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Old 03-16-2011, 09:41 PM   #1
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1971 27' Overlander
Seattle , Washington
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Need entire new plumbing system.

Our 1971 Overlander has over a dozen busted and ruptured copper pipes all throughout the airstream. Most probably busted over the harsh winter. Just need some advice on resources for stripping out and replacing the copper pipes. Would a basic plumber be able to do that work? I am just not sure what the process is for this kind of renovation. This airstream will be our home for at least a year, so I want to make sure everything is in good working condition.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:49 PM   #2
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I did my own with pex pipe and brass fittings. They make some other fittings that are good options, and are very DIY friendly. The job took a day and a half, and was'nt hard. I replaced the faucets at the same time.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:52 PM   #3
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If you really want to have it done I'd go to someone who works on AS or at least RV's.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:19 PM   #4
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You can do it yourself using pex and shark bite connectors both available at home depot. Document your current copper pipes on a drawing of your floor plan, then cut them out in pieces. Then replace with pex. It's fun.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:25 PM   #5
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What would this cost me roughly?
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:32 PM   #6
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Jesse

If you are handy and feel comfortable working on plumbing issues yourself, you can learn about working with Pex and tackle the job yourself. If not I would talk to a reputable RV shop and get an estimate from them and see if they have done this work on any other trailers.

I am guessing that this will cost at least $500 to tear out all the copper lines and replace with Pex.

Dan
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:24 AM   #7
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I (the wife) did pex in our TW. I found it really easy to use. The fittings are a little pricey, used sharkbite at about $5-7 per fitting, but think they will hold up best. If you make a goof, just undo and fix it.
Good luck with your project!
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klatawa View Post
I (the wife) did pex in our TW. I found it really easy to use. The fittings are a little pricey, used sharkbite at about $5-7 per fitting, but think they will hold up best. If you make a goof, just undo and fix it.
Good luck with your project!
The brass fittings are much cheaper however you'd have to buy/borrow the crimping tool. I believe the tool is about $75 @ Lowes but it pays for itself pretty quickly. Pex is really easy to work with too.
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:01 AM   #9
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I'm guessing you won't find a plumber or RV tech for less than $60 an hour (10 hours = $600) plus materials. Or you can do it yourself for the cost of the materials and the satisfaction of DIY. Some places RV techs are a lot more than that.
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:47 AM   #10
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PEX can be found in colors also...did mine in red and blue for hot and cold
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:02 AM   #11
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I replaced every inch of piping in my trailer with PEX. Go to my blog and you can see pics of the valve setup. I used "Flair It" fittings. No special tools required.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:43 AM   #12
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you can get a crimper at Lowes for $40 that used the same crimp clamps that Airstream uses for the pex. Airstream factory and many airstream dealers charge $100 per hour for what they do, and they do it at a modest pace.
It is not a real technical job. A few hours at Lowes and home depot looking at the fittings and a few hours in the trailer looking at how it is done and go at it. one problem with the crimper is it takes a lot of room to work it. better to make a sub assembly outside and then put it in with joints in areas you can get to.
I would probably skip the low point drains and design a simple system that I could winterize by blowing it out with air and adding pink stuff. maybe a manifold and seperate lines for each fixture. You do not need to follow the old exactly. you do need the check valve coming in so the pump will work. A hot water bypass is nice for winterizing. I would use 3 pex valves rather than the standard bypass kit. you can get the pex in a roll and you can get clips that hold it in a fairly tight radius. It is pretty easy to fish it though the nooks and crannies in the trailer.
there is a rv refigeration specalist in Chattanoga and they might do the plumbing too.
almost any "technician" could do the job. maybe a shop that does van conversions? maybe a handyman service
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:37 AM   #13
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I am doing this now, and have little pluming experience. It is not hard at all. I bought a crimp tool for $55 at PEXUNIVERSE.COM and all the fittings. They were cheap.Got the tubing at Lowe's. I also bought a tubing cutter for 6 bucks at harbor Freight. The tools are fine and work very well.
With two new faucets (EBAY) and all the above stuff I spent less than 200. I will keep the crimp tool and cutter for later repairs if needed.
I used a cut off wheel on angle grinder to remove the copper, which I hope to recycle for a few $$.
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:58 PM   #14
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You can buy the crimp tool for less than a Airstream mechanic charges to take his out of his tool box and put it back in again.
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