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Old 03-02-2013, 04:00 PM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
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unusual pipe size?

Has anyone run into problems finding fittings to make spliced/repairs in the copper water lines? PO had isolated a leak in a line from the front of the coach to the rear street side. It is nearly in the corner, under the shower (rear bath Sovereign). 1/2 INCH gator bite or similar is too small, 3/4 too big. Cut a 1 inch sample and took to Lowe's. The only pipe that matches the id/od turned out to be a repair coupling, made to slip over the line for repairs and sweat in place. You would think it was a previous repair, except it is too long of a line of all the same size for it to be a repair coupling like I saw at the store. It doesn't match either the m or the l type. Any advice?
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:07 PM   #2
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What has happened is your original pipes have frozen at some point, and stretched without actually breaking. No fittings will now fit, sharkbite, compression or anything else. You will need to remove the copper back to one of the original copper sweat fittings and solder a new piece in place.

It is not a special pipe size. This is a pretty common problem that people run into with older Airstreams.
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:15 PM   #3
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idroba is right. As a temporary fix, you can always splice the pipes together using braided rubber pipe fit snuggly over the copper pipe and held in place with hose clamps. This will work until you can replace the old plumbing lines. You just want to make sure that you check the hose clamps regularly to insure they aren't leaking.
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:19 PM   #4
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Are you sure that the line isn't 5/8 inch? Some flexible copper is that size.
Al
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cameront120 View Post
idroba is right. As a temporary fix, you can always splice the pipes together using braided rubber pipe fit snuggly over the copper pipe and held in place with hose clamps. This will work until you can replace the old plumbing lines. You just want to make sure that you check the hose clamps regularly to insure they aren't leaking.
When I got my 1976 Sovereign back in 2000 I decided I better check the water lines before hooking up water under pressure. Good thing I did. There were broken fixtures and breaks in the pipe all through the system. Who ever had this AS before me, used the temporary fix mentioned above at about 10 or 12 locations in the water line. I guess he liked it so much he just kept doing this until he walked away from it and it sit in storage for about 10 years until I got it. I to found that I could not get any fittings that would work on the old copper pipe. I took it alll out and went back in with PEX. That was 13 years ago not a leak since.
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:52 PM   #6
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Well, I would only use a "boot" as a last resort, or so I could pressure test the rest of the plumbing with compressed air. I don't have the wherewithal to undertake a complete replumb right now either. Im thinking of hitting the mobile home dealer Monday to see if this is something they deal with. Otherwise I may be able to at least come up with a compression fitting that will work. I'm satisfied that the line isnt swelled or anything, because it seems to be uniformly bigger than the other line it runs with for the entire length. Starting to think this is another non-diy job, as I have with the 12v wiring.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:16 PM   #7
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Well, I would only use a "boot" as a last resort, or so I could pressure test the rest of the plumbing with compressed air. I don't have the wherewithal to undertake a complete replumb right now either. Im thinking of hitting the mobile home dealer Monday to see if this is something they deal with. Otherwise I may be able to at least come up with a compression fitting that will work. I'm satisfied that the line isnt swelled or anything, because it seems to be uniformly bigger than the other line it runs with for the entire length. Starting to think this is another non-diy job, as I have with the 12v wiring.
Replacing "all" the copper tubing is the only way to go.

If you resort to patching, you will most likely have to do on every trip.

Frozen copper tubing and fittings, don't always fail at the same time.

Andy
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:49 AM   #8
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Well, after making some temporary connections with PVC hose to test the plumbing, I've decided to replace all or most of the system with pex. I'm hoping to tie in right past the pressure regulator and rear drain valves, and replace everything else. I'm also debating whether to replace the drain valves under the sink, which might be a lot of trouble to get out, or to tie in to both lines right past there, which means I would have to figure out how to remove the floor of the kitchen cabinet.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:57 PM   #9
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Getting started with the part I dreaded most, the city water connection, check valve, regulator and drain valves. I cut the vertical piece of copper leading in from the street side, the lines to the water heater, and the two lines going to the curbside. Then I removed all the above parts as one assembly and made a replica out of pex:

Before and after pics later. Not working now for some reason.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:00 PM   #10
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That's the old one and here's the new one.

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Only part I reused was the regulator, which fits in a new galvanized tee.
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