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Old 05-05-2008, 10:09 AM   #1
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Pex connectors and bad temper

Over the weekend my neighbor was laughing at me and for good reason. I finally had time and good weather to try out the Pex plumbing I installed over winter months.
I turned on the water and my trailer looked like a big silver collender. I have at least 6 Pex connectors that leaked all over the trailer and out the bottom. About the time I got the mess cleaned up the shop vac tipped over in the trailer spilling the water again and I hit my head on the door frame on the way out the door. I launched the shop vac about 65 feet across the yard at that point. Man is my temper getting shorter as I get older...........
The connectors I used were the Seatech fittings found at Lowes. Can't figure out why they are leaking after taking them back apart and rechecking. I think I my be putting in some crimp fittings to solve the problem.
No recommendation from me on the Seatech fittings.
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:17 AM   #2
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Odd. The only things I can think to check are: 1) did you put the little black pieces inside the PEX tubing, 2) were your cuts 90 degrees to the tubing, and 3) were the cuts straight and burr free? any of these might cause leaks. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:30 AM   #3
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crimp fittings are not going to solve your problem (and may cause other problems).

I think you need to figure out why the Seatech fittings leaked. The primary suspects are either wrong pipe or improper installation. Both will increase risk of any other connection type having the same failure.

Of course, if you are trained in the proper use of crimped fittings and familiar and experienced with them but not trained, experienced or familiar with other types of fittings, then crimped fittings may be the easiest way to go (if you can afford the proper tools).

When you have a failure mode that is at odds with a mass of experience, then the proper place to look is not at the technology but rather your use of it. (although it is a natural human tendency to avoid blaming one's self)
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:39 AM   #4
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Honestly I'm not sure why they leaked. I cut the joints squarely with a good pipe cutter and used the small black pipe stiffeners. I'm not new to plumbing and have never had these type of leak issues. A monkey could install this stuff but apparently this monkey doesn't get it. I feel like I should have stayed with copper. Never had a soldered joint leak.
I'm guessing that joint cannot have any type of binding or any degree off center or it will leak.
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:41 AM   #5
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I think you are in good company. Tim from theVap also had this problem, as did Frank from Annaluminum (from what I remember)... or was it Rob? I also remember some others.

Good luck! I can imagine the comedy show from OUTSIDE the trailer! : ) I might have thrown just about as far!
So sorry this happened!
Marc
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:12 AM   #6
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I have been using a fair amount of the Flair-it fittings and clear 1/2in Pex tubing, and only had drips where male Flair-it fittings went into a metal FPT connection, such as is found on a water heater or pressure regulator. The drips were caused by there being not enough sealer tape around the plastic threads of the Flair-it fitting. A mistake on my part, but easy to fix.
There would have to be something fundamentally wrong if you have that many leaks. I am certain that once you figure it out, you will be very pleased with the PEX system.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:22 AM   #7
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I have not used Seatech fittings, but I have used Flair-It fittings with out any issues. They go together easily, no inserts to use and I have no leaks (knocking on wood).
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:58 AM   #8
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Are the Flair-it fittings an internet special order item?

I was thinking about getting one of the knock off tools for crimping I see advertised on ebay. I believe the guy makes them in his machine shop.
The other problem I forgot to mention before is the drain valves for the entire system continually leak through the valve. I even switched a few of them out with some other valves in the system but those leaked just as much.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:02 PM   #9
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Is it possible that there was a bad batch of SeaTech fittings?
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:12 PM   #10
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I bought mine over the internet at a place called PexConnections.
I could not fine much Pex stuff in Phoenix 2 years ago.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:23 PM   #11
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I used CPVC in my replacement of the water system this winter and have been putting off hooking water to it to see if I have any leaks. I was going to use the PEX system but every time I went into Home Depot they were always out of most of the fittings. I understand the PEX system will not rupture if there is any water in the lines over the winter so it seems like a better way to go but boy is it expensive. Has anyone else used CPVC or am I the only one stupid enough to do this?
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:13 PM   #12
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I've never used crimped or Sea Tech fittings. I've always used the Flair-it fittings with white or clear PEX tubing. I've tried several times to get the color-coded blue and red tubing for hot/cold lines, but no one in my area has any interest in finding it. A heat gun is very handy - a hair dryer helps - but a two speed Milwaukee heat gun is best, use the low setting. Heating the tubing before cutting makes it easier to cut with a sharp knife. I put a small amount of vasilene on the fitting and the threads of the nut. Heat the tubing and it slips on easily on the fitting. Tighten the nut until it bottoms out. You can use the heat gun to bend the tubing around corners instead of adding more fittings. This not only makes the installation easier and less expensive, but prevents the possiblity of leaks in those hard-to-get-to areas. Darol
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:13 PM   #13
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I just might be another stupid one.

I, too, used CPVC in my '61 Safari throughout. I looked over pex plumbing repair in the service department at Airstream of Spokane and did not like the "spaghetti mess" and the fact that they were replacing pex that had leaked.
My first experience with CPVC was in the mid 70's and was not good. The pipe was OK, but the glue was inadequate. They seem to have fixed that problem.
I like the fact that CPVC is fairly rigid and allowed me to slope all of it (with supports) to the drains resulting in no loops with water festering or freezing when drained for the season. I had the "luxury" of plumbing a gutted trailer so did not have to fish lines under, over, and around things. PEX excells at that! I tested the whole system with about 60 psi for a couple of days and had no leaks.
And, the cpvc was available and within my budget.
I am not saying that cpvc is better than pex, but that it has worked very well for me.
Sam
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:33 PM   #14
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I feel a little better after reading your experience with CPVC Sam. I gutted my trailer so installing it was easy. I used the diagram in the old manual that came with the trailer and installed everything back to what it was origanally.
The prior owner took out the tank and old water pump because he said he only went to camp grounds with full hook ups. I also added a one way valve at the water heater to keep the hot water from going into the cold water line. I also recycled the old copper water lines and got $30 for it. What a deal!
Ralph in Deer Park, WA
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