Fantastic Vent: Installation Step by Step

We walk you thru the steps required to install a Fantastic Vent in your RV or Sprinter van, complete with tool list, parts list, and step-by-step instructions to de-mystify the whole process. This is a 2-3 hour job if working at a comfortable pace, and with a moderate level of skill with your hands.

Parts and Tools List

Like any DIY project, you’ll need to collect up the parts needed to do the job, and the tools you’ll be using for the task at hand. Here’s what we used:

Parts Needed:

  • Roof Vent (Fantastic Vent 1200)
  • Dicor Lap Sealant
  • Sheet Metal Screws (1″, #8)
  • 18-2 AWG Wire 20′

Tools Needed:

  • Drill
  • Jigsaw, or Nibbler, or other Saw
  • Caulk Gun
  • Wire Strippers
  • Tape Measure

Measure, Mark, and Measure Again

After gathering our parts and tools we then busted out our trusty tape measure and starting measuring. Cutting thru steel is daunting. Cutting thru steel on the roof of a vehicle is even more daunting. So measure once, twice, three times to be sure you know exactly where you are both on the exterior and in the interior of the vehicle. I measured and marked both the interior ceiling and the exterior roof. I then cross-referenced the cross bars in the ceiling to ensure iI had ample space between them. The last thing you want to do is cut thru a ceiling cross brace if you can avoid it. I opted to place the Fantastic Vent 1200 in the only spot on the roof of my 2013 Mercedes Benz Sprinter 170 where the vent could site completely flat without the need to build up the area around the corrugation (aka. ribbing) with foam tape (Note: you’ll need to add foam tape to your parts list if you opt for another placement). I opted to pull back the carpet around my interior ceiling so I could tuck and fold it where I wanted it in relation to the trim plate.

Take your Fantastic Vent trim plate and use it to mark the lines of the square you’ll be cutting for your vent to sit in. I added 1/2″ to all 4 sides because the trim plate is a little smaller than the vent body itself. Now your have the outline for your jigsaw cutting which we’ll tackle next.

Drill, Cut, and Cut Some More

Now it’s time to get down to business. Take a deep breath knowing you’ve done your due diligence by measuring once, twice, and three times. Pick a larger bit (1/4″ or 3/8″) out of your drill bits, and drill a hole in the corner of where your fan will sit. This will serve as your starting point for your jigsaw cut.

Pick up your jigsaw and work your magic cutting out the square you carefully marked on the roof. Be sure to use a finer tooth jigsaw bit.

Once cut we’ll run our hand file over the jagged edges to take all the burs and scary bits off so we don’t snag our skin or clothing on them while we work.

Cut Your Trim Plate

With your hole cut you can now dry fit your Fan-tastic Vent from the roof, and then the trim plate from the interior. Use your trim plate to determine how much of it needs to be trimmed to fit snugly. You’ll need to move the wires to the inside of the trim plate for it to fit, and it will take some patient maneuvering. We marked, measured, and measured again before we were ready to make our cut.

Then we screwed the trim plate down to our saw horses and again used our jigsaw to cut the trim plate to the right depth.

You’ll then need to drill a hole for the wires to pass thru from the main vent body their the trim plate and along the interior ceiling to their ultimate destination. I drilled my hole 2 5/8″ from the interior edge of the trim plate, and about 1 1/2″ from the lower edge. I then dry fit the plate and passed my electrical wires thru from the body.

Seal and Screw

Ok, now it time to open the sealant, load the caulk gun, and start laying down a bead between the roof and the vent flange that will site on the roof. We laid down a 1/2″ bead all around with no interruptions.

Then we laid our vent down, and screwed it using 1″ #8 sheet metal screws. We drilled them with our cordless drill, and tightened them by hand to ensure they were not stripped in the process.

We (the royal “we” since my wife does all the caulking, finish work, etc) then sealed every screw head, and applied a generous amount of sealant all around the vent where it met the roof. We recommend not skimping here, as sealant is cheaper than repairing a water damaged roof so be generous.

All Done – Enjoy the Breeze

After a short curing period on our 98F day, we were able to crack the vent open and feel the warm breeze rolling in thru our new Fantastic Vent roof vent.

In a future post, we’ll walk thru the electrical hookup steps complete with detailed step-by-step instructions.

Ken Clark
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