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palmtreegirl 09-17-2012 09:19 AM

Any Glaring Issues With This Model? ('08 Safari SE)
Hello Experts,

Well, it looks like I have pulled the money together to purchase my dream Airstream - a 2008 Safari 25' SE FB Queen!

It will be coming from a cave in Missouri - stored there when not in use and according to the owner (2nd), looks like brand new. It's only been used about 10 times in it's life and stored underground all the other time.

My question is this: has anyone had any big issues with this model? I was looking at an '07 Safari SE and as I was investigating found too many owners were talking about rotten floor in the rear due to not having a gasket or sealant where the bumper/trunk meets the shell. Has the issue been addressed in the '08?

What would you recommend that I look for when inspecting this unit? I've got an expert meeting me at the cave in MO to help with the inspection....I'm going to have the owners have the fridge turned on, water in the tank, propane, etc.....

Leaving Ohio on Sunday and returning on Tuesday - hopefully towing the trailer with me.

Just wondering if you have anything to say. Thanks.

palmtreegirl 09-17-2012 09:55 AM

Another question: Does anyone use Good Sam RV Insurance or their extended Service Plan?

Gene 09-17-2012 10:00 AM

Liz, you've found the right subforum for this model and issues will be on various threads.

To be more specific, I haven't found any floor rot at the rear bumper. A gasket is being put in very recent models, but it was not done in '08. I pulled out the original vinyl floor last spring and the wood looked and felt good. There were leaks from the poorly sealed lower awning arm support, but only water stains and no weak spots. We have had leaks from the front and back panos, both Fantastic Fans, skylight, vista view windows and bathroom fan. Others have had leaks from sewer vents, other windows and roof penetrations.

We had many, many problems under warranty and fewer after—too many to list. I suggest you make a list of all the issues you can find for this is and similar models and check for all these things.. While it may be difficult to get the owner to take a garden hose into the cave to check for leaks, it would be a good idea.

If it has the original tires, they need to be replaced by now no matter how good they look. Check the date code—it will be on the sidewall separated from all those other numbers and letters and lists the week and year. If the wheel bearings haven't been repacked (very possible as it hardly has moved), it is time to do it. If the batteries are original, they are reaching the end of their lives by now. A check with a hydrometer should tell you if there are any dead cells.

Do you have a WD hitch or does one come with the trailer? It would be nice to tow it home with one.

When I was checking out new insurance for the trailer, one company told me it was worth around $30,000 or a bit more according to a weak memory—I already threw away the paperwork because I got replacement coverage from another company so I'm unsure of what they told me. I believe we have the same model—25' FB Safari SE. We liked the upgrades from the standard Safari with a lot less cost than the International. We didn't like the sliding cabinet doors on the International—first time I tried one, it bit my finger. The 25' FB's were probably the most popular model that year.

Good luck. You'll probably miss some things because there's too much to figure out. Can you stay in it for a night and try everything? Good to have an "expert". Not only is the expertise welcome, but you will be looking at it emotionally and subject to aluminitis and the expert should be more objective.


Gene 09-17-2012 10:10 AM


Originally Posted by palmtreegirl (Post 1204067)
Another question: Does anyone use Good Sam RV Insurance or their extended Service Plan?

Yes and yes.

We had Progressive, but they raised our premiums by more than 30% because we didn't owe any money and they had wrong info on how many credit cards we had. The only companies with replacement insurance that I could find were Progressive and Good Sam. Good Sam is actually GMAC and various companies that it owns. Good Sam cost less for more coverage than Progressive. You can find cheaper RV insurance, but it has less coverage.

As I understand it, Good Sam will pay you the original purchase price after the RV is 5 years old—for us that was new price, but I don't know the way they handle used ones. You'll need a bill of sale for registration anyway, but check with Good Sam beforehand for what they cover for a used trailer and how to start coverage once you buy it and get plates for it.

We also have the road service plan—latest offer was 2 years for the price of one. I have heard good things about their road service, but haven't had to use it. You get a discount for buying both.

If you ask another question while I've been writing this answer, I'll never get away from the computer.

One more thing—be prepared for disappointment. I certainly hope this is the trailer for you, but it may not be. Be prepared to haggle over price and use old tires, etc., to bargain. Sellers always think their trailer is better than it is and worth more than any other trailer (I know ours is). This is human nature.


palmtreegirl 09-17-2012 10:40 AM

Hi Gene,
Thank you for your input - yes, the trailer comes with a WD anti-sway hitch. The tires are probably original - I read that tire companies store tires in the caves to avoid dry-rot. I will have them checked when I get it home and probably put on Centra-Matic Balancers.

It has a brand new (May this year) electric hitch jack and the hitch is also new in May. The mattress has been upgraded and the A/C has a heat pump. There are 2 fantastic rain sensor fans. I'm not sure of the other upgrades.

I guess I'll have Steve at P&S repack the bearings this fall or spring.

I've searched for the model that would suit me - I don't like those sliding doors either - plus, you can see what is in the cabinet - no good!

I'm expecting something to leak - I'm already armed with Acryl-R and Sikaflex and plan to stuff aluminum wool in any opening I can find from the outside to deter mice. I'll probably take my time and examine and re-seal all the things you mentioned.

If my ship comes in, I plan to put some solar panels on it with the inverter or whatever runs small electrical appliances without electric hook-ups. That will require the AGM batteries so replacing batteries is in the future.

I'm pretty excited!

Edit: Good Sam quoted me $517 per year for the first 5 year replacement or what I paid for it after guarantee plus the regular insurance cost with $1000 ded. I didn't get a quote on the extended service plan where they replace things that wear out like A/C, fridge, etc.
BTW - the owner's rock bottom price is $38,500. They paid thousands more in May - aren't using it and I think Mr. has a health issue. I'm wondering how long the Airstream warranty is and if there was extended warranty on it.

Thanks for your time. I'm going out now so if you want to answer anything later, it's cool!

Gene 09-17-2012 11:23 AM

Liz, I still haven't disengaged from the computer; everything I need to do today is mostly outside and it has been raining a bit. I hurt all over from cutting firewood, so maybe this is a rest I need.

The Airstream warranty is 2 years. An extended warranty may be transferrable, but many aren't worth much and may have a transfer cost. You have to read the extended warranty policy to see what it covers and for how long—many are not worth much at all. The appliances will have separate manufacturer warranties, but by now they probably have expired.

I believe the rain sensor fans and A/C heat pump were standard on the SE, but I'm not absolutely sure.

If you want to run small appliances like toasters and a microwave, they all take a lot of power and you'll need a lot of solar and maybe extra batteries. Even a TV can drain them down pretty fast. The cheapest way to do that is a generator, but it is a pain to hook it up to heat coffee or toast a couple of pieces of bread.

The Good Sam quote was either same or almost so for what the policy we bought.

$38,500 sounds like in the ballpark. You can check NADA (reputed to have low prices for RV's), Kelly's Blue Book, etc. If they bought it in May, prices are higher in the spring and now it is the 2013 model year, so it is 7 years old, not 6.


palmtreegirl 09-19-2012 09:45 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I have more information: The bearings were greased in March, 2011. The hitch (new May 2012) is an Equal-izer rated at 1000 lbs.

I called Airstream with the VIN and they sent me the original 'sticker' for the trailer (trying to attach). They would not tell me any specific warranty work done on the trailer due to privacy issues but said:

Hi, Elizabeth,
Per our phone conversation, please find attached to this email a PDF file of the original sticker sheet for this travel trailer.
Also, according to our records, the only warranty work done on this trailer was for basic maintenance, as well as a few small adjustments and repairs.

It looks like we'll be traveling on Sunday/Monday for an inspection and possible purchase on Monday and returning home on Tuesday. Total drive is about 1800 miles - having my vehicle serviced today to make sure we're good-to-go!

I was wondering if you could give me a couple of measurements? From the end of the nightstand (by plug) to the end of the bed (if squared off to the front wall) and the side-edge of the bed nearest the pano to the wall with the pano window.


Gene 09-19-2012 11:24 AM


I briefly looked at the sticker and it says "granite" countertops at zero dollars. I doubt that—they are Formica in a granite-like design that should fool no one.

I'm not sure of these measurements as I may not understand what you wanted.

Distance from nightstand cabinet rear* side at receptacles to wall—8 1/8". Add 7/8" for table top.

Distance along streetside of nightstand to curbside wall—20 1/4"; add 3/8" for top of nightstand. I couldn't measure to the place where the curve ends—close to the bed center—but the curve takes up around 4" so the distance from the streetside of the nightstand to the flat side wall is about 2'.

I thought you were going this week.

It'll take a while to set up the Equalizer. It sounds like it has never been used. Look up instructions online for Equalizer (Progress Manufacturing in Provo, Utah) and read them over and over. There are some threads on this too. At first the instructions don't make any sense, but study them to understand them. You'll need a good size wrench set to install it and a bunch of tools is good to have anyway for any travel. If the ball is not on the hitch, it takes a really big torque wrench with thin wall sockets to install it and it is best done at a shop. If there is a good RV shop in the area, maybe they could install the hitch for you and save you some aggravation. You also need a tape measure to check the height of the truck at front and rear wheel wells before and after hitching up. You will have to learn about this because as it breaks in, it will need readjustment. You may not be scheduling enough time to check it out and get it set up for towing.

Do you have a brake controller? Does your tow vehicle have the wiring for it?


*I confuse front and rear in ours. We enter at the rear, but because it is the living/dining/kitchen, it feels like the front. The bedroom should be in the rear in my mind, but it is in the front. After 5 years, I still can't get this right.

palmtreegirl 09-19-2012 12:33 PM

Thanks Gene!
The hitch is currently set up to fit an F250. I have an 06 Lincoln Navigator. I do have a brake controller as I was towing 1. a pop-up and 2. the 1992 Excella 29' so I'm good there.

What I'm trying to determine with the measurements is what size board I need to fill in the space from the mattress to the Pano window wall so we have a bit more leg room while in bed. I'm going to cut a piece of foam to fill it in to mattress thickness and then just put the pad and sheets over the whole thing. I'll tuck it around the nightstand. I guess I'm looking for the measurement from the outlet-side on the nightstand to the foot of the bed without the curve as best as can be determined.

I'm really hoping the hitch will be set up to just switch over to my car....really hoping.


Gene 09-19-2012 12:42 PM

You need to find out the height of the hitch receiver on both vehicles. Since they are both Fords, maybe you'll be lucky and they'll be the same. If the Navigator is built on the 250 chassis, great; if on the 150 chassis, maybe not.

Before you make something for the side of the bed by the panos, try it out and see if it is ok. You may save yourself some work. To lengthen the bed, I suppose we could have bought some firm foam and cut it to fit instead of making a bolster. We never thought of something so simple.


palmtreegirl 09-19-2012 01:07 PM

Gene - I just talked to the guy at the Equalizer hitch place. I downloaded and printed the instructions and got some more from the guy. He told me what wrenches I'll need and said that they would be available to help me by phone with the set-up.

The reason we don't have time is because we don't have time. My man's days off are Sun, Mon and Tues - has to be back to work on Wed but I'm trying to talk him into being 'sick' and calling in for a little extra time. We'll be 'on the fly' with this one.

I so appreciate your help....thank you so much - Liz

Ridgerunner3 09-19-2012 02:40 PM

Liz, I may be offering un-needed advice, but check the tires close for any sign of problems each morning before you tow. Make sure they are aired up to normal cold pressure each morning and check the lug nut torque. Also I use a cheap (Harbor Freight $29) handheld infrared temperature gun to check wheel bearing temperatures each time we stop for fuel.

I hope your adventure goes well. I look forward to seeing pictures of your new rig.

palmtreegirl 09-19-2012 02:49 PM

I'll do that Bud. Thanks for helping!

Don't you just love Harbor Freight?!

Bigventure 09-19-2012 05:43 PM

What are you going to do about plates? You could take an old trailer plate if you have one. Or borrow a plate. They don't really check trailer plates.

In Ohio your covered by your auto insurance for the first 30 days. ( I know because I wrecked a trailer on Sunday on the way home after purchasing in NC) Be sure to get a bill of sale along with the title. The bill of sale doesn't need any pricing on it. Just dates and signature.
When you get back you will need an out of state vehicle inspection. You take the inspection along with your out of state title to the DMV. Be prepared to pay alot of sales tax. 6 or 7% depending on what your town charges.

palmtreegirl 09-19-2012 06:26 PM

Hi Bigventure! I'm in Medina and probably within 10 miles of you!

Yes, I just sold an Airstream so I still have a valid plate for it....I'm planning to take it with me. I'm going to get insurance with Good Sam Club because they offer more coverage for around the same price as my insurance company.

In Medina - as you well know - the tax is 6.5%. I'll be looking at about $2500 in tax and that hurts! I had to have a VIN Verification Certificate made (at Montrose Ford) for my last camper.

Would the wording on the Bill of Sale have to be anything snazzy?

palmtreegirl 09-19-2012 06:28 PM

Gene - I just read the whole 'following me home' thread - could you tell me how you handled the water pump and winterizing? What kit should I order from Camping World?

Bigventure 09-19-2012 07:54 PM


Originally Posted by palmtreegirl (Post 1205138)
Hi Bigventure! I'm in Medina and probably within 10 miles of you!

Would the wording on the Bill of Sale have to be anything snazzy?

Like I said earlier, the Bill of Sale Just needs names, addresses, signature and date. This saved me when I totaled my last trailer. It was an 2008 Bambi. Some State you do not need to notorize the titles. Florida is one as an example.

We're going to Finley State Park on the Oct 26, 27,&28 for a winterizing party. All the trailers will be done up for Halloween and there will be a chilly cook off and bonfires. Just do a search for Finley State Park and the thread will come up with the info. It will be the last hurra of the year I think.

gmw photos 09-19-2012 08:15 PM

I think you said it is in Missouri. I am a Missouri resident, and our titles have a place on the back where you fill in the dollar amount of the sale. That serves as the bill of sale.
However, just to cover your bases at your local DMV, you could have the seller write out a simple bill of sale. That would typically describe the trailer make, model, year, VIN, date of sale and dollar amount. Usually sellers like to also put on there "sold as is, with no warranty". To make it really pretty and official, having it notarized at the sellers bank would probably help too, if you have a picky official at the DMV counter when you go to apply for your title.

And yes, here in MO, we have lots and lots of underground storage available, especially here in the Kansas City area. A lot people like to use it for RV and boat storage since it's a constant 60 degrees and out of the weather of course.

palmtreegirl 09-20-2012 05:00 AM


Originally Posted by Bigventure (Post 1205174)
We're going to Finley State Park on the Oct 26, 27,&28 for a winterizing party. All the trailers will be done up for Halloween and there will be a chilly cook off and bonfires. Just do a search for Finley State Park and the thread will come up with the info. It will be the last hurra of the year I think.

We went to this last year - so much fun! Even in the rain :angry:! If we tow this camper home, we'll see you there - Brian already asked for the day off - we would probably arrive on Friday night before 9pm. I already contacted Loren about it. Hope to see you there!

Gene 09-21-2012 11:07 AM

Liz, some states use the title for a bill of sale, some don't. You need a separate one to establish value for insurance purposes. It can say something like "Liz Palmtreegirl (Buyer), 123 Main St., Medina, Ohio, purchases from X (Seller), 456 West Main St., Cavetown, Mo., a 2008 Airstream Safari SE Front Bed (Trailer), VIN _________________, for the sum of $500.00. Seller warrants that title to the Trailer is free and clear and there are no liens of any type against the Trailer." You can add more about anything that comes with it such as the hitch. You can have separate items like that on a separate bill of sale since they are not part of a vehicle and may reduce vehicle taxes and fees which can be higher than sales tax, but that depends on the state. Notarizing can't hurt, though I doubt that it accomplishes much, but you'd have to check with Ohio motor vehicles.

Water Pump bypass is available at RV stores and online: RV water pump bypass

To install, it has to be installed in the intake line to the water pump and may need special clamps for PEX. The water pump is probably installed backwards so you can't get to the filter to clean it (though I've never found anything in it), so the best thing is to reverse the pump and you may need extra PEX and PEX clamps, then mount it on a rubber mount (or rubber washers), but first, enjoy the trailer.


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