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Old 10-13-2009, 10:54 AM   #1
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Cheap Cab Noise Reduction!

After ~20 years of existence, the plastic "covers" around the steering stem at the firewall, and the two pieces where the hood louvers connect inside the firewall were/are worn. So worn, in fact, that you could see daylight through them, depending on your vantage point.

Stopped at ACE Hardware yesterday, bought some of that expanding foam insulation made for insulating around plumbing, etc. Per instructions, I VERY CAREFULLY added some to the gaps indicated and let it dry for about half an hour (steering stem from engine bay and under the dash). Worked great! Really cut down on the noise when behind the wheel, especially with the clatterbox that is the 22RE. Only about $3-$4 for the can. Stuff is sandable, paintable, and cutable when cured.

Tips:
1) Be VERY careful and take your time! This stuff is MESSY!
2) Wear gloves! I didn't, and I used my fingers to mold/sculpt the stuff just how I wanted it. Big mistake. Tore skin off my fingers getting it off, and I think I'll have permanent nail polish 'til they grow out. Yeah, literacy pays, I'm told (read the can).
3) Allow for dry time before driving. Has a flash point when wet, but sets up in 10 minutes. I waited a half hour. Once set, it claims a flash point under direct flame, or in ambient temps above 240 degrees. Way I figure, if either of those occur, I have more problems to consider than this insulation...
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:03 AM   #2
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My steering colum boot/cover thingy was gone after my BL. so I used duct tape
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:23 AM   #3
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Acetone works to remove that stuff before it dries, but you gotta be quick. you know what they say about hindsight

there's also a product you can get from McMaster -- just Acoustic Mastic. it's pretty much the same thing as Dynamat, only at a fraction of the price, and it comes in large 32" x 54" sheets for around $17 (used to be around $13). I bought a few sheets of this and put it in my doors and on the floor under the carpet. makes a huge difference.
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:12 PM   #4
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Acetone works to remove that stuff before it dries, but you gotta be quick. you know what they say about hindsight

there's also a product you can get from McMaster -- just Acoustic Mastic. it's pretty much the same thing as Dynamat, only at a fraction of the price, and it comes in large 32" x 54" sheets for around $17 (used to be around $13). I bought a few sheets of this and put it in my doors and on the floor under the carpet. makes a huge difference.
I've been considering doing this to some degree in my truck when I do some stereo upgrades. In the doors, whereabouts did you place it? Also, is removing the carpet/headliner to do the cab worthwhile for the result?
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:40 PM   #5
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I've been considering doing this to some degree in my truck when I do some stereo upgrades. In the doors, whereabouts did you place it? Also, is removing the carpet/headliner to do the cab worthwhile for the result?
Yes, it's totally worth it. I trashed my interior when I bought my truck, and decided to add insulation to it as well. I used Reflectix foil insulation (which you can find at Home Depot for $15) because it is lightweight, highly water/mold/mildew resistant, retains heat, and it's very flexible and easy to work with. I bought a can of spray adhesive and used it sparingly on the bare metal and asphalt of the truck cab. Then I put my new carpet right on top.

I'll put some pictures up later.

EDIT: Forgot to say that it's probably 2-3x quieter in my cab. I also put a double layer of the insulation next to the firewall and around the transmission.

Last edited by Monochrome; 10-13-2009 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:06 PM   #6
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good idea
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:48 PM   #7
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Here is pictures of my reflectix installation:

Before:


After:





Last edited by Monochrome; 10-13-2009 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:58 PM   #8
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Here is pictures of my reflectix installation:

Before:


After:




That is freaking sweet! I need to do that to the cab area and inside the rear fenders on the runner to try and keep some heat in there. If the weather is nice this weekend I might be gutting a rig if I can find a place to do it.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:20 PM   #9
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I am goin to homeless depot tonight bye golly, sweet thanks. I miss my radio noise.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:23 PM   #10
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The only thing I'd warn people about: don't lay it down too thick in spots or your carpet won't fit very well when you put it back in. If you keep it level (as in the same thickness all around), you shouldn't have any issues.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:42 PM   #11
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The only thing I'd warn people about: don't lay it down too thick in spots or your carpet won't fit very well when you put it back in. If you keep it level (as in the same thickness all around), you shouldn't have any issues.

Does your floor crinkle when oyu step on it now?
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:45 PM   #12
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That's what I checked out in the store before I bought it because I thought would happen, but no it doesn't. The foil isn't crinkly. Well, it may be very slightly crinkly, but not noticeable in normal use. And also, each bubble can take many many psi. I wasn't able to pop one of them between my fingers pushing as hard as possible with both hands. Add carpet on top of that and you won't even know its there.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:48 PM   #13
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Sweet i got my carpet out my do this in my runner.

But i thought i would ask because i didn't want it to sound like a bed wetter mattress.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:36 PM   #14
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Mono -- that's SUPER clean! I like it!
Awareness -- yeah man, definitely worth it to put some sort of sound deadening in.

I put inside my doors on the outer skin. the cool thing about the acoustic mastic is that you don't need to completely cover the surface for it to work in reducing the tinniness, so I'd still use that in the doors, and inside the rear cab area if you have the Xtra-cab. I would now, however, go with the Reflectix product for the floor and firewall.

here are some photos from when I did mine:

this is what the rear of the cab looked like on one side. I pulled the trim panels and stuck this stuff right to the body. if you notice, I even put it inside that little speaker cubby.



here's the rear floor section done as I was putting the carpet back down. I have this crappy carpet kit from JC Whitney in there that's a two-piece deal. it's okay, but I found some place online that does one-piece ones, and that's the route I'd go next time.



this is a photo of a sheet of the mastic itself. 32" x 54" sheets, I think, self adhesive. cuts very easily with the utility knife, as well; soft. the only thing about this stuff is that it smells for a few days after you install it, but it goes away entirely not long thereafter. I'd definitely do this all over again. our trucks are so light and tinny sounding without. with this in the doors, they feel and sound a lot more solid.

my question would be one of sound deadening versus insulation. the mastic deadens vibration, and you don't need to cover the entire exposed metal surface for a reduction in sound. however, for as cleanly as the Reflectix went down, as shown in Monochrome's photos, I'd be hard pressed to make a decision on which material to use. I guess it would depend on your goal. I would imagine the Reflectix does a much better job of insulating against heat, while still providing good sound deadening. I definitely think the Reflectix would be better for the cab floor and firewall, but I would still probably want to keep the mastic on the verticals and in the doors. I'd love to go for a ride in Mono's truck though to compare. I really like how clean the Reflectix looks and how well it conforms to the contours. it almost looks like a pro kit he bought and installed.

that's one of my bucket seats in the background for scaling.


Last edited by yodta; 10-14-2009 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:11 PM   #15
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Wow, awesome writeup yotda!

It's funny you say that because if I could do it over again, I probably would have also used a combination of some materials. Or maybe if possible, BOTH in some places like the doors. I can guarantee you that the acoustic foam you used works better to reduce noise, simply because of the vibration issue. Reflectix is nothing more than heavy duty bubble wrap with layers of aluminum foil on both sides and in between. It does great for heat insulation, but foam would be superior for acoustic deadening. The only reason it has acoustic properties as well is because of the dead air space in the bubbles.

I wish I had known about that stuff before. It's really cheap too, just as cheap as the Reflectix. I need to replace the bushing in my shifter so I'm going to have to take all of my carpet out, so I might install the foam as well...

This is good information nonetheless for people who are considering deadening their trucks. Because just like you said, they do sound really tinny and light when you're inside them. Just a little bit of insulation makes all the difference. After all, luxury cars have double the insulation and sound dampening properties of an economy car. Why not do it on the cheap in our trucks, eh?
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:58 PM   #16
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Is the foam to thick, and if it was used under rug and got compressed , would it not work s well. I have my rug out to dry a bit my interior, was thinking of putting something in.
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:03 PM   #17
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I have nothing to back this up except for experiential knowledge, but the bubblewrap insulation has not lost any thickness and has not compressed at all in the ~year since I've had it installed. The reason is simple: it's bubbles of trapped air, and as you can demonstrate for yourself by going to Home Depot and squeezing the stuff, you can't easily pop a single bubble.

So, if you can't pop the bubbles, and the air is trapped, the only thing that would cause loss of loft in the bubble wrap is changes in temperature that might cause the trapped air to expand and contract. But that would be pretty minimal and would not affect performance over time.

Perhaps the foam would be best in areas where it can't be compressed, such as under seats and behind the seats, or in the doors, and the bubble wrap could be used for places of higher traffic like the footwells and firewall area.

Maybe I'll try it myself and post my experience.
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:08 PM   #18
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OK better, i can now see where thick is ok and when its not, got it.
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Old 10-15-2009, 05:49 PM   #19
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well, the acoustic mastic is not actually foam; it's more of a rubber material. it's maybe 1/8" thick, or so?
that second photo I posted is a bit misleading; that white foam you guys are seeing is the padding on the bottom of the carpet, which is folded back in half.
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Old 10-15-2009, 06:00 PM   #20
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EDIT: Forgot to say that it's probably 2-3x quieter in my cab. I also put a double layer of the insulation next to the firewall and around the transmission.
An honest 2-3x?? That would be really nice, but you'd probably have to listen to your passengers more often.
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