1989 bigfoot 17' replacing vent with AC or fan - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-03-2020, 05:44 AM   #1
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Name: Dominic
Trailer: 1989 Bigfoot 17
Quebec
Posts: 10
1989 bigfoot 17' replacing vent with AC or fan

Hi all just bought a 1989 bigfoot 17 foot trailer. I have 0 RV experience so... I think I'm now realizing how much of a learning curve this really is. My trailer currently has 2 vents, a small one in the bathroom and a standard 14inch one in the main area. The trailer is wired for AC so I guess I could put an AC unit in there, but I was suggested to put a just a fan instead. The difference in price between an AC and a maxxair fan is not that much so I think the AC makes sense. I was hoping to get advise from another bigfoot owner as to the pros and cons. I presume that the AC can be used as a fan when boondocking, does anyone know if this is the case? If the AC dosent ack as a fan then I think I will put a maxxair or fantastik fan up there instead. Any thoughts?


thanks in advance
Dominic
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Old 07-03-2020, 06:11 AM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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I've never seen an AC that could be used as a fan when boon docking. RV roof ACs are 120V AC (requires generator or hookups), powered fans are 12V DC (battery).

Its an either or choice here. If you usually don't have hookups, then a 12V powered fan vent would be my choice. If you lived (and camped) it a hot and humid area, then an AC would be my choice, and then make sure you have hookups.

Realize even if a generator is big enough to handle your AC, many campgrounds restrict generator use, sometimes just a few hours a day. And a lot of campers out there DESPISE people that are running generators. Even a "quiet" generator is considered obnoxious to many.

Now if you are away from anyone else, a generator can be useful.

Your "prewiring" is likely 120V AC.
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Old 07-03-2020, 06:38 AM   #3
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Name: Dominic
Trailer: 1989 Bigfoot 17
Quebec
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thanks for the reply, yeah in that case I guess the fan makes more sense.
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:41 AM   #4
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Name: Robert
Trailer: 1987 Bigfoot B-17'
Washington
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We live in the Pacific Northwest where ac is not normally needed. We winter in Southern California and Az and Baja where itís mostly not needed too. We went with a Maxxfan. They have more features than the other one.
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:42 AM   #5
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Trailer: 1987 Bigfoot B-17'
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We have an 88 B-17.
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Old 07-03-2020, 05:30 PM   #6
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Name: George
Trailer: '73 Trillium
British Columbia
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I just got an old 18 ft Fleetwood that had 12 volt wiring to the bathroom vent and 120 volt to the living room vent.
As purchased it had an annoying and useless fan in the bathroom and a passive vent in the living room.
I put a MaxFan 7000 in the Bathroom. this is a 10 speed bi-directional fan that I totally recommend. Expensive but definitely worth it. Almost inaudible at the lowest settings and on max it will replace the air inside your RV in a matter of minutes.
I happened to have a 9200 BTU AC on a pallet that I had bought last year in hopes of using it on my Trillium... (No Go) Installed it in the living room Vent with the standard roof controls.
I have been living in the trailer for the last month near Ft. Saint John. The MaxFan has an automatic control mode that turns itself on when the heat starts building and increases the fan speed with temperature rise. I leave it in that mode when I leave at 5 am and the trailer keeps itself livable until I return.
A couple of days the sun was out and the RV was too hot to sleep in. On these days I turned on the AC for about an hour and got rid of the excess heat so I could sleep.
Sounds like overkill, but I am really happy about the control over my "climate" I need my sleep and this combo lets me get it.
My solution, I am working 12/7 so really need it.

After re-reading your post I will add that an AC simply recirculates the air inside your RV.

If you have wet/stinky air inside the easiest way to get rid of the wet is to kick it out with a fan.

The AC will dehumidify the air but not refresh it.

YMMV
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Old 07-04-2020, 05:00 AM   #7
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Name: Dominic
Trailer: 1989 Bigfoot 17
Quebec
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yep so I think I'll be getting a fan, the maxxair seems like the best option. I'm also looking at the fantastic fan 1200 model and adding a switch that allows it to go both in and out.... that option seems almost half the price of the maxxair, but I think the maxxair consumes less power (not sure about this), if that's the case I will for sure go with the maxxair
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Old 07-04-2020, 07:14 AM   #8
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Name: George
Trailer: '73 Trillium
British Columbia
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Can't argue with the lower price for the Fantastic fan.
I put one into my trillium and it was bi-directional but only had 4 speeds and was quite noisy even on low. On high it moves a little more air than the MF.

Another thing is that the FF doesn't keep rain out unless the lid is down.

I am working in Ft St John where we are in the middle of an extended torrential downpour, another reason why I am even more pleased with my MF, it works in the rain without letting water in.

The 10 speeds let me run it at night on the lowest settings while sleeping, inaudible.

Your choice!

I internally debated spending all that extra money for a couple of weeks before buying. For me, living in my RV until the snow flies, I now consider it the best available solution.
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Old 07-04-2020, 04:06 PM   #9
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Name: Dominic
Trailer: 1989 Bigfoot 17
Quebec
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Originally Posted by George in BC View Post
Can't argue with the lower price for the Fantastic fan.
I put one into my trillium and it was bi-directional but only had 4 speeds and was quite noisy even on low. On high it moves a little more air than the MF.

Another thing is that the FF doesn't keep rain out unless the lid is down.

I am working in Ft St John where we are in the middle of an extended torrential downpour, another reason why I am even more pleased with my MF, it works in the rain without letting water in.

The 10 speeds let me run it at night on the lowest settings while sleeping, inaudible.

Your choice!

I internally debated spending all that extra money for a couple of weeks before buying. For me, living in my RV until the snow flies, I now consider it the best available solution.

May I ask how you installed it? From what I understand I have:

  1. clean the surface
  2. layout a layer of butyl tape around the opening
  3. put the fan in the opening
  4. screw into the fiberglass using screws
  5. seal everything using some kind of sealant

Would that make any sense?
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Old 07-04-2020, 04:53 PM   #10
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Name: George
Trailer: '73 Trillium
British Columbia
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Yes, those steps are what are needed. I put the butyl tape on the bottom of the fan to ensure maximum coverage.

Do you have a single shell or double layer with insulation ceiling?

My trillium was a single shell, had to build an extender to lift it up so the controls were not hanging down.

My new Covid-19 compatible (bathroom/shower) RV has a thick roof and a 14" hole. The MF just dropped in. Had 12 volts waiting from the factory.
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Old 07-05-2020, 04:04 AM   #11
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Name: Dominic
Trailer: 1989 Bigfoot 17
Quebec
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Originally Posted by George in BC View Post
Yes, those steps are what are needed. I put the butyl tape on the bottom of the fan to ensure maximum coverage.

Do you have a single shell or double layer with insulation ceiling?

My trillium was a single shell, had to build an extender to lift it up so the controls were not hanging down.

My new Covid-19 compatible (bathroom/shower) RV has a thick roof and a 14" hole. The MF just dropped in. Had 12 volts waiting from the factory.
not sure about the thickness of the ceilling, its currently parked 45mins away from where i live so i'll be checking that out next time, i want to make sure whatever i use (screws rivets or whatever) will work. that and i dont have 12volts up there. And I think I'll need a backup camera back there so lots of things to do
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:16 AM   #12
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Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Montana
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The Bigfoot roof is pretty thick. No sure about Maxxair, but Fantastic Fan comes with an inner moulding piece that's meant to be way too big, so you can cut it to the correct thickness for your roof.

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...oot-73463.html
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:29 AM   #13
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Name: Dominic
Trailer: 1989 Bigfoot 17
Quebec
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
The Bigfoot roof is pretty thick. No sure about Maxxair, but Fantastic Fan comes with an inner moulding piece that's meant to be way too big, so you can cut it to the correct thickness for your roof.

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...oot-73463.html

wow, that thread is gona help me a lot I think, thanks. I ended up getting the maxxair with the rain cover, I know I would forget to close a manual one
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:36 AM   #14
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I think there is a rain cover you can buy for any vent, but yeah, no reason not to go with one like you bought. I don't forget to close mine, but there are a lot of times I'm leaving for the day, and it's going to be 80+ degrees, so I want to leave the vent open, but there's always the chance of afternoon thunderstorms so I need to keep it mostly closed. The cover would take care of that. In more humid, wet places, there are also those days when it's raining, but hot, and you want air moving. That doesn't really happen where I live, but for a lot of people it's an issue. The cover is great for all those reasons. It's something that's somewhere on my list, far enough down that it probably won't happen for a while...
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:43 AM   #15
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Name: Dominic
Trailer: 1989 Bigfoot 17
Quebec
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
I think there is a rain cover you can buy for any vent, but yeah, no reason not to go with one like you bought. I don't forget to close mine, but there are a lot of times I'm leaving for the day, and it's going to be 80+ degrees, so I want to leave the vent open, but there's always the chance of afternoon thunderstorms so I need to keep it mostly closed. The cover would take care of that. In more humid, wet places, there are also those days when it's raining, but hot, and you want air moving. That doesn't really happen where I live, but for a lot of people it's an issue. The cover is great for all those reasons. It's something that's somewhere on list, far enough down that it probably won't happen for a while...

quick question on connecting the fan, say I decide to connect to a light thats close to the fan, I would connect that in parallel or in series? (I dont know much on electricity stuff so...)
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Old 07-05-2020, 08:05 AM   #16
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I don't know much either, but I'll say neither. In my (limited) experience, parallel and series refer to connecting multiple batteries to each other, not to wiring electronics.

What you're doing when you tap into an existing wire is simply adding another appliance to that circuit. Your camper has a power center. There will be...maybe 5 fuses in the front panel. Each of those is considered a circuit. Some will only have one device (like the water pump or furnace), some will have multiple devices. The wires that run over the kitchen will be part of a circuit that has maybe two lights, the hood fan and the system display (battery state, water and waste water levels).

Each circuit has the correct wire thickness and fuse for their demands, but have a somewhat wide margin of error. The fan shouldn't add so much more power draw that it will overload the circuit. But that's always something to check. It'll blow the fuse if it's too much, so then you'll know. No big deal. I switched to LED lights, so that meant I had some capacity to spare on that circuit. LED has significantly less power draw than incandescent.

The more you understand the better, and the safer. But with low-draw appliances like these, so long as your wire crimping is adequate and you disconnect the battery and possibly pull fuses before working on anything electric, you'll be safe and you don't need to understand the physics of it all. Just ask questions, post photos ect.
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Old 07-08-2020, 05:23 PM   #17
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Name: K
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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Originally Posted by wallnut1234 View Post
Hi all just bought a 1989 bigfoot 17 foot trailer. I have 0 RV experience so... I think I'm now realizing how much of a learning curve this really is. My trailer currently has 2 vents, a small one in the bathroom and a standard 14inch one in the main area. The trailer is wired for AC so I guess I could put an AC unit in there, but I was suggested to put a just a fan instead. The difference in price between an AC and a maxxair fan is not that much so I think the AC makes sense. I was hoping to get advise from another bigfoot owner as to the pros and cons. I presume that the AC can be used as a fan when boondocking, does anyone know if this is the case? If the AC dosent ack as a fan then I think I will put a maxxair or fantastik fan up there instead. Any thoughts?


thanks in advance
Dominic
We have a 21 and it has both the AC and the fan, but I am not sure you would have room on the roof for both on the 17. If you do, then having both is absolutely the way to go. When we hit areas with high heat, we go for serviced campsites and use the AC. when we boondock, we use the fan.
Good luck!
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