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Open Roads Forum  >  Class A Motorhomes

 > Gray rigid water line - what is it?

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rcav8or

Oxford, IN

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Posted: 09/16/12 11:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi, I have a 1988 Southwind. I have a leaking water valve, that dumps the freshwater tank. It is gray, some sort of plastic. My water lines are of the same gray material it seems, and has silver (aluminum?) ring crimp type connectors that look like the PEX Copper ring crimps. But, unlike PEX, the water line is pretty rigid. It strikes me that PEX wasn't around in 1988, so this is possibly something else. Not sure what it is, though, with the rings crimped on.

Can anyone tell me what it is? And, before I cut into it, whether or not the PEX crimps should work on it - I plan to replace the valve, with a PEX valve, and will be putting a PEX union in, to make it easier next time, since I have to cut out the plumbing to work on this valve.

Any help would be appreciated!

Roger
1988 Southwind


Roger and Karen Phillips
'88 28' Fleetwood Southwind, "Titanic Three"

Putting the "home" back in homely...

Old-Biscuit

Verde Valley

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Posted: 09/17/12 12:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like you have Polybutylene Plumbing.
It was a cheap plumbing material that was quick and easy to install.......but had many problems later on.

You can use PEX crimps but IIRC you have to have the proper sized insert and crimp.

You can also use 'Sharkbite' fittings/valves/connectors BUT may have problem with the poly piping cracking.
Check out options at Home Depot (Sharkbite) or Lowes (Gatorbites) for repairing poly plumbing.

Good Luck!


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rcav8or

Oxford, IN

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Posted: 09/17/12 01:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ouch. I was afraid it was something like that. I'll be replacing with PEX as I go, but hopefully will be able to work with this, for a while. hopefully, fishing the PEX through won't be too difficult...

thanks for the info - Lowes and Home Depot in the morning!

82corvette

Southeast Nebraska

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Posted: 09/17/12 07:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There was a class action lawsuit over that gray plumbing about 12 years ago. The main issue was the aluminum crimps were failing. Shell Oil Company replumbed thousands of homes over that stuff.

Ron8877

Blaine, Washington or wherever we park

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Posted: 09/17/12 07:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The shark bite or gator bite fittings will work just fine for the pipe. In my years as a journeyman plumber I found not to try to use pex fittings on the gray pipe the shark bite fittings work just great though.
Ron


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ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 09/17/12 09:18am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's Qest tubing and it was good as long as aluminum crimp bands weren't used. The better way was to use copper crimps or qest threaded fittings. Either of these will work great over the life of the RV. In fact, Qest tubing is supposed to be able to freeze once or twice without cracking.

Latent failures associated with this product were caused by the silver colored aluminum crimp bands. If you don't have them then I would leave it as is - the plumbing will last forever. If you do have the aluminum then it's just a matter of time before it fails.


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Wills250psd

walnutcove NC

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Posted: 09/17/12 09:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have quest in my house for 18 years without a problem. It has even froze a few times but not busted. The biggest problem I have seen in our area was when they used plastic elbows and couplings. The rings have been blamed for years and I am sure they have proof to back it up but the plastic elbows etc are what I have seen bust/leak every time. My TT has quest( 95 model) but has copper fittings and It has never had a leak. Knock on wood.

crasster

Dallas

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Posted: 09/17/12 09:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There was a company called qest or "quest" back in the day that went defunct. They made some pretty rough plumbing. You can still find their parts online. Usually their color is grey on everything.


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SpinRite

Research Triangle, NC

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Posted: 09/17/12 11:05am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have polybutylene in my rig and found that it was prone to leak. As Wills250psd said, the problems happened at the joints, not the tubing itself. A Google search led to the info that the fittings were attacked by chlorine in the drinking water supply. After replacing the leaking fitting with a Sharkbite, I I got a Watts pressure reducer and keep the supply below 40psi -- no further problems. I think many water systems are now using bromine, instead of chlorine, so maybe that helps, too.

Oh, by the way, mine has the copper bands (I had always assumed they were brass, until reading this thread.)


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barlow46

Edgewater, FL

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Posted: 09/17/12 03:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The inside diameter of the Polybutylene (grey) is slightly different in size from the Pex. Go to the Pex section in Home Depot and look for a "transition" fitting that allows you to crimp the fitting to the "grey" Poly and on the other end run the new Pex. The transition fitting conforms to the two different inside diameters.


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