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Old 07-19-2019, 03:18 PM   #1
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1968 26' Overlander
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Trimming and reinforcing curved vent holes - MaxxAir installation in 1968 Airstream

Hello!

I'm super excited to be installing two Maxxair fans in my 1968 Overlander. Two concerns:

1. What is the best way to go about trimming the corners of the curved vent holes so it will fit the new square vent? It makes me squeamish to think about cutting into the skin and I don't want to botch it! I've seen people use tin snips, some grinders...what's my best bet? Is it smartest to set the fan on the hole and trace the outline and cut along that?

2. I've seen mention of adding wood reinforcement to vents, skylights, and AC units. Is it necessary? If so how do I go about this?

Thanks everyone!
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:13 PM   #2
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I used tin snips. Tracing it out is probably a good plan. I found I didn't have to widen the sides of my holes at all, just extend the line to a sharp corner. You'll be fine.

I don't like the idea of the plastic frame taking all the stress of flattening out the curve on its own. I added a piece of aluminum angle fore and aft for reinforcement. Who knows if it's necessary, but it's only a couple of bucks worth of aluminum. It's attached to the underside of the roof skin with the same fasteners that hold the fan in place, and a little Sikaflex 221. Here's the relevant blog post with pictures:

https://thegreatleys.com/journal/201...-roof-supports
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Old 07-20-2019, 07:48 AM   #3
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I used aluminum square tubing it provides a flat mounting surface for the outside mount and the inside filler panel. Used the same for the ac, same dimension. (photos are ac opening)

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Old 07-22-2019, 11:02 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback! Sounds like I'll plan to do some sort of aluminum reinforcement for the fans.

Greatleys - I read your blog post. Looks great! How has your lexan lid been working out as a skylight? Is this something you ordered from Maxim, or do Maxim skylights come with their own frame? I definitely want to replace my middle vent (14"x25") with a skylight. I do have the original metal, curved frame for it.
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Stargirl View Post
Thanks for the feedback! Sounds like I'll plan to do some sort of aluminum reinforcement for the fans.

Greatleys - I read your blog post. Looks great! How has your lexan lid been working out as a skylight? Is this something you ordered from Maxim, or do Maxim skylights come with their own frame? I definitely want to replace my middle vent (14"x25") with a skylight. I do have the original metal, curved frame for it.
The lexan lid works great for a mini skylight. Lets some nice natural light into the kitchen area during the day. Certainly more light than the Maxxfans do when they're closed.

The part is from Vintage Trailer Supply. The frame and opener are original to the Airstream. There's a link to the lexan lid in the parts tab under appliances.

I also got a used screen from a 60s Airstream to trim out the vent after I had removed the original light fixture. Bought it off a certain shiny trailer supply company who shall not be named, back when they were actually fulfilling orders.
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Old 07-22-2019, 08:07 PM   #6
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On second thought, if your vent is 14x25, you can't use the same lexan lid I did. Mine fits the square radiuses vent. Maybe this is what you need?

https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com...-p/vts-279.htm
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Old 07-22-2019, 08:08 PM   #7
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I just installed a new AC on my 68 Trade Wind last week. The old Armstrong unit finally gave up plus I had a water leak that was under the old unit and I was tired of fixing it. I used my 4 in. angle grinder with a cutoff wheel specific for aluminum. Goes thru the skin every easily and it easy to follow your lines. Just be sure to get the cut off wheels for aluminum. I used the same method years ago when I installed my Fantasic Fan and needed to square up the corners. I tried tin snips but the angle grinder was far better. I did not use any bracing on the fan, just did not need it. For the AC I did.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:20 AM   #8
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An update

Just to update...I finally did the install this weekend! It went so quickly! I only installed the exterior portion of the fan (just not the last interior framing) because my Airstream is currently completely gutted.

I used an angle grinder to trim my corners (much less intimidating than I thought it would be), using the fan base to trace and confirming the fit was correct by inserting the base. Then I cleaned the metal (note that I had already removed all the goop from the previous fans with a wire brush drill attachment and lots of acetone), then laid down double sided eternabond butyl tape, sticking it to the trailer using a wallpaper wooden roller, but leaving the plastic on the side facing up so it doesn't stick to you, your tools, the roller, etc.. Then I placed the fan base back in the hole and pre-drilled holes through the butyl tape with a 9/64" drill bit. I removed the vent frame and removed the top plastic layer from the butyl tape (so now it's sticky). The I put some sealant on each screw hole for extra waterproof protection, re-placed the vent frame and screwed it in (not too tight to avoid cracking and screwing from the middle out to work with the curve of the roof). Then I added a layer of alumibond one-sided butyl tape which covered the entire lip of the fan base and the remaining butyl tape that ran wider than the frame base. Then roll it with the wallpaper roller and around each screw with your finger. Done! Two new beautiful fans!

I did not place any additional roof reinforcement. The roof seems to be handling the weight fine (there was a fan there before after all). There were also already two "L" aluminum pieces installed to reinforce that frame area.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:02 PM   #9
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1974 25' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stargirl View Post
Hello!

I'm super excited to be installing two Maxxair fans in my 1968 Overlander. Two concerns:

1. What is the best way to go about trimming the corners of the curved vent holes so it will fit the new square vent? It makes me squeamish to think about cutting into the skin and I don't want to botch it! I've seen people use tin snips, some grinders...what's my best bet? Is it smartest to set the fan on the hole and trace the outline and cut along that?

2. I've seen mention of adding wood reinforcement to vents, skylights, and AC units. Is it necessary? If so how do I go about this?

Thanks everyone!
I see you're already done, but I figured I'd chime in anyway. I recently replaced three of the four roof openings (rearmost one still to do) with Maxxair roof vents on our '74 Tradewind. I placed the new outside trim on the roof, then (from underneath) marked out parallel lines to each side so I could see where the corners would end up. First I used a 3/16 to 3/4 inch step drill to drill the four corner locations so they ended up with about a 1/4 inch radius. Then I used aviation snips to cut from the parallel sides to the corner holes.

Rather than flatten the roof at the vents, I put 1 inch by 1/8" thick aluminum bar stock pieces along the sides of the vent openings, and let the front and rear follow the curvature of the roof. I used RTV caulking to seal the gaps, 5/32" rivets to set the perimeter frames in place and then covered everything with a bead of Dicor. Time will tell how that all holds up.
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