Auto Sound Deadening - Part I - Remove Trim, Install Some Matting.




Introduction: Auto Sound Deadening - Part I - Remove Trim, Install Some Matting.

I drive a diesel Ford Excursion. I like this big Ford for it's people and stuff capacity, and bought it because I knew I could convert it to run on a recovered and reused resource. With a conversion kit from it now runs on diesel, biodiesel and straight veggie oil.

Regardless of fuel, it's powered by a 7.3l diesel PowerStroke engine. Even with better engine lubricity while running SVO that engine makes for a LOUD CAR.

I wanted to make the driving experience more pleasant, so I decided to add sound deadening to my vehicle.

I've found that sound deadening is an involved process. I'll post separate projects to cover pieces of the job. This Instructable covers initial interior trim removal and the application of an aluminum/butyl sound deadening mat.

Folks often apply sound deadening to achieve better car audio quality. It will also partially help reduce fatigue on car trips by lowering the ambient noise level inside your car.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

I used tools already on hand as well as supplies purchased specifically for this project.

Tools and supplies on hand:

Tin snips
Metal tape (could have been masking...)
Wire brush
Tape measure
Old toothbrush
Paper towels
2 used coffee pod tins
Handheld dustpan and brush
Black and silver Sharpie pens
Socket wrenches, Hex head sockets
'Disposable' vinyl gloves, several pairs
'Disposable' razorblade "carpet" knife, several blades
Extremely large Philips (flat head) screw driver for prying

Specific supplies via Ace Hardware, Napa Auto Parts and :

3 cans V&S Spray Adhesive
Invisible Glove hand protector fluid
8 yards Ensolite" MLC foam sheeting
2.5 rolls RAAMmat BXT - adhesive aluminum/butyl rubber mat
**subtotal $345.82 incl. $36.87 shipping**

12+ cans (and counting) Dow Chemicals "Great Stuff Large Gaps" expanding polyurethane foam
@ $2.99 ea.
:-(I think I mis-applied the first 6 or so cans by spraying too quickly)

Step 2: Figure Out Fasteners...

Identify how your internal trim pieces are attached to the vehicle's sheetmetal.

My Ford's owners manual didn't offer a lot of help. The Chilton's guide covering my vehicle didn't either. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough in those, but...

Enter the intranets! A few searches on "auto trim" and "upholstery renovation" and "auto trim removal" yielded solid resources. Those included documentation from a company selling anti-theft add-ons, That gave me an idea of some of the fasteners in use on my vehicle.

Another set of info came from tools sold for upholstery and trim removal - and

The most helpful tutorial on sound deadening came from, which is not coincidentally where I bought the bulk of my sound deadening supplies.

YMMV - your mileage may vary. But I suggest that you gain a good idea of how your vehicle's trim is attached before starting to pry & pull.

An object lesson in being (at least mentally) prepared came when I started removing my rear doors' trim panels. This sounded like I was pulling exploding nails out of the car and was not pleasant or encouraging. But on examination those fasteners seemed just fine after careful removal.

Step 3: Keep Taking Things Off.

Document your progress. I took a lot of pictures both for use in these Instructables and to give myself good visual reference for reassembly.

Confidence and caution were key.

Step 4: Keep Taking Things Out.

There were quite a few trim pieces to remove from just the cargo area of our car.

Step 5: There Were a Lot of Empty Loud Spaces in My Car.

Here are some pictures I took in sheer disbelief. I kept mentioning to friends & family *just how much empty space* is in this vehicle.

Granted, it's an unnecessarily large car. Very, very unnecessarily large. With lots of empty, um, well... nooks doesn't apply.

Empty chasms, gaps, voids, whopping great holes, spaces, echoing vastnesses. With nothing in.

Ugh. This can be improved.

In retrospect, I wish I'd taken the rear doors apart much earlier and planned out some storage compartments. It'd be easy to build in additional emergency stores lockers. Maybe in the future I'll scoop out the deadening foam and retrofit some in.

Step 6: Clean Off Any Obstructions to Laying Down Adhesive Mat.

There were a couple of spots where foam or double sided tape were used during construction of the car. I used a wire brush to take off anything that would keep the butyl/aluminum mat from laying evenly.

Step 7: Clean Surfaces to Be Addressed.

After removing interior carpeting and trim pieces and cleaning off obstructions, I used a bench brush and lint-free shop towels to wipe down surfaces I planned to adhere matting to. Then I went over everything again with denatured alcohol on lint-free shop towels to try for very good adhesion.

Step 8: On to the Actual Sound Deadening!

Here I've started to apply materials I bought from Rick at RAAMAudio- an adhesive butyl/aluminum sheeting. I also have ensolite foam to apply over this butyl/aluminum layer, and will add Great Stuff expanding polyurethane foam to the large empty cavities.

Notice the big oval holes in the cargo floor. These allow access to bolt heads in the undercarriage.

Originally I thought I'd leave access to these holes and replace the OEM hole covers. Then I rethought and simply started covering the holes over while labelling their location.

If access to those bolt heads is ever needed I can cut thru the matting layers at the marked spots.

I'd rather keep more sound out than preserve the original relatively thin and loud access cover arrangement.

Step 9: A Note on Supplies, Gunk, and Rubber Versus Invisible Gloves.

The self-adhesive butyl rubber/aluminum rolls I used are directly comparable to DynaMat or B-Quiet products.

I checked technical descriptions and samples of DynaMat and B-Quiet mat against RAAMAudio products and found no noticeable difference - except in price. RAAMAudio supplies were noticeably less expensive even when factoring in shipping. So I bought directly from his website after some great guidance and advice via email from Rick McCallum.

Regardless of being significantly less costly, this mat is gunky to apply. I went through quite a few sets of disposable gloves trying to keep sticky black rubber from getting on parts of the car that would stay visible.

I didn't like throwing out all those 'disposable' gloves either.

So I tried to wipe off the gunk with paper towels. Not much luck. Tried wiping gunk off onto cardboard; also not completely effective, but better.

Then I used some of the clay kitty litter I keep around for absorbing veggie oil spills. Some further luck but not a complete solution. Kept gloves in use longer but still took up time I could have been using to progress with the actual project.

Finally I resorted to the internet again (sans mucky gloves) because I had a vague memory of something called Invisible Glove. Turns out that my local Napa Auto Parts store can order it; I also found it on art supply sites like Didn't check our local art supply store, but that could be another source.

That worked *very well*. A quick application of Invisible Glove to my bare hands let me work more quickly, left less mess around the car and work area and allowed for a very easy soap & water cleanup.

Step 10: To Be Continued....

Next installment I'll show the process of getting ensolite foam sheets adhered with spray trim adhesive, further my auto cavity explorations (hem...) and disclose a ginormous amount of Great Stuff expanding foam use.

Stay tuned!

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    7 years ago

    how do you remove the back panels on the hatch of the trunk


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable. Few notes. Rubber mats are much more effective in the centre of the body panels than at the edges. It's because the extra weight reduces vibration of the body panels (slows down the frequency) so you cannot hear it as much. You need to be careful not to obstruct the little holes in the doors. If they are plugged, moisture will collect and the part will rust. Expanding foam might trap moisture between it and metal also causing rust.

    A side note because of the license plate text ;). Not many people realise that BioDiesel and vegetable oil supposedly cause lot more pollution than regular old Diesel. Growing them causes lot of pollution, also those fields that are now used for BioDiesel are no longer being used for growing food, causing less supply of food and therefore higher food prices. The food now has to be moved from further away and all those airplanes, trucks and ships pollute. There is also a conspiracy theory that oil companies have raised their prices on regular oil to make the BioDiesel look better. Some say that BioDiesel is just another case of environmentalists shooting themselves in the foot.


    10 years ago on Step 10

    Just a heads-up: You actually only need 25% coverage per-panel to deaden sound. Anything over that offers **very little** additional dampening but a great deal more cost & weight.


    12 years ago on Introduction


    Iam looking to soundproof my 80's Project car.

    Mind if i ask what your budget was for the work?

    And BTW, your Instructible was the reason why I finally signed up. Keep up the good work!

    Thank you,


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Jay, thanks for the encouragement - glad you're enjoying Instructables as much as I do!

    Budget on this... several weeks' spare hours for the project to date, so lots of personal resources committed there.

    Hard costs for materials,  ~U$400.

    Hope that helps!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Looking forward to the next installment. Do you fill all holes? Perhaps some are needed to access some bolt or such during repairs, I'm not sure. Are you also going to insulate the engine compartment? I've seen ads for heat resistant foam that would further the noise from the engine.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    The only holes I left uncovered in the cargo area were spring tab slots for securing various trim pieces, and those will get filled with their socket liners and then the tabs & interior trim pieces again. I did want to cover absolutely all the metal and holes & resonant cavities I could. I'll show this in the next section - I tried to make it relatively easy to regain access to the only bolt heads I could see through the cargo area floor. But since those sit below great big holes in the floor, I did cover them over with a doubled sandwich of butyl/aluminum and ensolite mats. I simply marked where the bolts sit under that deadening material for future reference. It'd be easy to slice out sections of the deadening and get at the bolts if needed in the future. And if the big marks I inked down get obscured it'd also be simple to poke a stiff wire up thru the floor's holes to show where to cut out the floor matting. I plan to lay down a doubled sandwich of butyl/aluminum + ensolite under the entire driver/passenger/seating areas, covering the entire interior floor including the firewall between the passenger and engine compartments. Haven't made plans for putting sound insulation in the engine compartment itself yet. I'd love to find out more about heat resistant foam that'd stand up to engine compartment temps. Thanks for the positive comment!