Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ceiling Exhaust Fan replacement

Well, they call it an RV Ventilator if want to be technically correct (not me).

Purchased a MaxxFan 4000K fan from Camping World when was passing through the Phoenix area.  Last week was able to finally install it.

Removal of existing Fan

There were couple different steps to remove the existing one.  Prior to removing the fan, and buying the replacement, had tested with a multi-meter to verify that the wiring to the fan was good.  Everything up to, and past, the switch seemed to work fine, which meant the motor was bad.

The first step was removing the interior fan guard.  This simply consisted of removing a bunch of screws, lowering it, and being careful of the two wires.

Was then necessary to clip the positive 12V and negative wires to fully remove the shroud.  Made sure to put electrical tape around the ends of both wires to protect them from shorting out, and of course, me from getting zapped.  One thing I found very curious is that there's a piece of romex (120V house wiring), terminating here.  Can see it to left of the fan sticking down.  Unsure what this is for and it looks to have been installed at the factory due to glue being dripped on it.  The 12V wires were also factory installed, so not really sure.  Either way left it and didn't put tape over the end.  Later on can see that there is really not much room for anything after new fan install.

Next to last step is unscrewing the fan from the outside.  In order to do that had to remove a lot of caulking around the fan.  It was layered on thick and had to use a putty knife to remove it.  After removal then removed the bolts holding it in place.  These ones could use a ratchet to remove, which was very nice and was thankful (almost) for it.  Took a while to fully remove them so this was by far the longest part of the removal, but still not bad.

Notice Caulk on putty knife
Last step is actually remove fan from the opening.  It felt secured and didn't move around at all.  My first thought was to just try popping it up and seeing what stuck and didn't stick.  To my surprise, with a couple good jerky movements, it came right up..  Was genuinely amazed, but really happy.  There was a barrier underneath to prevent water from coming up and it seemed to be some type of clay mixture.  Can see a little bit of it on top of the putty knife.  In the instructions when installing the new one it mentioned to use a type of caulk called butyl caulk.  Am guessing it's that.

Install of new fan

This process was almost pretty painless.  There were a couple place where didn't follow the instructions but think it will all work out fine in the long run. Haven't hada test so far as to how good of a seal I made, but that will be updated soon with the roof work I will be doing.

The first step was to remove all of the packing material and protective strips.  This was fairly easy and quick to do.

First "crimp"
Following that was to hook up the electricity, 12V in this case.  It is a fairly easy process, but one to be careful of in case of the "zap" effect, or worse.  I chose to be extra careful as we never know some things.

Part of the hardware bag included some wire crimp connectors.  I didn't have any crimping tools, so was initially planning to use wire nuts and/or soldering, but that didn't work out too well, primarily because of the room available after fan was put in place.  So, can see my alternative "crimper", a set of pliers.  Took a minute or so to figure out how to use these to crimp, but had to be done just like in the second picture.
2nd "crimp"

This is exactly how had to do the crimping, and squeeze very very hard. If used the pliers straight on, no matter how much squeezing nothing would happen.  The crimping part is one of the more important parts as don't want it to come apart unexpectedly and not work, or worse yet, cause a short.

Ready to insert
Now that both wires, positive and negative, are fully crimped and didn't pull apart when tested, it's ready to insert into hole.  This is one spot where deviated from the instructions.  Went to Home Depot, in Yuma, AZ, and they tried to help me, but we couldn't find any butyl based caulk.  Looked in inventory, and the caulk aisle, and nothing came up.  The instructions called for putting the butyl caulk all around the underside.

Since couldn't find any, used some Loctite Rainguard adhesive/caulk.  While not the best for this application, and it will make removing the fan very troublesome, it was a necessary alternative unless wanted to delay removal/installation by who knows how long.

Caulk on underside
Even when using the wrong thing, did do my best to make sure it is as leak free as possible.  Can see how have one continuous bead of caulk around, zig-zagging to get as much surface area underneath filled with caulk.  When placing down the fan, after putting the caulk down, looks like did it right as caulk started squeezing out the side and some of the holes in top.

Next step is to actually secure it down, fairly quickly in this case, for two reasons.  Reason one is didn't want the caulk to get comfortable and start forming the skin around it when it's drying.  The second reason is because the sun was starting to fall below the horizon, which means temperature drops and it gets dark.

Due to needing to work fairly quickly for the above two reasons, don't have photo evidence of what's done, but here is the final result.  Instead of using the screws provided (philips head), chose to reuse what was there before so could use a ratchet and socket to secure it.  One thing is had to pre-drill all of the holes as it didn't line up with the prior holes (there were more holes with the old one).  As such, had some left over to be used someplace else.  What I did was to keep ratcheting the screw down until felt a little resistance, then went a smidgen more.  There is only one which I stripped in the hole.  It's tricky as there isn't much for it to grab.

The finished roof vent, fully caulked around the edges, and a little dab of caulk on top of the fasteners.

That's all there is to it for the outside.  The only thing left was to tuck the wires up and put the inner plastic moulding around it.  Don't have a final picture as stripped two screws so have to drill them out or figure something else out.  When stripped them, the pilot hole wasn't big enough and stripped the head off the screws so it's stuck in there.

And that's all there is to it.  The automatic temperature thing works great, it variable speed, and am quite happy with it!  Until have to replace but hopefully that won't happen!

Other roof news

Shower skylight
Bathroom exhaust
While on top decided to check some of the caulking I did prior and to see if there were new areas which needed some caulking.  Used the Loctite stuff again so unsure how well that will work.  Did find quite a few smaller spots to patch so it's getting more and more necessary to do something with the roof. 

Around front A/C
Patching these was fairly fast and efficient.  Just squirted some caulk around the areas identified.  The picture where my foot is didn't need patching, but it was the first caulking job I did, and while discolored a little appears to be holding up to the task.

First caulking I did on Vashon
Some places I was surprised that needed a quick squirt was around the shower skylight and to the right of the front A/C.  Those looked just fine in late August.  This might mean need to move up in priority the need to redo the roof.

 This last shot is an overview of everything that had to touch on top of the roof.  From the right of the front A/C down to the shower skylight, it's all in there.  Didn't see anything else which was in need of repair.

Since the sun was setting got off the roof before got too chilly and dark.  Never always a good thing.  Am getting better and better around edges of at least this roof.  Going up and down the ladder, at first, is still a little tricky but other than that doing good.

As an end note, I didn't have any experience prior to this in replacing this fan, though did skim over the instructions.  It just goes to show that we can do most anything that we put our minds to.  This applies to ANYTHING in life, and not just mundane stuff like this.

If we want it to be done it will be done.

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