Hehr aluminum roof vents were used throughout the 1950s and 1960s on travel trailers. This article will help you maintain your vent with its original actuators or lifters.
ROOF CUT OUT
If you are installing a vintage aluminum Hehr vent in your trailer and need to create a new opening for it, you will need to cut a 14" square hole in your roof. This is 1/4" bigger than the size of the 13-3/4" square vent. 14" holes have been the standard for square travel trailer roof vents from the 1940s through to today. There are other sizes, but 14" x 14" is used with more than 90% of vents. Less common sizes include 17" square and rectangular. Much of this information applies to other sizes with the same actuators.
CAULKING AND INSTALLATION OF VENTILATOR FRAME
It is necessary to remove the ventilator lid before the ventilator frame can be installed. To remove the lid, fully open the ventilator, pull off the actuator knobs, and remove the screen.
Next, using a flat screwdriver, insert it between the actuator and the actuator bracket (Figure 1). Turn the screwdriver slightly facing the bracket to open up and push the actuator towards the center of the venilator until it disconnects from the bracket. Repeat this procedure on the opposite actuator and remove the lid.
Apply a suitable non-hardening caulking to the mounting flange (Figure 2) keeping it as close to the edge of the flange as possible. Insert the ventilator frame into the hole cut-out with actuator brackets facing to the front and rear of the trailer. Fasten the frame to the trailer roof using #6-3/4 steel cad-plated sheet metal screws. After the frame has been fastened to the roof, remove the excess caulking from around the mounting flange and apply a suitable liquid sealer to the edge of the flange where it meets the roof.
INSTALLATION OF THE LID
Before installing the lid, check the actuator brackets to see if the support arms were bent out when removing the actuators. If so, squeeze them until they are parallel or slightly together. Place the lid over the ventilator frame with the actuators fully open and parallel to the actuator brackets. From the inside of the trailer, place an actuator into a bracket with the rivet hole in the actuator positioned with the pin in the actuator bracket. Twist the actuator toward the other pin until it snaps into place. Repeat this procedure with the other actuator and then test them to see that they are properly placed and working smoothly. Install the ventilator screen and knobs to complete the installation.
CARE OF THE ACTUATORS
Approximately every six months, clean and lubricate the actuators. Use a suitable non-volatile liquid cleaner (Figure 3), and lubricate with a small amount of powdered graphite (Figure 4).
REMOVAL OF THE LID
To remove the lid, fully open the ventilator, pull off the knobs, and remove the screen. Next, using a flat screwdriver, insert it between the actuator and the actuator bracket (Figure 1). Turn the screwdriver slightly facing the bracket to open up and push the actuator towards the center of the venilator until it disconnects from the bracket. Repeat this procedure on the opposite actuator. After the actuators have been disconnected, lift the lid up until the actuators are outside. Stand the lid on edge and turn it across the diagonal corners. This way it can be lowered into the trailer from the outside.
FAN MOTOR CARE (If applicable)
Oil the motor every three months with a drop of SAE 20 oil. Oil spouts are available on the top and bottom of the motor for this purpose, except 12 volt. For longer life of the motor. For longer of the motor keep it and the screen free of dirt and oil. Replacement motorrs of the same size and type are no longer available, but can often be found salvaged on eBay and other marketplaces.