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Old 03-26-2012, 02:13 PM   #1
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1986 25' Sovereign
Wichita Falls , Texas
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Plumbing

I'm about to do a major re-do of my '86 sovereign, and the main issue, other than the fridge, A/C and water heater, is the plumbing, the water that comes out of the existing pipes smells like onion, I'm guessing mold or worse somewhere in the lines. (bought the AS 4 years ago) I am thinking of PEX throughout. I am guessing if I take off the under carriage, all the pipes will be mostly accessible?? Anyone ever done this?

THX
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:20 PM   #2
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1981 31' Excella II
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I have not tackled this yet. I am not sure of the routing of the lines under the trailer. I am sure it would be easier with the skins off. Are you using city water or water from the fresh water tanks? You can sterilize with bleach to get the tank clean or at least sanitary. Unless you keep up your fresh water system rather well, I would not drink out of it. What is in the trailer now polybutyl?

Perry
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:23 PM   #3
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I just re-plumbed our 1997 with PEX. Total cost was just over $300 and the only part of the underside I had to deal with was dropping the freshwater tank what is located just aft of the rear axle. It exposed the pipes above it and below the floor as well as gave me a chance to clean the tank. Other than that, I had to remove the kitchen and bath cabinets for ease of access.

Just as a hint, be sure to pressure test your finished plumbing before you put the freshwater tank back up. That way you don't have to drop it a second time.........
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frscott View Post
I'm about to do a major re-do of my '86 sovereign, and the main issue, other than the fridge, A/C and water heater, is the plumbing, the water that comes out of the existing pipes smells like onion, I'm guessing mold or worse somewhere in the lines. (bought the AS 4 years ago) I am thinking of PEX throughout. I am guessing if I take off the under carriage, all the pipes will be mostly accessible?? Anyone ever done this?
Whatever it is you should be able to get rid of it by shock chlorinating.

I use household bleach and place 120 mL of it in the fresh water tank. I have set aside a 60cc caulking syringe that I got from Vintage Trailer supply for the purpose. So two syringe fulls = 120 mL. Then I fill the tank and flush the lines to the point where there's chlorinated water in all the lines, and top off the tank. At that concentration I can leave it any length of time, and it's below the max for drinking and washing, so I don't have to drain it.

If that doesn't do the trick you can increase the concentration as necessary. With a large accumulation of organic crud it may take quite it bit more because it will react with the chlorine making it ineffective. Pool and spa places have test kits and if you get one and chlorinate to the point where you maintain 10 ppm free chlorine overnight that should take care of the "onion" problem.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:46 PM   #5
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Frscott

Don't assume anything. I have two Airstreams, 66 & 84, and most of the plumbing runs above the floor.

Is your plumbing leaking? If not why replace? Especially if the plumbing in your Excella is Quest (gray polybutylene). Fix whatever the problem is. If the pipes are not leaking, don't replace them. There are enough other real problems to take care of.

Dan
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:54 PM   #6
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If someone prior to your ownership of the trailer got a "bad" load of fresh water, it can definitely cause your water tank to pick up the taste for all time. It's not as common anymore as it was many years ago, but can still occur. Remember that rotten egg tasting and smelling water? Yeah, that's it. I always taste the water before it goes in our tank when we're traveling. We always super chlorinate our system every spring before we start our camping season. Use 1/4 cup bleach for every 10 gal of tank capacity. Fill the tank part way with water, add the bleach and fill up with water the rest of the way. Pump it through your system and let sit for at least 3 hours. Drain and flush, then add baking soda/water or vinegar/water to the system (takes about 1/2 cup baking soda per 10 gal, or 2 gal white vinegar for a 40 gal tank) and let it sit for several days. Drain and flush.
You could also look at the possibility of an outside water filter causing the problem. We had an in line water filter between the trailer and spigot that was giving our water a bad taste. New filter, too. Threw that one and no more problems with the next one we tried.
So what I'm saying is that it might not be your water lines but your tank that is the problem. You should check it all out before going through the work of replacing your lines. Good luck!

Kay
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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1999 25' Safari
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My trailer's water system had that same smell, and after flushing everything several times to no avail, I traced the problem to a white sludge corrosion in the water heater. The fix was to replace the water heater. No smell since.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:06 AM   #8
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1986 25' Sovereign
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Thanks for all the replies! Really helpful. I do have a leak, it is right at the foot of the toilet,(middle bath) took it to a shop in town and they said they fixed it, charged me $40 and it was not fixed--long story but I don't trust them enough to take it back. I thought to find and fix the leak I would likely have to remove the skins under the trailer, just to get at the pipe??? Then while that is off I thought I might as well replace it all with PEX, because the stuff will not break when frozen, as I do camp in the winter. How do you know you have gotten all the bleach out of the water?? I don't know why I am so paranoid about that, but it is worth a try, along with the vinegar and baking soda. The water tastes of onion in every stop under multiple water supplies,(rarely use the tank and pump) it is a worse odor/taste when it is through the water heater, and I am wanting to put in a Girard tankless anyway, so the heater heater is not long for my trailer, and if that is the source it will be gone. Thanks again for all your help!!!
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