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Old 09-07-2011, 07:52 AM   #1
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Gray PB plumbing

All,
I have started re-plumbing our 1986 345. Back in the '80's the great new plumbing material was Poly Butalene. The gray plastic stuff. Since that time we have found that while the tubing is fine, the plastic fittings will fail.
We had a fitting failure at Alumapalooza this year.
I am replacing the PB with the newer PEX tubing with brass fittings. I have the street side of the MH done now. I still have to do the area in the rear pump bay and the curb side.
It's not as hard as it sounds. I will try to post pictures soon.
If you have the gray plastic tubing, it's not if you will have a problem, it's when.
Rob
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:40 AM   #2
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All you really needed to do was to replace the acetyl crimped fittings with Flair-It fittings or perhaps Quest.

The gray PB tubing is just fine. It is the fittings they used with it, especially the aluminum crimp rings, that created the problems.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:08 PM   #3
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Not sure what I have in mine, but it looks like the grey stuff.
I will be needing some advice when I get into my watertank replacement, so more info and photos please!
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:50 PM   #4
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Found that most of my crimp fittings underneath kitchen sink leak while camping this weekend. Has anyone done the crimp rings replacement? Or is it just better to start replacing everything?
Would like to avoid total replacement, but if it means no more leaks, I'm good with replacement.
Thanks, Derek
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:31 PM   #5
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I don't know about the use in trailers, but there have been two class action law suits for polybutylene (Quest) piping used in home construction- one covering acetyl (plastic) fittings and one for metal fittings. The problem is that the crimped connections come loose and there is now free flowing water. The class action law suit was for about 15 years. You can Google it if you want to find out the details. I don't think it covered trailers at all.

I have an 84 excella and it has pb piping with plastic connectors and I have not had any problems. I would not change out the piping unless there was a problem. You can buy an adopter at Lowes, etc. that has the pb barb on one side with the correct pb crimp ring and then a Pex barb and crimp ring on the other end.

Robfike is correct in stating that it is a matter on when it will fail, not if. I suspect trailers were never part of the class action suit since they are used very little and do not have constant water pressure on the piping like in homes accompanied by the problem of people being away from there homes during the day for hours on end. When you get a fitting failure in this case, you flood the house with water and sustain many dollars worth of damage.

I am a home inspector and have inspected lots of homes with pb piping at a mountain resort. I tell the new owners to turn the water off when they are not there. Of course that is probably a good idea no matter what kind of piping you have in a second home. You could do the same thing when you are camping and connected to central water I suppose, when you are away from the trailer. I probably would not be that concerned though.

Until I have some problems with the pb piping in my Excella, I see no reason to change the piping to Pex.

Dan
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:05 PM   #6
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Polybutylene Laws | whocanisue.com
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:50 AM   #7
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Sharkbite fittings are an alternate approach and adapt well to all sorts of piping.
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:05 AM   #8
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From what research I have done, even the gray pipe can fail when exposed to fairly highly chlorinated water over fairly long time periods. I have a late 70's mobile home (winter residence) in a park in AZ where they seem to have a highly variable chlorine problem. The gray polly lines have started to become an issue, as well as the connections. Last year I had a leak where a pipe went into a Quest type fitting, and it was the pipe itself, not the fitting that caused the problem. This year's project is to replace all in that unit with PEX and crimped fittings.

I doubt that the pipe itself is a huge issue in most RV applications, but be aware that it can be, especially when high chlorination water is involved.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:15 PM   #9
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To All,
Thinking that with the problems associated with Poly Butalene pipes and fittings, as time and $ allows, will replace all in my 345. Will start with kitchen and work to shower, and back to tank and pump. Then to bathroom. If this means NO leaks in the future, it will be a worthwhile investment.
Thanks, Derek
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:12 AM   #10
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Yup.
I started with the water hose reel, and now am in the underbed area...
Using 1/2" piping, and to be cool, Red for Hot water and Blue for cold.
I looked at a few different systems, and ended up using PEX.. the crimp tool was $50, but you save money after that because the fittings are cheaper.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:54 PM   #11
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Steve, thanks for the advice on PEX. Was told at plumbing store that I should use CPVC piping. With all the curves in the Airstream, guessing that all of the joints needed, things could get expensive. Kinda liking the red=Hot, blue=cold idea too!
Thanks, Derek
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:13 PM   #12
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I use the PEX and the crimping tool. Works fine for me. Sometimes there is not room for the tool. Have to think ahead and make up some assemblies that can be installed with a joint where you can get to it. Have use some of the sharkbite fittings. Much prefer the crimps.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:13 PM   #13
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Bill, everyone has told me that if you start using SharkBite fittings, after a few uses, they get to be kinda expensive. Too much to do on my evenings this week to get to Home Depot to look at prices on this stuff. Maybe this weekend. Have to get this done, or no camping until.....
Thanks, Derek
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:00 AM   #14
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Crazeevw

I would not use cpvc- too many joints since the piping is not very flexible. Also the new trailer manufacturers don't use it. I would also be concerned about the affect of vibrations on the joints- plus it just looks tacky and cheap.

Use Pex. HD has a crimping tool for $25 that you use with a set of vise grips- or go the sharkbite, etc. route, but that can get real expensive fast.

Dan
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