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Old 03-04-2015, 10:33 AM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
san Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 19
Haven't used any water...where to start!

I'm a newbie so please be gentle. I purchased a '75 Sovereign Land Yacht. We have been using this baby with no water. Mainly because we haven't had the money nor the time. But we are about to have two weeks devoted to water. I want to get my shower running, sink going, and then there's the hot water heater.

I know there's pvc pipes under the kitchen sink that has more purple glue on it than is necessary. I've been reading about the pex pipe and that seems like a good replacement.

I have no idea about the hot water heater in there though. I've been trying to navigate this forum but have been unsuccessful. My AC works so there may be a chance the original hot water heater works. How would I test it out? What should I be looking for?

As far as the bathroom is concerned, I've got the toilet covered. The shower seems like a serious undertaking though. I'm pretty sure it has or is leaking because the PO used a case of caulking around it! What should I do there? Take the shower out? Will I be able to re-use it if I have to take it out? The Furnace vent is down there...what about that?

Any and All help is extremely appreciated!!!

Thanks!!
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:49 AM   #2
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
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put on a hose, turn it on really slow, and see what leaks. The water heater can be cracked if it was left unwinterized. I would use PEX, get a crimper and rings from PEXUNIVERSE.com you will save time doing it that way its very easy to learn. Buy the pipe from a local HD or Lowes.
Replace all the old crap with PEX, just draw out a plan so you will know what fitting to buy..you will need several. If you can't afford a hot water heater just now and need one, simply bypass it for now. There are other options, like On demand ones that are less expensive than the Atwood style. Take it a step at a time...I sourced a lot of plumbing fixtures on EBAY.
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:08 PM   #3
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1967 26' Overlander
1955 22' Flying Cloud
1964 17' Bambi II
Clear Lake Shores , Texas
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Posts: 1,146
PVC pipe is probably drain lines. If not leaking I would leave them alone. Black ABS pipe is more typical for RV's but PVC works too. Pex is best for supply lines. Originals are typically copper and freuqently leak in older trailers due to cracked solder joints or split pipes due to freezing. You can buy tool-less pex fittings or buy a crimping tool. Water heaters are not too expensive - best price I found was on Amazon. Older models tend to be pilot light type which is less convenient than DSI. It is nice to wake up in the morning and just flip a switch.
Good luck. Post some pics if you have detailed questions.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:26 PM   #4
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Welcome to Air Forums! I believe you will find any of your questions answered respectfully and be of value to you. All of us Airstreamers have questions and these Forums sure helps with answers.

Your shower may be a molded fiberglass or ABS plastic tub affair. I re-plumbed my 66 Trade Wind including removing the tub and building a shower stall. You may find rotted sub floor under your bathroom fixtures. Your 75 probably has a wash water holding tank underneath.

I suppose you ought to pressurize your fresh water system and see where it's leaking, and then assess what you need to do from there. Re-plumbing an old Airstream is a project that usually leads to all kinds of work. Be ready for surprises as you investigate what leaks where. I re-plumbed both of my trailers with PEX and crimp rings. Sure a lot cheaper and easier than sweating copper fittings.

I have replaced my water heater on both of my trailers. The standard Atwood 6 gallon is about $400. A 1975 water heater is likely toast. You can only imagine what the tank and burners look like. You can test it and see if it leaks. but I wouldn't try to light it until an RV tech checks it out.

It is all repairable with enough time and energy. Soon you will have a hot shower available.

David
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Old 03-05-2015, 02:04 PM   #5
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1976 25' Tradewind
Tulsa , Oklahoma
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Drip, drip, drip.....

When I bought my 1976 three years ago it leaked like a sieve. Most of the plumbing was original copper that had swollen or split. The previous owner patched what he could with rubber hose and hose clamps. I removed all the rubber hosing and replaced it with copper and sharkbite or compression fittings. One problem is copper swells before it splits and sharkbite and compression fittings won't fit. I had to cut back to good copper. My water pressure regulator cracked and I just plumbed without one. I use an inline restrictor on my outdoor garden hose. All my faucet washers had to be replaced. This winter I unhooked my hose and drained my lines anytime the weather got below freezing. I've still had to replace outdoor fittings left on the park's hydrant four times because of freezing and cracking.
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Old 03-11-2015, 09:29 PM   #6
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1975 31' Sovereign
san Antonio , Texas
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Thanks for all of the great advice. Hopefully starting the plumbing soon. What Plex crimping tool did y'll use?

Thanks
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:19 PM   #7
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Hi, I have used both types of PEX crimping tools. The first one was a larger tool that compressed a ring around the PEX pipe and fitting. You also need a gauge to make sure the ring is fully compressed. But it works good.

I currently use the one that tighten the standard PEX clamps. This method just pinches the clamp tight. It is not as robust as the rings, but still effective. Both the tool and the clamps cost a little less. See photo below of PEX joints and standard clamps. The bypass valves themselves are PEX "push to connect" so there is no need to crimp anything. Hardware and home improvement stores have PEX pipe, fittings, valves, clamps, and the crimp tool.

You gotta think ahead as there are some areas where you won't have access fo the rather long handled crimp tool. The handles are maybe 14 inches long and they must spread like 90 degrees.

David
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:40 AM   #8
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1967 26' Overlander
1955 22' Flying Cloud
1964 17' Bambi II
Clear Lake Shores , Texas
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Whale makes some very nice PEX fittings that do not require tools to install or remove. I used them almost exclusively. The downside is not many places carry them (they are a marine product) and they are sized for 15mm pex. They have male and female connectors sized for standard plumbing fixtures that work great. Very reasonably priced compared with Sharkbite.
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