MINIVAN- ROOF FAN

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cyntmac

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[font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]I want to convert a Toyota Sienna or possibly a Honda Odyssey. I will live in it for a minimum of 3 months. I want a roof fan such as a fantastic fan but don't know if this is possible. Stealth is important - I don't want it in the window. I wish to buy a minivan no more than 8 years old. I am aware some have a sun roof but is that the only way I could attempt this?? I am new to all of this and will have tons of questions. Thanks in advance.[/font]
 

tx2sturgis

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Welcome...

Fantastic fans have a tip-up cover that is like a redflag on a minivan.

They do make a stealthier version called the EZ-Breeze. I have not used one but they dont have a tip-up cover, they lay flat even when operating.

It is also possible to have your AC/heater blower put on a bypass so that it can run on low speed (vent mode) even with the ignition off, but with all the electronics in todays vehicles I have no way of knowing if this would work on your particular vehicle.

Good luck!
 

GotSmart

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So many vans have vent fans, that they do not draw attention.  

The E Breeze has bad reviews.  I would not buy one. 

Using the vehicle system will kill your starting battery.  They are not designed for constant use, but starting.
 

tx2sturgis

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So there you have it.

180 degrees of opposite opinions on all three points.

Confused yet?

To clarify my statements:

A minivan has a lower roofline, so an open vent on the roof is at (or nearly at) eye level with pedestrians AND cops. Since stealth was mentioned, this is why I point this out.

I was not sure how well the EZ-Breeze works, as I alluded to.

And running ANY fan on the starting battery is not 'ideal', but I do it all the time.

:p
 

tx2sturgis

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The O2Cool fans work pretty well, they can run on "D" batteries, or 12v.

Not as expensive, either.

I have owned a couple of them for use mainly in tent-camping.
 

highdesertranger

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couple of points,
factory blower motors are very inefficient. they are meant to run when the vehicle is running.
imo stealth is overrated. anybody who wants to know already knows what you are doing.
highdesertranger
 

tx2sturgis

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highdesertranger said:
...factory blower motors are very inefficient.  they are meant to run when the vehicle is running.


Yep, thats mainly because of the resistors sometimes used for speed control...they generate some wasted heat.

It's an idea, although not practical in most cases...but it has been done by some.
 

TWIH

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Ventilation, next to space/headroom, has been my biggest obstacle for deciding to use a minivan. I have seen a F.F. on an Astro passenger van and it stuck out rather noticeably. A cargo version of the Astro van maybe, but not the window version.

Then there's the a/c and heating lines up in the ceiling problem. Cutting a 14"x14" hole in the roof would take out lines I'd think. plus the lowering of the headrom for the fan and trim itself.

Try as I can I just am unable to see how a minivan can be adequately ventilated (ie. a powered vent) except for out in the BLM or N. Forest lands where no one cares. In a city?  Don't think so.
 

jonyjoe303

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one thing you can do is put a vent/fan on roof and remove the cover, next if you got a roof rack attach a solar panel over the vent. This well keep rain from getting in you van plus still offer ventilation. Anyone passing by wouldnt see the vent.

On my van thats what I had to do to get the solar panel to fit, but i didnt have a roof rack I just use 4 long L-brackets to install the panel, in the 4 years I  had the roof vent uncovered, I never got water in my van when it rains. On cold days I just cover the vent from inside to keep the cold air out.

This will also solve your problem of power for your fan, a 60 watt panel gives you 3 amps, 80 watts 4 amps ( which is what a fantastic fan uses). On cloudy days it won't be hot so you wont need to run your fan at high speed. You do need an aux battery to run something as large as a fantastic fan.

But the problem I see with the vans you mention are all the side windows. Those vans are all windows and thats where all the heat comes from. My advice is get some 1 inch rtech foam insulation (from home depot) and put them on the windows. In california where the weather is mild, it gets hot real quick (hot like unlivable) as soon as the sun comes up. The roof vents did nothing for me. Foam insulation and swamp cooler was the only thing that actually work.

This is a picture of the thermometer on my astrovan.  141 degrees is in front of van, 98 degrees is in back of the van. Without the foam insulation/swampcooler both temps would be the same 141 degrees.
temp lcd.jpg
 

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One Awesome Inch

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Two thoughts...

You can get smaller circular roof vents smaller than the Maxxair style. Add 3 or 4?

I'm living in a Transit Connect 2010 and have a Maxxair. I love it... Lots of fresh air plus it's higher roof makes it a bit more stealthy in terms of not seeing the fan.
 

TWIH

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The roof rack with a solar panel over the F. Fan seems to be counter-productive. The higher you build it up the more noticeable...
Nice thought tho'. People with regular cargo vans have done that and they sit up high enough you generally don't notice.
 

BigT

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I just placed my order for the stand alone Fantastic Fan on Amazon.  $67.55.  
Given it has three speeds 1-2-3 and draws 1Amp, 2Amps, and 3Amps respectively, and I have a 200Watt panel on my roof that puts out about 10Amps, hooked up to a 75Ah AGM battery, I don't think it's going to be a problem.  

My (new) plan is to fasten lengths of soft foam to the sides of the fan housing and close the fan in my front door window, rolling the window up, gently, to squeeze the fan in place.  Then I'll just open one of my sliding windows for cross-ventillation.  

I should be getting it in about a week and will post my review here and/or in a separate thread.
 

cyntmac

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jonyjoe303 said:
one thing you can do is put a vent/fan on roof and remove the cover, next if you got a roof rack attach a solar panel over the vent. This well keep rain from getting in you van plus still offer ventilation. Anyone passing by wouldnt see the vent.

On my van thats what I had to do to get the solar panel to fit, but i didnt have a roof rack I just use 4 long L-brackets to install the panel, in the 4 years I  had the roof vent uncovered, I never got water in my van when it rains. On cold days I just cover the vent from inside to keep the cold air out.

This will also solve your problem of power for your fan, a 60 watt panel gives you 3 amps, 80 watts 4 amps ( which is what a fantastic fan uses). On cloudy days it won't be hot so you wont need to run your fan at high speed. You do need an aux battery to run something as large as a fantastic fan.

But the problem I see with the vans you mention are all the side windows. Those vans are all windows and thats where all the heat comes from. My advice is get some 1 inch rtech foam insulation (from home depot) and put them on the windows. In california where the weather is mild, it gets hot real quick (hot like unlivable) as soon as the sun comes up. The roof vents did nothing for me. Foam insulation and swamp cooler was the only thing that actually work.

This is a picture of the thermometer on my astrovan.  141 degrees is in front of van, 98 degrees is in back of the van. Without the foam insulation/swampcooler both temps would be the same 141 degrees.
This was really helpful. A toyota sienna has limitations. I need to learn more about insulation but fresh air flow above my head was something I thought I needed. Is it possible to carve out a hole for the fantastic fan on a minivan? I am thinking that it might damage something and wanted to know if anyone has done this with a sienna or an odyssey? I am in Cali currently and need to educate myself on insulation options for this type of minivan. I would love to know more about the swamp cooler as well. Thanks in advance again...Cynthia
 

introverting

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I saw a minivan build earlier this morning with a dual fan unit in one of the side windows. I just spent a few minutes trying to relocate the site, but was unfortunately not successful.
 

TWIH

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BigT said:
I just placed my order for the stand alone Fantastic Fan on Amazon.  $67.55.  
Given it has three speeds 1-2-3 and draws 1Amp, 2Amps, and 3Amps respectively, and I have a 200Watt panel on my roof that puts out about 10Amps, hooked up to a 75Ah AGM battery, I don't think it's going to be a problem.  

My (new) plan is to fasten lengths of soft foam to the sides of the fan housing and close the fan in my front door window, rolling the window up, gently, to squeeze the fan in place.  Then I'll just open one of my sliding windows for cross-ventillation.  

I should be getting it in about a week and will post my review here and/or in a separate thread.

So did you ever do this?  I've been offline for about 2-3 months so maybe missed it...
 

TWIH

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Bump - old post, yeah I know.  I was wondering if getting a cargo carrier (Thule/Yakima) and installing that (normal looking) and then underneath the cc you could have your vent fan, the average joe would only be noticing the cargo carrier, due to it being large in usually a dark color.  That also would shade the roof some too.  

Then you could (perhaps) put a smaller (50 watt) solar panel on the top of the cargo carrier, it the width worked out...  Maybe...
 

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