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Old 05-17-2021, 08:10 PM   #1
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Angry Water system fail

Our water pipes broke when I hooked up the city water the first time on our new 21C. Would appreciate advice from anyone who has experienced this and also on camping without water.

Details: We just picked up our new 21C last week and were putting it through its paces from the safety of our driveway. Everything was looking good until I hooked up the garden hose to the city water nozzle on the trailer, using a pressure reducer, and only turning the faucet a little ways. Within minutes I had water gushing from a break in the blue water line next to the hot water heater under the fixed bed! There is a right angle turn just before the line goes to the front of the water heater, and that white elbow joint (which is surprisingly small) broke right in two (see picture). The way it was laid out, using the clamps, made it clear that this joint was under stress to begin with.

There is a drain somewhere in there and the water promptly started pouring out of a little, apparently hand-made hole in the fiberglass to the left of the step, so that is a smart feature, and there does not appear to be water damage.

I was not surprised when the Escape people told me to get an estimate on repair from a local RV shop, and I also was not surprised when my local shop told me it would be June 16 before they could look at it. So now we're stuck for a month without being able to use the water system. We know we can use portable water bottles in a pinch. Am I correct that we can drain the sink into the gray water tank without repercussions?

Any tips on "dry" camping"?
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Old 05-17-2021, 08:14 PM   #2
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That's just PEX tubing. I'd go to Home Depot and get a 90 degree fitting, and replace it myself. No sense waiting several weeks for an RV shop to do it.
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Old 05-17-2021, 08:16 PM   #3
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As "any brand' of trailer owner, you're going to want to learn about some simple plumbing fixes. Sharkbites, pex, pex cutters, pex fittings. None are difficult. I'd fix that before I'd wait a month for someone to 'look' at it.


Yes, you can use 'jug' water and yes you can drain into your tanks without worrying about the fresh water connections.


Good luck
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Old 05-17-2021, 08:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
As "any brand' of trailer owner, you're going to want to learn about some simple plumbing fixes. Sharkbites, pex, pex cutters, pex fittings. None are difficult. I'd fix that before I'd wait a month for someone to 'look' at it.

:
Yep, Sharkbite and Pex are the best things that ever happened to DIY plumbers. And if you screw it up you can still have the shop fix it!
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Old 05-17-2021, 08:34 PM   #5
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Or if you are not confident that you can fix it yourself any plumber will probably do it, but you will pay for it. However, it won’t take much time to fix.
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Old 05-17-2021, 09:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by david rhees View Post
The way it was laid out, using the clamps, made it clear that this joint was under stress to begin with.
How often does this happen? An Escape trailer goes out the door without having the systems checked thoroughly? I understand that it took minutes before the break happened so it's possible they did test it but op says it was low pressure. At a higher pressure this should have been found at the factory. If I was the op I would be livid with ETI! Especially if op waited a long time for the trailer.

It does look like an easy fix but how long before it breaks again?

I've read other posts about ETI having plumbing problems and looking at that picture it doesn't look like a sustainable way to lay plumbing. It does look stressed. I'm not a plumber though.

I've also seen posts questioning quality control and I'm starting to question if ETI is cutting corners by not doing a thorough check of all systems before the trailers go out. I really hope that's not the case because the reason I'm purchasing an Escape Is for the reliability and long life.
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Old 05-17-2021, 09:10 PM   #7
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There are hard plastic pexlock products now that you just need regular pliers to install and can be loosened with a flathead screwdriver and be reused/re-locked a couple of times if first try doesn't get on right. It makes install and uninstall much easier and doesn't require a pex crimping tool for install or cutting metal clamps if they don't go on right or when removing them. I bought a couple for spares but haven't needed to use them yet and don't know about long term durability.
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Old 05-17-2021, 09:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by david rhees View Post
There is a right angle turn just before the line goes to the front of the water heater, and that white elbow joint (which is surprisingly small) broke right in two (see picture). The way it was laid out, using the clamps, made it clear that this joint was under stress to begin with.

You are correct, too much stress. Based on the photo, the short blue PEX vertical needs to be replaced with one that is a bit longer to eliminate the stress on the plumbing.
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Old 05-18-2021, 12:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by david rhees View Post
Everything was looking good until I hooked up the garden hose to the city water nozzle on the trailer, using a pressure reducer, and only turning the faucet a little ways.
It doesn't matter to this problem, but turning the faucet open only partway will limit flow, but not change the pressure reached in the trailer if there is no flow (no faucets in the trailer are open). With any supply faucet opening, the trailer's plumbing will eventually reach the whatever pressure is supplied to the trailer's inlet.
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Old 05-18-2021, 10:41 AM   #10
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Exactly what I would do. I carry the clamp pliers, extra fittings, and some pex pipe as part of the mobile repair kit. Once you have the clamp pliers to install the hose clamps, you can easily do whatever pex repairs or modifications come up in future.
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Old 05-18-2021, 07:52 PM   #11
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Thanks to everyone for the helpful and knowledgeable responses from the Escape Thought Collective! After talking with the Escape people further, and doing some YouTube research, tomorrow I am going to clip off the metal fittings on the end of the PEX tubing, remove the broken elbow joint, and substitute a Sharkbite elbow. I was not familiar with the Sharkbite system, but it looks like it should work well, and Escape says that any work I do that doesn't turn out will not invalidate the warranty. They also say that the PEX material is designed to be flexible. However, why put more stress on that part than necessary? So I will remove a few of the clamps that hold the tubing to the floor and move them so there is no stretching on the elbow as there was before. Incidentally, they said that they tested the system with 100 psi water pressure. Given that I was only applying half that amount from my garden hose using a pressure regulator, that test may have stressed the system and set up the failure that occurred in my driveway!
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Old 05-19-2021, 12:13 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by david rhees View Post
Incidentally, they said that they tested the system with 100 psi water pressure. Given that I was only applying half that amount from my garden hose using a pressure regulator, that test may have stressed the system and set up the failure that occurred in my driveway!
Perhaps, but driving (and the shock of hitting bumps) with the load on that fitting resulting from the installation seems more likely to have been the triggering event.
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Old 05-19-2021, 07:21 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by david rhees View Post
Thanks to everyone for the helpful and knowledgeable responses from the Escape Thought Collective! After talking with the Escape people further, and doing some YouTube research, tomorrow I am going to clip off the metal fittings on the end of the PEX tubing, remove the broken elbow joint, and substitute a Sharkbite elbow. I was not familiar with the Sharkbite system, but it looks like it should work well, and Escape says that any work I do that doesn't turn out will not invalidate the warranty. They also say that the PEX material is designed to be flexible. However, why put more stress on that part than necessary? So I will remove a few of the clamps that hold the tubing to the floor and move them so there is no stretching on the elbow as there was before. Incidentally, they said that they tested the system with 100 psi water pressure. Given that I was only applying half that amount from my garden hose using a pressure regulator, that test may have stressed the system and set up the failure that occurred in my driveway!
Hi: david rhees... You made me go look. Inspection isn't a bad thing. All our fittings in the PEX system of our trailer are brass. WHEW!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 05-19-2021, 09:20 AM   #14
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Thanks for sharing your issue. Sounds frustrating. We just bought a used Escape, have not yet tested the water system, and I will go inspect our fittings.

IMO, the failure you experienced is unlikely related to water pressure. I thinkj the vertical pipe was cut too short and simply overstressed the molded elbow. The part just wasn't strong enough to tolerate the bending stress. The inner radius of the elbow looks small, which aggravates the issue. Polymer material choice is also a likely contributor but IMO the installed stress is the biggest factor.

Why it left the factory without fracture isn't clear but it did... my guess is the factory was lucky and the journey home added enough mechanical stress to push the part over the edge and cause the fracture.

You will be wise to use a metal or a stronger/"tougher" plastic elbow when you replace the part. A brass Sharkbite fitting will definitely be stronger.
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Old 05-19-2021, 10:08 AM   #15
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It sounds like having a few plumbing parts on hand is a good idea. What size of PEX pipe is used in the Escape trailers? I am assuming 3/8 or 1/2".
Was thinking of going with the sharkbite Prolock Push spare parts for connections. No tools required and it twists to lock. Easy to undo if need be. Does anyone have any comments.
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Old 05-19-2021, 10:52 AM   #16
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What size of PEX pipe is used in the Escape trailers? I am assuming 3/8 or 1/2".
Everything I have seen is 1/2".
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Old 05-19-2021, 11:02 AM   #17
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Everything I have seen is 1/2".
Thanks Rubicon
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Old 05-19-2021, 12:21 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Sean Murry View Post
It sounds like having a few plumbing parts on hand is a good idea. What size of PEX pipe is used in the Escape trailers? I am assuming 3/8 or 1/2".
Was thinking of going with the sharkbite Prolock Push spare parts for connections. No tools required and it twists to lock. Easy to undo if need be. Does anyone have any comments.
Thanks
I have used sharkbite in my house and they work very well but are also very expensive. I finally broke down and bought a crimp tool, fittings and crimp rings. Careful there are different types and you need to get the right rings to go with the crimper. I got a pinch one and it works well (it has an indicator light to tell you when you have pinched enough) and was cheaper than the one that crunches the whole ring. The fittings are brass which makes me happy from a toughness standpoint. I think I bought crimper, tube cutter and some misc parts for $100 or less. The crimper is small enough to put in your camper tool kit with some misc parts and a little tubing. Probably cheaper than the gas and money to take your camper to someone to make a simple fix and it can keep your water going on your camping trip.
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Old 05-19-2021, 08:06 PM   #19
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yes I bought a couple 5 foot sections of PEX pipe some fittings and clamps and clamp master to carry with me in case this happens which it did. I think it took me 1/2 hour to fix it.
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Old 05-19-2021, 08:12 PM   #20
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The guy that put that together probably used a pipe stretcher instead of cutting a longer section.
My guess anyway.
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