A DIY Cowboy Built RV Refrigerator Roof Vent Cap

The plastic RV refrigerator roof vent, that tops the ventilation duct on the back of our Norcold refrigerator, disintegrated over the past several months. I first spotted the disintegration when it was just a few cracks, while I was doing my solar power installation last fall. A little Gorilla brand duct tape re-enforced it for a while, but it sure didn't arrest the degeneration of the cap!

Broken RV Roof Vent

You can see the re-enforced refrigerator roof vent in the corner of the Picture above, as well as what it looked like when it completely fell apart!

Near as I can tell, it was built out of the same junk plastic used to fabricate the fender skirts, which are also disintegrating!

I've been trying to find a replacement cap for a few months. Came close a couple times but no cigar. The closest I came, was a refrigerator vent cap that missed fitting by about a 1/2 an inch. Only good enough in horseshoes or handgrenades.

I got tired of hearing "Nope, don't have it, but I expect one in about a week or two."

So, like many times before, my impatience got the better of me and I just said, "I'll build my own!" Figured I couldn't do any worse then the junk RV refrigerator roof vent cap the rig was built with.

I'm the sort that tries, hard as I can, to make do with what I've got on hand. I look at it as kind of a challenge, to build something out of a piece of baling wire, some choclate cake, wood glue, a couple scraps of hardware and wood, all mixed up with a liberal dose of Rube Goldberg imagination!

Looking around the shop, I collected some tempered hardboard, duct tape, "Through the Roof" sealant and some wood dowel. Only had to buy another can of "Rescue 911" when I went into town the next time. It's the same stuff I used to line the battery box. Only this time, I used the white variety rather than the silver I used in the battery box.

Now I can hear you all saying ... "Huh? Hardboard for something on the roof?" Relax! I got it handled! I know as well as you do that hardboard isn't waterproof. Not even water resistant. Put some water on it and that stuff will come apart like toilet paper ... but, encased in some tough, flexible, 100% waterproof sealants, I'm betting it will prove to be a lot more durable then the plastic junk the manufacturer put on as original equipment .... keep watching to see if I get egg on my face!

The old, busted pieces of the disintigrated, plastic, RV refrigerator roof vent cap were assembled back together with some duct tape, so I could get some quick measurements for the fantastic, new Cowboy design!

taped together RV roof vent

With those in hand I layed out what seemed to be a reasonable design on the hardboard, followed by some quick sabre saw work to rough out the pieces.

The thing fits kind of snug around the shaft coming up from the back of the refrigerator and I didn't want to create any conflicts. So to avoid putting any bracing where it might get in the way, I duct taped the pieces together, temporarily, so I could coat the inside of the joints with the "Through the Roof" sealant.

"Through the Roof" is kind of a gooey, clear material, made to seal roofs, gutters, flashing and such without the ugly appearance of tar. It stays a lot more flexible and durable than asphalt based sealers. Since it gets fairly hard, in spite of remaining a little flexible, I'm hoping it will maintain the strength I need to 'glue' the pieces together. It's only drawback is, it takes a day or so to cure up fairly well.

Through the Roof Sealant

home  made RV roof vent

Once the pieces were stuck together well, and after I test fitted my 'creation' on the roof, I cut and glued in place, the dowel blocks that form the spacers to position the RV refrigerator roof vent cap on the top of the duct. This was a little tricky, because the holes in the dowels for the mounting screws need to line up pretty accurately..... Well, Doh! I wonder who forgot to get a picture of the spacer blocks?.... I just used 4 short lengths, approximately 1 1/2" to 2"., of 1" hardwood dowel.

With the blocks glued in place, I coated them with a layer of "Through the Roof" to give their attachment a little extra strength. Also, the entire outside, and inside, of the new RV refrigerator roof vent was coated, to provide additional strength, as well as the needed weather proofing.

When that was all cured, the whole caboodle got a coating of White, "Rescue 911". This is the same material I lined the Solar Power Battery Box with. I just used the White version so it would 'fit' into the roof better.

So, here is the finshed Cowboy built, RV Refrigerator Roof Vent, installed and operational!

rv roog vent

rv roof vent

rv roof vent side view

Now the only thing left to do .... is go down the road, RV Boondocking for a few years, and see if my Cowboy Built RV Refrigerator Roof Vent Cap holds up as well as I figure it will!

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