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Zeppelinium 06-05-2006 02:39 PM

Vent replacement
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Piece of cake! Remove the caulk (super plumber's putty?) from the rivets. On a warm day it comes off pretty easy if you take it slow and help by tugging on and end. The faster you go the harder it resists, so go slow and avoid scratching your skin. Then center punch the top of the rivet to drill it out (1/8" drill). I've found that you really want to offset the punch towards you and then drill towards the center--you usually can't drilll straight down, anyway, unless you remove the cover before you start. I also use a "jobber" drill length (18-24 inches, available at Home Depot, etc.) that allows me to have the drill motor above the cover.

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Drill out the rivets on the inside skin (you've already removed the light fixture, of course). Then (and only then) go outside and pry the vent loose, careful to avoid dents, if possible. If you do create a dent, you can hammer it out (I'm using a metal hammer here for a very small, but sharp edge--I usually use a plastic hammer to avoid hammer marks in the skin) by holding a small but heavy/hard block under the skin.

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Mark a 14" rectangle. I used the nearest skin edge to establish a true square orientation of the hole. The original installation (on all my 3 Airstreams, 4 years apart) was done crudely, at least the cutting of the outside skin. Shame!

Be careful when you cut the skin away--the wires underneath can creep up to the edge, just wanting to be severed, and you'll never see it from on top. I use left and right cutting aviation snips, not straight. Both of these will cut straight, but have the advantage of being able to rotate slightly and still cut along the line. This rotation will save your hands from the rough edge.

Do not close the snips all the way as you cut--this creates a small crack in the metal right at the tips. Cut close to the corner, about 1/4", then break off the tab of metal (yes, you'll have 45 degree piece across the corner).

You'll also have to transfer that 14" square to the inside skin and cut it away. This Sovereign had all the 12 VDC wires on one side and the 115 VAC on the other. BTW, not true in my Overlander.

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File the edges to remove any burrs or inadvertent cracks. The file the corners--this removes what would otherwise be a "stress riser" at the corner.

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Zeppelinium 06-05-2006 02:51 PM

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When you drop the new vent in, you'll see that there is significant space along the curb and street side. I handle this by using two layers of gasket, plus vulkem all the way around. You could also use the coils of plumber's putty that can be found at most RV places. If you tighten the edges too much, you'll see it on the inside--the gap for the inside trim will be squeezed together.

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Both the front and aft vents had a single wire powering the lights. However, they also have two heavier wires secured right at the edge of the vent hole that were unused, with female bullet connectors already installed. I think you could use either.

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Great! They're in and what a difference--a breeze and no leaks. I removed the center vent and patched it over. The Fantastic Fans are really sufficient and not free, so it was an easy decision. Now I can insulate that part of the ceiling even better! :clap: :hammer: :bb:

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I still need to shave down the Olympic rivet heads--soon, soon.

Zeppelinium 06-05-2006 03:06 PM

Karma for Fantastic Vent
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Almost the best part!! :) :) :)

Called up Fantastic Vent and said, "gee, I have an Airstream and I hear you have inside trim that fits the ceiling." I happened to mention that I had installed 5 of them. Their response was, "what's your address, they'll be in the mail today." That was Thursday. They are here. The sound you hear is jaw hitting floor.

Karma Karma Karma!!!!

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It's the full trim piece, not just a little gap filling insert. More karma! Oh, by the way, could only get white units at Campers World, but the great people at Fantastic sent beige. YES! OK, so I'm giddy, so sue me. :clap: :bounce: :w00t2:

tphan 06-05-2006 06:25 PM

wow- nice job! maybe one day I'll get brave enough to do that..

lewster 06-05-2006 08:33 PM

Nice Work!!
Well documented piece, ZEP! BTW, the new units are screwed into the roof and inner skin (I just replaced a Fantastic fan and dead vent with two Maxx Air fans) and I hope that you are using 'butyl tape' instead of 'putty tape' on those vents.

I know it might be a little late, but the butyl gives a better seal and won't eventually harden like the putty tape will......and just a buck or two more per roll. I actually don't use either, but use a self-leveling roofing sealant from Dicor for sealing the under sides of the fans and applying it LIBERALLY around the top, over the screws, and again over the seams. It just sort of melts down into a nice smooth blob:cool: .

JimGolden 06-05-2006 08:39 PM


YOU DA MAN!!!! I'm gonna follow in your footsteps on this one.

Good job!

Zeppelinium 06-05-2006 09:54 PM


I actually don't use either, but use a self-leveling roofing sealant from Dicor for sealing the under sides of the fans and applying it LIBERALLY around the top, over the screws, and again over the seams. It just sort of melts down into a nice smooth blob:cool: .
Cool! (no, I'm not gen-X, but I've got the habit) The label says butyl tape, but that sounded so phenolic or petroleum(ic) that I just reverted to "plumber's putty." I don't think any of the tape today is anything but butyl. But I don't use it, I used the supplied gasket and liberal vulkem between layers. I'll check into your Dicor stuff--sounds perfect.

You and Lewster, made of money! Maxx Fans. Woopie. I love the covers that move to keep the rain out, which I worry about with the Fantastics, but otherwise they are good to go.


Chaplain Kent 06-05-2006 11:00 PM

Great job and nice pictures. One question. Does it matter which way the lid faces when you place it in the opening? I was reading an article on the new Shurflo vent and they said the lid must face backwards when installed. Mine faces sideways because that is the way my son put it in the hole he cut. He also used the foam gasket which was supplied for a template to cut the hole.
I bought the fan from Adohen who supplied the Airstream trim with the shipment so i had no extra ordering to do. They are nice folks to deal with.

Zeppelinium 06-06-2006 03:33 AM


Does it matter which way the lid faces when you place it in the opening?
I don't think so. I face mine rearwards (I was going to say "backwards", but I have been admonished about my directions, as in saying "up" in a thread when I mean "previous post"--:D ) to prevent me from driving off with an open lid facing into the wind.

You might get a benefit facing a pair of them in opposite directions (the front one forward and the rear one aft), always catching the breeze and feeding it through. But my "checklist" just isn't good enough to make sure they're closed when I take off.:p

cameront120 06-11-2006 06:56 PM

Zep, your vent bottom view photo of the original vent shows the mechanical system for opening and closing the vent. Yours is the same as mine and I was wondering if you know of any resources for repairing these systems. The crank operator on mine does not turn in either direction and I'd love to get it operating again. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

Zeppelinium 06-11-2006 07:39 PM

Boy, you are just in time. I have three operable ones that were going to the dumpster tomorrow! However, I'm also away for a week, but when I get back I'll see if I can get a couple sets of mechanisms out and send to you. See "freebies...sorta Sovereign" for other parts that I had on hand. More will come available later, like upper cabinets and maybe a full goucho.


Zeppelinium 07-14-2006 11:59 AM

Wish I had known this before I put these two vents in!

I now have a leak in a FF in my Overlander that has been in for about 4 years, but I think it started leaking 2 years ago. If it turns out to be the FF gasket material, I'll have to kick myself. :bangin:

Darn, I coulda' used the butyl tape and didn't. :(

Excella CM 07-14-2006 12:14 PM

I have to agree. The folks at Fantastic are really great. Their customer service is unparalleled. America needs more like them. I don't have the automatic closing type so I modified the Excella by putting this optical device on the floor under each vent. It is 8" square and is printed on the top surface "CLOSE VENT!". When I bend over to wipe up the water on the floor, I invariably see it.:lol:

Metta Photo 07-31-2006 07:11 PM

Replacement rear (bathroom) vent cover
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The rear vent cover has flown the coop. When it broke off it took some hardware with it. Is there a easy way of getting a new cover and installing or should I figure on going beyond my skill level and replacing the whole vent?

Zeppelinium 07-31-2006 09:10 PM


Originally Posted by Metta Photo
...Is there a easy way of getting a new cover and installing or should I figure on going beyond my skill level and replacing the whole vent?

I think you can find a new cover if you're patient. Many owners are putting in Fantastic Fans. I'd recommend a fantastic fan to you--they create a very strong draft, something none of the old vents did. You'll be glad you did. It's really not that hard, except you need some kind of contraption to get you up on top without oil canning and creasing the shell.

Stargirl 05-18-2019 05:04 PM

Order of vent/interior wall installation

Thank you so much for this SUPER helpful thread - it made removing my vents so much easier than it would have otherwise been. I'm doing a full monty and have the interior walls and electric completely out. I don't want to begin installing insulation and electric until I know the trailer is watertight which would involve installing the ceiling vents and making sure they're sealed. BUT most of the threads on vent installation are not during the full monty renovation process, and the interior walls, insulation, electrical, etc. are already in. So what's the correct order here? (I plan on installing 2 vents with fans and one skylight)

1. Install and seal vents --> electrical + insulation --> interior walls

2. Electrical + insulation --> interior walls --> install and seal vents

3. Install exterior portion of vent (is this a thing?) --> electrical + insulation --> interior walls + interior portion of vent


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