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Old 02-18-2020, 02:07 AM   #1
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1966 26' Overlander
Helena , Montana
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1966 Overlander Copper to PEX replacement

I am working on our Overlander. A previous owner lopped off all the copper after it froze and burst the lines.
Any suggestions for using PEX? I feel that there is enough of the copper line left to securely transition to the PEX.
Looking for hints and previous AHA moments.

Ken RN
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Old 02-18-2020, 05:24 AM   #2
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PEX is the best solution

In my first vintage AS I gradually replaced all leaking copper sections with PEX. In my second I started by removing ALL copper and replacing with PEX. At the time, copper was valuable enough that the scrap value exceeded the cost of the PEX and replacement fittings:-)
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:05 AM   #3
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Ken, we have PEX in our ASs in lieu of copper also. If you canít get to the point where the copper starts, you can use a Sharkbite to transition from copper to PEX. Iím not sure about how the Sharkbite will hold up to vibration, but I know some have used these. Good luck
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:26 AM   #4
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Sharkbite

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba L View Post
Ken, we have PEX in our ASs in lieu of copper also. If you canít get to the point where the copper starts, you can use a Sharkbite to transition from copper to PEX. Iím not sure about how the Sharkbite will hold up to vibration, but I know some have used these. Good luck
I used SB fitting on my first AS. They held up well but are pretty pricey and difficult to remove. Still probably the best solution if you need to connect pex directly to copper.
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:39 AM   #5
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PEX is great.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:24 AM   #6
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Pex

I put Pex in my 86 Avion and have had no problems. I also put it in my Ranch house (on pier and beam outside of Houston). Before Pex, we'd have one freezing spell a year and the copper pipes would burst. Really a mess getting under a 90 year old house in the mud to fix the plumbing. Pex expands, and since the replacement we have had no burst pipes despite a couple of freezes.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:26 AM   #7
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PEX is awesome!

It comes in rolls and many colors (Red,white and blue) and it is pretty flexible. There are many fittings like "SharkBite", etc. There are 90 corner supports, etc., and it is easy to install.

I used Blue for cold water, Red for hot water I added insulation over the Hot water lines, and White for boiler fluid (also insulated) from Precision Temp, Twin temp JR. for heating the coach.

2012 til now 2020 many adventures with some pretty ruff miles on dirt roads. No leaks! None!

If it were me, I would start at the city water fill and go 100% PEX! Eliminate all the old copper. my .02

-Dennis
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:37 PM   #8
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I used Shark Bite on PEX on the water filter in the rear compartment of my'89 Classic. The only problem was that the SB allows piping to rotate, so I had to devise a new bracket to hold the filter in place. My new water heater in my house has Shark Bite on copper. Neither has given me any problems, however the installers of the water heater managed to damage one of the SB fittings and they had to replace it.

As for removal there is a small tool that costs about 3 - 4 dollars that releases the fitting so it will slide off. Buy it where you buy the SB fittings. The extra cost of he SB fittings is is well worth the aggravation of working in tiny cramped spaces!
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:38 PM   #9
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A small adjustable wrench set to just push on the release collar on a sharkbite fitting is an easy way to release them. It fits all the sizes as well. The special tool can be hard to find sometimes.
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Old 02-18-2020, 02:57 PM   #10
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Yes go with pex! Replace as much as you can. Often when copper tubes freeze they expand just enough to seriously weaken, but not burst “this time” also that little bit of expansion will keep standard side fittings from fitting.
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Old 02-18-2020, 03:01 PM   #11
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Not claiming any actual hands on use but I had a recent AS pex situation. A shark bite took care of it. But it lead to researching the what if I had a piece of pex to replace question. Research online and then finding these https://flairit.com/product-category/pexlock-fittings/ no special tools required fittings. A channel lock pliers will close clamp, screwdriver to open and reusable clamp.

No expensive big special crimping tools needed.

I bought a series of fittings, a section of pex, clamps and they are in my tool supplies for AS.

Gary
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:24 PM   #12
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Replaced all copper with pex....go for it
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:36 PM   #13
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all copper on my 68 overlander had been replaced with home depot pex when i got it....it works great....technically, pex can freeze and it wont burst, although the copper bands can break.....but if you drain everything, generally you are all good, as it is likely that no line will be full of water, and will not burst .....I highly recommend pex
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:18 PM   #14
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One question I can not find the answer to: can you use a SharkBite fitting on the suction side of the water pump? Earlier, I could not get a similar push on fitting to not suck some air when in use so I removed it.
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Old 02-19-2020, 07:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guskmg View Post
One question I can not find the answer to: can you use a SharkBite fitting on the suction side of the water pump? Earlier, I could not get a similar push on fitting to not suck some air when in use so I removed it.
guskmg
I found this on line.

"SharkBite fittings only leak due to one of these reasons: The pipe was not properly deburred prior to installation. The pipe was not properly inserted. ... The pipe has scratches or debris on the outside that is preventing the O-ring from getting a watertight seal."

-Dennis
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Old 02-19-2020, 03:50 PM   #16
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pex

Pex will handle freezing but now always. I have a low spot that is hard to blow out and twice I have had pex split there. The pipe had a small split longitudinally and only leaked when it was under pressure.
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Old 02-20-2020, 12:06 PM   #17
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PEX and vibration

The sharkbite fittings and pex stand up to all kinds of vibration and abuse. I have replaced copper, pvc and flex vinyl hoses with PEX. Great stuff.
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Old 02-20-2020, 07:30 PM   #18
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Batman, Post #15, That answers the leak question, but does not answer the sucking air problem on the suction side of the water pump. I hate to buy and install any more SB style fitting with out knowing the answer.
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Old 02-20-2020, 07:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guskmg View Post
Batman, Post #15, That answers the leak question, but does not answer the sucking air problem on the suction side of the water pump. I hate to buy and install any more SB style fitting with out knowing the answer.
guskmg
IDK. I have SB fittings on the suction side of my pump and have no issues at all.

-Dennis
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Old 02-23-2020, 11:46 AM   #20
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Go with Pex A most common brand is Uponor. Invest in the expansion tool, something you will almost certainly use again.
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