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Old 02-14-2015, 03:29 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Pex or not to Pex ?

I want to replace copper with pex. No leaks, but I I want to update and maybe save a few pounds hauling. Advise?
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Old 02-14-2015, 03:39 PM   #2
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Absolutely. Use Pex. I used it in an install in my pool house, and just added an ice maker in the freezer of my new Classic. All of the water lines in Airstreams are Pex. Not only is it safer than copper, it has a bit of give if it freezes (just a bit). If you use it, invest in the proper crimp tool (around $100), and check every crimp to make sure they are circular....you can get a tool to do this. Ex is easy for a beginner to work with....a lot easier than sweating copper joints!
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Old 02-14-2015, 04:02 PM   #3
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So just slip and crimp? I was curious. I saw the barbed fittings but wondered how to keep it in place under 6o lbs/psi...
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Old 02-14-2015, 04:03 PM   #4
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Also...i see the Pex comes in rolls. Does that make for a cumbersome fit for runs? Is it sold in straight lengths?
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Old 02-14-2015, 04:16 PM   #5
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You can buy it in straight sections, which is what I did. No experience with the rolls... Buy the metal fittings (elbows, valves). Only time I've heard of a PEX failure is with the plastic elbows.

-Red, two years in, no leaks...
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Old 02-14-2015, 04:20 PM   #6
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Pex is great but has pros and cons

It is sold in straight lengths.

One challenge with pex is getting the pitch so that you can drain the system when winterizing. Hardware stores also sell curved brackets and such that make the job easier.

I think that the fittings such as elbows and Ts can cause issues. They can crack due to freezing, and they are a pain to remove. I'd be tempted to use sharkbytes for that reason.

I do wonder about mice chewing the pex, but have no first hand experience
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Old 02-14-2015, 04:25 PM   #7
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Man I'm glad mandolindave checked in here...

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Old 02-14-2015, 04:45 PM   #8
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I replumbed our 1976 with Pex. Used the SharkBites on anything that might have to be removed (Hot Water Heater etc) to make things easier. Take your time and it will work out great. I used the ratchet type clamps and pliers and had no problems. Chris
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Old 02-14-2015, 05:06 PM   #9
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I did our '74 in PEX several years ago, I used the rolls, red for hot, blue for cold. I agree, use metal fittings, they're more durable and seem to seal better.

There are two ways to make connections, one is the metal rings and a crimp tool, the other uses PEX rings and a special expanding tool. I think the latter is proprietary to a company called Wirsbo, they're big in hydronic heating systems. I've used both, I prefer the Wirsbo expanding tool, but it's much more expensive than the crimp tool, and the tool and fittings aren't available at your local Big Box store. The crimp tool should come with a go/no go gauge, at least the one I got at Home Depot did. If using either of these tools, but especially the crimp tool, plan ahead, it can be REALLY difficult to crimp fittings in tight quarters. Wanna ask how I know ?

I don't worry about pitch for drainage, I blow out the entire system with compressed air, if needed. Later.

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Old 02-14-2015, 05:12 PM   #10
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I replumbed a 76 31' about 3 years ago. with PEX. wouldn't use anything else. Pex replaced poly butylene do to failures mainly of the fittings. The main advantage is a thicker tougher plastic than, and that unlike copper, it will flex (to a point). A little bit of water that freezes would be less likely to split the pipe. As for straight pieces vs roll, the roll is mainly intended for long runs where you would not want a joint. (think under a concrete slab in a house). The stright sticks are available in 5 & 10ft lengths at places like Lowes & Home Depot, & 20ft lengths at plumbing supply houses. The straight sticks are easier to work with for RV use. As to the fittings, the metal PEX fittings are a brass alloy that is extremely durable. The only disadvantage is when used with objectionable water. Enter the newer polymer fittings. When I first saw these being used, I thought, here we go again. Not really, these newer polymers are incredibly tough. we tried to rip one of these apart using 2 pairs of pliers, and could not break it apart. severely deformed but not split apart. The other advantage to the polymer is that bad water will not corrode the plastic. This could happen in the right circumstances with the brass alloys. With all that said, the flexibility of the system, the way we use and flush or systems, I believe that PEX is the best available system out there. I will be using it in the Safari.
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Old 02-14-2015, 05:25 PM   #11
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I found Pexuniverse to be very good for supplies. Bought the straight line at Lowes. HD has some as well.
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:42 PM   #12
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I replaced all of the copper in the Argosy with PEX. I used "Flair It" fittings. No special tools required.
I also removed all of the "low point" drains, pressure regulator and relief.
I use an external regulator.
Winterize by using air to blow out the lines and RV anti freeze.
Took 2 days to do the entire trailer with all cabinetry in place.
Be sure to buy a tool for cutting the PEX. Each cut needs to be clean and square.
One advantage to the coiled PEX. You can cut any length you need. When running long distances. No need for a coupling to join 2 pieces.
IMHO you don't want fittings in areas where there is no access.


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Old 02-14-2015, 07:14 PM   #13
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Number 1...don't use Sharkbite fittings on anything you can't reach and fix. These fittings have been known to fail.

Look at replacing your plumbing with Pex A Wirsbo/Uponor plumbing. This is a true expandable pipe that fits OVER the fittings instead of the fittings fitting into the pipe as this doesn't restrict flow pressure. Being a true expandable pipe it will allow for some form of freezing, which copper won't. It will be a lot easier to fit than copper. Your local plumbing people that sell Pex A will probably rent you the tool for a nominal price. It is also the system that most plumbers swear by that is leak free.

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Old 02-14-2015, 07:16 PM   #14
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All of our Casitas use PEX from the factory . I also used SharkBites when I removed the kitchen in our 13' Casita to cap the lines. Its been 6 years and 10,000 + miles and no leaks.

So I used PEX in our Tradewind and SharkBite fittings . Makes it so easy , but the fittings cost more.

On the other hand the cost of the tool and clamps vs the amount of SharkBites need to do a trailer is a moot point.

Besides if you ever have to remove something the SharkBites are easily removed and reinstalled

BTW Lowes has 20' PEX for $6.50 each . I used about 30' of RED & BLUE only because my inlet is midship on the street side and my outside shower and washing machine is located midship on the curb side.
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