NV200: Fitting skylight

Click for: NV200 Campervan build index, Also all Necessary tools used. Full conversion spec here. All photos taken during build

We wanted a Heki Midi – but once we got the van we thought it was too big, so in the end got a Heki air quad, 400×400 installation with fixed ventilation.

But having never installed before, we knew this would be a challenge!

Firstly, I made a frame out of new planed 3×1 timber, cut 2x bits to 402mm, and 2 bits longer to make up the box.  Then glued them and screwed together using the pocket hole jig.  This is the first time I’ve used the jig in anger, and quite impressed how easy it was to make the quad perfectly square and strong.

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We then marked the roof beam and cut it with a oscillating multitool – which make the cuts easy without damaging the roof.  The beam is just glued to the roof and the multitool cut the bonding and a bit of bending and the beam section came out.  Then used zinc primer to prime the cut edges to stop rust, and then bonded the remaining bit to the roof for extra strength.

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Have to say – the right tools made this bit really easy.

I then marked the blind layout on the frame, and rounded it all off to match the contour (multitool) and left to set.

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Then offered the frame into position and marked all places I could get 3mm ply, and then cut the ply to fill the gaps so the finished frame wasn’t more than 3mm gap to the metal.

Then, this was bonded in place with loads of stixall until set.  All the gaps were filled with stixall such that if the roof ever leaked it’d come out through the main hole onto the blind, and not be able to run along the roof inside the van.

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The ceiling was then insulated and lined around the frame.

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The corners were then drilled with 25mm holes, (upwards till centre of hole cutter goes through, then to down.  Then externally was masked and then cut with a metal jigsaw to cut the hole.  This was then filed and primed.

The roof was then masked off to prevent mastic spreading onto the paint.  In the “indents” , PVC from my local window supplier was cut to fit (with small gap for sealant) and sealed in place using the non setting mastic, and the roof frame then installed with thick sealant and then screwed down to the frame.  Once fitted the sealant was made to look neat and constant, and then the masking tape removed, and the mastic wet down.

Overall went as planned – BUT – word of warning 🙁

The jigsaw made a perfect job, nice fine metal blade, perfect cut flush to wood.  Only when the masking tape was removed from the roof did we notice the jigsaw BADLY scratched the roof – the rear must have a sharp corner, and at certain angles it must’ve dug in. Fortunately its the roof not the side so can’t be seen, but otherwise it’d be a 10/10 job – as it is we had to order a scratch repair kit 🙁  Its primed and wont rust, so all OK, but just frustrating.  Maybe next time use jigsaw on ply?  Grrr

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5 thoughts on “NV200: Fitting skylight”

  1. Ryan /Mel

    I see lots of van conversions removing a section of the roof beam to allow a squarish vent to be fitted.

    One thing that concerns me is the purpose of the roof beam is perhaps there to provide van shell rigidity.

    Having seen so many examples of it done I guess it is OK to do this, but would be grateful for your comments on that.

    I also know that some manufacturers (or their approved dealers invalidate warranties. A major national UK dealership once told me that if I was to repair a faulty window motor regulator in a Renault Scenic myself, that they would not honour the warranty on the car…. but I think they were just being “jobs worths”

    Like you, I am probably going to buy a new NV200 van.

    jim

    1. The roof struts in the NV do not appear structural – they are more anti-rattle and to give roof some ridigity if you stand on it. I was also worried, but no problem. They are just glued on – so I cut through the bar and then the glue. No issues. Its not for roll over protection or anything like that

      The dealer said “anything you touch may not be covered by warrantee” which is fair enough. I explained what I was doing and they said “well if you cut a hole and it rusts its not going to be covered”. However my build deliberately didn’t touch any of the van drivetrain – apart from the diesel pick up and the battery – but no “changes” made – just my additions added.

      The dealer appeared fair, understanding, and chilled. As well as being well priced – and even a £15/m service plan (which is dirt cheap).

  2. Hi guys,

    Inspired by your brilliant blog I am just about to purchase a NV200.

    Couple of questions about ventilation.

    Do you find that the roof vent is sufficient or would one including a fan help. Also how much do you use the aircon in the cab. As I’m buying secondhand there are not many Accentas with aircon but I have my eye on a Tekna.

    Sorry one more question. If doing this again with all the info you have would you fit a poptop for more headroom , or do they just not work well with solar panels and the issue of ventilation when they are in the down position. I know that there is also the cost to consider.

    Thanks
    Karen.

    1. Hi Karen.
      The roof light is brilliant, perfect size and good enough ventilation (quad air). Lots of light. TBH – we have the rear and off-side windows covered most of the time…. (On a campsite as we speak, and that’s how we are! Windscreen covered too. Its fine for normal UK temps. We have bought a fiamma fan which is 12v and clips over – not used yet but on our last trip in France we needed it (heat wave!). The cab aircon – yes, we do use a lot if we are in a hot climate… It also demists the windscreen quicker.
      Been on campsite 4 nights (Edinburgh festival) running 12v compressor fridge and with solar only – and current at 103% full lol. So solar for us is essential. As for pop-top… Personal choice. We’d not have one if we did an NV again we’re happy with out, but some others swear by them. 90% of our usage is AWAY from campsites so pop-top not always suitable. We don’t “live in” the van – we’re always out and about. different usage, and you may want one. Or a bigger van! Deffo personal choice….. Get onto the NV200 camper group on facebook – you will get many more ideas.
      Hope this helps

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