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Old 04-15-2012, 08:50 PM   #1
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1972 27' Overlander
Hampton , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2012
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replacing soldered shower faucet??

I have a 1972 Overlander 27' (my baby). I knew when I bought it that it had a crack in one of the copper pipes. What I didn't know is that the copper pipe swelled and so here I am replumbing the whole thing trying to get it right so I don't have to keep patching and going back behind myself.

I am planning to replace all the copper with PEX and use clamps as much as possible. Might have to use a few shark bites here and there for tight spaces??

I'm going to attach a pic of the inside of the shower faucet. It is copper that has been soldered. To the right is inside the tub/shower with faucet. I want to replace this so I hopefully never have to take apart the side of the shower again. Any suggestions on how to replace?
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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1964 19' Globetrotter
The Sea Ranch , California
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Where exactly is the shower control? Is that bronze cross piece the body of the shower valve? You have my sympathy. When I was buying new parts, sharkbites, I was shocked at the price, but when I had to put it together I thought they were worth every penny. You may have already figured this out, but whatever sections of the plumbing you can pre-assemble (cut to fit and put together to make sure it all works before soldering) will make life easier, and less likely to burn down the trailer. It's so nice when it's all done!

Wherever you go, there you are
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
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1972 27' Overlander
Hampton , Georgia
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That gold cross piece... can I find one that PEX will attach to or will I need to cut the copper and try to shark bite the PEX to it in order to just use that one?
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:43 PM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
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Don't give up on copper too fast...

I have the same bath/shower in my '74 as your '72, it would appear, and I think that you're going to have to open up that wall some more to do any repairs.

Anyway, last winter, I missed part of the winterizing and froze the short pipe that feeds the mixed water to the flexible hose for the shower "telephone" handle. It split about 2 or 3 inches along its length, and of course, it leaked. It's only ~6" long, by the way.

You can see what it all looks like better in the photo in this post. The white arrow indicates my repair.

It had been years since I soldered anything, and I don't think I had ever soldered copper pipe before, but for about $20 I was able to buy a little kit that gave me the soldering "tip" and shutoff, a cylinder of the gas that feed the tip, a lighter for it, some solder, a little tin of soldering paste. In other words, all the tools necessary to be able to solder copper pipe.

First thing I did was fire up the soldering unit, heat the connection that was holding the pipe in place, and pull it out with a large pair of piers. That was easy.

Then, I cut a piece of the pipe (the store sold small pieces of the right diameter as well as full 8' pipes) sanded the ends and the interior of the elbow, put solder paste on, poked it into the elbow that holds it, and held the flame on the elbow. When the solder paste began to sizzle, I held the solder directly on the top of the joint, and allowed the heat of the pipe to melt it. As it melted, it got sucked into the joint. I looked carefully around the whole joint, and it appeared that I had a good, complete one, so then I shut off the soldering unit. That wasn't as easy as the first step, but not terribly tough either.

After letting it cool a bit, I repeated the process to solder on the brass connector that would allow the shower hose to screw on.

Letting it all cool for about 20 minute, I screwed on the shower hose, and tried it. It all worked fine, no leaks!

I then carefully cleaned all the old gobs of dirty caulking off the plastic parts of the wall I had disassembled to get at the pipes, screwed it together and caulked it with GE silicone, and went out and bragged to my wife and neighbour about my job.

All this to make two points:
  1. It's cheaper to repair what broke with copper than to get involved with PEX, IMHO
  2. You too can solder. Hey, if I can ANYone can.

This is all my opinion of course, but I will repeat, if I can do that, anyone can. And probably better! LOL!

Good luck with your repair, and keep asking questions, you will get there on way or another!
If it's to be, it's up to me.
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:57 AM   #5
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2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
Gig Harbor , Washington
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Buy a couple of 1/2" copper slip couplings. These are couplings that have no stop or groove in the middle of the fitting. Cut the copper pipe with a mini tubing cutter, clean all surfaces. Assemble your new valve with copper pipe either soldered or threaded to the new diverter. If the diverter has threaded ends make sure you make up the Male adapters before you solder or you most likely will burn out the pipe dope. Slip the couplings past the end of the existing pipe, place your made up unit in, slide the couplings over your new setup making sure they are centered and flux all surfaces. I agree with Aage this is an easy fix and will lend strength to the whole diverter setup.
Hope is not a plan.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:41 AM   #6
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1967 30' Sovereign
Los Lunas , New Mexico
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,331
On our 67, the repairable valve fittings finally became unrepairable when the nuts crusted and fell to pieces. Several trips to the hardware store later, I decided that it was time to replace. So I ordered the one pictured below from Vintage Trailer Supply:

It fit perfectly.

To connect into the PEX, the hardware store had the proper fittings to use a standard riser (the one below pictured from Ebay):

WBCCI 21043
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:31 AM   #7
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
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That cross piece is the shower valve. If the break is in the copper tubing coming to it and if the shower valve is working correctly, I would cut ou the break in the copper tubing and patch it. If you decidee to replace the shower valve then I would follow the advise of the above poster that suggested installing screw fittings so you do not have to solder to the valve directly. My leaning is to use the old valve if it is working.

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