original VW factory fitted sound damping over the engine bay

less than cool – driving around in a noisy hot tin can on wheels – time for a bit of a change!

Before the summer was over, one of the things I wanted to try to resolve, was the amount of collective background ‘noise’ (road and engine noise mainly) in the bus when driving around. I also wanted to look at ways to try to regulate the temperature variations of hot and cold days. This part would definitely earn me extra brownie points with my wife as she absolutely hates the cold! I know it’s a 51-year-old vehicle, with single skin metal bodywork and a lot of glass windows, so there are obvious limits to what can be realistically achieved! Currently with no interior in place doesn’t help! It’s a bit like driving around in a noisy hot tin can on wheels at the moment! With winter coming, that will soon change to being a cold tin can on wheels! So if nothing else, it’s a good motivation to try to get things done ASAP!

I want to fit both acoustic and thermal insulation to the bus where I can. This should reduce the overall road and engine noise in the bus. This will make a huge difference to the internal quietness of the driving and listening experience (when I get round to fitting a sound system!). Whilst there is no real interior as such in place, it’s the perfect time to get the work done – easy access all areas!

original over engine board, battered, stained but still in reasonable shape
original over engine board, battered, stained but still in reasonable shape

So first things first, time to remove all the internal panels of the bus so we can begin to see what’s underneath and what needs doing. Most of the interior panels were not in great shape, and will probably get replaced. Some, like the original board that goes over the engine shelf, although stained and battered, is potentially usable as is, or at least, will make a good template for cutting a new replacement piece.

original VW factory fitted sound damping over the engine bay
original VW factory fitted sound damping over the engine bay

Over the rear engine bay (the main source of noise, vibration and heat in a vintage VW) was the remnants of the original 1964 VW factory fitted sound damping/acoustic insulation. The strips were made from an odd fibrous content that seemed to include small bits of grit in it? Sometimes to move forward on a project, it seems you have to take a few steps backwards first. This original insulation was looking a bit crispy and worse for wear now, so this will need to be removed to make way for some tough new self adhesive sound deadening sheets…

self adhesive sound damping sheets
self adhesive sound damping sheets

Unfortunately before these sound deadening panels can be fitted, time to get the old insulation removed and the surface underneath cleaned and prepped…

first stage, removing the old sound damping over the engine bay…
first stage, removing the old sound damping over the engine bay…

Most of the original factory fitted sound deadening came off easily enough with a scraper, but the old adhesive used to fix it in place was a different matter! It had been baked on for over 51+ years, and didn’t want to be removed without a fight!

rear bulkhead and wheel arch with old adhesive that needed removing
rear bulkhead and wheel arch with old adhesive that needed removing

Fortunately the old adhesive was mostly limited to the rear parcel shelf directly over the engine, the rear bulkhead and wheel arches. The side panels of the bus were amazingly clean and in fantastic condition! Time to break out some heavy-duty elbow grease to get it all removed before moving on to the next stage…

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