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Old 01-30-2007, 08:45 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
1965 26' Overlander
1960 28' Ambassador
Vintage Kin Owner
1975 20' Argosy 20
Upper Black Eddy , PA
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 108
Images: 1
Keep the copper or replace with PEX

On getting my (new to me) 65 Overlander up and running, the shop suggested that I replace ALL of the copper tubing throughout the trailer with PEX: stating, that it is just--better. Before purchasing the trailer, the plumbing system was tested for leaks (visual and air check), there were no cracked lines and no major leaks--a small leak was found at the water pump and at an old repair under one bed. Now, to get this thing in camping condition thre are a few other things that need to happen as well:
1) Water pump replacement
2) Water heater replacement
3)Install of AC (probably removeable house unit for preservation of vintage exterior lines.
4) Rebuild of toilet area (it seems to be OK, just some minor cosmetic stuff--but the shop said to replace the subfloor?)

The other cosmetic things will need to wait until I'm finished with Graduate School.

So, the question is: is it necessary to replace all of the existing copper tubing with PEX right now (to the tune of $2000). Or can it wait? With these other repairs that are necessary to get this trailer camp-able and the fact that I'd like to be able to use it before I'm dead (or done with Grad school)-- I'd prefer to wait on the copper replacement, if I can, and throw my limited funds at the REALLY necessary stuff?

Any thoughts?

Kathy in PA
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:22 PM   #2
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1977 31' Sovereign
Riverhead , New York
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$2000 that crazy, the Pex is $30 for pipe and maybe the $40 for fittings.

The labor is at most 5 hours at say $75 per hour.

But it is the way to go and you will save weight.

But not for 2K
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:30 PM   #3
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1965 26' Overlander
1960 28' Ambassador
Vintage Kin Owner
1975 20' Argosy 20
Upper Black Eddy , PA
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 108
Images: 1


REALLY!!! Well, now--that's interesting. Two grand was the quote they gave me for the all of the tubing in the entire trailer.
Would you happen to know of a good shop on LI? I'm in Eastern PA, but was born and bred on LI (Bay Shore). My folks are still there, so I could certainly bring my AS to LI to have some work done (and get a good home-cooked meal, as well!). It's always so hard to know if you're getting ripped off!

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Old 01-30-2007, 09:42 PM   #4
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1961 22' Safari
Union , Oregon
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My advice--------use the trailer before you are dead.
Water leaks are generally the killers of trailers......make sure you have none. Your NEED for new plumbing may not be as important as someone elses WANT for $2000 to replace your plumbing. Replace the water pump to fix that leak and fix the water leak under the bed. You will NEED the water pump to get water from your system. If you have no water leaks in the toilet area the floor will most likely not get worse if you use it. You may WANT to get it replaced in the future. Your call on whether you NEED or WANT a water heater right away.....water can be temporarily heated on the stove. Everyone's situation is different. Can you use your trailer without AC for a while? Again, your call. In general, just make sure everything is safe and not causing more, or new damage. Owning a trailer is supposed to be fun-----it is up to you to make it that way. My advice again.....use your trailer, and then decide what and when you NEED/WANT.

My situation? I am using a 1949 Boles Aero while I am fixing up my A/S. I have no hot water heater, no AC, and the plumbing is just enough to get water from the tank to the sink with no leaks. Their are no leaks from weather. The subfloor needs repair, but nothing (including me) falls through. I will fix it eventually, but for now I am having the time of my life using it (before I am dead).
Have fun!
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:44 PM   #5
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1959 24' Tradewind
Phoenix , Arizona
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Go with the PEX and if your handy, you can do it yourself and save the labor charges. No special tools required either. One of the easiest upgrades I did on my whole trailer. Had a small leak when I tested it and I just needed to tighten the fitting a little more.

Presto! Done! Next?

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Old 01-31-2007, 04:52 PM   #6
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1958 18' "Footer"
Idyllwild , California
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I just asked the same Question a few days ago. Here is the link;

There were no GREAT reasons to go to that expense. I have saved all of the Fittings and only had to purchase the Copper Tubbing. You may need to get a Flaring Tool but they are fairly easy to figure out. The Picture of the PEX made my decision easy (no offense meant!). The PEX just wound up looking very busy and I want something simple and easy to repair while away from the Parts Store. My Trailer is almost 50 years old and the Copper Tubing has done a fine job so far, KISS Theory (Keep It Simple Stupi_)
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:53 PM   #7
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1977 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
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Posts: 279
If you don't have any leaks why are you even thinking about it? I am a plumber and my trailer has the original copper. It is fine and does not need anything. If I had issues I would go to plastic, pex or cpvc with push joints. The push joints John guest, Shark, Watts what ever brand you have available are the way to go whether you are fixing copper or installing new plastic. If the only leak is at the pump what is the problem? Just address the leak and call it quits.
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:12 PM   #8
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1973 31' Sovereign
Bertram , Texas
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Agree. If it ain't broke...I am going PEX as the decision was made by the previous owner. They had replaced lines from from the feed to the kitchen sink and bath....but did not demo the remaining copper or hook up the tank and pump. If one gets sloppy or caught by unexpected freeze PEX handles it much better than PVC or copper. Hey, save the bucks and do it yourself...when yo need to and can invest the time.

Good Luck
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Old 01-31-2007, 09:51 PM   #9
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1973 23' Safari
1977 23' Safari
2014 25' Flying Cloud
Palmer Lake , Colorado
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Take a look at my installation.

I bought the $120 tool to do the swaged fittings because I like their small size and $1 cost. The "shark bite" fittings can be installed by hand, but they are about $5 each. However, they can be tightened or fixed "in the field" without tools.

I highly recommend PEX. I think that heat distribution in vintage AS is spotty and you'll lie awake at night worrying about the pipes the run near the shell or in the back access area if you retain your copper. I just made a trip across the SW two weeks ago where the temps never got above 25. I had already made the decision to convert my Caravel to copper and that trip reinforced it.

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Old 02-01-2007, 05:30 AM   #10
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Naples , Florida
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Pex is the way to go.......much more versatile, flexible and just easier to install. It will withstand a freeze unlike copper, and you WILL have fun installing it yourself. I would go with the push-in fittings for ease of installation and ultimate repairability in the field. If a fitting goes out (unlikely), you just replace it from your spares. They are all I use lately.
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Old 02-01-2007, 12:06 PM   #11
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1964 24' Tradewind
Big Bear Lake , California
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Me Too

I agree, PEX worked for me just fine. However I didn't buy into the quick release/fix fittings. I went with the swedge ring and bought the compression tool along with the ring cutter, which I had to use many times! I also found some PEX clips that can be screwed to most any place to secure the lines. I'm real pleased with the way it all turned out.
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Old 02-08-2007, 04:26 PM   #12
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1973 Argosy 22
Monroe , North Carolina
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Does anyone have the plumbing diagram for an argosy? I am trying to redo my plumbing but pcs. were missing so I am not sure where everything goes..
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Old 02-08-2007, 05:23 PM   #13
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1978 31' Excella 500
Goose Creek , South Carolina
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Here are my 2 cents.
The system has been tested and there are no leaks except for the water pump, I would leave the cooper for now and replace the pump. I can think of 100 different ways to spend 2000 bucks.
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Old 02-08-2007, 06:34 PM   #14
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1976 Argosy 24
now being enjoyed by Heath and Mary in , Vermont
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Somebody might be trying to take advantage of you by quoting $2000.

An old man like me did a COMPLETE through-out-the-trailer job in Ipex Aqua for about $450.00 Canadian ($365.00 USD).

piratesteve is probably referring to my photo when he mentions Ipex looking “busy” (above).

Few people will agree. The consensus, as you can see here, is to go pex.

More and more the aisles at Home Depot and such are being taken over by these systems. If you look at new housing, you will more and more find pex being used.

It’s the way of the future.

I also don’t understand why you should keep copper just because a trailer is 50 years old. Nobody sees it anyway.

But you sure do see the leaks!

If you want to see how members of this forum taught me to plumb my Argosy, go here:

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Old 02-09-2007, 08:27 AM   #15
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Moyock , North Carolina
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Go with what you are comfortable with, I am more comfortabe with copper, but mine is all pex and it is working great. The 74 was all copper sweat fittings and I had no problems with it either. They are both good systems.
Keep the shiny side up.
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Old 02-16-2007, 03:26 PM   #16
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1968 17' Caravel
Birmingham , Alabama
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pex vs copper

Had the same issue on my 68 Caravel. Really thought way too much about it, but that's the way I do things.

I used pex with push fittings. (Sharkbite is one type) I haven't tested yet, as the low is 20 degrees this week. Pex is cheap. Push fittings are expensive compared to clamp fittings + tool.

Ultimately I want to use the thing, so I went for speed (pex/push fittings) and low skill. Pex and clamp fittings are speed and maybe a little more skill, and then copper is for plumbers.

By the way, you sound like the person who called me in Alabama about my 64 grad school and all. Glad you found one!
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:37 PM   #17
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1973 20' Argosy 20
Lampasas , Texas
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Originally Posted by Chiquita
Does anyone have the plumbing diagram for an argosy? I am trying to redo my plumbing but pcs. were missing so I am not sure where everything goes..
I just yanked the plumbing from my 73 20' argosy. The only tricky part is the kitchen sink. The bath, lav and toilet all run from the back closet behind the plastic panels. The kitchen runs around the shower pan and I had to remove the shower to replace. I'm going w/ Pex. If you remove the bathroom sink and panel behind the toilet and shower, it's easy to figure out. I will have some pics if you are interested.
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