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How Important To You Is Insulating For Sound

  • Priority. I hate loud vehicles and will pay to kill the noise.

    Votes: 20 58.8%
  • Highly important. I'm looking at noise deadening options.

    Votes: 6 17.6%
  • It's a consideration. If I can do it easily and cheap.

    Votes: 7 20.6%
  • I don't care. I just want the van to look good.

    Votes: 1 2.9%

  • Total voters
    34
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Insulating for Sound

PI've decided to document sound readings in the van as I build it out.
While not being completely scientific, I have aimed to take each reading in circumstances closest to the first reading so that my baseline remains the same (or as close to it as possible).
Later on, I will document everything in more detail (probably on a blog or vlog). In the meantime, here are the readings I have to date.

Testing Info

Considerations
I don't have professional audio equipment. Using a phone app makes me realize that the readings are likely not calibrated. At least if my other paramters are the same, then I know my readings will be consistent. Example: If my phone app is off by +5dB and I get a reading of 75db instead of 70db, then that's OK because all of my other readings will be at +5db as well.
My goal was to record a tangible change and not necessarily get the exact number according to sensitive equipment.
To ensure that the phone app was working, i took a recording in my apartment (37dB) and Toyota Camry (42dB). Wow! What are they insulating the Camry with?!


Parameters
Vehicle - 3500 Promaster Extended Window Van
Average speed - 70mph
Road - Each road was cement. No asphalt was used as I wanted to get readings from rough/loud surfaces
Readings - Sound Meter app was used found in the Google Play Store
Location - Phone was held about 10" in front of me with the mic facing my chest for each reading

Readings

Completely empty van
This is the "vanilla" reading of the van. It is completely empty and sounds like a big tin can.




Feeling: The van is basically a giant, metal cavern that echoes at high frequencies. If I yell into the back of the van, there is an echo. I can barely hear the stereo. Forget about talking to passengers.

Insulation Installed with Loose Materials on floor
This reading was taken after the van had polyiso boards, Great Stuff foam and Reflectix installed.
Since these materials are not rated for sound, it is not surprising that the levels remain relatively unchanged.
At the time of taking this reading, I also had a lot of other build materials in boxes, bags, etc. on the floor




Feeling: The same echo exists but feels a little more compressed. Listening to the stereo is a little better.


Noico Sound Deadening Mat Installed
As pictured, I laid a vibration killer on the floor and wheel wells. Keep in mind that the Maxxfan has been installed in the roof and it does contribute to noise.




Feeling: While the dB range didn't move at all, I could tell a big difference. The echo was completely gone. Any sound coming through was more of a "thud" than a "ping". Conversation would now be possible with a passenger.


Polyiso and Sound Barrier
The 1/2" polyiso and Audimute Peacemaker 3.2mm has been added.




Feeling: Boom baby! This is the stuff! Since the polyiso is not rated for sound insulation, I'm giving the credit for the 5dB change to the Peacemaker. The good, muffled feeling of being in a car is starting to form. I still hear a lot of road noise, but NONE is coming from the floor. I can hear it coming through door seals, windows, etc. which is still contributing to the 70dB reading. Conversation is definitely possible at this level.

I've read others talking about bigger sound reductions or quiter van rides. At this point, I attribute that to them having a much smaller Promaster and that my build is not yet finished.
I have more sound barrier to install on the lower walls. An insulation square will also be added to the Maxxfan opening in the roof as I can definitely hear sound coming from there.
Stay tuned for readings and data as I gather them.

If you have any suggestions on making sound insulation improvements, I'm all ears (ha! I made a dad joke).
 

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Are you planning on doing the front wheel well and under the flooring. I just ordered RattleTrap for the front area and will install this weekend

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On my 159" high roof I silenced the cab roof and door pillars, added dampener in door cavity, did the foot well steps and under the drivers floor... and now hear every bit of wind whistle and chuffing from the lightweight thin glass the weight-saver engineers demanded... Oh, and I'm amazed the slider door conducts so much air noise!
 

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Finish the rear wheel wells! I noticed the biggest difference from rear wheel wells and a mass loaded vinyl layer on the floor. I took readings, but don't remember.. I think I was around 70dB before the interior build as well. Now the wind on the mirrors is the most noticeable noise.
 

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If you have any suggestions on making sound insulation improvements, I'm all ears (ha! I made a dad joke).
3M Thinsulate(tm)
You really wouldn't have needed anything else for resonance control, ambient noise and thermal R-value.
But it would still help at this point and would be highly suitable to covering your wheel tubs and in the cab area.
Much easier to install than heavy, stick-on products. And more effective at blocking noise. And you get R-value!
We have a sale going on ATM.

All the best,
Hein
DIYvan.com
 

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Thought I'd posted this somewhere, maybe in my build can't remember, but this past weekend we were camping and
in the morning I strolled to the bathhouse and passed a woman who commented on the hellacious storm of the night. Well
I'd noticed puddles of water and that the awning was damp but nothing clicked about huge lightening discharges and a voluminous
downpour. We never heard a thing.
We have Hein's stuff in the walls and celing 4 inches thick except the obvious openings like the Maxxair fan.
For the fan we did make a triple layered square of reflectix-thinsulate-reflectix.
Now I'm scratching my head wondering where I did post about this :(
 

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I wish you had not said "Now I'm scratching my head wondering where I did post about this"

It's in Julie Rehmeyer thread "Insulation Question"
 

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Not enough google search?
 

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I put about 100 sqft. of sound mat all over the walls and roof. Put hi density carpet padding on the floor and then commercial carpet. The rear wheel wells got covered in the sound mat completely in the process. Made a huge difference in the noise in t he van going down the hiway. That was the first mod I did to it two years ago. Still very happy for it. The foam and thermal insulation I did after helped a bit more. Its as quiet going down the road as my wifes mid sized Fusion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
UPDATE:



My dB readings have not changed, but the feeling is totally different. At this point, I'm done taking readings until I can fill the van with "stuff" (furniture, wall panels, bed, etc.).
Since my last update, I installed 1/8" mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) on the doors, wheel wells and lower-rear walls. The 2mm Peacemaker (lighter, cheaper and a little less effective than MLV on the STC scale) was installed on the rest of the lower and upper walls. Vinyl planks were installed as the final flooring piece. TBH, I picked up a little echo from the flooring but that is a compromise to ensure that I have an easy to clean floor.

NOTE:
MLV is HEAVY-a$$ sh1t (can we cuss on here?). At first, I used 3M 90 (conversion van builders' go-to) which failed after the first day. Then, I used 3M 80 spray and the panels came right off. I spoke to 3M and they told me to use Super Trim Adhesive 08090. That worked for about a day and then it came off. Finally, the MLV manufacturer said that vinyl cement needed to be basically lathered on the MLV panels and application surface in order to ensure permanent adhesion. I spent A LOT of money on cans of adhesive for nothing... :-(
If you are going to install your own sound barrier, I HIGHLY recommend jumping straight to a cement product and liberally apply it. That seems to be the only way to ensure a 1 lb. per sq. ft. product will stay in place.

2nd NOTE:
Looking back, I think it would have been better to layer everything differently.
If going with polyiso and GS foam as your primary insulation, I recommend application in this order:

- Sound deadening mat applied to sheet metal across entire van (20-50% coverage on walls and ceiling, 100% coverage on floor and wheel wells)
- Polyiso boards
- GS foam around edges of polyiso
- Layered wall panels
--- visible wall panel material (plastic, plywood, etc.)
--- sound barrier (MLV, Peacemaker)
--- radiant barrier (Reflectix)

By applying sound deadening mat first, you cover more sheet metal surface of the van than applying after the polyiso is in.
By making a layered wall panel, the heavy sound barrier and Reflectix gets mechanically fastened to the van with the panel and there are no additional adhesives being used (less money and offgassing). The Reflectix will have a nice air gap between it and the polyiso to do its job.


If going with Thinsulate as your primary insulation, I recommend application in this order:
- Sound deadening mat applied to sheet metal across entire van (20-50% coverage on walls and ceiling, 100% coverage on floor and wheel wells)
- Thinsulate
- Layered wall panels (see above)

If you've got the money for Thinsulate, which I recommend that you DO buy after my terrible experience with spraying foam, then you've got a little bit more to ensure silence and insulation with the MLV and Reflectix.

Feedback:
It's weird. After taking the van on a 2 week road to CO, I am not sure what to think. Going 80mph down the road, the acoustics (road noise) are muffled enough that I can hold a conversation with someone next to me... but there is SO MUCH road noise, and it seems to be coming from everywhere. I don't want to obsess over it because I could spend thousands and never get my van done. At this point, to silence further may be a futile effort without taking the van to a professional or someone offering some info that I'm not aware of.

Don't get me wrong. I am super happy with the result of all the time and money put into the sound barrier, insulation and floor, and I would recommend that future van builders purchase MLV or Peacemaker in addition to their other insulation choices.
I just know so much more about what NOT to do, that it kind of outweighs the good. haha. I also was hoping for a bigger impact in the road noise. Again, I'd have to go to a professional at this point unless someone has any more suggestions. :)
 

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UPDATE:



My dB readings have not changed, but the feeling is totally different. At this point, I'm done taking readings until I can fill the van with "stuff" (furniture, wall panels, bed, etc.).
Since my last update, I installed 1/8" mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) on the doors, wheel wells and lower-rear walls. The 2mm Peacemaker (lighter, cheaper and a little less effective than MLV on the STC scale) was installed on the rest of the lower and upper walls. Vinyl planks were installed as the final flooring piece. TBH, I picked up a little echo from the flooring but that is a compromise to ensure that I have an easy to clean floor.

Feedback:
It's weird. After taking the van on a 2 week road to CO, I am not sure what to think. Going 80mph down the road, the acoustics (road noise) are muffled enough that I can hold a conversation with someone next to me... but there is SO MUCH road noise, and it seems to be coming from everywhere. I don't want to obsess over it because I could spend thousands and never get my van done. At this point, to silence further may be a futile effort without taking the van to a professional or someone offering some info that I'm not aware of.

NOTE:
MLV is HEAVY-a$$ sh1t (can we cuss on here?). At first, I used 3M 90 (conversion van builders' go-to) which failed after the first day. Then, I used 3M 80 spray and the panels came right off. I spoke to 3M and they told me to use Super Trim Adhesive 08090. That worked for about a day and then it came off. Finally, the MLV manufacturer said that vinyl cement needed to be basically lathered on the MLV panels and application surface in order to ensure permanent adhesion. I spent A LOT of money on cans of adhesive for nothing... :-(
If you are going to install your own sound barrier, I HIGHLY recommend jumping straight to a cement product and liberally apply it. That seems to be the only way to ensure a 1 lb. per sq. ft. product will stay in place.
What is mlv? I used dynamat 30%coverage and then insulated with thinsulate and my van is quiet. Btw, everything I read says not to put vinyl planks under things that are secured to the floor (cabinets, etc). My plan was to do what you did but after reading I decided against it. What flooring did you use? I really like it.

Josh

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Discussion Starter #15
What is mlv? I used dynamat 30%coverage and then insulated with thinsulate and my van is quiet. Btw, everything I read says not to put vinyl planks under things that are secured to the floor (cabinets, etc). My plan was to do what you did but after reading I decided against it. What flooring did you use? I really like it.
Dynamat was crazy expensive so I went with Noico sound deadening mat, which is also a butyl based product.

Yep, I wish I bought the Thinsulate... life lessons.

MLV is mass-loaded vinyl.... basically a dense, vinyl barrier that blocks sound.

You're right about the vinyl planks and floating floor concerns. If you install cabinets over them, then say goodbye to the floating floor. I have already accounted for that and will be cutting a gap in the floor to accomodate anything I put down. Example: When I put down the kitchen cabinet, the material will be 1/2" thick. I will stencil out where the cabinet will go and then cut out that section of floor, along with a 1/4" gap on both sides. In the end, my floating floor still exists in the center of everything and I have flooring that can be seen when opening drawers, cabinets, etc. Maybe that isn't the most efficient way of doing it, but my floor is already in sooooo... too late!

I bought Lifeproof from Home Depot. It is the Seasoned Wood pattern. I think it took 5 boxes to do the whole van. Since the planks are multi-width and the wheel wells are there, I had to get creative and deviate from their recommended pattern. Since each plank is different, you can actually see the pattern I used. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Are you planning on doing the front wheel well and under the flooring. I just ordered RattleTrap for the front area and will install this weekend
How did it turn out? Did you take pictures or video of how you removed everything and got down to the front wheel wells?! I'm not sure how to get down there and have some sound deadening mat leftover!


On my 159" high roof I silenced the cab roof and door pillars, added dampener in door cavity, did the foot well steps and under the drivers floor... and now hear every bit of wind whistle and chuffing from the lightweight thin glass the weight-saver engineers demanded... Oh, and I'm amazed the slider door conducts so much air noise!
Yep, I added sound deadening mat to the roof and doors. It helped a lot.
How did you get under the driver's floor?
After I applied MLV to the doors, they are MUCH quieter... but you're right, the noise really comes in from the glass... what to dooooo...?
 

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How did it turn out? Did you take pictures or video of how you removed everything and got down to the front wheel wells?! I'm not sure how to get down there and have some sound deadening mat leftover!

I finally took apart the Drivers side..... Not too hard. Got all the panels out except one which covered the wheel well. It had some typ of fastnbert that I couldnt get off so I pried up the wheel well piece and cut strips to go up underneath. Worked fine and Im happd. the rest was pretty easy. All you need is a Philips and a torx head for the emergbrake lever cover. You have to remove 3 screws it to get to one screw for the stepwell, go figure! take pics BEFORE you start dismantling so you can see what order stuff goes back in. Your removing 5 pieces and the battery cover. I didn't take up the flooring as you can get up under it fine.
Took a few hours cause as soon as I got it tore apart, it dumped in a typical NWFL thunderstorm and a friend called to go to lunch!!
I know when I did the pax side it helped with road noise alot so hopefully this side will too. You can control road noise by Van Halen alot easier though!!
Next onto the door interior
 

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Feedback:
It's weird. After taking the van on a 2 week road to CO, I am not sure what to think. Going 80mph down the road, the acoustics (road noise) are muffled enough that I can hold a conversation with someone next to me... but there is SO MUCH road noise, and it seems to be coming from everywhere. I don't want to obsess over it because I could spend thousands and never get my van done. At this point, to silence further may be a futile effort without taking the van to a professional or someone offering some info that I'm not aware of.
I forget if PM's have this, but has anyone thought having a bedliner service spray the exterior of the wheel wells to chop down on the road noise?
 

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Nice write-up! I'm also near the point it's coming from EVERYWHERE. I've used gym floor material for both of my vans, and it made a huge difference. Just 5/8" of recycled rubber. Each sheet weighs 100 lbs. Debating if I should tear into the passenger can or not.

J

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I finally took apart the Drivers side..... Not too hard.
I just did that, too!
This video is really helpful.

Looks like you got a little more coverage than me... post to follow.

I forget if PM's have this, but has anyone thought having a bedliner service spray the exterior of the wheel wells to chop down on the road noise?
That might be an option for those who haven't started on their van yet. I'm too far past that point. With that said, those foam sprays are only rated for heat/cold, not sound. The way you know is by looking/asking for an STC rating. No STC rating, no sound insulation.
Are you talking about this?
 
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