Plumbing fittings? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-25-2008, 11:19 PM   #1
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Replumping some of the flexible lines in my Scamp. Seems to take a lot of force to get the clamps to seal the line tightly enough to not drip.

Is there any type of sealant I should put on the barbed fittings, or is it simply "clamp as hard as you can"?

I am worried about breaking the plastic barbed fittings from excess clamp pressure.

Thanks!
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Old 10-26-2008, 02:21 AM   #2
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Replumping some of the PEX lines in my Scamp . . . Is there any type of sealant I should put on the barbed fittings, or is it simply "clamp as hard as you can"?
There are a couple special tools you need for working with traditional "clamp" style PEX connectors. One is a specialized clamping tool from the PEX connector manufacturer. These are spendy tools -- $80 or so -- but you can rent them from the Home Depot or Lowes where you bought the connectors.

The better PEX fittings require a second specialty tool that measures the diameter of the rings after they've been clamped into place. If the ring you've clamped into place with the spendy tool fits into the ring caliper your job is done. If not, you need to clamp on your pipe again.

Another option that's spendy in a different way is to use the no-clamp junctions that Lowes sells. I've had problems with these things leaking if the pipes aren't snugly installed in a straight line (no installing one to, say, join two pipes in the curve at the back of your trailer), but when placed in a location where they won't be bounced around as the trailer moves or be torqued around by a bend in the pipe they've proved to be good, water tight connections.


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Old 10-26-2008, 03:41 AM   #3
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Thanks...

Maybe I got it wrong - my Scamp has the flexible type tubing - I guess I thought that was PEX.

Brain fart - anyway, these were simply clamped onto the barbed fittings with regular hose clamps. When reattaching them, I found that I had to wrench them extremely tight to get them to not weep - I was very worried about breaking the plastic barbed fittings. As it is now, I tightened them just enough so they stopped weeping - but there are so many connections I am worried that down the road one might start dripping and cause a leak.

Incidentally, the reason I am redoing them all is because I had to replace the flooring in this section where there was obviously a prior leak - not a fun job and it took me 3 days to do the flooring and get it glassed in. I don't ever want to have to do that again, so I need to know the "proper" way to seal these - should I put plumbers dope in the barbed fittings, or is that a mistake...

???

Thanks!
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Old 10-26-2008, 10:31 AM   #4
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I've thought about using hose clamps too. Here's a picture of a plumbing job redone using reinforced hose and hose clamps. A 50' drinking water hose (it's reinforced and has an anti-bacterial coating inside) could be used? It's pliable which to me makes it easier to install than rigid pipe. Used with stainless hose clamps and replumbing the entire trailer shouldn't cost more than $50-60.
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Old 10-26-2008, 11:40 AM   #5
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SORRY GUYS, IT IS NOT PEX - IT IS FLEXIBLE TUBING LIKE IN DONNA'S PHOTO - SORRY FOR THE MISTAKE!

Hi Donna -

What you show in your photo is exactly the type of plumbing I am doing - the flexible hose with clamps.

My question is - do I need to put any additional sealant (plumbers dope, etc) on the barbed fittings before clamping the hose clamps, or do I simply clamp them down really hard so that it doesn't leak.

After installing and fiberglassing a new floor as a result of the PO's leak in this area, I REALLY don't want to have a leak there again!
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Old 10-26-2008, 12:14 PM   #6
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Jake, I'm going to say no, providing you have the proper fittings. That is , when the hose goes over the fitting , does the hose fit tight over the fitting ? My 98 Scamp is plumbed that way in the whole trailer. Using the flex type hose with hose clamps. I know when I put in a winterizing kit, I took apart one of the clamps and it didn't have any goop on the fitting. I tighten my hose clamps down with a small 1/4" ratchet ? There isn't much pressure in the lines . Maybe someone else has another idea. Donna I did see on the internet that someone did use Pex pipe with hose clamps, if that did work it would save a bit of money not having to but the Pex tool to clamp the fittings. Tim
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:05 PM   #7
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No, no additional sealant is needed. Using silicone caulk or plumber's putty would actually reduce the integrity of the seal.

To make a tight hose clamp connection you need to . . .

First, buy fiber-mesh hose (like that in Donna's picture), fittings, and hose clamps that are the same size. Most trailer plumbing is done with 1/2" pipe and fittings.

Cut your hose to size, but leave a little slack in the hose length. The extra slack allows for a little give when your trailer is being towed so the fittings don't get pulled each time you hit a bump, and gives you some slack to work with if you have to do un-do a fitting and have to cut the hose off because you can't work it loose.

Make cuts in the hose at a 90-degree angles, but don't sweat it if you're a little bit off. Hose clamps are very forgiving.

Run your hose from point A to B, then put the hose clamps on at either end. (Hint: put them on so you can get at them with a screwdriver, yet have the screw-clamp housing facing away from the rest of the compartment it's in. That way you're less likely to rasp your knuckles on the clamp while you're groping around inside a storage area.)

Press-fit the hose over the fitting by working the hose back and forth while pushing hard. You want the hose to fully cover all the barbs on the fitting with some extra overlap to make a tight seal.

Position the clamp so it's centered over where the barbs in the fitting are. For fresh-water connections tighten them to the point where the hose starts to bulge out of the little slits in the clamp. You don't need to worry about busting the fitting: it's designed to withstand more pressure than the little screw in the hose clamp can exert. For gray water connections tighten the clamp to the point where the hose clamp compresses and slightly indents the hose.

Now test for leaks by putting a dry piece of paper towel under every fitting, pressurize the system (with a water pump or city water connection) and wait. Check the connections in a few minutes and then at half hour intervals.

One final note: Mesh hose is a cold-water plumbing solution. Don't use it for plumbing the last foot or so to or any plumbing from a hot water heater.
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:11 PM   #8
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Great, thanks Pete.

That's what i thought - I was just worried that the barbed fittings might crack - it took alot of tightening to get them not to weep.

I did the job yesterday, and left the system pressurized all night - all seems good so far. I will continue to check it again over the next few days.

The only other thing I want to do while I am in there is possibly make a hinge for the water pump cover, instead of the screw on cover provided by Scamp - I would like the ability to easily check in there periodically to see any evidence of leaking. With all those multiple hose connections, there certainly is a lot to worry about!
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:26 PM   #9
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One final note: Mesh hose is a cold-water plumbing solution. Don't use it for plumbing the last foot or so to or any plumbing from a hot water heater.
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Peter, What type of hose do you use for the hot water heater, I'd have to look at my Scamp but I thought I have the same hose for the water heater also. Tim
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:43 PM   #10
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I'm not Peter, but I was thinking about using a stainless steel flex washing machine/dishwaster hose. I found one that's 6 feet long For $11.96... here: Plumbing Supply. Rather than pay shipping, I'd try Lowes or Home Depot, etc.
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Old 10-26-2008, 02:27 PM   #11
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Good idea, Donna. I'll check it out.

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Old 10-26-2008, 05:03 PM   #12
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Be sure to use the really good, made in America, stainless steel hose clamps. The wider the better as the narrow ones have a tendency to strip the threads. The best ones can be had at an auto supply store.

The slack is also nice when the hose is subjected to extreme cold because things shrink when cold and if it were really tight, it could cause a problem.

The metal braded washer hose is a great suggestion. They also sell washbasin metal braded hoses however they do not come in very long lengths.

One last thought:
Be sure to purchase a water pressure-limiting device for the city side of the water line. (Wally World) It goes on the water hose that U connect to the water supply at the camp ground and limits the pressure to 50psi. Or, you can purchase an adjustable one at Camping World. By limiting the pressure you have some insurance that you will not have a blow out due to some campground having a high-pressure water system.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:08 PM   #13
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My plumbing is mostly PEX, but I use a flexible stainless-steel braided water connection pipes like the ones Donna mentioned to connect the hot water heater to the PEX.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:13 PM   #14
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Great If you have any pics of your plumbing you did with the pex I would love to see them. Especially where you used the braided lines. Thanks, Tim
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