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Old 11-30-2010, 09:55 AM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Ball Ground , Georgia
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All new Pex - replacing old plumbing

Started checking the fresh water system in my "76" referb and found some intresting things. The previous owner did not winterize so I found several splits and naturally in difficult places like behind the shower and can't even see. The water pump was bad and discovered the fresh water tank was full and has been full for at least 25 years or more. Seems the tank is still OK. I decided to rip all the plumbing out and start new. Pex is really neat to work with. I used the compression rings on two joints and quit. Went back to Lowes and paid the money for the pinch ring tool (expensive) and made lots of difference. Does better and easier to get in tight places but was costly. This allowed me to also put a hot water bypass and antifreeze valve on the pump and a valve to fill the water tank from the shore water internally.I also used the old shower valve and mounted it in the back compartment with a hand wand for a foot washer. Tomorrow I put air pressure and soap leak test and then the real test Water It was not as bad as I thought and happy it's done. The most work was many trips bask and forth to Loews and HD for fittings as it's impossible to get every thing you need. .
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:14 AM   #2
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I am doing the same on my 66 Overlander. After years of storage the pipes were split in many places. Using sharkbite connectors.
I can't get to the back of sink in the bathroom where those pipes are without pulling the sink I guess. Got to most everything else so far.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:43 AM   #3
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PEX Project

First of all, this forum is awesome for us novice Airstream owners that choose to take on renovations and repairs. Thank many of you, for taking the time to share your experience and knowledge with us, it is greatly appreciated.

We are also tackleing a re plumb of a 77 Tradewind, not by choice.. the PO "drained" the water lines before winter, but we discovered 4 splits in the copper. Since the original copper is virtually impossible to repair,given the odd size it had evolved into over the years, we decided to replace it.

Off I went to Lowe's, (about 6 trips) to buy the PEX lines in combo with CPVC, compression fittings, and Sharkbite connectors. All going well so far, and expect to test the lines today.

I agree with someone on this forum that stated plumbing with Pex is a alot of head scratchin, planning your layout, and making the connections in the proper sequence, given the tight spaces. We bought the large compression crimpers...not so great to use in the tight spaces... so that is where the Sharkbite compression fittings came into play.

Will have photos up one of these days..
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:49 AM   #4
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I did the same last summer, all PEX, combination of different push-on connectors. The only errors I found was during my recent trip: One connector under the kitchen sink was leaking, and the leads to the water heater were reversed, creating some interesting gurgling action. It was a pretty easy job to correct the errors.

The pile of old copper pipe, complete with all of the patches and repairs, was a good recycle.


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Old 12-16-2010, 10:44 AM   #5
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curious- about how much was the copper worth? I have to travel some to recycle for cash.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:51 AM   #6
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Oh, I didn't sell it. The local trash facility collects all manner of metals to recycle. So far (and in addition to the regular recycling), I've taken over the old AS axles and the old copper pipe.

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Old 12-16-2010, 11:20 AM   #7
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Photos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GAT View Post
This allowed me to also put a hot water bypass and antifreeze valve on the pump and a valve to fill the water tank from the shore water internally.
Sound like some good ideas. Any chance you can post photos of these?
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:39 AM   #8
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Pex is great!

Here is what I completed on the '74 Argosy. Replaced every inch, like previous post the old copper must have had a repair every 6 feet and mostly with garden hose. I used "Flair It" fittings, no special tools required.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:15 PM   #9
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Cool. Beautiful job.

Looks like the hot water bypass allows you to have cold water flowing from all hot water faucet knobs?

How did you handle the city water inlet? And do you also have an anti-freeze valve? I'm unfamiliar with what this is. This is my first trailer and everything I tore out was leaky copper junk and PO-rigged for strictly city-water.

btw, what part of the trailer am I looking at in these photos. I'm guessing the front-street-side corner - correct? What is the large 2" white pipe for? Seems too high for sink drainage?
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:34 PM   #10
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I second the reccomendation for PEX. I paid about 40 bucks for the crimper at Lowes. Good deal, because the only one I had seen before that was at a camper place and it was $120. Best plumbing money I ever spent. One way to winterize is to dump the antifreeze into the fresh water tank and use the pump. Another is to introduce the antifreeze into the line back at the water intake and pump it through. The by pass allows you to pump to both sids of all the faucets without filling the hot water heater. thats 6 gallons of antifreeze saved. Plus if you do not put it in the hot water heater and fresh water tank it is easier to get the taste out in the spring. I bought a small paint tank at Harbor freight and rigged it up with my compressor to pump antifreeze into the water inlet. I do not use it for anything else so it stays clean. Some people add the little antifreeze tee and valve in front of the pump. But ours in in a closet and hard to get to and I was afraid I would spill the jug in the trailer, so I prefer the outside pumping.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:09 PM   #11
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City water inlet

I put a larger image for a little better view. The city water inlet comes in just to the right and below the blue pipe that has the stainless steel hose hanging from the end. See the metal electrical box? It comes thru the wall just below that. The blue pipe along with the red are the cold and hot water to the bath sink. With the bypass valve I can winterize without putting anti freeze in the water heater tank. I just shut off the valve labeled COLD H2O and the one labeled HOT H2O then open the bypass valve. To winterize I just remove the inlet hose on the pump and attach a hose that goes into a jug of RV antifreeze, but I do blow the lines out prior to putting in the anti freeze.
It is all located under the vanity in the bath. The white pipe you see is the vent pipe. It use to run up and over thru a closet that was there. The black pipe is the sink drain. If you look close you can see where the vent pipe goes up, there is a notch in the vanity counter top on the right side. I have yet to finish the wall to cover it.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:10 PM   #12
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Got it, thanks!

I also just saw that you are restoring an Argosy, not an Airstream, so this must be a rear corner of the Argosy. Unless of course, you drive from the bathroom which could possibly be genius.

To the point, thanks for walking me through the bypass - the larger photo helped tremendously. Do you just drain the HWH during the winter and leave it empty, or half empty? Or not even worry about it, since it's probably made of sturdy metal?
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:09 PM   #13
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I definetly drain the water heater, it sometimes gets to -40 below here.
Glad I could help.
It's a 26' trailer. The bath is in the rear. Were you thinking motor home?
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:22 PM   #14
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I definetly drain the water heater, it sometimes gets to -40 below here.
Glad I could help.
It's a 26' trailer. The bath is in the rear. Were you thinking motor home?
Yeah, I was. Still so much to learn...
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