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Old 02-20-2012, 04:36 PM   #1
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Cost to go from copper to PEX?

Hello, I am looking at this coach at the moment: 1968 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht Clean and assuming that the plumbing is pretty much shot. I haven't driven up to look at it yet; I was hoping to get some idea of the cost of just materials to replace all of the copper plumbing with PEX.

This is assuming the tanks are okay, etc, which I know may not be the case, but it'd be good to have some idea what to allow for this expense, both as a bargaining chip and so I don't get stuck with sticker shock after the fact. $500? $1000? $2000?

Any info from those in the know would be much appreciated!

CarrieSue
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:05 PM   #2
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Are you doing the work yourself or having someone do it for you?

The Pex parts are relatively inexpensive, I am sure you could do it for $200 or less with Pex crimp stile fittings and a bit more with Sharkbite ones. But a good Pex crimper will add $50 to $100 to the cost.

If you pay an RV shop to do the job, the labor will kill you. Total guess here, but I doubt that you could have all the copper replaced at a shop for less than $1000, and I would not be surprised at double that.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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You're not going to want to hear this but quite frankly, pex may be the least of your worries. I see no mention of an axle replacement ( as a 68 it will need it) that will run you $1500. The tires having no wear on them is immaterial, you need to know how old they are, Any more than 5 years and you'll be replacing them shortly. If the airstream wasn't winterized properly there's a good chance that the appliances may not work either. At the very least the seller won't be able to show you they work. Figure a $1,000 for a fridge and another $500 for a hot water heater. Note these numbers are all retail not including labor.....well you are getting where I am going with this.... And I haven't mentioned that there's a good possibility of floor rot, given the wet climate the trailer is in. That would open a huge can of worms.

My best advice would be to find an inspector from this site to come with you. They do it for free, look on the portal page and there's a link by state.

Failing that insist that each appliance be running and demonstrated to you at the time of purchase and make sure you get a title in hand before you leave. Theres a inspection checklist somewhere on this site too. Truly take the time to educate yourself first on this site, THEN go look , have fun and BUY, knowing what you are getting into. Best of luck!
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:19 PM   #4
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Good advice by Idroba and Reinergirl.

Dan
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:33 PM   #5
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CarrieSue

I took a look at the photos. 68 Airstreams are very nice trailers. I have a 66 TW so I am biased. The body looks real good and it does appear to have been well cared for. Any vintage trailer will need axles. You are not going to find one for 5k that does not need axles. Any how this trailer could be a real good buy at 5k. It would be good to know about any floor rot issues and if the appliances work. You don't need plumbing to see if the fridge, range or furnace work.

Redoing the plumbing lines (copper to pex) is not that hard in these trailers as the bathroom is in the rear and there is decent access from the rear access panel. It took me about 1 day to redo mine. Material cost was less than $100 for the pex, fittings and crimp rings.

Good Luck, Dan
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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Like the others, I think that while it seems to be a nice solid trailer, one must remember that a unit 44 years old really needs heavy investment projected for what has been mentioned, floors and axles being the most costly. Keep in mind though, they won't stop you from camping...

Having said that, you have a real wood interior that does look to be in marvellous shape from what can be told from the photos, and given a bit of patience and money you may just wind up with a very nice trailer there. Good luck!
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:21 AM   #7
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Thanks for all of the advice and information. I know no matter which AS I end up with, I'll have my work cut out for me! I do plan to use an inspector from the forum, it's such a great resource, but I'd like to have as much information before even taking that step.

I plan to keep the coach stationary and do the necessary work over the course of a few summers, and in the meantime I'm okay with having temporary appliances if need be... but I sure hope to avoid a trailer with the dreaded back floor separation!

I'm still a couple of months away from committing, but I'll be lurking around in the meantime. Thanks again for the encouraging voices and discerning eyes--

Carrie Sue

P.S. Here's my back story on the member introduction page if you want to read more.

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Old 02-21-2012, 12:29 AM   #8
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Shoot, one more P.S.

Okay, an axle question for a follow-up. I definitely get that this is a common, and major, expense for a vintage AS. My question is, if I am planning to keep the coach stationary with the exception of having it moved twice a year to and from Silverton to Portland (an hour's drive), at least for the next two years, how immediately do I need to replace the axles? Or rather, how can I tell a worn set of axles from a set that can't even get the coach from where I purchase it to where I'm keeping it? Is this something an inspector from the forum can adequately gauge before purchase?

I don't want to take any undue risks, but if I'm not going to be on the road this is something I'd rather address, well, further down the road!
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:40 AM   #9
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Carrie Sue

The Airstream you are considering looks like a good one. It is hard to find a good one. Don't daudle and let it slip away. Maybe you could get it under contract and then have it inspected- they do this with homes all the time.

Don't worry about the axles now. Mine needs axles and I have towed it to Florida and back.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:21 PM   #10
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Did you Buy?

Carrie Sue,

Did you buy it? I just discovered your thread, went to look via your link, and discovered it's off the list: withdrawn by seller I think? I'd love to see the pix; comments were good on the thread.

Vivian
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:05 PM   #11
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Same here. I just discovered this thread and went to take a peek and the other link was gone. I hope you got it!

If not, have you considered a 50's trailer? You probably wouldn't have to replace the axle on one of those because they used leaf springs, not the rubber torsion axles. I think '61 or '62 is when they switched...

I used to live in Everett, WA (Ever-Wet). We went down to Portland a few times. Lots of good microbrews there And, it's the home of Rowdy Roddy Piper I really loved Tillamook though. I still say they make the best ice cream and cheese in the world there. Plus they have the really cool airship hangar with all the warbirds inside. What a nice area!

Just in perusing around the web, I have come across quite a few silver trailers for sale out that way. I wouldn't shy away from a nice Avion or a Silver Streak at all. Streamline made some pretty ones too. And, a Spartan is a real work of art!

On edit, for what you're doing, a nice early 70's Sovereign or Excella would probably be ideal. Just get one with the single pane windows....I had a '77 Excella 500 and really liked it.

Best of luck with your search. It's a fun ride!
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:07 PM   #12
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To answer your original question, I just finished our trailer with pex and push connectors for about $300. I left a couple of short cpvc sections but replaced the vast majority of my plumbing.
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Old 02-25-2012, 02:39 PM   #13
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One other factor...with the high price for reclaimed metals these days, you'll be getting a princely refund for all that old copper piping...
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Old 02-25-2012, 03:49 PM   #14
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The cost of the Pex itself isn't that much, it is the fittings. The cheapest are the ones with crimp rings and they are great provided you have clearance for the tool. It tight spots you will have to use Sharkbite fittings. They are quick and easy but way more expensive than crimp connectors. I wish I could tell you what I spent on putting Pex in my Trade Wind but I just don't have the figures. I will tell you that to an old 68 up and going you will spend 2-3x what you initially think you will spend. There are so many little things and they all add up. Axles, tires (5), water heater, pex,fridge,tools, paint, polish, plywood, aluminum, floor covering, curtains, foam for cushions, fabric, upholstery shop to sew things,caulk,rivets,screws, and on and on. You may or may not need all the things mentioned but you get the idea.
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