Van Conversion Fan, Solar, & Ladder
In our 4th Van Build series video, we share all of the roof elements of our van: our MaxxAir Fan, Renogy Solar Panels , and our Aluminess ladder. Here are all of the links to the products we bought/items we used to install these elements.
As we mention in the video, we did a poor job filming the install of our MaxxAir Fan, so we didn’t include it.
But here all of the steps we did to install the fan:
- Measure and tape off where the fan will go using the frame of the fan
- Cut out the square with the jig saw
- Using a metal file, file the cuts you made to prevent rust
- Apply primer or paint to the cuts/edges
- Add butyl tape to the fan frame or van where the fan will meet the van, ensuring there are not gaps in the tape. This tape not only helps as an adhesive but is also one of the water barriers
- Apply the frame/casing to the van
- Pre drill the holes for the screws
- Drill in the screws
- Attach the fan to the frame by the 4 tabs
- Apply sealant where the frame of the fan meets the van and also add a dollop to each screw
Tip: Tape up a garbage bag underneath the hole you will cut to catch the metal shavings and have a mini vac on the roof with you to vacuum up any shavings as you go
Also, this video by Create Wondr was super helpful for the install.
We have 4 100 watt compact design solar panels from Renogy. We installed these in series and purchased their wires and solar charge controller, which we will cover more when we do electrical.
To make each solar panel bracket we used:
- 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ x 1/8″ Aluminum Angle (cut to be the right length to connect the solar panels and rails–we bought 3 total for all panels)
- 18-8 Stainless Steel Nylon-Insert Locknut, 5/16″-18 Thread Size
- LDPE Unthreaded Spacer, 3/4″ OD, 1/2″ Long, for 5/16″ Screw Size
- 18-8 Stainless Steel SAE Washer for 5/16″ Screw Size, 0.344″ ID, 0.688″ OD
- 18-8 Stainless Steel Hex Head Screw, 5/16″-18 Thread Size, 1-1/2″ Long, Partially Threaded
- Sandpaper, acetone, and bedliner
For each attachment on the rails we used:
- Eurocamper Roof Sliders: http://www.eurocampers.com/Set-of-2-38-x-1-Stainless-Single-Sliders-for-roof-tracks-crossbars_p_1731.html
- LDPE Unthreaded Spacer, 1″ OD, 1/2″ Long, for 1/2″ Screw Size
- 18-8 Stainless Steel Oversized Washer for 3/8″ Screw Size, 0.406″ ID, 1.25″ OD
Here are the instructions to make the brackets:
- Figure out the length you want to make the brackets to ensure that you can real the rails and also have enough of the aluminum angle on the actual panels. We made ours 11 inches long
- Determine where you need to drill your holes to align with the solar panel holes and your rails attachment
- Drill the holes
- Sand the aluminum angles, clean with acetone, and paint with bedliner (optional)
- Once dried, attach the angles to the solar panels. To attach, put a washer through the screw and put in the aluminum angle hole. Place a spacer between the angle and the panel (we put an extra washer on top of the spacer closest to the top or bottom of the panel to help increase the height since the roof is ribbed and not flat).
- Underneath the panel, place another washer and then the nylon locknut
- To attach to the rails, insert the rail slider, add a washer and then the spacer. Put the solar bracket on top and then put on the lock washer and the nut.
Hopefully that is clear, but if you have any questions, let us know!
Tackling the roof of your sprinter?
Pin this blog to help you plan your build!