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Old 11-07-2010, 04:56 PM   #1
Owner Spirit of "76"
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1976 31' Sovereign
Ball Ground , Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 254
Pex replacement, bypass?

One of my next projects is to replace some or all the copper in my 1976 with Pex. This may have been ask before but is there anything I need to know about replacement that will assist in winterization. Did I read about a hot water bypass or do I simply remove a line or valve and reinstall like what came out. This is my first experence with a camper with water and freezing and didn't know how to winterize including using air pressure. Thanks for the advise.

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Old 11-07-2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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1968 24' Tradewind
Oxford, , Mississippi
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,307
The only negative I found with pex is that if you are using it in tight quarters sometimes you can not get the crimp tool in there to make the crimps. Yes you can use the Shark Bite connectors, but they are very expensive compared to the simple copper crimp rings and fittings. But, in some tight places they may be the easiest way to make the connection. Any RV store should have the bypass kit for you water heater, simple to install.
As for winterization, I made an adaptor for my fresh water inlet that has an air hose quick disconnect instead of the schrader valve like they sell at RV stores (got the fittings at my local ACE Hardware store). This way I can connect the air hose from my compressor ( after turning the outlet pressure down to 40 psi) to the inlet and it will stay in place and I don't have to hold it. Then you can go inside and open the different faucets to blow all the water out of all the lines.

Make sure you drain the water heater by removing the drain plug and then opening the pop off valve or one of the hot water faucets to let air in so it will drain. Finally pour some RV antifreeze in all the traps (sink, lav, and shower). Drain the fresh tank and your pump and you should be OK.

There are other ways to do it but this works for me and doesn't take long.

Bruce & Rachel
68 Trade Wind
2001 Toyota Tundra
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:23 PM   #3
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1975 29' Ambassador
Reno , Nevada
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,351
Crimp tools are for wholesale. ;-)

Flair-It or perhaps the Sharkbyte type connections are a bit more expensive but have significant advantages for individuals doing a copper to pex thing in an Airstream. I prefer Flair-it as it is like a crimp except it uses a nut on the barb.

Water heater bypasses come in 2 flavors. One uses a valve at the bottom that you use to select bypass or normal and a one way valve at the top. The other uses bypass selector valves at both top and bottom. You can tell you have a bypass installed if there is a pipe running from the bottom of the heater to the top and a selector valve at least at the bottom.

A 'pump siphon' is also useful. This is a selector valve just like used in the water heater bypass that is placed between the water pump and the fresh water tank. It allows you to select feeding the pump from the tank or from a short line that you stick into an antifreeze bottle.

The most important skill needed for this sort of job is that of being able to make a clean square cut on the end of the tubing.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:46 PM   #4
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1992 34' Excella
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2007
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If you go to Lowe's they stock a different type of clamp for PEX tubing and the crimpers for them are quite a bit smaller and inexpensive enough to buy your own pair. I'm a PEX convert now and a real fan of this product.
"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:54 PM   #5
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 8,081
I just started removing the copper to do pex and sharkbites on my 66 ( because I can get them at HD)...I can buy more than I need and return the rest.
Excited to get that done.
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