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Old 12-25-2013, 11:29 AM   #1
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1973 Argosy 26
brooksville , Florida
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Change out plumbing to PEX, how?

Merry Christmas!!

Just have a few questions about converting to PEX in a 1972 a Argosy 26'...
1. where to start? not really sure where to begin the change, maybe at the water pump?
2. can I use the push on fittings instead of crimp ones? why or why not?

This is our first Reno on a travel trailer so pretty much learning everything from the forum, friends and the internet! LOL Thank you for any advice.
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Old 12-25-2013, 11:47 AM   #2
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My suggestions are for the type of connections that I prefer. I don't like the push-ons because they're expensive and if there's any side force on a tube, the fitting can leak. I prefer the crimp-ons and I found that at Lowe's I was able to buy side crimp type clamps (similar to what's used on cars these days), and the appropriate crimper was affordable to buy (~$20). The ring type clamps work well too, but the crimper is big and expensive though it can be rented from Home Depot. If you get a crimper, be sure and get a remover too because not every crimp will be perfect the first time.

I think PEX plumbing is the best thing since sliced white bread (well maybe not the best but it's really good).
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Old 12-25-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
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I, on the other hand, like the Push on connectors. When I replaced mine in a 24' Argosy I started with the line from the water inlet to the water heater and branched from there. I ran red and blue pex to differentiate hot and cold. All lines were solidly fastened to a floor or wall to limit movement.

Since I was re-pluming with all the cabinets etc in, it made it easier to do it this way. Yes, it is more expensive, but repairs are also easier as well, if needed.

When done, I used a small oil less air compressor to air test my system. Air pressure was 40#. This prevented have water all over in case of a leak.
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:31 PM   #4
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This summer when I replumbed my '89 25' Excella I did as Bruce did and used the shark bite push on fittings. They are expensive. And I used quite a few of them. I started at the city water inlet and did everything in PEX except I used flexible vinyl reinforced tubing to make the connections in and out of the 12V water pump. This will tend to quiet the pump noise since it is not rigid like PEX. I did not use colored PEX but wish I had. I did make red and blue magic marker marks on the PEX to distinguish hot and cold. After completing the job and before any reassembly of bed, cabinets, etc. I filled the FW tank and primed the pump. I pumped the system up to pressure, shut off the pump and let it sit for 1 or 2 days. When I turned the pump back on I had not lost any pressure. An air pressure test may be simpler and less messy if you do have a leak.
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:32 PM   #5
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If yours is a twin bed model, rear bath. Which mine is. I ran a new line from the pump to the rear bath.
If you have to pass behind the refer, I suggest that you make a loop up behind the refer.
When I did the initial install. I ran the pipe on the floor across the floor vent. But found it would freeze easily. Decided to use the heat generated by the refer to keep the line from freezing. It has worked. We have camped in + 7 degree weather and not had a problem.
I removed the closet in our trailer and moved the sink around the corner. All of the plumbing valves are under the sink. If you have a closet and want to keep it. You could put the valves under the bed, next to the water heater.
The hot and cold for the galley sink ran in front of the toilet and tub. I just pushed the PEX around the tub, between it and the wall. There are no fittings in the whole run, except those in the bath and under the galley sink. No fittings = no leaks.
I removed all of the copper except the lines to the shower. I tapped into those lines just to the right of the toilet.
Also removed the original pressure regulator and relief valve along with all of the drains. I use an external regulator when connected to city water.
There are 5 valves. 3 for the water heater bypass. 1 for city water shut off/on and 1 for house water on/off.
If you go to my blog, I have pics posted.
If you need more info, send me a PM.
I have a '74 Argosy 26'
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:33 PM   #6
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I used PEX with snap on fittings ,both quick and easy to get into tight spaces. Key to no leaks is square cuts on the PEX tube. If you choose this method invest in a quality tubing cutter. To keep things simple I use all 1/2'' line and fittings and mark the lines with wraps of colored electrical tape. Another advantage; the snap fittings are removeable ,so if something needs changed -no problem.
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Old 12-25-2013, 06:17 PM   #7
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One other thing I did as well. I used the braided steel wrapped hoses to all faucet fittings, including shower and toilet. I also used 1/4 turn shutoffs at each faucet connection and at the toilet.. Something can leak, I can shut it off and not kill the whole system.
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Old 12-25-2013, 06:53 PM   #8
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we definitely want to have shut off valves at the sinks and toilet connections in addition to the normal ones. keep the info coming, my brain hasn't exploded with all the good info yet! you guys are the best, thanks for the advice.
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Old 12-25-2013, 07:54 PM   #9
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I have used both push on and crimp fittings. Both work well, the crimp type take more planning as the crimp tool is large and much of the work must be done outside the cabinets and slipped into place. Now that I have the crimper, I use fewer push on fittings, mostly in the very tight locations. I also like the red and blue pipe for identification.

On the Argosy's with the rear bath, you may have to leave a little copper to the tub faucet ad those fittings are really hard to get at and/or require some major panel removal and possibly cutting and patching. Sometimes you just have to do that though, especially if your tub/shower faucet is flat worn out.

Don't just toss out your old copper pipe when you remove it. I was amazed when I re did a '75 Argosy 22 and got $50 for the scrap copper I took out of it.
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Old 12-25-2013, 09:55 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=idroba;1395849]
On the Argosy's with the rear bath, you may have to leave a little copper to the tub faucet ad those fittings are really hard to get at and/or require some major panel removal and possibly cutting and patching. Sometimes you just have to do that though, especially if your tub/shower faucet is flat worn out.


If you take the trim band off around the back of the bathroom you can access the screw that hold the shower in place. Gently pull out to access behind the faucet. You will have to buy two dishwasher adapter kits(Lowe's) to replace the shower lines. All the adapters and hoses come in the kit($10-$12) to make the install. You will be glad you spent the extra time and money to do this.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:35 AM   #11
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thanks BWOODTX! that is good to know. we want to update the plumbing as much as possible, so if we can get to the shower pipes that would be good. we do have the rear bath with twin bed set up.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:57 AM   #12
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PEX is easy to install. A couple of things to do, cut and fix each joint, mark them so you keep your alignment straight. It's easy to misfit your joints so try taping them, once you'll figured out each section,mark across both joints with china marker. Most joints will be assembled first then put into place. Make your final joints where you can get to them with the crimper OR install shark bites at those joints with the rest done with crimp rings.

Practice think twice cut once. Oh and color code hot and cold with the correct color.
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:45 AM   #13
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You can put cutoff valves everywhere. But once you embrace PEX you can carry the crimper, some rings, and a plug or too and deal with any leak or breaks in just a few seconds.
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:13 AM   #14
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Stainless steel side crimps, one hand crimper tool to get into tight places, and a good pipe cutter. There are some good YouTubes on PEX out there worth the search. You'll find you can cut the SS crimps off with a side cutter if need be. I like the crimped connections on PEX since I am not relying on a seal to do its job long term.

Lowes carries the tools, the bands, the fittings, and pipe of course.
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