I took my setup up to George & Brian in Dallas yesterday, not just b/c of my issues, they have been saving all my LE kits for me so I could save on shipping and it was prearranged I would go up there anyway.
I ended up talking to the folks at Valley Vintner (since i bought the filter there), and George and Brian were also kind of perplexed. I'm going to try putting teflon tapes on the hose barbs, where they screw in. I've been able to resolve all the air leaks, except for the occasional bubbles in the outgoing line. Seems to be it might be air/CO2 coming out of the wine itself, or air coming out of the filter.
Thanks for the support. My first wine has been filtered now, and I'll bottle this weekend.
Started the Spagnols LE Ehrenfelser today!