Sunday, January 14, 2018

Four Leaks Found and Fixed

Leaking pipes is a serious problem.  Left unchecked, you can end up with rotted wood, mold, rust -- things you don't want in your house, much less your RV.  In some cases, it can be easy to spot and fix.  In others, where the connections are behind walls, cutting into them may be necessary to get access to fix it.

In my 2014 Winnebago Travato 59G, I found a series of leaks last fall that seemed to be correlated to a specific type of pipe.  Winnebago uses a special type of pipe in place of PEX when near a screw-on connection.  This pipe is a more flexible white material with a fiber braid around it, which allows the pipe to bend sharper than PEX and makes the connections easier to attach.  It's also good in places like the water pump where there is a certain amount of vibration.

However, connections to this type of pipe is where all the leaks were found.  I'm not saying that the use of this pipe itself is at fault, nor the PEX style silver crimp ring connections that were used, nor the original plastic PEX fittings.  But somehow a combination of these allowed the leaks to develop over time (nearly 4 years from manufacture in about March of '14 and November of '17 when I fixed them.  Also, a cold snap may have contributed.  Some of these fittings had clearly been leaking a little bit for a while, but I was acutely aware of the pump running when it shouldn't due to having just done a lot of plumbing work to bring the pipes above the floor instead of exposed underneath, so I was expecting and looking for leaks, just not where I found them, in parts of the plumbing I hadn't touched.

My solution was to replace both the plastic PEX fittings with brass equivalents, but also to use copper compression rings instead of the silver crimp rings.  I continued to use the same flexible pipes, although mostly for convenience I replaced much of the regular PEX pipes as well (getting the fittings apart sometimes resulted in damage to the pipes).  The four places where I found a leak was:



Toilet Tee in wall

Spray hose outlet

Unfortunately, I didn't get video of this leak.

Full Video (all 4 repaired)

Replacing the toilet seal

As many have experienced, or rather smelled, the toilet seal on the Thetford toilet can sometimes not work as well as it should, and leak fl...