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Old 07-11-2011, 12:33 PM   #15
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1955 16' Bubble
claremore , Oklahoma
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 23
55bubble,
I have your trailer's sister here in Oklahoma!(sn211) I'm in the middle of a full blown restoration(it didn't start out to be a restoration),and if I may be of any assistance please contact me.....walt
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:07 PM   #16
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1955 16' Bubble
Drake , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 8
Thanks everyone! I do feel very fortunate to have stumbled on this ol' girl.

It looks like we'll be doing a slight renovation to get her ready for some trips, as opposed to a full restoration. Here's what I'm thinking:

1. Paint- The original wood is pretty rough in places as well as being an ugly color. Would I be making a big mistake in painting it? I'm thinking about painting everything and making new doors and drawer faces which will be stained.
2. Bed- I prefer a permanent type bed in the location of the rear dinette, is there a source for custom, comfy mattresses? Also, I'm thinking about raising the bed a bit (table height?) to get more storage and a place for a fridge or ice box. A bubble with a loft?
3. Front Dinette- I need to leave the front "bench" since the water tank and pump are under there. I think I'll try to find a swivel-type chair to install next to the closet with a table between.

Thoughts?
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:27 PM   #17
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1957 16' Bubble
Fort Collins , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 21
Images: 3
Nice pictures. I haven't seen a Bubble with a rear dinette. So the rear hatch just opens to underneath the table? I'm a little confused on that. Couldn't tell by the pictures.
Our Bubble as with others I've seen on line, has a rear bed which is just under full size, and a front dinette that converts to a bed. Ours came with the bunk option over the rear bed which my 4 year old loves.

1.Personal preference of course, but I would steer clear of painting the wood.

2.The rear bed is a great idea. Beds are heavy and I would be careful to not go too high as it may affect the center of gravity of the trailer. However I am not a physicist, so that might be malarky. As far as storage goes, it is great to have that under-bed hatch access storage. We got our mattress from an online dealer called foamforyou.com I went with 4" full size luxury firm density and cut to fit. It's a little on the firm side, but we like it like that.

What size tires did you end up getting?

Have you had a chance to check the electrical or lp systems?

Nice find. Bubbles are the coolest.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:34 PM   #18
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1955 16' Bubble
Drake , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 8
Yep, the rear, outside compartment opens to a storage area under the dinette. Thanks for the feedback, because knowing that it is a rare setup makes me want to keep it more original. I think well use the rear dinette in the bed setup most of the time, but I won't do any permanent modifications to it.

The jury is still out on the painting of the cabinet "boxes", but I do think I'll be getting all new cabinet doors which will get a light stain. I am rebuilding the storage closet with an ice box located in the middle, and new full width doors for clothes storage above and below. Next to the closet I think I'll have a funky IKEA swivel chair and a "couch" across the front from the outside wall to the bath wall. For meals we'll most likely use a silver metal folding table from IKEA set between the couch and chair. I also want to add a hinged fold down counter extension to the right of the sink. There isn't much counter space currently.

I have some loaner tires on it now that I borrowed off a friends utility trailer, not sure of the size. The axle is aftermarket with electric brakes and I think it is wider than stock. In order to get the tires on we had to jack her up, remove the front leaf spring bolt so the axle would drop, mount the wheels and then pivot the leaf spring back in place. Kind of a PITA, but it worked. There is about 1" between the tire and the aluminum. I'm going to flip the axle to the underside of the leaf spring to see if this will gain the clearance needed to mount/dismount the wheels, otherwise I'll have the axle narrowed.

I was happy to find that the electric all works when plugged in to "shore power"; I haven't tried the 12v, gas or water yet.

A few more things that I had questions about:
  1. There seems to be 2 water tanks. One is located in the front and is a big cylinder that looks like it would be pressurized; the other is a metal box in the rear. Is this typical? The pump is also up front.
  2. There is a floor heater just inside the door. Does anyone still use these? I haven't tried it yet.
  3. The water heater is under the sink with a switch by the entry door. Are these electric only? I don't see any access for lighting a pilot.
Thanks!
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:55 PM   #19
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1955 16' Bubble
Drake , Colorado
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I was also thinking about stripping the interior "whale tail", were these interiors aluminum originally? I thought it would look neat as polished aluminum with an uplight mounted in the rear shelf.
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:34 PM   #20
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1957 16' Bubble
Fort Collins , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 21
Images: 3
I started the process of stripping the interior zolotone, which is the two part paint used in this vintage. What I found was a lesser quality aluminum that was etched and wasn't able to polish. I have seen a number of stripped caps that look great.
I had the heavy h2o cylinder, which I replaced with a new 20 gallon water tank. I had no water heater and no other tank and no heater. I added a small propane catalytic heater.
If you decide to strip the interior, good luck with whats underneath...
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:05 AM   #21
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1956 16' Bubble
Dallas , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 362
Images: 39
Nice to find some bubble owners. I'd love to learn more about your find. Post some pictures of the progress. I have a 56 bubble which I bought gutted out. My take on it is that when the interiors are so wore out and ratty. It might as well be you who does what he wants with the trailer. Stuff falls apart and it's like giving CPR to a dead body-- you really can't mess up only help! I like things original unless they dint work or are do ugly it drives me nuts.

In our case-/ After rebuilding the systems and interior. We are on our third getaway today in the bubble. I'll be watching your progress. Have fun. Graph paper, good questions, good measurements, good dreaming, and planning everything out on paper helps alot. Great find. All the best Ted.
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:28 AM   #22
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1956 16' Bubble
Dallas , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 362
Images: 39
Ps. Sorry about the iPhone spell check above! Please send me an airstream friend request if your a bubble owner especially. I spent a year and a half restoring mine and your the first 2 bubble owners I've found. Cheers. Ted
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