Caulk removal and roof fan install - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-07-2018, 08:26 AM   #1
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Caulk removal and roof fan install

I am thinking of replacing the original roof fan on my 1996 Lite House, for several reasons. It leaks, despite a mountain of caulk surrounding the vent, and the lid is cracked, and I like the idea of a Maxxfan Deluxe that can be used in the rain.

Just wondering what I am getting into with regard to removing the berm of caulk around the vent. Can I just start prying with a sharp chisel, or will special tools be needed? I would like to get this done in one day for weathertightness reasons, just want to be prepared. There is literally a bevel of like 3 inches of caulk around the fan vent.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:20 AM   #2
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roof vent resealed on Scamp

We resealed the roof vent on our Scamp (when we still had it) and you can read about our experience beginning on post #142 here. It was a task and required patience and gentle persuasion. Go slow enough so you don't cause more problems than you are attempting to solve. It can be done but will require effort and time.


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Old 06-07-2018, 10:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Steve Carlson View Post
I am thinking of replacing the original roof fan on my 1996 Lite House, for several reasons. It leaks, despite a mountain of caulk surrounding the vent, and the lid is cracked, and I like the idea of a Maxxfan Deluxe that can be used in the rain.

Just wondering what I am getting into with regard to removing the berm of caulk around the vent. Can I just start prying with a sharp chisel, or will special tools be needed? I would like to get this done in one day for weathertightness reasons, just want to be prepared. There is literally a bevel of like 3 inches of caulk around the fan vent.
The reason for the leak on my LiteHouse was an improper installation of the fan. When I got it, it was bedded in silicone and fastened with pop rivets. On the advice of the folks at Fan-tastic, I removed the silicone, which took a lot of work, cleaned the flange, and epoxied a marine plywood frame on the inside of the ceiling (thank you makerspace and the CNC machine). The fan was reinstalled using a proper foam compression gasket, and screwed into the new frame using stainless screws. Then I covered the screw heads and the joint between the fiberglass and the fan flange with Dicor self leveling sealant.

My only complaints about the Fan-tastic vent are that it is noisy and it is a power hog. I recently purchased a 12V box fan from a trucker supply which seems to be a lot more energy efficient. When I first got the trailer, there was a lifetime warranty on the unit. Since Attwood bought the company, parts are no longer free, but to their credit, the fans have been improved and the customer support is still stellar.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TheWanderers View Post
We resealed the roof vent on our Scamp (when we still had it) and you can read about our experience beginning on post #142 here. It was a task and required patience and gentle persuasion. Go slow enough so you don't cause more problems than you are attempting to solve. It can be done but will require effort and time.


bill (not laura)
So hand tools and care should be enough... thanks!
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Davie B View Post
The reason for the leak on my LiteHouse was an improper installation of the fan. When I got it, it was bedded in silicone and fastened with pop rivets. On the advice of the folks at Fan-tastic, I removed the silicone, which took a lot of work, cleaned the flange, and epoxied a marine plywood frame on the inside of the ceiling (thank you makerspace and the CNC machine). The fan was reinstalled using a proper foam compression gasket, and screwed into the new frame using stainless screws. Then I covered the screw heads and the joint between the fiberglass and the fan flange with Dicor self leveling sealant.
Excellent info. Do you think that was the original installation? I have no idea if there are rivets or silicone under this mound of white caulk.

I do have the Dicor self leveling sealant on order.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:30 AM   #6
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Also DavieB, is the power for the fan coming from that "spine" on the roof? I wonder if water is getting into the spine and traveling to the fan via a wire passage. It is hard to imagine that water is getting through the dike of caulk around the vent opening, though stranger things have happened.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:37 PM   #7
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Nope. That spine is a stiffener that keeps the roof from sagging. In my LiteHouse, the fan wire is run under the rat fur wall covering.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:40 PM   #8
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Excellent info. Do you think that was the original installation? I have no idea if there are rivets or silicone under this mound of white caulk.



I do have the Dicor self leveling sealant on order.


Iím at least the third owner of my camper so no idea. I have found other places in the camper where shortcuts were taken, so I think itís possible. Best luck getting that caulk off. It would be awesome if you would post a couple of photos of your camper.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:43 PM   #9
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Other possible leak sources include the hole in the roof for the solar panel leads if you have one, and the weep holes in the windows.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:57 PM   #10
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To remove the old caulk you might try a hair dryer to soften it with heat and a plastic scraper typically sold to spread Bondo. Some caulks respond well to this method. When I installed my fantastic fan I used butyl tape between the flange and the shell and Lexel in the screw holes and on the flange edge to keep the butyl tape from dirt.

Also, I replaced a Maxfan with a Fantastic fan which required enlarging the opening slighty. You might find similar surgery is needed. Good luck with your project.
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Old 06-08-2018, 05:28 PM   #11
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I swear by Dicor self leveling roof patch. I have a standing puddle that forms around a roof vent on my larger 5th wheel and after cleaning as much of the old putty/silicon/and what ever the previous owner put on it. I just smeared on this Dicor with a wooden spatula and for 3 years now no Leak.
Great stuff.
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Old 06-08-2018, 09:32 PM   #12
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Nope. That spine is a stiffener that keeps the roof from sagging. In my LiteHouse, the fan wire is run under the rat fur wall covering.
Okay, thanks.
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Old 06-08-2018, 09:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Davie B View Post
Iím at least the third owner of my camper so no idea. I have found other places in the camper where shortcuts were taken, so I think itís possible. Best luck getting that caulk off. It would be awesome if you would post a couple of photos of your camper.
Yeah I should take some pics. I need to find a new photo host, been dragging my feet on that since Photobucket went pirate.
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Old 06-08-2018, 09:40 PM   #14
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Other possible leak sources include the hole in the roof for the solar panel leads if you have one, and the weep holes in the windows.
There is a solar panel but I don't think it is leaking. I wouldn't mind a new solar panel but am reluctant to touch it if it isn't leaking. Leak is definitely fan-centric. Windows seem leak-free... pretty much everything is good except this leaking fan.

Oh, I do need to replace the wiring harness at the vehicle connection, the wiring is crispy and there are a number of cracks in the insulation. The wiring inside the camper looks good, although there are six wires coming into the camper and only four at the vehicle connector, so I have to figure out where that transition happens. Hopefully I will find it after I unwrap all of the tape on the harness before it enters that tube that leads to the camper.
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Old 06-08-2018, 09:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Raz View Post
To remove the old caulk you might try a hair dryer to soften it with heat and a plastic scraper typically sold to spread Bondo. Some caulks respond well to this method.
Good idea.

Quote:
When I installed my fantastic fan I used butyl tape between the flange and the shell and Lexel in the screw holes and on the flange edge to keep the butyl tape from dirt.
I have butyl tape and probably will try it, plus Dicor.
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Old 06-08-2018, 09:43 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Gerry View Post
I swear by Dicor self leveling roof patch. I have a standing puddle that forms around a roof vent on my larger 5th wheel and after cleaning as much of the old putty/silicon/and what ever the previous owner put on it. I just smeared on this Dicor with a wooden spatula and for 3 years now no Leak.
Great stuff.
Good to hear, I saw it talked about elsewhere and have ordered a couple of tubes in.
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:56 AM   #17
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Good idea.





I have butyl tape and probably will try it, plus Dicor.


The problem with using tape is that it makes the fan difficult to remove. Fan-tastic sells a compressible foam gasket which they recommend.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:55 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Steve Carlson View Post
Also DavieB, is the power for the fan coming from that "spine" on the roof? I wonder if water is getting into the spine and traveling to the fan via a wire passage. It is hard to imagine that water is getting through the dike of caulk around the vent opening, though stranger things have happened.
When I had a leak around the fan unit, I also had to consider whether the water was coming in at the unit or elsewhere, and only dripping down inside from the fan unit. When the Scamp was "in storage" for the winter, I covered the fan unit securely on the outside with shower curtain material. After numerous rains, no leak -- Question answered.You could do the same and use a garden hose spray to also determine if the caulking around the fan was at fault, or whether the water was getting in somewhere upstream.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:55 PM   #19
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Good point. I've decided to replace the 22 year old fan in any case, so we'll see if it leaks after install and go from there.
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Old 06-24-2018, 06:26 PM   #20
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Finally a dry Saturday, so I tackled the fan replacement. There were at least four different layers of caulking. Some optimist apparently thought smearing new caulk over old, dried, cracked caulk would fix the leak.

I used pop rivets rather than the provided screws to attach the receiving flange since there really isn't any thickness to work with beyond the fiberglass, seemed to work well. I also used butyl tape for the flange, rather than the silicone the install manual suggested, and put Dicor self-leveling on top of the seams and rivet heads.
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