One of the few things that we disliked about our original NewAire is the lack of proper ventilation and air movement. The rig only has 6 small windows and small powered vents in the bathroom and galley. Yes, there are three doors, but who wants to leave doors open?
Easier said than done. The big challenge with installing such a vent in a coach that doesn't have a pre-existing opening is simple: where oh where on the roof do you begin cutting a 14" square hole?
Fortunately for us, another NewAire owner, David Stiemsma, had already blazed that trail. Phew! When I saw David's coach and his MaxxAir installation, the questions began to fly: how, where, what, etc. Fortunately, David had good answers for everything.
Under David's tutelage, I started by removing the puck lights and air vents in the bedroom ceiling. Because I knew the general position, I taped out an approximate opening on the ceiling:
Next I used a flat metal ruler to poke around in the ceiling, looking for transverse structural beams and other obstructions David warned me about. Knowing that the beams are 16" on center, I determined I had about 1/4" of clearance for the fan. Using that, I shifted and tightened the planned opening. More tape!
It was time to commit. Gulp! I drilled shallow corner holes and gradually cut hunks out of the ceiling, making sure I didn't go so far that I couldn't shift the opening a bit. But with David's advice and my poking around, I eventually got a complete 14" square opening. You can see the aluminum truss beam in the rear. The foil to the right marks the side of an air duct, and on the left you can see some of the thick insulation packed into the ceiling cavity.
One of David's best recommendations was to steal 12V power from the ceiling light in the closet, located about 4 feet forward of the new opening. With the DW's assistance and a small bamboo rod, I was able to fish wires from a new hole I drilled underneath the closet light. I ran 14 gauge stranded wire; the fan only draws 5A on full power.
I now used a long bit to drill four corner holes up through the RV roof and could go no further on the inside of the coach.
It was time to climb!
On the roof, I used the fan's mounting frame to draw an outline of the required opening.
Then I used a 1" hole saw to drill the corners and prevent any cracking (another tip from David ), and I cut out the opening.
As an aside, pictured below is a profile of the roof section I removed (inverted). It's a composite of fiberglass top and bottom over a rigid honeycomb substructure; 5/8" thick and super strong! I wonder if Newmar is still using this sort of structural material in its latest coaches? I was impressed!
Finally, I screwed the weather-proof top assembly on to the frame, and I was finished on the roof.
Back inside, I connected the fan's positive and negative wire leads and carefully stashed those back into the side insulation.
Following the instructions, I next measured the distance between the finished ceiling and the fan's frame (4-1/2" in my case), scribed that onto the plastic baffle, and trimmed off the excess.
It took just four screws to mount the baffle. Then I stood back and admired my work.
But would it work!? I crossed my fingers and used the furnished remote control (pictured here mounted to the wall) to turn the fan ON.
The motorized vent cover opened automatically and MaxxAir fan came to life. We played around with the settings (there are quite a few options), but AUTO MODE based upon preset HI/LO temps seems to be the best configuration to start with.
Our MaxxAir verdict? Cool. Very cool.
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