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Old 05-26-2012, 04:10 PM   #1
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Newbie - Plumbing on 1970 Ambassador

My new 1970 Ambasador has a leak somewhere in the plumbing i'm assuming, when you flip the 12v pump water pours out from under the trailer. The trailer is like a time capsule, its all original.
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:02 PM   #2
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My new 1970 Ambasador has a leak somewhere in the plumbing i'm assuming, when you flip the 12v pump water pours out from under the trailer.
Welcome!

If I were the buyer, that'd be good news. It probably means it was winterized and a drain valve (or two, or three) is open.

On the other hand it might be bad news and mean it was never winterized and everything froze up and will need replacing.

I think it's one or the other.
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:37 PM   #3
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Plumbing repair

Well, its not good news. I attached the garden hose to it, closed a rear drain & water is coming from under the bellypan. The floor under the fresh water pump has a trickle of water coming from somewhere, but thats not the big leak. I'm not getting any want out of any faucet. I do hear water running into the hot water heater. It sounds like the leak is under the belly pan in the rear somewhere. I'm not getting water from the freshwater tank either, although you can hear it pumping what sounds like water & air.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:07 PM   #4
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You got to find the leaks. I do not know the layout of your trailer. You need to start with the inlet and work along the lines until you find the leaks. On ours the inlet is under the bed and the pump is under the floor of the closet. The lines run across the trailer under the floor. The fresh water tank has to be filled separatly on most Airstreams. There is a check valve between the pump and the plumbing outlets that let the pump move water to the faucets, but does not let the water flow back through the pump and into the fresh water tank. The pump is a suction lift so if there is a leak in that line it gurgles and will not pump. Sounds like you have a broken line. The low point drains should have hoses that extend below the belly pan. All of us have had leaks. Probably time to start reviewing the posts on PEX. Sounds like you will have some PEX in your future. What kind of plumbing do you have now? Copper? Grey tubing? Freezing is just devastating to copper lines. Ditto PVC. Grey tubing will take some freezing, but the fittings tend to get brittle and break. My trailers are now a combination of grey tubing and white PEX. I carry the little crimping tool, some fittings, and a length of tubing in the trailer storage compartment. The bad news is that all many of the lines are hard to get to. The good news is that the PEX is easy cheap and easy to work with and you can sometimes snake it through with out dismantling everything or even removing the old line. you can buy an adaptor that lets you hook an airline to the water inlet. get one. you will need it to winterize anyway. You might be able to locate the leak without getting the trailer any wetter by blowing air in the lines and looking for where it is coming out.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:22 PM   #5
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Thanks, i followed the copper lines along the left (drivers) side of the trailer to the hotwater heater (its in a closet beside the toilet) i didnt see any leaks there. It appears to me there must be a leak under the shower stall or under the floor of the rear side bed (door side). Ive owned 3 Airstrems & never seen a trailer laid out quite like this one from the factory. Its all original & looks like every option, lots of closets & cubby holes. Actually its overwhelming. Its a 1970 Ambasador.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:27 PM   #6
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I rate that as good news. Maybe you are just dealing with one broken line or fitting rather that freeze damage.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L911
Thanks, i followed the copper lines along the left (drivers) side of the trailer to the hotwater heater (its in a closet beside the toilet) i didnt see any leaks there. It appears to me there must be a leak under the shower stall or under the floor of the rear side bed (door side). Ive owned 3 Airstrems & never seen a trailer laid out quite like this one from the factory. Its all original & looks like every option, lots of closets & cubby holes. Actually its overwhelming. Its a 1970 Ambasador.
Mine had a pipe burst under the shower / tub. You've got to remove the upper cover of the shower to see the pipes running under it. Once you can see down in there, then you can determine if / where the leak is in there.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:49 PM   #8
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My trailer had 5 drain valves for winterizing in addition to the water heater drain. When I added pump pressure the water ran on the ground near the rear. There was a pressure pop off valve stuck open.

My copper water system was all good but it was removed as a part of installing new cabinets, faucets and a new water heater. I saved the inlet and the cross over. The rest I replaced. I used braided plastic and hose clamps to tie into the shower faucet.

When I added city water pressure, nothing happened. The backflow preventer was clogged with debris.
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:03 PM   #9
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Actually the water ran on the ground from the belly pan in the rear. I feared the worst . . . but the drain hose had come off the pop off valve stem. I removed the pop off valve, cleaned it, reset the spring valve and reinstalled the hose.

I replaced most all of the plumbing with pex. I tested my work with air and it held pressure, but I have yet to test it with water.
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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
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Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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Can the entire plumbing lines be changed without having to remove the floor or belly-pan? I'm in the process of switching the poly lines over to Pex. I was moving right along with my installation until I noticed a line making a 90 degree turn down into the floor. In my opinion, I think this line goes from the water pump the kitchen sink (both are located on opposite sides of the trailer). To be more specific, one of the water lines from the kitchen sink tees. One of the lines goes towards the bathroom and the other goes under the floor. Can I fish the new Pex through the floor by disconnecting all fittings and then connect the old poly to the new Pex? Basically, I want to pull the old poly out and hopefully the new Pex will be pulled into place. Is this just wishful thinking? It seems like every "day project" I start ends up taking weeks/months. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Ryan
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:52 PM   #11
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Can the entire plumbing lines be changed without having to remove the floor or belly-pan?
My trailer had one crossover under the floor. It was good and I left it in. I connected pex to one end and braided hose to the other.

I believe I could have pulled braided hose under the floor without removing the pan, but not pex.

I like copper. I have no issues with leaving a good section.


`
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:37 PM   #12
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I will probably end up keeping the piece of poly for the time being. I've heard bad things about this type of pipe. I need to look into the braid that you are talking about. Sometimes the "more flexible" PEX is even difficult to bend. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:03 PM   #13
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All the copper had white water hose and clamps as repairs. I have pulled out all the copper, replaced with pex. The lines from the cold/hot run behind the rear bath and up the curbside past the wheelwell to the kitchen. No lines under the floor. It can be done!
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:57 PM   #14
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Can the entire plumbing lines be changed without having to remove the floor or belly-pan? I'm in the process of switching the poly lines over to Pex. I was moving right along with my installation until I noticed a line making a 90 degree turn down into the floor. In my opinion, I think this line goes from the water pump the kitchen sink (both are located on opposite sides of the trailer). To be more specific, one of the water lines from the kitchen sink tees. One of the lines goes towards the bathroom and the other goes under the floor. Can I fish the new Pex through the floor by disconnecting all fittings and then connect the old poly to the new Pex? Basically, I want to pull the old poly out and hopefully the new Pex will be pulled into place. Is this just wishful thinking? It seems like every "day project" I start ends up taking weeks/months. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Ryan
Unless someone has done something funky after the factory, I don't know of anything that should be under the floor. There should be low-point drains for the cold and hot water circuits at the galley area and near the city water inlet. I've never seen drains be a 90, only a T; but they COULD be a 90...just I've never seen it. I assume that near this T and/or 90 that goes through your floor there is a valve? If so, then this is your low-point drain. Have a look under the trailer right about where the pipe goes through the floor inside and I'll bet you find a stub of pipe sticking out the bottom of the trailer.
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