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Freewheeling: Sound Effects

January 10, 2011 Freewheeling 2 Comments

Progress on the Sprinter Van continues, though not as quickly as Greg would probably like. Perhaps you recall that we are treating our dog for cancer? That shit is expensive, even if students are doing the work. Oh, and Greg left the area for about four weeks (five days with family in North Carolina, three weeks in Malaysia for work). That will slow production right down… Also, you can take back your negative thoughts: it’s not that he doesn’t trust me with power tools! This is his project and it would take away from his fun if I were doing the [unsupervised] work.


But Greg isn’t disheartened with the slow progress. A lot of the up-front work is behind-the-scenes anyway. Like soundproofing. That’s what all the ruckus has been about around here lately. It’s the stuff like this — the stuff you can’t see and won’t think about once it’s done — that separates the true McGyvers from the McGrubers. I’ve got a McGyver.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of riding in an empty Sprinter van, let me be the first to tell you IT IS LOUD. It’s a tin can that reverberates all the engine noise and road noise and radio noise and talking. The kind of noise that drives you crazy after only a short time. I don’t know about you, but if I can’t hear myself think, I just talk more. And no one wants that. Especially Greg.

Hence, the soundproofing.

He removed the subfloor and began his work. The metal floor of the van is corrugated, so Greg started with this sound-deadening butyl rubber product called “RattleTrap.” It was a tedious process for him to adhere this to every groove, around the wheel wells and in the cockpit area.

Admittedly, I thought he was done once that stuff was installed. Many years ago, he did the same thing with his Element and that was that! I was sorely mistaken. He removed the paneling from the sliding door and began an experiment. You know that Great Stuff you can use to fill holes and otherwise make cool things with? Yeah. That stuff. He wanted to see if he could use it as soundproofing material in the well of the door.

Turns out, he can! And it works well!

Again, after the door project, I thought he was done. Again, I was wrong. The next step was to put a 3/8″ neoprene foam filler in each of the corrugates on the van floor.

This is the definition of tedious:

Then he custom-cut his own plywood subfloor, under direct supervision of Argus. Note the ear and eye protection. Safety first!

The work is not yet done. Not even close.┬áThe next step was to install L-track, of course. What were you thinking? The sandwich made of tracks, plywood, and soundproofing was bolted to the floor using 1/4″ bolts and riv nuts. Look closely at the below pictures. Those riv nuts were a bitch to install. The purpose of the L-tracks is to tie down cargo while driving. Begin with the end in mind!

And yet more soundproofing… Greg removed the liner covering the van walls and began the work of filling them in with Great Stuff.

Realizing there was something missing, he built a perch for the Project Supervisor:

This is a long and drawn-out process, for sure. But in between work on the van, work at Job #1, Job #2, and keeping a wife like me happy (!!), we enjoyed happy hour in the van at sunset. You can just see Greg working out the next round of plans: the sleeping quarters!


Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jane says:

    That husband of yours sure is handy and ingenious! Goooo Greg!

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