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Old 09-09-2005, 08:20 PM   #1
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Total copper replacement

Im going to replace all of my copper from the tank to the water heater and everything in between tomorrow. I have my 68 Safari gutted with my new and refinished cabinetry in my finish shop so I guess now is the time to do it. Any advise, do's or dont's or info that may be of help?


Thanks, Scott
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Old 09-09-2005, 08:24 PM   #2
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Pex.....great stuff, easy to use.....nuff said.

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Old 09-09-2005, 08:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niss1679
Im going to replace all of my copper from the tank to the water heater and everything in between tomorrow. I have my 68 Safari gutted with my new and refinished cabinetry in my finish shop so I guess now is the time to do it. Any advise, do's or dont's or info that may be of help?


Thanks, Scott
68 Safari
I am using Pex and flair-it fittings in the rebuilding process of my 1963 Overlander, but only because it's the easy way out, and I am not an accomplished plumber. ( neither do i want to learn right now)
However, if I had the skills to do it right, I would use copper, most likley. I imagine perfect runs of elegant copper tubing inside the new cabinets, and quality and style come to mind. Instead, I will be looking at plastic tubing.....
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Old 09-09-2005, 08:52 PM   #4
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I've already purchased the copper. I figured I'm taking copper out so I'm putting copper back in. The condition of it looks good and usable, but since everything is out now, it would be silly to not replace it being 32 or 33 years old. Pex does seem to be the way of the futer though. I know some contractors who use it in new homes all the time.

Thanks, Scott
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Old 09-09-2005, 08:58 PM   #5
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I'm a real sucker for originality, but I'm an even bigger sucker for simplicity, and Pex is the epitome of simplicity.

Frederic
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Old 09-09-2005, 08:58 PM   #6
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I have repaired the copper in our trailer. PEX has some great benefits that should not be overlooked. I would seriously consider using PEX if I were replacing the volume of pipe you are.

I know its easy for us to do, but don't be fooled by the shinny metal.
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Old 09-09-2005, 09:17 PM   #7
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Having replaced copper in both the '72 Overlander and '73 Sovereign, I would suggest replacing as little as necessary, only because it's a lot of work and does take time. (Once you've heated, fluxed, and sweat your fittings together, it isn't going to look near as good as the copper does when you buy it on the roll. And once all your furniture is back in place, you'll never see it anyway.)

If you don't have a swage (sp?), you might need one as I had some problems joining the old lines with the new. I'm not sure if the old had expanded (probably in places) or if the diameters were a little different 30 years ago. The swage allows you to ream out existing copper to insert new without using a coupling.

Buy lots of extra fittings as it's a real drag to have to stop work to go back to the hardware store. Wear gloves to save your fingertips from excess wear and burns. Keep a bucket of water nearby to cool fittings. Have fun!!
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Old 09-10-2005, 06:17 AM   #8
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OK, I've had my coffee and now going out to get started. I appreciate all the advise and experience. I never gave PEX a thought and am going to Lowes first to look it over before actually starting. I also did'nt give only replacing what's nessisary in copper a thought either. I'll go to Lowes, re evaluate my 3 options and let you know tonite what I've done.

Thanks Again, Scott
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Old 09-10-2005, 06:29 AM   #9
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Here is a pic of a swage (?) being used for a different application.
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Old 09-10-2005, 07:03 AM   #10
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Being the son of a Plumber, I am a copper guy. Nothing wrong with Pex, just love the smell of soldering It can be a pain, sometimes, such as when you are working around the bathtub
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Old 09-10-2005, 12:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
I have repaired the copper in our trailer. PEX has some great benefits that should not be overlooked. I would seriously consider using PEX if I were replacing the volume of pipe you are.

I know its easy for us to do, but don't be fooled by the shinny metal.
All of the four trailers I have restored had come from northern states and had several splits in the copper. The inherent problem with copper is that when water freezes in copper it will expand WELL to either side of the rupture. Not only do you have to replace the area that has split but you have to go, sometimes, several inches to either side of the split to have tubing that you can get fittings to even fit.
I used copper 22 years ago in the 1963 Bambi and I swore that when something else will work I would use it. I used CPVC in the Argosy 24 and the Argosy 22. The Minuet has PEX and CPVC. It took me a day to do ALL of the plumbing in the Minuet using this combination.
I have learned from experience that if you fix one leak, you will eventually find others.
I am sure that my being from a state that freezes solid for three months out of the year has slanted my opinion. Here in Michigan things freeze and burst.
I found 8 ruptures in my Minuet. I also had six "repairs" that has been made using rubber hose and hose clamps.
PEX can prove to be expensive depending upon the types of fittings you use. I used a combination of crimp and compression fittings. I used QEST compression fittings where I joined the CPVC to the PEX and the CPVC to the copper for the city water hook-up.
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Old 09-11-2005, 06:02 AM   #12
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Well, heres what I started to do yesterday. After carefully inspecting what I have in copper and hose patches, some of what 's there is in great shape. My Safari must have been in cold climate too, since I have a few places where the copper is split. I also found that my main line from the h2o tank to the water heater is 5/8", what's up with that? I've decided to only replace what is bad as well as all of the shut off valves. I didn't get as much done as I wanted to though. My wife got home from work and wanted to go out to eat. She said that I am obsessed with my silver lady! I think she's right. I only bought it on the 26th of August. Since then I've reworked all of the windows and installed new weather stripping, fabricated a new rock gaurd and installed it on the front window, got the antena working by fabricating new locking sleeves out of PVC fittings and thumb screws, gutted the cabinetry and flooring, cleaned the interior skin, built and refinished new and existing cabinetry, got the 12 volt sysem working and replaced all bulbs, painted the tongue and step, installed new locks on the exterior access doors, cleaned frames and replaced all screens with new, replaced a 16" x 5' section of floor by the door, installed a new dead bolt on the door (someone had one there before so there was a hole already there that needed plugged), and built new counter tops (waiting on the laminate to finish them). I havn't stopped working on her since I got her 2 weeks ago! OK, Ok, I am obsessed. I've had my coffee, so I'm out to finish (hopefully) the waterlines so I can start reinstalling the cabinets this week. Thanks for all the help and I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Thanks, Scott
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Old 09-11-2005, 08:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niss1679
Well, heres what I started to do yesterday. After carefully inspecting what I have in copper and hose patches, some of what 's there is in great shape. My Safari must have been in cold climate too, since I have a few places where the copper is split. I also found that my main line from the h2o tank to the water heater is 5/8", what's up with that? I've decided to only replace what is bad as well as all of the shut off valves. I didn't get as much done as I wanted to though. My wife got home from work and wanted to go out to eat. She said that I am obsessed with my silver lady! I think she's right. I only bought it on the 26th of August. Since then I've reworked all of the windows and installed new weather stripping, fabricated a new rock gaurd and installed it on the front window, got the antena working by fabricating new locking sleeves out of PVC fittings and thumb screws, gutted the cabinetry and flooring, cleaned the interior skin, built and refinished new and existing cabinetry, got the 12 volt sysem working and replaced all bulbs, painted the tongue and step, installed new locks on the exterior access doors, cleaned frames and replaced all screens with new, replaced a 16" x 5' section of floor by the door, installed a new dead bolt on the door (someone had one there before so there was a hole already there that needed plugged), and built new counter tops (waiting on the laminate to finish them). I havn't stopped working on her since I got her 2 weeks ago! OK, Ok, I am obsessed. I've had my coffee, so I'm out to finish (hopefully) the waterlines so I can start reinstalling the cabinets this week. Thanks for all the help and I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Thanks, Scott
68 Safari
You do have a bad case of it....
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Old 09-11-2005, 10:44 AM   #14
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Scott, if you're not cured when you've finished those jobs, you may wish to remove the belly pan to inspect the corrosion in the frame. Nick.
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Old 09-11-2005, 11:20 AM   #15
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If you do mailorder at pexconnection.com or similar, you can get colored PEX. This way you can use red for hot, blue for cold, and white for supply. Looks prettier and helps keep things straight.

I also suggest considering 3/8 inch PEX tubing as the fittings for this go to half inch IPT which is what is needed for faucets, water heaters, and nearly everything else. The downside is the reduced flow capacity but the runs are short and you don't want a whole lot of volume in RV applications, anyway??

The big deal with PEX (or any pipe for that matter) is to avoid fittings. I run straight from the sink to a manifold on the rear. There is usually enough room behind or below cabinets to avoid any need for sharp corners and you can also keep a good slope all the way back to the manifold making drainage easy. You can bend PEX to something like ten diameters (verify, please, before use!) so a 3/8 tubing can have a corner radius of only 4 inches or so.

If you are worried about originality. Leave the copper in place parallel to the PEX but just don't use it.

The other big argument is crimp vs Quest or Flair-it. A decent crimper can be had for $60 or so. Space limitations can be a problem with them (except the cheaper ones look an awful lot like the flairing tool you use for the copper tubing in your LP system). I haven't had any problems with the Quest fittings and if you avoid unnecessary elbows and reducers, you won't need that many of them.
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Old 09-11-2005, 06:54 PM   #16
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What a pain in the a#@ that was! I replaced the 5/8" line from the front tank to the access door behind the fridge. There were 2 splits in the copper that were patched with heater core hose. It was somewhere in the middle of that run that I decided I'm only repairing what's nessisarry for now. Plumbing is not something I do alot of so PEX is looking better all the time now. I like the idea of leaving the copper and not using it too. Once I had the repair finished, I turned on the water, ARGH ! I had a serious leak under the battery platform. I found another split in the 5/8" copper that runs to the water heater. Because of the extreme tightness in the area of the leak as well as my novice soldering skills, I patched this one with a piece of the heater core hose that I had from the first repair. At this point I couldnt believe that I was seriously going to attempt to replace all the copper. Again I turned the water back on, this time the brass thingy under the sink, I guess it's some kind of filter, was gushing water all over the cabin and floor. This one was easy, theres an o ring that I had to tight. I tested all of the lines with the water hook up and all of my repairs worked! I then thought I'd check and test the 12V water system. All of the gauges on the control panel work. It took awhile to get all of the air out of the lines but it started pumping water like a champ. That's when I noticed that it got quite in the cabin, my pump quit working! It clicks when I turn it on but doesn't run, I guess I'll have to get a new one. I inspected the water heater and know that it needs replaced. The tank inside looks OK but the controls accessed through the exterior panel are corroded badly.

Recap of the day - All of the water lines are in good shape and dont leak, I need a new water pump and a new water heater. I'm going to take the belly off under the bathroom. There was water dripping under there, I dont know if my black tank is leaking or if it's from the water that gushed out from the brass dohingy all over the cabin floor. I'd much rather be working with wood!

Thanks, Scott
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Old 09-11-2005, 07:09 PM   #17
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t it started pumping water like a champ. That's when I noticed that it got quite in the cabin, my pump quit working! 68 Safari

Scott, Ok...You probably know this but, the water pump works on demand. That means if the pump is up to pressure it shuts off until there is a loss of pressure (turning on the faucet)and the pump kicks on again. Hope i'm not to far off base.
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Old 09-11-2005, 07:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niss1679
What a pain in the a#@ that was! I replaced the 5/8" line from the front tank to the access door behind the fridge. There were 2 splits in the copper that were patched with heater core hose. It was somewhere in the middle of that run that I decided I'm only repairing what's nessisarry for now. Plumbing is not something I do alot of so PEX is looking better all the time now. I like the idea of leaving the copper and not using it too. Once I had the repair finished, I turned on the water, ARGH ! I had a serious leak under the battery platform. I found another split in the 5/8" copper that runs to the water heater. Because of the extreme tightness in the area of the leak as well as my novice soldering skills, I patched this one with a piece of the heater core hose that I had from the first repair. At this point I couldnt believe that I was seriously going to attempt to replace all the copper. Again I turned the water back on, this time the brass thingy under the sink, I guess it's some kind of filter, was gushing water all over the cabin and floor. This one was easy, theres an o ring that I had to tight. I tested all of the lines with the water hook up and all of my repairs worked! I then thought I'd check and test the 12V water system. All of the gauges on the control panel work. It took awhile to get all of the air out of the lines but it started pumping water like a champ. That's when I noticed that it got quite in the cabin, my pump quit working! It clicks when I turn it on but doesn't run, I guess I'll have to get a new one. I inspected the water heater and know that it needs replaced. The tank inside looks OK but the controls accessed through the exterior panel are corroded badly.

Recap of the day - All of the water lines are in good shape and dont leak, I need a new water pump and a new water heater. I'm going to take the belly off under the bathroom. There was water dripping under there, I dont know if my black tank is leaking or if it's from the water that gushed out from the brass dohingy all over the cabin floor. I'd much rather be working with wood!

Thanks, Scott
68 Safari
This is why I just give up and replace it all in one shot with PEX.
Once you get done repairing all of the leaks it would be less time to just do it all with new material.
I am glad that you got rid of that 5/8" stuff. That is a pain in the butt to mess with. Considering that it is not like replumbing an entire house, you will be glad you did it.
Good luck with the next task!
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Old 09-11-2005, 07:24 PM   #19
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I wasn't positive, but I thought that's how it worked. I ran the water from the spigot at the sink untill there was no pressure and no water coming out. That's when I hit the switch again, it just makes a click sound and doesn't run. Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll hit it tomorrow and it will be working.

Thanks, Scott
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