campervan air vents

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 29, 2015 at 22:06
ThreadID: 130133 Views:4696 Replies:11 FollowUps:6
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Looking for someone who can answer a question.

I am soon to be going on a camping trip, this trip will involve some roads that are bulldust.

i have a jayco swan and i know the fridge vents are a bugger for letting in the bulldust, so am looking at a way i can block them but also being able to run the fridge whilst on the move.

I was wondering if i can use a breathable material/pad that i can cover the vents with without causing any issues with the fridge, ie over heating, causing a fire etc whilst on these roads, whilst i dont think ill be doing any more than 300kl at any one time on the dust roads i am led to believe that these fridges will lose the cool temperatures rapidly once turned off.

any suggestions greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: Member - ACD 1 - Saturday, Aug 29, 2015 at 22:49

Saturday, Aug 29, 2015 at 22:49

I am pretty sure there was a thread on this forum with a link to a YouTube video of a Jayco pop top were the owner has installed a scupper type setup using a safari snorkel and some pvc pipe.

You could try a search on this forum, YouTube or hopefully someone will be able to direct you to the link.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.


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Reply By: steve j7 - Saturday, Aug 29, 2015 at 23:11

Saturday, Aug 29, 2015 at 23:11
Yer i have seen this clip, however, i dont want to go cutting holes in a $20k+ campervan.

i know some other clips show where people have used marine breathers also, but same thing, this is why i just wanted to see if covering with breathable mesh would be ok.

Cheers though for your help and taking time to answer.

AnswerID: 589777

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Saturday, Aug 29, 2015 at 23:32

Saturday, Aug 29, 2015 at 23:32
I did see one that had been done by removing the vent/skylight and blanking it out with the tubes going through that....


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Reply By: steve j7 - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 00:02

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 00:02
Ive not seen that one, thanks for that i will have a look.
AnswerID: 589779

Reply By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 09:28

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 09:28
I used green scourers sewn together in a long pad and stuck them on the outside with velcro.
When I washed the scourers they had a bit of dust in them and the inside of the cavity wasn't too bad. Just a light dusting which wiped up easily.

I blocked off the door vents with a bit of beer carton stuck with duct tape.

I think you must be able to buy the scourer material in a sheet somewhere. I was on the road so had to make do.

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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 09:29

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 09:29
Only the bottom vent of the fridge.
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Reply By: Member - WBS - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 09:36

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 09:36
Try this link on YouTube.

Hay River Track-Simpson Desert-V8 Landcruiser-Jayco Swan-Navarra D40
His YouTube name used to be Jason Neil but he's changed it to ValveRider.

If you scroll forward to 28:14 time mark you'll see him describe his air vent pressurizing system.
Good luck
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Follow Up By: Member - WBS - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 09:40

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 09:40
I can't believe the link actually worked for me!

Check out the video, its worth a look.
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Reply By: - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 09:53

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 09:53
Just a thought.....what about using the material that is used as the air filter in a ducted air conditioning system in buildings? Our house has 2 of these in the ceiling which is where the air is drawn, to be passed through the air con system.

It is, for all intents and purposes, exactly as you have described Steve.

However, I do also like the idea of using either a 12v fan or a snorkel head to create a positive air pressure inside the van. This would have the effect of creating a positive pressure INSIDE the van and (hopefully) prevent dusty air from entering through the vents.

I'm sure I saw a write-up many years ago where a bloke installed a donut-shaped air filter (off a Falcon?) with a 12v fan. This could be mounted in an existing roof hatch, so that no permanent alteration to the van would be necessary.

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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 10:24

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 10:24
You can buy the material here a/c filter material. I've make up a cover for the door vent and am thinking of making some up for the fridge vent. Have not tested it yet. I edged it with 25mm tape from Lincraft one side and sewed on velcro the other as it would be torn apart if you just attached it to the velcro hooks directly. Previous owner of the van said that the scupper works well GRR included, possibly because of the smaller volume of the van (=higher pressure?) with the roof wound down compared with a full height van.
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 11:40

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 11:40
Is it a three way type are you intending to run it on gas whilst traveling, if so probably not a good idea a gas leak could result in disaster?

If traveling on gravel roads then I would check the underside of the camper to make sure that all the gas lines, plumbing fittings, tanks etc are protected from rock damage etc.

If it is a three way type I would be running it on 12V whilst traveling, if you do intend to run it on gas then keep this in mind when filling up your car at garages etc.

As for the dust, the only way to stop it will be to seal the vents, the dust will get through even the finest of filters, pressurised systems may be effective if your running in clean air but at sometimes you'll most likely be following others and eating their dust :(


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Follow Up By: - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 19:43

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 19:43
IMHO anyone who runs a 3 way fridge on LPG when the vehicle is moving is a total CLOWN and is asking to be a contender for a Darwin Award!!!


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Reply By: steve j7 - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 14:27

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 14:27
no, whilst travelling it will be running via battery, only on gas when unhooked and parked up.

yes underside i am going to be using metal casing to protect any vulnerable pipes etc

obviously using gas it MUST be ventilated, but am unsure whilst its hooked up and running via electric.

AnswerID: 589795

Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 14:56

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 14:56
On electric the back of the fridge needs cool air to the condenser, the back of the unit should be sealed from the inside if the fridge is installed correctly so dust should not be able to enter form the vents at the rear but some manufacture put an internal vent in to promote cooling, or don't seal the back of the fridge properly, this along with a door vent will be the major source of dust ingress into the camper.

Even if dust can't enter the camper via the vents I would still be concerned about dust getting into the rear of the fridge and blocking the gas jet, it may not be a problem but if it was me I would probably be looking at a way to seal the unit while traveling on dusty roads and using a frozen bottle of water to keep it cool instead.

The problem with filters too is that they will become blocked very quickly with bull dust, with my Vista if I'm traveling in a convoy for a day for example and I raise the rear solar panel I'll get half a bucket of bull dust falling off, just general red dust also will get into everything if it is not air tight.

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Reply By: Erad - Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 21:44

Sunday, Aug 30, 2015 at 21:44
The aim of the game is to slightly pressurise the camper so that the internal pressure is higher than the outside pressure - particularly at the rear of the van. I have done this with my Jayco poptop van.

You can buy little scupper vents which are mounted in the roof and pop up. We have used air con filter material. That gets the air into the van. Now, you have to keep it inside, and that means blocking up the outer vents and doors etc. Our poptop has a 2 piece door, and we put a small piece of foam carpet underlay between the inner and outer doors, covering the vent at the bottom of the door. There are 2 other fixed grille vents - both about 100 mm x 75 mm, and the inflow through the scupper flap easily overcomes the leakage thru these vents. Overall, I would say we have a 95% success with the dust. We took it from Nocundra to Innaminka and then down to Broken Hill and at times, we could not see the van for the dust, yet there was virtually nothing inside (and my wife is VERY fussy).

Prior to owning the poptop, we had a camper, and I made up a vinyl cover for the door. It had the foam carpet underlay as a squishy gasket, and was kept in place by small turnbuckles or press studs mounted around the door. Dust still got in around the fridge, because we were not pressurising the van in any way, but the amount of dust was great ly reduced with the door cover in place.

In your case, sadly if you want your fridge to keep working - and they are already struggling at the best of times - you need to have the rear section of the fridge exposed to some airflow. So that tends to limit your options regarding sealing it up. And you have to have the squishy gaskets removed when you are stopped lest you have a gas leak because gas is heavier than air and it will accumulate on the floor of the van.

I have seen other people try to emulate my door seals with sheets of cardboard, but they are not soft and squichy and therefore will not seal. You have to seal up as many holes as possible and use a soft gasket to do so. You will never completely stop the dust, but it can be greatly reduced. The idea of a fan pressurising the van would be great, but you still need to block off as many holes as possible.
AnswerID: 589814

Reply By: Crusier 91 - Monday, Aug 31, 2015 at 17:12

Monday, Aug 31, 2015 at 17:12
This is what I did to mine

I don't run the fridge whilst travelling. Keep a couple of cold packs in the freezer when camped over night and running on gas on 240 if you have access to it. When its time to move, move the freezer packs into the fridge to keep fridge cold enough till the the next stop.
I don't use 12 volt on the fridge, its most uneconomical.

AnswerID: 589835

Reply By: Member - Russ55 - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 17:20

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 17:20
You can buy "filter medium" from any air conditioning / heating/ cooling outlet.

AnswerID: 589894

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