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Old 03-15-2015, 05:21 PM   #1
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1973 29' Ambassador
Athens , Tennessee
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Water, water everywhere

I have a 1973 with bathroom in back - think it's an "Ambassador." Just bypassed the non-functional filter and turned the water on, and water came gushing out underneath the bathroom. I don't know whether I need to take the plate off underneath to access the plumbing (all rusty) or go in through the bathroom floor. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Plumbing is not my favorite activity nor the one at which I excel, but I'm up for the challenge if I can get pointed in the right direction. Thanks for any advice.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:24 PM   #2
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1972 25' Tradewind
North Vancouver , British Columbia
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Just follow the plumbing from the water heater (for the hot water line) and the pressure reducing valve for the cold water to the location where the water is coming from. The pipes may be running under the threshold of the bathroom door (this is where they ran on my Tradewind). They may also be running to the rear bulkhead under the sink area. You should have an access panel to gain access to the fixtures being served (sink, tub and toilet). What I did was disconnected the copper pipe from the fixtures and source points completely and replaced with pedal. It's relatively straightforward to cut the pipe and remove it and then feed new pex through the spaces that previously contained the copper pipe and then attach to the fixtures. The plumbing was installed before the interior cabinetry and other fittings were installed so you have to sometimes get a little creative, unless you want to dismantle and remove the bathroom and cabinetry. Dropping the belly pan won't give you access to the plumbing, as it is all located above the plywood subfloor. Best of luck.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:24 PM   #3
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1975 27' Overlander
Albany , Oregon
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Just had that problem in my new to me '75 overlander. Rear bath? If so, you can see the plywood subfloor through the back hatch. You can also remove the bed and see under the tub a little. Mine was leaking from the tub faucet plumbing, so I had to remove the shelf to the side of the tub to repair.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:45 AM   #4
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1973 29' Ambassador
Athens , Tennessee
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Still wet.

Thank you both for the info. I've been trying to study the problem with the new input. The schematics in my Airstream's manual do not seem to match what I am running up against. Right now, the rug in front of the bed, which is sort of in the center of the Airstream between the kitchen and bathroom, is soaked. So the leak would appear to be not near a fixture. Anyone dealt with this? I didn't think there was water in the system during the freezing weather, but perhaps some was sitting there?
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:26 AM   #5
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1972 25' Tradewind
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There's no telling if the plumbing in your unit is original. As a result, it may not relate at all to the manual. It's not unusual for trailers of this age to have the plumbing cobbled together with a series of temporary fixes made up of hose and clamps. The pipe likely burst mid-run, so it won't be near a fixture. All you can do is follow the pipes until you can find the source of the leak. You may not be able to se the like because of how the pipe is positioned/concealed so it can become a bit of an exercise. It isn't a complicated system so you should be able to isolate the faulty pipe and repair it, thought it might be easier to just replace it. Good luck.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:52 AM   #6
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1975 27' Overlander
Albany , Oregon
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After I fixed the tub faucet, I blew a line under the bed. The bed is easy to remove, and the plumbing runs right beside the heat duct under the bed. Mine had a solder joint that separated, and I fixed it with shark bite fittings and a length of pex. The drain for the sink also runs through there and could be leaking, but not as likely as the copper water lines.
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Old 03-26-2015, 04:26 PM   #7
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1973 29' Ambassador
Athens , Tennessee
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pex questions

So, thank you all. I took the bed out, and there was a blown out section in the copper pipe there. I cut the piece out and went optimistically off to find the right pex fittings for repair. Went to Lowes and local plumping store. Guy at Lowes held the pipe piece to every pex connector he had. Both places told me they had no pex fittings for this size copper pipe and that it was an "in-between size." The manual says it is '5/8" O.D., 1/2 Nom.' On holding it next to a ruler, the outside dimensions appear to be 3/4". What is going wrong for me here?
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Old 03-26-2015, 04:31 PM   #8
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I'm not a vintage guy, but I think I've heard Colin on Vintage Airstream Podcast talk about old copper lines stretching due to freezing over the years. Could be the problem??


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Old 03-26-2015, 06:03 PM   #9
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Yes, the copper has stretched. Best to remove that whole run and replace it with a piece of pex.
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Old 03-27-2015, 12:14 AM   #10
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1975 27' Overlander
Albany , Oregon
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Yup, stretched from freezing. I measured the pipe with calipers and made the cuts where the pipe was closest to 5/8. I did have some trouble with one shark bite fitting, and had to file and sand the pipe a little to get it to fit.
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