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Old 04-17-2021, 02:23 PM   #1
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1968 28' Ambassador
Rapid City , South Dakota
Join Date: May 2013
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68 Ambassador that needs help

We are tired of dry camping (too many breaks in the copper) so I have taken the plunge to replace the copper with 1/2 inch pex. Before I claim victory on this first battle I have several questions I need help with.
1) Do I need to plumb in the attached valve monster or can I use an external pressure gauge and water filter instead?
2) I'm having problems breaking the hot water heater connection due to limited space and the ability to apply pressure on the connections. Any suggestions? I have used a half can of WD-40 already and really don't want to rebuild that storage cabinet in the bathroom to access it.
3) My plan is to put a small portable compressor on the city inlet and check for leaks. My plan was to start at 10 psi and go up to 30psi. Do I need to go higher?

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

DROlney

P.S. I will be back with an electrical issue soon. Thanks
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:20 PM   #2
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Thatís a nice roomy trailer. We installed PEX in both our trailers and house using Wirsbo Uponor fittings with a Milwaukee expander tool. We installed an exterior city water fill with cap (this also allows us to screw an air jet in the winter to blow out the PEX lines). We have our looped water hose with a regulator and filter canister at the city water end. I have the pressure set at about 34 psi. You can start your leak test and have all faucets open, then close them off. We placed a shutoff PEX valve at each faucet in the event we sprung a leak on the road and needed to isolate one area. Concerning the water heater, without having room to work, penetrating oil is all I know. You may still need to remove just enough cabinet to access the connections when you install the PEX. Good luck.
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:39 PM   #3
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1976 Argosy 24
1961 28' Ambassador
1968 26' Overlander
Lakewood , Colorado
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Yes to external pressure regulator, filter if you like. Many modern city water inlets have a built in pressure reg. I run my pressure up to 50 psi if they have it, many don't (campgrounds, parks etc.). I like sea-tech fittings, light weight, cheaper than shark bite, they allow some "swivel". Are you trying to take fittings off an original water heater? Good luck! On my '68 Overlander I knew I was replacing the whole bath so I don't remember. Get out your biggest wrenches and good luck.
Stay dry... Mark D
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Old 04-17-2021, 07:12 PM   #4
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Conifer , Colorado
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Hello and welcome to these Airstream Forums. A 68 Ambassador would be a fun project. Some think the 68 model year trailers are the cat's meow. It is the last year of the "twinkie" body style. The 69s were completely different.

I would try some penetrating oil instead of WD40. I also would get my electric heat gun out and heat that baby up some. The aluminum would expand and might break the corrosion and allow removal.

Nope, I wouldn't plumb in that big old cast pressure reducing valve. You can find one that is smaller and inline.

David
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Old 04-17-2021, 08:28 PM   #5
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I would also recommend an external pressure regulator on your city hose. I've been in 2 different RV parks (west coast) that required pressure regulators because their city water psi was 90+. I run my at 50 psi. I would recommend one that is adjustable so you can set to your preference.

I don't use a filter on my water hose. Our preference is to use a zero water pitcher for drinking water. Most of our water usage is black or gray so why filter (IMO).

The small 6 cup pitcher includes a meter to check if its time to replace the filter.

https://zerowater.com/collections/wa...ers-dispensers
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Old 04-18-2021, 11:12 AM   #6
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I would use an inlet water filter no matter what the water is going to be used for, black or grey, because sediment and trash can get into the water pump and clog up the check valve. I used PEX with nylon (poly) fittings and SS clamps. The fittings have the same specs as brass, they are both subject to freezing. Be sure and winterize before it freezes. I used SharkBite fittings on my water heater. I have had Seatec fittings leak.
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Old 04-19-2021, 10:43 PM   #7
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1964 30' Sovereign
Ione , CA
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I also recommend you use a filter on the incoming water line. Very important tip - always run water out through the filter at the end of each camping trip to flush out the caught residue from the filter. Not only to filter water coming through the campground's piping...but also because the prior site campers may have gotten debris into the spigot when disconnecting their hoses. Some folks (outside our personal circle of friends!) use the same hose for inbound water and to flush out their dump tubing at the pumpout station. Grrr.
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Old 05-08-2021, 05:57 PM   #8
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1968 28' Ambassador
Roswell , New Mexico
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I recently replaced my entire copper plumbing system with pex on my 68 Ambassador and couldn't be happier.



1) Do I need to plumb in the attached valve monster or can I use an external pressure gauge and water filter instead?


I took out everything and went with an adjustable external pressure regulator and water filter - it inexpensive, quick, and can be replaced in 5 mins at the first sign of trouble.


2) I'm having problems breaking the hot water heater connection due to limited space and the ability to apply pressure on the connections. Any suggestions? I have used a half can of WD-40 already and really don't want to rebuild that storage cabinet in the bathroom to access it.


Use a pair of 1/2" SharkBite connectors in tight spaces like that. They will fit both the 1/2"pex and the 1/2" copper line. Crimp up the new pex lines as usual and roughly fit them close water heater's existing fittings before installing them. Leave the connections on the water heater and cut the existing copper pipes (with a tubing cutter) and pex lines off to match for the sharkbites. Make the final crimp connections on the new lines at an accessible spot and install the sharkbites as the final step. They work like a champ!


3) My plan is to put a small portable compressor on the city inlet and check for leaks. My plan was to start at 10 psi and go up to 30psi. Do I need to go higher?


With an adjustable external regulator, you can dial the pressure down to 10lbs, leave all the taps in the trailer open, and juice and get the air out your system. Check for leaks as you go then turn off the taps and keep checking. Once everything is closed, slowly bump up the pressure to about 40 psi or whatever makes you happy. 1/2" Pex is rated to 480 psi so you're golden there. Go as high as you want as long as you don't exceed your water tank's max pressure rating.


Have fun and good luck!
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:50 PM   #9
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WD-40 is not penetrating oil. Not even close. Get some PB Blaster or something similar.
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:04 PM   #10
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I test my PEX plumbing projects with up to 40 psi air. I have found sometimes the built in pressure regulator on the system squeals when I test with air. I worry about it breaking, but so far no damage done.

David
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