Air Intake for the Fantastic Vent

I am using a Fantastic roof mounted fan with dome lid.  It works great as long as you crack the windows somewhat.  To get full circulation, you need to crack the windows quite a lot.  A tiny amount I don’t mind, but if you can see the gap, that invites the curious to try and break in.  Also, even if the moisture detector kicks in and closes the vent, you still have windows letting the rain in… Unacceptable…

Today I devised and implemented a side vent with rain / cold air protection.  Here’s how I made it…   (By the way, it is flush mounted – that’s just a decorative plate sticking out).

I decided to put the vent in the cargo door for several reasons.  1)  The door is strong and easy to to work with.  2)  I could place the vent in the step area for convenience of maintenance.  3) If rain got in, it would drain off the step area – much better than having it in the walls or floor!

The first step was to find a vent.  A standard dryer vent just didn’t cut it for me.  I wanted something that would both let air in and out,  A dryer vent only went one way – out.  (It was possible to install one and turn it upside down to reverse the louvers…)

I chose a shower floor drain at Lowe’s store.  It was cheap and the holes were fixed. To match the van, I bought a white plastic snap in cover.  The metal on is in the junk drawer under the bed.  White draws less attention and also looks less like a shower drain..

The next step was to make a hole.  I measured using the drain’s gasket (about 4″) and cut a 2″ hole with a hole saw.  I then used tin snips to enlarge the hole.  A small grinding tool on a 1/4 inch shaft was used with my drill to grind the hole to size.  I then fitted the floor drain and, using plumber’s putty, sealed and tightened the pieces together.

The floor drain ended in a female 2″ PVC connection.  I bought a $3 chunk of pipe and cut two pieces off -each was about four inches.  One was fitted with a “test cap” – a cap which goes inside the pipe rather than over it (a test cap is much more compact and easy to work with.  The other piece, as you see below is covered with screen.

Normal Mode Air Intake

The pipe with the screen is for normal use.  It will block the bugs from coming in and should even keep out the rain unless it is a monsoon.  Just in case, I had made the pipe with the cap.  You just unplug the screened pipe and plug in the closed segment.  This will block out cold air or rain, snow, etc.

Rainy weather or winter mode termination

The vent works well and I can get an adequate breeze now when in normal mode.  Oh yeah… If you look carefully, you can see where I had to cut out the inside of the door a bit due to not measuring correctly.  Oops…Nobody knows but us…  🙂  At least you can see how the vent is near the back of the step area and the advantages that offers in terms of being out of the way, easy to maintain, and the drainage ability.

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

2 Responses to Air Intake for the Fantastic Vent

  1. texascom says:

    Good work. It’s amazing what can be done with PVC pipe and fittings.

  2. I finally got around to checking you out after reading your comments on my blog. Really enjoyed reading about your experiences building out your van and totally honored by how many of my ideas you’ve put into use. I hope you get to travel far and wide meeting all kinds of interesting people.