Originally Posted by dawaves
Total newbie alert!
I just bought a dilapidated 1973 23' safari in need of new everything but wanted to start with the broken exterior lights first. (See pics)
I would like to replace with led bulbs for the tail lights and led clearance lights.
My 1st question is for the tail light assembly, how do I access the back of the lights to replace all the contact wires? Does the rectangular frame around the taillight assembly pop off? Or do I have to take off an interior panel?
2nd question: for the clearance lights, some are riveted on and some use screws. For the riveted one's, I'm assuming I have to drill out the rivets with drill. Then with the new replacement led assembly, just put new rivets in or can I use self tapping screws or stainless steel screws? I've never riveted before but am willing to learn. Just want to know what others have done.
I think the answer lies in your comment that your Safari is "in need of new everything". Take a step back and assess what needs to be done to get the trailer to the condition in which you want to use it. Most 45-year-old Airstreams have at least some rot in the floor, so the first consideration is whether you replace the whole floor or patch it, or whether you're one of the chosen few who lucked out on a trailer with a good floor.
Along with the floor issue comes looking at the condition of the frame. Is it rusty to the point of needing parts repaired or replaced? On our '74 Sovereign
I repaired or replaced about 3/4 of the outriggers and a few of the cross-members. It's hard to do that without removing the floor, but I'm much happier knowing that all of the other work I put into the trailer is sitting on a new floor and repaired and painted frame. Replacing the floor requires removing at least the lower interior skins, which gives you access to the back of the exterior lights (see where I'm going with this?
Removing the interior skins requires gutting the trailer, but it also allows you to inspect (and replace if necessary) the insulation and wiring. It also give you the chance to remove the mouse nests common to old trailers.