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Old 06-24-2002, 07:08 PM   #1
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Question Bad Problem w/ Water Pipe

Newly purchased '76 Excella 500 has a broken joint in the copper tubing under the sink (actually under the floor). It appears the tank fill line is the one that came loose. It enters vertically downward into a tee that is just inboard of what I think is the forward drain valve. I don't know how to get to the problem without removing the sink and cabinet, along with range, oven, etc, etc. Hopefully all you experienced people out there will have some ideas on how to fix this without MAJOR work. Any and all suggestions welcomed.

From NW Arky, i.e., Wally-World (Walmart home office country)
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Old 06-24-2002, 09:55 PM   #2
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It would be easier to drop the water tank, unfortunately I can't tell you how to drop the tank as I've never done it.

John
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Old 07-08-2002, 02:31 PM   #3
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Angry Other problems surfacing....

Have repaired the problem first posted, but are finding several copper tubes with splits in them. Have cut out the damaged portion, but the adjacent tubing, sometimes for several inches, has swelled, and can't use standard compression nor flare fittings because the nuts won't go on the tubing. Does anyone know of an alternate method of attaching repair pieces of tubing, hose, ???

The problems apparently are because the previous owner didn't properly winterize. Is there an antifreeze that can safely be used in the water system, such that we aren't poisoned when prepare for use in the spring?
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Old 07-08-2002, 05:21 PM   #4
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There is a RV anitfreeze that is usally sold in the fall to winterize. You will need to flush the system in the spring but it is safe to put down the drain and is said to be non toxic. It is usally neon pink. You will also want to pour it in the sink traps as well as pouring some in the tanks so your valves do not get frozen in place. Ice damages everything! Also if you can inspect the back of your water heater you may see a set of bypass valves installed. You will need to drain the heater and open the bypass valves prior to pumping the solution thru the system. If no valves then you can use antifreeze but you will need to fill the heater, using many more gallons. If you have a RV service place you use they may offer this as a fall service saving you a bunch of work. Also they will then be responseable for freeze damage.

I bet if you look in the RV section at Wal Mart this fall you will see it packaged in gallon jugs.
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Old 07-08-2002, 08:22 PM   #5
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I used appx. 8 gallons of RV antifreeze in my 31" Excella 500. I made sure that all water was drained from the unit the best I could then filled the fresh water tank with 7 gallons of the antifreeze. I ran a little of the stuff into the water heater then turned the bypass on. I then continued to run the stuff through all faucets by use of the water pump. I caught what was coming out of the faucets and ran it back into the fresh water tank until I was sure that all lines had antifreeze in them. Since I have a water hose reel, I pulled it out and poured antifreeze down the hose then used pressure to push it further into the system. My only water leak since purchasing the trailer in April '01 was an elbow in a low area coming from this hose reel. I capped the end of the hose off with one of the male threaded ends. I then poured the last gallon of full strength RV antifreeze down traps to both kitchen sinks, the bathroom sink and the tub to make sure the U traps were protected. I had plans on recycling it for next year but decided to just drain it out onto my grass.

Hope you get your lines fixed.
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Old 07-08-2002, 09:48 PM   #6
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Bigger than life pipes

Since the pipes have been frozen and expanded, there is no repair to the expanded (and leaking) pipes other than pipe replacement. This can be done in sections or you may have to replace the entire system. Also note that all of the water supply lines may be damaged to the point that leaks will develop later with use. Or as pressures in the system get higher with use. (as in hooked up to a unregulated water supply system)

You may have other issues too. Check the water tank, water heater and filter. The waste water system uses much larger diameter pipe and therefore may not have sustained damage.

Good luck.

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Old 07-09-2002, 07:45 AM   #7
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Question Repair Idea??

Wondering about the use of something like fuel line hose to repair the damaged section, slipping it over the copper tubing and securing it with hose clamps. Any thoughts on this approach?
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Old 07-09-2002, 10:30 AM   #8
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Repair with hose

I have fixed several leaks this way. Make sure you get the right size hose (make sure it's high pressure) that fits very snug. Mine was so snug, I used a heat gun to warm it up so it would slip over the pipe, then some high quality stainless steel clamps. I know some would not approve of this method, but it does work. Pulling new copper through would be a real pain.
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Old 07-09-2002, 10:54 AM   #9
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Getting hosed!

Be careful on the type of hose that you select. It should be the type of hose that is meant for drinking water. Or you might get a bad taste in the water.

I used some heater hose on my boat a couple of years ago to repair a water line. After a summers use the water started tasting really bad. I ended up replacing the hose with a clear type that was rated for drinking water use.

Sometimes I get really good at doing the job twice!

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Old 07-09-2002, 11:53 AM   #10
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Hey y'all,
The kind of hose you are talking about is tygon tubing, a clear hose for drinking water made for low pressure. The other hose is called nylabraid hose, it has what apears to be small rope like fibers in the plastic tubing, making it very durable.

I believe that finding, repairing with the tygon tubing, then testing for other leaks in the water system is ok for a short time fix. You can use it right now, then repipe the water system later on.

A pressure regulator for yor water system can be found at Campers World. The tygon tubing can be found at Home Depo or any hardware store. - Ray
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Old 07-09-2002, 12:22 PM   #11
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That's the hose!

The hose I used to make my repairs on my boat was nylabraid type. It had the reinforcement in the clear hose. It worked real well and is still in use after about 3 years. I used the boat over the 4th!

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Old 07-09-2002, 08:16 PM   #12
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Braided Hose

FYI:
We looked at a ton of new trailers before buying the old Airstream. All of them without exception had some of the clear Nylon hose with the ropes running throughit all over the place. They also used tubing similar to the stuff that comes with your icemaker kit for home, onloy bigger in diameter. I prefer the Copper, but would definitely do the easy fix, now that it is summer and time to enjoy the travels. You can always spend long fall and winter nights getting good with the copper stuff.
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Old 07-12-2002, 02:19 PM   #13
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I replaced the hot water heater in our 1978 Excella 500, rear bath. The original plumbing was a bit sad so I purchased new pipe and connectors from Home Depot, then when I wanted to connect the new pipe to the original Airstream pipe there was no way, the coupling went over the new pipe but no way would it go over the original Airstream pipe. I cut off a small piece of the Airstream pipe and found the thickness of the wall to be double the thickness of the Home Depot pipe and no way a standard sleeve would work, the pipe has never been frozen. Back to Home Depot and purchased some high pressure hose and joined the two together, hose rated for 100 lb.
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Old 07-12-2002, 04:13 PM   #14
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All copper tubing has standard exterior dimensions, regardless of wall thickness.
When a standard coupling will not fit the copper tubing in any Airstream ever built, there is but one answer.
It at some point in it's life, froze.
While Airstream is an unusual product, they do not use unusual sizes of anything.

Andy
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