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shrimptank 12-15-2011 09:53 AM

Newbie with a '72 Safari
Well, after much deliberation between a Tiny 20' Argosy Minuet and a 24' Safari, I've thrown caution to the wind in regards to tow weight and decided to go with the Land Yacht!
My husband will be going to pick her up on Sunday. I'm sure he's going to be upset at how big and heavy she is, but I plan on full timing in her for a year and I figured if I had to borrow a bigger tow vehicle for the move it was worth it.
I think she's in pretty good shape. She does have a few broken tambour slides and the bathroom could use some work, but I'm looking forward to making her pretty again. Everything else is in working order and ready for living in.
My biggest question now is whether I want to take her back to her original glory or if I want to update her and make her new on the inside....

DKB_SATX 12-15-2011 10:08 AM

There are some things to check before you go fetch the trailer in Houston. Take at least basic tools with you, because there are little things that often come up when you're getting a trailer into traveling condition.

- Do you have a brake controller and is the tow vehicle wired for a 7-pin connector and a brake controller?

- Do you have a jack? (a scissor jack will work, I carry a hydraulic bottle jack.)

- When was the last time this trailer was towed much? When were the wheel bearings last inspected and repacked with grease?

- What's the condition and age of the tires? Is there a spare and what condition is it in?

- Does the door latch securely? Often people who have the original latches and locks use simple add-ons to keep the door securely closed while towing.

If you have a brake controller and a 7-pin setup on the tow vehicle, you should be prepared to check for a non-standard pinout. About halfway down this page at etrailer is a wiring layout for the modern 7-pin format, Airstream used a different layout in the '70s, and often people change the layout on their tow vehicle instead of the trailer for some reason. I had to adjust mine when I got it, it's a common issue.

There will be more suggestions, I'm sure. Congratulations on getting your first, have a safe trip home with it!

DKB_SATX 12-15-2011 10:21 AM

Heh... you've been all ABOUT the Forums lately. I came across another thread in which you posted the Craigslist ad for the Houston trailer.

If the seller is to be believed, you may be good on tires, bearings and brakes for a while, which is good stuff. Hopefully when they say "the refrigerator was replaced with propane/12 volt to run on either" they mean it's an RV fridge that runs on propane or 120v AC, which is good for the value if/when you resell it. For your actual purposes of using the trailer in a fixed location for a year or two, a small 120V fridge would be just as good but having a new/working RV fridge is good for resale since it's a $1k+ part.

Longer-term things to look at will be the DC converter to run the lights/charge batteries. For the setup you're describing, if/when you have a modern converter that will run fine without the battery in the loop it might be good to install a battery cutout switch, so you can occasionally charge the battery but disconnect it most of the time since you'll have 120v hookups. That may extend the life of the battery and keep it available so you can have lights and the vent fan in a power outage.

Happy trails!

shrimptank 12-15-2011 10:24 AM

They last time they used her was last summer. The tires are about 3 years old, and could use a little air, but looked otherwise fine. It has a 7 pin layout, as well as an emergency brake pin thingy. The wheel bearing were repacked and brakes were done before their last trip. It has electrical brakes in it. The spare tire was inside, next to the sink...
The door handle is broken, but it has a deadbolt that keeps the door closed. I'll be living in it in Del Rio, so I made sure it had a good locking door.
I have to work this weekend, so I'm sending hubby and his buddy to go bring it back. Thanks for the checklist, I'll make sure to pass it on to him so he knows what to look for.

shrimptank 12-15-2011 10:32 AM

He pointed out the DC converter in the bathroom cabinet. In our last motorhome the boys changed a bunch of stuff in the converter box. I'll have them work on this one eventually. I'm thinking of converting the lights to LED's and adding a solar panel. I'd like to make it a little easier to go off grid with her. About the only thing on her that's broken is the water pump, which I'm not too worried about. It's about $100 for a new one, and I'll be hooked up at a park for now.
I am kinda worried about the broken doors in the wetbath. I'm worried about water getting everywhere when I shower..

overlander64 12-15-2011 12:55 PM

Newbie with a 72 Safari
Greetings shrimptank!

Just as a "heads-up" to you and your husband when you go to get your Safari -- Airstream utilized a non-standard pin-pattern for wiring their trailer connector during the 1970s. This is something that previous owner(s) may or may not have changed, so the person doing the towing should be prepared to rewire the trailer connector end to match the "industry-standard" tow vehicle connect (it would also be a good idea to carry a new trailer end that matches the tow vehicle as an insurance policy just in case the trailer end has excessive corrossion or other issues).

Good luck with your coach . . . the Safari tends to be a popular choice.


P.S.: The dry weight of the 1972 Safari 23-foot is 3,570 pounds with a dry hitch weight of 535 pounds -- for more information about the 1972 Safari, see this link. Even though the Safari may appear significantly larger than the Argosy Minuet, it is only about 18-inches longer than the Minuet 6.7 Metre and about 8-inches wider than the Minuet -- those extra inches, however, will make for quite a difference for full-time living.

shrimptank 12-30-2011 03:04 PM

Well, while at the RV shop today wishing I had bought the Minuet, a lady came up to me as says, You're Shrimptank aren't you? She had bought the Argosy, and I told her I hoped it was better than what I got...

shrimptank 12-30-2011 03:29 PM

So far, we've had to replace the gas lines that someone had "fixed" with JB weld, replace the open wiring next to the water heater tank, cut off the extension on the power line in that had been taped together... They're going to fix the plumbing that's leaking. So there goes about another $2k right off the bat.
I've found a hole under the bathroom. I'll replace the subfloor under there in a couple months. I'll have to wait till it warms up a bit so I don't freeze to death with no floor.

Eric H 12-30-2011 06:26 PM

I imagine the person with the Argosy will find as many issues as you do, these are vintage, they will all have something to fix.... The one thing the Argosy will never be able to have is a mirror shine!
More than likely there are rust issues with the frame on both your trailer and the other one you looked at. Always a lot to do.

shrimptank 12-30-2011 07:21 PM

yes, I see lots of laying on my back underneath her scraping and then painting with kill rust... I did expect that with her havin been in Houston.
It was funny when I took her in to the RV place. When I handed over the keys, the guy immediately recognized the key ring as an oil company he used to work for. She still has the stickers on the side.
I'm telling myself that it'll all be ok. Instill love the layout and I think she has lots of potential and I'll be comfortable in her for the next few months.
I'll be on here LOTS though looking for advice on fixing her up.
I'm so glad I found this forum.

Eric H 12-30-2011 07:39 PM

The forum is a HUGE help, no doubt about that!
The best part about it for me was to see the process before diving into it.

As far as the rust goes, just make sure that the rust isn't so bad that it might weaken it structurally. Houston actually should be a good place for it to have come from as far as rust goes since it's dryer there. Below is a link to my project, my Safari came from VA Beach and I think that (being from the beach) was a big reason I am currently chopping off large, rusted sections of the trailer and welding on new pieces.

That being said I don't feel that I didn't get a decent deal on the trailer since I saw it as basically buying the aluminum skin (which was by far the best of all that I had seen) and knowing that all the rest of the stuff was 30+ years old (and quite possibly useless).

Just don't let it overwhelm you. Pick one thing and see it through (unless you have to do things at the same time which is often the case). I've found that getting one thing done and being able to stand back and look at the fact that it's done is VERY helpful.


shrimptank 01-04-2012 07:42 PM

Well, I'm down in Del Rio in a hotel, but the RV place left me a message today that my girl was ready. I've got orders for Bastrop this weekend, so I guess I'll pick her up before or after the weekend is over. Can't wait to bring her down here. At least this hotel has a microwave and fridge, but I'm looking forward to having a stove and my own space. I think I'll also feel more secure in the RV in a park.

DKB_SATX 01-04-2012 08:49 PM

I'll be interested to hear what you think of parks around Del Rio. My partner's family is down there, so an Airstream trip to Val Verde County is probably in our future.

Vicki A. 01-04-2012 09:09 PM

Glad to hear that they have her ready for you.
Now the fun begins!
Best of luck with your new baby!

shrimptank 01-19-2012 07:26 PM

Well, we got her all hitched up and ready to go, and then found I didn't have any brakelights. On my tow vehicle.... So, I spent another week in a hotel. Ran home on Monday night, hitched up and got down to Del Rio yesterday. I was so excited to have a kitchen instead of just the microwave in the hotel. Spent my first night in her last night. Ran to Wal-Mart after work to get a microwave. When I got here, I realized I had left the manual at home and have no idea how to turn on the gas for the hot water heater.... I figure if I turn on the gas outside it'll get the stove going. I'm not showering in here yet because I need to fix the new hole in the bathroom sink I made on my way down here. Thankfully they had parked me next to the bathroom here.
So, to at least have hot water to wash dishes and hands with, how do I turn on the hot water?

DKB_SATX 01-19-2012 09:18 PM

It depends on the type of water heater you have. If you have the same basic type as the original, there may be a shutoff valve in the gas line under the trailer somewhere, but most people leave those open unless there's a problem they need to fix. So, you turn on the gas at the propane tanks, make sure one of the bottles is selected on your regulator, and it's a good idea to light the stove to let propane push some air out of the lines, since the stove is easy to light while you're standing upright.

Then go out to the water heater, and it probably has a valve that has positions labeled Off, On, and Pilot. Turn it to Pilot, then turn is slight farther (that'll be a spring-loaded position) and hold it there while you light the pilot. It may take you a while to get the pilot to light, since there will still be some air in the gas lines. Once you get the pilot to light, hold it in that spring-loaded position for 15 seconds or so, then let it spring back to the Pilot position for another 30 sec or so to heat up the thermal shutoff. When you turn the valve to the On position, it should light with a pretty throaty noise very quickly.

The first time you light it, you should watch for a good flame (almost all blue and steady) and a good draw through the flue (lots of hot air coming out the exhaust) and make sure nothing smokes when it gets hot. It's not uncommon for spiders or dirt daubers to build a nest up in the flue and partially block it. Once you're using it regularly, that won't be a problem.

If you don't get gas at the pilot, look under the trailer and trace the gas lines, you may see some shutoff valves under there after it branches off for the furnace, water heater and refrigerator lines.

shrimptank 01-19-2012 09:28 PM

Thank you so much. After I posted I remembered there was a hatch on the outside. I just had all the gas lines replaced, but I'm kinda nervous to turn it all on. When I took it in, they were amazed she hadn't gone up in a ball of flames. The old gas lines were crap and the "new" hot water heater had been shoved in there and busted a bunch of electrical lines. There was a black mark where there had been a small fire under one of the twin beds...
$2K later, I'm hoping it's all fixed, but I'm still nervous of going kaboom!

shrimptank 02-09-2012 11:01 AM

Well, I've been in here for a couple weeks now. Hot water works pretty good. It's turned itself off a couple of times though. Wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have my dog in here while I was at work. Now I just turn it off if I'm not going to use it for a bit. While it's nice to have hot water to wash my hands and dishes, I split my showers between here and the gym at work, so I'm conserving my gas.
Yesterday I fixed my front windows. The inside plexiglass stuff was all broken and the silver film on the windows was all falling apart, so I ripped out the crappy plastic stuff, scraped all the windows and ow I can actually open my front blinds and see outside. It's made a world of difference. It also looks so much better now from the outside. I have nice windows again. It's amazing. While I was working on the window I went ahead and ripped out the little shelf thing that was there. It was all broken and collapsed and wouldn't have held a pot plant on there. It took up about 1/2ft of couch space, so it's not gone too. I can now lay back comfortably on the couch to watch a movie.
Not sure what I'm going to tackle next. It's still too cold to rip out the bathroom floor and fix the big hole under there. Maybe I'll go ahead and start working on the tambour doors. They're all broken and could use some love.

BoCox 02-13-2012 11:41 AM

Welcome to Club Safari

Great to hear about your new purchase. I bought my '69 23 footer about a year ago and took a crash test like you.

Take your time w/everything. I knew I had to replace the back 4' of subfloor when I bought it, but had no idea that my front 4' had to be replaced. The fresh water tank had a pinhole leak that caused some floor rot. I tackled that project first and to my amazement finished it in just a few days. There is great info on this site as you are learning and an overwhelming sense of AS communityness. (is that a word?)

Pizzachop and Fotochop have a few great threads on replacing your bathroom floor when you decide to make that decision. I began my project this past weekend and made a lot of headway, but still have a lot more to go. It is definately going to take more time to do the rear bath the way I want it done.

Have fun with it, post pictures when you can and look out for a thread I'll start very shortly about my endevors.

All the best!


shrimptank 02-13-2012 01:42 PM

well, after all the sleet we had yesterday, the priority is fixing the big leak in the roof. There's a huge drip and when I went to work I left out a bowl, and it was pretty full when I got home. I pulled down all the vent things today. There's lights under there! I thought this thing was pretty dark... Now, where the light switches for these things?
I pulled down some of the roof panel, and I can see a big beam of light back there. Looks like there was some kind of thing going through the roof that's now gone, just a hole in it's place.

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