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Old 08-13-2019, 05:50 PM   #1
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1971 27' Overlander
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1989 plumbing question

I have a 1989 excella and I have heard the grey plumbing lines are prone to leak. I don't want to replace if I don't have to. Here is my dilemma. The airstream is going to be stationary in the back yard and have constant water pressure. Would you replace all the grey lines with pex? If I choose this route do I have to take off the belly pan to get to some of the lines? Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:07 PM   #2
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I'd say that if the Airstream is stationary, don't bother unless you are just looking for something to spend money on. If they're not leaking currently, leave them be. I dont know much about the "grey plumbing" lines, but I'd venture to say that most leaking plumbing fittings are due to vibration from actual road use. Being as your gonna park it, leave them be.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:12 PM   #3
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I forgot the name so I just looked it up. The grey pipes are called polybutylene. Thanks for your reply.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:37 PM   #4
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The grey lines are polybutylene. From what I have been told by people in the field if the fittings are installed correctly they are fine. So the maxim "if it's not broke don't fix it" applies. I have poly b in my 93 and also had poly b in a home and have had no problems.

On the other hand, there was a successful class action lawsuit against poly b plumbing. If your home met certain leak conditions you could have the whole system replaced free. Don't know if this applies to RVs.

In Airstreams the plumbing lines are, for the most part, above the floor routed through the closets.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:48 PM   #5
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In my direct experience, polybutylene failures occur catastrophically within a few years of original installation.
If it were my Airstream, I would just keep right on using it. 30 years successful of leak testing is more than most systems can achieve, and other than the fittings, the polybutylene itself is very tough and actually less brittle in an Airstream than copper.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:01 PM   #6
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We have a 1989 Excella and use it fairly often and have never had a plumbing line issue. Like others have suggested, leave it alone if it's not leaking. Would hate to have you open a can of worms before you have to!! I would recommend maybe dropping the bellypan to familiarize yourself with the plumbing system. You might also look into some PB repair items/adaptors to have on hand if a leak does occur. We did have to replace the fresh water tank drain as it crumbled while trying to open it. Not a hard repair, especially since we had an extra one on hand... : ) Good luck!! Jim and Gretchen
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:22 PM   #7
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Thanks so much

For all of your replies. This is just what I wanted to hear. With all your replies I am going to leave it alone.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:35 PM   #8
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Well, one reply that is not what you want to hear. I have a 87 excelka that has had multiple failures of the gray lines. I have not replaced all the lines. But am working towards that one leak at the time. The elbows snap off sometimes. I do think this trailer was not winterised once and froze. I would not just start replacing stuff but be prepared. Maybe buy apex tool and learn how to make a joint. We have a good mobile service that does a great job. But we had 3 major leaks this last 3 month season .
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:00 AM   #9
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Leaks

So how did you detect the leaks? My worry is a cataclysmic leak when someone is not there.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:44 AM   #10
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“How did you detect the leaks”

Water in the floor. Sometimes lots of water in the floor.

A couple of times elbows sheared. Sometimes the elbows dripped first.

I ended up taking the cabinet out from below the sink in the bathroom for access. I liked it out so well that I threw the cabinet away and put in shelves. I use the wall below the sink for plumbing and and am slowly replacing the original lines. I had to hire the mobile service for one leak while I was recovering from surgery.

Next up is to run new PEX under the floor, if possible. The mobile tech would not attempt to do that. I will be ale out all the low point drains which I have never used in either of our trailers.

It is not a major issue. If one is worried about being away just cut off the water inlet when away for an extended stay.

My advice to the OP is that if you have not had a leak so far to leave well enough alone and to deal with it when it happens.
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