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Old 02-26-2012, 09:01 PM   #1
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Bathroom Exhaust Fan

I have a 12X12 exhaust fan crank out opening on my 5th Wheel bathroom. My rig is a Fleetwood Wilderness 32’ GL 30 5 G.
Anyway the very small exhaust fan that originally was bolted into the housing was a 12V powered motor. The fan was loud and had allot of vibration and did not move as much air as I would have liked. As the fan aged the blades eventually broke and I need to replace the unit. I was all prepared to just replace the unit, but I dreaded the thought of that old 12V motor as it was deafening noisy.
So I put on my thinking cap and came up with a clever fix to my problem. I went to my local pick-a-part auto junk yard and started canvasing the small imported cars and came across a thin 12X12 fan in its own housing that was a 12V radiator cooling fan. I purchased it for 10 bucks brought it home degreased and scrubbed every part (except for the motor) with dawn dishwashing liquid and a tooth brush. The fan blades detached as one unit and I soaked it in dissolved automatic dish washer detergent. Once I got all the road dirt and engine dirt off the fan unit, I let all parts dry in the sun. (I live in CA so this was not a problem). Once the unit was dry I sanded by hand with fine sandpaper and emery cloth all the metal components. The fan blades were composite plastic high impact and I did not sand them as the sanding was only for the repainting of any metal parts. I had removed the fan blades from the motor and taped off the motor area and spray painted the housing with RustOleum spray paint to match the interior trim in my bathroom housing. Once dry I replaced the clean fan blades onto the unit and mounted a 12 Volt on & off toggle switch to my plastic trim in the opening once all wires were properly attached taped and installed, I flipped the switch and presto an extremely powerful quiet exhaust fan. No more loud noise and an extremely powerful exhausting effect to the point that if the bathroom door was closed you can feel the vortex hit your feet. There will be no more embarrassing moments in tight quarters again when using the bathroom. There may be allot of you out there that think this is over kill as far as exhausting goes, but for 12 volts of power you can’t beat an auto radiator cooling fan to give you exhausting capabilities where needed. And I have tested the fan over and over and have left it on for over 1 hour and no overheating of the fan or the wiring. I do not recommend leaving them on that long, because technically in an automobile those fans only kick on when needed, but I wanted to test it to make sure there were no load issues with the wiring. To run the fan for showering or toileting is perfect and it works great. Just food for thought for any of you that are disgusted with the exhaust fans that may have originally came with your units that you may be unhappy with or think they are too loud or do not exhaust efficiently enough. I have attached a picture of the finished unit. I suggest you make a guard or mount a grill if you have small children to keep little fingers from being injured in the blades. I have an extra-long window crank that I open and close the lid with when I am using/not using the fan. I keep the crank in a linen closet in the bathroom. Naturally when the fan is not running I close or open the hatch. If you make a grill to cover the blades you only need to make a hole big enough for the crank shaft to fit into when you want to open or close the hatch. Taking the crank each time to put on the crank unit is not that much a bother when needing to open the hatch but that may be too cumbersome for some of you. It works great for me. Wanted to share this if any of you may want to try it. And if you need a great exhaust fan anywhere in your rig that needs to run off 12 volts, this option may work for you and just wanted to share the idea with all of you. I was commenting on a gen set thread in here where an individual was going to be exhausting a unit, and I thought of my idea to share.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:22 AM   #2
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Ingenious!! I love it, makes you wonder why they don't put a strong fan in the bathroom to begin with.

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Old 02-27-2012, 11:25 PM   #3
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What was the make and modle year of car it came off of? Looks like it was made for your RV. nice job!
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:06 AM   #4
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Good job!!
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:53 AM   #5
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I looked at so many imports that day that the moment I found the 12X12 size I excitedly pulled it off and rushed home like a kid with a new toy, so I did fail to get the exact model and make of the car. I would hate to guess, but I can go back to pick-a-part and find the same car and get that information and give it to the forum to help others with the conversion/search if they so choose. "My bad" on that one. I was in the Honda Civic section of the auto yard, so it may be a Honda. I will validate.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:23 PM   #6
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You can buy the Vortex at camping world and install it in about 15 minutes. People who have installed them say the same thing about feeling the air movement coming in when the door is closed. They cost about $68.00 and attach from the inside with just a screwdriver so I'm told. Just waiting until I gather a little more money for the expense. Another big advange is getting that moisture out of the RV when taking a shower as this is not something you want floating around the inside of your RV.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:48 PM   #7
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I've often wondered why there was'nt a more substaintial fan in the bathroom of a RV. On the surface this looks like a great idea. I'm wondering about having a fan that can move that much air, wouldn't it cause enough negitive pressure in the space to draw sewer gas into the bathroom through the toilet or sink? Not trying to poop on the idea, just wondering about the gas.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:55 PM   #8
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First5thWheel, what a clever sulution. Nice work, if you have done anyother mods, please post a little story about them. Thanks for sharing your "cool" fan story.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by IMDSailor View Post
I've often wondered why there was'nt a more substaintial fan in the bathroom of a RV. On the surface this looks like a great idea. I'm wondering about having a fan that can move that much air, wouldn't it cause enough negitive pressure in the space to draw sewer gas into the bathroom through the toilet or sink? Not trying to poop on the idea, just wondering about the gas.
You are partially correct- you do not want any fan running when the toilet is being flushed and the black tank is open to the room, or you can draw odors up out of the biffy.

Otherwise, your sink and shower have P-traps to prevent gas escaping, and the toilet has a water/gas tight seal. rubber Drawing noxious odors back into the bathroom is not an issue even with high volume fans for this reason.

The wimpy noisy bathroom fans that are OEM are just the cheapest possible type for the manufacturer. No reason other than saving money.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:17 PM   #10
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Great job! We are looking at replacing ours to something??....Good idea...Car fans are usually high amp draw 12v motors, most draw 8 to 12 amps!...don't forget to turn it off or you will have very dead batterys..and fuse properly.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:33 PM   #11
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i put the Vortex fan in my bathroom it took all of 5 minutes to install .. It does move a lot of air and you can feel the air coming in under the door.... It is a little loud but works great and if you are out in the main living area and stand under a roof vent you can feel the air comming in... I would like to put some kind of speed adjuster on the fan but dont know how to do it but i will figure it out so it has a few different speeds
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:01 AM   #12
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My fan only ran me $10 dollars at pick a part. The switch was $1.99, everything else I had on hand and it only took me 20 min to install. The cleaning and painting mind you took longer, but the actual install was quick. I try to save money where I can, but if someone did not want to mess around with the dirt and cleaning then the “Vortex” suggestion may be a better choice for some.
As mentioned in one of the previous posts, this radiator fan does draw higher amperage than a lower amp fan intended for exhausting, so it needs to be used sparingly when not on shore power. I am always on shore power so my batteries do not get depleted.

And as another precaution if you are running the fan do not leave the trap open on your toilet as it is so powerful the negative pressure could pull sewer odor from the black tank with the bathroom door closed. I think that is why the industry does not put more powerful fans in bathrooms. If it should happen the fan removes the odor immediately. It would never leave the bathroom area.
What I do is flush quickly and if I want to do repeated flushing w/ water extra I just turn the fan off and no odor is pulled up. By that time the odor from your original business is long gone. The best part of this fan from pick-a-part is it totally keeps moisture out of the rig when showering. If you need to ventilate the rig it will literally pull air form a far window with much force and duct it right out of the bathroom fan so you can cool down a hot rig. I do not leave this fan on unattended nor do I leave it on for long periods of time due to the high amperage it pulls. The wiring has never gotten over heated, but I would imagine the fan would if left on for long periods of time. These fans were designed to run intermittently not continuously for hours on end. Something you may want to consider before installing. My advice is if you are going to go my route, use it only when needed to exhaust bad odor out of the bathroom and then turn it off. That is what I do and it works great for me.
These are some things to consider before installing a more powerful exhaust fan than what came on the rig as original equipment.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:05 PM   #13
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Looks great and good information.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:21 AM   #14
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bathroom fan replacement

I also replaced the noisy little bathroom fan with the Vortex fan. It moves a lot of air and is much quiter than the 6 inch fan.

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