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Old 02-09-2006, 08:15 AM   #1
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Water heater replacement

I am getting ready to replace the water heater in the 345 due to a tank leak. The water lines are all the grey plastic with crimp type fittings and metal bands. Are the crimpers available? The bands? Is this something I can get at Lowes? Or does everyone just replace them with hose clamps?
Thanks, Rob
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Old 02-09-2006, 09:05 AM   #2
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Lowes and HD should have everything you need. It is called PEX tubing. Crimpers are around $100, but you may be able to rent the tool. They have compression fittings that fit the tubing also. I used the compression fittings on my replacement project. Also ran the PEX to the toilet. Most of the plumbing in my coach is still copper.
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:48 AM   #3
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Thanks, I will check them out.
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:59 AM   #4
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I used some compression fittings and changed to copper and brass as I had a leak in my shower. Sealed it very tight, and has never been a problem. I guess the pex holds up, but its an option anyway.
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Old 02-09-2006, 12:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pick
Lowes and HD should have everything you need. It is called PEX tubing.
Sadly, no it isn't. PEX is either white, red, or blue. The grey tubing is polybutylene. The crimps and connectors are no longer available as no code allows them anymore. The tubing itself works fairly well, and is still available. Do a search on "polybutylene" on this site for more than you want to know.

The easiest fix is to use Flair-it brand fittings. They will work on both PEX and polybutylene. Many RV stores and some hardware centers carry it.

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Old 02-09-2006, 06:02 PM   #6
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Rob,

Flair-it is a good choice. No tools needed. Be careful to hand tighten only or you'll distort the gasket inserts. Also, if you do have polybutylene, be sure to use the tubing inserts in the ends of the tubes before putting on the fittings.
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Old 02-10-2006, 06:25 AM   #7
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The grey is the poly stuff that has been didintegrating in peoples homes? I did not know that...glad I went to a metal fitting and pipe in the shower!
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Old 02-15-2006, 01:23 PM   #8
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I would switch over to copper. It is easier to obtain and easier to work with. Plus I feel that a good soldered joint will not rattle loose. One more benefit is that in the chance happening you get some freezing copper will survive a little better than most of the plastics out there.
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
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...One more benefit is that in the chance happening you get some freezing copper will survive a little better than most of the plastics out there.
Ouch! I have had many people say just the opposite--platic will survive a freeze and copper splits. I can verify that copper does split, but don't know if it's sooner or later than plastic would do in the same circumstance. On the other hand, I have taken apart a couple of copper plumbing systems the froze and at first I thought I could replace a few split pipes, only to discover that the fittings (those that had frozen) had expanded permanently.

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Old 02-15-2006, 03:30 PM   #10
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Ouch! I have had many people say just the opposite--platic will survive a freeze and copper splits.
Roger
It depends upon the plastic. PCV or CPVC is prone to breaking if frozen. PEX has a some ridiculously large expansion quotient before breaking. What is seldom mentioned is that the regular PEX connectors are all brass, which could split. Even so, if freeze protection is you main concern, PEX is the material of choice.

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Old 03-01-2006, 07:50 PM   #11
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Water heater up date

I just finished installing the new water heater. The biggest problem was getting the new unit through the hole in the side of the coach.
THE PLUMBING: As I was able to get a lot of great help from everyone on the forum, I was able to at least ask the right questions to find parts. I elected to go with the PEX white tubing and only crimp type fittings with one exception. The fittings are copper as well as the crimp rings. I was able to find the crimp fittings that are for Poly on one end and PEX on the other. These I used to go from the old stuff to the new. I used the new by-pass kit from Camping world. The only fittings that are not 100% crimped are the ones that connect the PEX to the by-pass fittings. These are a swivel type screw-on fitting.
You should be able to see in the photos how it all is put together.
This really is not a big deal. I did pop for the crimping tool at $97.00. I think it will be handy when I need to replace something else.
I had to go to Lowes, and Menard's to get all the tubing and fittings that I needed.
In the last photo, you can see the "go..no-go" guage that comes with the crimper. You should check each crimp. The other item in the photo is a tubing cutter. I got this at Lowes and it works great.
I can't wait until Spring!
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Old 03-01-2006, 09:31 PM   #12
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The reason that the RV industry went away from copper was a simple one: It tended to work-harden and break from the constant motion going down the road. I see this from time-to-time in older motor homes that were wired with solid copper electrical wire also. Makes you nuts when you have no power where it should be and you finally trace an open wire in a perfectly good looking piece of Romex.

I'll stick to plastic water tubing and marine grade stranded wire, thanks! Besides, the plastic like Qest annd Flair-It are way easier to work with than copper and a torch .
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Old 03-02-2006, 10:00 PM   #13
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Nice job!
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:10 PM   #14
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RobFike,

Excellent post on the water heater replacement.

One question ---- What type of fitting did you use to screw into the water heater? Brass, Poly, Qwest pex, etc. ?

I need to stop and get a bypass kit on the way home from Sarasota. It is nice to see they use a backflow valve. My old one did not.
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