Did you hear that? Soundproofing the car while the interior is removed

As a quick opener – I know people sometimes wonder “why the hell does he like to talk about his car so damned much!?”  To some degree, I recognize this as a reasonable concern – I don’t mean to blow up anybody’s News Feed (or interpersonal conversation) with car talk.

That said: this has become more and more of an interest to me over time, both as a function of an ever-growing appreciation for growing in competency however I can, focusing on self-sufficiency and survival skills… and as a function of delight that with enough care, patience, will, and time, most anything constructed can be made to continue running in the face of age and use.  To put it simply: to save money and be more self-sufficient, I decided I was going to learn how to disassemble, rebuild, and repair all of my car.  And I have done so.  And I happen to think that is pretty neat… so forgive any perceived over-sharing of photos or blog posts!

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And so: The next chapter to my months-long nearly total rebuild of the interior of my car follows:

So my gift to myself for having gotten the job at McMaster-Carr (we are a very private company, so I can’t write much to my job experience on this blog… making my car the other major use of my time!), and also based on the fact that the whole interior of the car was completely removed (including the dashboard for doing the heater core and HVAC foam), it seemed like a good time to make my commuting and future trips quieter and more friendly to classical music, rather than road noise.  Enter the RAAMmat I bought.  From reviews I read online, it is the right combination of effective + not prohibitively expensive + compatible with aspiring DIY types like myself who have no prior experience installing soundproofing.  I also had the benefit of the company’s installation guide.

Step 1: Become entirely overly-engaged in disassembling and rebuilding the whole interior of your car, due to the discovery of two holes in the floor panel.  I passed this step with flying colors.

 

The scandalously nude interior of my car

The scandalously nude interior of my car

Step 2: Making sure the weather outside isn’t too cold, as folding the BXTII (aluminum base layer of sound deadening) into every crevasse and cranny of the car’s interior will be a royal pain in the butt otherwise.

Ask me how I know.

Also, do yourself a favor and buy a Fiskars Titanium circular cutter – it makes life SO much easier than scissors:

Fiskars cutter with improvised wooden cutting board

Fiskars cutter with improvised wooden cutting board

I found this out the hard way, as well – the adhesive on the BXTII is like a rubberized silly putty in consistency, which is ideal to gum up scissors almost immediately:

Holds fingerprints, but also does a good job of holding onto all metal surfaces (once clean)

Holds fingerprints, but also does a good job of holding onto all metal surfaces (once clean)

Step 3: Settle in for the long haul of sore knees and odd contortions required to get the soundproofing everywhere… because let’s face it, you’re not going to do this crap again, so do it once, do it right.

Silvery success, but in reality only a foretaste of doing it all again... with the Ensolite foam top layer!

Silvery success, but in reality only a foretaste of doing it all again… with the Ensolite foam top layer!

Also, for fear of future potential holes in the floor pan from road salt, consider applying the floor pan layers of BXTII by only adhering the edges to the floor.  Not clear if this is actually going to help or hurt (it will be easier to remove, but it might also be the case that adhesive everywhere would help with keeping water out in the event of a hole).  Only time will tell, but this is how it did go down:

We shall see if the only edge adhesive strategy pays off in the future, if/when rust holes again rear their ugly selves

We shall see if the only edge adhesive strategy pays off in the future, if/when rust holes again rear their ugly selves

Step 4: Having done the base layer, it is now time to… do the same thing again, but with the adhesive-backed Ensolite foam top layer to the soundproofing.  Thankfully it is easily cut with scissors, but doing the whole car means it will still take a long time to actually do.

Easy to cut, easier to work with and install

Easy to cut, easier to work with and install

The car cabin (the doors and rear hatch will be done another day, as the trim over them is far less fragile than the huge plastic trim pieces to the rear wheel wells – and snapping them in the cold was not on the agenda, no sir), fully soundproofed:

Time to start putting the interior back in...

Time to start putting the interior back in…

... from the carpeting...

… from the carpeting…

... to the trim and rear deck carpeting...

… to the trim and rear deck carpeting…

... to rebuilt cabin interior!!

… to rebuilt cabin interior!!

All told, time shall tell if this was worth the money to soundproof the car as much as I did.  But test drives with the door cards still off reveal a *significantly* quiet car cabin, even at highway speeds!  It is also far better insulated at this point, which will make all trips less wasteful when it comes to heating and cooling the car – it will take less time and energy to reach the desired temperature!

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