as I approach start time - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-29-2013, 01:01 PM   #1
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Name: Charlie
Trailer: Casita 13
California
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as I approach start time

Hello people. I am about to actually really embark upon this restore, make functional, upgrade of my 13'er, having finally accumulated the majority of the hard parts. Let me start with the water. I went to a larger water tank and alas found a " space issue ". The tank fit perfectly, just a fitting access issue. As I have started my pex education, potentially I can make a manifold of sorts and get that assembled prior to mounting the tank, the question is , since there is no pressure on the drain line, a barbed fitting with hose clamps should work ? that is the major access issue. Also from the tank to a new water pump ? Why doesn't/isn't PVC used ? Easy to solvent weld , etc?.....cheap too ! I only wish to do this once in my lifetime, lol....water shut off before and after water pump or just before ? where else ? thanks in advance ...propane ? I fantasized about 3/8 brass main lines with copper or hose uprights ? shutoff at each appliance ? wow, all two of them rerig and stove ! so 1/2 " ( overkill) ? main trunk.....the upgrades are primarily so an outside shower can be installed next season , if I find I can use one and also like to add a water heater, maybe...space issue...
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:31 AM   #2
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Name: Eddie
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Welcome Charlie
Boy what a lot of questions in one post. I sent P.M. with my contact info. to get you started. If I tried to answer all the questions I would be here all day typing.
Eddie
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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Hi Charlie
If you are in SoCal I can loan out my PEX crimping tool, otherwise they are about $65.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:38 PM   #4
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Hello and thanks. Being a dedicated tool freak, I will prob pick one up....as I get closer and erase some cobwebs...Eddie was a tremandous help!
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:58 PM   #5
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PEX plumbing is pretty easy, just be sure to use crimped, not press-fit fittings. I used press-fit in our trailer. The first time. But not the second. In the same trailer. I do, however, keep a couple of the press-fit fittings and a couple feet of PEX handy when we travel, just in case a repair of some sort is needed.

You'll need to plumb some connections with 5/8" flexible hose, like the connection from your water tank to your pump, then to your PEX piping, and again from your city water connection to a "T" somewhere in the hose between the pump and PEX. This is how I did it:

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Three things to note in that picture:

1) See the Zip-ties? This is how I did it . . . the first time with press-fit fittings, which is why there are zip-ties trying to hold it all together. Those fittings have since been replaced.

2) You want the hose between the pump and PEX to be fairly long, two to three feet (60-90cm), so you can make a "loop" that dampens the pulsing vibrations coming from the pump before you tie it into your plumbing system. If you don't do this, your entire trailer will become a drum head on which the beat of the pump gets played. In this picture I haven't put that loop in yet; it was added when I re-did the PEX connections.

3) Look at the pump inlet side and you'll see a little strainer/filter. You'll want one of these to keep any grit that winds up in your fresh water tank from getting into your pump and killing it. And, if you find you have a water leak in the vicinity of your water pump, check that filter; sometimes the casing cracks.

4) You'll want to be able to access this area once in a while. I can get to this area in my trailer by opening a lower cabinet door and removing the screws that hold the cabinet floor in place. My converter, 12v and 110v load center/fuses, solar charge controller, inverter and inverter controls are all located in the same area.

On to shut-off valves:

My trailer has a shut-off valve just before the water heater inlet and at the tank drain. No where else. If I don't want water pressure on the system, I disconnect from the city water supply, turn the pump off, and open a valve at the sink to let pressure off the system.

And, answering a question some people forget to ask, but that might be because they're smarter than I am and live somewhere that it doesn't get so cold:

To "winterize" my system I drain the water tank and run the pump dry, I pull the trailer up a ramp on the side opposite the water heater, pull the drain plug on the outside of the water heater, drain it out, seal it all up, then run pressurized air through the system until all the taps are just blowing air, run the water pump again , run pressurized air again, pull the water heater drain plug again, stuff in a piece of paper towel into the plug hole (to keep the bugs out), and park it.
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:21 PM   #6
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Name: Charlie
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thanks

thank you. I am sure I am making a mountain out of a molehill, but nature of things..one thing that does puzzle me is that I thought pex was to take the place of barbed fittings due to their failure under pressure, yet I see that barbed fittings are used, even on the output side of the pump, as well as compression fittings. that leaves only the city water and at say sinks, showers etc, due to their failure in freezing temps ? That would probably be due to expansion and contraction of unlike materials at different rates ? So to summarize barbs are ok ( low pressure ) and connections can be made at a sink with a compression type fitting ? thanks again....I actually am going to start with the propane, due to ....Charlie
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:28 PM   #7
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PEX is a system and there is sort of a barb on the male part of all fittings that go into the PEX tubing. The invented part of that system is the compressible ring that permanently clamps the tubing onto the fittings. For your sink fittings you can usually use a female 1/2" female pipe connector to PEX fitting. Or you can use a 1/2 Male pipe to PEX and use a standard flex hose from there to the faucet. Of course everything has to be well secured.

I have used a fitting that has a threaded barb and a compression nut with PEX and they work well, but are about 3X the price of equal PEX fittings. I keep 2-3 of these in my repair box for emergency repairs on the road, but have never needed them.

I don't know of any "Compression" fittings for PEX. By compression I am thinking of a nut, sleeve and a matching male fitting, much like that used on LP tubing, but they may exist.
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:44 PM   #8
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Name: Charlie
Trailer: Casita 13
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semantics -. not knowing the correct terminology, i just picked one ( word ) wrong one, I guess. The fitting I am referring to is a nut with a rubber compression washer that fills the voids. both fit over piping/pipe and onto male threads etc the other end has pex or barbed male end. Don't know how else to describe them..... Had a setback. Laying out, in my mind anyway, the tank itself, it looks like they forgot to put a drain line fitting on it. I bought a 3-way sink faucet and I guess they vacuum line takes a separate outlet ? have two on the SAME end of the tank below the fill and vent inets, nowhere near where the drain oultlet is on the trailer. tank came from Casita as a direct fit replacement. Oh well. Can I run the vacuum hand pump line to the water pump inlet ? if not, about a 90 mile round trip to a place. gonna start with the propane, manana lol
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:40 PM   #9
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It sounds like the fitting you are describing is a 1/2" female pipe coupling x PEX. Others will have slightly different descriptions.

Tank drains are frequently not a part of the water lines themselves. But there should also be a drain at the lowest point in the water lines.

The term "Vacuum Pump" usually isn't a part of RV plumbing. By vacuum pump are you talking about your water pump? If so, is it electric or manual
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:53 PM   #10
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Welcome Charlie; North Carolina here. Once you get started using the pex it gets easier; except for the back pain. LOL I'm laughing so I don't cry. Of course I have a bad back anyway from a car wreck. Make sure they show you how to open the pex tool completely open. Good luk with the redo and post pictures.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:08 PM   #11
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3 tips for working with PEX

1) The hard part is sometimes keeping the locking ring in place while positioning the tool. I cheat a little and very lightly pinch the ring with a pair of channel locks, then I put the big crimper to work.

2) Plan ahead so you don't discover the place you wanted to put a crimp ring on is to enclosed to get the tool into when it is opened all the way or it can't be closed all the way once you are clamped on the ring.. Learned that one the hard way...

3) Get and use the go-not go gages to inspect your crimps. Sometimes, especially if you are not straight on the ring, you can get a bad crimp.

And YES, ya gotta know how to open it all the way.
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:07 AM   #12
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Name: Charlie
Trailer: Casita 13
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hello again....By vacuum I am referring to the sink hand pump. I bought a three-way - city water , pump and hand pump, primarily because it is approx same size ( small ) as the existing flopping one and thought it would be energy efficient ( 12v ) to have the hand pump. since there are only two outlets on the bottom of the tank I either have to use one for both the water pump and hand pump and the other for the drain, which requires more bends/fittings than I would prefer or get a drain fitting installed and separate the the two pumping methaods. I am leaning towards the latter because the two outlets are on on fill/vent end and not near the drain line provision on the trailer, which would line up with the opposite end of the tank......PEX. pretty much have decided on the cinch type, I like the way the finished clamp looks-ss-and appears less room for error...just need to buy the tool, etc... start with city water. I didn't realize there are more parts to buy..city fill, in-line pressure regulator...etc....I buy most of my stuff internet..have plenty else to do...are all cinch tools equal ? Am I correct in that the rings are tool specific ? that is if I buy a lowes tool it won't work with HD rings and vice versa ? Wordy huh...meds...lol
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:29 AM   #13
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The right tool is the large crimping tool that costs about $60 at big box hardware stores. While the vice-grip powered ring clampers will work, one bad crimp on the road and you will lose everything you might have saved.

In any event, be sure to get the go-no go gauge set to check your work

Do it right the first time, it costs a lot more to do it right the second time.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:03 PM   #14
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Name: Charlie
Trailer: Casita 13
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hello. thanks for the reply. The cinch tool as I understand things doesn't require a go-no-go. Ratchet system automatically releases. I answered my own question on the pumps issue. Sheepishly admitting that I only now opened the box and diagram shows hand pump between the water pump and tank on the same line.so I can make that work. On the tool issue, HD sells one brand lowes another internet others. Presumably they are all of the same quality,but, I am led to believe one brand of cinch rings will not work with another mfg's tool ? On my way to see the wizard lol. HD - 1/2 line for propane. thank you for....all
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