Camper conversion ventilation

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JMac
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Camper conversion ventilation

Post by JMac » Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:15 pm

Hi all, newbie Caddy Maxi (2013 1.4) owner and DIY camper converter here. Any tips, suggestions or real-use experience on ventilation solutions for camping in the van? I’ve ordered some cab window deflectors to allow me to open and let some air in there, without rain getting in. Also considering either louvred vent/s in the rear panel walls or a wind powered Flettner rotating roof vent. Outside bet is a small roof solar powered extractor fan. Ideally I’d like a solution that’s simple, unobtrusive and as low profile as possible.
Any real-life experience, pros/cons etc much appreciated. Particularly any comments re noise levels of wind powered vents?
Thanks in advance. JMac

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anoneamus
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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by anoneamus » Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:44 am

I tried various different things, but none suited me. The "Tramper" version of the Caddy has special VW ventilation covers for the sliding door windows, but unfortunately they are absolutely impossible to find, even though they are illustrated in the Caddy user manual (unless, perhaps you go to the factory in Poland). In any case, there is a company in Germany that makes a similar (but better, because they are made out of metal, not plastic) version. That's what I got and have never looked back. They are backed with an insect net, to keep the bugs out. If you can't see the image, try "open in new tab/window" on the link:

Image

Expensive, but totally worth it!

https://www.lila-bus-shop.de/Lueftungsg ... seite.html
https://www.lila-bus-shop.de/Lueftungsg ... seite.html

petrev
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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by petrev » Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:48 am

Reimo do vent inserts for the rear sliders, left and right. Same as anoneamous posted but more expensive !

They also do vents for the front windows but some find them slightly less than pretty. Probably similar ventilation to leaving window open with a wind deflector fitted.

https://www.reimo.com/en/camping-shop/v ... /39907/n.a.

https://www.reimo.com/en/camping-shop/v ... -cab-doors

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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by JMac » Mon Jun 21, 2021 6:12 pm

Thanks ANONEAMUS & PETREV.
My thinking is that if I have the front windows cracked open (protected by wind deflectors), I want to have another vent outlet at the rear of the van, to create a through draft? I'm tossing up between fitting a Flettner low-profile roof vent (very efficient, but maybe overkill, and will increase my van height - a potential problem in some car parks?) or just putting small louvred slit vents at the top of my rear side panel walls. Aesthetically the louvred panel vents is my current preferred option, but would be passive venting compared to the air pull of the spinning Flettner. Side vents would also be easier to fit.
Most articles I've read are for much bigger vans, so I'm interested to hear Caddy owners thoughts. ANONEAMUS, it was good to hear your passive side window vent seems to do the job nicely. That's what I needed to hear.
Any reason NOT to fit louvred vents on the van's rear panels (exhaust fumes maybe?)
Thanks again in advance,
JMac

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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by petrev » Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:44 pm

For campervan use ventilation while stationary would be the normal requirement. If you have a tailgate then you can use an Air-lock device to lock it open about 10cm. Available from eBay, Amazon and AliX.

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anoneamus
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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by anoneamus » Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:40 pm

I would recommend using removable (or at least closable) vents. The ones I have are only for use while stationary. Personally, I'd never cut a hole in my van roof, but that's an aesthetic choice of mine. I don't believe you need or want active ventilation. The main use for ventilation is to prevent condensation on the windows. None of them are going to keep the interior cool if you're parked in the sun. I haven't found that cross-ventilation is always necessary, sometimes I only fit a single vent (not both sides). There are not that many cases where you actually want a through draught (particularly if it is cold). I used to have front windows cracked open with a "shade sock" over them to keep out insects. That was fine, and I used that for some years, but the vents are better. If I were you, I'd start with the front windows cracked, and see if you need more before buying things and cutting into the roof.

The "shade sock" I'm referring to, is something like this:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/ROYAL-RASCALS- ... B073F354HN

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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by FrenchDom » Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:40 am

Have deflectors on mine but also like the idea of the window sock!


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anoneamus
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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by anoneamus » Thu Jun 24, 2021 2:32 pm

FrenchDom wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:40 am
Have deflectors on mine but also like the idea of the window sock! Image
Neglected to mention, I was using window sock over deflectors. The deflectors keep out the rain, the sock keeps out the bugs.

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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by SnoWhite » Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:06 am

You probably first need to decide just how much "physical modification" is acceptable to your Caddy.

Fitting clip on wind deflectors to the front windows entails no permanent damage and if its just one person in the van should provide ample ventilation.

If you have a tailgate on a SWB or Maxi, then the tailgate prop accessory should provide plenty of through air flow with the front windows wound down just a bit. If there is a threat of rain parking into the wind should work fine, the downside being on cooler nights the draught can be too much , but you can always reduce the draught with a cheap door draught snake from ebay.

I have not found an equivalent rear door prop specifically for Caddy van locks - but as someone has got around to making one for some Mercedes/Ford vans - https://faroutride.com/door-prop/ I suspect that Google may find some is already making a similar prop for the Caddy barn door set up.

If your Caddy came with opening windows in the rear doors then fitting the external grilles is another solution.

After that you are really into drilling holes into the bodywork to provide ventilation. The ridged roof pretty much rules out other off the peg options like fitting a sun roof, but it may still be worth talking to firms who convert maxi vans for transport of police dogs. You may also want to visit a camping van/caravan conversions specialist as they will probably be best placed to advise on more extreme modification options and costs especially if your plans evolve to adding an auxilliary heating system.

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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by sgtdazza » Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:01 am

Wind deflectors are a really good idea for venting

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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by JMac » Fri Jun 25, 2021 4:37 pm

Thanks both, SnoWhite & sgtdazza. I think I'm going to try opened front windows (with wind deflectors for rain protection) and the rear-door stand-offs for now, and see how I get on.

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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by Guy94 » Sat Jul 17, 2021 9:14 pm

Hi guys, my van is SWB and I’m turning it into a super micro camper. The window vents posted look brilliant. Do these fit factory only windows or could they work with aftermarket windows too? And is it maxi specific? I’m sure I’ve seen a European variant SWB Caddy with factory sliding windows somewhere

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anoneamus
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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by anoneamus » Sun Jul 18, 2021 6:37 am

The vents are designed to fit factory Caddy windows. Who knows whether they will fit some unspecified aftermarket window? Probably not, but you could measure. The sliding doors (and windows, if fitted) are exactly the same across all Caddy models and wheel base lengths. My Caddy is SWB.
Last edited by Giddy on Sun Jul 18, 2021 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: removed unnecessary quote of previous post

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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by Guy94 » Sun Jul 18, 2021 12:52 pm

@anoneamus thanks for the reply mate, answered a few of my questions - I assumed the maxi sliding door was different to the SWB. I have found the OE part number for the sliders. Now I’ve found that the Maxi and SWB doors are the same it opens up for aftermarket options for me!


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Re: Camper conversion ventilation

Post by petrev » Sun Jul 18, 2021 1:50 pm

All the aftermarket windows I have seen have been very different to original VW units.

The anoneamus linked units are the best price I have seen. Postage only listed to DE, CH and AT.

Same units are available from Reimo UK distributor CMC.
Reimo - https://www.reimo.com/en/camping-shop/v ... n.a.?c=967
CMC - Contact Stuart, Customer service UK
Tel. +44 (0) 1233 - 359004

Just to clarify
Glass slider insert unit is the same in all Caddy models 2K, 2K SA/Mk4 - SWB and MAXI
(Left / Right are different)

The overall, complete window units, are not the same shape/size - MAXI has different curves and is 10mm taller.
The metalwork for the doors is different - SWB has an arch cutout.

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