Dodge Sprinter MaxxFan and Solar Install
Updated: Apr 15, 2019
Without knowing the game plan yet, I wanted to work on the electronics. I knew I would at least need one battery and wanted solar. It would be much easier to do electrical before insulation and interior was built. Also a MaxxFan was essential so I jumped right into those. I picked one with a smoke cover, although slightly more I thought it matched the black color of my van better when closed. I also paid up for the one with the remote, which is really essential if you are driving by yourself.
For the MaxxFan installation I followed information from others on this site. It was a bit of a hassle to deal with the ribs (I didn't take any pictures of this process). I used the method of cutting out the square (angle grinder with cut off disc) and then cutting a slot in the rib so the rib went above the plastic mounting plate. I made sure to use a lot of the butyl rubber tape to place the plastic mounting plate on and once secure on I used a lot of Self-Leveling lap sealer to seal it all up. The I linked to is the same brand, but I had to hunt down some black lap sealant to match my vehicle, which cost a bit more, but I thought white sealant would look odd on my roof. Wiring to the MaxxFan was pretty easy since its controlled by a wireless remote. Installation was pretty easy and required a little bit on sanding/grinding to get it to fit perfect. The fan has been in there for a few years now with no leaks. Wasn't sure about the part with the rib as there was a little bit of a gap, but the combination of HVAC foil tape, butyl tape, and lap sealer it has seemed to hold up. This pictures are taken a lot later in my project, but show the location of the fan and how I dealt with the ribs: Also note that I used machine bolts and nuts on the corners for added strength and the sheet metal screws on the sides:
While I was up on the roof I also wanted to install the solar panels. I used Grape Solar panels (2x 100W) from HomeDepot, but you can get pretty decent ones on amazon too. These are pretty similar to what I got from home depot, if you would rather order from Amazon. They had pretty good reviews also. Make sure you get the mounting brackets and all wiring before you do the install.
I just drilled through the roof of the van and installed it using the mounting kit. Still holding strong 2-3 years later. For the solar controller I used a pretty cheap amazon one, but it seems to do the job. I also hooked up in a manor to keep them at 12v, not 24v, although I am not sure it really matters. The solar controller can down it from 24 to 12v if needed. I got a controller for 20amps as that seemed to be enough for my panels, even if they operated at 100%, which they never will (200w/12v=16.7amps @ 100%). I found a really cool cable pass through and cut a square below it, used the butyl/lap sealer to seal it up and used that to pass the solar wires though the roof. I also plan to use this for the future if I end up needing any more wiring on the roof.
You can also note how close the panels are to the MaxxFan. I did this to get the panels as far back as I could and still mount the fan in that square location. There is defiantly enough clearance though, even with the fan up/open.
Here is an overall view of my roof setup:
No plans yet for the extra space... thinking cargo box?