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april 08-01-2002 06:30 AM

Purchase of 73 safari
I am looking at a 1973 23ft Safari to purchase, since this will be my first airstream I am inviting all suggestions as to what I should look for in terms of problems or things that I should check out before buying. I've read that the 70's were the Beatrice food years and was wondering should I even consider this model yr?

83Excella 08-01-2002 08:59 AM

Buying '73 Safari
Check out this link for some good information, also check the rest of that website for general stuff. Avoiding the Beatrice years is an old wives tale in my opinion, they are just as good as any other year. One thing to watch in the early-mid 70's is a long trailer with a rear bath, the rear end will sag if you pull it with full tanks but if their empty you will be ok, but your is only '23 so no problem. Good luck.


uwe 08-01-2002 09:22 AM

Hi April,

We recently purchased a 1971 Tradewind in nice condition. I don't even know anything about Beatrice food and airstream, only that they owned it for a while. I am coming to the conclusion that no matter how nice the trailer looks, there will be things you must address before feeling safe and comfortable with it. Things like wheel bearing service, brake check, furnace check, etc.
I suggest you take the unit to a reliable RV or better yet, airstream dealer and have it looked over for overall safety and condition. It might cost a few dollars, but at least then you know that there are no major problems with it. They'll tell you what it needs, and this also gives you a bargaining tool for the purchase procedure, often enough so that your pre-purchase inspection money back.
Our 71 Tradewind is 25ft, just a little bigger than the Safari in 1973. It looked and worked very well initially, but we did have to spend quite a bit of money to get it really roadworthy, and we are not yet done throwing cash at it.
We bought new tires, a new water heater, awning parts, plumbing parts, fixed some wiring, some dents, a door lock, and we still need the A/C serviced, the wheel assemblies balanced, the furnace serviced, new gas bottles, ceiling light covers, and probably someother odds and ends. OK, we're picky, but still ,most of the items are simply safety items that I would not neglect. On the other hand, a new airstream is at least 30k for a small one, so a few thousand invested in an old charmer and not having a payment is a good thing. Airstreams are very very nice to own. I would not own a travel trailer if there were no airstreams.
Good luck with yours. A 23ft Safari was on our list as well. Those have a great floor plan, open and lots of space for storage. I think it's the smallest one with dual axles they made in '73.

Mr Jody Hudson 08-01-2002 09:22 PM

I certainly am glad I read this thread. We have the rear bath in our '72 Sovereign! We only paid $1,350 for it; but we will likely spend more than that to get it ready to go... could be a LOT more as we have not had it to the AirStream Evaluator yet... Soon though. The first trip it makes is about 3 miles to an AS mechanic with about 20 years experience... I hope it doesn't have some sort of dropped frame problem, that is my greatest worry.

By the way, if the frame is dropped -- what are the remedies and costs that are likely involved? :rolleyes:

thenewkid64 08-01-2002 09:43 PM


You should have no worries regarding the frame droop issue. This was a problem with 30+ ft trailers with rear baths and grey and black water tanks. The frame separation was due to the guys in engineering figuring that the existing (pre74) frame could take the additional stress of both tanks. You have a black tank only?? I had a 74 overlander with the big rear bath and both tanks. I had no problems. The best way to avoid the issue if you have both tanks is to try to keep the grey/black tanks as empty as possible while towing. The repair can be in the $1500 range if it is not severe, but each one is unique.

Mr Jody Hudson 08-01-2002 09:50 PM

Thanks... I'll be finding out shortly. :( and I hope it is GOOD news.:) :) :)

Mr Jody Hudson 08-02-2002 01:19 PM

Thank you for this good information. I HOPE to have my AirStream physical by the end of September, or before. I'm learning as fast as I can meanwhile from all of you BDDDs (Been Dare; Done Dat) :)

I got the e-mail and I'm calling now.

TheBigRedTruck 08-23-2002 10:53 PM

Body drop was a problem on any airstream that was not kept caulked in the rear????????????????????????????

davidz71 08-24-2002 01:47 PM

Rear end seperation has been blamed on traveling with full black/grey tanks, vibration from improperly balanced or no balancing of tires and also from mounting heavy objects such as motorcycles, motorized wheelchairs, etc. on the rear bumper (such as what happened with my 31'). If the rear end is not watertight and the plywood going into the floor channel rots, there goes your support for the shell.

Road Ruler 08-31-2002 05:41 PM

23 Safari
Hello April

We were in the same boat as you 5 weeks ago. In Canada a 23 foot Airstream is a rare find and that is what we have been looking for for over 6 years. We wanted one small enough to pull with our Nissan Quest and the 23 is perfect for us. We have 10 times as many 31 foot Airstreams for sale here so we made a bee line to the trailer 2 hours away to have a look. We bought it within 24 hours. We are also first time buyer and prviously had a large Coleman Pop Up. Note that the A/S is heavier than the Coleman but towing it is a dream. Dual axles, Reese dual cam hitch, and the bullet shape come into play.

Just like UWE has previously written there is lots to check out and in some cases repair. Wheel bearings, brakes, tires, propane, hitch, wiring, plumbing, etc all need to be checked or serviced to ensure safe operation. The other factor is that on a trip or vacation you don't want to be dealing with problems.

We are delighted with our 29 year old 23 foot Safari even though we will put a lot of time and money into bringing it back to " close to new" condition.

April.. let us know how your purchace goes and keep us updated.

TheBigRedTruck 08-31-2002 10:56 PM

I have a 73 31ft rearbath no gray water tank all org. wood, no rot and it still had rear seperation. it dos not look like any one ever put any thing on the bumper !!!!!!!! I will go with not balanced or no balancing of tires AND hubs!!!!!!!

igor 09-01-2002 02:33 PM

I too spent forever looking for my first (current) airstream. It has to this point and will continue to be allot of work getting 'slimer' back into shape. But, I would not trade a minute of the time for anything else. I learned allot in searching, if you find one that fits your requirements move on it rapidly. The smaller airstreams are scarce in comparison to the larger ones. This forum is invaluable, there are many folks out there who have had these things for a long time. I have also found the service manual an absolute must. It is nice to know how things are supposed to come apart and what is behind those interior walls! Good luck. Les Brush

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