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Old 05-11-2013, 09:49 AM   #1
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1975 27' Overlander
Napan , New Brunswick
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New Member 1975 27' Overlander

Hi. This is my first post. I have wanted to own an Airstream for years. Last fall my dream came true when I purchased my a 1975 27' Overlander. I had been looking for an Airstream in good condition for several years and and consider myself very lucky to have found one in such good condition.

My wife and I are presently preparing the trailer for our first trip. I have encountered one major problem; the water pipes. At some time in the past the water lines froze and split. Temporary repairs were started by a previous owner but were not finished. I found out why this past week. The copper water lines in the trailer are not standard size. In fact some of the copper lines start out one size and get bigger. I have not been able to find fittings to join the pipes. I have temporairly jury rigged the system wth garden hose but this is not a pernament solution.

I would like to restore the trailer as close to orignial as possible. I wonder if anyone has re-plumbed their Airstream and could offer me some tips how to overcome this problem or where I could purchase propper size fittings.

I am considering capping off the line to the water heater for the present season and just running cold water to the toilet and sink. If anyone has re-plumbed their entire system I would appreciate their advise.

Frank Ross Napan, NB Canada
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:54 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, and welcome to Airstreaming.

I have not replumbed a trailer, but I have delt with expanded copper lines. They freeze, expand to a point, and then burst. You will not find fittings that will fit the expanded copper tubing, and must make improvisations if you want to stay with and repair the copper.

If I had the chore to do, I believe I would replace all the copper with PEX, but that's just my opinion.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:09 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
Welcome to the forum, and welcome to Airstreaming.

I have not replumbed a trailer, but I have delt with expanded copper lines. They freeze, expand to a point, and then burst. You will not find fittings that will fit the expanded copper tubing, and must make improvisations if you want to stay with and repair the copper.

If I had the chore to do, I believe I would replace all the copper with PEX, but that's just my opinion.
Yes Pex is the way to go. Should be a lot of threads on re-plumbing with Pex tubing. It is not a hard job to do since in most situations the old copper is running under cabinets, through closets and under beds. You should also check your faucets as well for freeze damage.
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:02 PM   #4
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Okay I am jealous I am looking for a 74 overlander but the two that I have found through google earth are in storage lots and the owners of the lots believe in privacy (will not even pass the owner a note). One has had the windows open and the battery compartment open for a very wet winter and the trailer has flat tires and a plate that expired last year. Pex and shark bites are the way to go little investment and time but repays many times over. Using the shark bites practice working with the pex by making a square detour with the pex cap 1 end and hook the other end to a outside water faucet turn it on and check for leaks. Fun and it builds confidence.
JMHO thanks for listening
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:37 PM   #5
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Not that it's specific to the model of airstream, but in my '74 Overlander I have progressively replaced the plumbing with PEX and shark / gator-bite fittings. I have not embarked on teh full restoration idea, but just have replaced many sections with PEX when leaks have manifested themselves. As for odd-sized copper resulting from previous repairs and/or freezing; I have found a local plumbing supply store that helps me out. I took a section of expanded copper in to the shop and they were nice enough to sort through their stock of copper pipe to find one at the lower tolerance of size (diameter) that would fit and securely solder to it such that I could get the nominal size up to what it needed to be in order to mate a shark-bite to it and therefore convert to PEX and re-do the plumbing down-stream of that.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:21 AM   #6
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1975 27' Overlander
Napan , New Brunswick
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Thanks very much for the advise. I have decided to convert to PEX . As luck would have it a new Home hardware store is having a grand opening and PEX pipe and gater-bite brass ball shut-off valves are on sale. I plan to take out the water heater tomorrow and start on removing the old pipe. I will also be replacing the toilet and all taps and fittings.

I believe the Univolt Inverter must have been removed. Presently a battery charger is hooked up to the battery to power the D/C system. That will be the next job.

The stove, oven, fridge and all the interior lights seem to be working great.

I was able to find some great photos and diagrams showing a complete re-fit of a 1971 Caravel in the photo section.

I am looking forward to getting started tomorrow.

Thanks again for all the help.

Frank Ross
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:02 PM   #7
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Welcome! I have a 72 Overlander, I have found there are no simple projects with the Airstream. Take your time and look here first! If you look, the are many threads for many projects including shell, frame and floor off restorations. Enjoy
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:20 PM   #8
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Howdy and to Airforums.com, Frank! You will find lot of good information here concerning your trailer.

I agree that you cannot refit the expanded copper pipe. Folks like PEX but I have done a couple of repairs to the copper plumbing in my rig and find it quite simple to repair, too. To each his own, of course.

Regarding your water heater, once you have it out I think you will find it best to replace it. The innards rot, especially in our climate. You wouldn't dream of keeping a nearly 40-year old home water heater in use, would you? Especially if it sat outside and unused for half of its life, I bet. I would also suggest replacing it with the auto-lighting version. It's a bit more money, but makes life a LOT simpler.

Best of luck with your repairs and updating. Hey, where are the photos of your rig?

Aage
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:16 AM   #9
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Welcome!! And congrats
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:37 PM   #10
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1975 27' Overlander
Napan , New Brunswick
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Update 16 May 2013

I have been working on removing the old copper pipes and fittings. It has turned out to be a little harder job than I had imagined. I couldn't figure out how to get at the pipes behind the bathtub. I finally got up the courage to remove the bathroom counter top by drilling out the rivets and managed to gain partial access that way.

Low and behold I found the Univolt behind the bathtub. I plan to replace it as well. I now have all the copper pipes removed from the rear of the trailer and am ready to start installing a new PEX system. I have decided to use Gator ball type shut-off valves and a combination of Sharktooth T fittings and regular PEX fittings.

I haven,t removed the water heater yet but have it disconnected. I plan to install the plumbing to the heater and install a shut-off valve until I purchase a new water heater. It looks like I may have to remove the outside blue moulding strip in order to get the water heater out as it extends about an inch above the water heater opening.

I would sure appreciate advise from someone who has replaced their water heater. Can it be taken out without removing the blue trim moulding?

I would also like to know if anyone knows where I could purchase a new tap unit for the bathtub.

Thanks again for the advise I have received so far. I will try to post a few pictures of the trailer and my progress so far.

Frank
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:00 PM   #11
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Hi, Frank!

Sounds like things are moving along well for you. I know the feeling starting to work on the innards, it's like exploring a new planet, and even if you do have the Service Manual, it can be a Strange, Strange, Land.

Here's where I took apart my bathtub to get to a 5" long piece of copper pipe that burst over one winter.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f221...ml#post1039947

Looking back, it's not a bad job, and if you are replacing the Blue Meanie (power converter) this is a good time to do it. If your Overlander is laid out like my '74 Sov, the Main Entrance to the converter is had by kneeling in front of the closet on the other side of the bathtub wall, and looking to your right at floor level. You'll need a flashlight, but there is a door to the fuse panel there.

Most of the taps are Moen in that era of Airstream, and all the repair parts are still available today. A lot easier to replace a cartridge or a few washers than replacing the whole tap, but of course, it can be replaced.

Look in from the outside rear of the trailer, you can get at it from there through the "trunk" (again, if the '75 Overlander is like the '74 Sovereign).

Keep asking questions, there is lots of information for you here.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:57 PM   #12
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1975 27' Overlander
Napan , New Brunswick
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Thanks very much for sending me the link. My trailer is laid out the same as yours. I took out the complete tap unit and pulled out on the handle. The inner cylinder came right out. Other than a bit of blue copper oxide corrosion it looks to be in not too bad a shape. I will try to find and replace the "O" Rings, and test it and if lucky install it again.

Thanks again,

Frank
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:43 PM   #13
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1975 27' Overlander
Twin Cities , Minnesota
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Hello Frank,
I didn't see your first post but wanted to say welcome to the AS boards.
I too have a 75 Overlander. Had it for 10 years this month.
I don't travel with it. It just sits up at my land in central MN as my hunting and fishing shack.
I've never had to do too much to mine. A few minor things. I don't use the water system in it so never had to mess with the plumbing. Ha ha, the bathroom is full of rods and reels, life jackets and the like.
What layout does yours have. Mine has the twin beds with the bath in the rear. And you say you have an oven. Mine does not. Everything works good in it though - so far.
We will be going up this weekend for the first time since deer season.
Really looking forward to it.

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Old 05-16-2013, 08:12 PM   #14
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Livingston , Texas
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Welcome, Frank! I have a Tradewind, and was able to replace the hot water heater from the inside. I don't know if that would be feasible for you. My trailer did have a trim strip installed across the top of the water heater on the inside that once removed, gave me some wiggle room.

Good luck!
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