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Old 03-29-2019, 10:44 PM   #1
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Sound/Thermal Insulation Recommendations?

Looking to collect a few data points before I have some time off in Summer to work on the van..

I've got a '97 RB E-250 that was/is an ex-cargo van with what's essentially a standard passenger interior retrofitted into it. It doesn't have a box of marbles under the dog house, but I would like to make it a little quieter for cruising @70-85 down the highway and not having to blast the radio to hear it.
I've also been frustrated that in the summer (Bay area/Livermore) it can be really hard to cool the van simply because there is so much space to cool, and that in the winter up here in Montana it can take a while to heat up.


I've heard a bit about 2lb mass loaded vinyl (MLV) and 3M Thinsulate.

I was thinking about using the MLV on the floor, doubled up under the front seats and doubled up around the wheel wells. I figure it would work OK for sound deadening and don't have to worry about it compressing too much.

Biggest issue is finding this stuff for a reasonable deal. Seems like everyone who is selling it wants $4-5/sqft before shipping (really heavy) or sales tax. I've found some 1.5#/sqft for ~$2/sqft, but I'm not sure how much sound deadening is lost between 1.5# and 2#.


I've also been wondering about some of the thicker 3M Thinsulate since its lighter/cheaper to put under stock side paneling and I'm more interested in thermal insulation on the sides and roof. Depending on what you get some of it is supposed to be fire resistant.

One of my big worries is here in the winter it isn't uncommon to get a sheet of ice to freeze onto the roof of the van, and the last thing I want is to be going down the highway and have a sheet of ice lift off the back of the van and hit someone else.

Stupid thought- Anyone make "roof heaters" for insulated van roofs?


Other ideas for sound and thermal insulation that might be better from a cost-benefit analysis? I feel uneasy about spray foam, kind of messy and hard to do electrical work and especially hard to "undo" it if desired later.

Just interested to hear some data points, what works, what doesn't. Thanks!
-Erik
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Old 03-30-2019, 08:11 AM   #2
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Erik - there are lots of threads and information re: sound deadening and thermal insulation on this and other forums.

Sound - make sure your engine hatch gasket is well sealed. You will have a few types of sound looking to pass into the cabin. Higher Freq - think of it as water, so seal all holes. Lower freq road and mechanical sound - this will resonate through body panels mostly the floor - use of MLV or stick on deadening products will help with this.

Lots of sound comes through the firewall, front doors, foot wells and side doors. Perhaps concentrating thinner MLV in these areas could be your approach. You will be surprised at how many holes for wire/cable pass throughs exist in this area. Just make sure to leave the weep holes at bottom of doors and walls clear. If you are adding a floor to the rear you will be adding lots of mass. Find a way to decouple the flooring from the metal using soft materials so the floor does not become a resonating surface. This is one of the reasons why I use either no or very few fasteners to attach the interior floor to the metal floor. If you are doing cabinets, this will also add mass. If you have the stock passenger carpet, it is excellent at deadening sound. So, this provides layer by layer solution to dealing with sound.

Thermal Insulation - “still” air is a great insulator when combined with a thermal break. A layer of insulation (Thinsulate) on the inside face of the outer walls is a good start. Then another layer on the inside face of the inner wall and double up where there is only the outer skin. Three types of thermal transfer have to be dealt with - convection, conduction and radiation. Study those and you will see why still air works well.

Hope that helps a bit. You will find lots of opinions and approaches to these two subjects. I would highly recommend staying away from spray in foams or materials that will collect and trap/retain moisture in the closed spaces.
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Old 03-30-2019, 01:49 PM   #3
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Erik - there are lots of threads and information re: sound deadening and thermal insulation on this and other forums.
Not trying to be snarky.... I used the "search function" and found half a dozen threads that loosely pertained to what I am after, all pre-2016(ish). Then there were a slew of them in 2007/2008. Looking back through the half dozen threads, none of them are what I'm after, they are all "spray-in" or "Just use Dynamat!" threads.

A lot of these/you guys are also running custom interiors. I am not, and at least for the foreseeable future, do not plan to change mine from the clubwagon/passenger interior. I would like to retain the original interior.

If in the future I would like to run wires for one reason or another, I don't want to put up with spray-in stuff or things that cannot "easily" be removed to run wires, whether for internal lighting or other.

Something that I also feel was overlooked or even not addressed to begin with in a lot of these threads is who sells higher quality stuff for competitive prices. If two products perform near-identical, and one is $2/sqft no-name brand, and the other is $5/sqft big-name brand, I'd like to save myself what would likely work out to be several hundred dollars that I would preferably spend on other modifications (Seats, bumpers, whatever). As much as I'd like to have tens of thousands of dollars to throw at a 22 year old truck and just buy name brand everything and pay someone else to do all the labor for me, I don't.

I have also not seen anyone address the issue of melting ice off the roof of an Econoline, but have seen that some people say they have "over-insulated" and it took hours to have the ice melt off the top of the van. Even without insulation, when it is cold out up here (-10, -20) it can take 30+ minutes to get the ice off because at an idle the heat never warms up nearly as much as when driving.


Please don't get me wrong- if I have totally missed someone (And being human and prone to errors, I probably have...) who has recently (last 5 years) addressed these issues specifically without it being "Use Spray-in/Dynamat!" I'd be interested, I just haven't seen these specific questions.
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Old 03-30-2019, 04:22 PM   #4
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Hi Erik,



We have a 1997 E350 7.3L diesel.
It is loud, and this is the recipe I plan to follow this summer to reduce the noise:

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ect-10280.html


I don't really have the answer to the temperature insulation and ice sheets on the roof. But we live in Montana too, and this is what I do: I climb on the fixed ladder and sweep/push snow off the roof rack after a big snow fall. I haven't had an issue with sheets of ice forming that may cause danger to other traffic. Perhaps the roof rack reduces the probability of ice sheets.
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Old 03-30-2019, 05:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Marcel Huijser View Post
Hi Erik,



We have a 1997 E350 7.3L diesel.
It is loud, and this is the recipe I plan to follow this summer to reduce the noise:

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ect-10280.html


I don't really have the answer to the temperature insulation and ice sheets on the roof. But we live in Montana too, and this is what I do: I climb on the fixed ladder and sweep/push snow off the roof rack after a big snow fall. I haven't had an issue with sheets of ice forming that may cause danger to other traffic. Perhaps the roof rack reduces the probability of ice sheets.
I do remember seeing that thread a while back, must have forgotten about it.

It does (to some degree) highlight my question of "Is Dynamat is really the best for your money?". The OP mentioned it had cost him approximately $650... I figure that a 110sqft roll of 1.5# MLV is $250(jss.net) and the CCF to go beneath it might be another $100(foamorder.com)? The only downside I see is that both are about 1/8" thick (or 3/4" if I went with the 1/2" foam), and as a result that might mess with how things mount towards the bottom of the interior panels or the transfer case linkage.


I'm hearing "Spend the extra couple hundred bucks" rather than try and find a crafty workaround?

As far as snow on the roof... I have had some bigger (maybe 3'x4') ice form on the back half of the van roof.... In the past I have driven with snow on the roof and cause a whiteout for 3 lanes of traffic behind me (Ended up pulling over and spent 15 minutes cleaning snow off the roof), and pulling onto the freeway from Logan heading back to Bozeman I've seen in the mirror 1-1.5' square pieces of ice peel off the roof at 70-75 mph and shatter on the freeway behind me (That I had tried to brush/break off in the parking lot before I left, knowing what they were likely going to do).

I agree that for 360 days of the year, a roof heater is a stupid trivial thing that most people would scoff at... I have had a few days where I really wish I could sit in the van and flip a switch for 5 minutes, clear the ice off, and get going.
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Old 03-30-2019, 11:04 PM   #6
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Sound/Thermal Insulation Recommendations?

I pretty much followed what Marcel pointed out in the thread link above for the front cab. I used Noico, which is the same stuff as Dynamat, for the rest of the van on the recent rebuild. Hard to beat Thinsulate for insulation, has both acoustical and thermal properties, made our rig sound and feel nice and buttoned up.
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