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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I wanted to share a bit what I have done this far to insulate / isolate my 2019 passenger van. I'm using the terms both insulate and isolate as I fairly quickly realized it would be quite difficult to achieve great insulation for heat/cold.

My primary objective therefore was to improve sound isolation, and perhaps add a little bit of insulation.

The material I chose was Thinsulate that I purchased through DIY Van in Hood River, OR. They were great and had my material shipped out quickly.

I bought 15ft of the 3M Thinsulate AU4002-5 double scrim and 17 ft of the 3M Thinsulate SM 400L material and after insulating/isolating my van (excluding the rear section panels - as I'm working on those still) I have about 5 ft left plus scraps.

I opted for the SM400 series thickness Thinsulate. This is because I was thinking the 600 series would be too thick to fit inside the passenger panels, and also because I was planning on making window covers from the double scrim AU4002-5 series. (I ended up not making those window covers, at least not yet) and nearly ran out of the approximate total 30 ft I purchased.

This Thinsulate is great to work with and the thickness of the 400 series feels just about the right for the passenger van. I figured if there was a place for the thickness of a 600 series material, I could always double and layer the 400 series.

As per my usual I'm going to upload a bunch of photos as I feel those will give the most information and guidance to anyone who wants to do something similar.

I started insulating the headliner as I had removed it to guide my solar panel wires through the roof. I won't go into detail on how to remove the panels but willing to help whoever has a problem. I think the info is out there on the inter webs, if you search. The one thing to note about the rear headliner is that I strongly advice you to have another person assist.

Perhaps not the best picture, but the front separate headliner panel over the driver seat I cut a sheet of thinsulate that was almost exactly the size of the headliner. I left a little bit space on the far left and right side along the side of the van, because I didn't want to take a risk of having the insulation interfere with the airbags. I also left a little space non-insulated above the overhead control panel because I just felt I didn't want to cause any issues in that area. The good thing about the thinsulate is that it is fire proof and doesn't keep moisture, but I think you still have to be mindful how you place it.
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I also placed some Dynamat sound deadener along each roof panel. The very first panel above the drivers seat didn't have any factory deadener, and knocking on the outside roof made a big difference. I didn't use a lot of Dynamat but just enough for peace of mind that it would silence major vibrations. Then I cut pieces that fit in between the ribs and temporarily taped them to the roof. I also cut holes for wires like the ceiling lamp. I didn't glue any of the thinsulate as I figured the headliner with its strong magnets and other handle attachments would definitely keep it in place,
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Here is the whole inner ceiling covered. My solar panel wires run in the very center through the ribs, and I cut the thinsulate so that it would fit with the rear AC duct.
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I attempted t cut out strips of thinsulate in the plans that the would go along the ribs of the ceiling (see magnet in between, but that turned out to be a bad idea. I could not get the headliner in place with these strips. Not enough room, even with the 400 series thinsulate.
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With the double sided tape behind the strips, I pulled out most of the thinsulate material.
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In the rear I cut out pieces that would leave space for magnets and such. I think the 400 series material was tight enough, and 600 might not fit (if you plan on using the factory headlined). Also a 600 series thinsulate would weigh more which could cause strain on the magnets and headliner.
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For the sliding doors I removed the panels and peeked into the internals. Initially I was thinking to stuff the cavity area of behind the vapor barrier, but then I decided against that. That wasn't going to make my passenger van fully heat/cold proof. Having good window covers would in the end probably make just as much of a difference.

I placed a few Dynamat pieces there just for keep sake and as a little note that I was there. Not sure if it really makes any difference (but since I did it on one side, I followed through and put the same pieces on the other - for good balance). Not placing a ton of insulation in this cavity would make it easier for mechanics to service as well.
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With the thinsulate material on the floor I traced out the door panel. This is the single scrim thinsulate which is easy to mark.
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I then ended up cutting small bits of holes to let the various panel fasteners to function. I used some Test tape to tape around the holes and then this panel could be lifted and placed back into the car as such. I feel this will help quite a bit with sound isolation, and a bit with temperature insulation
Brown Rectangle Wood Sleeve Material property

The sliding doors have this slight cavity in. them and the moisture barrier conforms nicely with it. I believe this exists because in the European models the speakers are place in this area. I couldn't just leave this area hollow and found out that it would be perfect for a few scrap pieces. Here is my cardboard template.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I put two layers of small pieces in this "euro speaker cavity" so I think it's about 40-50mm deep.
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After this I placed the panel back in place on the car and it went fairly easily in place.

of course I couldn't leave the top parts un-insulated so I detached the top plastic interior molds and shaped some thinsulate into shape.
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I used a Olfa 60 mm deluxe rotary cutter to cut the thinsulate, and it worked like a dream.
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thinsulate noodle cut
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With this upper mold panel I also had to make the necessary cuts so that it would click back in place.
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I used Test tape again in some strategic places to assure the "thindoodle" would stay in place. I figured if it gets loose after placed, it won't matter. Might actually be better if it expands when in place.
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Same process with front doors. Here I am using the double scrim which I had intended to make window covers out of (but that didn't happen). I liked using the double scrim on the door panels because there are more controls, wires, modules etc, that the double scrim will prevent tangling with.
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I placed some Dynamat on the plastic panels as I have seen all the cool people do on the tube.
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Then placing the double scrim thinsulate on the panel, just like I did with the middle sliding doors. I cut out a hole for the speaker, door handle and puddle light (even though I know Thinsulate is fire proof - I didn't want any major double cheese thinsulate meltage. Placing these back on the door went just fine. No issues.
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Close up of the puddle light cut out at the bottom of the panel
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
For the lift gate I pretty much followed the same process. Here is the upper plastic mold panel with its respective thinnoodle.
Wood Tints and shades Hardwood Font Metal

This upper trim was a little tricky to remove and put back. Not knowing exactly where the fasteners where and how they operated it was a bit nerve-racking to work on. When I had removed it, I placed some yellow masking tape pieces where the fasteners were. That way it would be easier for me to push the clips back and re-attach.
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I let the thinsulate slide a little pass its height so it would meet up nicely with the bottom panel.
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I cut out the approximate shape of the main lower lift gate interior panel. At the same time I planned for a couple of extra layers where the windshield viper motor is housed. There is a lot of air space in this area, so I figured it would be best to insulate/isolate to my best ability. The cardboard template is my other two layers
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Being that the center of the panel seemed to have much less depth, I decided to "scrape" off a little of the thinsulate. For the tail gate I did end up putting thinsulate behind the moisture barrier, so I would still have plenty of insulation in the rear
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Saving thinsnow for the next holidays. Actually I ended up using this leftover in my subwoofer enclosure.
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I placed the "scratched" thinsulate thinsnow facing inwards, because it helps having the scrim facing outwards where the fasteners are. If you cut just enough of a size for the fastener, it's almost glued in place. No glue used here whatsoever. There are a couple of bare tracks on each side here. Those were planned for some l-track attachments I added to my lift gate.

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Close up of the cuts and how I used Tesa tape to keep the thinsulate sheet in place
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This shows the large air space area of the rear windshield viper and how I added a few layers of extra thinsulate in that area.
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Prior to attaching the lower body panel. My moisture barrier got ripped in a few places so I had to patch. Also, the two plywood pieces are attached templates where my l-tracks are going to go.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Panel is back in place. I put some yellow masking tape markers again to note where the fasteners were. It sometimes hard to get all of them to click in place. I found that by closing the gate and then pushing gently with my foot gave me the best even leverage. All panels back in place and isolated / insulated!

Any questions, feel free to ask. Hope this helps someone else.

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Very thorough work.
Thank you for doing the write-up and sharing photos.

If one considers having a roof rack, I would advise to apply larger sections of sound deadener on the overhead cabin panel. When I have my roof bars on and the front over the cabin, the reverberation is unbearable. I wish I had looked up there when I had my partition out.

Regarding sound isolation up front. If you still were to find the cabin not all that quiet, as the rest of the vehicle has gotten quieter. Have a look at the seat bases to apply section of sound deadener.

Passenger vans of course do not have the extended base cargo partition and all that metal in the cabin, but there is a significant amount of road noise that comes up from the frame, into the seat bases and then onto the metal partition. Trying to be economical and applying small sections strategically did nothing in my case. Even with the partition out. Deadening the large metal areas of and in-between the seats was a huge difference. Then I went onto covering 75% probably of the metal partition.
 

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Panel is back in place. I put some yellow masking tape markers again to note where the fasteners were. It sometimes hard to get all of them to click in place. I found that by closing the gate and then pushing gently with my foot gave me the best even leverage. All panels back in place and isolated / insulated!

Any questions, feel free to ask. Hope this helps someone else.

View attachment 20446
Great write-up. I was far less cautious installing Noico 80 butyl, Noico RED 315 foam and Thinsulate SM600L, meaning I glued the insulation to the interior metal panels, not the trim pieces. Of course, I have a cargo and added the Con-pearl corrugated plastic panels after a buy from a fellow forum denizen as they were unavailable for 2018 135's.

Great work too! Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you @icerabbit and @focus805,

Focus805, after you mentioned the SM600L in your post I realized I had by mistake spoken about the 200 series Thinsulate. That is not at all what I used and think the 200 series (which exist) would be too "thin" (pun intended) for the use. What I did use was the SM400L four hundred series along with about half of the double scrim version AU4002-5 which both are about 1 inch or 25mm in thickness when it expands. I have edited my first post to reflect this.

For a cargo van I would definitely go for the SM600L series as you did Focus805.

Icerabbit, I do have roof rail Thule roof racks. I have not noticed any reverberation in the roof, even at higher speeds. But like I said the only place where there was no factory deadener was in the first metal section, and placing a smaller Dynamat piece there totally took care of it.

I have not noticed any noise coming out of the seat bases but still have a little Dynamat left so maybe I will place some there for future proofing. Thanks for the advice!

Oh, I have also used some Noico RED 315 mainly over the wheel arcs on top of Dynamat and think it is an excellent material. I bought this material mainly because of Focus805 excellent write-ups so thanks for those!
 

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So far all the Noico remains stuck as it is supposed to be! I haven't done the wheel arches yet, but they are begging for some treatment, whether it's a box or insulation and 4-way stretch on top.

If any one has rear wheel arch box dimensions, I'd be lazy enough to use them if you want to share!
 

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So far all the Noico remains stuck as it is supposed to be! I haven't done the wheel arches yet, but they are begging for some treatment, whether it's a box or insulation and 4-way stretch on top.

If any one has rear wheel arch box dimensions, I'd be lazy enough to use them if you want to share!
Would you like the measurements of my wheel arch boxes?
And exploded view sketch of how I made them so tight fitting?

... as seen here: #19
 

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This is a great post! Thanks for sharing it with the broad public. Needless to say we have a team that does all this work, but I love seeing your attention to detail and thoughtfulness and think it's awesome you took the time to share.

Harley
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks @harleysitner ! That is very kind and especially coming from someone with your background and experience. I appreciate your comment!

The only reason I try to document things as well as I can, is this forum. Without it I would never have learned enough about the Metris and its possibilities. There are a ton of awesome people here and the van is pretty great too!
 

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Would you like the measurements of my wheel arch boxes?
And exploded view sketch of how I made them so tight fitting?

... as seen here: #19
Yes, Please!
 

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Thanks @harleysitner ! That is very kind and especially coming from someone with your background and experience. I appreciate your comment!

The only reason I try to document things as well as I can, is this forum. Without it I would never have learned enough about the Metris and its possibilities. There are a ton of awesome people here and the van is pretty great too!
Props are due when they are due! Stellar job and great documentation. Not everyone can afford to pay a shop like us to do the work and many people enjoy doing the work themselves, so we are huge fans of getting information out there. We've been doing that in the Vanagon world for years.

Thanks for giving back!
 

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Thank you for the writeup and pictures @thefinnisher ! The road noise and the various squeaking coming from the dash and panels throughout my passenger van have been slowly eating away at me.. it literally sounds like I have a mouse in the back rubbing two pieces of styrofoam together.

I've been contemplating a sound deadening project but have been hesitant to attempt it without seeing it done. Was there a noticeable improvement in reduction of road noise and have you noticed an improvement to the audio sound by deadening the quarter panels and doors?

I've updated my headunit and speakers and the sound improvement was minimal. I'm putting in a stealth subwoofer box and 5 channel amp next and feel as though the sound will not be optimal without sound deadening the cabin. I'm not planning on any extended cold climate camping so I may just use the Noico mats to minimize the labor involved but would love to get your thoughts on whether you think the Thinsulate helps dampen the sounds further to make it worthwhile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi @Hedge What is the year model of your passenger van? Has it always been noisy/creaky?

When you say that it sounds like you have a mouse in the back rubbing two pieces of styrofoam together, have you confirmed that noise is coming from the back? You said you updated your headunit. Was it creaking before with the OEM headunit?

I have not noticed anything like this in my 2019 van (knock on wood three times). I don't have any statistical scientific proof of my van getting quieter but my thought is that it definitely has. You can kind of confirm by tapping things, and also how the doors sound when closing.

I have to admit it's hard to even remember before and after. One mistake I did was to take almost all of the panels out early on, without a proper plan, and they have been sitting up in my place for a long while. I still have the rear side panels off, so there is still additional road noise coming through. For several months I was also driving my van without the lift gate interior panel, as I was working on the 360 degree rear camera, and l-track lashing in the lift gate. I don't drive very much these days because of the pandemic. Maybe once per week, so I kind of got used to the sound without the panels (plus tools and stuff jumping around in the back - during my build). I can tell though, before I started all this, my van was extremely quiet.

What amp and subwoofer box are you planning to put in? I did a writeup here about my amplifier installation, and my subwoofer enclosure just got completed (more on that in a separate thread). My all aftermarket audio system sounds absolutely awesome.

I think you may need to figure out where your creaking comes from, because even if you were to insulate/isolate the doors, you would still hear the inside creaking, maybe even more noticeable as the outdoor is silenced.

Any other questions, please let me know. Happy to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Forgot to add, sometimes the noise could be something simple. I know your van is a passenger but there was a post a couple of weeks ago from a cargo owner with a buzzing noise from the jack mount in the rear:


I know the passenger van has a different setup, but there is indeed a styrofoam crate in the passenger van, and the jack sort of sits inside part of it, and then attached with a velcro loop. Check that the velcro loop is tight as otherwise, maybe that styrofoam crate might be moving around slightly...
 

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Thanks for the helpful reply @thefinnisher, I think you are spot on about the styrofoam jack holder! I initially thought it was coming from the barn doors but the rear quarter section makes complete sense. Mine's a 2017 passenger and I think I will do the sound deadening in sections.

After I finish the audio system, I'm lifting the van and getting all terrain tires so I'll tackle the floor first with the Noico 80 stuff and maybe 150? Not sure if I need the 150 or if it'll even fit underneath the carpet. What are you planning on doing to the floor?

Thinking I will leave the ceiling for last when I get my rack and lights to do it in one shot. I'm hoping that I can skip the doors and side panels but we will see what it sounds like once I have the system completed.

I had a chance to check out your audio thread and your amp rack and install work is very impressive!

I wish I had the chops to DIY this stuff but I'm working with a local shop on it. I'll create a separate thread about my system once I'm done but so far I've put in the Pioneer 10" NEX 8600 headunit and some JBL Club 602 Components in front and matching coaxials in the rear.

I'll be running a 10" JL 10w1v3, in a stealth box I had custom made that will incidentally fit into the rear corner where the jack is located and running a 5 channel NVX VAD 1100w amp. I am currently getting some distortion in the front speakers running from the HU directly and hoping the amp will solve this issue. The fronts also sound rather tinny, with hollow mids, (baffles and deadening needed?) but perhaps the sub and additional power will make it so that I won't notice so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
@Hedge good to hear one squeak is resolved, and glad to hear you didn't find any mice running around in that styrofoam case. I have also removed the styrofoam crate and placed my custom subwoofer enclosure there (while still keeping the jack in the same place.

I'm not really an expert in car audio so I'm afraid I can't advice you with the speaker distortion. I know that I had to adjust the gains right on my amp and I replaced all the speaker wires, and made sure they didn't go along any major power wires. I think adding the amplifier will more than likely help your issues.

I have not insulated/isolate my floor at all. I didn't think adding insulation while having the seat rails would help much. Well, maybe if you partially insulated the factory rails as well (where there are no seat mounts), but I have put in the euro rails and hence there are large sections that cannot be insulated. I have purchased Lonseal vinyl flooring that I plan on putting on top of the factory floor. My factory floor had some small tears when I bought my van from the previous owner. These will be covered with the Lonseal floor, and I think the Lonseal floor will be more durable). The one thing to note, is that the factory passenger floor already has some insulation/isolation. There is approx. half an inch of foam already, with a vapor barrier at the bottom, a thin plastic sheer, and the vinyl (or carpet) layer at top. The floor was actually another reason I realized a passenger van will never be fully as isolated as a cargo, and hence I went with the 400 series thinsulate on the ceiling and walls. The Noico RED 315 I have put on the wheel wells.

Let us know how your project moves on and if you take any different approaches. I wish you good luck with your audio project and hope you are rocking very soon.
 

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@thefinnisher I'm looking forward to seeing how your floors turn out!

I initially wanted to do vinyl floor as well since I'm at the beach every week and always have sand in the van. My bed platform, however, covers most of the floor space and I'm now thinking of keeping it simple and just covering the stock seat rails with carpet cut to size.

Now that I know that there is some deadening on the floor, I'll deaden the wheel wells like you did and see if it good enough. I'm glad you mentioned this because I was not looking forward to ripping out the factory floors. Good luck finishing your van as well!
 

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@Hedge good to hear one squeak is resolved, and glad to hear you didn't find any mice running around in that styrofoam case. I have also removed the styrofoam crate and placed my custom subwoofer enclosure there (while still keeping the jack in the same place.

I'm not really an expert in car audio so I'm afraid I can't advice you with the speaker distortion. I know that I had to adjust the gains right on my amp and I replaced all the speaker wires, and made sure they didn't go along any major power wires. I think adding the amplifier will more than likely help your issues.

I have not insulated/isolate my floor at all. I didn't think adding insulation while having the seat rails would help much. Well, maybe if you partially insulated the factory rails as well (where there are no seat mounts), but I have put in the euro rails and hence there are large sections that cannot be insulated. I have purchased Lonseal vinyl flooring that I plan on putting on top of the factory floor. My factory floor had some small tears when I bought my van from the previous owner. These will be covered with the Lonseal floor, and I think the Lonseal floor will be more durable). The one thing to note, is that the factory passenger floor already has some insulation/isolation. There is approx. half an inch of foam already, with a vapor barrier at the bottom, a thin plastic sheer, and the vinyl (or carpet) layer at top. The floor was actually another reason I realized a passenger van will never be fully as isolated as a cargo, and hence I went with the 400 series thinsulate on the ceiling and walls. The Noico RED 315 I have put on the wheel wells.

Let us know how your project moves on and if you take any different approaches. I wish you good luck with your audio project and hope you are rocking very soon.
Did you notice a change with the Noico RED 315 on the wheel wells? Did you apply butyl first? Thanks
 
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