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Old 12-03-2007, 08:21 PM   #1
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Edgewood , New Mexico
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Newbie contemplating purchase of 2008 25' FB

Well, after 25 years of sharing a tent on adventures from car camping to backpacking to canoe tripping to dusty old Jeep trails, my wife and I are planning to purchase an Airstream. Why an Airstream? Because my wife has wanted one since she was a little girl. We still hope to spend just as much time in the backcountry, but it sure will be nice to sleep in a comfortable bed back at basecamp. Besides, an Airstream will be a great "something silver" for our silver anniversary!

So far, we have narrowed our choices to the Safari SE in either the 25' FB or 27' FB. We haven't made up our mind yet, so if anyone out there can give us advice or tell us why they chose one over the other, it would be greatly appreciated. My rational is this: The 25'FB could give us just a bit more manuverability, allowing us to access tighter camping spots. Additionally, I'm hoping that the shorter of the two would also be an easier tow with the larger of the "midsize" tow vehicles, such as a VW Toureg (a new V6 diesel is just around the corner), or maybe a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel although that may be pushing it some since the Jeep wheelbase is less than 110". (We will start out with a 1993 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 tow vehicle with a fresh rebuild of both the engine and transmission, which should postpone the need for a new tow vehicle for a few years). So I guess that it boils down to whether or not we can live with the bed being sideways as opposed to longitudinal. Since there appears to be access on both sides of the bed in either case, I'm thinking that the sideways bed would be just fine.

We are also planning to go with the additional awning package, which seems to be a popular option for some very good reasons. The solar charging package is also something which interests us. The other big option which we are considering is the panoramic windows for the front. Any advice here would be great.

Another area where advice would be appreciated is the buying process. I'm completely new to the entire RV scene, so I have no idea what is considered "rule of thumb" when expecting discounts off of the MSRP, or what additional tidbits are typically "thrown in" on the purchase. If any.

Another area of concern is build quality, and any issues with the front bedroom models. This will be a purchase which we consider "big", so we want to do the best that we can, and do it once.

We are very much looking forward to joining the Airstream community, and hope to see you folks out on the road someday.

Thanks!

Mark
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:51 PM   #2
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Hi Mark,
Welcome to the forums! You've raised some interesting issues, and I'm sure you'll soon get many answers, observations, and suggestions.
We have a 25' FB SE LS, with panos on both ends, and the twin bed set-up. We love it. It gets us into the CA state parks (often a real squeeze) and has plenty of room and storage for our needs: 2 adults, 3 small dogs, trips from 2 nights to 3 wks, lots of boondocking...The twin configuration offers lots more outside storage, as well as floor space and a separate room to walk into and hang out in. The dinette is easily convertable into a cozy lounge area, and is a great spot for listening to music, watching DVDs, or simply gazing out the generous windows to the view.
Our QC issues have been minor, although we've been surprised as some of the shoddy workmanship on some easy-fix issues. Our dealer has been very responsive and willing to fix everything to our satisfaction.
Two things we would have added--and still might--would be the solar panels and the awining package.
Best of luck!
Janet
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:56 PM   #3
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Hello Mark, and welcome!

Congrats on both choices, nice rigs both.
Awnings are great all around for heat control.

I'm sure all members will chime in with their pros and cons.

Bet U can't go wrong with either rigs,

Enjoy!

Michael
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:05 PM   #4
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Hey CanyonCrazy...welcome to the forums and congratulations on your decision to get an Airstream... Sounds like you are doing your homework, too...good for you! You are going to love it, no matter which length you chose.

I can't advise on 25' vs 27' because we have a 19'...but I can tell you that the Safari SE line is very nice...we love the interior aluminum skin...we have the front pano window and like that very much, as well...but that's where our dinette is...not the bed. We added the back and street side awnings, and like those as well...they are great in the Southwest climates when there may not be a lot of shade. Here's a thread about that: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f468...pkg-37136.html

We also have solar from the factory...we like it, but have not had to rely on it much... However, there is an excellent thread by SilverGate about factory solar on their 23' Safari SE...they routinely rely on solar when boon docking and find it adequate. You might want to check it out: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...tem-35476.html

And of course there are lots of discussions on solar in general if you check out the subforms...

Again, welcome, and keep us informed of your progress in finding the perfect Airstream for your needs!

See you down the road...
TB
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:32 PM   #5
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Hi Mark,

Welcome! Either trailer is a good choice, it's just down to your personal preference. We preferred the 27' floorplan with the queen bed. Many others prefer the twins because you get more outside storage.

The 27FB outside storage with the queen IS a pain to get to because it's right behind the propane tanks. And the size of what you can store is limiting.

Also, keep in mind that the 27FB is really 28'.

Purchasing advice: I'm sure others will chime in and give good advice. I'd recommend contacting several dealers that seem to get good comments here such as Airstream of Arkansas, Colonial, Bill Thomas, Roger Williams, George Sutton. Many of them will send you quotes via email. Some won't. Many will deliver to you. I'd suggest making an adventure when you purchase and go to the dealer and spend a few nights on their lot to test everything out and have the minor issues taken care of. Finally, I'd suggest getting your new rig pressure tested for leaks before leaving the dealer. It may (or may not) cost to have it done, but the peace of mind in knowing your brand new trailer isn't leaking is worth the cost.

Do you have a trade or will you be buying outright? I'd imagine that would affect your cost.

Good luck.
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:09 PM   #6
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Hi and welcome aboard.

I can only tell you why we chose the 25 FB SE LS STP BVD GMC model.

We wanted the shorter 25 as we are often pulling it down dirt roads in the desert. Shorter is easier.

The sidways bed is does not actually have walk around space. The front ceiling has storage bins so The person that gets that side can go over from the hallway or up from the bottom. My wife gets that side of the bed and has not complained so take that for what its worth.

Since we boondock so often we got front and back Panos and don't regret it a bit. Better views of the world from bed and the dinette. Some say the Panos cause heat or cool loss but we've never noticed it.

The storage is from the curbside and is under the bed. It works easily enough.

What you will lose by getting the 25 instead of the 27 is a bigger closed and pantry and of course bed access.

We have solar and are very happy with it but if you want A/C in the summer read all about generators (Use the search function) We just toss the Honda 3500 in the back of the truck and run a 30 amp extension cord. The Panel has recharged the batteries daily so in winter we can run the furnace. Big power draw there.

Your K2500 should do you just fine if you have the tow package. If not get a tranny cooler so you won't have to rebuild it again. You won't be ripping up mountains so enjoy the drive.

No matter which way you go you'll never regret or look back.

Good luck!
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:14 PM   #7
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Get the bigger TV and go for the awnings. Once you have a 25 or 27 and want to upgrade then you will not have to replace the truck.
There are those who tow with a toureg but I think it is mstly the lighter Safari.
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:18 PM   #8
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We have an '05 25' FB that we bought new in '06. Her name is Lucy. We have traveled extensively in Lucy in the past 18 months. We have spent 194 nights in her and pulled her over 25,000 miles. We absolutely love her, and the FB floorplan has worked out great for us. We have the side facing queen bed model. The side of the bed by the front window is a little tight, but doable. I don't think that I would want to add two feet of trailer to get the bed turned. The 25' is the most that I would want to take into some of the backcountry campsites that we have been in. We've looked at the 27 footers, and they are really cool, but we're not ready to trade our Lucy for one of them.

As to the TV issue. We pull Lucy with a 2005 Suburban 2500 4x4x4 (Quadrasteer) with the 6.0 liter gas V-8. The combo works great, and we have never felt underpowered, even in the Rockies. We also have a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe that we have pulled Lucy with a couple of times. The Tahoe is just OK, and that has been only around Florida. I would not consider pulling Lucy crosscountry with the Tahoe. It just is not within our comfort zone. The Toureg or the Cherokee would not be much of a match for a 25 footer and seriously outclassed by a 27 footer. These TVs could possibly work if you camp close to home.

Good luck in your search, and consider all the factors before deciding.
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:44 PM   #9
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CanyonCrazy: Take a close look at the 25 FB SE with the Twin beds. Its roomier with better storage and much easier to use. The 27 (actually 28 footer) is a little bit of gain in closet space but for the difference in price and size I do not feel its worth it. Think hard about solar or not to solar. A good Honda Generator (You will see why I say Honda once to get involved with in here with generator choises) a 3000 or two 2000 units. I would rather depend on the generators than solar but thats just me. You sound like a back country person and thats probably the biggest reason to go with the 25. Many state and federal parks are not friendly to trailers over 25 foot. Awnings are great.

For a tow vehicle the Jeep or torage are very marginal. There are many posts in here about towing. Talk to the folks about tow vehicles. The overwhelming mojority who have towed with various tow vehicle will tell you to go with nothing less than a 3/4 ton pickup. There is nothing more tireing than white nuckle driving all day in a marginal tow vehicle. The fuel mileage towing will not be any less with a truck and a VW or Jeep. The 3/4 tons are just made so much stronger its really no contest. Longer the wheel base the more stable. I have towed with a one ton dually Ford and its absolutely rock solid at any speed and any condition. YOU don't need a dually...but towing is what I knw more than I know about the trailers. You will not pay more for a truck either. And it is much safer to go with a 3/4 ton. They get decent fuel mileage too. You 2500 burb should do fine. A new 3/4 ton pickup would do better.
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:48 PM   #10
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
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We bought our Safari 25 FB, SE, 2 years ago. My wife fell in love with all of the light, offered by the Panoramic windows, front and back, and the skylight. The bare aluminum skin walls are beautiful and no, it's not any colder, without the cloth covering. We tow it with our F150, 5.4 liter. No problem at all. Most of what we do are short trips on weekends, with a few longer ones thrown in, as time permits. We love the floor plan, good size bathroom and shower and we love laying on the queen size bed, just looking out the windows and watching the day go by. We went to Death Valley 2 winters ago. We watched the storm clouds blow by all afternoon... The twin bed model sounds like it works for some. However, we like to sleep in the same bed still, so we have the queen. Simply put, we are very happy with our choice and have no immediate plans for anything different. We started with a 19 T/T. It was fun and got us out there. Then we just said, WTF? Let's go for it and never looked back. We take it out about 10 times a year. Have fun making your decision.
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:00 AM   #11
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Hey 1bombshell,

Come out and join the Calstreamers for some rallies. Everybody is always invited.
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:26 AM   #12
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hi c-crazy and welcome to the forums!

in addition to the 2 models you've mentioned,

it is worth while to look at other lines with the same size units.

look at a 27 classic or a 25. look at the ccd prestige? models too.

imo the longitudinal bed is a bet choice, than the side oriented bed.

it's easy to 'level' the trailer (and bed) front2back,

but side to side is tricky and i regularly camp with one side a bit high.

this would lead to sleeping UP or DOWN hill, not a good thing.

the total weight of models varies a bunch in these lengths...

as larger water and hold tanks get used or more windows and furnishings...

regardless of where you finally make the purchase,

go to every dealer nearby and PLAY in the units.

close the door, sit on the sofa and at the dinette,

make the sofa into a bed and lay down together. do the same in the main bed.

sit on the toilet, yep do it!

go in and close the shower door.

play with the fridges and sinks and stoves like you are making food.

carry a small spiral note book, pda or laptop and make notes about each feature you like....

and those that you don't!!

take a camera a fire off 100s of pictures to look at again when home.

it really really helps to have photos, even of units you'd never buy.

each time you climb in one and fiddle with stuff, it gets easier, you see trends and learn.

discounts can be 10-25+% from msrp. the more options on the unit the greater flexibility in discounting.

if you are willing to take a unit that's been on the lot the full season the discount should be greater...

than on a unit they just rolled in.

what's your time frame? you can special order exactly what you want and have it in 6-8 weeks,

and the discounts should be the same, since the dealer has NO finance, storage or insurance costs on ordered units.

always check out the older used units and the BIGGER ones too.

go into the service area bays and see what being fixed. this is a great what to learn about 'quality' first hand.

each time you climb in one your a/s knowledge base grows...

and what you want may change as you look and look and look.

hope this helps, give us more info about you and your camping style and more advice will follow.

have fun shopping silver.

2air'
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:30 AM   #13
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Hi Goin Camping. We'd love to do some rallies. The last one we did was Temecula, summer of 06. It was about a billion degrees and I still loved it! That's probably because of the car show and I had just bought my new Nikon. My wife did not enjoy on the heat, at all! The problem with all of these trips is that they're all over Fridays and Saturdays. We own and operate a hair salon and have a heck of a time getting out on Saturdays. Our trips are leave Saturday evening, after we close up shop and come back Monday or Tuesday. I know we're planning on being at Newport in May. Is that one happening, still? I'll work on carving out a few weekends that will allow us to get out and meet some of our A/S friends. Hopefully, we'll meet one of these weekends!
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:41 AM   #14
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Sounds like you're leaning towards the 25 or 27' for some layout considerations. You're also thinking of a smaller vehicle in the future and boondocking.

We went through the same thing and decided to go smaller- easier to fit in tight places, tows great with our ML500.
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:22 AM   #15
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Having used our 24ft Argosy for a few years with just the two of us, plus two dogs, I will chime in to tell you "go as big as you can comfortably tow". We have just purchased a 31ft, because we are tired of crawling over each other and not having a bedroom that is separate and just a bedroom. Couches that do double duty or beds that you have to crawl over someone to get out of, are not fun after a while. Of course we are strickly vintage owners; however, you are in for a wonderful adventure with a new Airstream. Just be sure you try to hold down your excitment and listen to what the dealer tells you on your delivery walk through.
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Old 12-04-2007, 04:03 PM   #16
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U say, I say...

You'll probably want the 25 especially if you aren't planning LONG trips and DO want to Boondock. The walls all curve and on the front and back the lower walls curve IN. At bed top level there is almost a foot between the bed and the front wall. At foot level it's more like 5 inches. I store shoes or spare pillows there, otherwise it's useless. I fulltime and bought my 25 before the 27 model came out. I could USE that extra closet and pantry space.

Bed making: would be much much much easier with twins, it's an athletic event with a 25 queen... one that's made me stop drinking my coffee in bed, so I never have to make a "quick" sheet change. Since I got my new Chevy 2500 truck, I've been thinking about that improved outside access to underbed storage, too. There is so much more I want to keep in the trailer under the bed to increase the tongue weight.

The dinette converts to a very good two-person lounging bed for TV watching or whatever. Many people leave it down all the time and use folding tray tables for eating.

On mine, I don't have the front panos - and am glad for that. I want to sleep in DARKNESS, and that's much easier to achieve without panos. Also - Seriously think about getting 2 fantastic fans. I have the vent in the bedroom and if I have to go without a/c at night, I end up sleeping on the rear gaucho or dinette under my one fan - just too stuffy in the bedroom with only a vent.

GO FOR IT either way!

Paula
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:07 PM   #17
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Think about the 27'

We had much the same delema that you are having. We loved the floor plan of both the 25 and 27 FB's having had a similar floorplan in our previous SOB. The big sell for us was the additional counter space between the stove and the sink. While not a massive area still, it makes all the difference when preparing meals.

We also have the extra Fantastic Fan and wouldn't be without it. The black tank wash is another must have as I like knowing that the tank is washed out completely. Finally, while I would love to have the extra storage space of the twin beds, we haven't gotten to the point where sleeping single is a trade off for storage.

All the best with your decision. You can't go wrong, you're only looking at AIRSTREAMS.
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:45 PM   #18
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You might want to take a look at the Classic line also. We have a 2007 25' Classic It's a floor plan that has been offered for years but now I don't see it on the Airstream site anymore so maybe they've stopped offering it. The things that I like about it better than the FB is, the living area gives a feeling of more space and the twins offer more storge than the Queen as well as room to stand and dress after getting out of the shower. The idea that you back the living area of the FB up to a nicer view I think is somewhat over rated. Also I don't want the bedroom at the road when people are driving by at night or starting their deisels in the morning. These floor plans are very popular right now. so popular that Airstream are soon to offer a 30'Fb
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Old 12-04-2007, 06:40 PM   #19
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Wheelbas vs AS Length

Check out following site:

RV Towing Tips - How long?

You will find a pretty clear rational for trailer length vs wheelbase.

Recommendaton is that max trailer length for a TV with wheelbase of 112" is 20 ft.
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Old 12-04-2007, 09:24 PM   #20
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Thanks!

Wow, what a great group of people!

Thanks for all of the helpful advice. My wife and I are now starting to feel a lot more comfortable with our plans to purchase an Airstream. We appreciate the benefit of your experiences, advice, and tips.

Our local Airstream dealer, though very friendly when we have visited, usually only has a selection of smaller Airstreams on the lot, so it has been difficult to imagine the differences between the models and options based only on the printed information available. We plan to do some travel over the upcoming holidays and are now looking at making slight deviations to our planned route to take us by a couple of larger Airstream dealers and potentially the Airstream factory. After reading the replies which you folks made to my original post, we now have a good feel for what to look for as we check out the products in real life.

We are now more excited than ever to join the Airstream community and start sharing our experiences with others.

Mark
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