Ready to get some airflow in your van and stay cool during those hot summer days? Look no further as this article will detail the preparation, planning, materials, as well as the steps involved with installing a Fan-Tastic Vent 7350 on your Dodge Promaster 159WB.
Before you get to cutting a hole in your van, let’s take a peek at what you will need to go from start to finish on this install. Planning is everything!
- Vent Installation Kit
- Metal Jigsaw Blades
- ¼ – 1 inch drill bits
- Weatherproofing Caulk
- Sanding Sponge
- Automotive Paint (White / Black)
- Tape Measure
Considering you’re about to cut a hole, potentially the first of many holes in your van, we feel that this might be the most important step when it comes to this installation. Don’t worry, once you make this cut, it gets a bit easier! We will constantly remind you through this article to measure again, and again, and again.
Location of the vent:
The location of your vent really depends on what your build layout will be and where you will need the most air flow. Some things to consider would be where you might have a toilet or shower, or perhaps where your cooking space will be. The van is a small space and if you need to cook often in stealth mode, then you’ll want to make sure the vent is in that general area.
If you haven’t planned that far in your build process to know your entire layout, we recommend you take a few things into consideration regardless:
- Solar panel quantity and location (see our article about Electrical Grid Decisions)
- Roof rack placement
- Additional vent placement
- Van’s structural beams on roof
- Any existing electrical wires – this is probably uncommon since it is in the roof, but we don’t know where you are deciding to put your vent
Take a look at our article about planning your layout as well if you’re still undecided.
Below we’ll outline the steps we took for installing the vent in the front of the van. We chose to center it up in the first row of paneling behind the cab of the van.
The Promaster’s roof makes it easy to align the vent into the center point of the first row of paneling. We recommend measuring to the center point of a 14in x 14in square. Once you’ve identified the center point, use a 1/8in drill bit to create a center point that you can use on the outside of the van.
The vent comes with a foam gasket that can be traced onto the van. Our suggestion is to put blue tape around that area and trace over that.
Pre-drill before cut:
In order to get the jigsaw into the first cuts, we need to drill some pilot holes. Use an 1/8in drill bit, then move up to a full inch and move the bit back and forth to create a larger area. We’d advise you do that at every edge that you need to cut.
Measure again….pray and cut:
Take one last measurement of the area to ensure you’re in that 14×14 range. Measure out from the sides of the van just to be safe.
Start cutting from the pilot holes. Don’t run the jigsaw too long on one cut or the metal can warp. Cut for 20-30 second increments, then take a little break.
Repeat from each pilot hole. Wait for part of your van to drop!
Sand and paint:
We recommend sanding the edges down to have a smooth fit against the plastic enclosure of the vent. This will give you a smooth surface to paint on as well for rust prevention. Applying some paint to the cut edges of the van’s roof will prevent rust.
Apply putty to the underside of the fan after test fitting to make sure the fan fits in the hole you cut. Center the fan and start screwing it down, being sure to do the corners first and not to sink every screw all the way until all the screws are in. You can tighten the ones opposite of each other as to not torque it on one side. Excess putty will be pushed out of the edges of the fan and simply cut this excess away before applying a sealant, which will add some extra protection from water getting in.
Even though your van isn’t THAT big….it is pretty convenient to be able to control all aspects of your vent from anywhere with the remote.
Having the ability to control the speeds and set the auto temperature is great for conserving energy as well!
A window or door needs to be cracked for air to flow through the van properly. If everything is shut, the vent doesn’t pull in or out very efficiently.
You might have an issue with installing the fan where there is a ridge or flare up and you can counter this by either doubling up on the putty where the roof dips or you could possibly sandwich the ridge between two boards and use a C-clamp to flatten out the ridge. On our vans there was a small ridge that we decided to flatten out and had no issues doing so.