Now that we had gutted the bus, we had to build it back up. The first task we did was desecrate our bus’s roof by installing a Fan-Tastic 1200 bathroom fan vent. Working in a metal and glass shell during a humid, Minnesota summer is not a comfortable experience. By cutting a hole in the ceiling, we at the very least provided an escape route for all that hot air.
Place the Fan Vent
Step one was to cut a hole. Thank goodness our tall friend Jeff was there to assist. Standing at 6’4″, he ripped through the roof like the he-man he is. Okay … he also had the help of a power drill and a Sawzall. We located the corners of the fan and drilled holes at those spots, in between which we drew a line with a permanent marker. This served as the outline where the Sawzall would cut. The problem was that the reciprocating blade was wider than the corner holes. Not to worry – a series of holes drilled anywhere along the marked fan perimeter creates a gap wide enough for the cutting blade.
Michael had chosen this spot so we could use the existing ceiling frame as support for the vent. Here he is punching out existing rivets that he first had to grind off.
Michael had to fabricate 2 metal frame pieces onto which the 2 sides of bolts would latch. It took quite a while to test, but it was a good thing we did it before we applied the sealant which had curing time frames. It definitely took about 2+ hours to test and widen holes where the bolts weren’t fitting in properly.
Seal and Adhere
One issue with a roof install is the curvature of the roof. See how the sides have a gap between the vent fin and the roof?
Well thank goodness for weather sealant and adhesive! Michael sent me to the store to get some sort of goop that would simultaneously adhere the fin to the roof and be waterproof. Who wants a flooded bathroom, right? I had no idea what to get so I asked. Unfortunately, the advisers at the store were just guessing themselves because they had never had to do something like this. Luckily Michael went in and found the right thing – a sticky globby substance that was terrible to work with. We’re not professionals so we erred on the side of more instead of less goop. I hesitate to recommend what we used because 1) I don’t remember what it was, and 2) there may be more advanced products now. Just look for something that seals and adheres.
I was frantic when we applied the sealant/adhesive. It had a 30 minute cure time and we had a lot of bolts. Michael slathered the sealant onto the bus, then dropped the vent and then push the bolts through, which also oozed the sealant through to the interior of the bus. Sounds fine, right? Wrong! This goop was slippery and abundant and I had to put 2 washers (one flat & one lock) and a nut through the bolt’s threads. In the end, we got the vent fastened in time.
Give Me Air
I’ll have to post later on how it actually works because we didn’t wire it up for a couple of years. It works well now and actually pulls the air out so powerfully that we can siphon out any hot air in the bus in about 10 minutes. But even with the power of ventilation, we withered in the heat and needed to pull in the bigger guns of air conditioning.