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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Note: The van is my first adventure into working with a cargo vehicle to better suit my needs, it is a work in progress, so this thread will be as well. I have some ideas to improve versatility and functionality. They may work out great or may be mission impossible. But, I'll start with the simple things first. :)

The van is a 135 cargo, factory extended load partition, passenger slider & 270 degree rear doors with glass for outward visibility while driving.

Driving home after delivery, a couple weeks ago, I was rather frustrated with all the noise inside the vehicle. Especially at speed over aging interstate highways, I found it unbearable. Having a cargo partition is supposed to help keep noise down, but it is the absolute opposite. It is like a soundboard transmitting anything and everything.

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Sounds "come up" via the extended metal partition, which is integrated into the seat bases, and takes up roughly 50% under the seats towards the cargo side.

The vertical and horizontal metal parts between the seats are especially loud, and the big metal partition is just a big acoustic board.

I always figured some sound proofing was going to be required, but I never thought the vehicle would be that loud and it would be a day 1 kind of necessity.
 

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Yes, the little bags of foam down in the side wells only help a bit. Vanrug custom fit foam backed carpets help and are simple to throw down. You could insulate the back of the partition but isn't attractive unless you go over all with trunk liner.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Having read up a little bit on sound proofing, it seems foil based butyl liner applied to the bare metal surfaces is a first step. Supposedly, a little bit goes a long way (one can read about 25% - 30% surface coverage). But, in case of this seat base and partition wall, that was way too optimistic.

Being new to sound proofing, and optimistic about how fast this could go and how well this would work; I started out with segmented strips in the recesses / undulations of the partition wall, cut to size, so they'd be easier to conceal later by carpeting. Moved the seats forward, applied strips. Did the same on the cargo side. And, that did basically nothing. Zero noticeable effect.

So, I figured I needed to try something different. Unbolted the extended box parts from between the seats. Went for full coverage on the lower plank. Zero sound. Bingo!

Here you can see the first bit done, ready to do part two, brown paper removed, letting the sun hit the material just a bit so it would be a bit more malleable and stickier.

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I also decided I had to remove the partition to make it easier to work on it, so that I could have it horizontal and work on the cabin side. You can see a couple of the larger panels I had applied on the cabin side in attempt one. The other side will show up later.

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With the partition removed, I could also easily work on the areas under the seats, the box beam, cabin walls, ...

I only wanted to remove the partition once and done; so I am applying butyl tape on any surface area that the panel bolts to, as that should help minimize vibration / noise transfer.

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By the way, here's the battery under the passenger seat. Another loud tin can thing.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After covering most of the partition on the cabin side ...

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I had to wait for carpeting. So I moved the panel around and started to look behind the factory corrugated plastic panels, which sound like plastic drums.

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There is no sound deadening in the upper side walls.

(following are screen shots from a tapping for sound video, which is why my hand is prominent)

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The lower sides have one strip of spray on sound deadening foam.

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I also have a rattle here:

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So, armed with a small screw driver to undo the panel retention buttons and a box of sound deadener + scissors and some rollers. Time to tackle some of the cargo area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I don't have enough images of the rest of this stuff, as I was trying to get a move on, but suffice it to say, every open space got covered with large panels or wide long strips to best fit any large space, I applied strips in the lower areas besides any of the factory foam, any braces between the outside shell and inside of the vehicle were wrapped on one side, foam strips were strategically applied to stop any kind of panel slap or drumming in the upper panels, metal frame edges where the plastic panel corners could hit the frame got a few inches of window seal strip.

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I don't recall if I did that vertical brace, it was quiet as it has glue between it and the exterior ... but I may have applied a strip for good measure before putting the corrugated plastic back up.

Sound deadened the rear doors, reapplied the plastic and then put some window seal on to stop the panel slap.

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The rattle was this control module, unscrewed it, applied sound deader to the inside of the entire metal side you see in the image and down lower. Reinstalled module.

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
In the mean time the carpeting material arrived. Time to hide some of the sound deadener.

The material is not stretchy, the glue can be like instant stick and since the partition is rather large with a ton of undulation and I'm trying this for the first time and doing it solo, I worked in smaller panels.

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And then reinstalled the partition.

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Driving the van with everything buttoned up, she sounds like a different vehicle. Closing the doors is solid. Noise is way more subdued, I can have the radio very low, engine noise is a bit more pronounced but not really in a bad way, you can hear road noise from vehicles passing, ... and actually have a conversation now.

There is still a couple " noisy speeds " around 47-50 mph & 77-80 mph. I'm wondering if that is down to tire balance, maybe a bit of flat spotting, ...

But, all in all, even though a bit of an adventure and time consuming, with some small trials and a cautious first timer approach; it has been very worthwhile to do, and really is night and day difference. The cabin is now on par with any other typical vehicle, really, and way more pleasurable to drive.

Onto another thing that has bugged me, and probably many Metris owners: the lack of a console. And, if you have the extended cargo partition, you get a useless ski slope from the dash cubby to the partition box, and a partition box top that isn't even flat or conducive to do anything with. I have looked at dozens of consoles for vans or trucks. Most could never ever fit or be useful. I had high hopes for one model in particular, but then the arm rests ... sigh.

So, I fabbed up a couple boxes out of 3/8 plywood, to the appropriate size as to what is available between the seats, not hitting your knuckles when trying to click in or out, grabbing keys, etc. One is a bit wider and deeper, one is a bit narrower and less deep. Wrapped them in carpeting, inside and out. Screwed down my phone mounts. A couple partition cubbies may follow, but this works a treat. They pretty much friction fit in place.

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I will put a bit of double sided tape under a couple edges that are coming loose. I was trying my best not to have a ton of overspray and make a mess of things.
 

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Thanks for this writeup, I'm about to do the same thing! Do you recall how many boxes/sq. ftg. of the Noico product you used? Seems like you went further than the recommended coverage but it seems like its worth the insurance cause who wants to do this a second time. Also, you mentioned your carpet wasn't the stretchy kind, can i ask why you went that direction? Seems like the 4-way stretch type might be easier to work with? TIA!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey @handyguy

I used two boxes of Siless 80 mil 36 sq ft, to do the partition and other areas. It was cheaper than the other brand. No visible print if you need to leave some exposed.

In my trials, the idea that 20% coverage would suffice, did not hold up. Certainly not for the extended cargo seat bases and the partition. It was not until I did pretty much the entire cabin facing side up to the window level, that the panel quieted down.

The carpet-y material is PolyMat. I was not sure what to order (never having done this, local options were either none or $$$$) and was being frugal. I just wanted something to wrap the plywood bins and the face of that panel. It didn't have to be plush or anything. Just functional at covering and hiding wood or metal, and I wanted it somewhat fast, to at least get the cabin sorted at that time, so I could start using the van.

Indeed 4-way stretch material would be much easier to deal with. I saw it used in a thread recently to wrap the cargo space & panels. I wish I wrote down the name & store. But anyhow, that certainly would be easier to conform around curves etc. Though, really, for my first use, just cutting some bands, then slitting corners, etc worked fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am finally able to focus on a couple of my cargo utility ideas. It is still cold out in Northern New England, but enough is enough. I am tired of everything being able to bounce around in the cargo bay. The van is empty and inside where it is warm. Wood gets cut outside ... :)

One detail I want to highlight is the airplane track rail.

I had deduced - based on technical documentation, photos and looking at the van - that MB or at least the Metris has unique hole spacing and that that required me to order the Metris specific tracks.

This turned out to be true.

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The standard North American track bought online ( top ) and the MB specific factory Metris track ( bottom ) have slightly different “ hole & tooth “ spacing profiles for the same length of track.

So, while one can trim any track to the required length, drilling the holes ( in the generic track ) to match the holes for the bolts inside of the van, is imo not quite possible, as the teeth would get in the way.

Not completely impossible, but you would need track without holes, the careful measuring and drilling would be required to drill two holes per bolt, one for the shaft, one for the bolt head ... as needed, and the result may look quite odd with missing teeth in the track.
 

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I am finally able to focus on a couple of my cargo utility ideas. It is still cold out in Northern New England, but enough is enough. I am tired of everything being able to bounce around in the cargo bay. The van is empty and inside where it is warm. Wood gets cut outside ... :)

One detail I want to highlight is the airplane track rail.

I had deduced - based on technical documentation, photos and looking at the van - that MB or at least the Metris has unique hole spacing and that that required me to order the Metris specific tracks.

This turned out to be true.

View attachment 18686

The standard North American track bought online ( top ) and the MB specific factory Metris track ( bottom ) have slightly different “ hole & tooth “ spacing profiles for the same length of track.

So, while one can trim any track to the required length, drilling the holes ( in the generic track ) to match the holes for the bolts inside of the van, is imo not quite possible, as the teeth would get in the way.

Not completely impossible, but you would need track without holes, the careful measuring and drilling would be required to drill two holes per bolt, one for the shaft, one for the bolt head ... as needed, and the result may look quite odd with missing teeth in the track.
Good to know. How do you plan to use this track relative to your racking/equipment needs?

I’m now beginning the long journey of transitioning tools and materials to my Metris from my old van and trying to figure out where to start. This track seems to have interesting possibilities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The track has very interesting attachment options.

Long story short: I need the van to be able to do various duties on the fly: moving tools securely, hauling lumber & drywall including 4x8 supplies for projects, function as a moving van for one more more pieces of furniture, be able to pick up bulky items, be able to hopefully again function as something that hauls a paddle board, surf board, ...

As such I cannot commit to a commercial outfit of any kind of racking, the way an electrician, a/c tech, ... contractor may, with stationary shelves on one side or both sides, even the flip up folding shelves would pose troublesome.

I have a couple ideas for track installation and positioning.

Originally I had planned to double up the floor and have in floor tracks, but I figured that was secondary or tertiary to my actual needs, and I didn't feel like drilling into the floor. Plus technically one may have to bolt through to the subframe, so the real deal would be to remove the factory floor, bolt through ... which is more than I personally can handle. ( not a mechanic with lift or pit ) ( not eager to drill any hole in a vehicle ).

I primarily want to
1) hold stuff against the walls
2) be able to partition stuff towards the back or front
3) create an elevated platform on the fly if need be, so sheets could go under, but some tools could still be elevated
4) do some kind of tool towers on top of the wheel wells
5) put a filler box in the side step ( hate it when stuff falls in there, then jumps out when you open the door )

The 3 MB lashing rails ( that did not come with my van ( it would have if it was custom order, but purchased this from a dealer lot ) ) will get mounted horizontally in their factory position.
Where the tracks ordinarily go, inset from the frame a little, it will get shimmed out 3/8 or 5/16 of an inch, to flush that out with the frame; with then a 3/8 inch sheet of plywood covering the sidewalls before the horizontal track is installed. The plywood walls will get sandwiched under the track.

The other airline tracks, I have a couple of ideas. One on the partition wall.
A pair of them may go on a set of 2x6 that will function to separate the van in half.

I picked up some vertical e-track with some cargo divider cups. Cups can be installed and removed as needed. The 2x can drop into them as needed, then provides a physical rolling barrier but can also get a track fitting clicked in for a tie down.

My tools are transitioning from whatever they were in (boxes, bins, bags, ...) to Ridgid & MW Packout modular units. With my Town & Country and Grand Caravan it was easy to do one layer of boxes throughout, or have the middle seats up and pile everything in half the van, or just use the space behind the bench. Stuff stayed put pretty easily with carpeting and spreading things out as needed behind 1 to 3 rows.

I am taking some pictures of the progress.

Nothing seems level, plumb, square ... compared to a house, shed, trailer, box van ... so it is a bit of a process of measuring, brain storming, mapping, remapping, templating, paper draft, ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A quick look with a 2 ft level and 4 ft level for reference ...

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^ quite a bit of curving in above 2 feet

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^ The Torx bolts hold the two factory reinforcement bars in place. Without them they fall down in the wall cavity.
Green marks the position of factory track holes.
Shim will have two sets of holes. One for Torx bolts, one for the track. One Torx bolt will move one spot to make space for the factory track bolt.

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Rough outline for panel 1.

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Clear plastic templating.

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Shim detail. Before drilling.

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Shim installed into the black bars inside the wall. Grey paneling back in place.
 

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A lot of great detail there. I appreciate it when people go to these level of detail and post it for others. Thank you.

I'm in the Packout club. I've switched to them for everything. I've even considered them for luggage :)

This guy makes some nice mounts:

This guy sells foam inserts:

Interesting that the Logistics Track from MB is different. I guess its not different enough that it wouldn't accept most L track fittings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you. I love my new van and am hoping to give back a little bit to the people here who helped me decide to get a Metris, and showed us all what they've done or are in the process of doing. Maybe it also helps those who may be on the fence about getting a Metris or even some other vehicle. My conversion will be pretty limited, and purely practical, I have no mechanical training, but have an eye for detail and love to learn. Maybe I will put an inverter and solar panels in before too long ;) :)

If you are in the Packout Club ... do you have Packout Slim organizers?
Do you have a 3D printer?

I have designed a few small things to make the organizers shine a bit more ... and allow for 4 to 18 different items per cup.

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Yes. Have a printer. Those look great. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the new 2 and 3 drawer units. Curious to see how they handle small parts if they get turned over. Little spendy, but I may use them for the camp kitchen.

The folding metal racks look like they can work in a van.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Was able to make some progress the past couple of days.

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Primarily needed the above to locate the through holes for the rail bolts.
I could not use the holes on the B pillar, because my partition is in the way of using nut-serts.
Panel painted a few coats of white.
Adhesive foam layer applied to back of plywood where it will be touching metal surfaces.

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Starting to play with panel two. Same process.
Concealed from view by the track resting on a few bolts: there are two pairs of holes for each position.
The black lines (dry erase marker) indicate the bolt positions that MB Track actually uses.
Laser is of limited use, as the van is about 3/8 out of level across 32" span.

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Blue tape indicates top of 48" panel. Shim is made but resting on top of the bolts. Doing a paper template for the wheel arch.
Adhesive foam is applied to the parts of the wheel arch that the wooden box may touch.

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Panel is about ready to go in.
Adhesive foam where wood would be touching metal parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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Helping hand with the shim ...

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Helping hands with the panel positioning.
I didn't know the plywood was in that rough a shape ... but it was all that the big box store had on hand in 3/8.

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Practical mockup of the wheel well box, as tight as I could make it. Not conventional, but structural and vertically load bearing for whatever may rest on it.

I had a few different ideas, wanted to do hidden fasteners to the wall ... but keep in mind the plywood is 3/8 with MB panels behind it ( so yeah, no 2x behind it to bolt too (was part of an earlier idea, if I left the factory panels off ). Plus hidden fasteners would have its disadvantages should they ever need to come off the wall, whether for myself (upgrading, selling van, ...) or somebody else. This is just utility grade. Exposed access is simple and easy. So an external border it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Fast forward to passenger side done as well, more fasteners and paint ...

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Because I knew I would never be able to apply any kind of liner to the wheel wells, once I put the boxes on, I went ahead and lined the wheel wells.

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Playing around with two mockup shelves for tops, sized to what would be needed to hold some Ridgid baskets ...
 
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