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Old 05-18-2009, 07:11 AM   #1
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1968 30' Sovereign
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Niles , Michigan
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New owner needs help

We recently purchased a 1968 sovereign from a 2nd owner. They used it for an additional place for visitors to sleep, etc at their cabin. I was told they shut the water off because they thought there may be a leak, and the toilet was never used it has been sitting for several years prior to that it was in storage.
We are planning on moving it to our property and want to know some advice on what to do first with the plumbing/how to get it working again. Any advice/tips would be very much appreciated!!

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Old 05-20-2009, 04:13 PM   #2
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Hello FootballMom. You might have a bigger problem than you know if somebody else said there's a leak. Was this a Michigan trailer? A lot can happen between 1968 and the present. Ignoring winterizing for one season only could have damaged the original copper pipes -- a hard freeze could irreversibly damage copper pipes.

Most piping runs on top of the floor. Looking under cabinets or removing a bed platform (1/4" plywood) may give you access to inspect. Look for split or swollen pipes or sweated junctions. Does anything leak visibly? Shower mixer valves are particularly susceptible to frost damage; this may involve more disassembly of shower & inner skin than you anticipated. Traps under sinks also deserve a look. Find your water pump and inspect. Many of us have been there.

You can get water into the system one of two ways. One is to fill up the fresh water tank, turn on the pump and see what works. The second is to look for a hose attachment (near the rear bumper on the roadside?). Airstreams before 1973 in original condition do not have a gray water tank; they'd just drain into a bucket under the trailer ... or a blueboy.

Your hot water heater could have operational issues. That's a separate question. There may be three valves near the water heater (anybody? did they do this in the late 60s?). Put them in the 'Winter' position to bypass the water heater.
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Hopefully your black tank is empty and doesn't have a baked mud brick inside. The black tank would be directly under the toilet. With a strong light open the flusher. Can you see all the way to the bottom -- maybe 6-8" below the floor seal.

There's a lot that can be said once you've made more discovery on this coach. Please get back to us and we'll try to address individual issues.

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Old 05-21-2009, 10:26 AM   #3
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1968 30' Sovereign
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Niles , Michigan
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Thanks for the help!!!, here is what I can tell you so far.
The people who we purchased it from bought it 3-4yrs ago, the guy filled the fresh water holding tank and noticed it was dripping out of the panel, so he stopped. He did say that the sink water worked and drained. My husband crawled around some, and said it appears to him that the plumbing had been disconnected, as they did not use the toilet. Previous to that, an elderly retired couple lived in it off and on, and kept it in storage since they bought it new.
I will check all the items you pointed out when we pick it up this weekend.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:43 AM   #4
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The least messy way to check the copper piping is with air,pressurize ,to see if it will hold,if it won`t trace piping,marking all leaks you can find,repair and try again,once you have all air leaks fixed introduce water into system. Dave
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:07 PM   #5
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Cobourg , Ontario
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You can buy an air fitting that screws onto your water inlet on the side of the trailer. Pressurize with an air hose but be careful, do not go over 40 PSI. 10 pounds is enough for the initial test. Use a spray bottle with water and a little dish soap, squirt on joints and suspicious areas and look for bubbles.

If the system is "perfect" it should hold pressure overnight or longer.
Living in the trailer park of sense, looking out the window at a tornado of stupidity.
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