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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just purchased the 135 inch cargo, like it a lot. Came with all options I pretty much wanted. Before I made the purchase I looked into the scenario if I got a van without the paneling, what about me adding it. 2 reasons for adding it would be for a little R value in insulation and also for road sound. So here is what I discovered. The paneling that comes with the van is about the thickness of thick cardboard, same type of construction but in plastic, with a wavely like crosection to it. I have found a material of similar thickness to this that may even be better. Luan board - with a mahogany like outside layer to it maybe close to 3/16 of an inch thick. I am thinking about buying the plastic clips online from a metris parts list distributer and drilling holes in luan plywood to secure in place. If there is something I can use from a hardware store instead of this, I would like to hear suggestions please.
Now for the soundproofing the salesman told me to just throw insulation bats in the cavities before closing them up.
I am Leary about this and explain why. I am concerned about condensation forming somehow when fiberglass insulation installed especially when you have a mixture of cold sheet metal somehow coming in contact with a trapped warm barrier or void somewhere inside after it’s closed up. I have a lot of practical knowledge in the building industry as it pertains to vapour barriers insulation etc. I have noticed a metallic insulation like bubbly wrap glued directly on metal, and this is probably within reason, and not really noticed any real stuffing of open fiberglass like material. Also what about the thick lightweight foam board that typically gets used gluing to concrete wall of crawl spaces or basement foundations it’s typically pink or blue in color and an 1 1/2” or 2 inches thick. Would like to hear other people’s advice or what they have done. I think that if I lived in a place like Arizona I wouldn’t be concerned about creating a moisture vapour barior problem, but I live in North Carolina where in gets humid and cold and humid and warm. Suggestions???
 

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Closed cell foam will not help you acoustically. Pretty much the only way it can absorb sound is through some kind diaphragmatic action, and even then it's only in very corner cases (narrow bandwidth, difficult to deploy etc). To avoid moisture, I believe that you can seal fibrous material (fiberglass, mineral wool, old blue jeans etc) into bags and stuff them in the body. Further, there are plenty of threads on this forum about various materials to adhere to the body panels to minimize panel vibrations.
 

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I fabricated fiberglass battens cut to fit around the extrusions in the lower panel areas, fit them into heavy plastic bags shaped to fit as well and sealed with Tyvek tape. For the upper areas I applied self stick aluminum backed 1/2" closed cell foam which has both insulative and sound deadening attributes. The ceiling got two layers of the foam sheet before paneling. I had my dealer install most of the wall panels as part of the deal but are available online at this page: https://www.genuinemercedesparts.co...engine/body-cat/interior-trim-side-panel-scat

All the panels are available from Mercedes 'except' for the upper barn doors. For those I made templates then transferred them to 3/16" Masonite (which is the same as the oem lower door panels). It should be noted that though both upper barn doors look identical, they are not and will require 2 templates.
The Mercedes plastic push-pin rivets are a couple of bucks apiece from the wholesaler (much higher from the dealer) but you can pay pennies apiece for Chinese knock-offs on Amazon. The upper and lower ones are different lengths and widths so you'll need to measure in mm before ordering.The OEM pins are much easier to push in and will survive repeated installations and removals whereas the Chinese ones are more one use only but for the most part you really only need to use them once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Something so simple as fiberglass in a sealed garbage bag, interesting. I did find a small 6x6 factory bag in the corner filled with a little batten like material, kind of looked like someone hiding a small bad of drugs. Thought it was weird such a small quality in the rear corner. Bfreidah, that silver stuff looks like duct insulation of which I have a bunch of, it has 1 1/2 insulation on one side and silver foil wrap on the other, maybee that would work. For the roof the 1/2 styrofoam sheet sounds good as it’s depth is practical for ceiling and ceiling does not require much soundproofing, as more soundproofing is needed on the sides, so that’s a good idea. Thanks for posting!
 

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Those stock bags are to reduce road noise I believe and are normally scattered throughout the lower panel areas; for some reason my van had none. The silver stuff I used was neoprene foam and you want to stick with closed cell for the same reasons as sealing the insulation bags so as not to allow moisture to penetrate. The duct wrap you mention would risk trapping moisture and rusting out the sheet metal. Styro foam panels would be a nice cheap alternative as long as you can glue them flush with the metal; you don't want heat to works it's way around the panel and complete coverage keeps heat/cold from conducting through the metal to the inside. From my experience there aren't any real straight lines or flat surfaces in the cargo area. The good stuff is usually pretty pricey per square ft. I found this (again chinesey) product on ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/60sqft-Hea...-Mat-390mil-/323331648123?hash=item4b48116a7b

I'm a few months in with it and it has shown no evidence of coming loose at all so far.
 

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I'm still not convinced the ROI is there for adding insulation. You still have a lot of thermal bridging. Adding sound deadening mat to the flat panels is easy and would reduce sound without the effort of insulation. If you want to reduce cabin noise using soft surfaces will reduce reflection. I don't think you can get much of any R value and for the size of the van and amount of glass I really don't see the point.

Actually, keeping a bale of fiberglass insulation or rockwool in the van on the floor would probably do more to reduce sound than installing it in the walls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I like the idea of rock wool. Being a cleaner product then fiberglass and does a little of both insulate and prevent sound mitigation. And better with moisture control.
 

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Do not use the link above for side panels if you have a 135. The genuinemercedesparts.com URL will take you to the panels for a 126. The rear panels (behind C-pillar) are different to accommodate the extra 9 inches in length.

There are factory plastic panels made from lightweight, food-safe Con-Pearl. They were not available on the 2018 135. The 2019 DOG says:

METRIS 447 VA3
FULL HEIGHT PLASTIC PANELING, SIDEWALLS/REAR DOORS
DETAILS & TECHNOLOGY
The sliding door(s), rear walls and the rear doors/tailgate are lined with approximately one-fifth-inch thick gray
polypropylene (PP) Con Pearl plastic panels. The trim extends as far as the edge of the roof. The plastic panels
are food-safe, moisture-resistant, washable, abrasion-resistant and recyclable.

Although it refers to the 447, the VA3 also specs for the 477.605 (135).

As far as insulation, I wouldn't waste my money on Reflectix or its knock off equivalents. Despite the cost, I've concluded that Thinsulate SML600 is the way to go. It is Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard certified and its hydrophobic fibers resist moisture, mold and mildew. Although billed as primarily acoustic insulation, it reportedly has an R-value just under 6.
 

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Polypropylene is very food safe- those cheap oversized clear gloves food workers use is made of the stuff.

However unless you are planning on transporting exposed produce or meat, food safety value is largely irrelevant. The truth is that few containers are truly food safe, excluding glass and glazed kiln-fired ceramics (also glass, actually). If you aren’t using actively toxic stuff for your wall (think mercury) it’s not going to make much of a difference.

Non perishable Stuff in plastic bottles and jars expiration date is based on the FDA estimate of a “safe” amount of plastic leeching. Meaning it’s leeching it a roughly constant rate (actually, I’d guess the amount of leeching goes down over time, if anything). Mercedes will select polypropylene because they are Mercedes and they do everything in the most stuck up euro-compliant way they can, which is why they limit a product that can go 124 mph on the autobahn to 101 mph in the US Of Bad Drivers.

Cutting ordinary craft corrugated plastic will be fine, especially since that is intended for user cutting by children, so it’s not particularly toxic. I also think any properly sized and threaded fastener will do just fine attaching it to the predrilled holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just made my own panels the other day. And added a small amount of insulation mainly for sound deadening. When looking into the open cavities, I did see a hole in the bottom leading to the undercarriage outside, as there was daylight coming through. I left this unrestricted so as to allow airflow behind the panels, I don’t think it’s a good idea to choke it off, my own personal opinion. I did encounter numerous bags the factory had put in stuffed with a lightweight white foam. My panels turned out well, I actually bought the plastic rivets from Lowe’s, after buying like 5 different sizes, I just tried it out in the parking lot until I found the right rivet, and returned the rest, to me that’s better then dealing with amazon. You get them at the hardware section of store in one of the slideout bins labeled automotive. I cleaned them right out of everyone they had I am a few short but will get them from another Lowe’s. This leihtweight mahogany faced luan board is cheap on $16 for a sheet. Rivets were cheap as well like $1.08 for 2 at a place like advanced automotive they want like $2.50 -$3 each what a rip. I wish my van came with factory panels, but you can’t always get what you want when you are buying off the lot. The panels that came on my 2 rear barn doors were kind of an mdf coated with a grey laminate like finish, along with the slider door, so at least that part was done.
One thing I will add here is that when I purchased van last week I got the bill of sale and title in my hands saying I paid. Well I left the dealership without payment, he forgot to charge my account. Didn’t even get my my bank records. I phoned him back after a day later and told him, and he said thanks for your honesty. Wow! Never had happen before!
 

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If you want to go semi low rent try bagged packing peanuts! I had been keeping my packing peanuts, not really knowing how to best recycle them. When the time came to insulate the van, I applied some of the sound deadening stuff, bagged the peanuts up in some high mil sealable plastic bags (flattening the peanuts in the bag before sealing) and shoved them in the larger spaces. I only did this in the larger spaces because I also used Reflectix with spacers and thinsulate. I found a few oem panels on eBay and made the rest (the back panels) with cheap corrugated white plastic, secured with heavy duty Velcro. The upper panels got covered in cheap fleece blanket cut to fit. I can just pop off a back panel or two to check for condensation. To date, no problems. I like everyone’s solutions and may employ one or two of them if I end up tiring of mine.
 

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Closed cell foam will not help you acoustically. Pretty much the only way it can absorb sound is through some kind diaphragmatic action, and even then it's only in very corner cases (narrow bandwidth, difficult to deploy etc). To avoid moisture, I believe that you can seal fibrous material (fiberglass, mineral wool, old blue jeans etc) into bags and stuff them in the body. Further, there are plenty of threads on this forum about various materials to adhere to the body panels to minimize panel vibrations.
Let me clarify my response. Not that it matters to anyone but me;)...

When I say that closed cell foam will not help, I'm referring to closed cell panel materials like the pink wall board that is used in house construction or panels of white styrofoam like you might find in a box that someone shipped to you. Don't expect these to help much at all in terms of reducing road noise etc. If glued to the wall panels you might find some frequencies that are quenched but it will be a crap shoot and there are much more effective products to use instead. For instance, there are closed cell foam products that actually do acoustical things (like limp mass products in particular) and they may be appropriate for various parts of this modification.

I'm considering a project to make insulated "blankets" with neo magnets in the periphery to stick to the ceiling and walls of my cargo van. A couple months ago we tried a little overnight in the van and found that we had condensation dripping on us all night. I'm considering a polyester material (look up Fabricmate Recore) as I think it might be safe from a moisture stand point although I'm not sure about it's thermal capabilities.
 

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Polypropylene is very food safe- those cheap oversized clear gloves food workers use is made of the stuff.

However unless you are planning on transporting exposed produce or meat, food safety value is largely irrelevant. The truth is that few containers are truly food safe, excluding glass and glazed kiln-fired ceramics (also glass, actually). If you aren’t using actively toxic stuff for your wall (think mercury) it’s not going to make much of a difference.

Non perishable Stuff in plastic bottles and jars expiration date is based on the FDA estimate of a “safe” amount of plastic leeching. Meaning it’s leeching it a roughly constant rate (actually, I’d guess the amount of leeching goes down over time, if anything). Mercedes will select polypropylene because they are Mercedes and they do everything in the most stuck up euro-compliant way they can, which is why they limit a product that can go 124 mph on the autobahn to 101 mph in the US Of Bad Drivers.

Cutting ordinary craft corrugated plastic will be fine, especially since that is intended for user cutting by children, so it’s not particularly toxic. I also think any properly sized and threaded fastener will do just fine attaching it to the predrilled holes.
Yeah GML, I'm not trying to sell Con-Pearl, nor do I give a rat's a** about food safety as I don't plan on eating off my van walls, I was simply explaining what the wall panels are and offering some caution about a bad URL.

You do have a good idea about using cheaper corrugated panels and cutting to size. I found Coroplast 4x8 panels at Home Despot for about $22.

Back to the OP, I would be concerned about the weight of Luan panels with the standard plastic clips, but I suppose it's easy enough to test. I wanted the VA3 Con-Pearl for my own van to have the templates. In addition, I remain very unkeen about the prospect of drilling more holes in the van than absolutely necessary, so the push clips and lightweight plastic seemed to be a great interim -- or longer-- solution.
 

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Are you sure? These are really thin and light. a 4x8 sheet is about 11 pounds.

Not at all sure. 11# is much lighter than I guessed.
 

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I would concur strongly about not drilling; breaking the paint and galvanizing with a drill will most likely result in tears; before full galvanizing began in Vittoria in 2006, Vito vans were known the continent over for their propensity to rust. I suspect a drilled hole not very dilligently resealed will be where your van will start rusting.

There are plenty of holes already; make use of them. I installed a variety of very heavy shelves and (essentially) a jungle gym for hanging heavy clothes off in a Sprinter for a vender friend and the pre-drilled holes (and unsecured floor supports for the jungle gym) easily handled holding that thing, probably 1500+ lbs of weight when loaded with hoodies and pole tent equipment and the like.
 

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I would concur strongly about not drilling; breaking the paint and galvanizing with a drill will most likely result in tears; before full galvanizing began in Vittoria in 2006, Vito vans were known the continent over for their propensity to rust. I suspect a drilled hole not very dilligently resealed will be where your van will start rusting.

There are plenty of holes already; make use of them. I installed a variety of very heavy shelves and (essentially) a jungle gym for hanging heavy clothes off in a Sprinter for a vender friend and the pre-drilled holes (and unsecured floor supports for the jungle gym) easily handled holding that thing, probably 1500+ lbs of weight when loaded with hoodies and pole tent equipment and the like.
You're talking about the waistline M-8's? I agree and am designing my bed area around access to the M-8s, maybe a fabbed aluminum frame. I'm trying to figure out the Origami for my folding design. Foot of bed doubles as bench for table hung on passenger sliding door, pass swivel for the other side. I have settled on sink/counter behind driver, hoping the cabinet works as electrics home as house battery is under driver's seat.
Removable stove -- cooking indoors done as a matter of necessity for me, not choice.

Do we have any engineers aboard who could guesstimate a safe static load on a stainless M-8 in the Metris?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey focus. The luan works awesome and is pretty lightweight. I happened to find some sticky goopy tary like gasket tape material I had laying around the house. It’s about 3/8 of an inch wide. Put that on first then pressed the board on and just that stuck like sh%#$t to a blancket not only hat but prevents potential vibration nosies of paneling against body. Then I applied rivits, and let me tell you the rivets are in there pretty tight I had to tap in lightly with hammer. Works great!
 

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Do we have any engineers aboard who could guesstimate a safe static load on a stainless M-8 in the Metris?
Way more than you would ever put on it. I think you should have no concern at all about shearing the bolts attached at the side mount points with a static load.
 
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