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Old 02-03-2023, 01:14 PM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
Richmond hill , Georgia
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Pipes and fittings suitable for RV use

Hello all. I am in the process of renovating a 1978 sovereign. The previous owner removed all of the original wiring and plumbing, so I am starting everything from scratch.

I am curious as to what types of pipes (pex,pvc) and what style of fittings (shark bite, crimp, expansion, etc.) are appropriate for RV use.

I am considering using pex-b with shark bite fittings. Is there a reason to use something different?

Thank you all for your time.
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Old 02-03-2023, 02:13 PM   #2
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I would go with Pex crimp on fittings. Shark bite fittings can be little bulky. Use blue tubing for cold and red for hot.
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Old 02-03-2023, 02:49 PM   #3
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Shark-Bite fittings are much more expensive then crimp fittings. By the time you buy 10 it would be cheaper to buy a PEX crimper and fittings.
https://www.amazon.com/Jinwen-Fasten...13564627&psc=1
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Old 02-04-2023, 07:12 AM   #4
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I'd seriously look into Uponor PEX.
I had my old home re-plumbed and that's all they'd use.
No metal fasteners, instead a collar on the fitting.
The tool stretches the fitting, so it clamps down and retains tension; forever?
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Old 02-04-2023, 07:41 AM   #5
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A neighbor had his new house plumbed by a contractor who used those fittings and two of the bands broke later ruining the finished drywall in his bathroom and kitchen. The house had passed the pressure test before the drywall had been installed.
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Old 02-04-2023, 07:48 AM   #6
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I use PEX with the stainless crimp fittings and with Shark bite connectors in some places. PVC for drain lines. It is hard to find ABS where I live,. Buy the cutter to get clean cut ends Make a couple of trial crimps. Then you will be good to go. Make up assemblies and put the final joint where you can reach it with the crimper.
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Old 02-04-2023, 08:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I'd seriously look into Uponor PEX.
I had my old home re-plumbed and that's all they'd use.
No metal fasteners, instead a collar on the fitting.
The tool stretches the fitting, so it clamps down and retains tension; forever?
Uponor is what we’ve used on both our trailers, in our barn and house. Been through some pretty harsh freezes over the last few years without issue.
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Old 02-04-2023, 04:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Ware View Post
A neighbor had his new house plumbed by a contractor who used those fittings and two of the bands broke later ruining the finished drywall in his bathroom and kitchen. The house had passed the pressure test before the drywall had been installed.
Which fittings?
Uponor, stainless crimp fittings or Shark bite, all have been mentioned before your post.
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Old 02-04-2023, 04:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I'd seriously look into Uponor PEX.
I had my old home re-plumbed and that's all they'd use.
No metal fasteners, instead a collar on the fitting.
The tool stretches the fitting, so it clamps down and retains tension; forever?
I agree with this...the Upon PEX (type A) is easy to work with and quite forgiving. There are both brass and plastic fittings, and I just recently redid the house using the plastic fittings with no problems.

The only tool you'll need is the Milwaukee electric expander tool, which is not cheap but well worth the money in the time it saves. The type A PEX can be installed more easily (in my opinion) in constricted and tight spaces since you can stretch the tubing away from the space and then you have a few seconds to get it into position. You don't have to wrestle the crimping tool into that tight space.

Sharkbite fittings are good, but I'd avoid them in a moving vehicle. Yes, people used them successfully, but there have also been those who had problems with them leaking. There's just a single O-ring making the seal on Sharkbite fittings, and we know what happens to O-rings after a few years exposed to heat like found in a closed trailer in the summer.
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Old 02-04-2023, 04:42 PM   #10
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Pex crimp on fittings are the easiest to use

easy to get anymore


try to get good quality pipe in BLUE and red so that you easily identify cold and hot water
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Old 02-04-2023, 04:51 PM   #11
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I'd just use the regular pex and crimp fittings for the water system. I've done repairs with that, and the crimping is rewarding when you do it. Just practice a couple of times to get the feel for it.
I think you'll find the regular pex, fittings and tools are less expensive and easy to use. One problem with the Uponor or Pex-A is that you only have a short amt of time to get the band in place. The advantage of Pex-A is greater flow for the line size, but flow is really not an issue in a trailer.
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Old 02-04-2023, 07:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post
Which fittings?
Uponor, stainless crimp fittings or Shark bite, all have been mentioned before your post.
The ones with the plastic collar around the end are the ones that failed. I didn't see the brand name but a licensed plumber was using a special tool to install them. The collars had split apart sometime after installation.
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Old 02-04-2023, 09:47 PM   #13
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Airstream uses PEX B and Stainless crimp clamps

Airstream has been using PEX B with stainless crimp clamps for years. We haven’t had any issues with our 2019 Globetrotter’s plumbing. They use white for cold and supply lines then red for hot. PEX is freeze resistant, much better than copper. You can mix SharkBite and crimp when needed.

I picked up an iCrimp tool from Amazon for $24 and an Amazon Basics PEX Cutter for $7. A bag of 50 1/2” clamps was $14. Bottom line: with a little practice you can knock out a project in little time.

I just used the tools to make a bench test setup for a water pump and IRVWPC intelligent water pump controller.
Good luck with your project!
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Old 02-06-2023, 06:40 PM   #14
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Shark Bite makes both push on and PEX B

I agree with earlier posters that the push on Shark Bite is not the best for a travel trailer.

On the other hand, almost all of the PEX B I have (fittings, pipe and tools) is branded Shark Bite. Both Lowes and Ace stock Shark Bite PEX. I like the benefits of PEX A, particularly the fact that it easily lays flat, but I’ve stayed with B simply based on availability. I’ve done 2 rigs and a lot of house repair with PEX B. I’m sold.
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Old 02-07-2023, 05:09 AM   #15
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Thank you all for your detailed responses. I’ve decided that I’ll go with the tried and true pex-b with crimped fittings.

I’m curious as to how many standard use hot thermal cycles the expansion fittings with pex A can go through before the cross linkages between the ethylene molecules break down and the joint fails due to “looseness”.

As for the shark bite fittings, thank you for substantiating my uncertainty of whether or not using these in a mobile applications was an issue.

While I’m here, I’d like to pose one more question regarding plumbing…

Does airstream keep their wall insulation away from plumbing? I ask because the plumbing in the belly of the trailer will have lots of rock wool insulation around it. I was curious if it is a good idea to ensure some type of distance between plumbing and insulation.

Note: I plan on using pipe insulation (the pool noodle stuff) on all of my pipes I install.
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Old 02-08-2023, 09:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon2022 View Post
Thank you all for your detailed responses. I’ve decided that I’ll go with the tried and true pex-b with crimped fittings.

I’m curious as to how many standard use hot thermal cycles the expansion fittings with pex A can go through before the cross linkages between the ethylene molecules break down and the joint fails due to “looseness”.

As for the shark bite fittings, thank you for substantiating my uncertainty of whether or not using these in a mobile applications was an issue.

While I’m here, I’d like to pose one more question regarding plumbing…

Does airstream keep their wall insulation away from plumbing? I ask because the plumbing in the belly of the trailer will have lots of rock wool insulation around it. I was curious if it is a good idea to ensure some type of distance between plumbing and insulation.

Note: I plan on using pipe insulation (the pool noodle stuff) on all of my pipes I install.
Brandon, I don’t see any problem with running your plumbing next to or in contact with insulation. I found a photo from our Globetrotter’s PEX running along the interior skin and in contact with the insulation.

Good luck with your project!
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Old 02-08-2023, 09:13 AM   #17
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Seems to me that regardless of whether or not the insulation is in contact with the plumbing, there is still the possibility of condensation forming on the pluming if there is a temperature differential between warmer air and cooler plumbing.

The big factor in controlling this would be keeping the area as air tight as possible to prohibit warmer ambient air from getting anywhere near the plumbing.
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Old 02-08-2023, 10:02 AM   #18
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Consider…

Plumbing it with home runs off a manifold like in residential construction. I’d install it mostly horizontally with low point valves at the slightly lower end. If one run fails, you can shut if off leaving the remaining runs active.

Putting low points at actual low points.

Fewer fittings. My 2017 has some “creative” meandering of PEX and a fitting at each meander. City inlet attached to PEX then multiple elbows before the PEX disappears. Water pump installed with no silencing flex yet flex with three fewer fittings would have been less time-consuming to install and be the correct installation. Kitchen sink cold has at least three useless elbows.
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Old 02-08-2023, 01:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waninae39 View Post
Pex crimp on fittings are the easiest to use

easy to get anymore


try to get good quality pipe in BLUE and red so that you easily identify cold and hot water
The Uponor PEX used in my house came in rolls (big) of Blue, Red or white.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
I agree with this...the Upon PEX (type A) is easy to work with and quite forgiving.

The only tool you'll need is the Milwaukee electric expander tool, which is not cheap but well worth the money in the time it saves.
The crew that redid my house said they give the PEX a 8-12 second "Brrrrp" with the Milwaukee tool and it's ready.
Mine have been in place for three years without a leak.
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Old 02-08-2023, 05:07 PM   #20
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Airstream plumbing is run in the interior of the trailer. Not the walls except for the older rear bath models.
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