I will start this post off by saying that I didn’t take enough pictures. Some pictures are from the install on my Club Wagon and the others are from an RV. The install is the same for almost every vehicle, so it’s no big deal.
If you have decided to get a fan, which you should, you have probably narrowed it down to a few different models–usually the MaxxAir or the Fantastic Fans. Both are great choices, but for this post, I installed two MaxxAir fans.
The MaxxAir 5100/5200 is awesome. They work for intake and exhaust, air circulation, have 10 speed settings, 78-degree temperature thermostat, built-in rain sensor, and I can install yours for about $200.
What you need to install a fan in your van or RV
- Masking tape
- Measuring tape
- Straight edge
- Drill and bit
- Jig Saw
- Wire cutter/ crimper
- Lap Sealant
- Clay Tape
- RV Roof tape (optional)
What to know before you get started
When working with limited roof space, it’s important to make sure everything fits before putting anything permanent down. When laying out my roof I knew that I wanted 3-100W PV panels, a fan, and a place for a roof rack or kayak.
After playing a little bit of Tetris, I came up with the best payout for everything. The width of two Renogy Monocrystalline panels plus a fan came out to be almost the exact width of my roof. And also across a roof brace to make mounting the fan even more secure. Crazy how things work out.
Cutting a big hole in your roof
The actual mounting flange measures 16-1/2 x 16-1/2. The overall dimensions for the vent are 22-1/2 long x 16-1/2 wide x 5-inches tall. The opening for the hole that you are about to cut in your new van is 14×14 which is the standard size for an RV roof vent opening. But you’ll need a few inches on all sides for it to open.
Find the center point of the roof and make your hole as square as you can. Drill the corners out with a bit large enough to fit the blade of a jigsaw. Cut out the square. Clean up any burrs (and it’s not a bad idea to prime the fresh cut metal).
If you are just replacing an old fan, clean up the surface and proceed with the installation.
Lay down a lap of the clay tape close to the edge of the hole. Do a couple of rounds with the lap sealant on the outside edge of the tape, near where the mount will sit down on it.
Before dropping in the mount, make sure you pop up the little screw tabs on the sides and face the to the outside of the roof. Lifting the tabs helps with the mounting screws later.
The next step you have two options: You can either use the screws that it came with and screw the mount down to the roof or you can use RV roof tape. Ultimately, it’s up to you and the material of your roof. I have done installations using both methods and have come out with the same watertight results.
If you do screw it down, put silicon or lap sealant over the screw heads
Finishing the job
The wires should be labeled, cut them to length and crimp on the terminals. With power removed: Positive to positive, Negative to negative. A 10A fuse is plenty. Check for a positive 12V and spend power.
The fan runs at about 4.5A or 4.5Ah
Drop the fan in the mount, with the long sides facing out. Put in the four mount screws. The shroud that comes with it is standard for an RV, but has to be cut for other types of vehicles.
This project takes about a half a day to complete, contact me for more information about working together.