CD was sure that a MaxxAir fan would significantly improve our #vanlife experience. He presented a convincing argument. He laid out his plan.
Step one: cut a hole in the roof of our van.
Step one is pretty much where I got lost. Did he really say he wanted to cut a hole in our van?
To be clear, our van roof was perfectly fine. It functioned as it should; it kept the rain out and our things in.
The fan arrived in Oregon. As any skeptical wife would do, I recommended that he consult a professional.
We were headed on a road trip for most of the summer so we packed the fan. Another great advantage of driving a huge van is that we were able to tuck the van in behind our bikes, fishing gear, backpacks, toy box, jackets, and shoes. I barely remembered that we had it until two weeks later when we arrived in Michigan.
CD took the fan and headed over to a family members body shop. I was fully confident that they would have the tools and the inclination to cut a hole in our perfectly good Sprinter. Well, they had the tools and gladly offered them to CD so he could cut the hole himself; they weren’t willing to do the cutting. I wondered if they were afraid of facing me if our van started leaking. In any case, I was starting to appreciate the less intense but more ridiculous side of saving a few hundred dollars by cutting a hole in our Sprinter.
In any case, CD went back to the drawing board.
He read blogs and watched Youtube videos.
Ultimately, he decided to invest in a custom adapter by “DIYvan” (impactproducts). The vent adapter served as a template for cutting, as well as a filler to occupy space in the roof ridges. Hopefully this would ensure a level and snug fit.
As usual, our timeline was tight. We were headed to our cottage in Canada the following week. It occurred to me that If we didn’t get the adapter before leaving for Canada, we would just driving it back to Oregon with our other luggage.
Working with “DIYvan” was great. The adapter arrived just in time. We packed the fan and the adapter and drove to Canada.
After much anticipation, CD was ready to cut a hole in our van. He borrowed a jigsaw and bought new blades. I knew things were serious when he recruited one of my oldest friends to stand by as moral support during the cutting.
While CD sometimes does projects like this with friends around, I have not known him to recruit help just for support. In any case, the kids and I went down the road for dinner and CD headed off to do the cutting.
The rest of the installation account would be pretty much second hand at this point. You can email CD directly for specifics. Here are my take-away points:
- Safety glasses should be used, starting with the first cut
- Rubbermaid bins stacked floor to ceiling may be helpful in catching metal shavings
- You will have a hole in your van roof all night while the sealant dries
- A plastic bin over the hole is a good way to keep out the dew
- Cocktails come after
- The anticipation is the hardest part
- New blades are worth it
- You may scratch the roof of the van but no one ever looks up there anyway
- A MaxxAir fan really does improve the #vanlife experience