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Old 11-25-2014, 02:52 PM   #1
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1957 16' Bubble
Decatur , Georgia
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Towing a 1957 Bubble on a flatbed?

Hi all. New to the forum and proud new owner of a 1957 Bubble. The Bubble sat dormant for a long time and is no longer road worthy. It needs to be relocated from TN to GA where the full rebuild will take place. I'd rather not pay a shipping company to do it, and I own a Silverado 1500 with heavy tow package, so I'm looking for a DIY option. I have read several threads about easily being able to fit the smaller AS trailers on a flatbed, but don't have any experience doing this myself. Also don't own a flatbed so I'll have to rent one.

I'd love to pick up the flatbed trailer in TN and only pull it one way to GA, so naturally Uhaul comes to mind. The only option Uhaul has seems to be this: U-Haul: Auto Transport Rental

Having a hard time determining if a Bubble will fit on that, be stable, safe, etc. If not, I suppose my next option would be to rent a slightly larger commercial flatbed, but that would probably negate the one-way option. Would likely have to rent it in GA and drive it up and back. Any suggestions on the flatbed itself?

Also looking for advice on securing the AS to the flatbed, outside of the standard ratcheting straps around the wheels/axles, chains securing the AS frame to the flatbed, etc. I am assuming it's not advisable to raise the tongue jack on the AS while on the flatbed. Is it better to have the AS tongue touching down on the flatbed and the AS leaning forward? Then secure the tounge to the bed with chains? Or should I be attempting to prop up the tongue somehow so the AS sits more level with the flatbed?

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 11-25-2014, 05:00 PM   #2
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Check the width of the trailer that you want to move. I have a 1957 Overlander and it is 85-1/2" wide at the floor. Its to wide to fit the trailer your looking at. I know the trailer you want to move is shorter, but is it narrower? I dont think Airstream made a trailer that was narrower then the 50's trailers, although I could be wrong

You want the trailer to be as low as possible. By putting the tongue all the way down on the flatbed , I would think that your going to make the back end taller. I would haul it flat.

I would also consider putting a couple of straps over the body of the trailer.The shell to the floor connection may be bad if your floor is rotten
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Old 11-25-2014, 05:06 PM   #3
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87inches for the trailer floor width.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:29 PM   #4
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1964 26' Overlander
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Your cost for renting the trailer and then time to go get the trailer will negate most of the cost of hiring a shipping co. that has the knowledge and equipment to do the job. Plus using a 1500 truck is going to be pushing the load limit on that truck. Don't mean to be negative I do this stuff for a living and I see things not loaded correctly and torn up all the time just from people trying to save a nickle. Where in TN.? I live in East TN. and Myrtle Beach SC.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:34 PM   #5
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Our local tool rental shop also rents flatbed trailers. Might be an alternative to U-Haul
Tim
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:37 PM   #6
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1957 16' Bubble
Decatur , Georgia
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Thanks for the replies. I have been trying to track down an accurate width from outside of tire to tire for the Bubble. I have read several places that 85" is indeed the width of the Bubble's body, but are the tires not inset back in a few inches from the widest part of the AS body? Visually it certainly looks like they are, but I don't have access to the Bubble to measure. Trying to get the guy who has the trailer currently to measure for me.

The other consideration is obviously length. In order to get most of the weight on the flatbed in front of the wheels, I'll need to have the AS's axle as close to being in-line with the flatbed's axle as I can get. Also having trouble figuring out the distance from AS axle to AS front of tongue, as that is going to have to be shorter than the corresponding length on the flatbed for this to be doable.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:49 PM   #7
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1957 16' Bubble
Decatur , Georgia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streamdreamn View Post
Your cost for renting the trailer and then time to go get the trailer will negate most of the cost of hiring a shipping co. that has the knowledge and equipment to do the job. Plus using a 1500 truck is going to be pushing the load limit on that truck. Don't mean to be negative I do this stuff for a living and I see things not loaded correctly and torn up all the time just from people trying to save a nickle. Where in TN.? I live in East TN. and Myrtle Beach SC.
You would have thought so, but the quotes I was getting on Uship were ridiculous. They wanted $1500 to ship the Bubble 300 miles. I can assuredly save a heck of a lot more than "a nickel."

It's in Kingsport TN, and it's going about an hour south of Atlanta.

You must be thinking of the wrong truck. My 1500's towing capacity is right at 10,000 pounds. Unless the flatbed trailer weighs 8500 pounds, I'm totally in the clear to pull a 16' AS on a flatbed.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:56 PM   #8
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I live in Church Hill. 20 min. south of kpt. That should be probably a 600 to 700 dollar pull. You got a pretty good pull out of Erwin up Sams gap on I26 to get over unless you go back down through Knoxville to Atlanta. It will take about an hour longer going thru Knoxville instead of thru Ashevile and down 85
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:03 PM   #9
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1964 26' Overlander
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Have you pulled 10,000 pounds with it or that is what it is rated at? I pull with an F350 with 7.3 diesel and 10,000 behind it I can tell is there. Pulling through the mountains is hard on a TV. Your 1500 may be rated to pull that load but that doesn't mean it is comfortable or safe to do it. Remember just because you can pull it doesn't mean you can stop it OR CONTROL IT.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:13 PM   #10
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I rented a "deckover" utility trailer from the local rental place and loaded and towed my Bambi II home- less miles than you will need to tow it home- but all went well.

Worn Airstreams are hard to strap down as the floor to C-channel connection is usually rotten. The axle is a good bet for strapping- and the A-frame/tongue.

We towed the combo with Dad's one ton Ford van. Loading was the challenge- we were really lucky to have the neighbor with a farm tractor with a ball load it for us (this after he towed the stuck van out of the mud trying the retrieve the trailer from its resting spot!) Long day- great memories- and it can be done.

We have since found out that my buddy's car trailer is wide enough to do the job. The Bambis and older AS's are skinnier and have a skinnier track.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:13 PM   #11
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1957 16' Bubble
Decatur , Georgia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streamdreamn View Post
Have you pulled 10,000 pounds with it or that is what it is rated at? I pull with an F350 with 7.3 diesel and 10,000 behind it I can tell is there. Pulling through the mountains is hard on a TV. Your 1500 may be rated to pull that load but that doesn't mean it is comfortable or safe to do it. Remember just because you can pull it doesn't mean you can stop it OR CONTROL IT.
Yeah, I hear you. Not really planning on pulling 10,000 pounds any time soon, especially through the mountains. But with the Bubble weighing around 1000 pounds (it's stripped out), I was assuming I could find a trailer that weighed less than 5000 that it would fit on. Planned on being around 5000 total.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:51 PM   #12
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Are you sure you can't tow it? I moved a Bubble from FLA to TX last year....It had not moved in about 15 or 20 years. I did the bearings, tires and checked the hitch latch. On the road and no problems. I did use temp lighting. I can't see you having problems unless the Bubble is a complete disaster.
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:02 AM   #13
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1957 16' Bubble
Decatur , Georgia
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Are you sure you can't tow it? I moved a Bubble from FLA to TX last year....It had not moved in about 15 or 20 years. I did the bearings, tires and checked the hitch latch. On the road and no problems. I did use temp lighting. I can't see you having problems unless the Bubble is a complete disaster.
Excellent question. Not going to have a chance to inspect it until we're up there in TN trying to move it, so I don't really know what to expect. I do know we're going to be out in a field on some guys property, so I don't know how much work I can actually do to it there. I can certainly bring new rims and tires with me and swap those out, but not sure about doing bearings or anything else on the spot.

How can I be sure I'm buying rims with the correct bolt spacing? Is it something that was standard for a given model/year?

Nice to know you had a similar experience that worked out!
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:03 PM   #14
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Ironhalo - By far & away, your best source of how to accomplish your goal is Forums member Melody Ranch, who has already posted some ideas for you. He has far more experience moving & restoring Bubbles than anybody I can think of.
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