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Old 12-02-2014, 09:56 AM   #1
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1957 16' Bubble
Decatur , Georgia
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Bearings and seals for 1957 Bubble

Headed out of state this weekend to rescue a 1957 Bubble that's been sitting dormant for many, many years. Will be putting new wheels and tires on her, and would also like to do the bearings and seals, but I can't find any definitive info on what size/type bearings and seals to buy. It will be a Sunday, in the middle of nowhere in TN, so I can't count on having a shop nearby to buy parts from on the fly. Whatever I buy ahead of time and take with me is all I'm going to have. Any idea how I can find out what size bearings and seals to buy? I'm happy to buy several sets in different sizes just to make sure I'm covered, but I don't even know what range I should be in. Looks like there are several good sources for the kits online...

Bearing Kit Trailer Bearings and Races | etrailer.com

Trailer Wheel Bearings & Races at Trailer Parts Superstore

trailer bearing kits for boat, utility, rv, car and motorcylcle trailers

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironhalo View Post
Headed out of state this weekend to rescue a 1957 Bubble that's been sitting dormant for many, many years. Will be putting new wheels and tires on her, and would also like to do the bearings and seals, but I can't find any definitive info on what size/type bearings and seals to buy. It will be a Sunday, in the middle of nowhere in TN, so I can't count on having a shop nearby to buy parts from on the fly. Whatever I buy ahead of time and take with me is all I'm going to have. Any idea how I can find out what size bearings and seals to buy? I'm happy to buy several sets in different sizes just to make sure I'm covered, but I don't even know what range I should be in. Looks like there are several good sources for the kits online...

Bearing Kit Trailer Bearings and Races | etrailer.com

Trailer Wheel Bearings & Races at Trailer Parts Superstore

trailer bearing kits for boat, utility, rv, car and motorcylcle trailers

Thanks in advance!!
Bearing and grease seal parts used back then were very many.

All you can do, is post the bearing numbers and the grease seal numbers or the dimensions, both inner and outer of the grease seals.

Andy
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:15 AM   #3
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1964 26' Overlander
Myrtle Beach , South Carolina
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First off Kpt. Tn is not the middle of NOWHERE TN. Sunday you might not have any luck but There is a bearing place in Kpt. called dixie bearing that should be able to match your bearings when you pull them out. Anywhere around there you are no more than 30 min. from a source that should be able to get you the right bearing and seals. Rv dealers, bearing shops ( industries in the area). Northern tool. Depends on whether you are closer to Johnson city, Kpt. or Bristol. By the way I know it doesn't have anything to do with your bearings but NOWHERE TN. has a Bass Pro Shop, Getting a Cabellas, and a Gander Mtn.
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:36 PM   #4
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1957 16' Bubble
Decatur , Georgia
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Haha, sorry, did not mean to offend Kingsport at large. Was only making the point that if we are already out of Kinsgport by 30-45 minutes, the chances of us finding a trailer place nearby that is open on a Sunday is slim to none. Thanks very much for the info.

If we truly can't know what's inside the wheel until we open her up on Sunday, and I can't get parts on Sunday, then I may not remove that inner grease seal. If it's as old as I think it is, it's likely to disintegrate when it's removed. I would think it's better to leave it alone if I don't have anything to replace it with?

Obviously this is not the proper way to do things, but in this scenario, would adding grease to the inner bearing though the center of the hub be better than nothing at all? Obviously once we get her home we'll fully replace bearings and seals properly.
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Old 12-05-2014, 12:17 PM   #5
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You are going to have more issues with tires that have sat out in the open than wheel bearings that at some time have been greased and are sealed.

Hook up the tow vehicle to the trailer and move it several yards. If there are noises coming out of the hub, yeah it would be wise to open it up. Otherwise the options are;

Tow it in as found condition
Tow it during typical business hours
Have the trailer trailered.

Frankly I less concerned about when bearings that tires on unseen old trailers.

And replacing seals when you get home would be expected after doing a brake inspection. (assuming a trailer of this size or lack of size has brakes) If the bearings do not show any markings or heat and are still shiny, blanket replacement is a waste. However it is your money not mine that you are wasting. Most 57 year old vehicles will present you with a lot of other buying opportunites.

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Old 12-08-2014, 12:21 PM   #6
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1957 16' Bubble
Decatur , Georgia
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Thanks everyone for the advice. Got the Bubble home safely yesterday! Before putting the new wheels/tires on her, I spun the bare hub and heard some significant scraping, so I opened it up to investigate. It turns out it was the brake shoes in constant contact with the hub. I pulled the shoes in by using the adjuster screw on the tensioning mechanism, which was enough to get them clear of the hub. I then took out the front bearing, cleaned, inspected, and repacked it. Then cleaned as much of the old solidified grease out of the hub as possible, and replaced it with new grease. I worked as much grease into/around the inner bearing as possible without actually removing it from the hub (didn't want to do that without having a new seal to replace the old one). I put it all back together and it spun smoothy and quietly. Repeated on the other hub, then put the new shoes on her and drove her home without any problems. Stopped every 50-100 miles to check the torque on the lugs, and temps on the tires. No issues whatsoever.

Thanks again for the input...now the real fun begins!

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Old 12-08-2014, 05:54 PM   #7
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Brake shoes should be adjusted so they just barely touch the drum. Further out and the travel will be so great that the stopping power will not be there.

And looking at your combo of truck vesus a Bubble, there just isn't much weight in your trailer. Likely your TV could handle the tow with no trailer brakes.

Trailer Brakes | AAA/CAA Digest of Motor Laws

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Old 12-08-2014, 06:43 PM   #8
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1957 16' Bubble
Decatur , Georgia
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Exactly. The trailer wiring was a mess and I don't know if the actuators even work, so rather than messing with the brakes I just pulled the shoes away from the hub completely so they wouldn't rub. The dry weight of an outfitted Bubble is 1750lbs, and this one is stripped so she's probably closer to 1000-1250lbs. I knew towing her behind the truck without brakes wouldn't be an issue at that weight.

Will rehabilitate the brakes properly as part of the rebuild so that when she's fully loaded at 2000+ the braking power will be there.
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:53 PM   #9
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With regard to running gear ....
The springs will be leaf sprrings. Likely saggy leaf springs
Brake part can be obtained from a trailer shop like
Road Equipment Web Site
Brake lining | Atlanta Safety Brake
None of these systems are complex. Some things you may need to adapt because of age of trailer.
As to the interior, good luck on original items. Unlike cars these trailers are more like semi-custom vehicles. Interiors tend to run for more than one year. Some things were started and dropped mid-year. And you may find an interior from a competitir trailer that is wrecked on the outside that can be swapped. Other wise the interior can be customized as you feel with the only limit being your imagination and wallet.

As you bump up against questions start a new thread and ask away.

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Old 12-08-2014, 08:31 PM   #10
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1957 16' Bubble
Decatur , Georgia
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Awesome, thanks for the heads up. This will be my first trailer rebuild (although I've done restoration work on cars and motorcycles before)…so I'll take all the advice I can get. I can say that this adventure has gotten off to a great start…the seller was incredibly nice and helpful, lived in a really nice neighborhood, and was kind enough to let us work on the trailer right there in his driveway until it was roadworthy. I'm sure we were located close to all kinds of tire/trailer shops, but since it was Sunday I'm sure very little was open. Fortunately we took everything with us we needed and it worked out great.

Thanks again, will be posting again very soon I'm sure.
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