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Old 06-04-2006, 04:53 PM   #1
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Plumbing system replacement

I am refurbishing a '68 Overlander whose existing system suffered frost (MN & WI) damage in several areas. I'll be redoing it with pex. Do I need to maintain the 1/2" to 3/8" to 1/4" sizing? some of the reducing fitting combinations don't seem to be available.
Second, I am leaning towards using the crimp clamps where I can, preassembling areas that can't be reached. Are the Oetiker stainless spring clamps as good as the copper crimp rings? Oetiker has the advantage of one tool fitting all sizes. I also plan to replumb the 80 year old galvanized piping in my house so can share some of the tooling expense with that project.
Third, should I assume freezing damaged the pressure regulator & check valve? Do the garden hose inline variety of pressure regulators work or should I plan on replumbing one back into the trailer system?
The Pex Connection looks to be a good source, any other areas I should check?

Scott Kerber
'68 Overlander
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Old 06-04-2006, 06:06 PM   #2
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Just pick a size of pex and replumb the whole thing with one size. Alot of other members went with the 3/8", but I used 1/2" and am happy with it. I used slip on fittings by Jaco, not one of them leaked!
My pressure regulator and check valve were both split from freeze(s). So I replaced both check valves. As far as a pressure regulator, you can just attach the hose type to the supply line and that will be fine.
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Old 06-04-2006, 07:04 PM   #3
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definitely go with 1/2". The reason is that you will find that the only place that is a problem (not directly compatible with 1/2" pipe) is the toilet--I have not been able to find a fitting that goes from 1/2" pipe (which is 5/8" OD--urge to kill, here) to 3/8" MIP (MIP is one the plastic toilet inlet fitting side). You can easily get from 1/2" tube (which is 1/2" OD--another urge) to 3/8" MIP. The solution is to get a very short piece of 1/2" tube, a 3/8" to 1/2" pipe insert (urge coming more frequently, here--the 3/8" pipe insert has an inner diameter of 1/2"--don't ask, just believe). Once you get the toilet fitting up to standard 1/2" pipe, you're on your way.

I used all 1/2" FIP (female pipe thread) fittings on my fixtures--they are cheap and available. Many/most new faucets come with this fitting. A shower valve (yes, I found a Moen at Home Depot that is shower only, so you will never have the tub line going down, which can't be drained and will freeze, so make sure if you replace your shower valve, that you get a "shower only" model valve) is usually 1/2" for all its connections.

If you got with all 1/2" FIP fittings, you can order the swivel male side on the web (couldn't find them locally for the crimp type).

I'll post my photos and design considerations tomorrow. Just be sure you include a pressure relief valve to take care of expansion when the water heater comes on. Alternatively, I've been successful using a small accumulator, but perhaps that's only luck since I don't really know how much expansion volume to allow for.

Great Pumpkin--I did not see a check valve when I took my copper out. I'm relying on the pressure regulator to do that. Am I mistaken?

Roger
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Old 06-04-2006, 07:53 PM   #4
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Thanks for asking the question and for the answers. We are also replacing pipes with pex in the next couple of weeks in our 68 Overlander. All the information will be helpful.
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Old 06-04-2006, 09:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium
Great Pumpkin--I did not see a check valve when I took my copper out. I'm relying on the pressure regulator to do that. Am I mistaken?

Roger
In-line pressure regulator or hose end attachment?

Generally - No. Some better models may have a built in check valve, but most don't. On top of that, you need two in your system. One on the city water inlet side to keep your pump from pushing water back into the city system, or pushing the water out your inlet if you are boondocking. The second one should be on the outfeed side of your pump to prevent the city connection from pushing water into your pump and/or filling your fresh tank.

The drawing below is very simplified, but the red boxes show how the check valves should be placed to prevent backflow. You can attach a pressure regulator on the city inlet either at your connection, or at the beginning of the supply hose to prevent it from bulging.
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Old 06-04-2006, 09:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mizlann
Thanks for asking the question and for the answers. We are also replacing pipes with pex in the next couple of weeks in our 68 Overlander. All the information will be helpful.
FWIW - I bought my pex from this guy on eBay http://cgi.ebay.com/1-2-x-100-ft-PEX...QQcmdZViewItem
I paid $26 for 100 feet, delivered. The link will take you to his listing for 100 feet delivered for only $25 now. 100' is more than you'll need, but it still beat the prices I would have had to pay locally. Some people like to use blue for cold lines and red for hot lines, but it's not available everywhere. On top of that, there isn't really that much plumbing in an Airstream to make to much difference.
The fittings are where it will really cost you. I found a steal on eBay for Jaco brand slip on fittings, got way more than I needed as a package deal, but still paid less than if I bought them individually from the hardware store. I've got "T's", "couplers", and "MPT adaptors" cheap if you go that route. Crimping looks better, but the initial cost of the crimping tool is high.
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Old 06-04-2006, 10:28 PM   #7
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Try Menards

Try Menards for the Pex I got everything I needed there. I went with Sea-Tech fittings instead of the crimp style. Easy to install and make changes to. Stuck with all half inch to keep it simple.
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Old 06-05-2006, 10:56 AM   #8
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check valves:

to add to what GP said on the matter:

I thought that my original internal pressure regulator performed the function of a check valve, but I could be mistaken. Its very hard to see this stuff on my trailer...access is nearly impossible. But I did eventually find that there is in fact a seperate check valve, upstream of the pressure regulator in my trailer. I don't know if its original or not, but I just bought a replacement for it, as it has always leaked since I've had it, and it has progressively gotten worse. The cheap, quick work-around to the problem is to just use a 5/8ths plug in the city water inlet...but I've found that this is not quite adequate....that always leaks, too. probably would work if you sealed the threads w/ teflon tape. but anyway, it still leaks with the plug, a little bit, and the pump cycles on and off whenever its used, and its annoying, so I'm going to attempt to replace the check valve. problem is "access".

the only way I could even get a "look" at whats in there was to take this photo blindly; I had to set my camera to "macro", and stick it into the area behind the stuff thats obstructing my view, and snap off a few pics. (there's a wood structure that supports the shower seat in my trailer that blocks the view; I can get my hands on these parts, or look at them...but not both at the same time. so that should make for an interesting project...)

The first pic is what can be seen if you stick your head in the vanity cabinet, and turn right. the vertical pipe in the distance is the city water inlet. this goes straight down through the floor and out the belly pan, and is anchored to the frame rail in the rear streetside corner.
in the second shot, you can see the actual check-valve itself.
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