THE ONLY FORUM FOR ENTHUSIASTS OF CLASSIC SAFARI CARAVANS MADE BETWEEN 1948 AND 1982.
This group was started in 2003, with the aim of encouraging the preservation and enjoyment of all Safari Caravans made before 1978 and of the classic shape with the drop front side window made until 1982.
We try to assist owners in preservation, restoration, sales and purchase of these excellent Caravans. Membership is open to anyone who owns, has owned, or would like to own a Safari caravan, or is a supplier of products or services directly related to these Caravans.
The world's largest collection of photographs of Safari Caravans is now on the Facebook group.
So I want the old safari "shed to be towable. Jacked it up and had a look at the drums/ brake linkage. Still seems to be a fair amount of meat on the shoes, worked the rods n nothing seems to be seized up so put that all back together. New tyres as old ones were perished. Now I want to replace the shocks n springs as they're looking pretty tired. Measured the compressed shock length at 10", 14" extended. Looks very similar old rear mini shocks (although the bushes have a different size hole at the bottom). And measured the springs as there used to be a manufacturer locally years ago I was told. Unfortunately they have long since gone and I'm now looking at alternatives. So my question is.... Does anyone know if safaris share suspension with other car/van models. Or a reasonably priced replacement from a suspension specialist? I'm sure others must have replaced theirs?
All Safaris used the B&B chassis, which was very popular with lots of other manufacturers, but your 17ft was at the extreme end of the size range. I have secondhand shocks for 15 and 12ft Safaris and a set of springs for a 12ft but no parts for a 17ft. Recently a set of shocks was sold on ebay claiming to be the last set of original shocks in the country. But I have to say that in ten years of mucking about with Safaris I do not know of anyone who has replaced their shocks and only one owner who replaced his springs. The owners of Royale caravans with the same B&B chassis seem to have a lot more problems but their caravans are 25-30% heavier than Safaris. I think your best bet would be to continue with your restoration and when it is complete see how the Safari sits and if it bounces excessively when being towed.
Thanks 4 response. Mines not a 17ft? Floor pan is 14/15 ft, or are they measured including the a bar? Not sure? Keep meaning to put pictures up but my signal here is poor. Will sort it eventually.....I've even approached a local race engineers to find a spring manufacturers but to no avail. You have to bare in mind its very different inside now. It's ply lined, with a bit of stud.....like a shed. So i would imagine its heavier than before. Obviously this will cause it to sit lower aswell but even when she was just a tin can with no wood it sat low.
P.s- will try adjusting the height when I've changed the damper n got her on the floor again. Thought it was strange that the spring cup was threaded. Used to be a mechanic n not come across that before. I read the arm should be level with axle when laden so will adjust accordingly.
Shed - we need to see pictures but the length we refer to is the body length excluding the tow bar. You could have a look through the albums and try to match yours to one of the pictures, If you give me the reference number of the photo, I can then tell you what size it is. I will be with a few Safaris this weekend and will measure the ground to top of wheel arch height to give us an average that might help you.
The threaded spring cup is because the spring does not have a top mounting. The bolt goes into the swinging arm and the bottom of the spring rests on the chassis. Quite a clever way of reducing the need for a higher bit of the chassis frame.
Measure your spring length and I'll compare it to those I have.
Brian Miller Group Founder 1978 Safari 15-4 and 1970 Volvo Amazon
A freind with better Internet access and more patience than me may have got me a step closer to replacement shocks and springs. Had a look at the measurements n they don't seem too far off. Guna make some calls tomorrow. May require minor modification but better than having to weld new spring cups to suit wide car springs. Cud mean the end of saggy safaris....
On another note I found a service manual for b&b chassis n it shows the swing arm as sitting BELOW the main axle pivot point... My swing arm pivot point sits INSIDE of the axle. I never took the arm off as it didnt seem to have any untoward play but I guess if it was meant to sit below it would explain the extra drop in ride height...again will have a close look at it tomorrow.
Got a bit of positive movement on this, think I've found new replacement springs and shocks suppliers! Not listed as being for safaris but size and ratings look very close/spot on. Could spell the end of saggy suspension...will update when it's turned up/fitted.