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TAKE THE LEAP

  • Writer's pictureThe Desert Cruisers

Quick Guide to Installing a MaxxFan Roof Vent in Your DIY Van Conversion or Box Truck

Updated: Mar 31

Ready to transform your van or DIY build with a Maxx Air Maxxfan Deluxe?!


MaxxFan Roof Vent
*The Desert Cruisers are part of affiliate programs mentioned in this post, and these links will contribute a small amount to us if you make a purchase through them. We appreciate your support!

Installing a Maxxair Fan was a priority for us. Whether it was our 2018 Mercedes Sprinter Van or our DIY Earth Roamer, this was an absolute necessity! Why? Well, it’s a game-changer for regulating interior temperature by pulling in fresh air or pushing out air. It truly helps give you comfort day and night. At night, we would put our fan setting to pull air from our windows by the bed and that cool breeze feeling you get on your face is so worth it. We would also use it to help remove condensation at night by cracking a window and having our fan on low on other nights. So in short, it’s super useful to have!


It can feel intimidating that you’re cutting a legit hole on your roof, but trust me, we felt the same way and there are so many resources out there to help you feel comfortable! As long as you have the right tools and products, watch a bunch of videos and read blogs non-stop, you’ll feel like a pro doing it!


This process isn’t exclusive to one vehicle. Whether you’re driving a Ford Transit, Promaster, Sprinter, Box Truck or any other camper vehicle, this installation process remains straightforward. We’re here to guide you every step of the way. Let’s make it happen!


Parts and Tools Needed to Install MaxxFan

Tools for Installing MaxxFan Roof Vent

Dicor Self Leveling Lap Sealant

Metal File

Caulk Gun

Clamps

Blue painter’s tape

Machine Screws

1x3 wood furring strips


Where to Install Your Fan

Box Truck/DIY EarthRoamer Build Layout

Where do you envision seeing your MaxxFan in your build? Well it totally depends on your layout! We had our fan near the front of our Sprinter Van, but you can have it more centered or in the rear. Some people prefer to have it near their beds so that they can get more airflow or some people will have it more centered because of their cooking to help bring out the air. The front of our Sprinter Van layout was a good option for our big window by our cooking area. We felt that it would balance it all out in our sprinter build considering we had small windows in the back by the bed. For our truck build, we opted in to have it in the rear of our truck by the shower and kitchen so that we can pull air closely from those two locations reducing moisture when showering and cooking fumes. It made the most sense for our roof layout too with our solar panels as well. We really didn't have any room to spare so lots of measuring took place because of this.


MaxxFan Roof Vent Sprinter Van

Planning Your Cut

Box Truck Steel Studs

For our box truck, we had a new challenge of the cut hole location because we have studs on the roof of our aluminum box. As you can see in the photo, we opted in to cut one stud location so that we only had to angle grind one off rather than two. So we measured to make sure only one stud would be cut which was fairly easy and simple to do. Cut size is 14"x14" but the fan dimensions are 22.5"D x 16.5"W x 5"H so plan accordingly, make sure you have the space around it, and measure a ton.


In our sprinter van, our cut hole was super easy and cleaner because we were able to avoid cutting any weird ribs or studs.

MaxxFan Roof Vent Sprinter Van Cutout

Make the Template and Trace

Now that the planning is out of the way, as simple as this sounds, you need to create a 14"x14" template. We didn't have a template already premade, so we used cardboard to measure and cut.

MaxxFan Roof Vent Template

If you have the roof vent adapter that is meant to help with flat mounting due to the ribs on the top of some vans, then you can also use that to trace out the 14"x14" area. On the Sprinter van, we simptly taped the template where we wanted it and traced the inside with a sharpie.

14x14 Template MaxxFan Roof Vent
Sprinter Van Roof Template

On our Box Truck build, we simply traced it out and remeasured outside and inside the box to ensure it would cut out one stud and was where we wanted it exactly.

MaxxFan Roof Vent Tracing Template

Once you're done tracing, pre-drill holes with your drill into the corner of your trace to allow room to insert your jigsaw blade. This is a great way to get started on your cut easily.

Pre-Drill

Angle Grinder

For us we needed to cut out a stud as I explained before because that is just the nature of our box, so we jigsawed the areas that we could. One person was inside the box watching the jigsaw blade getting near the stud and that helped us know when to stop cutting because that stud would completely destroy a jigsaw blade! Once the cuts were made around the non-stud locations, it was time to angle grind the steel studs. Make sure to wear protective eyewear because sparks are no joke. Also cover up your body with long sleeves so you don't feel the sparks on your arms.


After cutting out your hole officially, YAY! Make sure to dry fit the fan flange and test fit it!

MaxxFan Roof Vent Fan Flange

After a successful dry fit, then you'll want to remove it and file down all the sides and edges with a metal file and paint it with Rust-Oleum. Our studs are steel, so it's important to paint them so they do not rust over time.


The Install

As you see in the previous photo, there are holes on the flange and those are where your screws will help secure to your roof. Line up your fan flange and pre-drill all your mounting screw holes with a drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw provided. After you pre-drill those holes, also paint them with Rust-Oleum.


*TIP: Make sure the metal clips are on the left and right side of your fan flange as that is how your fan attaches to the base.


At this point we made a frame to give support back to the roof and it also was a good screwing location for the fan flange to screw into the wood rather than just the thin aluminum roof.

Clamping 1x3's

We used loctite adhesive which is good for wood and aluminum to help with the support. You can find this at Home Depot. We wedged the pieces of 1x3's so that they could press tightly against the steel studs which we think helped with the reinforcement. Then we clamped all the locations with glue and screwed it all together. We decided to let that dry overnight.


Now it's time to fasten your fan flange to your roof with the provided screws. Afterwards, use Dicor Self Leveling Lap Sealant in a caulk gun and cover not only the fan flange but the screws as well.

MaxxFan Roof Vent Install
Dicor Self Leveling Lap Sealant

Some people do add butyl tape under the fan flange base for a better water seal but we did not. Totally up to you.


Putting Your Fan In Finally!

Once the lap sealant is dry, slide the fan in! Keep in mind the mounting points on the fan DO NOT ALWAYS ALIGN perfectly with the metal clips on the fan flange. So you may need to adjust the metal clips with a flathead screwdriver until everything aligns! Don’t worry it's not just you, a lot of people have to adjust it.

MaxxFan Roof Vent Install

Screw in the sides and then you’re done! Done until it’s time to wire later on and install the internal shroud into your ceiling.


Pro Tip, black wire is the positive, white wire in the negative.


We hope this was straightforward for you on how to install a MaxxFan and helps you onto your dreams of nomadic living. Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or thoughts!




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From 2020 to 2023, we embraced life on the road in our DIY sprinter van, The Desert Cruiser. With no prior building experience, we transformed our van into a home, exploring deserts and rainforests, seeking the best campsites, mountain biking, and living our dream. In June 2022, a new dream emerged — building a 2022 Ford F550 into our DIY Earthroamer. With hopes of future family adventures, we found our dream truck in Texas. We believe anything is possible and aim to inspire others to explore life to the fullest!

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