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Old 02-09-2019, 01:39 PM   #1
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'02 Journey bathroom remodel...

Trying to remodel my corner shower.




But right off the bat I ran into something I didn't expect. I have the Delta style single handle mixing valve and want to change it to a temp controlling mixer. Reason is I am more then tired of dodging out of the way when the temp swings from warm to hot to ice cold over and over. The OEM valve is difficult to adjust correctly too as it's got heavy duty springs to adjust to various RV park water pressures. I've seen parks with up to 125 psi and down to 25 psi so it's easy to understand why they're special springs. That all makes it hard to take a comfortable shower so I've been searching for a way to modulate the hot/cold automatically so I don't have to.

I found a temp regulating mixing valve to put in the place of the one that there that's suppose to keep the temp constant and would like to play with. But getting it installed has been a battle. If it doesn't work out, I'd like to put everything back the way it was without too much trouble.

The pipes coming into the valve are PEX, translucent white. The problem is that I don't know how they are attached to the valve. They screw to PVC Rt angle pipes that screw into the valve. There's a PVC screw on cap on the end of the pipes that even when unscrewed, the pipe will not budge when I tug on it trying to get it loose from the mixing valve.

Here's a picture...I loosen those screw on caps on the left and right and try to tug the pipe away from the valve but they won't budge.



If I shine a bright light on those PVC connections it looks like there is a ferrule inside the pipe. I can understand that but would that explain why it's in there so tight? (BTW, don't have much room to work in there, no way to really get much leverage).

I tried tugging, heat with a heat gun, twisting a bit by hand and with channel locks, sharp knife prying along the pipe seam, but can't get the pipes to budge.

Winnie diagrams don't even show the shower plumbing so it's been hard to anticipate how big a problem it would be if I just cut those pipes out. I can't find the access underneath as there's an enclosed metal box that sealed right under that area...but on the other hand, they might go under the two pull out pantries and under the refer as that's what's behind the corner the shower is in.

It would sure help if I know what type of fitting I have there. Barbed? Ferrule? Compession?

When I visit plumbing sections I don't see any of these types of PEX fittings that look like they have a barb or a ferrule. They may have existed back in '02, but they don't now. Or at least they're no longer carried.

Does anyone have experience with remodeling this shower or this type PEX connection and can let me know what's what there???


Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:45 PM   #2
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I donít have an answer to your question but we solved the temperature fluctuations to our satisfaction. Since we donít have to winterize we took out the guts of both check valves. Now the shower water is always hot, no temperature fluctuations even when turning the diverter on and off during a navy shower.
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Cheryl Bisson View Post
I don’t have an answer to your question but we solved the temperature fluctuations to our satisfaction. Since we don’t have to winterize we took out the guts of both check valves. Now the shower water is always hot, no temperature fluctuations even when turning the diverter on and off during a navy shower.
Thanks for your response. I'm looking for clarification as I don't know how removing a check valve would change anything.

If you're talking about check valves and not a flow restriction...which ones? At the shore water inlet? At the water heater? Or where?

BTW, check valves in a RV are strongly recommended. Might even be a state code requirement...not sure about that tho.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:39 PM   #4
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The hot water heater cold and hot check valves were gutted. I’m not sure but it may have been low water pressure having an effect on opening the valves for water flow out of the heater. Also, we were tired of replacing the hot water outflow check valve that was sticking in the closed position. Anyway, no more temp fluctuations and no cold water when turning the shower head diverter open. Don’t know about code requirements for check valves on the water heater.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:33 PM   #5
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I was thinking of the shore water inlet. There's always a check valve there in all the RVs I'm familiar with.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:05 AM   #6
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They are Flair-It fittings. They will come apart, but it takes quite a bit of effort to slide the PEX off the barbed nipples.

https://flairit.com/

I too hate the temperature control in the shower. I always thought it was a function of when shutting the flow off at the shower head that the hot and cold pressures change relative to each other as the water heater and pump both cycle. Are you trying to swap to a thermostatic valve? I have those at home. One handle for flow, one for temperature (that I never move). But that is different than the pressure balanced, non-scalding valves have been around for many decades.

A little reading that isn't familiar to you:
Pressure Balance vs. Thermostatic Shower Valves
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by tderonne View Post
They are Flair-It fittings. They will come apart, but it takes quite a bit of effort to slide the PEX off the barbed nipples.

https://flairit.com/

I too hate the temperature control in the shower. I always thought it was a function of when shutting the flow off at the shower head that the hot and cold pressures change relative to each other as the water heater and pump both cycle. Are you trying to swap to a thermostatic valve? I have those at home. One handle for flow, one for temperature (that I never move). But that is different than the pressure balanced, non-scalding valves have been around for many decades.

A little reading that isn't familiar to you:
Pressure Balance vs. Thermostatic Shower Valves
As RV'ers we are subjected to wild extremes of water pressure, sometimes as low as 25 PSI. So although I may be misreading that and I'm aware of several work around procedures to overcome that issue, I felt just a thermostatic temperature regulating valve would be the best answer. So I got one of these...



It was only $25 so doesn't break the bank but I'm wondering if it'll respond fast enough or over a wide enough input pressure. That's why I want to test it in the shower without damaging anything. So I can remove it and restore the shower to full-timers status if it doesn't work out.

I've always felt that the repeated wild temp fluctuations were more due to the outside hose sitting in the sun, or exposed to the cold. You'd get all situated with the right temp in the shower, and then you get that burst of cold (or hot) water that was sitting in the hose that had pushed out the water in the RVs plumbing. So, boom, icy or scalding shower for a while, until that hose water had it's temp equalized by shore water. And then the shower water temp would swing back!

Gah!

There are 'reasons' why I would like to be able to use the shore water instead of just using the onboard tank and I've found that sometimes the temp still fluctuates just using the tank too, so it's not just when using shore water.

BTW, thanks for the INFO! I believe you're right, it's probably a barbed right angle PEX elbow and they are just very tight. I might have to wait for warm weather to continue on with this project. I really need to find where those pipes go (Winnie's drawing doesn't show the showers plumbing for some reason...to many factory options maybe?) and warm weather would work better if I break something.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:54 PM   #8
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I thought it was SOP to use an external pressure regulator on your city water connection. Is there that much of a problem with low city water pressure that it would drop below a typical pressure regulator setting?

You should be able to find some screws to remove your mixing valve from it's base plate. If it's anything like mine, there should be enough slack in the tubing to allow you to pull the valve out far enough to access the fittings.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:20 PM   #9
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I thought it was SOP to use an external pressure regulator on your city water connection. Is there that much of a problem with low city water pressure that it would drop below a typical pressure regulator setting?

You should be able to find some screws to remove your mixing valve from it's base plate. If it's anything like mine, there should be enough slack in the tubing to allow you to pull the valve out far enough to access the fittings.
I have a one of those fancy external pressure regulators...pressure is screw adjustable and has a gage, but here it's warm during the day and freezing at night and mine can act funny from freezing so I take it off and leave it off during cold snaps. All I have to do without it in place is shut off shore water and drain the hose a little to protect stuff by opening the valves on the Y that precedes my hose. Only takes half a minute. Having to remove the regulator at night and replace during the day would be a hassle. BTW, I've owned the plastic pressure regulators and they split when they're frozen. I won't chance that with the brass type either because I've had those damaged by freezing too.

Right now I'm using the internal tank mostly. Thought it was a good time to do the remodel, but turns out it isn't since those pipes might need to be cut to continue. And for that, I prefer warm weather and a nearby camp shower, not one 1/4 mile away like my current camp spot.

My showers mixing valve has been unscrewed from the mounting plate and when I pulled up on the valve assembly the pipes coming from below don't give me more than 1/4" of slack. And since I can't directly get at them from below (it's the propane tank compartment and there is a sealed metal box just below the shower and I don't want to break the seal during winter conditions...just in case something goes awry). It would be nice if I had an exploded view of the shower plumbing but as I said, my drawings curiously leave the shower plumbing out. I'm going to try to contact Winnie to see if there's a supplementary drawing for it.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:20 PM   #10
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I have a one of those fancy external pressure regulators...pressure is screw adjustable and has a gage, but here it's warm during the day and freezing at night and mine can act funny from freezing so I take it off and leave it off during cold snaps. All I have to do without it in place is shut off shore water and drain the hose a little to protect stuff by opening the valves on the Y that precedes my hose. Only takes half a minute. Having to remove the regulator at night and replace during the day would be a hassle. BTW, I've owned the plastic pressure regulators and they split when they're frozen. I won't chance that with the brass type either because I've had those damaged by freezing too.

Right now I'm using the internal tank mostly. Thought it was a good time to do the remodel, but turns out it isn't since those pipes might need to be cut to continue. And for that, I prefer warm weather and a nearby camp shower, not one 1/4 mile away like my current camp spot.

My showers mixing valve has been unscrewed from the mounting plate and when I pulled up on the valve assembly the pipes coming from below don't give me more than 1/4" of slack. And since I can't directly get at them from below (it's the propane tank compartment and there is a sealed metal box just below the shower and I don't want to break the seal during winter conditions...just in case something goes awry). It would be nice if I had an exploded view of the shower plumbing but as I said, my drawings curiously leave the shower plumbing out. I'm going to try to contact Winnie to see if there's a supplementary drawing for it.

Thanks for your input!
You could always cut the hoses and splice in a few inches of new hose when you re-install. Your's is probably completely different, but on mine, at the bottom of the wall behind the valve, there's what looks like a heater return vent but, it fact, it's a ventilation/access panel for the space between the shower floor and the MH floor. The shower floor is raised above the MH floor and the hoses run between them. If you have this access, you could cut and splice there.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:42 PM   #11
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You could always cut the hoses and splice in a few inches of new hose when you re-install. Your's is probably completely different, but on mine, at the bottom of the wall behind the valve, there's what looks like a heater return vent but, it fact, it's a ventilation/access panel for the space between the shower floor and the MH floor. The shower floor is raised above the MH floor and the hoses run between them. If you have this access, you could cut and splice there.
I'm not considering splicing because there's just no room for my hands or tools to do that.

Really on the return heater vent?? I never even suspected I might have something like that. And then I notice I have what looks like a vent on the outside of the shower pan, near the floor in the bathroom, and I figured it was a furnace air return before I'd forgotten about it. My cats litter box sits right in front of that grill so I hadn't thought about looking under there.

The corner of the shower with the valve faces the corner with an outside wall, and the kitchen wall. Behind it is the kitchen pull out pantry rack. The rack and the stand it's on is 8 foot tall and the rack is to loaded with stuff to get out of there easily. Next to that is another similar pantry rack. Next to that is the refer. All these items have plenty of space under them and I was imagining that the pipes went under there, and then down through the floor where I couldn't see them. But when I pull out the drawers I see no pipes.

Just now pulled off that grill and I find the drain pipe, the P trap and plumbing going into the grey tank. But cannot see any of the PEX pipes. I guess the pipes do go under the pantry. Or under the floor somehow in the basements. I'll see how hard it would be to remove the pantry.

But I know now that it's access to the shower drain plumbing and allows warm air to keep the underside of the shower a tad bit warmer then outside.

Wait a sec...I DO see a couple PEX pipes in the corner under the refer. They were hard to spot behind a wood piece. OK, now I know where they are. There's lots of room behind the pantries for pipes and wiring and such so that's the next project, seeing if I can get a pantry pull out out. See if the PEX has some slack back behind. I doesn't appear like it does but maybe...
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:30 PM   #12
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Good luck. i'm glad I could help out a little bit. I found out about the vent access from another post regarding a 2002 35U like mine.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:10 PM   #13
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Well I spent the last hour looking for the pix I took of that little foray into the shower, but alas...

I had a leak in that elbow that turned out to be a bad moulding of the elbow that had a gap in the threads. Rather than walk over to the box and grab a replacement, the morons at Winnebago slathered dope on it. It lasted about 9 years before the putty dried out and it leaked..

If I remember, I had to cut the Pex below the elbow to unscrew it, replace elbow, add a short piece of Pex back, and splice the Pex below the hole... it can be done but its no fun
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:39 AM   #14
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Well I spent the last hour looking for the pix I took of that little foray into the shower, but alas...

I had a leak in that elbow that turned out to be a bad moulding of the elbow that had a gap in the threads. Rather than walk over to the box and grab a replacement, the morons at Winnebago slathered dope on it. It lasted about 9 years before the putty dried out and it leaked..

If I remember, I had to cut the Pex below the elbow to unscrew it, replace elbow, add a short piece of Pex back, and splice the Pex below the hole... it can be done but its no fun
Thanks for that. Nothing like experience on a particular repair. I note your emphasis on "below the hole". And that's kinda what's holding me up.

Your method might work, using today's slip on couplings, but I am going to wait for warm weather. I need a little slack in the pipes to make cutting it easier and now that I know where they go under the floor, if I screw up the work on the pipes up in the shower I want to be able to quickly repair them. And accessing them from underneath or from the pantry is crucial.

Those pipes join some electrical wires and the pipes from the kitchen faucet and head down through a hole in the floor under the pantry. I haven't pulled either of the pantries out yet.



Under the floor, they all go into a black steel box looking thing in the propane basement compartment. There's an access plate with several screws holding it on that I can easily access from outside, and some black butyl goo oozing out from under the plate. Below is a picture of that plate above the propane tank.

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