Fantastic Fan install questions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-18-2006, 12:07 AM   #1
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Trailer: 1996 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17 ft
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I am about mid-way in the process of installing my Fantastic Fan in my 96 SD but need a few questions answered before proceeding. (Archives didn't help.) At this point I have removed the old vent, and have run a length of number 14 wire under the carpet from the vent hole to the back of the camper. I plan to attach the fan wiring to the light wiring in the back storage compartment, black/positive wire to red/positive wire and white/ground to white/ground. Thus far, every thing is going well.

Questions:
1. When making wire connections, are wire nuts to be used, or can the wires be soldered together and then covered with shrink wrap/tubing? If soldering is permissable, then the lighting wires would not have to be cut.

2. When installing the vent, how is the unit fastened to the trailer, screws or pop rivets?
Screws are included with the package with the fan, but I wonder if the screws would causes stresses/cracks to develop in the fiberglass. (The old vent was put down with pop-rivets.)

3. Do you need to drill new holes in the roof to put down either screws or rivets? Both the old vent and the new Fantastic Fan each have 8 holes to a side. I'm guessing also that if the padding is used, a longer pop-rivet or screw will be necessary?

4. How is the interior trim piece attached to the fan? I am aware that it needs to be cut and reduced because of the thin roof, and that a filler may be needed. Is it attached using the 4 holes at the corners of the trim using (screws or rivets)? I'm guessing that instead the trim is attached by drilling holes in the fan housing and using screws to join it to the trim piece.



Any advice would be much appreciated.
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Old 02-18-2006, 07:35 AM   #2
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Good questions, all. IMHO, soldering is always superior to wire nuts or butt splices in an exterior or automotive application where vibration or moisture are an issue. The only problem using solder inside a trailer comes when you need to DE-wire it for some reason... and wire nuts work just as well on an interior application that isn't exposed to the weather. After all, your house wiring is held together with wire nuts! A little tape over the wire nut will keep it from vibrating loose.

I fastened the one I installed on the Burro with screws as the one that came out was fastened with screws and there were no cracks (pre-drilled holes). The Airstream has all rivets, and the Scamp's is fastened with BOTH screws and rivets! It appears to be your choice.

If the old vent's screw holes line up with the new vent's screw holes, you'll be a lucky man indeed! Otherwise, just drill new ones. The weatherstripping will seal the old ones, so don't worry about 'em. If you want an added measure of leak-resistance though, you can fill the old holes with epoxy from an epoxy stick. It's easy to do, and doesn't take but a few minutes.

The interior trim piece attaches to the fan using the four screw holes in the corners.

One last offering of advice, they supply a cheezy gasket material. I used it on the Burro, and despite its appearance it worked well. DON'T use silicone to seal it as per the instructions. Use butyl caulk and you'll be much happier in the long run. If I were doing it again, I'd probably use butyl tape for the gasket material rather than the stuff they supplied... but both work just fine.


Good luck!

Roger
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Old 02-18-2006, 12:56 PM   #3
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Trailer: 1996 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17 ft
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Thanks very much for your responses Roger. They were very helpful. I was very pleased to discover that running the wires under the carpet was not too difficult. It turned out perfect!

Looks like I will have to postpone my installation for a better day. It is snowing here in N.C.

Will use your suggestions for sure.

Tony
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Old 02-18-2006, 07:11 PM   #4
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For my Burro I also drilled carefully into the double-hull roof, and bought all new stainless steel screws instead of using the ones supplied, and did same for the longer inside corner screws. I had to add a made-from-wood custom shim (see pix) after cutting down the interior trim as much as I dared. Burros have weirdly shaped ooofs, er, roofs. I used wire nuts and also wrapped electrical tape around them.
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Old 02-18-2006, 07:44 PM   #5
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Using stainless screws is a good idea. I just happen to have some on hand from my old boat restoration days.

I have been thinking of using a small wooden frame if the need arises. Your picture is very helpful. It all doesn't look too difficult--just need to go and do it. I plan to solder the wires to the fan unit, and maybe use wire nuts in the rear cabinet.

Waiting for the sun

Tony
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Old 02-18-2006, 09:24 PM   #6
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TonyL,
To avoid holes to hold the interior trim, I simply used a screw on each inside corner of the trim piece which wedges it in place. That method has worked for about 4000 miles so far.
I used pop rivets to avoid the filing action from the threads of the screws against the fiberglass. None of the holes lined up with the previous holes. I plugged the old holes with a little silicone caulk. Then followed Casita's normal rivet procedure with silicone and the rest of the Fantastic Fan's instructions. "Nuestra Casita" also has a Maxx-Aire vent cover which allows the vent to remain open (or at least partially open) always. We have yet to observe condensation on the windows even when the electric heater is on low and the inside temperature has gotten down to 36 degrees F. Our 60# Lab, Ann and I sleep in there while construction is happening to our home.
Works for us!
Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 02-20-2006, 12:21 PM   #7
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I wouldn't count on the mounting screw holes lining up, even though there are the same number. I replaced one of the original 14" vents in my Boler with a MaxxFan of the same size; although they had had different numbers of screws, the four corners were at about the same spacing, so I hoped they would line up... not a chance. There seems to be no standard, so even two brands with the same number of screws could have them spaced differently, and the previously installation may not have been well done. Fortunately, the MaxxFan flange was larger than the original, so it could cover all of the holes.

I used a wooden spacer on the inside, embedded T-nuts into it, and used stainless steel machine screws from the outside into the T-nuts, so I did not thread into the fiberglass, and I can tighten the screws if necessary over time (unlike rivets). I'm not the only one who has done this, but I think most people just screw into the fiberglass - that's how my original was installed, and it still wasn't leaking after (if it was really the original) a quarter century.
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Old 02-20-2006, 02:06 PM   #8
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Tony, I knew I had this photo around somewhere, I just hadn't taken time to find it. Here's the FF in the Burro with the factory trim ring... it was a straight install; however I did order a new, flush mount spacer from Fantastic. They ship them free.

Roger
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Old 02-20-2006, 06:39 PM   #9
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Very interesting! Roger, what year is that Burro of yours with the FF ? I see in your picture a vastly different roof line than my '81....a flattened, recessed 14-inch square pad making for a much frendlier installation than what I had.

Just curious.
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Old 02-21-2006, 12:50 PM   #10
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It was an '87 widebody 17' built in Sac City, IA. I presume that, as an '81, yours is a product of the Plymouth MN factory. The factory carpet strip on mine was significantly narrower than on the original trailers. That narrow strip continued through the Escondido production and the carpet was replaced with sort of a soft cloth liner that had buttons in it every few inches. Maybe Per can show a photo of the ceiling in his Escondido-built Burro.

Roger
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:18 PM   #11
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I see that more than a few of you have installed a MaxxAir cover over your Fan-Tastic Fans. I was going to install a Fan-Tastic Fan on my '94 Bigfoot and cover it with a MaxxAir 800. I went to the local Camping World and checked the installation instructions for the Fan-Tastic Fan. It says "do not cover this fan with a vent cover such as a MaxxAir cover". Yet, everyone does it. I wonder if the Fan-Tastic Fan's performance is really reduced with the use of the MaxxAir Cover or is there something else going on for them to make that statement in their installation instructions.
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Old 02-21-2006, 03:44 PM   #12
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Tony:
Here is a picture of the center trim piece in my '90. It is 8 inches wide and of padded white vinyl. The whole strip is made up of a 1/8" thick (?) strip of plywood with the padding added and the vinyl folded around the edge and stapled onto the plywood. Behind each screw there is a square plywood piece glued to the hull with either construction adhesive or Bondo. The screws are flathead and go over plastic retainers onto which white plastic finishers snap on.

I have a MaxxAir cover over the FanTastic Fan. The instructions also cautioned about putting it on, but I knew some people had mounted them with good success, so I took the chance. I think the caution is that it decreases airflow and puts a drag on the fan motor which could theoretically burn it out.

It slows it down, but only marginally, and we seldom use it at maximum speed anyway, so I took the the caution to heart and knew the risk. The ability to keep the vent open in any weather without leaks is a GREAT advantage. We have often had it open in heavy rain even though we have had to go out of state to find the rain to test it .
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Old 02-22-2006, 04:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
I see that more than a few of you have installed a MaxxAir cover over your Fan-Tastic Fans...
With all those people paying for a Fantastic Fan, then paying for a MaxxAir cover for it, I wondered why they didn't just buy a MaxxFan (about the same price as a Fantastic Fan) instead... so I did that. The MaxxFan works fine, but I have no experience with the alternative. Installation is about the same, which is why I thought my previous post was applicable. Obviously, the integral fold-down cover won't hurt the MaxxFan, so that's an option for those concerned about the Fantastic Fan warning.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:29 PM   #14
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I see alot of installs on burros and bolers, has anyone installed one in a trillium? We are wanting to put one in ours. One question we have is hiding the wiring going to the fan. I was thinking of tying into the 12v wiring from the light under the shelf in the front of the trailer, and pulling back the t-molding to hide the wiring ther. Has anyone else done this and if not does this sound like it would work?
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