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Old 07-10-2007, 09:11 PM   #1
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Question PEX Conversion

I am thinking or ripping out the copper and going with PEX in the 26' Argosy.

Never played with PEX but have done copper and PVC.

I was thinking of running 2 manifolds. One for hot and one for cold and with the ability to shut each fixture off individually.

Any problems with the system?? Any pointers or pitfalls to avoid??
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:24 PM   #2
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I think it's a great idea, something many of us have either done, or are in the process of doing. It is easy to work with, more forgiving in freezing conditions. There are various types/brands of fittings.
There are several threads that have a lot of info in them - rather than re-post all of that, I would suggest a search.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:33 PM   #3
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Manifolds are good! ... Sort of!

I converted my 20' to PEX. Was pretty easy, I bought the little block crimper from Home Depot, it is quite a bit cheaper than the squeeze type, and now easy to keep in the trailer in case of need on the road. Worked fine, but much slower, hey only doing it once anyway! Never did get to the shower though, and of course I left it one night tooo long in those early fall clear cold nights, I now have to convert those lines too. PEX had no problems.

I did do the manifolds, (Home Depot) with ball valves on each connection. It is very nice, I only need to put water to the fixture I need, especially nice in freezing weather. With the above mentioned shower problem I go right along using the trailer, just turned off the valves to the shower, never missed a beat, just a shower!

Two disadvantages though, they hold lots of antifreeze. You need to flush thoroughly in the spring to get clean water all the way out of all the lines. Second, I find a tendancy to use more hot water, as that manifold is full of cold water and it takes awhile to flush all that through before you get the hot. It actually seems to mix slowly in the manifold, like a mixing chamber. It isn't like the cold flushes straight through, sort of blends from cold to hot at the tap. Makes no difference on the cold side. ...It would be great if I could design a little recirc system from the hot manifold back to the hot water tank, switch a little pump on for a minute, and away you go!
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:38 PM   #4
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I like PEX.

It's lighter and way more freeze resistant than copper. I have a PEX water line in my farmhouse that freezes a few times a year , but it never splits. I would suggest putting in a bypass for the water heater. That limits the amount of anti freeze you use for the water tank. Maybe try a search here on the forum on that topic.
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:30 PM   #5
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PEX works great. I re-plumbed my 26' Argosy with 1/2" lines. One for hot and one for cold. (no manifolds)(less water to purge) I put in a tee at each fixture. I can get suprised in the shower if my wife turns on the kitchen faucet, but that will happen unless you use a pressure balanced shower valve. I put in shut-off valves (angle stops) at each fixture.
I made sure that all fittings were placed in heated areas. While the PEX lines are very forgiving under freezing conditions the fittings are not. The PEX lines are tough, but keep them away from abrasive things.
Good luck. Dennis
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Old 07-11-2007, 02:08 AM   #6
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You'll find PEX used exclusively in new Airstreams AND just about every new RV made today. You don't need a crimp tool (especially burdensome in tight areas) if you use Sea-Tech push-in fittings. They work very well, and I have not had a single leak in any system I have installed or repaired in the last 2 years of their use.

They are sold in HD and Lowes as Watts, come in lots of sizes and types, and will certainly do the job for you in your conversion.

Be sure to save all of that copper you rip out....it's worth some serious $$$$ now.
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Old 07-11-2007, 08:41 AM   #7
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I redid my Sovereign, details in this thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f443...ign-23313.html

You can see I bought the squeeze tool. I like the small fittings and any excuse to buy a tool is a good and sufficient excuse!

After I did a trip in February in the Caravel when the temps were hovering around Zero degrees F from here (Colorado) to Albuquerque to Flagstaff I decided to change it over to PEX, too. The one area that I found to be most distressing is I couldn't remember to pour anti-freeze in the drain line from the sink, so I froze up the lower J-trap one night, but fortunately it didn't break.

Besides the drain pitfall noted above, I think the most vulnerable item in the plumbing system (after you get the PEX installed) is the valve in the toilet. If you anticipate camping and letting the trailer interior drop below freezing, you need to have some way to either drain the lines or prevent water from getting to that valve. In cold weather I start with all lines drained and I have a valve in-line with the toilet supply so I can turn it off. I use bottles of (not "bottled") water to flush. I don't worry too much about holding tanks freezing if the daytime temps get above freezing. Most places I go, I only have to worry about those 20 degree temps between midnight and sunrise.

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Old 07-11-2007, 08:43 AM   #8
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I used pex and a manifold (pictured here - a little blurry but . ..) and love it! The manifold can withstand household pressure (though the water pump and water heater may not).

I love having all the valves in one easy-to-get-to spot. Makes winterizing a breeze.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:04 AM   #9
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Red is hot, blue is cold . . . VERY easy to install. I did buy the short-handled crimp tool, and will take it with me on bigger/longer trips, along with my Pex kit that I've made - just in case.

I also have check valves that keep water pressure from the pump going to shore water line, and shore water line pressure from going to the pump (both check valves, made of brass, are visible in the picture in my last post).
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:54 AM   #10
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That is excellent!!!! Just what I was picturing in my mind. Thanks a bunch for the great pictures. I hope you don't mind if I pick your brain when I get ready to do mine........
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Old 07-11-2007, 11:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Sundance
That is excellent!!!! Just what I was picturing in my mind. Thanks a bunch for the great pictures. I hope you don't mind if I pick your brain when I get ready to do mine........
For my part - any time.
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:15 PM   #12
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My trailer has the gray polybutalyne piping. I read that this stuff is subject to breaking down due to exposure to chlorine. Since I am replacing the rear floor I went ahead and decided to change the plumbing since it is buried so deeply and I don't want problems down the road.
I am using the pex with Watts fittings. This material is so easy to use a monkey could put it together. What I don't like about the Watts fittings are that they are big and very expensive. I could not locate a crimper that was reasonably priced so I decided to go ahead and use the Watts fittings since I hope this is a one time fix. This is the only place I ever plan on using pex since by code we cannot use it in our houses in this part of the country.

I have not finished my plumbing work so I have no idea if it will lead - I found out that I have to replace more flooring in the front of the trailer. So much for an ebay purchase..... Now that I intimately understand how these trailers are put together maybe I will find a newer one that is wrecked and rebuild it. (The wife is not happy about this idea).
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:23 PM   #13
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Two related pictures in my photo gallery.
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:30 PM   #14
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A common misconception on PEX is the lifespan. I think it gets mixed up with polybutalyne piping in some folks minds.

The lifespan of PEX is over 200 years (long beyond my trailering days).

I am surprized that Kentucky does not allow it in homes??? Copper lobby perhaps??
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