How to Install a Fiamma F45S Awning on a Ford Transit High Roof

How to Install a Fiamma F45S Awning on a Ford Transit High Roof

The Fiamma F45S awning is to be installed on the side of the camper van conversion; the Fiamma F65S awning is to be installed on the roof of the campervan. We opted for the F45S because we had the solar panels on the roof and because we liked the awning to be on the side of the van. We could not find any documentation on the F45S installation specific to the Ford Transit, but we gave it a try anyway.

The awning comes with the “generic” installation kit so we ordered the kit specific to the high-roof Ford Transit (which seems in fact to be for the Europeans Ford Transit, but we had it working on our new-world Transit version).

Adapter kit manual here (pdf)

F45S awning manual here (pdf)

Fiamma High-Roof Ford Transit Kit vs Generic Kit
Fiamma High-Roof Ford Transit Kit vs Generic Kit

We were somewhat disappointed with the kit which only consist of 2 aluminum adapter plates and some wood screws; installed directly on the van, these plates will scratch the paint for sure (because of the mating surface) and welcome corrosion in the future.

Fiamma F45S installation kit mating surface


In addition, we did not like the idea of using “wood” blocks (or equivalent) on the inside of the vehicle as suggested by the Fiamma manual (it is impractical anyway because the support surface is not flat and there are structure components too). We needed to complete the kit ourselves with the material shown below. Even with the specific installation kit, this job is not “plug-and-play” at all; there is some craftsmanship involved, but anyone could do it armed with patience and attention to details.


Roof Rack

If we had to start over we would consider a roof rack, because installing all the accessories (maxxfan, solar panels, Fiamma awning direct-mount, etc.) would be much easier AND we would have a better access to the roof (with the permanent side ladder):

Roof Rack for Sprinter-Transit, Flatline Van Co LOW PRO (ford transit demo)

We like the Low Pro roof rack from FlatLine Van Co: it’s modular, low profile, easy to install, and affordable compared to other roof racks out there:






DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a product link and buy anything from the merchant (Amazon, eBay, etc), we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not.





Edit 2020: There are now other high-quality alternatives to the Fiamma awning. We’d probably give it a try if we had to start over: Dometic, Thule, Carefree awnings on .

Van Conversion Fiamma F45S Awning Material





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



First rule: The adapter plate must be located on the “Support” stickers, on the back of the awning.

Fiamma F45S support Installation


Second rule: The awning must be installed “vertically” (that’s the role of the adapter plates anyway)

Fiamma F45S Orientation


Third rule: The awning must be installed straight for the mechanism to work.

Fiamma F45S Straight Installation


First of all, we asked a friend to come at our place to have a beer. Shortly after, we informed him of the Fourth rule: no beer until the job is done.


Then, to protect our sexy van, we applied some painter’s tape at the approximate location of the adapter plates.

Fiamma F45S installation painter tape


We located the adapter plates at the “support” stickers and taped them to the awning.

Fiamma F45S installation support


The awning should be able to clear the sliding door during deployment. We partially deployed the awning (0.75 meter), hold the awning on the van and marked the height.

Awning Height


Then we located the forward-and-aft position of the awning. Ideally, we wanted the awning to cover the door area completely. Two persons located and held the awning in place while the third person marked the location of the adapter plates on the van.

Fiamma F45S installation aft forward


The awning is quite heavy and awkward to work with. So we first located and installed (using only 2 screws) the rear adapter plate (so we don’t have to carry the weight of the awning when we located the forward plate).

Fiamma F45S installation rear plate fixed 2 screws


Then we fine-tuned the level of the awning by using mixed techniques (measuring tape, string, eye-leveling) and marked the location of the forward plate. Every people involved had a different opinion. We fought. There was no more rules here.

We fixed the forward plate with only 2 screws and checked the awning fitting on both adapter plates. We ensured the three rules were followed. Nice.


Next, all holes were drilled through the van using the adapter plates as template. As usual to prevent corrosion, primer, paint & clear coat was applied to bare surfaces.


We cleaned the van surfaces with isopropyl alcohol and applied the 3M anti-erosion tape. The tape is actually very strong, so we punctured it at hole locations so the screws would go through.


We found that the mating surface of the Ford Transit adapter plates is not ideal (the surface of the generic kit is fine); to help distribute the load, we fabricated aluminum strips from a 0.062” thick sheet. This should help not to damage the erosion tape in the long run.

Fiamma F45S installation kit mating surface

Fiamma F45S installation alu strips
0.062″ thick aluminum strips ready to be painted


We pre-installed the 8 screws and the aluminum strip on the rear adapter plate. To prevent screws from falling, we put painter’s tape (duct tape works better) over the screws head. Then we applied Sikaflex (that’s a polyurethane sealant, as recommended per OEM manual) around the screws shank.

Fiamma F45S installation Sikaflex
Applying Sikaflex on the bolt shank

The rear plate was fitted.

Fiamma F45S installation rear adapter plate

Fiamma F45S installation rear plate fit tape


The hardware inside the van is as follows: rubber washer (to protect the van), fender washer (oversized outside diameter for better load distribution), lock washer & nut.

Fiamma F45S installation inside stackup
(photo taken prior to drilling all holes; there should be 8 holes here!)


At this point, the rear plate is fixed permanently; minor adjustments are performed on the forward plate in the subsequent steps. 


The front adapter plate installation is similar, except the roof as a nice (but unpractical to work with) double-curvature in this area… the surface mating with the 4 screws in the back of the plate is almost flat, but then the surface at 4 forward screws is definitely not flat. We needed to shim the adapter plate somehow. We figured a stack up of washers would do the trick.*

*Technical talk: in a pure shear-type application, increasing the stack up will also increase the moment on the fastener and this might not be acceptable (depending on the context). In our installation, the shear load comes mostly  from the weight of the awning and the 8 screws per plate will provide adequate support. The worst load case is probably the bending moment coming from an opened awning; in this case, the fasteners are mostly tension-loaded or compression-loaded and, we believe, it is acceptable to have such a big washers stack up. 

Washer Stackup
(this photo was taken after the installation)


Before sealing permanently (with Sikaflex), make sure to check that the awning will fit on BOTH adapter plates. The awning does not allow to plates to be off: the parallelism and alignment between the two plates must be almost perfect so adjust, check, re-adjust (by adding or removing washer), re-check, until perfect.


After the plates are fastened for good and the awning is fitted on the plates, it is still time to slightly fine-tune the forward and aft location of the awning. Then, 4 screws will be used to lock the awning in place. The adapter plates are pre-drilled, but the awning is not. Drill-it. We had to slightly re-locate the forward screws because it would interfere with the mechanism.

Fiamma F45S installation forward and aft locking


That’s it! We made it!





After the installation, we realized that there is a gap between the van and the Fiamma F45S; this gap will allow some rain to go through as opposed to the F65S (which is installed on the roof). No big deal, we will eventually install something to close this gap. We would still choose the F45S over the F65S, but it’s good to be aware of this detail before buying it!

Fiamma F45S gap



We ordered 4 meters of the Fiamma Rain Guard “L” (9cm width) seal through this eBay Store.

It took less than an hour to install. The seal really snap into the awning, feel very secure and has a “OEM” look.

We got heavy rain and it did what it’s suppose to do, except locally at one place above the sliding door where there is a few drops leaking. Not a big deal, we might add a tiny bit of sealant between the seal and the van to complete the installation.

Fiamma Rain Guard Cross Section

Fiamma Rain Guard



After almost two years on the road, do we think an awning is worth it? In our case, not so much. We used it maybe 10 times total.

  • We spend most of our day riding our bikes, away from the van. We rarely hang out around the van (except in the morning and in the evening when the sun is down).
  • We like to ride loam much more than desert, it means we camp in the forest and there is shade from the trees most of the time.
  • When it’s raining we just stay inside the van, we don’t deploy the awning.


We could see it being very useful for:

  • Families hanging out around the van during the day.
  • People spending more time in the desert.
  • Weekend warriors, when you want to maximize your time outside (rain or shine).


In other words, it totally depends on your habits!





Check out our Build Journal, learn everything about The Van, read our VanLife Guides, or if you’re new to this start by reading Our Story.





Join 30,000+ followers via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Patreon or e-mail:

Facebook Logo

Instagram link





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!




Join our Facebook group to connect with other passionate DIY campervan builders like you!






21 thoughts on “How to Install a Fiamma F45S Awning on a Ford Transit High Roof”

  1. Hi guys, really appreciate all the work you have put into your site and van. No one seems to use a transit over here in the the UK for a conversion so your site has been a god send!

    Do you think you could go longer on the awning? Say 4m? I would like as much space as possible under as will be using for motocross and when you have cover from our Welsh weather you suddenly become very popular!


  2. Antoine, any chance you can post a picture of your awning full open? There are legs on this model right? Are you staking them to the ground or did you find a place on the body to set those little receiver brackets? Were about to take this project on with our Transit. Thanks for all your help and enjoy your journey!

    • Wow, you just made me realize we don’t have any picture of the open awning!
      Will try to take one soon; please remind me if I forget!

      Yes, there are legs that we just deploy on the ground; we haven’t installed the brackets and we don’t feel the need to.


  3. Salut Isbelle et Antoine! Ca va? Merci pour la website, c’est magnifique! J’ai un question. Why must the awning be oriented perfectly “vertical” as you put it, meaning perfectly parallel to the ground? Wouldn’t it work just as well if it faced downwards very slightly towards the ground to create a slanted roof that would shed rain? Merci encore!

    • Hi Andrew, not exactly sure why but it’s a manufacturer requirement. The design of the awning allows to have an inclined slope, when deployed, so that rain is evacuated.

      Bonne journée!

  4. Thanks for all the write ups you do and this one in particular. We just had an aluminess rack added with the idea we’d mount an awning to that. With the way the rack and the door are situated it would be nice if we could extend the awning forward, is there any flexibility in the mount locations for the Fiamma Awning, could the front of the awning be 18″ to 2′ forward of the mount point?

    • It’s VERY important that the awning is mounted straight! And the points of attachement are restricted near the mechanism… not much room for creativity with this awning, they’re very sensitive…

    • Sur leur site (par email) pour avoir exactement le modèle qu’on voulait. Je n’ai pas trouvé d’autres distributeurs au Canada et acheter aux USA ne vallait pas la peine.

      J’ai vu ta van sur Flickr, génial! Vous vous en servez pas mal?

      • Salut Antoine! j’avais remarqué que vous aviez jeté un oeil sur notre van dans votre section inspiration 🙂 Notre van c’est notre bébé (en fait notre 3e!) nous passons pas mal de temps dedans et notre ti-gars y fait toujours mieux dodo! 🙂 Elle est présentement remisé pour l’hiver et avec ma conjointe on travail sur un nouveau projet! Je vais probablement vous contacter prochainement à ce sujet. Merci pour l’info et wow pour votre site et la van en construction! Excellent travail! Je sais pas si c’est votre première van, mais je vous averti on devient accroc! a+ Martin

        • 🙂
          J’avais trouvé ton Flickr durant nos recherches, alors que tout ça était juste un plan… j’ai vraiment aimé ton layout et le craftmanship! Good job!

          C’est notre première van en effet. Accroc? Oui, notre vie tourne juste autour de la van maintenant! Mais y’a une grosse partie de moi-même qui a hâte de décrocher et juste de pouvoir en profiter! Je m’ennuie de ma vie d'”avant”!

          Nouveau projet? Tu m’intrigues. N’hésite pas à me contacter! Je suis de nature curieuse (et pas trop patient).


  5. thanks for the excellent writeup on your awning. always good to see what someone else has had to do before doing it oneself!

    patrick — do you have pictures of your install? the more the merrier. 🙂

  6. The rain guard is what I was referring to. Sorry I wasn’t using the correct terminology. I ended up having to purchase S (about 8 ft) 3 feet of M and 3 feet of L. It looks like we used different brackets. I used the factory brackets (3 of them) so my gap for most of it is probably less than yours, thus the S rain guard woked for 2/3 of the length.

  7. I Bought a Fiamma and just finished installing. Really happy with it. It was a challenge as I didn’t get it delivered until two days before going on trip to Utah where we needed sunshade…

    anyhow I wanted to mention that Fiamma has a special rubber gasket that you install to close the gap between the unit and your wall. Go to their accesories pab=ge and you’l find 3 products, depending on the application. I had to buy all three (as they vary in width) in order to handle the curve of the Transit relative to the straight edge of the Fiamma.

    I did make a point of installing plywood backers (on the inside) to help distribute the load more evenly across the sheet metal. esp. with possible gust of wind that would come to torque the whole system. I would consider doing that if you still have access. I bought the stake down system to avoid uplift and also installed the little clips that allow you to 45 degree the legs back to the vehicle. The rear one was a bear since I had to cut into the plastic side panel and mount to the frame fro strength…..boy all the details…what a time suck but worth it when you get each one done and checked off the list!

    • Patrick,
      I can’t find the rubber gasket you are referring to… i went to the accessories page here.

      We did order the Rain Guard L (9cm) afterward to close the gap between the awning and the van, since there is some rain passing through. The Rain Guard is on its way so we did not installed it yet.

      This is an expensive and time consuming add-on to the van, but it is so worth it!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.