Travlin' Van Build (was Van der Loosed) - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 182 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 09:20:AM Thread Starter
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Travlin' Van Build (was Van der Loosed)

For a while I have been contemplating the perceived noise level in the van. It seems loud, but how loud, really? I found an App on the Play store called Sound Meter and put it on my phone. First, a baseline needed to be determined.

Here's a link to a chart of common db noise levels.

My Forester was what I was driving that day, so, I took a measurement in it traveling on the highway I take daily to/from work. With the cruise set at 80 on a posted 75 highway the Sound Meter read between 58 and 62 db. Averaging around 60-61 db.

This morning I take the van to work and repeat the experiment. In both cases I held the phone in my right hand, at a height about shoulder level and centered between the front seats and facing to the rear of the vehicle. Surprisingly, the Transit read almost exactly the same. Regardless of the accuracy of the Sound Meter the fact that the noise level measured identically on the same stretch of road wasn't what I was expecting.

For comparison, I'm seeing about 20 db ("leaves rustling" on the chart) sitting in my office at work, which seems to be on par based upon the chart. The 60 db reading in the vehicles is the level of conversational speech or the AC compressor running beside a house (from what distance the chart wasn't specific).

To me, it seems louder in the van, perhaps due to the cavernous aspect of the sound, but by the meter I'd say this is actually a fairly low reading. It was surprising how it was the same in both vehicles considering the Subaru has carpet, panels, and some sound deadening installed and the van is bare metal wall and ceiling in the cargo area with OEM floor and wheel covering.

Can it be made better? I think so, and will be working toward that end result as I begin my build by designing floor, walls and ceiling with this in mind.

Another thing done to the van is installation of a Masione Android 2DIN HU with the Metra Dask Kit. This is a Chinese HU running the Joying version of the Android OS. I've installed apps from the Google Play Store for Navigation, OBD2 monitoring, and will be evaluating these apps and others as I go. It is only playing in the front door speakers at this time, so the sound could be better and this is no fault of the unit, but of the OEM speakers and their placement.

Lastly, I've just installed a set of Cooper HT3 Discoverer tires in the OEM size. I like them and believe they are as quiet or quieter than the tires that were removed. They look better, to me, and have a blockier tread pattern that ought to serve traction well off pavement. As the van is unloaded I've set the front and rear tire pressure to the recommended pressure for the fronts.

Okay, that's it for now. More to come.
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Last edited by Aristo; 08-20-2018 at 03:30:PM. Reason: OP requested edits
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post #2 of 182 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 09:25:AM
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the van is pretty quiet usually, when the wind picks up and I am driving at 80 mph, yes, it is a little noisy, mostly wind noise,

I drive a chevy duramax diesel and that is loud in 2wd, in 4wd, I can't hear the radio cuz of the misaligned gears of the front diffy and tfr case.

So count your blessings and drive it bro :-)
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Last edited by stockrex; 09-15-2017 at 11:07:AM.
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post #3 of 182 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 10:18:AM
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Welcome and thank you for sharing your observations. Your sound pressure results are interesting. I would suggest Thinsulate(TM) to make the van both quiet and comfortable. We have found that there is really no need for additional layers, materials or treatments.
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post #4 of 182 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 10:22:AM
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It's probably most accurate to measure one's own baseline and the effectiveness of any interventions afterwards. Comparisons among us may be limited - variations in road surface, tires, wind.

Not an expert on hearing (I could ask my ENT surgeon buddy) but the app says it measures sound pressure levels, not frequency based measurements like dBA or dBC. Not sure on how that matters but dBA reflects what you hear better than dB does (because frequency based measurement biased towards the human hearing range). Maybe that's why SPL in dB measured the same on the Forester and the Transit while you probably feel the Transit is noisier than the Forester?
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post #5 of 182 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 10:53:AM
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There was no getting around the fact my Transit in its birthday suit was noisy on the highway.

By Hein's standards I went bughouse looney acoustically insulating mine. Noico, MLV, Thinsulate - I even put a layer of Thinsulate between the fender well and the front wheel well covers. My van is now 99% complete and I'm satisfied with the degree of quietness it has on the road. The biggest factor now in determining the noise level is the quality of the highway pavement. There is a stretch of brand new asphalt paving on I-5 that when you are on it the silence by comparison makes the rest of it sound like one has gone deaf.

* - In the past I posted about using contact cement to adhere leftover MLV to certain portions of the exterior bottom of the van's floor. Upon a return trip from Eugene yesterday when I went out to the van I noticed one of the slabs of it laying in the driveway. So much for that experiment.
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post #6 of 182 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 11:10:AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyBuffy View Post
* - In the past I posted about using contact cement to adhere leftover MLV to certain portions of the exterior bottom of the van's floor. Upon a return trip from Eugene yesterday when I went out to the van I noticed one of the slabs of it laying in the driveway. So much for that experiment.
Try another experiment; 3M 5200?

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post #7 of 182 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 11:12:AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eiko View Post
It's probably most accurate to measure one's own baseline and the effectiveness of any interventions afterwards. Comparisons among us may be limited - variations in road surface, tires, wind.

Not an expert on hearing (I could ask my ENT surgeon buddy) but the app says it measures sound pressure levels, not frequency based measurements like dBA or dBC. Not sure on how that matters but dBA reflects what you hear better than dB does (because frequency based measurement biased towards the human hearing range). Maybe that's why SPL in dB measured the same on the Forester and the Transit while you probably feel the Transit is noisier than the Forester?
Thanks for the suggestion. I've now installed an app called Sound Analyzer that includes dbA and dbC measurements.

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post #8 of 182 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 02:25:PM
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I wonder if a decibel reader can hear echoes? That's what I noticed on our first, pre-conversion ride. Echoes. Lots of echoes. I have driven other cargo vans, and the Transit is by far the quietest one I've ever driven. Once we added some sound deadener and carpet, the ride grew considerable quieter - on par with a mid-sized GM sedan? I'm sure it would be even quieter now that I have mattresses, duffel bags, etc inside - but as Stockrex says - there comes a point when the wind noise outside becomes apparent; and there's not much you can do about that.
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post #9 of 182 (permalink) Old 10-22-2017, 07:46:PM Thread Starter
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Slowly moving along on the project, reaching Tabula Rasa today after removing the OEM floor cover. That was the easy part. Next was removing the shovel full of debris that had collected over a couple of years of plumbing service. Sweep, vacuum, sweep again, then mop, then hit all the corners with a small brush and a damp cloth.

After that I was in prime position to remove the (seemingly) gallon or so of spray lithium grease the previous party had felt needed to be sprayed on every surface related to the operation of the sliding door, and many surfaces that didn't. It had done what that white grease does best, congealed and collected dirt. The door operates quite a bit better now without the drag of that thick, dirt-encrusted layer of alleged lubricant where no lubricant is required.

Looking into the van from the rear it now looks reasonably pristine as long as you don't focus the gaze too closely. As for the OEM floor, after removing it I thought I'd roll it up until I needed it as a template and then found the pad was soaked in several places. Likely from something they spilled months ago which soaked into it like a sponge. It is now drying in my shop pad side up with the window AC removing the moisture and the ceiling fan to keep this dry air circulating.

Baby steps.

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post #10 of 182 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 12:36:AM Thread Starter
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Today was a shopping day at Home Depot and Lowes, fortunately, they are across the highway from one another.

Three sheets of 11/32 Plywood, a 12 ft H-channel of white vinyl to connect the ply sections, and I'll be ordering 1 ft. planks of click flooring in Cork. With a 1/8" of acoustic underlayment with foil backing I'll have a floor. Underlayment/Plywood/Cork Click Flooring. The 23/64" thick Heritage Mill Cork Click Flooring at Home Depot in "Tea" color is getting the nod. Just have to consider any advantages to laying it N-S or E-W. Any experienced click floor installers speak up if something to consider comes to mind. Total floor thickness will be under 7/8" and maybe 3/8" or so higher than the OEM rubber and pad. Preserving the standover height in the MR was the goal.

Also picked up two 10' 1x4 and two 8' 1x3 whitewood boards that will be the foundation for my walls. Along with L-Track (US Cargo Control) bolted into the Van sheet metal over the 1x lumber at the mid and high flat spots that run the length of the wall. The L-Track will make the attach points for all cabinets and the 1x lumber will provide wood to screw into for the wall panels.

The wall panels will be 1/4" Luan cut to fit over the 1x lumber and between the upper and lower L-Track. R-Max 3/4" Polyiso will be glued to the back of the Luan, cut to fit perfectly between the upper and lower 1x boards. This way I won't have to deal with too many curves and such, and the large flat panels can be easily removed if/when needed.

On the sheet metal of the Van walls will be a layer of Thinsulate, 3M's CS150, from the garment industry. (Vogue Fabric) It is about a third the thickness of the SM600L, and rated R-1.7 instead of SM600L at R-5.2. On the Luan wall panel there will be another layer of CS150 opposite the R-Max on the living space side, to be covered in cloth or carpet or something.

Wall insulation will get R-3.4 from two layers of CS150 Thinsulate and R-5 from the R-Max for a total of R-8.4. I think the CS150 Thinsulate will provide lots of flexibility in installation as I can layer it as needed to add thermal or acoustic insulation. The cost is $0.40/ft.sq. , compared to $2.45/ft.sq. for the SM600L. Even after triple layering CS150 to match R-value of the SM600L the cost per foot square is less than half. The roll purchased is 60" wide and 75 feet long (375 ft.sq.) and costs $210.00 including shipping (so, $0.56/ft.sq. total). I'll have plenty to use elsewhere, like in the doors, roof, in a blackout curtain behind the seats, and covering bare metal in the living space, etc.

I'm pondering cutting it into strips and putting it in the valleys under the floor as the height of two layers will likely be a good match and Thinsulate's hydrophobic qualities could really shine in that application. After pulling the sopping wet OEM floor pad, my personal hydro-phloor-bia suddenly became more acute. I'll be thinking on a way to allow some airflow under the floor. I also picked up a rattle can of Rustoleum Gloss White Auto Finish paint and plan to hit all the tiny rust-looking spots found under the wet OEM floor with sander, then paint, before I cover it up.

The Steelcraft running boards are slated to arrive on Friday. So, naturally, we'll be seeing some most unusually cold weather this weekend, dropping below freezing in the wee hours. Actually, it should be pretty nice for most of the day, especially if I keep busy.
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Last edited by Travlin; 10-26-2017 at 12:55:AM.
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