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Old 09-04-2013, 11:07 AM   #1
Rivet Master

1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 547
FYI Notes Laying Out Fresh Water System



Episode 189: Getting Fresh! | The Vintage Airstream Podcast

I took these notes for my own benefit they are not a transcript. I strongly suggest listening to the show for anything I missed and any asides that I did not include The Vintage Airstream Podcast | Vintage Trailer Restoration By the way Tim has a really helpful and entertaining book out “Restoring A Dream”

I am posting these notes after getting permission from Tim Shepard because they maybe helpful. Consider it a starting point for further research. This was a great show and really helped me understand what I needed to do.

Again, these are notes to myself not something I am passing in for a college class.

Good luck with your plumbing


Rogue River, Oregon

City water inlet has check valve—when disconnected do not want the fresh water system to drain out.

Place the entry on side of frame aft of the body and forwards of bumper. Once get into bumper truck area and forward through x member go straight up through floor. Then as soon as we get through the floor we put a ball values there. Then get into the normal cold system.

The reason we do this is so if we use trailer in the cold weather can drain off the last foot or so of pipe in the cold area so won’t freeze up. Able to open to drain by just pushing the check valves while our ball value is closed so drains the water and won’t freeze up also part of it is to just drive away with values open and “self” winterize.

The water pump has a check valve built in so when you have city pressure it doesn’t back fill into the water tank.

Can now tee anywhere with your city water fill install and water will travels in all directions in the system pressurizes the system including hot water heater (but not the fresh water tank)

So it branches off to the to galley sink, to bottom of hot water heater, bathroom vanity sink, and the shower faucets and the toilet. Installing inline shut off valves at all the fixtures, sink taps etc allows for easier serviceability. You also able to isolate a problem by shutting off the valves and can use rest of system.

For toilets with a hand sprayer Colin puts a tee in line and then a shut off valve in front of it before the feed to the toilet. The sprayer attaches to the tee. You can then flush toilet then shut off valve and use sprayer to save water because as usually set up you have to hold the foot pedal down when you use the hand sprayer using twice the water.


Hot water heater; build a hot water tank by pass using the pex vales. A valve goes into the hot water heater and on going out of the hot water heater. Then there is a tee link going across the linking the two together, a by pass. So if you choose to winterize your trailer with aniti freeze you can actually drain off your water heater and pump in antifreeze and by pass the water heater. Also if there is a problem you can isolate the heater with the shut off valve

Can drain off your water heater and pump eliminate by pass kit.

To drain system, install a direct drain right off the fresh water tank. What you have is a ball valve just inside with an elbow dropping a line out the bottom of the trailer, which is open on the bottom. The ball vales inside the trailer are in the heated area so everything below the ball valve where it is cold drains out

Ball valves brass pex fitting on either end.

Tim did a modification when he is hooked up to city water he can open up a ball valve and can fill the fresh water tank instead of having to drag out the hose and fill through 1 3/8 tubes into water tank. See below, Listen to VAP.

Have the knife valves/ ball valve in pairs (hot cold) the bathroom area and have dumps at both ends of the trailer and the water tank itself and any low points. So you can open up a series of valves and drive away and going up hill or down hill it is going to self-drain. Want them on both the hot and cold sides. In my case, under sink in bath and at fresh water tank

Cold water-to-water tank pump and fresh water tank pressure equalizer to equalize pulsation of the pump-to-pump then others off side of pex goes into tank

If plumb the water pump with pex stand the risk of noise getting transferred from the pump up through the system giving rattles squeals banging in your plumbing.

Can alternatively plumb with a cut up piece of white garden hose use for fill from city water that way the flexible hose dissipates vibrates that happens down stream in your main system.

Sure flow sells a silencing kit for this purpose, which includes rubber spaces, and 2 short flex hose tie inlet and outlet of water system to absorb any noise.

Tim’s modification: So this is the area where Tim teed off the water system coming in from the city as it went into the water pump. He put a tee with a shut off value to feed an extra fitting he had built into his custom water tank so when he is hooked to the city water inlet he can open it up and fill up his fresh water tank again before he hits the road again. The way he doesn’t have to drag out and use hose through the usual inlet. Colin suggest can go into the of the tank and the water would fill and displace air out top

Output of the water pump goes into the cold water system don’t need check value it is built into pump.

Colin doesn’t install inside regulator. He uses inline regulator outside and puts it at the beginning of the white hose, right at the spigot. He carries a new regulator just incase. It is put at spigot so won’t blow out white hose if there is a surge from the campground water system.

Colin does not use fresh water filter uses bottled water.

Plumbed cold water pex up to bottom of h20 heater Hot water out the top Immediately out the top have the link to cold as part of by pass scenario so need valve on top, there before it drops down across to the link then basically go to the hot outlets or to vanity sink shower

Added one in the bumper trunk gardenia fitting, like a plastic air quick release used to clean off a hand held shower with a guardian valve on it as well Clean off feet or wash dog.

Can use foam insulator on hot water lines

Again listen to the show to get it from the horse’s mouth. These notes I took for me and may not be complete.

Episode 189: Getting Fresh! | The Vintage Airstream Podcast
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