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Thread: Soundproofing & insulation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Austin, TX


    I have an '87 full Westy with the TiiCo engine conversion. I bought it in September '01 and so far it's been fine.

    Lately I've been wondering about sound-proofing - it'd be nice to be able to hold a conversation while truckin' down the road without shouting. I've seen two web sites with info on this topic. One is a site for a sound-deadening product:


    and the other is a general information site about sound-proofing and insulation:


    Removing all the camping equipment in my Westy to install insulation sounds way too daunting. Likewise, it would seem impossible to sound-proof the pop-top. Still, I'd be interested in hearing from others regarding their experiences with this sort of thing.



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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001


    I gutted mt Westy when I got it and basically performed the same soundproofing as the guy on the bullyhewit site. I wish I could tell you how much difference it makes, but I haven't put the new engine in it yet. I will say that when you tap on the panels or shut the doors, the difference is quite amazing. It sounds entirely different- like shutting the door on a 1960s American made car it makes one good "THUNK!" and nothing more. The typical "hollow can" sound is gone and the stereo sounds better without all of the extra vibrations.

    The cabinets etc. all remove very easily with surprisingly few bolts. Pull the panels off and wipe down the metal. Paint roof coating on everything that is not exposed and shoot rubberized undercoating (I used Mar Hyde brand) on everything you can't reach. This takes a few days to dry. I then shot Great Stuff into all of the stiffening channels. I bought the NASA insulation he talks about and put it in. Buy a roll of cheap pink fiberglass insulation (around $7 at Home Depot). This you will have to pull apart into half thickness or it will be too compressed to work. I then put vapor barriers (plastic sheeting) over this and put the panels/ cabinets back. Clean the bottom, fender wells, etc. with a hot pressure washer, let it dry well, then coat everything underneath with more roof coating. Make sure you take care of any rust problems before hand (Ospho works well for this). I also removed the headliner and coated/ insulated the area above the driver.

    Hopefully, the bus will be back on the road next month and I can let you know more. I will say that I coated the bottom of my Land Cruiser with the roofing stuff and it makes a big difference just by itself.

    JC Whitney sells a product similar to the B-quiet product, but they are cheaper.

    If all of this works half as well on the road as in my yard, it will definitely be worth it! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

  4. #3


    THE following site has info on soundproofing/ interior renovation-http://www.spacecraft-uk.com with pictures and process guides.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2001


    I still don't have the Westy running but I did work on my '79 Transporter.

    I painted the interior behind the panels with the Cool Seal, applied NASA style insulation, fiberglass insulation, vapor barrier, and then put the panels back. I did this only behind the removable panels. In the back, over the engine, I put a piece of NASA insulation under the carpet. I painted the stuff inthe fender wells after cleaning them. I haven't gotten to the front doors yet, but already the difference is quite amazing. I can talk on the cell phone while cruising down the road with no problems now (Always use a hands free set, etc, etc) or carry on a conversation with a passenger.

    It takes a little while to do and can be quite messy if you aren't careful, but it is DEFINITELY worth the effort! YOu won't be dissapointed!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Raleigh, NC USA


    Many of the upper-end auto supply houses sell soundproofing panels. They are usually a thick ¼-½", black slightly-moldable pad that is either self-adhesive or glueable. They are meant for sheet metal such as door interiors. Unfortunately, the yuppie botique auto supply catalogs tend to charge an arm & a leg. I don't know who their base suppliers are. Grotts Garage is one catalog I see that stuff in frequently. Eastwood (See SUPPLIERS forum) also sells such products.

    There are a number of others, including some in the 3M catalog, but one always has to balance the soundproofing with breathability & ability to trap moisture and cause rust. Remember that the basic design of most panels, a door for instance, is a free through flow of water -- it leaks in around windows and trim, then drains out the bottom. Anything that slows that flow down may keep it from drying out.

    The above panels are good and are used by many manufacturers because they themselves are waterproof (typically tar based) and the water flows right over them to the drains. Their glue properties keep them from trapping water behind, and in fact, will melt slightly and seal when the panels get hot, much like the shingles on a roof. Factory ones are often installed prior to the color-coat & bake stage. When done aftermarket, this process becomes more difficult.

    There are a number of spray insulations, but I offer the same caveat -- some are just giant sponges. Straight, heavy undercoating, such as 3M's rubberized, offer a considerable reduction in noise & 'drumming' effect of large panels.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001


    I suppose I should have mentioned that you DON'T want to fill up the front doors with insulation. In the front doors, clean the inside very well, take care of any rust problems (usually in the bottom near the drain holes), then put the sound deadening mats in, then paint the rest of the inside surface with cool seal/ rubberized undercoating. A vapor barrier is put on next and then the door panels. Door speakers should be a poly type cone and have a baffle behind them.

    On the sliding door, once the panel is removed, there will be four "pockets" where sound deadening mats and insulation can be added. The quarter panels in front of the wheel wells are also quite empty and need attention.

    In the nose of the bus, you can add sound deadening mats and undercoating, but I would be leary of adding insulation as the area needs to be able to drain if water comes through the vent.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Austin, TX


    In the back section, over the engine, did you coat the surface with anything (Cool Seal?), or did you just lay the NASA insulation under the carpet as is? Did you adhere it with anything? Did you do anything with the floor?


  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2001


    In the Westy I coated the entire floor, the walls/ doors behind the panels, and above the headliner. This included the space over the engine (not the hatch) which I then painted truck bed liner over to help protect it. Not the best idea I've had in a while and I don't recommend it. It isn't that durable, especially when it gets hot outside and becomes somewhat pliable- it will rub off if you gouge it or grind a knee into it for example. It's not bad on the floor as it's covered by the wood flooring.

    In the transporter, I left the entire floor plain metal. In both of them I just cut the Insulation to fit over the engine area and laid it on top; I wanted to be able to lift it out for carrying cargo, etc. The Westy has insulation glued to the area in front of the engine/ fuel tank, the Transporter has none.

    If I was going to do another Westy, I would coat the floor area with a spray-in truck bed liner or possibly Herculiner. My pick-up is Rhino Lined and it has proven to be extremely durable.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    New Jersey


    Just got my '76 VW on the road. And did a '71 about 5 years ago. I looked at the website that explains how to perform this drill, have some suggestions as it pertains to a Westfalia:

    Walls/Floors/Slider Door/Cargo hatch/Voids

    1. '76 -- used "Noise Pads" applied everywhere
    I can stick them. Placing one at a time in
    an oven on warm for about 2 mins, will help
    it contour to odd shapes. (These can be placed
    in the front doors as well.)
    CON: These pads are very expensive, and add
    a considerable amount of weight to the Westy.

    1A. '71 Westy: Applied cheap roofing tar to all
    areas detailed above. Stuck old roofing
    shingles to wet tar and tarred over again
    when dry.

    2. Applied expanding spray-foam to all voids,
    except front doors which have drain holes
    on bottom. The foam expands, and can be
    nicely carved with a knife when dry. Also,
    avoid application under headlight indents.

    3. Applied a foil-backed padding (similar to
    Nasa-type in J.C. Whitney) with spray adhesive
    to all areas mentioned above. WARNING:
    Cut out areas where your Westy furniture
    goes, otherwise it is NOT going to fit
    back in! If you still want to use, place it
    on bottom of furniture when installed.

    4. Applied rubberized carpet padding to all
    (fire proof!) areas mentioned above.
    See warning message in #3.

    5. Applied fibreglass insulation to all wall
    sections, ceiling areas, and slider-door.
    Tyvex foam board works great as well!

    6. Most important: vapour barrier. Make sure
    that the plastic you use is fairly heavy,
    so it doesn't rip. Also, seal plastic with
    a silicone bead or duct tape. (duct tape
    does tend to dry out and fall off with
    heat). Use this on front doors as well.

    7. Carpet: depending on what pile of carpet
    you decide on, make sure that your furniture
    will fit in. For both the '76 and '71 the
    wood sub-floor was removed to allow the carpet
    foam to be used on 'living area' floor. Due
    to the folding table on the '71, a small
    piece of the sub-floor was kept, and fastened
    to the floor. The round bracket was than
    replaced over the carpet, so the table pole
    screws into the floor properly.

    8. Misc. voids filled: Under driver's seat, with
    insulation and vapour barrier / same with
    passenger side. Both pedistals were covered
    with OEM rubber covers.

    9. I removed dash on both vehicles, adjusted
    the front 'flaps' and made sure rubber seals
    were intact (under the front grille). Found
    many holes drilled into headlight buckets,
    thru floor, into vent channels, etc.
    Evidence of stereo systems of yesteryear.
    Holes filled with silicone. Used insulation
    behind dash, and applied noise pads
    cut and placed behind dash. WARNING: Do not
    use the aluminum-backed padding behind your
    dashboard, it can create a short in the
    electric system. Only use non-conductive
    material. Also avoid aluminum type duct

    10. Front of bus: Sprung for the adhesive type
    noise deadeners to cover the front of the
    "Windwall" due to the fact that the roofing
    shingles had nowhere to rest and didn't want
    falling shingles!

    11. Noise deadeners adhered to rear of kick
    panels and front door panels. NOTE: with
    front door panels, make sure you don't
    interfere with any of the window/door/lock
    mechanisms; would suggest not using shingles


    1. Make sure you double-check your vapour
    barriers and that they are not puffed out
    from the insulated areas, or you will have
    a tough time installing panels.

    2. Before you put your drivers / passenger door
    panels on, make sure the drain-hole on the
    bottom of the door is unobstructed.

    3. Make sure all bolt-holes and brackets are
    exposed for installation of your cabinetry,
    seatbelts, bench seat, etc.

    4. Place carpet/foam/ on the bottom of your
    installed furniture.

    5. 76' - Insulated tire well with plenty of
    'noise deadeners', (located in closet).
    Covered double-thick. Insulated with foil
    back foam. Placed carpet on for trim. '71-
    spare tire well, covered with noise insulators
    thick, and foam/carpet. Use it to store jack
    removed from insulating under passenger seat.

    6. If you have extra noise deadeners / shingles
    double-up above the engine compartment cargo
    area. Just make sure AGAIN, you leave room for
    reinstallation of your closet! If you have an engine top access door, cover it as well. Make sure you don't seal it down, and make sure that levers still operate.

    7. On '72 and later Westy's: Make sure that you
    soundproof and place high temp (NASA FOAM
    from JC Whitney) foam over sound-proof pads.
    Make sure that they are secured, so they do
    not fall/vibrate into the engine compartment.

    8. Closets: All years: I adheared the fireproof
    foam to the interior, along with glued on
    carpet to trim-up the inside. This
    dramatically reduces 'cold arm' when opening
    the closet in the dead of winter.
    On the '76, the closet cubbies (3 of them)
    Got the same treatment.

    9. Headliner: VERY IMPORTANT AREA!!! Make sure
    that you have stuffed insulation in many of
    the crevices you can find. Make sure you have
    no 'mystery holes there, they are very LOUD!
    Take body filler and plug hole and give it a b
    bit of an outer 'hump' so rain runs away from
    it as well. Place many noise pads up there,
    and now: Take the foil-backed insulation and double it up with both sides exposing foil. This will provide the optimum cooling and quiet zone for those driving. Also, scatter some noise pads on the top of the headliner as well.

    10. FINAL CHECK UP: I made sure that all of the
    cushions I wanted were in the Westy, the
    blankets, the drapes, (all sound-absorbers).
    - Included a fire extinguishers.

    FINALLY ----- RESULTS: Long-Term & Short-Term

    The 1971 was the first completed, appoximately 4-5 years ago now. Didn't know there was another site doing virtually the same thing! Well, my Uncle, an Engineer at GM took a good, long, look, at my VW and explained the concept of making it both a Thermous (for hot and cold retention) and a 2-300% decrease in interior noise.

    The 5 year report is in on the '71: (note, this one has been mainly done with roof shingles) The vehicle runs virtually quiet. No yelling, you cannot even feel the horn vibrate under your feet, with all the padding.

    When outside, you cannot hear people speaking from inside the bus. The heat that enters the bus keeps the interior warm like a thermous. The cool breeze of the summer keeps the Westy from getting uncomfortably hot.

    Both models:

    BIG PRO --- BUT BE CAREFUL!!!!!: The clanky VW engine is simply a low hum, and difficult to hear. EVEN WITH YOUR WINDOWS OPEN!!
    Because the comfort pads and all other noise absorbing items are in place --- the engine can rev quite high, well before you hear it.

    I immediately purchased two VDO tachometers w/10 Ohm resistor to lessen the noise interference and keep the needle from bouncing. In addition 16- gauge wire helps. This way, you can keep an eye on your motor.



    - Completely quiet bus, results are shocking.
    - Rust is virtually eliminated and trouble
    areas are sealed.
    - Temperature regulation: Westy doesn't 'bake' anymore - stays very comfortable.
    - Requires minimal heat for which to sleep when in a campground.
    - Project done with a cost under $200.00.
    - No feeling of road under your feet, no matter where you are located in vehicle.


    - Labour intensive
    - Using all adhesive noise-deadening pads gets $$$
    - Adds approximately 200 lbs. to your VW
    - This is a 'system' so you cannot really change
    the combination of materials. Each one is
    designed to interact with one another, you may
    be disappointed if you use improper materials.


    All I can comment on is the '71. It has been like a dream, and after many trips to sub-zero
    Albany; was no longer needing gloves and a blanket
    on my feet to comfortably drive.

    DONE YET????????????? Well, almost.

    This was a detailed explanation of the interior only. Due to the detail of these projects, feel
    free to ask me questions/results on the following:

    - Pop-Top: Keeping it sealed, quiet. GOAL: To
    avoid keeping air from flying around the
    bottom of the closed pop-top. This slows the
    bus and also, takes precious heat, and adds

    - Bus Heat: Your factory BUS HEAT is WAYYYYY more
    than enough to have you driving in sub-zero
    temps, with cabin temps at 75 degrees. Plus
    the insulation keeps the air in. However,
    this is a cheap project, but again labor
    intensive. For 68-82 VWs. Advantage: very

    - Undercarriage: How to clean/de-rust/and properly
    rust proof the undercarriage without applying
    chemicals that shorten your life span by
    inhaling unneeded fumes. Discusses the final
    sealing coat, and preventative measures to keep
    your undercarriage rust-free. Inexpensive, but
    labour intensive. Ask about this before you
    begin painting tar/roof patching materials to
    the bottom of your VW.

    About myself:

    Have been restoring VWs for 18 years, and am a strong advocate of OEM restoration. Obviously, these improvements are not "OEM", however they are 1) a dramatic improvement 2) not visible!

    Each VW that I have taken on; I challenge myself to bring it back to it's show-room condition. I do like to see modifications, as it expresses all facets of the Westy. However, my knowledge my be limited in this area in reagards to the above.

    I wish you all happy building, and would appreciate some feedback as to how you are making out! Summer may be a great time to do this project, it is much better doing this in warm climate.

    Feel free to ask any questions:



    Ron Wolff
    '76 Westy
    '78 SB Conv
    '74 SB Auto-stick

    [This message was edited by Capt. Mike on September 17, 2002 at 12:56 PM.]
    Ron Wolff
    '76 Westy
    '78 SB Conv
    '74 SB Auto-stick

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Victoria, BC, Canada


    Okay, I have read everything on here about soundproofing, thank you all. Assuming I use some version of these quiet pads and the nasa type insulation, can anyone give me an idea of the amount I will need for the interior of an 86 westy? Sq. ft. wise that is.


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