Revisiting the MaxxFan

A couple months ago, one of the first things Blanche received was the MaxxAir MaxxFan.  We installed it using Eternabond tape to seal the exterior instead of caulking or lap sealant.  After some research (okay, only like 10 minutes) and consulting the great and powerful interwebs, it seemed that this Eternabond tape is worth the extra money since it was supposed to never leak and never need maintenance.  Sadly, it doesn’t come in short lengths, so we had to buy a 50 foot roll for about $50, even though we only used about 6 feet of it.  Still, if we never had to worry about leaks, it was worth it.

Flange and Eternabond

Flange and Eternabond

Admittedly, the tape on the roof doesn’t look so great, but there were no leaks and all was well…

…Until the rain came.  Real rain, not just sprinkles.  In fact, there were quite a few heavy rain storms this spring, and every time it rained outside, it rained inside Blanche, too.  The Eternabond tape, despite taking every precaution to ensure a clean surface to bond to and using a roller to press it down, had failed.

It needed fixing, and fast.  Some parts of the tape were still stuck quite well, but other, more critical areas had completely un-stuck from the fan flange and the van roof, allowing water to penetrate the roof.  Trying to remove the Eternabond was easy where it had failed, and horrendously difficult where it had not failed.  Not wanting to scratch or damage the paint on the van, we had to be careful and take our time.  We had discovered that the best way to remove this stuff is with a ton of WD-40 and a plastic putty knife.  Needless to say, it was a very messy job.

It took nearly 8 hours of work to remove the tape residue. In the end, soaking it in WD-40 and scraping gently with a putty knife had done the trick.

It took nearly 8 hours of work to remove the tape residue. In the end, soaking it in WD-40 and scraping gently with a putty knife had done the trick.

Removing the tape glue was pretty much a one person job, so in the meantime and with the MaxxFan removed, I decided to use some scrap sound dampener on the lid of the fan to help quiet the rain drops on it.

To get to the underside of the lid, just remove a couple screws attaching the hinge on the right side of this picture and 6 screws attaching the lift arms, then swing it open.

To get to the underside of the lid, just remove a couple screws attaching the hinge on the right side of this picture and 6 screws attaching the lift arms, then swing it open.

A few scraps of Roadkill sound dampener stuck on.

A few scraps of Roadkill sound dampener stuck on.

I figured I might as well add reflectix for some insulating value as well.

Reflectix secured with aluminum foil tape. When closed, the fan has a square seal that fits into the recess of the lid. The reflectix is cut small enough to not interfere with the seal.

Reflectix secured with aluminum foil tape. When closed, the fan has a square seal that fits into the recess of the lid. The reflectix is cut small enough to not interfere with the seal.

Then flip the fan back over and reinstall the screws.

Then flip the fan back over and reinstall the screws.

Once the fan modifications were completed and all the tape glue was removed from the roof and flange, we used good old fashioned Dicor Lap Sealant to seal the exterior.  I should have just done this from the start, especially since it is only $10 for a tube.  It looks a hell of a lot cleaner, too.

After a few weeks of heavy rain, we are leak free with the Dicor sealant instead of Eternabond tape.

After a few weeks of heavy rain, we are leak free with the Dicor sealant instead of Eternabond tape.

As a final note, we’ve wired the fan up to a standard 12-volt cigarette lighter plug for power.  After using it, we’re really happy we went with the MaxxFan instead of a Fantastic fan.  It has many fan speeds, and the lowest few are extremely quiet.

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5 Comments

  1. Yeah, that spray foam can get outa hand.

    What was it that lead you to choose the MaxxFan over the Fan-Tastic Vent?

    • We had fantastic fans in our previous two truck campers. They only had 3 speed selections, all of which were too loud for us to use while sleeping. The maxxfan reportedly had 10ish speeds. We took a chance that the slower speeds would be quiet enough for us to sleep when it was on. Luckily, they are. The lowest 2-3 speeds are very quiet, yet still move a good amount of air. As an added bonus, we can leave the lid fully open in the rain and not get wet (however, if the rain is blowing, it can still get under the lid just a little bit).

      • Ok, good to know. Personally, I dig the hum of a fan when sleeping. What I do not dig, however, is rain slipping in when the cover is up. I’ll be checking out the maxxfan on my next revision.

  2. Hi Nate and Tori,
    Great blog! I dig how you broke down your process. My heart broke a little for you both when I saw your tape glue fail. Glad to see you’re back on track.

    I recently finished (sort of finished) building out a 2004 Chevy Express 2400. It looks like you’ve done way more research than I ever did, so feel free to check out my build log if you want some ideas of what not to do. Of course, if there’s anything I can help you with, feel free to give me a shout.

    -Sudo

    • Tori

      Thanks, Sudo. We’re glad you have found and like our blog. It’s always good to find someone else doing something similar. (After reading your build log we are now re-thinking our plan to use the spray foam in the van ribs.)

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