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Old 09-28-2008, 10:45 PM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
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Split copper tubing

We have split copper tubing under kitchen sink (small pipe)and another larger tubing behind the toilet. How do we fix? Also there is no toilet but the PO had a house toilet in it. Now I dont know how it is plumbed. How do I check. We are going to live in it. The septic tank is just feet from it , We are lost what to do. Please help!
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:07 PM   #2
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We have split copper tubing under kitchen sink (small pipe)and another larger tubing behind the toilet. How do we fix? Also there is no toilet but the PO had a house toilet in it. Now I dont know how it is plumbed. How do I check. We are going to live in it. The septic tank is just feet from it , We are lost what to do. Please help!
First of all, the split copper tubing is a result of freezing.

What you spoted is probably just the beginning of the damage from the freeze.

I would suggest that if you wish to repair the trailer according to the way it was built, or at least reasonably so, purchase a service manual.

That manual contains tons of information, including parts lists and part numbers.

The manual will more than pay for itself, the first time you us it.

Andy
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:17 PM   #3
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Manual

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First of all, the split copper tubing is a result of freezing. Must have been PO as we have not put water in the camper yet.

What you spoted is probably just the beginning of the damage from the freeze. I hope it is the finish

I would suggest that if you wish to repair the trailer according to the way it was built, or at least reasonably so, purchase a service manual. We do have a aftermarket one.

That manual contains tons of information, including parts lists and part numbers. Thanks

The manual will more than pay for itself, the first time you us it.

Andy
Doris
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:22 PM   #4
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Can it be repaired?
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:43 PM   #5
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Can it be repaired?
Sure, but it's essential that you determine how far the damage has gone.

Is the water heater damaged?

The water tank?

The toilet?

P traps damaged?

The best way is to measure the outside diameter of the copper tubing, throughout the entire trailer.

The original outside diameter of the tubing used in manufacturing was 1/2 inch and 3/8 inch.

Measuer carefully. If you find that you have goofy dimensions, then that means at least that area has frozen.

The copper tubing was assembled by soldering the fittings to the tubing.

When the water in the copper tubing freezes, it expands the tubing and fittings. That also usually weakens each and every soldered fitting.

If you patch the tubing, more than likely, you will continue to have leaks.

The real fix, if you find that the tubing has expanded, is to replace all of it. You can use copper or some of the new style plastics that are available.

Sorry you purchased a trailer with split tubing, but I can assure you, the previous owner was well aware of that fact and stuck you with his problem.

I would seriously examine every part of the trailer, to see what else the previous owner side stepped.

Make sure you also check the brakes and the axles.

Dura Torque Axle

Check the door, access compartment and window gaskets. Are they hard and cracked? If so, they will all leak.The sewer vent pipe gaskets only last 5 years or so, and they are probably bad as well. Replacing those gaskets is not difficult. You should use Airstream type gaskets that are only available from a dealer.

Andy
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:40 PM   #6
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Most of the damage is in the rear near toilet. (Dont know about behind shower and sink) 3 pipes are swollen, split and green. We do have a tiny split near the kitchen sink. Is there any kind of "fire Blanket" so we can fix the copper without burning the camper up.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:28 PM   #7
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Any plumbing supply store should be able to sell you a heat shield to hold behind the pipe as you use the torch. That said, be careful. Tight spaces can be very tough to work in.
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:01 PM   #8
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You may find that the pipes that are not split do not match up with replacement fittings. That is because they were stretched when the water froze inside them. Maybe it's time to consider replacing all the copper with PEX.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:40 AM   #9
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A soaking wet rag works very well as a heat block. Plumbers used them for years.
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:14 AM   #10
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Rivet Go with PEX

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You may find that the pipes that are not split do not match up with replacement fittings. That is because they were stretched when the water froze inside them. Maybe it's time to consider replacing all the copper with PEX.
I have copper (with swelling and splits {now repaired}) in the '68 and PEX in the '83. I would choose PEX over copper in an Airstream every time.
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