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Old 04-11-2006, 07:53 PM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
Detroit Area , Michigan
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Two plumbing dillemas, pictures included

God you gotta love PO's. The things they will do to avoid fixing something right. The first picture shows where the pressure regulator from city water was removed and bypassed with garden hose and hose clamps. Of course this leaks and has rotted out the floor.



Now question to all you plumbers out there, how do I fix this the right way? Is there some sort of pressure fitting I could put on the end of those copper pipes that would get me a better seal on the garden hose?

The next picture show my other problem in the back end. Both of the valves to empty the water system leak and at least need to have new washers put in them.



Now I tried turning the top cap nuts on these things as hard as I could but I thought if I got out any heavier artillery on them I'd just crack them off. I don't know if these are the original valve or not but they look like it. Any suggestions on how to fix or replace?

HELP!!
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Old 04-11-2006, 08:18 PM   #2
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Anybody ever use a product called "Just for Copper" for soderless joints between copper pipe? Does it work?
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Old 04-11-2006, 08:40 PM   #3
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Qest has a fitting that will allow you to connect from copper to copper or copper to PEX. I would recommend the PEX as it's way easier than getting a tigt waterproof solder joint. Check your local Lowes for the Qest.
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:43 PM   #4
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Thats a mess. Rip it all out but the pex, and start over. You could use compression fittings for copper they have a rubber seal and tighten like brass fittings. They are called dresser or dresher fittings. I haven't used them for anything in a long time. They work fine but I would take it all out back to the pex.
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:46 PM   #5
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My trailer has all sweated copper. Is Pex any better? Does it have any advantages over copper?
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:57 PM   #6
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Ok, what about fixing those valves. Any suggestions? If I crack the nut on the top of them I'm really screwed I think.
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:05 PM   #7
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peoria , Illinois
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Hi wacnstac--Your garden hoses leak because they have hardened and rotted. I have successfully used 5/8" soft clear plastic tubing installed with stainless steel clamps mounted the same as the hose in your picture, without leaks for 18 years. You get a much better seal with the clear plastic tubing, and it stays flexible. I have redone all the area you show, including the valves, which are on/off ball check type, in plastic. The wood damage you show looks to me to have long duration, and was probably the result of the leaky copper. The freeze cracks in copper usually seep and PO probably let them drip for a while before the hose repair. You also have some hard plastic repair work that looks like it replaced the originial copper pipe that supported the originial water pressure regulator, that probably also cracked. If it were me I would replumb the whole rear end with soft plastic. Won't burn down your A/S with your propane torch. Your photos are great. Really show your problem clearly.--Frank S
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:08 PM   #8
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I would prefer all copper if I were redoing my plumbing. Pex is ok I just like something a little more permanent. For the valves; instead of tightening the retainer nut loosen an if possible remove the top. Look to see if anything is left to repair inside. Plastic disk, o-ring etc. If the valve can easily be removed, take it with you to a plumbing supply and buy a new one. There cheep.
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:25 PM   #9
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill benton
I would prefer all copper if I were redoing my plumbing. Pex is ok I just like something a little more permanent. For the valves; instead of tightening the retainer nut loosen an if possible remove the top. Look to see if anything is left to repair inside. Plastic disk, o-ring etc. If the valve can easily be removed, take it with you to a plumbing supply and buy a new one. There cheep.
I don't think those valve can be easily removed. I could unscrew the screw holding the handle in place but all that will do is take the handle off. Gotta get the large plastic cap nuts off of there to get at whatever is left of the washer.
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:53 PM   #10
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Hi wacnstac--Something to consider is your A/S water pressure is 40 to 50psi, while your house could be 90 to 120psi. You don't need the strength of copper in your trailer. Using hard plastic pipe, PVC pipe, with glued joints is also an option. It is a lot easier to use, and less expensive than Pex. Probably the best repair option is a combination of PVC, with soft plastic tubing in the areas that are difficult to get to. Happy plumbing.--Frank S
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:08 AM   #11
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PEX - How do I tell????

Hello all -

LOVE the photos. As the expression says, "I picture tells a thousand words..."....

Can tell the hard plastic from the copper, momma didn't raise no COMPLEAT idiot, but how do I know if I have PEX in there?

Is there an imprint down the side, clear plastic tubing is something I know from keg-er-ator plumbing.

Still wondering!?

Axel
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Old 04-12-2006, 03:43 AM   #12
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WACNSTAC,

Do yourself a favor and get some quality brass ballcock valves. Quarter turn on and off, direction of the handle indicates if the valve is on. They don't cost very much and will last longer than the trailer. From there the type of plumbing you use is up to you and your skill level. I personally would chose copper, but this requires some knowledge of the tools - mainly the propane or NAP gas torch. A quick and good solution would be a barb fitting on the end of the valve and clear plastic tubing with SS hose clamps, probably would do you for a long time.
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clancy_boy
WACNSTAC,

Do yourself a favor and get some quality brass ballcock valves. Quarter turn on and off, direction of the handle indicates if the valve is on. They don't cost very much and will last longer than the trailer. From there the type of plumbing you use is up to you and your skill level. I personally would chose copper, but this requires some knowledge of the tools - mainly the propane or NAP gas torch. A quick and good solution would be a barb fitting on the end of the valve and clear plastic tubing with SS hose clamps, probably would do you for a long time.
I'd like to replace with some nice brass ballcock valves, but the problem would then be splicing into the rest of the system. Do you think I can find a barbed fitting that will splice into the existing hard plastic? What are SS hose clamps as opposed to regular hose clamps?

If I go to home depot exactly what am I looking for if I want soft plastic tubing? My expected pressures on this system are not going to be large.
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:55 AM   #14
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SS stands for stainless steel, they cost pennies more but won't be rusted shut when it comes time for you to take them off later. As far as the barb fitting (I believe that is their correct name) yes you can get them at Home Depot in brass (recommended) or plastic. Either way the connection to the hose will be better than on smooth pipe. I have no doubt that others have had success with transitioning from smooth pipe to hose with a clamp BUT if for some reason there is a sudden increase of water pressure (say the regulator fails) than this method will hold more effectively.
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Old 04-12-2006, 07:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wacnstac
I'd like to replace with some nice brass ballcock valves, but the problem would then be splicing into the rest of the system. Do you think I can find a barbed fitting that will splice into the existing hard plastic? What are SS hose clamps as opposed to regular hose clamps?

If I go to home depot exactly what am I looking for if I want soft plastic tubing? My expected pressures on this system are not going to be large.
I've never worked with plex so I have no idea.

As far as the soft tubing, they will be on rolls near the plumbing section. Have them cut you a piece (or do as I do and pull out a knife and cut a half inch off) and go to the fitting section and put together your valves and barb fittings to make sure you get the right sizes. The connection to the rest of the plumbing system could be made at a place where you have a fitting and can tie into easily.
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:32 PM   #16
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Hi, Wacnstac,

Well, our Excellas are different in this. Bummer.

On my Argosy, I lived with a patched-up plumbing system for about a year, and then one went psssst! and I went, "Arghhh!"

I then snipped and yanked and pulled and pushed and cussed and sawed and got every peice of copper tubing out of the trailer. Laying on the floor of the hangar they were a pretty sorry sight.

I then replaced every peice with PEX tubing and Qwest fittings. Instead of replacing the regulator, I got an external one to go on the hose fitting outside.

PEX is not as elegant as copper, but it's relatively cheap, easy to work with, resistant to freezing, and durable. That was in 1992, and it's still working great.

It took me three days, start to finish, and numerous trips to the hardware store, to do it. However, doing something ONCE that stays fixed is worth it to me. (I had no idea I would still have the trailer 14 years later.)

Lamar

On edit: I also put in several shutoffs so I could isolate different parts of the water system. I had two messy failures of the ball valve in the toilet that I failed to appreciate.
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:10 PM   #17
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Pex

I was surprised to see that the two new homes being built across the street from me have been entirely plumbed with color-coded PEX. They put in all the under-slab lines, temporarily connected hot and cold lines at one point, and installed a pressure gage in the connection. They then pressurized the system to 90#, capped the system, and left it sit for a couple of weeks. The pressure never varied. Not a scrap of copper or PVC in either system.
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:39 PM   #18
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Where do you buy this PEX stuff.
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Old 04-12-2006, 03:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wacnstac
Where do you buy this PEX stuff.
Pex is available in at any plumbing supply store and most big box stores. It was originally available in a milky white color and later in a brown/orange color. Recently the manufacturers have made it available in both blue and red to differentiate the hot and cold water systems.
It has been approved in most municipalities for use, both above and below ground and under slab. It is a cross-linked polyethylene and is quite durable. Although I have the original copper in my 64 Overlander, if I had to change it out, I would not hesitate to use Pex.
The two methods of joining the pipe are- 1)using Qwest compression fittings or 2)using crimp rings. The crimp rings are fast and inexpensive but require a special crimping tool that is quite expensive. You may be able to rent that? the Qwest fittings are more expensive but can be reused if you make a mistake or decide to change something.

Mark
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Old 04-12-2006, 04:23 PM   #20
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http://www.pexconnection.com

We don't see much of it around here in any retail establishment, because it isn't "code" for houses....yet. HD doesn't have any; Lowe's has some, but not a wide selection. I had to get a special fitting for something at a plumbing supply house, and asked if they carried any pex, and they said "no", for the reason above. They cater to the local plumbers, and since they can't use it, they don't stock it.

There are also "Flair-it" type fittings, available from the link above. I thought that the Qest fittings were rather expensive and bulky, which is an issue when working in the confined spaces of the A/S. But I mainly just wanted to point out that it isn't the only type.
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