Fan Installation

Maxxair Maxxfan Deluxe 6200K

The first obvious role of the Maxxair fan in our DIY camper van conversion is heat control. Ventilation is also crucial for moisture evacuation; cooking, drying clothes and human beings generate a lot of water. For more information see our Climate Control Page.

 

 

TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: 8 hours

 

TOTAL COST : 360$ USD

 

DISCLOSURE:

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Alternatively, you can visit our Say Thanks! page.

 

MATERIAL:

*Items marked with the (*) are not considered in the total cost since these items are used throughout the van conversion.

 

TOOLS:

  • Jigsaw & metal blades (have some spare blades, we broke one in the process)
  • Files
  • Sandpaper
  • Caulking gun
  • Vacuum (metal chips will be all over the place. Get rid of them as soon as possible to avoid scratches)
  • Screwdriver
  • Safety Glasses and hat
  • 4 x C-clamps

 

Maxxair Fan Installation, Material

 

HOW WE DID IT*

*Disclaimer: we’re good, but not that much. Use these instructions at your own risks!

 

1- Install painter’s tape and mark the fan cutout

To mark the fan cutout, we used the interior side of Hein’s Ford Transit RV roof vent adapter and it was super easy since the adapter will “locate itself” in the center of the sheet metal panel. Sweet!

Drilling and cutting practice

 

2- Practice makes perfect…

We “simulated” 2 holes and a straight line to practice drilling & cutting on the panel we were getting rid of. It’s a good thing we did it! We learned that it’s better to make the corner holes a bit outside of the cutting line (the fan flange allow some over cut) AND that a storm of hot-burning metal chips will blow on your face and into your hair. WEAR PROTECTIVE GLASSES AND A SEXY BANDANA ON YOUR HEAD. You’ve been warned.

Practice makes perfect for maxxair fan installation

 

3- Get ready to cut the crap out of your brand new van. And enjoy!

Cut the crap out of your brand new van

 

4- Drill 4 holes at each corner, large enough to let the jigsaw blade through

Maxxair Fan Installation,, Drill 4 holes

 

5- Cut each side, then apply duct tape to retain the panel from falling at the last cut

Maxxair Fan Installation, cut each side

 

6- Break the sharp edges with a file and smooth the edges with a fine sandpaper

Maxxair Fan Installation, Break Sharp Edge

 

7- Install Hein’s adapters (interior and exterior) and the fan flange and drill all holes

We used 4 c-clamps to ensure nothing moves during the process.

Maxxair Fan Installation drill holes

TIP: Slightly oversize all holes on the interior adapter for easier re-assembly. Do it.

 

8- Break the holes sharp edges and smooth with a sanding paper

 

9- Clean the surfaces to be touched-up with isopropyl alcohol

 

10- Apply Primer, Paint & Clearcoat on fan cutout and drilled holes

This is an important step to avoid corrosion in the future.

TIP: You can have your exact van color prepared for you in almost any auto-parts store. Just give them your color-code (printed on the driver’s door frame), year of production and make.

Maxxair Fan Installation,, primer

Maxxair Fan Installation, paint

 

11- Clean fan flange with acetone as per manufacturer recommendation

 

12- Clean van sheet metal with isopropyl alcohol

 

13- Apply butyl tape on the fan flange (on the surface that will be mating with the fan adapter)

 

14- Apply GE Sillicone II on Hein’s fan adapters surfaces that will be mating with the van

This is to prevent moisture retention and corrosion.

 

15- Assemble Hein’s adapters and fan flange all together with the fastening hardware

We used washers both on the interior and on the exterior surfaces.

We did not oversize the holes on the interior fan adapter. With the butyl tape and sealant, it was difficult to re-assemble…

Maxxair Fan Installation, install screws

 

16- Apply Dicor self-leveling sealant around the periphery of the flange

We ensured to cover the van panel, the fan adapter and the fan flange. We also covered all the screws.

Maxxair Fan Installation, apply sealant

 

17- Install the Maxxair unit through the fan flange and fasten using the 4 provided screws

Maxxair Fan Installation, Install Fan Unit

 

18- Look at our fan

Just look at it.

Maxxair Fan Installation, final

 

19- Final Test

We tested our fan using the wires from an adjacent light that we removed.

(note: we blew a fuse doing the same thing afterward: no surprise, the interior lightning fuse of 7.5 amp located at position F32 is not designed to withstand the load of an additional fan… no big deal, the fuse was replaced and the light is back!)

It works!

Maxxair Fan Installation, testing the fan

 

20- Have a pint of fresh Session I.P.A.

We deserved it!

Maxxair Fan Installation, reward

 

 

 

On Second Thought…

We’ve been using the fan since June 2016, here’s our review:

 

 

 

 

WANT MORE?

Check out our Build Journal, learn everything about The Van, join us for The Ride, or if you’re new to this start by reading The Prologue.

 

 

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

 

 

CHEERS!

 

 

29 comments

  1. Comment by Gabriel

    Gabriel Reply June 14, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    I just did this project and followed these instructions, some tips for anyone trying:

    – Widening the holes should’ve been done. Don’t be like me and ignore that tip only to be stuck with goopy silicone all over, struggling to get the fasteners in and unable to go back.
    – 2 inches seemed too long for me, but better over than under.
    – Definitely jigsaw from on top of the roof, use a (new!) fine-toothed jigsaw blade meant for metal and set the jigsaw to a fast speed.
    – When you jigsaw cut from the roof, tape a tarp loosely over the place you’ll be cutting to catch the metal shavings, they would’ve been really hard to clean afterwards and likely to mess up the interior paint.
    – Don’t use too much silicone if any. I don’t know if it’s necessary with the lap sealant and it offset my top enough that I had a really hard time getting the holes on the actual fan piece to mate.
    – The fasteners which A&I recommend have to be bought as does the adapter. I thought these were included in the fan package at first for some reason– maybe it was just me reading carelessly, just a reminder in case you read it fast like I did.

  2. Comment by Chris J

    Chris J Reply May 26, 2018 at 2:59 am

    Did you wait overnight after installing the adapter with silicone, before coating with dicor? Then wait another night before installing fan?

    I’d love to get it done in a day, but not sure if the silicone and dicor need time to fully cure first.

    Thanks for the great writeup!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply May 27, 2018 at 10:51 am

      I don’t think you need to wait. Just be careful not to put your hands in the dicor when installing the fan

  3. Comment by Gabriel

    Gabriel Reply May 2, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks so much for this site Antoine and and Isabelle, you’ve inspired me to buy my own Ford Transit last week and I’m learning so much from your generous guidance! You’re truly my heroes!!

    This might be a stupid question, but could you tell us a bit more about your design decisions regarding the position and orientation of the vent fan? Why did you guys opt to place the fan in the front of the van facing forwards? And is your fan usually pushing air out or pulling in?

    Do you ever have the fan open while you’re driving and if so, wouldn’t this be less aerodynamic? Also, would putting the fan in the back give better airflow through the whole van– or was it more of a priority to vent kitchen gasses?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply May 3, 2018 at 11:10 am

      We installed it in the front mostly because we’re cooking in the van during winter (doors and windows closed); we wanted the van near the stove/oven. If you don’t plan on cooking a lot during winter, you can install it in the back so it maximize air flow when you open the front windows.
      You want air to exit the fan (push out), so make sure you have an air intake too.
      When it’s hot we drive with the cover of the fan opens; yes it’s less aerodynamic. So is opening windows. You can use A/C instead if you prefer.

      Good luck!

  4. Comment by Jada

    Jada Reply April 5, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Thank you so much for your build journal! I went to start the fan build and realized that I only bought the exterior Hein’s Ford Transit RV roof vent adapter. I believe I’m missing the interior part. Are there in fact two parts? I’ve searched on ebay and can’t seem to find the interior adapter. Any thoughts? Thanks again for all the work you’ve put in to this build!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply April 5, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      The interior is almost flat, you can definitely do the installation without the interior adapter!

      • Comment by Jada

        Jada Reply April 10, 2018 at 9:01 pm

        Great! Thank you!

  5. Comment by Christian

    Christian Reply April 3, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    What are your thoughts on the framing strips that Hein offers along with the flange adaptor?
    Do you think these are necessary?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply April 4, 2018 at 10:58 am

      We didn’t use the framing strips, so they’re not “necessary”. But depending on your design, they might help to support your paneling (or else) around the fan cutout. The framing strips were not available when we built our van.

      Cheers!

  6. Comment by Philippe

    Philippe Reply January 8, 2018 at 5:35 am

    Bonjour Antoine,

    Je t’avais contacté par courriel en septembre dernier afin de savoir si vous étiez satisfait avec votre moteur 3.7L. J’ai finalement trouvé et acheté un Transit 2016 highroof 148 non-allongé usagé avec un 3.7L également. J’ai commencé la conversion mais le gros du travail s’effectuera au printemps lorsque la température sera un peu plus clémente au Québec.

    Je planifie mon matériel pour l’installation d’un Maxxair 7500K. Je voulais savoir combien de tube Dicor avez-vous utilisé ? Est-ce qu’un seul suffit pour bien sceller le tout ?

    Merci beaucoup !

    Philippe
    17daystransit

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply January 8, 2018 at 9:53 am

      Salut Philippe,
      en effet y’a l’air à faire froid dans l’est cette année!

      Félicitation pour l’achat! Beaucoup de plaisir en perspective 🙂

      Si je me souviens bien, un seul tube est sufisant.

      Bonne continuation,
      antoine

  7. Comment by Dan Loyer

    Dan Loyer Reply December 12, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    hey bonjour les amie je suis Daniel Gatineau canada jai commande une transit 10 mois passer avec diesel je l’adore jai presque fini l’interieur,jai vraiment hate de finir loll,hey jai adorer votre maxxfan ca me donner une idee de m’en procurer une je vais l’installer a la meme place que vous.Dan

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply December 12, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Salut Daniel,
      c’est tellement un bon feeling quand on termine, lâche pas!!

      La maxxfan est parfaite. Beaucoup de gens l’installe derrière aussi. Nous on l’a mis à l’avant parce qu’on cuisine dans la van en avant. Mais dans les 2 cas y’a pas de soucis!

      Bonne continuation!

  8. Comment by Joey

    Joey Reply September 26, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Why use Dicor sealant instead of silicone? (I ask because I have the silicone right here, but no dicor right now)

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply September 26, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      – Not sure if the Silicone is compatible with the fan plastic?
      – Silicone is a mess to work with! (you will need a lot of it, it will be a PITA to remove if you ever need to)
      – Is that Silicone I that you have? If so, that’s a NO-GO!! Silicone I will promote rust on metal (always use Silicone II with metal)
      – Dicor is “self-leveling”; it will make better finish
      – Dicor might be better in the long run

      This is what comes to my mind!

  9. Pingback: Cutting a hole in my shiny new van! - Ford Transit USA Forum

  10. Comment by Annie

    Annie Reply June 15, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Nous allons recevoir notre Ford Transit tout neuf (merci pour les conseils pour la configuration de la van à l’achat) dans environ 3 semaines et votre site nous sera d’une grande aide pour la conversion de notre van. L’installation de la fan (Maxxair 6200K) sera évidement le premier projet. Je me demandais si vous étiez satisfait de l’endroit où vous avez installé votre fan. Dans mes recherches, j’ai vu que beaucoup de personnes l’installe à l’arrière pour créer une draft de l’avant vers l’arrière. Notre layout va ressembler au vôtre avec le lit en arrière et un espace cargo donc l’espace cuisine vers l’avant. De notre côté, notre projet est de se rendre en Amérique du Sud durant l’hiver. Nous n’avons pas l’intention de vivre des hivers à -30 dans notre van à court terme. Donc, nous vivrons beaucoup plus dans la chaleur. J’aimerais avoir ton avis sur l’emplacement de la fan.

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply June 16, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Pour la chaleur, je crois que la fan est mieux positionnée derrière pour la raison que vous avez mentionné.
      En ce qui nous concerne, nous sommes satisfait de l’avoir installé à l’avant puisque nous devrons cuisiner l’hiver (les portes fermées); la Maxxfan est une excellente fan de cuisine! Nous sommes sur le point d’ajouter des trappes d’aération au plancher à l’arrière de la van pour optimiser la circulation d’air.

      Vous devez être très excité à l’idée de recevoir la van bientôt?! a+!

  11. Comment by Greg Konen

    Greg Konen Reply April 11, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    vent looks great, having mine done in a few weeks.
    We have no windows in back, hoping this will give us some outside cool mountain air at night
    you mention 4 plastic covers from d pillars for vent holes, where are these?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply April 12, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      Greg,

      they are under the van, near the very end of the van. These pictures show the location with/without the covers in place:
      Vent without covers
      with covers

      The air will enter the cargo area near the floor at the rear of the van.
      Antoine

  12. Comment by Philip

    Philip Reply March 9, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    What do you guys for air intake? Crack the windows?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply March 9, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      For now, we just remove the 4 plastic covers from the d-pillars under the van; that create a minimum air flow. We will have to add more intake eventually.

  13. Comment by Andre

    Andre Reply March 5, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    First off, thank you for such a simple, clean but detailed website. It’s been very helpful for us as we build our Transit van! We ordered our van and materials which were also helpful with your links. Installed the van today and it went mostly smoothly. Except for the lap sealant container exploding and our vintage 1980s jigsaw going dead on the first cut.

    Question: I notice that there is not much of a seal where the fan sits into the flang. You can see a little bit of black rubber and there is a slight gap there. We are thinking of siliconing that gap. We can always cut the silicone if we ever need to remove the fan. Did you guys noice the same thing or seal that gap?

    Cheers

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply March 5, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      Glad we could help!! 🙂

      I really don’t think this gap needs to be sealed. The manual does not state to seal it, so we did not seal it and have not heard of anyone who did. No leak so far!

      But how can a sealant container explode?! 🙂

      • Comment by Andre

        Andre Reply March 29, 2017 at 1:02 pm

        It exploded because I forgot to poke a whole through the inner nozel cover 🙂 #RoockieMistake

        Cheers

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  15. Comment by Benoit Leveille

    Benoit Leveille Reply June 22, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Nice work !
    🙂

    • Comment by admin

      admin Reply June 22, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Thanks! The fan performs well so far! We’re glad we went with the Maxxfan; we drive with the fan opened when it’s warm & we leave it open when it rains, awesome!

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