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09-12-2009, 07:01 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1956 22' Flying Cloud
1965 17' Caravel
Manchester , California
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7
Shark Bite drips!

Today was the big day, pressure tested the newly installed water system in the renovated Flying Cloud. Well, 80% of the Shark Bite joints leak - they drip and seep from between the collar and the brass fitting.
Installed per instructions - any hints or ideas as to what went wrong?
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09-12-2009, 07:52 PM   #2
Rivet Monster

1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,173
Images: 40
I can think of three reasons 1) the cut on the pipe is not dead square/seated properly. 2) The pipe is not square in the fitting (critical) 3) possibly excessive pressure.

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09-12-2009, 07:55 PM   #3
Rivet Master
1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 7,065
Images: 12
My first thought would be that the cut end of the pipe has a burr and has cut into the O ring seal. You should be able to open a few joints and check the ends of the pipes to see if they are smooth at the outer edge.

If they are not smooth and have nicked the O ring I think you are I for new fittings.
2004 Excursion 4x4
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09-12-2009, 08:53 PM   #european hose clamps
4 Rivet Member
1966 30' Sovereign
1963 22' Safari
orlando , Florida
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 280
Images: 9
Shark bites come with an edge beveler tool sold separate. It bevels the pipe end for a more perfect fit.Also there is a gauge to let you know how deep the pipe goes in to seat properly.When the pipe is in snug,you may hear a slight snap as it seats.It helps also to rotate the pipe around for a good seat.Shark bites do not work with pvc pipe.The pipe must be cpvc,pex ,or copper.
09-12-2009, 09:01 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
1966 30' Sovereign
1963 22' Safari
orlando , Florida
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 280
Images: 9
There is also plastic tool sold made for disconnecting the shark bite just in case something like this should occur.
09-12-2009, 09:26 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
1974 Argosy 26
Hamilton , Montana
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 18
Images: 10
Shark Bite leak

Are you sure there are in far enough? My guess is "O" ring problem. Burr on pipe, pipe not cut straight enough. Try the turning around a few times to seat the "O" ring. I have had to lube these fittings from time to time and bevel the end of the pipe by scraping with my knife blade. I use faucet lube available at most Hdwe. stores. It is waterproof.
Dave the plumber
09-13-2009, 12:56 AM   #7
Rivet Master

1956 22' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 12,503
Images: 108
Wow! I'm surprised. We used about 25 different Shark Bite connections in our trailer and not a single one leaked! Looking at the photo you posted, is there a "dip" in the line at the Shark Bite or is that just an optical illusion? I would have to agree with the earliers posts - it must be the cuts are not straight or smooth...the beauty of the SB fittings is, they can be taken apart pretty easily to trouble shoot.

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09-13-2009, 08:12 AM   #8
Rivet Master
1958 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,742
Images: 53
Make sure that the PEX is pushed in and seated all the way. I used these Shark Bite fittings for the first time last weekend. I thought the first one I worked on was seated all the way until I got to the second one. While working on the second fitting I noticed the PEX pushed in much further. So I went back to the first fitting and sure enough it pushed in an additional 1/2 inch.
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09-13-2009, 09:30 AM   #9
1 Rivet Member
1956 22' Flying Cloud
1965 17' Caravel
Manchester , California
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7
Day 2 of the drips....

Those are drips you are seeing in the picture. The green marks indicate joints that drip, 26 of them(!)

OK, today I isolated the system into sections, starting from the water source, and then disassembled 3 of the leaking connections, made sure square ends (harder than you think, even with a PEX cutter), no burrs, and depth-marked and inserted the pex again. Pressurized (40PSI). Some of the connections stopped leaking, some still leak, and a couple of new ones seeped now (Arrgh!). Played with removing any preload stresses. Seemed to make some difference.

So, I took a leftover (Pex to MP) fitting and cut it open with the power hacksaw to see how these things work. The inner sleeve mates up to a o-ring face, providing the sealing surface. The outer sleeves hold the pex in alignment to the o-ring, the shark teeth provide the retention of the pex pipe and inner sleeve up to the o-ring face.

Based upon this understanding of how they work, burrs and perfect ends aren't too critical. What is critical is full depth engagement, and here's the hard part, absolute straight in alignment of the pex pipe into the fitting with no side load or tension. any pre-load on the hose is enough to allow water to seep past the O-Ring to inner sleeve face, and then between the outer sleeve and pipe surface, causing the seeps! We'll, that's pretty darn impossible in tight confined applications and without a ton of clamping.

What to do? I guess I'm going to suck it up and order the Pex barb fittings and clamps and clamp tool and redo it all again. Going to be a little harder now that most cabinets are in place.

I also think this will be the best in the long run, as it appears that once these o-rings and inner sleeve faces age and harden over time, leaks are going to develop anyway.

Oh well, what's a few couple of additional more weeks of work, I've come too far to take short-cuts now....

RJ Dial
09-13-2009, 12:14 PM   #10
4 Rivet Member
1966 30' Sovereign
1963 22' Safari
orlando , Florida
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 280
Images: 9
if there is one SB good you can continue to connect w/ cpvc. The pex clamp tool is not cheap at about $100. Finishing w/ cpvc and cement sounds alot cheaper.The pex clamp tool needs space to work too. If you are in tight quarters,cpvc and cement would be easier.
09-21-2009, 07:52 PM   #11
2 Rivet Member
1976 26' Argosy 26
Columbia , South Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32
Home Depot has a pex crimper that is appox. 6 inches long and can be used on 1/2 or 3/4 inch tubing. You use vise grips to apply the crimping action. $25.00
11-15-2009, 08:27 PM   #12
1 Rivet Member
1956 22' Flying Cloud
1965 17' Caravel
Manchester , California
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7
Here's the story of how the saga of the Shark Bite PEX fittings ended:

1956 Flying Cloud - Plumbing
RJ Dial
11-15-2009, 08:44 PM   #13
4 Rivet Member
1962 22' Flying Cloud
Bend , Oregon
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 370
Blog Entries: 6
I used shark bite fittings throughout. During the initial pressure check I did have some drips. Once I pulled them apart, re-squared the ends, and made sure the pipe was fully inserted, no problems. Since then I redid a small section to make some changes, and same thing, one small drip, then gone as soon as I redid it. The cuts must be clean and square (I used a pipe cutter)and I am convinced that in most cases it is operator error! We now have thousands of miles of rough road travel on it and No runs, No drips, No errors!!
11-16-2009, 07:50 AM   #14
Rivet Master
1976 31' Sovereign
Missouri City , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,233
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 6
I replaced of the old copper tubing in my 1976 Sovereign with PEX back in 2000. I used the flare it compression fitting that did does require any special tool. I have never had a leak from any of these fitting and there are a bunch of them throughout the trailer.


Flair-It PEX Tubing fittings on Sale

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