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Old 07-27-2009, 09:28 PM   #1
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Question Copper pipe size

I found a leak in the supply line to my toilet. This is a 1976 Sovereign 31 with centre bath. Plumbing all looks original. My problem is, in Canada, all of the plumbing suppliers look at me like I am crazy, when I ask for fittings for 3/8" copper. The only fitting that I have found is a 3/8 to 1/2 coupler. Problem is the OD of the 3/8 line is .42" and the ID of the coupling is .48". This is way to big a gap to fill with solder. Can anyone tell me the OD of 3/8" couplers in the US. Also, do Home Depot carry 3/8 pex in the US. They don't even know aboout 3/8 pex anywhere I ask up here. Any help would be appreciated
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by CBWELL View Post
I found a leak in the supply line to my toilet. This is a 1976 Sovereign 31 with centre bath. Plumbing all looks original. My problem is, in Canada, all of the plumbing suppliers look at me like I am crazy, when I ask for fittings for 3/8" copper. The only fitting that I have found is a 3/8 to 1/2 coupler. Problem is the OD of the 3/8 line is .42" and the ID of the coupling is .48". This is way to big a gap to fill with solder. Can anyone tell me the OD of 3/8" couplers in the US. Also, do Home Depot carry 3/8 pex in the US. They don't even know aboout 3/8 pex anywhere I ask up here. Any help would be appreciated

If the OD of your 3/8 copper is anything greater than 3/8, then at some point, it was in a freeze.

You should probably check the OD in several places, to see if perhaps you need to replace most or all of it.

Andy

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Old 07-28-2009, 12:22 AM   #3
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Our Airstream was plumbed with ˝ inch PEX. I bought a ˝ PEX crimping tool at Home Depot, and a PEX ring cutter on Ebay. Home Depot should have an assortment of PEX tools and fittings, unless PEX doesn’t meet local plumbing code. I re-plumbed the kitchen with ˝ inch PEX, and I can’t think of an easier pipe material to use.

The 3/8 inch copper to anything might be a challenge, as I had this size on my air compressor tank, and had to mate it to a new compressor. The easiest to find and use, was compression rings and fittings to reduce ˝ inch copper pipe to 3/8 inch copper pipe, this fitting has a compression fitting at each end, one for each size of pipe. If your pipes were in a freeze like Andy said, this might be a good time to re-evaluate the whole plumbing system.

If you are considering using a non standard (for your area) PEX size for plumbing, you might consider keeping some spare parts and plumbing tools on hand at all the time. The hardware stores that I have looked for PEX parts all seem to have ˝ inch PEX parts in stock, and more of this size than the others.

Steve
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:38 PM   #4
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Thank you Andy and Darlingbrooks. I measured the pipe in several other locations, and yes it is .375 or 3/8". We do not have any 3/8 copper pipe in Canada, only copper tubing. I have the Airstream shop manual and they show 3/8 copper fittings, ie elbows, tee's etc. Nobody in any of the plumbing supply companies I deal with have any of these fittings. I plan on using pex to replace, with shark (as you call them) fittings. Guess a trip to Grand Forks ND is in the program this weekend.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:16 PM   #5
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I ran into the same problem recently replumbing my 71 Caravel with Pex. When it came to the last two sinks with the 3/8' copper I wasn't ready to dismantle the sink faucets to do a complete changeout so I used the Pex compression fittings to convert from the copper to Pex.

Here's a link: Compression PEX Fittings (QS-Style) - Wirsbo Compression Fittings - PEX Compression Fittings

Tom
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:42 PM   #6
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I have a 69 Overlander with copper pipe that is 1/2" ID. It is quite round and regular over the entire length. It doesn't look damaged. I have been unable to find replacement fittings which will allow be to connect it to anything.

Anyone have experience?
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:20 PM   #7
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I had the same problem with our 76-- 31 rear bath and was told some of the units were made with copper used for refrigeration which is a whole new ball game, I had to use a swedge ( it looks like a bottle neck and you can get it from a plumbing shop and you have to use a flaring block with it ) to expand the copper so it would fit the standard copper tubing .
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:21 AM   #8
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If it will help, we did some 'home plumbing' a while back and discovered a product for plumber-minded people....called 'Sharkbite' they are fittings that are really cool when you need to tie some pipes together. Look'em up.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:07 PM   #9
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I tried to buy Gatorbite, SharkBite, and Seatech quick fittings. None matched my pipe size. There were 2 leaks. In one case, a previous owner had placed plumber's putty over a reducer fitting in the service center. In another, they had actually removed a small section of pipe between the shower valve and shower head and connected the gap with tygon and clamps.

This past weekend I decided to dig in and do exploratory surgery. Turns out the plumber's putty was covering a coupling with almost no depth of contact. I heated it up and removed the couplings (the OEM plumbing required a set of two). With a little re-work, that pipe went back together just fine.

The gap was a different matter. I bought some "modern" 1/2 inch pipe and fittings and soldered the section to the shower head. I connected to the old 1/2 inch (ID) using a coupling and Copper Bond epoxy. It looks awful, but it seems to hold OK. I'll have to watch it over the next couple thousand miles.

I looked for replacement fittings everywhere. I guess I need to find a "part" trailer and take my torch and cutter.

Matt
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:00 PM   #10
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My plumbing for this year is over, finally. I have found 1/2" copper, 3/8" copper. and 3/8" copper tubing in my trailer. Pex is the answer, and a trip to Grand Forks ND solved the problem. Replaced most of the 3/8" hard copper with 3/8 Pex, some of the 1/2" copper with Pex and most of the 3/8 tubing with a plastic line. Even pulled the toilet and found the ball valve had been slightly leaking for a long time. Replaced that too. I have a shop manual and found it to be most usefull, and it showed the three different sizes of pipe used. Next spring will replace all of the remaining copper. Thanks everybody for your input.
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:46 PM   #11
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I spent the weekend at a unit rally. One of the guys there said he uses a flairing tool and reduces the diameter of the pipe to fit in a standard coupling.

I think I'll try it next time.
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