Upgrading a non-powered vent in a Rockwood MiniLite 2104S to a MaxxFan Deluxe

 

Another project in our pre-season to-do list was to replace the stock vent which is above the couch / murphy bed in our Rockwood MiniLite 2104S.

We already have a pretty nice Maxxair fan in the bathroom.  (this model is a Maxxfan with a Fanmate Cover) It can be left open during travel, it has a rain cover, moves air pretty good, however… it can only pull air OUT of the trailer, not IN.

Our original vent (above the couch / bed) installed by Rockwood was something like this (except it was smoke colored on the lid).  It had a bug screen and a hand crank, but thats about it.

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So, yes… it was a vent, but we didn’t use it much for the following reasons :

  • at night, its directly above our bed, so if it started to rain hard, we got wet until we realized what was going on, and manually closed the vent
  • in high winds, the vent cover would thrash around wildly, waking us up, and also sounding like it was about to shear right off, so we’d have to manually close the vent.
  • the vent did open a 14″ x 14″ space to allow air to move, however, it had no fan, therefore it wasn’t doing all that much for us.

That brings us to the replacement, which is a MaxxAir 00-07500K MaxxFan Deluxe with Remote – Smoke

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this is the MaxxAir in its closed position

Whats so great about this fan you ask ?

  • it has a low profile when closed, this helps us keep shade off of our solar panels on the roof, also, this cuts down on the drag that we get with the big, boxy bathroom fan cover
  • it has reversible flow.  This means, of course, it can push air out OR pull air in.
  • it has a thermostat so you can set a high temp and the fan will automatically open and start moving air in the desired direction
  • it has a remote, so you can operate it while in bed OR if you happen to be not-so-tall, you can operate the fan without having to stand on the bed or couch (the remote is an IR based model so you have to be line of sight to the unit (cant fire it from the roof or outside)
  • it has manual controls if your remote battery fails
  • you can drive with the lid open
  • you can use the fan with the lid closed (like a little ceiling fan)
  • it has a cover so it can operate in heavy rain (handy since its above our bed/couch)
  • it fits the standard 14″x14″ mount that we already had in our trailer
  • the fan speed can be adjusted in 10% increments
  • its pretty quiet (even up to about 70% fan speed)
  • the cover is translucent, so it lets in some good light
  • the blades are clear / transparent, also bringing more light

Eddie Glonek got right to it and removed the inside bracket of the original fan to take a look to see where we might find some “hot” DC power that we could use to power the new fan.

Lucky for us, there was a bonanza of wires hiding up in there.  Most likely, Rockwood offers some models (maybe even ours?) to have an upgraded, powered fan in this location.  Eddie quickly found a hot line that was NOT on a switch (power always on, whenever the DC power to the “house” is on), so… no fishing lines or looking for power.

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Up on the roof, Eddie used a putty knife to expose the screw heads thru a heavy coating of lap sealant.  He then started to peel back all the gooey sealant and tape to free up the harness and the vent unit.

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Look at that lovely blue sky.  You can see a roughly torn edge of the TPO roof along the cut lines of the vent hole.  This was probably a bit of a rush job and/or whomever made the cut at the factory got a little overzealous with the cutting tool.  No matter though, Eddie will be sure to clean and reseal over these rough sections to ensure a leak free install.

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If you are wondering… yes… thats really what the roof is made of.  Thats some plywood (luan), a hefty helping of closed cell foam, another layer of luan on the inside.  Thats IT !  Amazing, actually, that the solar panels can connect to that and not just rip off.
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Carefully peeling back the old vent.
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Looking up through the open vent hole at Eddie, discussing the virtues of “early to bed early to rise” with his wife and staff project photographer Aileen.

At this point, all the old sealant and tape had been removed along with the original vent. Eddie used some denatured alcohol to clean and prep the area.  The new vent was screwed down (carefully avoiding the old screw head pattern for strength.  The mounting plate and screws were then covered with Dicor.  And finally, our dear friend Eternabond Tape was carefully added over the top of the whole assembly for a solid, leak-free connection.

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Here the new fan is about to be attached to the bottom assembly.  We still haven’t wired up any power to the fan at this point.

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After connecting and testing the DC power,  Eddie is putting the finishing touches on the inside bracket.  This part was pretty hard due to the big pile of wires that were making a run through that hole (from the original Rockwood install)

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here is a video of raising and lowering the unit.

So, now that its installed, how do we like it ?  Well, we have only used it for exactly one day so far, but it is exceeding our expectations so far.  I will update this post after we have some more usage and exciting fan stories to tell.

 

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