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Old 08-27-2004, 08:38 AM   #1
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Help! Bubble Electrical Questions

The trailer plug that goes from my Bubble to the tow vehicle has been all screwed up. The previous owner cut everything except 4 wires to run the lights with a standard 4 wire plug. My question is how do I go about making the entire system functional again? One cord goes in under the front dining seat where there is a 2 fuse block with 2 wires coming out of it. Is this where there originally was a battery? There is a second cord that runs under the body and i'm not even sure what that is for. Brakes maybe? Basically I am looking for an explanation of how the entire system was designed originally and how it was supposed to function. Also, if there is a better system I can install I could go that route.
I do have the original plug for the 110 and that works great if I can plug in. Any advice on this electrical problem would be very much appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 08-27-2004, 11:34 AM   #2
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Help! Bubble Electrical

Greetings 58Bubble

Quote:
Originally Posted by 58BUBBLE
The trailer plug that goes from my Bubble to the tow vehicle has been all screwed up. The previous owner cut everything except 4 wires to run the lights with a standard 4 wire plug. My question is how do I go about making the entire system functional again? One cord goes in under the front dining seat where there is a 2 fuse block with 2 wires coming out of it. Is this where there originally was a battery? There is a second cord that runs under the body and i'm not even sure what that is for. Brakes maybe? Basically I am looking for an explanation of how the entire system was designed originally and how it was supposed to function. Also, if there is a better system I can install I could go that route.
I do have the original plug for the 110 and that works great if I can plug in. Any advice on this electrical problem would be very much appreciated.
Thanks
Prior to the early 1960s, it wasn't uncommon for an Airstream to have two "umbilical" cables. One served for the "normal" running lights, while the second was the 12-volt power supply from the tow vehicle to the coach. Also, prior to the early 1960s, the battery was contained in an aluminum box mounted under the front window - - it wasn't an RV battery as we would expect today, rather it was a farm implement battery (these can still be found in farm implement dealerships today). What your are describing beyond the connector ends sounds as if it may be similar to what the coach had originally.

You can remove the exisiting connector(s) and wire in a modern Bargman plug to match your tow vehicle rather easily. Using a standard 12-volt "automotive" type battery with two sets of alligator clips (one set to ground the other as a "probe") test each of the wires to determine its function. Then attach that wire to the terminal on the plug that corresponds to its function - - I have had to make this modification on both of my coaches before I towed them for the first time - - the first time it took more than two-hours and the second time a little more than 45 minutes. You can find the wire schematic for the modern standard 7-pole connector at:

Bargman 7-Pole Connector Wiring Schematic - - Modern Standard

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 08-27-2004, 12:25 PM   #3
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It is raining so much this week (the last week of my vacation) that I have put my sheet metal work on hold.I am looking at the electrical today and am planning the eventual rewiring of my trailer.
If you can post photos with your questions it would be easier to tell what some of the wires you are talking about are.

Get a good book on rv wiring
http://www.vintageairstream.com/rr_reading.html

The PO moved the battery to his homemade aft compartment and ran two very heavy wires in a conduit under the trailer.That all went to the dump.I will be mounting the new battery in a box on the trailer tongue or maybe under the front dinette.There was no univolt( a unit that converts AC house current to DC).I will mout the converter under the dinette.

There is only one wire with one fuse on my trailer from the battery to the trailer DC system.
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Old 08-27-2004, 01:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 58BUBBLE
The trailer plug that goes from my Bubble to the tow vehicle has been all screwed up. The previous owner cut everything except 4 wires to run the lights with a standard 4 wire plug. My question is how do I go about making the entire system functional again? One cord goes in under the front dining seat where there is a 2 fuse block with 2 wires coming out of it. Is this where there originally was a battery? There is a second cord that runs under the body and i'm not even sure what that is for. Brakes maybe? Basically I am looking for an explanation of how the entire system was designed originally and how it was supposed to function. Also, if there is a better system I can install I could go that route.
I do have the original plug for the 110 and that works great if I can plug in. Any advice on this electrical problem would be very much appreciated.
Thanks
58Bubble:

Unless your serial number has an "I" prefix, your '57 Bubble most likely did not have a battery when it left the factory. If it did, as Kevin mentions, it likely would have been mounted on the outside front panel in a long thin aluminum box, or less likely inside the trailer. Do you have any 12 volt lights inside your trailer other than one ceiling light? If not, you probably never had a battery in your trailer.

The wire from your car to the trailer operated the trailer's tail lights & side marker lights, brake lights, electric brakes, and maybe one ceiling light inside the trailer that ran off the tow vehicle battery. The wire under the body most likely is for your brakes. Airstream did not publish wiring diagrams in 1957, so you will have to trace your wiring system yourself using a VOM.

You can buy new trailer umbellical cord (wiring) by the foot at a horse or utility trailer dealer or a good automotive electric parts store. Get 25' of nice heavy cable comprised of 7 stranded wires inside a heavy rubberlike tube and use that to make a new lead in wire from your car to your trailer. Use 7 prong plugs and wire it like the diagram Kevin mentions. Don't connect wires to tthe prongs you presently don't need. You may discover a good use for them in the future, such as a charging line if your later install a battery in the trailer, back up lights on the trailer, etc. In the meantime, you have the circuit there ready to light when needed.
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