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Old 06-12-2014, 09:40 PM   #1
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Roof vents, fans, rain shields, what to replace?

Getting ready to live full-time in my 1981 Excella II and will often be off grid (so no AC) and want to get a good ventilation/cooling plan in place as it's hot in NC . I'd love feedback on my replacement/upgrade plan.

Right now I have three stock roof vents all of which have led lights (this part must have been installed more recently), aluminum domes, and are 12x12 openings. The front and back vents have fans, both of which are one way circulation. The middle is just a vent (no fan) with some sort of two step opening process for the dome.

I'd like to be able to open the outer two vents and turn on the fans and have one pulling and one pushing air and leave them open regardless of the weather to help with circulation and cooling. I'd also like more light inside, especially in the middle vent over the darker kitchen area. I'd like to keep the led lighting too if possible.

Is it possible/wise to replace the front fan with a two way (maybe the MaxxFan Deluxe Manual with smoke tinted lid), change the aluminum dome on the middle and back vents with clear ones to allow more light (and I realize more heat), and then put a MaxxAir cover over the back vent fan?

My concerns are that the current openings on the stock vents are 12x12 and the Maxxfan and MaxxAir mount on 14x14 openings. Also curious if once you place a MaxxAir smoke tinted rain shield over a clear dome vent if it greatly reduces the amount of natural light to enter. And my sense is that if installation involves cutting into the roof I am better off paying an RV service person than risking potential leaks of a DIY project.

Thanks for any feedback ya'll!
Kim
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:38 PM   #2
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I know of someone who replaced the two vents with two Fantastic fans. They have a switch can be set to either draw air in or exhaust air, so you can get the flow you want. Consider getting them with the rain sensors, so that it will shut down if starts raining. BTW, Fantastic does not recommend using covers, such as the MaxxAir.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:19 PM   #3
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I'd suggest not installing any plastic base fans.


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Old 06-16-2014, 09:46 AM   #4
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hi blackmagic, i'm curious about the fantastic fan not recommending rain shields as i see them advertised with the "ultra breeze" vent covers that serve as a rain shield. maybe they just don't recommend the maxxair brand?

splitrock, i wonder what type of fan you do recommend. the stock vent fans that are 33 years old still work and are plastic, they just don't move as much air as i think might be possible with the newer maxxfan or fantastic fan.

anyone had a problem with new leaks after widening an original 12x12 opening to 14x14?
thanks as always!
kim
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:01 AM   #5
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Can the wiring be reversed on one of the existing fans to make it run backwards? Anyone? Jim
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:20 AM   #6
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We have 2 Maxx Air fans in the smoke tint. We have also had them on 2 previous trailers. We can leave them open in fantastic amounts of rain and have NEVER had rain come in the trailer. On an average day camping, we have the front one blowing in and the rear one blowing out, or both blowing out and windows open for ventilation. They keep the trailer very comfortable. We have had no leaks with DIY installation. The problem I see with Fantastic fans is that they close in rain, so no ventilation in rain. I have also known people with them when they failed to close in rain. I haven't had them, however so have no direct experience with them. Our son has a Maxx air vent cover over his regular bathroom fan. It works well for rain protection, but doesn't seem to allow quite the same volume of air movement that the direct Maxx air fan does.
Hope this helps someone. We are happy with Maxx air and would (and have) buy again. The only thing I might do differently is get the ones with remote control. I'm under 5 ft and have trouble reaching the controls sometimes!

Kay
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Old 06-16-2014, 01:49 PM   #7
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I had the covers on a Fantastic fan snap back in a windstorm (this was on a LY moho back in 2005). Fantastic sent me a replacement dome under their lifetime warranty. When I was on the phone with them I asked about using the Maxxair cover (as I had a Maxxair window vent on the curb side bedroom window on the Landyacht motorhome). The lady at Fantastic said they did not recommend using any additional cover - no reason given. I surmise that it might have been that any cover would impede the air flow.
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Old 06-16-2014, 02:11 PM   #8
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All 3 of the plastic bases on the FanTastic fans I bought and installed in 2010 cracked and leaked. The company I bought them from told me the fans only had a 1 year warranty and gave me the phone number of the company that makes them now.

I called the Fan company and they told me that the FanTastic fans were not designed to be used on an Airstream trailer. They said they have talked to Airstream Corporation about this. They told me to shim both sides of the base 1/8" and that the flathead screws are a part of the problem.

They sent me flat head screws with the replacement bases, no shim material, and no instructions on how to shim the sides.

My original 3 oem fan bases were cast aluminum and did not leak. I made a mistake by replacing them with a plastic fan.
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:33 PM   #9
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I understand Fantastic Fans are no longer on a lifetime warranty? We were told that by Lewster at the VTA rally...

Kay
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:28 PM   #10
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My own experience with Fantastic is:

(1) 1994 Land Yacht motorhome - replaced broken dome under warranty, and replaced entire system board under warranty and replaced inside bezel (at Bozeman MT International) under warranty.

(2) 1987 Excella purchased in 2011 - replaced the plunger-type switch that turns the fan motor on and off when the dome closes under warranty.

When I got the plunger switch replacement part, they told me that they were not going to charge me but that the lifetime warranty was no longer applicable - my take on it is that it is discretionary (so be nice when you call them).
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:42 PM   #11
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When people talk about not installing Fantastic fans on Airstream roofs, they should say on the Airstreams that have the rounder roof. The wide body Airsteams I have owned have not had any issue with cracking due to the curve of the roof. I have FantasticVent fans on both my trailers that I presently own. I had FantasticVent fans the two prior trailer. The only cracking of the bases that I have seen on my fans was due to the installer over tightening the screws that hold them down to the roof. The cracks were from the screw hole outward.
I sometimes like to leave at least one fan running when it rains, so I purchase a cover for one fan on each trailer. FantasticVent manufactures their own cover, the Ultrabreeze, that is molded so that the lid of the fan fits exactly inside it with the lid in the open position. And their advertisement says there is no issue with air flow restriction when using this vent cover. There is also an online video that demonstrates this.
Now I can run the fan that is under the cover while I tow. So the trailer is much cooler when I arrive at my camp site in hot weather.

I see you are in NC. If you are near me, you are welcome to come see my setup and see how it feels.
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:08 PM   #12
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Hi Kim, I replaced my two standard non fan vents with fantastic fans. I also changed the lids to impact lighting. I changed the rear white to smoke. It allows light but almost a blue light for the bedroom. In the front I changed the white out for a clear lid to add light. I would do the same again. I would also recommend to you that whatever fan you buy be reversible and if it is your only means of fresh air, then noise level and roof shield (in case of rain) is a must. Otherwise you would burn up when it rained. Also, I've found that turning both fans to blow out on low and opening windows on the inhabited end of the trailer makes it cooler. A light breeze blows right by on its way out.
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:52 PM   #13
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thanks everybody!

jim, someone else told me that you could re-wire the current stock fan so that it would run in the opposite direction. anyone out there done that?

if it is possible, then i wouldn't need to replace either of the fans in order to have one pulling and the other pushing. one of the potential drawbacks to this is that i don't think my stock vent fans have as much juice/air circulation as the newer ones. anyone who has switched out able to report on this? as well as any difference in noise level? i haven't been able to run to my fans during the renovation as i haven't had shore power so it's hard to collect information.

the other possible drawback to keeping the stock fan is that right now i have big white inner skylight covers with each fan and the middle vent. while they do block the view of the rough cut (which is what you can see in the pictures attached) as well as the led lights (which i detached for now) they also cut down on the amount of natural light. i'm imagining the benefit of a maxxfan would be no inner skylight needed and more natural light coming through. but then where to put the led light? maybe mount a separate fixture just beside the fan?

minno, thanks so much for your testimony of no rain entering with the maxxfan deluxe and that you did the install yourself.

hey alan, thanks for the nc invite…you're a bit of a drive for me. i'm thinking i might head over to out of doors mart in greensboro and look and listen to some various fans in the airstreams parked there if they'll let me.

by the way, as i was shopping for the maxxfan online i saw such a range of prices. on amazon it was $216 with free shipping, camping world is $271 with $9 shipping, and the catalog from out of doors mart is $322. any advice?

keep the testimonies coming!
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