The van arrived May 2021. I was expecting a lousy audio system and noisy experience while driving but the latter was worse than I expected.

First surprise was the audio system was better than expected and I decided that I would not upgrade the standard speakers until I heard them after soundproofing was done.

The plan was to do this in two stages.

Stage 1 – local audio shop line all surfaces (floor, doors, ceiling) in the drivers cabin and also remove the wipers and do the top of the firewall.

Stage 2 – the camper conversion would achieve a lot of sound dampening as follows:

The pop up roof is a fibre glass foam sandwich, exterior walls, side and back door are lined with sound proofing and the floor of the can will have a VW rubber mat, topped by 12 mm ply and then 3 mm vinyl.

Am hoping for a significant improvement from our first journey on a highway  with the following sound profile at 100 km/hour sitting in front of an empty steel box.  Australian workplace health and safety regulations set the exposure standard for noise at 85 dB(A) so a VW Transporter should be considered a dangerous workplace.

Let’s hope we get a substantial reduction from the planned works.

Here are the BEFORE specs.

IDLING in Park – BEFORE

Van sound level at idle

60 Km / Hr BEFORE

60 Km per our sound profile before insulation

110  Km/Hr BEFORE

VW T6.1 without sound proofing

This is the sound profile of my city office.

Office Sound profile

The sound proofing process was planned in two phases.

Stage one started with  Complete Car Sound keeping the car overnight to add sound proofing to the front cabin and engine bay. In the cabin they removing the seats, flooring, bottom of dash board, door cards and headlining, applying STP Black Gold/Silver and FOCAL BAM sheets to all surfaces.  In the doors this meant the outer door shell and internal plastic surfaces. In the engine bay area they removed the wipers and associated mechanicals and applied soundproof sheeting to the bare metal and they also removed the bonnet lining and added sheeting there also.  As a late decision I asked them to also cover the rear wheel arches. The rest of the back was going to be damped significantly as part of the van conversion to occur later.

One the primary goals of the sound proofing was to improve the performance of the base sound system.  Before the application of damping in the doors high audio volumes caused buzzing and vibrations. This was removed by the treatment. I also had a sub woofer installed at the same time as I figured it was a modest investment while the seats and floor coverings were already removed. They installed a modest db DRIVE Euphoria EPS8 8 inch low profile amplified subwoofer (225 Watts RMS with dimensions (LWH) 345 x 245 x 70 mm with the remote level control installed directly under the steering wheel – a very professional looking finish.

See images of cabin sound proofing

See images of front door sound sound proofing

Impact of Stage One I did a baseline audio check first up with the profile below.

IDLING in Park – AFTER Phase One. The sound profile below shows significant reductions at idle particularly in the lower frequencies.  My observation of diving home was significantly less engine sound coming in and a dramatic improvement in the sound of the audio system. I will leave it till the camper is completed before making a decision to upgrade the audio hardware – I would prefer not to but….

Idling sound post phase one