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Old 08-03-2006, 10:34 PM   #1
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This is a great thread. Thank you 63air for the update.

(moderators & Zeppelinium: Please forgive me if this is considered a high-jack - if it is please bump this to a new thread and let me know )

This thread is very timely for me as I'm really struggling with how big of a project to take on. I've got a leak under the tub that will require me to pull the tub to fix. This means that more than 50% of the bathroom will be apart. I already have 25% apart just trying to find the darn thing.

I feel I have the following options:

1) Fix this leak with copper, put things back together in the bathroom. Then resolve my other problem: a blocked streetwater (pressure regulator?) and still get some camping in this summer (very important to me).

OR...

2) Pull out all of the bathroom and replace the copper in most of the trailer using PEX from the streetwater to the water heater, tub, bath faucet, and up to the galley. If I have the bath pulled apart, I just as well consider recoating the yellow counters, tub, etc. I've not used PEX and would want to use the connectors not the rings. I don't think I would replace the outside pipe for the streetwater and would consider pulling the pressure regulator.
  • If I do that would I replace it with another pressure regulator of some type? Is it better to just try to fix this one?
  • If I don't replace the outside part of the streetwater connection, I will need to transition from copper to PEX inside the trailer. Is there a special connection used for this? What works best? Obviously I will need to do this in the Galley too.
  • I have smaller lines running to the faucets (3/8 to the tub and maybe smaller to the bath sink). How did you handle these transitions?
  • Has anyone done the plastic recoat too?
  • If I work 60+ hours a week and have a house to keep up, will I be able to take on a job like this and still get some camping in this year?
  • What is your best guess on the number of hours in the PEX portion?
I'm off to search for the bathroom recoating thread.

Thank you for your support!!!
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Old 08-03-2006, 10:42 PM   #2
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sovereignrwe,

I think I can re plumb most of the trailer in a weekend. I'll let you know in a week and a half. I won't be ready this week end but I plan to do the whole trailer next weekend.

The more I learn about PEX and that it is freeze proof I think that it is worth it to replace the copper.

From the little I have read on re coating the fixtures I would think that is a much more time consuming proposition.

Amateur plumber,
Dan
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Old 08-03-2006, 11:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe

I feel I have the following options:

1) Fix this leak with copper, put things back together in the bathroom. Then resolve my other problem: a blocked streetwater (pressure regulator?) and still get some camping in this summer (very important to me).
"Temporary" fixes tend to become permanent

Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
  • If I do that would I replace it with another pressure regulator of some type? Is it better to just try to fix this one?
Replace with a hose end connection regulator

Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
  • If I don't replace the outside part of the streetwater connection, I will need to transition from copper to PEX inside the trailer. Is there a special connection used for this? What works best?
I believe alot of different brand fittings will work for both copper and pex. I used JACO brand, and they work for both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
  • I have smaller lines running to the faucets (3/8 to the tub and maybe smaller to the bath sink). How did you handle these transitions?
Lose the transition when replumbing. Just use 1/2" throughout.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
  • If I work 60+ hours a week and have a house to keep up, will I be able to take on a job like this and still get some camping in this year?
Total removal of bathroom? doubtful. Fixing plumbing with fixtures in place, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
  • What is your best guess on the number of hours in the PEX portion?
Plan it out on paper exactly what you need, parts, etc. The actual install took less than 2 hours on my Overlander. Good luck and happy camping.
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Old 08-04-2006, 09:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dano57
sovereignrwe,

I think I can re plumb most of the trailer in a weekend. I'll let you know in a week and a half. I won't be ready this week end but I plan to do the whole trailer next weekend.

The more I learn about PEX and that it is freeze proof I think that it is worth it to replace the copper.

From the little I have read on re coating the fixtures I would think that is a much more time consuming proposition.

Amateur plumber,
Dan
In your planning, how much of the trailer will you dismantle? My experience so far is that taking things apart, while adding some work, makes things much easier for me to do the job right. Getting into small spaces isn't my specialty.
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Old 08-04-2006, 10:16 AM   #5
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I have the same question as "mark and kimber", at least on the pressure regulator issue. The hose-end regulators are a good backup solution, but what does airstream (or other manufacturers) install in modern trailers? my low-use hose end regulator failed on the last outing. wouldn't want to rely on a unit of that type as a "primary".

My regulator may actually work just fine...I don't know. what doesn't work is the check valve behind it. I can't remove the original and replace it because the factory chose to install them in an inaccessable location. the whole bathroom will need to be removed in order to access either of these...and they STILL may need to be cut out, because the threads on the fittings are so tight. I can get 1 hand/wrench on them...not 2. can't touch them and "see" them at the same time, so its a blind operation. can't move the flare nuts without bending the soft copper tubing to which they are connected. So the whole thing may have to be re-plumbed in oder to fix my leaky check valve, in which case, I'd rather re-layout the whole thing so that it is serviceable in the future...which leads me to the "re-do with pex" idea...etc, etc...But pex pipe won't support the big, bulky bronze regulator thats in there now; it needs the rigidity of copper piping to support its weight. Its amazing how quickly a little problem turns into a huge #%@#$ project.

ANYway...they do make 1/2" to 3/8" seaquest connectors. They also adapters for copper, which I've used in a couple of spots in the trailer. there just isn't enough room to solder in the cramped spaces where these plumbing joints live.
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Old 08-04-2006, 10:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
I have the same question as "mark and kimber", at least on the pressure regulator issue. The hose-end regulators are a good backup solution, but what does airstream (or other manufacturers) install in modern trailers? my low-use hose end regulator failed on the last outing. wouldn't want to rely on a unit of that type as a "primary".

My regulator may actually work just fine...I don't know. what doesn't work is the check valve behind it. I can't remove the original and replace it because the factory chose to install them in an inaccessable location. the whole bathroom will need to be removed in order to access either of these...and they STILL may need to be cut out, because the threads on the fittings are so tight. I can get 1 hand/wrench on them...not 2. can't touch them and "see" them at the same time, so its a blind operation. can't move the flare nuts without bending the soft copper tubing to which they are connected. So the whole thing may have to be re-plumbed in oder to fix my leaky check valve, in which case, I'd rather re-layout the whole thing so that it is serviceable in the future...which leads me to the "re-do with pex" idea...etc, etc...But pex pipe won't support the big, bulky bronze regulator thats in there now; it needs the rigidity of copper piping to support its weight. Its amazing how quickly a little problem turns into a huge #%@#$ project.
I found a small pressure regulator NOS for Airstream on ebay. It is about 1/3 the size, but otherwise identical to the huge ones they were using in the 70's. It has an adjustment bolt up top. It is light enough to hang by the pex, no problem. To solve your one way valve problem, at least remporarily, you can replace your city water inlet with a new one that has a built in check valve. The flair-it fittings that I used worked great for all the connections.
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Old 08-04-2006, 11:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
I found a small pressure regulator NOS for Airstream on ebay. It is about 1/3 the size, but otherwise identical to the huge ones they were using in the 70's. It has an adjustment bolt up top. It is light enough to hang by the pex, no problem. To solve your one way valve problem, at least remporarily, you can replace your city water inlet with a new one that has a built in check valve. The flair-it fittings that I used worked great for all the connections.
does that NOS regulator have a google-able name, so that one might locate and purchase one?

so...all newer trailers have the regulator as part of the city inlet? If its what I'm picturing, it would take quite a bit of re-working, as mine is just like the one on your '71...simple drop-ear elbow screwed to the frame. (i.e. no room "behind" it).
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Old 08-04-2006, 11:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
does that NOS regulator have a google-able name, so that one might locate and purchase one?

so...all newer trailers have the regulator as part of the city inlet? If its what I'm picturing, it would take quite a bit of re-working, as mine is just like the one on your '71...simple drop-ear elbow screwed to the frame. (i.e. no room "behind" it).
Chuck, I'd hate to further hijack this thread.....can you fix it? Someone searching for "regulator" might like to read what will be discovered.. Feel free to do as you mods usually do, edit away..whatever.
The pressure regulator is not part of the city water inlet, only the check valve that prevents the water pump from pumping the contents of the water tank into the landscape. I ended up threading a new city water inlet to the elbow, one that had the check valve in it. ( on my 1971)
The regulator is past the city water inlet, in the cold water supply, ahead of "everything". I did not install a pressure relief valve, as I did not see it in any of the new trailers that I have spied on. I will try and get a name off of it. I am not going to be near the trailer today, unfortunately.

Here is a link to something VERY similar: http://www.rvwaterfilterstore.com/Pr...Regulators.htm

Mine is almost like this: http://www.rvwaterfilterstore.com/images/WattsN35Bu.jpg
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Old 08-04-2006, 01:07 PM   #9
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Hi soverignrwe--You don't say what line under the tub is leaking. To make it simple, and allow you to camp this season (which is why you have the A/S, not to spend time fixing it) could you repair with 5/8" ID plastic tubing? Snake the tubing under the tub and bypass the leak. Cut the copper where you can get to it, slide tubing over the copper and lock up with stainless steel clamps. Bypass the regulator in the same manner and use an $8 Marshall regulator at your street water line, before your hose. If it is like mine, the check valve is separate of the regulator. This way you can get camping right away, and plan a complete plumbing job for later, off season when you have time, or just stay with the tubing repair.--Frank S
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Old 08-04-2006, 01:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
Chuck, I'd hate to further hijack this thread.....can you fix it? Someone searching for "regulator" might like to read what will be discovered.. Feel free to do as you mods usually do, edit away..whatever.
fixed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
The pressure regulator is not part of the city water inlet, only the check valve that prevents the water pump from pumping the contents of the water tank into the landscape.
yes, I know that...well...that's the way it is on the old trailers. I was thinking that they combine the functions on these new inlets that the new trailers have. perhaps the only integral function is the backflow/check-valve function.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
I ended up threading a new city water inlet to the elbow, one that had the check valve in it. ( on my 1971)
the only "inlets" I've seen all have those flanges around them, designed to go through the side wall of a trailer. I hadn't thought about attaching something to the existing inlet, as I would imagine that would make it stick out kind of far, just asking to be banged into with something or damaged by some errant road debris...but now that you mention it, I may already have what I need for this. I bought a replacement for the existing check valve, only to find out later that I can't get the old one out without what would lead to a major renovation. But now that you mention it, I might be able to just add this to the inlet, if its just regular old 1/2" fpt. then the ght swivel can screw into it.


on further review....the threads are the wrong way. (ugh). well...still might be able to arrange something with the right adapters. but then it might stick out too far.
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Old 08-04-2006, 02:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank S
Hi soverignrwe--You don't say what line under the tub is leaking. To make it simple, and allow you to camp this season (which is why you have the A/S, not to spend time fixing it) could you repair with 5/8" ID plastic tubing? Snake the tubing under the tub and bypass the leak. Cut the copper where you can get to it, slide tubing over the copper and lock up with stainless steel clamps. Bypass the regulator in the same manner and use an $8 Marshall regulator at your street water line, before your hose. If it is like mine, the check valve is separate of the regulator. This way you can get camping right away, and plan a complete plumbing job for later, off season when you have time, or just stay with the tubing repair.--Frank S
Hi Frank, I hope to get some better information on the streetwater blockage this afternoon/tonight. As Chuck said, the regulator is tucked in a corner that is all but unworkable. If I can identify a workable solution for that part of my problem, then I think you are right. I will stop tearing apart the bath, I will cut out the ends of the sections I can reach and put 1/2 PEX in under the tub. I will then take on the big project later in the year and run 3/8 PEX throughout the trailer.

I still haven't identified the best way to connect the copper and the PEX yet. I've seen some recommendations, but there doesn't seem to be a best answer, and I'm not exactly sure what the steps are. I've seen some connectors for copper where you have to sweat the connector on the end of the copper and shove the PEX over the connector and crimp the ring. As Chuck mentioned, this isn't always a good transition if has to happen in a tight space. Which could bring this right back to a big project, or a temp fix like Frank suggests.
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:01 AM   #12
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And the big "DUH" of the week goes to....

ME!

Uwe's comment on replacing the inlet on his '71 made a little bell go off. That, and looking at the picture of the check valve that I posted earlier....So I stopped off at "BigBox" on the way home and picked up a 1/2" close nipple and a garden hose swivel, (just in case the existing ones couldn't be salvaged, and I was right: they can't. got the nipple/swivel out of the drop-ear elbow ok; couldn't get the nipple out of the swivel without destroying the threads.... ). Anyway, here are the results:

Existing inlet



here's the check valve:


...And the finished product:


Only adds about an inch and a half sticking out...not a big problem, imo. I may want to remove it for winter, though, as there'll be water in the pipe out here...no way for it to escape. I can see now why they put the original inside the trailer, and uphill from this location.

But, I'd rather have this problem than do what would be necessary to replace the existing valve. remove entire bathroom. Of course, if I were to do that, It would make sense to also re-finish the yellowed plastic fixtures, and replace the rotten floor back there...and since the univolt will have to come out for that, it would be a shame to go to all that trouble and not also install a new 3 stage converter. And certainly, when the floor is out, that's the time to enlarge the black tank, and retrofit a grey tank. Oh, and also pull the back wall skin off so I can access the back side of my broken tail light, so I can fix that.
This, I was saving for when I have more time and money.



BAAAA!!!!HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!


almost forgot: after installing this, I went inside and fired up the pump...it came up to pressure, and shut off. all the way off. no more "brrrpt...brrrpt...brrrrpt...brrrpt". got called back inside, so I can't say it won't cycle on/off in 20 minutes or whatever period of time, but so far, so good. The old valve must have been steadily deteriorating since I bought the trailer. one of the earliest things I did when I got the trailer was to replace the old non-functioning pump. This inlet always dripped a little bit, and the pump went from cycling every few minutes, to "every 2 or 3 minutes", down to the most recent "every 2 seconds".
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:14 AM   #13
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Nicely done Chuck! Karma to u!

What is the difference between the two check valves you have posted. Flow direction only?

The pictures are worth 1000 words!
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
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What is the difference between the two check valves you have posted. Flow direction only?
They are one and the same. just different pictures. one from a website where I ordered the valve; the other, I took myself.
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