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Roof Fan

MaxxAir 00-06200K MaxFan $243  /  Dicor Lap Sealant $11  /  Dicor Buytl Tape $17

    It was HOT in Blue Maxx, even in March.  The sun heated the roof to the point where the ceiling was too hot to touch, and that radiated into the big closed box.  I needed ventilation.

MaxxAir MaxFan installed in roof    I didn't know anything about fans, other than that the blades spun, they needed to be powered, and they required a hole to be mounted in.  The Internet provided plenty of info, though.  Some fans are exhaust only and would remove the hot or stale air from your vehicle.  Some could be intake fans, which might be handy to bring cool air into a hot van (or vice versa).  Most had a plastic hood that hinged upward when the fan was in use, and wound closed when not.  They also had screens to keep bugs and crap out.  Many of those could be had for less than $150.

     Then, there were the MaxAir MaxFans, which cost considerably more, but do considerably more.  First, they can be either exhaust or intake at the press of a button.  They have multiple speeds in either direction.  And, very importantly, when they are cranked open, their hoods are constructed in such a way that they do not allow rain to get in, even when you're driving. 

    There is really not a lot I can tell you about any other brands.  One of the very first web sites I looked at, called Parked In Paradise (a site I would use extensively), had a link about Best Roof Vents and the MaxxAir MaxFan was their clear choice.  I did poke around a little bit, just to see if maybe there was something better, but everything I found supported the MAMF.  I even saw a couple of blogs where vanlifers expressed regret at NOT forking over the extra bucks for the MaxFan.

    Hence, I procured their model 6200K, which has 10 speeds, a very low amp draw, and manual control.  The top-of-the-line model has a remote control.  I just looked at that as something I would lose.  At most, I'll need to take three steps to get the fan's control panel if I need to alter its status.  Those steps will help keep me in shape!

    So, it was on to Step One:  installing the MaxxAir MaxxFan, which, when connected would serve as both intake and exhaust.  Sweet.  The catch:  doing the actual installation. 

    I climbed up the tall backdoor ladder with a drill, a jigsaw, a tube of lap sealant, some butyl tape and my MaxxFan, and got to work.  A couple of YouTube videos had shown me the how-to’s, and it didn’t seem that hard, but there is something VERY daunting about cutting a hole in your vehicle, especially if, like me, you have never even held a jigsaw in your hand before.  The hole had to be a pretty precise 14” x 14” too.

    I was overly careful at first, and it wasn’t going too well.  Then I decided to stop being a wuss and opened that jigger up full blast.  Good decision!  Instead of bucking and jamming, that sucker zipped down that line in short order, turned the corner, zipped, turned, zipped, turned, zipped and zingo-zammo, the hole was done, nice and tidy as you please.

    That “zipping” was loud as all get-out, of course, but once I high-geared the saw, I was done in about two minutes.

MaxxAir Maxx Fan 6200K inside    It took another 15 minutes or so to prep the hole with butyl tape, that sticky stuff that reminds me of putty -- remember putty? -- that you unfurl off the roll, rip it with your fingers, then press it against the surface, wrapping it down, around and under the freshly-cut metal to seal it against moisture.

    Then it took maybe another 20 minutes to maneuver the fan into place and screw it in.  The screws that MaxxAir provided were the self-tapping variety that did not require the drilling of pilot holes.  I just lined each one up, leaned on it a little with the power-screwer and it bit its way through the metal. 

     This step would have taken a good bit less time if I had been paying better attention to the screws.  Two slightly different sizes were provided:  16 to secure the fan to the roof, and another 4 to secure the hood to the fan body.  The instructions were very clear to use ONLY those four screws to do that.

     Well, in my enthusiasm, I accidentally used one of those four as a fan-to-roof screw, and I needed to find it, remove it, and replace it with the proper screw.  This doesn't sound like a very big deal, right?  The misplaced screw should be just different enough that the naked eye would pick it out.   

    But, well, I did not notice the anomaly until after I had slathered gob after gob of Dicor Lap Sealant all over all of them, covering them completely.  That gooey stuff had not dried yet, but I had to guess blind which screw to uncover, remove, and compare to the other hood screws.  And as TOTAL pull-it-out-of-my-butt luck would have it, I picked the right one on the very first try. 

    I attached the hood, and that was it! 

    Damn, was I freaking proud of myself!  Ha.

    Of course, I had no idea if it worked.  It’s DC powered and I did not have my AC/DC wiring in place yet.  But at least I could crank it open and let some of the heat out.

     Noteworthy fact:  when closed, the MaxFan adds 5" to the height of the van, making the clearance 9'5".  When fully open, the height is 9.3" and the clearance is now 9'9.3" -- but I'm calling it 10 feet, just be be sure.  There will not be many parking garages in Blue Maxx's future...

DC Refrigerator Roof Fan AC & USB outlets Screened Windows Sink Hardware
Storage Bins Drink Holders The Video Screen USB-Powered Fans Kitchen
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