How to install a Fantastic Fan

defrome

New member
So after reading a bunch of threads here on installing fans, I tried to synthesize some great recommendations and some things I kind of came up with on my own. You should know my skill level is pretty low, so this is a noob-friendly method of cutting a big effing hole in your van and dropping a fan through it.

Here's the process I followed:

1. Build a wooden frame out of 1x2 that fits the inside of the fan snugly. It doesn't have to be absolutely perfect but it should be within ~1cm. The fan will screw down into this frame through the sheet metal skin of the van. Screw and glue it all together.
2. Ideally you would treat this wood frame with polyurethane so that it doesn't absorb water in the case of a leak. I didn't do this mostly because I forgot.
3. When the frame is dried, seat the fan inside the frame and mark the holes. On the top side of the frame, mark which side is front and back so you don't wonder later.
4. Drill *partial* pilot holes through the frame. Like halfway is good.
5. Get some flat cardboard that is larger than the frame. Place the frame on the cardboard and trace the inside.
6. Cut out the cardboard right on the line. Try to make the cut really square - it will help later. This is now the exact size hole you need to cut. yay!
7. Get up on the roof. Put a piece of plywood down on top of a blanket or tarp to avoid scratches.
8. Place the cardboard on the roof where you're going to cut the hole.
9. Measure the tolerances on the side like 20 times. Get that cardboard exactly, exactly where you want it. Remember to take into account the total width and length of the fan and make sure it doesn't ride up on any roof ribs. You want to have the fan sit almost perfectly flush with the roof.
10. Take a sharpie and trace the cut line onto the roof.
10.25 Tape off a 5-6" area around your cut hole.
10.5 tape garbage bags or a drop cloth to the roof of the inside of the van. This will catch the metal shavings. Goes without saying, but don't stand inside the van while you're cutting and drilling.
11. With a small drill bit, drill pilot holes inside the square you traced
12. Using a 1" drill bit, drill larger holes at the 4 pilot holes. Go slowly and use some wd-40 to lubricate the metal.
13. Using a jigsaw with a sheet metal blade with as many teeth as you can find, cut on the cut line one side at a time. Err on the side of slightly outside the cut line rather than inside. A hole that is just slightly larger is ok, too small and you'll have to widen it. Using wd-40 helps keep the metal shavings under control.
14. Cut slowly!
15. Use small clamps to hold the square in place once you get 2 sides cut. Another approach is to take down the garbage bags / dropcloth and heavily tape the underside to hold it in place.
16. Cut the fourth side off and behold your perfect hole.
17. Use a file and file down the inside of the hole. Clean up the metal shavings.
18. Test fit the fan. Moment of truth. Ours fit perfectly the first go. If the hole was too small, you would either file down or re-cut a side to widen it slightly.
19. With the fan fit, use a sharpie to mark the screw holes.
20. Remove the fan, Drill out the screw holes. File the screw holes from the inside to remove any metal burrs
21. Clean everything with de-greaser to get the WD-40 off completely. Simple green works well.
22. Use rust-preventing primer to coat the inside of the holes and cut line. This prevents rust in case any water ever leaks. I just taped off the whole thing and sprayed all of it. It gets hidden anyway. Let the primer dry completely.
23. Place 1" wide butyl tape along the inside of the fan lip. The screws go through the butyl tape.
24. Just inside the butyl tape, put a bead of waterproof sealant. DO NOT use silicone.
25. One person standing inside holding the wooden frame (this is why you marked front and back) and one person on top, start screwing it all together.
26. You should screw it partially down but not so tight that there is no space left between the lip of the fan and the van
27. Using self-leveling sealant (search for lap sealant on amazon) squeeze a bead along the edge under the little gap you just left between roof and van.
28. Screw it all down tight. Be sure not to over-tighten and crack the plastic lip. Hand tight is fine. If you have a screw that doesn't fit for some reason, just quickly drill a new hole. Your drill bit will get nasty but you really don't want to pull up the fan at this point. Ours screwed together without issue.
29. Now, using the lap sealant, trace a think bead of sealant all the way around the edge of the fan.
30. Using the lap sealant, completely cover each of the screw heads.
31. Let it all dry and inspect for any gaps. Fill them with sealant again if necessary.
32. Optional: once it is completely dry, you can place a layer of eternabond (or is it endurabond? I forget) sealant tape over the whole thing. The reason for this is to try to prevent UV exposure to the plastic lip. Apparently over time it can crack. I plan on doing this also for aesthetics because my van is grey and the fan is white and looks kind of hackish. So the black tape goes over the white plastic lip and serves to really permanently seal it (the eternabond tape is bomber and often used to repair holes by itself) and also make it look a little better. I also considered plasti-dip and might still do that on top of everything for aesthetics. TBD.

Whew. Ok. That's a lot of detail but hopefully it helps. I'll upload a few pictures when I'm not working on airplane wifi.

I got all these things on Amazon:

Fantastic Fan w/ wireless remote & rain sensor
Jigsaw blades
Butyl tape
Lap sealant
Eternabond tape
DAP Waterproof sealant

So, yeah. Hopefully I didn't mess anything up because it's done now. Huge thanks goes to Geek and this thread for informing this process:

https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17258&highlight=install+fantastic+fan&page=22
 

MillionMileSprinter

Formerly Type2Teach
I think he's asking something along the lines of "did you use a wire from the back of the van to tap into the 12v? Or did you run a line straight from the battery? Or...?"
And it's not "easy" in a Sprinter, especially an NCV3. They are super sensitive to any load on the lines that doesn't fit into the acceptable amount as determined by Mother Mercedes.
I just installed a small round powered fan/vent in the rear of an NCV3 yesterday. I didn't feel comfortable tapping into anything in the back of that cargo van. So I ran a line straight from the battery, in under the driver's feet, up the pillar and into the back via the channel where the van walls and roof meet.
 

pfflyer

Active member
I think he's asking something along the lines of "did you use a wire from the back of the van to tap into the 12v? Or did you run a line straight from the battery? Or...?"
And it's not "easy" in a Sprinter, especially an NCV3. They are super sensitive to any load on the lines that doesn't fit into the acceptable amount as determined by Mother Mercedes.
I just installed a small round powered fan/vent in the rear of an NCV3 yesterday. I didn't feel comfortable tapping into anything in the back of that cargo van. So I ran a line straight from the battery, in under the driver's feet, up the pillar and into the back via the channel where the van walls and roof meet.
Mine worked fine tapped into or actually plugged into the connectors on my 2013 cargo light. Used it for a couple of months until I got the battery installed. On the crew version the rear light was inches away from my fan install so it couldn't have been more simple. I did unplug the other bulbs so that they wouldn't be on when the fan was so maybe that is why the computer didn't act up because of an unusual load.
 

Ayo

New member
What screws did you happen to use, and did you make holes before the screws? Nuts after the screw?
 

defrome

New member
I think he's asking something along the lines of "did you use a wire from the back of the van to tap into the 12v? Or did you run a line straight from the battery? Or...?"
And it's not "easy" in a Sprinter, especially an NCV3. They are super sensitive to any load on the lines that doesn't fit into the acceptable amount as determined by Mother Mercedes.
I just installed a small round powered fan/vent in the rear of an NCV3 yesterday. I didn't feel comfortable tapping into anything in the back of that cargo van. So I ran a line straight from the battery, in under the driver's feet, up the pillar and into the back via the channel where the van walls and roof meet.
Yeah if I felt strongly about having the fan operational right away, I would have wire it straight into the battery. However, the vent function was sufficient for me until the battery / solar system is finished. To be clear, by "easy" I meant it is pretty straightforward to run the wire to the stock fuse box.
 

defrome

New member
What screws did you happen to use, and did you make holes before the screws? Nuts after the screw?
I just used the screws that came with the fan. I know some others buy special stainless steel screws, but since I was overlaying the whole damn thing with sealant and Eternabond tape, it just seemed like too much effort to avoid a problem that if it manifested (i.e. if water ever actually touched the screws) I'd have bigger problems anyway.
 

H2Disco

New member
Mine worked fine tapped into or actually plugged into the connectors on my 2013 cargo light. Used it for a couple of months until I got the battery installed. On the crew version the rear light was inches away from my fan install so it couldn't have been more simple. I did unplug the other bulbs so that they wouldn't be on when the fan was so maybe that is why the computer didn't act up because of an unusual load.


I looked at the wires for my TN1 to the drivers side light and there are 3 wires; solid brown, brown with white stripe and red with yellow. Any idea what the 3rd wire is to?


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H2Disco

New member
My drivers side rear light is broken anyway I thought I'd just wire in the fan to it and when I do new lighting I'd wire all the lights with new wires and have a switch for them.



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autostaretx

Erratic Member
I looked at the wires for my TN1 to the drivers side light and there are 3 wires; solid brown, brown with white stripe and red with yellow. Any idea what the 3rd wire is to?
The red/yellow is 12 volts from a 20 amp fuse from the battery.
The brown is ground (battery negative post)

The brown-with-white is from the door jamb switches... when a door is OPEN, that wire connects to ground (battery negative post).

Thus the fan goes "+" to the red/yellow, and "-" to the brown.

Like this:

21-wiring.jpg

--dick
 

H2Disco

New member
The red/yellow is 12 volts from a 20 amp fuse from the battery.

The brown is ground (battery negative post)



The brown-with-white is from the door jamb switches... when a door is OPEN, that wire connects to ground (battery negative post).



Thus the fan goes "+" to the red/yellow, and "-" to the brown.



Like this:



View attachment 78784



--dick


Thank you


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Marcus DaCosta

New member
I have a 2016 NVC3 with an auxiliary battery and I'd like to connect my fan to it. Has anybody done it and have pictures of the wiring?
 

LeeontheMesa

New member
I'd like to second the previous question: there are several unused fuse slots on the auxiliary fuse block. It seems redundant to add another fuse block just for a fan (and Espar heater). Does anyone know specific parts needed to add a tap? Thanks
 

sailquik

Well-known member
LeeontheMesa:
M2CA170 translated into something all of us here on the Sprinter-source forum will understand better:

M2CA170=
Mercedes Benz Sprinter Cargo Van 170 in. Wheelbase
= 316 or 319 series (depends on engine I4 vs V6) 4x2 170 inch wheelbase.
Hope this helps,
Roger
 

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