Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-24-2014, 11:57 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
Mantua , Ohio
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 97
Copper v. Pex

Copper v. Pex???
I'm old school, copper even in my rentals and new construction companies.
My 61' has the factory 3/8" copper lines, no leaks. BUT,,, I AM redoing the system itself with a pump, plastic tanks, tankless hot water, faucets, etc.
I lack experience with Pex, but I have messed with it extensively and feel confident I can re-plumb the whole thing.
I'm in deeper than I originally planned anyways, so to convert to Pex, really isn't a big deal.
Again, I prefer Copper, as I can fix a break VERY fast, but in the long run, should I just convert over to Pex and if yes, should I go to 1/2 lines?
THANKS and Merry Christmas!

Studioman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 12:06 PM   #2
Rivet Monster
wahoonc's Avatar

1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,174
Images: 40
I prefer pex in an RV due to vibration as well as the possibility of a freeze. My house has copper. Half inch is what I used, with crimped fittings.


__________________ many little time...
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 12:16 PM   #3
Rivet Master
HowieE's Avatar
1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,899
Images: 12
For a reinstall I would use crimp fitting. But for any future repairs use Shark Bite fittings.

All you need to know to work with plastic is how to use a ruler and a saw. Everything else is self forgiving. That is why the plumbing fraternity fought the use of it so hard when first introduced.
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

HowieE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 12:19 PM   #4
Rivet Master

2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 4,320
1/2 inch PEX is the way to go. Spend the money for a good crimper and gauge set.

The cheap crap one that you use with a pair of locking pliers will not crimp reliably. Been there, wasted time and money... They have them in most big box stores.

Sent from my pocket Internet using Airstream Forums
'The Silver HamShack' (2007 International 22FB CCD 75th Aniversary model)
Multiple Yaesu Ham Radios inside and many antennae sprouting from roof, ProPride hitch
2012 shortbed crewcab 4x4 Toyota Taco TV with more antennae on it
rmkrum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 12:53 PM   #5
Rivet Master
BambiTex's Avatar
1967 26' Overlander
1955 22' Flying Cloud
1964 17' Bambi II
Clear Lake Shores , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,204
I replaced all the leaking copper with PEX in my 64. It tolerates freezing and vibration better and a plus for me was no need to solder. Easily repairable too.
BambiTex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 01:15 PM   #6
Rivet Master
ALANSD's Avatar

1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 8,510
pexuniverse is a good source
1966 overlander..sold
AIR #005
Please visit our blogs and web pages:
ALANSD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 01:58 PM   #7
Rivet Master
DFlores's Avatar
1968 22' Safari
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 581
Images: 3
I used 1/2" Pex from Home Depot and the crimp style rings, Home Depot is easier to find anywhere in the country and the crimper works with multiple size pipe and the stainless steel crimp rings will not expand as much in the freeze/thaw cycle as the copper rings do, that can cause small leaks.
David & Diana
DFlores is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 02:05 PM   #8
Rivet Master
J. Morgan's Avatar

1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
Currently Looking...
Benton , Arkansas
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,066
Images: 11
Copper v. Pex

Pex in a trailer is so easy that it is practically a no brainer.

Fast, easy, done, move on to the next project.

(I would have gone the way of copper had I not read this forum, hat tip Airforums!)

I used all brass hardware and copper crimp rings with a modified bolt cutter crimper I got off eBay.

The first trailer might have taken a good part of a couple days to plumb, the second took about a half day.

1/2 Ton 4WD Truck, 72 Sovereign Hensley Arrow
The fact that I am opinionated does not presuppose that I am wrong......

J. Morgan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 02:06 PM   #9
2 Rivet Member
1978 29' Ambassador
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 25
Images: 2
Use PEX but go ahead and buy a good crimper as rmkrum suggests. SharkBite works well enough but for the price of those fittings you can afford to just buy the crimper. I redid my entire '78 Ambassador in PEX and it has been through a number of hard freezes with no ill effects.
mojofilter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 02:38 PM   #10
Dazed and Confused
Isuzusweet's Avatar

Currently Looking...
1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,748
I went with PexA Uponor/Wirsbo system....The nice thing about this series of pipe is that it expands to fit OVER a 1/2" fitting; you don't loose any flow as opposed to other crimp systems. This means that it expandabilty is double what other Pex pipe is, so concerns over freezing expansion will be less. The Wirsbo system is very easy to install and my project was the first time using it with no leaks.

I have been told never to use Sharkbite fittings where you can't see or reach as there is a possibility of them leaking due to vibration or pressure. A good quick fix, but very expensive to do a whole rig as well.

Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

ďItís a recession when your neighbor loses his job; itís a depression when you lose your own.Ē "Harry S Truman"
Isuzusweet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 03:23 PM   #11
Rivet Master
68 TWind's Avatar
1968 24' Tradewind
Oxford, , Mississippi
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,451
Pex for sure. Cuts like butter with a PVC pipe cutter, IMHO a must have tool. I had a summer job once re-plumbing house trailers back in the days before PEX. I installed a lot of copper that summer so I can tell you that PEX is by far the easiest way to go and I think the best.
I used crimp rings on most of my connections but there were several places were I could not make the "last" connection due to space. I used a few SharkBites in those places. I found that in some of the cramped locations you can make the connections up outside the trailer and then put them in and make the last crimp. Use a Sharpie to mark orientation of the fittings when you mock it up then take it out and do the crimps. Put a short length of PEX in your tool box along with a few SharkBite unions and you are ready for most problems but most likely you will never need it. The only leak I had develop was after a couple of summers of camping. It was where the tubing from the water pump mated with the PEX. The hose clamp leaked on the tubing side of the connector but not the crimped on PEX fitting. I have had zero leaks with crimp rings or SharkBites.
Bruce & Rachel
68 Trade Wind
2001 Toyota Tundra
68 TWind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 04:10 PM   #12
Rivet Master
A W Warn's Avatar
2000 25' Safari
1999 34' Excella
Davidson County, NC , Highlands County, FL
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,794
You will be glad you did. After your first install, you will wonder why you did not try it before. And, you will be done with copper from then on.
2014 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 5.3L maximum trailering package (yes, I'm towing the 34')
A W Warn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 07:32 PM   #13
Rivet Master
Wayward's Avatar
2006 25' Safari FB SE
Cary , North Carolina
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 824
I do a lot of work with both. I much prefer working with copper - I think it looks more professional and solid but ...............I really have a hard time justifying it over PEX in most cases.

I have had a few tight spaces where I could not get the crimping tool in and had to sweat copper or use the sharkbite compression PEX connectors. If a copper repair just needs 2 or three fittings, I will replace with copper because I know I would have to solder on a few copper-to-PEX barbs anyway.

But mostly, for a remodel or addition, now I grab the crimper and a coil of blue or red PEX. It is faster than sweating and, because it can make mild bends and twists, it saves a few joints/fittings.

Although soft copper will hold up well, for a travel trailer, PEX seems ideal. 1/2" for main supplies and 3/8' for fixtures. The home improvement stores do not carry 3/8" but, on a travel trailer it seems like it would be far easier to work with than 1/2". Airstream uses all 1/2" probably becuse that is what most fixtures are set up for.

Copper ring crimpers are the way to go. You do not need to gauge every crimp - just check the first and last on a job to see if the crimp tool is wearing. Use a pair of shears to cut the pipe and use a deburring tool

I now carry a Dremel tool with a metal cutoff wheel to remove crimp rings.
2006 Safari SE FB
2000 F150 4.2L
2011 F250 6.2L
Broadway, NC
Wayward is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 08:45 PM   #14
Rivet Master

2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 4,320
There exists a tool to remove PEX rings, but the one I have from Home Depot requires cutting the PEX then using the tool to split the ring off the fitting. A Dremel tool is ok if you don't scuff the tubing.

Sent from my pocket Internet using Airstream Forums

'The Silver HamShack' (2007 International 22FB CCD 75th Aniversary model)
Multiple Yaesu Ham Radios inside and many antennae sprouting from roof, ProPride hitch
2012 shortbed crewcab 4x4 Toyota Taco TV with more antennae on it
rmkrum is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cost to go from copper to PEX? CarrieSue Trailer Values 15 02-25-2012 08:19 PM
PVC or PEX or copper 64TrotterAtl Plumbing - Systems & Fixtures 25 09-13-2008 08:53 AM
Copper vs. PEX ckeysor Fresh Water Systems 19 07-11-2007 12:03 PM
Keep the copper or replace with PEX kdenault Fresh Water Systems 16 03-13-2007 09:37 PM
Cost: PEX vs Copper TomW Fresh Water Systems 5 04-13-2006 06:15 AM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:40 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.