari
Niagara on the Lake , Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 853
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If it's in good shape I'd pay that.
Open the bathroom cabinet and feel around on the floor for rotten plywood. My Safari had a hole back there that was the start of some rear end separation.
If you can take the bumper off you'll be able to get a good look at the rear frame, cross members and hold down plate.

Safari is a great size trailer!
1977 Safari Land Yacht
2005 Toyota Tundra SR5
2010 Ford Flex Ecoboost
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Old 11-09-2016, 05:44 PM   #3
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1973 23' Safari
Texarkana , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 8
Thanks! I think we are going to go for it.
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Old 11-09-2016, 06:29 PM   #4
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1973 27' Overlander
Possum Trot , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,581
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Um, does everything work.....normally? Except the inverter? Without a functional inverter you can't properly check the electrical system.

How do you know? Have you looked at it yet? Does the interior smell weird? Does the plumbing work without leaks? How about the Air conditioner (you're in Texas, right)? For $8500 I'd ask the current owner to have it fired up and show me how everything works when I arrived on site.

Caveat Emptor.


Air No. 6427
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Old 11-09-2016, 06:30 PM   #5
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
Wayland , New York
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Maybe $7500 depending on real condition. If it's live able with some cleaning. Check for rear floor rot where floor and back wall meet. 1973 was a transition year, check to see if it has a gray water tank.

I second being able to hook up and test systems.
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Old 11-09-2016, 10:22 PM   #6
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Mission , Texas
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That's about what we paid for our 75 Overlander 27'. We had looked at others that were everything from total disasters needing a complete makeover to those that already had the makeover and were horribly over priced or ugly as a result. Before going to look at it, I ran some numbers for all of the stuff that might need replaced. The PO claimed everything worked but couldn't prove it since it wasn't hooked up. The co-pilot Mrs fell in love with it. Even with me replacing all the major stuff, it would still be cheaper than a new plain white box, so it followed us home. Once home and hooked up it needed new plumbing, tires, break away switch, and tongue jack; also rework the gas, parts of the all three electrical systems, and some minor body work. We stayed under the cost of new plain white box, but changed our plans and it is up for sale now. It has three big dents that scare everybody away. But if I replace the panels and polish it, the price would double or we'd keep it. Interesting life ...
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Old 11-10-2016, 07:35 AM   #7
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1973 23' Safari
Texarkana , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 8
Airstream is 8 hours away from us. We had a friend go look at it for us yesterday. It seems to be in good condition besides some aesthetic stuff. Ripping up carpet floors & a paint job is a must. He said when he got it he had to replace a patch on the floor in the bathroom. Friend said it was all sturdy with no soft spots. Refrigerator/stove work. AC works. He said he uses a catalytic heater. Tires are in good shape (he keeps them covered from the sun) He said all plumbing works... we are making a trip Saturday to hopefully pull it back home. However I will request if he can have it all plugged up when we arrive.
We shall see ��

Also he said he'd take it for $7500
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Old 11-10-2016, 07:49 AM   #8
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Estancia , New Mexico
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If the axles are original they almost certainly need to be replaced. Plan on spending 10K or more on your rehab. Don't count on it as an investment. You will be lucky to break even on a resale. If the above is not a deal killer, go for it.

BTW I have a 75 SERVICE (not owners) manual for sale. Most information will apply to the 73. Send me a PM if you are interested.
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:39 AM   #9
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Taos , New Mexico
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It's so exciting to be ready to roll and get out on the open road. It sounds like you are thinking of all the right things and the input you have so far is all really good. Our 69 Safari had been sitting for 30 years unused but it was well maintained on the exterior with Walbernize applied each summer and the tires were maintained. The trailer has been in our family since new so I know exactly how it has been cared for. This may not be the case with this trailer that you are looking at in terms of sitting unused for an extended period. Here was the my approach - i created 3 lists - a) safety for living (and sleeping in) and towing b) livability items that are "creature comforts" but if they don't work it does not make it unsafe to tow or live in and c) cosmetic items which can be done over time. A lot of the safety items are behind the walls and involve electrical, water, and LP. The hitch and frame should be solid for towing safely, have a good break away switch and the brakes need to work. Police like to see turn signals and brake lights working on a trailer also - they are funny that way. You're getting the point by this time - just plugging it in may not show some other issues so I would ask for it to be connected to a city water source at least several hours in advance of you getting there, also ask to have the fresh water tank with water in it so you can test the water pump, have the water heater on and delivering hot water, test the stove and oven to be sure they work and that they do not smell of LP. Water leaks tend to be pin sized in the original copper lines and in the water heater tank and it can take several hours to begin to see a leak on the floor. Sure - you can buy the trailer and head off with it and fix all the stuff, if there is anything to fix which may be the case that it is ready to roll, later and that is your decision. Oh - also ask to have the holding tank(s) filled with fresh water ahead of you getting there so you can check for drips on the back of the trailer and at the valve.
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:47 AM   #10
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1972 29' Ambassador
Boynton Beach , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 568
Be sure to jump up and down on the rear bumper to see if you have separation.
Look at the torsion arms on the axles, they should be sorta tilted downwards.

There's a complete checklist for buying used Airstreams on the site here, I just can't seem to fond it right now.

As long as you're fairly handy, you can fix an amazing amount of stuff that may go wrong, be sure to consult your new besties here on the Airforums if you get in over your head!
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Old 11-10-2016, 07:48 PM   #11
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1964 26' Overlander
1974 31' Sovereign
Milton , ON
Join Date: Oct 2002
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Originally Posted by Kearston91 View Post
Tires are in good shape (he keeps them covered from the sun)
Does he mean that the tires look good, or the tires are relatively new? Trailer tires should be replaced every 5-7 years even if they don't appear to be worn out. Also, as mentioned above, the axle will need to be replaced if it hasn't been already.

Do some research about the possible cost of any item that the trailer might need - tires, axles, appliances, water heater, panel replacement, floor repair/replacement, air conditioner, ceiling vents, etc. Even if you think they're okay from what you've heard you might find otherwise when you go to see the trailer in person. This information will allow you to determine how much you want to pay, and if you feel the need to offer less you'll be able to explain why.
1974 Sovereign
2005 F-350 SRW 4x4 crew cab long box

1965 Avion C-10 Truck Camper (
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Old 11-11-2016, 09:51 AM   #12
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1970 23' Safari
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 321
I paid about that in may/14 for our 1970 Safari 23. The PO told me it was in great shape and the owner before them had repaired the rear floor. It was about 7hours from me and when I arrived it appeared to be what they stated. It had a new fridge (larger than original) with top freezer.. all other appliances etc where original... cabinets were ok...original floor ... new upholstery but poorly done tires... original axles. It was usable but a lot of the workmanship on the upgrades of the fridge etc where poorly done.
I planned from day one (before I arrived) that I was prepared for a major renovation as in 70 they didn't have grey tanks. It was no problem hauling home everything worked fine.
Once I started opening thing up I discovered the rear floor was rotted all across the back and the repair was a patch on top.... black tank was cracked and had been patched with some kind of epoxy. I expected the axles needed replacing and they did.
I would say that I have spent $10,000 plus on the renovation and am very happy .... all new cabinets(i built)...upholstery.... 2 grey and 1 black tank... new plumbing... new wiring... rebuilt vinyl plank floors ... new counters ....2 new 6v batteries ...blinds and probably 500-700 hours of was a full time job for 3months plus more!!
I am very happy with everything I purchased and would probably have worked at negotiating a better price in hindsight ,but I went into prepared for the worst.
Getting some new appliances was a big savings though . The tires only had about 1000miles max on them but after using them for 1 trip i decided to upgrade them as well . When you only have single wheels you don't want to take any chances.

Good luck with yours but be prepared for more work than you think!
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Old 11-13-2016, 10:50 AM   #13
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1973 23' Safari
Texarkana , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 8
Thanks everyone for the advice. We knew just what to look for & so far most is in our favor. We are heading back to TX now with her pulling behind us. Definitely feeling overwhelmed with all the information to learn BUT so excited!!!
I think first step will be pulling up carpet, painting interior, then new floor. Also really want to make the bed into a foldout so it can be used as couch during the day. I'll be back with more questions.
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Old 11-13-2016, 12:18 PM   #14
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1977 23' Safari
Niagara on the Lake , Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2011
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1977 Safari Land Yacht
2005 Toyota Tundra SR5
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Old 11-13-2016, 12:21 PM   #15
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1972 27' Overlander
Denver , North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Images: 4
First and foremost ask the owner to demonstrate that everything is fully functional, electric, water, fridge, AC etc. if they claim they. Any hook it up, walk away, you wouldn't buy a car that your couldn't test drive, right? This includes the fridge on both gas and electric. That one appliance can set you back a thousand dollars. Look for leaks if the copper plumbing has never been replaced.

You've stated that the PO replaced some rot in the bath. I would inspect that carefully, as there is rarely "some rot". Typically there is a lot of rot. This occurs between the inner and outer skin of the trailer. Do this. Bring a sharp screwdriver or an ice pick. Go around back and open the rear hatch, poke around as close as you can on the edge closest to you, that is where the issue lies, within the last two inches of floor. This is a critical area because the plywood floor, the frame and the shell are all tied together at this perimeter. Suzy homemaker mentioned another test. Have someone get up on the rear bumper and jump up and down. You look at the agree where the skin meets the flat surface of the trunk. If there is separation, you will see it separating as the person jumps on the bumper.

Ask for the date on the tire, you can find tire dating sites all over the web, anything more than five years old should be replaced. Axle if not replaced will need it.

Do you have a weight distribution hitch? If not you will need one as well as a brake controller and a pigtail that goes between the TV and the trailer. Anyway, I have a 72 and just finished a shell on renovation ping me privately if I can help.

Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums

Lucky Dave, Denver NC
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Old 11-13-2016, 07:37 PM   #16
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1973 31' Sovereign
Minneapolis , Minnesota
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