Venting - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-27-2009, 03:27 PM   #1
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More than 9 years and we are on our third Elixir bathroom vent and it leaks, discolors, and cracks. Good money after bad. Finally the project bubbled to the top of my mod priority list so here is my first (maybe the last) item of the winter season.

I decided to install a Vanair/Ventline/Phillips Industries fan as used in the Casita, Oliver, etc. The design, materials, and construction appears to be a few notches higher than the Elixir. The old fan on its back reminds me of a cockroach after a couple of shots of Raid.
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Bathroom_fan.jpg   Old_fan_on_back.jpg  

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Old 11-27-2009, 03:31 PM   #2
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The new fan uses a 6" diameter cutout, so I drilled and sawed out the necessary hole and put shims between the shells. The fan needs a 1 1/2" roof thickness for mounting, but the bottom garnish can be shaved another 1/4" with no problem. Since the gap between shells was a good inch this worked well. Single shell would need an interior or exterior shim of about 1" +.
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Fan_layout.jpg   Fan_cutout.jpg  

Shim_between_shells.jpg  
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Old 11-27-2009, 03:40 PM   #3
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The fan could then be screwed through the outer shell and into the shim. Butyl putty. The fan arrived with two flaws: the screws holding the cover to the sliding struts did not fit and were replaced with stainless steel machine screws with locknuts (nylon inserts). The weatherstripping was too narrow and caused sealing to be hit or miss. Fortunately the hardware store had the right width readily available.

I had spray painted the lid, and there was some on the flange which mated with the weatherstripping. Some MS4 silicone grease left over from the 1950es was useful in stopping the sticking that resulted.

The wiring from the old fan was hooked up and the installation was complete. I used Krylon Fusion paint designed for plastics for the outside of the fan.
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Fan_in_hole_from_outside.jpg   Fan_in_hole_from_inside.jpg  

Fan_from_inside_with_garnish.jpg   Finished_fan_from_inside.jpg  

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Old 11-27-2009, 03:52 PM   #4
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The plan was to put a little skylight into the square cutout from the old fan, so I made a wooden frame for a 1/4" piece of slightly bronzed acrylic. I elected to use stainless steel truss-head screws to fasten it, sacrificing appearance for easy maintenance and repair.

All screws use rubber washers, and the acrylic partially compresses a bead of rubber D-profile weatherstripping of the kind normally used on RV doors. A sealant was also used (3M 4000UV). Blue painter's tape is a big help as masking when applying this sticky stuff.

The frame was lap-jointed together with Titebond III glue from Ipe, a wood of exceptional weather-resistance, hardness, weight, and strength. Great super-strong stuff, but it dulls steel cutting edges quickly. I found a flooring sample already planed to the 3/4" thickness needed, so this was not a problem. It will not let paint dry on it, so I gave it a couple of coats of epoxy first.
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Old 11-27-2009, 04:00 PM   #5
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The trim inside is made from Lenga, erroneously called "Chilean Cherry." It has the grain and color I prefer for the Burro, so the plan is to use it for future projects and repairs. Cheap and sustainable too. There is a slot in this inside frame which holds a second acrylic panel, but I used a clear one, so it is very hard to see in the picture. The idea is to have better insulation, resistance to condensation, and an obvious opportunity to use anything from stained glass to photographs printed on a transparent medium. The possibilities are many.

The hope is that there will be no more leaks in my "throne room."
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Old 11-27-2009, 05:55 PM   #6
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That looks great! And I agree, the Elixir 9" vents are nothing to crow about. Too bad there is nothing better currently made in that size.

But you made some really nice lemonade with that!

When I was building my cabin/house, I remember reading a (one of countless) book on the subject - I think it was by Charlie Wing - that said it's (relatively) easy and inexpensive to have windows, or venting, but that if you combine the two it gets expensive and requires a lot more engineering in a hurry! Clever of you to split them up

Say, how long have you been using 3M4000, and how have you found it to work vis-a-vis UV and yellowing? I've been curious how it would perform that way.

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Old 11-27-2009, 06:42 PM   #7
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Looks nice Per.

Interestingly, the only leak issue I have had with mine was a crack in the lid when Bubba and Bubbas brother shoveled snow off my roof. Bubba didn't bother to watch where he stepped.

You have the glass door right? How will you be blocking the skylight to prevent the light from making the door a giant light fixture in the morning?

I hate that!
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Old 11-27-2009, 07:50 PM   #8
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Gina:
We do have the "glass" door, except it was replaced with acrylic when it shattered. The acrylic is a fraction of the weight too, so I rebuilt the door with corner gussets and it has operated perfectly (no scraping or sagging) for years.

In order for the yellowing Elixir to look halfway decent I painted it white, but that pretty much cut out all the light. I like the light coming in in the morning (6:30 is pretty late for me) and this mod transmits quite a bit.

I asked Kathy if the light bothered her, but she also prefers it. However, if we change our minds I'll hinge a cover to it on the inside so that we can have our choice.
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Old 11-27-2009, 08:30 PM   #9
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Raya:
The 3M400UV does better against yellowing than I have seen in anything so far, but I wouldn't know how many years it would take to deteriorate.

This item has very clear directions that it should be used in one shot, because once it is opened and sets up it will harden in the cartridge (wish I could find it in smaller tubes). However, this particular cartridge was sealed with plastic wrap front and back and put in the refrigerator with less than a third remaining in it. It was a test to see if the suggestion someone made actually worked, and it did! The first time I thawed it out and opened it the plug was quite small and easily removed. This time it had been in there for a long time, and the plug was a bit bigger.

I cut it with my Leatherman (a normal knife just won't do, you know) behind the spout area just to check it, and there was a large reservoir of usable compound which I used, then sealed up again the remainder and stuck it back in the frig.

If there is anything usable there a year from now I consider the experiment a success.

HOWEVER, the stuff clings like it is possessed, so masking and being slow and careful in handling is a must. When it is uncured, paint thinner will readily dissolve and remove it, so it is not all bad.
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:56 PM   #10
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Thanks for the report, Per. Much appreciated
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Old 11-28-2009, 03:29 AM   #11
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That's great workmanship. The bathroom vent in my trailer drips a few drops in heavy rain, and I have to get up there to figure out where it's coming in from. I'd like a powered vent for the bathroom, right now I just have the small crank up cover. But your pictures have given me some ideas. I'd like to avoid cutting or drilling any more holes if possible. I could remove the existing vent, fill that in with wood and cut out an appropriately sized smaller opening.
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Old 11-28-2009, 01:12 PM   #12
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Thomas,

Or, if you want to make a larger hole into a smaller hole you could fiberglass it (with cloth and resin), or, for a bit less skilled/time-consuming job (although also less "blends like it was never there"), you could use pre-made fiberglass board. It's basically impervious to rot or water (whereas, I think you would have an ongoing battle if you just use wood to fill a hole on the roof).

You can get the pre-made board at www.mcmaster.com, for one example. Just search "fiberglass" and you will see it. The basic dark green is more than adequate. It's totally paintable too.

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Old 11-28-2009, 03:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Since the gap between shells was a good inch this worked well. Single shell would need an interior or [b]exterior shim of about 1" +.
My Fiber Stream vent installation.

Well done Per, as usual! I liked the original cover on mine... It lets light in like the Fantastic Fan's tinted cover.
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