Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Simple Repairs - Round Vent Fan Seal Replacement

    Hello! This week I will be starting a new series of articles that will "pop-up" from time to time as I make simple repairs to my RV. All of these will be "do-able" by anyone and  can be accomplished in around an hour or less. May save you a lot of money, surely will save some time. First off is a quick replacement of  the foam seal on a round bathroom vent/fan. In the coming weeks, I'll tackle some small repairs and updates that anyone can do on their own with either no tools or the bare minimum. No need to fear small repairs! Trust me...I've made all the mistakes you can make...perhaps I can save you some of that aggravation!

 Vanair 6" Vent/Fan
Like most RV's I have an exhaust fan in the bathroom. This is a good thing as odors build up in that enclosed space and you really would prefer them to escape OUTSIDE rather than into you RV when the door is opened. Was that a politically correct enough way of explaining it? Well I have a round vent fan assembly that you push up on a handle to raise the roof cap, then turn a small switch to activate the fan. Everything was working ok, but when I was cleaning the roof during my de-winterization I noticed a "tail" sticking out from under the roof dome of the vent. Closer inspection made it clear that the seal was degraded to the point of being useless. It had to be replaced.

Lid Removed.
In order to do this, you have to remove the dome's lid on the roof. Except that happens inside. Huh? Wait, bear with me. If you take a closer look at the fan, inside the bathroom, you'll see the handle is attached via two small Philips head screws to two metal slides. (one on each side) Once the handle is removed, you can slide the dome up and off. Sounds complicated, it isn't! Take off the screws, put them (and the handle) someplace safe and then go up on the roof, or on a ladder close enough you can reach the dome. Now pull straight up, gently, on the dome and it will slide out of the slots. Bring it inside.

Ready to Reinstall!
Now remove the old worn out seal. Mine mostly just peeled off, but there were some spots I used a nylon dish brush to get completely off. While it's out, this is a great time to clean the entire dome and check for cracks. In my case, it was OK, but the parts are still available from VentLine. It's called the VanAir 6". I went to a local hard ware store and picked up some 1/2" foam sealing tape. Make sure it says on the package it is rated for outdoor use. There are a few that look similar, but wont stand up to the RV life. Measure how much you need (plus a tiny bit more) and cut to fit. Begin applying the tape at one point on your vent dome and slowly press down until you come back to the place you started. It should fit tightly. Now, firmly press down the tape all the way around and that's it! All done with the new seal.

Time to reinstall. Go back on the roof (or on your ladder) and look down into the opening. You will see the two slots that your vertical tabs will slide into. Make sure they both go in the slots. If you get it right (it's quite easy) the dome will slide down onto the opening making a tight seal. Go back inside and reattach the handle with the two screws. Test the operation of the dome lift and the vent fan. I added a tiny amount of lubrication (light oil) to the sliders to be on the safe side. Won't hurt at all...may help it operate smoothly and not rust or corrode as quickly.

I imagine, bringing this in to an RV service center will cost an hour or more in labor and some amount for parts. With labor rates what they are today, that money could be better spent on something else! Especially since this is so simple. Knowing how, could save you $$$. I like that idea.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

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