the elbow grease is paying off

Elbow grease time

My mechanical skills might be somewhat limited, but it’s great to be able to some work on the bus myself. Adding sound insulation is something I can tackle. In many ways, it’s one of the attractions to owning a vintage VW in the first place.

So slowly but surely, I began removing the original adhesive. First with a scraper, then finishing off with a scouring pad and white spirit. Great to see the original paint underneath, plus a few mystery screw holes in various locations? Not quite sure what they were all for, although some looked like they might have been for a Westfalia rock and roll bed fitting – the hidden history/mysteries of a VW camper!?

with a scraper and plenty of elbow grease, the old adhesive gradually gets removed…
with a scraper and plenty of elbow grease, the old adhesive gradually gets removed…

Clean and ready

It helped to work in the warm sunshine, as the heat also helped loosen the old adhesive. Once an area had been initially cleaned, I then gave it a final wipe over with some panel wipe to make sure any dust or grease residue was cleaned away ready for the new sound deadening to be fitted. Time to break out my new best friends for the job ahead; Stanley Fatmax knife, steel rule/straight edge, hardwood seam roller and a bottle of panel wipe.

my new best friends for cleaning, cutting and fitting the acoustic insulation sheets
my new best friends for cleaning, cutting and fitting the acoustic insulation sheets

Sound deadening top tip

Choosing a warm sunny time of year is a real top tip for doing the job. Before starting to fit the 250mm x 500mm sound deadening sheets, I had previously laid them out in the sun to help make the based material more supple and pliable. This really helped when fitting them over the corrugated and ribbed section of the engine bay metal. Once the sheets were cut and fitted in place, heavy pressure from the hardwood seam roller helped them to closely follow the metals original profile and provide a pretty neat finish. Pretty pleased with how it turned out…

sound insulation fitted over the rear engine bulkhead area, very Star Wars Darth Vader esq.
sound insulation fitted over the rear engine bulkhead area, very Star Wars Darth Vader Esq.

Sound panel damping

The rear bulkhead all covered in the satin black sound damping looks like the interior design wall finish for a Sith Lord… I sense the dark side of the force is strong with this one! Next onto the interior side panels of the bus… These were in excellent original condition, pretty much still in the original factory paint as they were when they left the factory in Germany in 1964! Fortunately, these did not have anything previously glued to them! So the preparation was much simpler, they just needed a good wipe over with panel wipe – happy days!

measuring up and looking at different options for the acoustic insulation
measuring up and looking at different options for the acoustic insulation

No overkill

Initially, I had planned to use 100% sound damping coverage over the noisiest part of the bus, the rear engine area, and then go to around approx. 50% coverage for the rest of the bus. However, me being me, once I had played around with different numbers of test sample strips, I decided to double up and go for two strips per panel. Looks like my original plan of 50% panel coverage will end up being a fairly generous 50% plus! Still, some weight saving was achieved without sacrificing the sound insulation results.

getting the acoustic insulation fitted on the drivers side long panel
getting the acoustic insulation fitted on the driver’s side, long panel

So has the addition of the sound damping reduced the resonance and vibrations in the original panels of the bus? Proof of the pudding? You be the judge…

Yeah science baby

Sound damping requires mass to reduce vibration. Thermal insulation requires layered materials. So in the immortal words of Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad‘Yeah Science!’

 

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