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Old 05-25-2013, 11:59 AM   #1
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1964 19' Globetrotter
Le Port-Marly , yvelines
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Advice on replacing copper water lines

The plumbing in my 1964 Globetrotter has been a series of headaches, as each winter a bit more water condensed from somewhere and found an undrained low spot. My brothers and I made permanent and temporary repairs each time, but last summer a new leak sprang up in teh cold water line somewhere between the kitchen sink and the back end, and the water pressure regulator rusted out, and I had no time, so I camped mostly dry and carried the water I needed last summer. This year I want to fix it, and I have some time. Can I take out the old tubing and replace it myself? Can I use flexible waterlines instead of copper? Is there someone in Upper Michigan I could hire to do it for me if they have more experience than I do? Will an air pump on the city water inlet do a better job of draining that I have done?
We do like our trailer, which is mostly old school. It went back to Jacksonville several years ago for a new refrigerator, stove water pump and water heater.
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:26 PM   #2
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1965 22' Safari
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I still have the original copper pipes in my 65 Safari. When I winterize I drain all the water out and then use about 11 gal. of rv antifreeze in the fresh water tank. I then pump it throughout the entire system including the water heater. If I had a bypass on the water heater it would not need as much. To change back in the spring I drain the system , fill the tank with fresh water and drain again. I do this about 5 times to get rid of all the antifreeze. Have never had a problem with freezing. By the way, I reuse most of the antifreeze. I but it when it is on sale around $3.00 per gal. I consider this cheap piece of mind. We are planning to replace the original water heater this summer so I will replace all copper with Pex and install a bypass.

Best of luck,
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:02 PM   #3
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1974 Argosy 20
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Your old copper water lines have probably been frozen in the past, and each time they freeze they expand, making them thinner and more likely to break the next time a little water gets into the wrong place.

I always use compressed air to blow out my water lines, but it is still a slightly tricky thing to get water out of the low spots. That said, I have not had any frozen lines in any of my trailers over the years using compressed air to blow them out in the fall.

Yes, you can replace your old lines with new PEX plastic. I would recommend finding someone who has some experience to help you out, or at least a book on working with PEX. I think Home Depot has some books along with the PEX materials. For a new person with plumbing and PEX I would recommend using the Sharkbite fittings from Home Depot (and other places). Lowe's has ones called Tigerbite I believe. The only require you to cut the pipe square and press it hard into the fitting. There are O ring seals in the fittings to keep them watertight. The fittings average about $5 to $7 each which seems expensive, but you can take them apart and re use them if you make a mistake and probably for a first timer are worth the extra costs involved.

Save and recycle your old copper pipe. I got $50 for mine from an Argosy, at the metal recycle center.

When you get done, you can have the great satisfaction of saying "and I did the plumbing replacement myself"

Best to you on your project.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:32 PM   #4
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1964 19' Globetrotter
Le Port-Marly , yvelines
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I will try

Thank you Rivet Masters. I will look for a book on PEX to boost my enthusiasm and theoretical experience. I will still have some copper in this system, such as the water pressure regulator that needs replacing.
Bill
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
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1964 19' Globetrotter
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I finally figured out that a Watts water pressure regulator that I would need to replace my worn out one is model N55B M1, threaded female inlet and female outlet. Do I want 3/4" or 1/2" ? I will be redoing all the lines in 1/2" but I guess it is a 3/4" connection at the inlet side.
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:55 PM   #6
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1974 Argosy 20
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Half inch will be fine for the regulator and for the incoming line. That is all Airstream has ever used for the inlet.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:56 PM   #7
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"Advice on replacing copper water lines" - I spent the weekend replacing all the copper in my Safari with Pex. I also removed the original Bowen water heater (still working) and upgraded to an Atwood 6 gal. Elect./Gas Direct spark Ignition. Installing the pex was easy. The old water heater needed the opening cut larger in order to remove. The hardest part was making a new adapter plate (alum.) and riveting it to the body. Used Olympic rivets and a rivet shaver tool. Then I polished the new patch. I also installed a by-pass on the water heater so winterizing will be much easier and only use a couple of gal. of antifreeze.
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