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Old 12-26-2007, 11:41 PM   #1
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New Freshwater System

First off, I would like to tell everyone here that I appreciate all of the available knowledge and willingness to share it with others. I have scavenged the forums for quite a bit of info, but this is my first post. I (like some others on here) am a pilot and a newly minted Airstream owner (thanks to my new engagement as she brings with her a 1965 Globetrotter). My future wife is a decorative painter and interior designer so needless to say, things "look pretty" but there is not a whole lot that is functional. The wiring is in good shape, however, the plumbing is down-right horrible.

The guidance I was given by my future better half is that I needed a new water pump, so off I went and purchased a Sureflow "Super Duper" Silent Water Pump, when I disconnected the water hose (actual Garden Water Hose which had been used in lieu of flex tubing) that had been used as a temporary patch on the old system I was greeted with a plethora of white, crusty, and smelly material falling out of the tubes (I assume is related to hard water among other things). Upon further inspection of the copper lines (all orig.) they also had all of this buildup in them. Rather than deal with the old copper tubes, which I am sure will leak, I am looking at replacing them with some flex tubing that a buddy reccomended (he used it on the Coast Guard boats when they needed to do the same thing).

I am getting to a point here:
My initial plan of action is to remove some of the copper tubing so I can see the size that I will need to replace. Then replaace the tubing with the flex hose in sections as needed. I am also a little perplexed at how I will get the copper fittings from the water tank, water hook up inlet location, etc to fit with the new tubing (see question #2), any reccomendations?

#2 What kind of hose do I need. I have seen others refer to a "PEX" hose, which I am thinking is some sort of pressure hose as I know the water system will operate at around 30 psi or higher. Can I pick this up at a local hardware store, or do I need to go to an RV/Marine store I have also seen quite a few threads on how to connect the PEX, but am still at a loss on what would be best.

#3 With all of the crud in the lines and water system, would you reccomend replacing the freshwater tank, or just cleaning it out first.

I have restored old cars, train locomotives, and WWII airplanes, so I am not scared to get dirty or enthralled into a project. However, Airstreams are a new animal to me and any/all help would be greatly appreciated. I will have pictures as soon as I can of the water system, but figured I would get this post out there ASAP as I am looking to get started tomorrow.
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Old 12-26-2007, 11:54 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums!
Pex will transition from copper with the help of "Sharkbite" fittings or similar. Pex can be purchased at most hardware stores. Yes, it will handle the pressure. I had to use 2 different sizes in mine, was never sure if that was original or not.
How I handle the water tank might depend on how easy it is to remove, due to location. Some tanks are buried deep in the trailer and might best be sanitized in place.
Good luck,
Dave
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Old 12-26-2007, 11:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response. The water tank is mounted in the front of the trailer and is pretty easily accessable (although looks can be a little misleading). I will be pulling out the table and such that sits on top of it anyway as I am planning on building a fold out bed for that area anyway. Is there a preferred size of the PEX that usually works with most of the Airstream plumbing?
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:01 AM   #4
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My '72 used mostly 1/2", except under the kitchen sink.
I would consider pulling the tank if access is easy and it is that gunky.
Dave
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:22 AM   #5
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Ok, neato. I assume that is 1/2" ID since the copper tubing is pretty small stuff as it is? I am thinking about replacement etc as I have heard all of the horror stories about the plumbing and upkeep of the system (tubes etc), especially since it has gone unused for so long.

Also, I have drawn out a diagram (to tbe best of my ability) for the freshwater system of the airstream (gray and blackwater will be another diagram and event in and amongst itself I think). Does anyone know where a good replacement for the water heater will be since the gas will be next on my list and the waterheater is sure to have all kinds of gunky crapola in it(unless they make a dual heating water heater that will run off of gas and electricity).
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:25 AM   #6
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They do make dual mode water heaters.
Atwood and Suburban both make water heaters, I paid extra and got the electric ignition model - I was tired of lighting pilot lights.
Dave
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:38 AM   #7
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Nice, simple diagram of your fresh water system.

A few comments; you only show one sink. I think you should have 2, one kitchen and one bath. Also, sink H shows both water lines coming from the water heater.

You may also wish to consider a bypass for the water heater and a valve before the water pump to winterize from.
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Old 12-27-2007, 02:14 AM   #8
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Check Valve

Skycop-

You also want a check valve or backflow preventer just to the left of the pump on your drawing. I assume you have the same type of water tank that I have on the '65 Caravel, which is not intended to be pressurized.

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Old 12-27-2007, 07:20 AM   #9
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Is the tank metal and round? If so it was most likely orgianally a pressure tank. If there is not a pre-filter on the pump, install one in an accessable place. This will catch most of the crud.
From one pilot and mechanic to another. I am soo envious. I would love a trailer to restore. Just need the space.
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Old 12-27-2007, 07:24 AM   #10
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If is it wired for 110 at the heater then get a dual fuel one. They are nice. 100 when in a full hookup campground. No wasted Propane. Gas for boon docking, dry camping, etc. It is nice to wake up in a walmart parking lot and get a hot shower.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:10 AM   #11
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Awesome, yes there is a mistake in the diagram, and I do have a sink in the shower area.

John,
I will check on the backflow valve and if there is not one installed, I will make it happen. You are saying that it needs to be on the waterpump output line BEFORE it joins up with the incoming water from the hookup? (area of blue arrow in picture?)

EDIT: I have re-uploaded orig picture with corrections listed above (and the blue arrow for location of check valve)
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:27 AM   #12
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If your pump has back flow prevention, then you'll need to add another drain aft of the pump too. The drains should be at the lowest point in the lines.

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Old 12-27-2007, 09:31 AM   #13
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Here's my fresh water system diagram. Do not forget the pressure regulator for the city water supply. I put mine in as a permanent part of the system so I don't ever forget to hook it to the hose. That would be a mess.

Brad
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:03 AM   #14
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Check Valve Location

Skycop-

Yes, that is the right location. Compare your drawing to the one in Chapter 12 of the 1965 Caravel Manual online at the Vintage Airstream Cub site -- http://airstream.net/members/documen...s%20Manual.pdf

I had a 1963 Globetrotter before the 1965 Caravel. The '63 had a tank that could handle pressure, which I assume Brad has in his '59. That is probably why he doesn't have the check valve. With the '65 year, it is obviously not a pressure vessel.

If you haven't seen that manual, it could be very helpful.

John
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