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1968-2013 Full Size Vans Econolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550

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Old 01-31-2011, 10:29 PM
65F1005.8 65F1005.8 is offline
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Insulating my van

I am insulating my van primarily for noise, but the added R-value is welcomed as it will be my getaway from the heat or cold when im working. it is a mobile mechanic van. I am in Oklahoma so the weather extremes are typically 30-100 degrees.

I have a few questions but I have already started and made some progress with the project. I have installed 3.5in paper backed insulation with a plastic vapor barrier under it. I simply installed 3 board running the length of the van that hold the insulation against the walls, and then have 1/4 plywood over the boards and insulation. I put the plastic on the sheet metal and the paper backing toward the inside of the van. it is compressed in some places but for the most part is is only minorly compressed.

Today in about 20 min I filled the door cavities with the insulation and again had the paper on the inside, I am then going to screw the plywood over the door holes to complete it.

the floor consists of 1/2in foam board insulation, 3/4 plywood, and a vinyl floor covering,

Should I have plastic in the doors? If so, where?

Can I fill the voids in the rear corners and around the top with spray foam? or will it cause rust? It says it is water proof (vapor barrier?) I would also like the pop the drain plugs out of the rockers and fill them with spray foam but I am afraid of capturing moisture, should I be?

the insulation I have down makes the truck so much quieter. I am very pleased, after I get the rear insulated I'll attempt to tackle the cab area.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:03 PM
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SilverE350 SilverE350 is offline
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Just Pink Fiberglass made it noticeably quieter? I've read that Reflectix works very well for keeping heat in or out.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:49 PM
65F1005.8 65F1005.8 is offline
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Yeah the pink fiberglass insulation is a great sound absorber, I stapled it to the inside of my air compressor box and it deadened it to a hum. The doors sound so much better when you close them too. they sound like very high quality car doors. the sound hits those fibers and then it can't escape before it is eliminated. the foil stuff is about 5 times more expensive than fiberglass though I bought 2 32' rolls for 18 bucks at home depot, and its R-13. go up into an attic with fiberglass and yell, you will see what I'm talking about. and if you bang on the outside of the van it just thumps now.

I'll do the front doors and board everything up when I get a chance, here in a couple hours were suppose to get 12-20in of snow and ice.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:34 AM
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My raised roof E250 cargo van came totally uninsulated so from past experience on a '97 I had previously this is what I did........

Double layer of the Reflectic-like stuff on all exposed metal walls including the roof and all ribs, struts ect. In the bumped out areas just above the wheel wells and the doors stuff unfaced pink fiberglass inside---did this before gluing the Reflectix over those areas.

For the doors I found factory original pressed wood covers for the inside openings. Traced them onto cheap 3/8" plywood then laminated pebble textured plastic material commonly used in kitchen/bathroom areas. Installed some threaded split body rivet nuts in the holes intended for a clip then used 1/4-20 x 1 1/4" stainless steel truss head screws. When these doors are closed they don't rattle and bang around at all-almost dead quiet. These panels double as good surfaces for hanging racks and tool holders.

Anything done to keep the bare metal walls and roof from vibrating and resonating makes a huge difference. Adding a wood floor, maybe Reflectix under that then carpeting and its quite a change. I added a sliding heavy fabric curtain between the front seats and cargo bay which makes another huge difference.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:51 AM
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The first one we did was a friends 68' and treated it like a house. We started by wiring first, then buying a gallon or two of undercoating. We brushed this on the sidewalls as a sound deadener and stuck the 3 1/2" fiberglass to it. Then it was 1x2's the length of the sides and added paneling and trim like you would do a house. The corners we boxed in and used the area for speakers and lights leaving a removable access panel for the jack. We also boxed in the wheel wells and made benches from the front of them to the corner. The roof with the thinner ribs we also undercoated but stuck carpet padding to it. this was covered with masonite sheeting screwed to the ribs and painted. As far as the doors we took garbage bags, the large lawn and leaf ones, pulled the paper off of the 3 1/2" insulation and put it in the bags. Taped them shut and stuffed them in the side and rear doors then screwed masonite to the door. We didn't do anything to the front doors because of the window assembly and didn't know what to put in there at the time. Then cut plywood strips, undercoated the floors and stuck the strips to it between the ribs and put down masonite and carpet.

You wouldn't believe how warm and quiet it was in there. On cool nights the condensation would form on the outside of the van everywhere but where the ribs were. Eventually we closed in the area between the wheel wells and made a bed there and put the spare under it with everything else. In all we ended up doing 5 vans. We used them as campers and places to party. I basically lived in mine for about two years.

Man, those were the days......
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:41 PM
jimbbski jimbbski is offline
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One thing you can do is to buy a roll of the rubber like stuff they use on roofs. It a peel and stick membrain that you use under shingles. It's sometimes called an ice& water dam.

You peel and stick it to the sheet metal. It sort of like the factory sound deading sheets but you can buy it at any home improvement store.

As for using expanding foam. As long as the foam won't get wet you are good to go. It it can get wet it will hold water and will rust the metal.

Ask me how I know? I used some on the hood of my van, inside the ribs. I now have to replace the hood. It was easier to buy a used one then fix the rust on the original.
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:16 PM
65F1005.8 65F1005.8 is offline
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Even though it claims to be waterproof? It still absorbs water? I might take a blob of this stuff and see if it absorbs any water.
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 65F1005.8 View Post
Even though it claims to be waterproof? It still absorbs water? I might take a blob of this stuff and see if it absorbs any water.
While the material itself might indeed be waterproof it would still trap moisture nearest the metal surfaces. Most of us already know there is a huge and terrible condensation problem inside uninsulated vans, often so noticable the floor mats will be wet to the touch. Since insulating mine it no longer does this regardless the weather.

Jcee your story reminds me of my very first van--1969 Chevy one ton cargo only. That metal obstruction aka doghouse made a great third seat; warm in winter unbearable in summer--do not invite your short short or mini-skirt wearing girlfriend to sit there!

I had access to scraps of an expanded convoluted foam, cut from 2' x 6' full sheets and used as a sound deadening liner for HVAC plenums. Glued in place with a real solvent based contact cement this stuff was amazing how much noise it eliminated. Installing it was better accomplished outside because the CC fumes would give you a horrible headache.

Once the side walls and roof was totally covered and a shelf of bed-like structure was added it was almost eerie inside it---so quiet and dark too---no windows in the doors.

If I recall I paid maybe $300 from a friend getting married--traded it to a kid who promised lawn care for a month or so-----never did come back after I handed him the title.

When I think back on all the places that thing took me and the good times too---very much miss that old rattle trap. I can't think of a better way to haul coolers full of Michelob Light (bottles only) and munchies.

Those were the days!
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:28 AM
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Yea JW, it was a great time. After the 68' I bought a new Chevy 1/2 ton and did the same things but added cabinets, sunroof, vent and refrigerator/icebox. 1 block ice + 1 case bud + 1 Princess of the moment = a helluva good weekend. I then did a 74 Dodge, bought myself a 82 Dodge shorty and sold the Chevy, then did an 80's chevy for a friend. It was like the 60's on steroids.

You'll probably remember the bumper sticker, "If this Vans rockin' don't come knockin'". Right?
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:31 PM
65F1005.8 65F1005.8 is offline
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I guess the risk is too high to use it in the rockers, but I wounder about the expanding foam they use in bass boats.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:28 AM
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I guess the risk is too high to use it in the rockers, but I wounder about the expanding foam they use in bass boats.
I'm only guessing but a boat hull being fiberglass doesn't have issues with rust should moisture become trapped between the insulation and superstructure material. Could also be the insulation is more for floatation rather than heat retention/exclusion?

Mostly in our vans we need to think of the "living space" much like a building, insulating that against heat loss/gain and not worry too much about areas like rocker channels etc. It doesn't take a lot of material or work to greatly improve the comfort of a van. Most standard vehicle heating/cooling systems prove to be more than sufficient "as is". My own van with added rear area hot water heater/blower raises the inside temps to over 75*F; on 25*F days that's almost tropical where you're comfortable without coats, hats and gloves--almost like sitting in the living room at home.

Wow Jcee I'm waxing quite nostalgic now----hearing Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrision and Bob Segar's Night Moves too! Funny how music really is the sound track of our (vanning) lives!

Of course today the Bud and Michelob is replaced by Gatorade and bottled water, our Princesses of the moment are more Queens of our Domain as we head out to the latest theme park kids/grandkids in tow instead of a "lover's lane" only we knew about.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:49 AM
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Gee, a lot of tears here. The ice and water shield / dam is important for condensation. In commercial construction we do a lot of metal panels for skins. Granted they are not subjected to the same forces as in the vehicle, but the principle would be the same. Pink insulation works very well. We use both -- pink insulation on the metal stud cavities, and foam / backing board to metal sheeting in metal panels. I think the assembly R-value is over 17 or 19.

One thing I have found useful on doors will electric window mechanisms is undercoat spray. In my last van, it actually reduced the road-noise to a point that road-noise from glass overcame it. The undercoat spray also helps with heat insulation of course. It will stink for a while, but it shall come to pass.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:19 AM
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I started building van interiors in 1973 and have built hundreds. I'm amazed you guys are using fiberglass in vans. That stuff leaks out every time the van moves, leaving very itchey stuff al over your body and interior. Some of you are going with the foil both sides air bubble stuff, which is perfect for this use, along with some air gap, makes for a quiet and confortable van.
Fiberglass is for houses, NOT VANS.
Rick
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:57 PM
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Rick I'm not sure how you figure fiberglass bat insulation is unsuitable for a van---it seems to work very very well on mine. Even though I used the foil/bubble wrap stuff directly applied to the previously bare metal walls for sound deadening areas like doors filled full seem not to leak anything itchy at all. The wider areas just above the wheel wells are also filled but two layers of foil/bubble wrap on top might contain it as well.

I hope to cover the walls below the original roof leaving a space to be filled with more fiberglass in the traditional way, perhaps 3" deep. Having a raised roof containing lighting and heating ducts I made effort to heavily insulate the ceiling, knowing heat rises and hoping to contain it inside rather than leak out. I don't think even a double layer of the foil/bubble wrap will give the same R value as at least 2" of fiberglass.

So far I have no condensation problems so have to disagree fiberglass is not the way to go in a van.

Henry when I converted my formerly hand cranked front door glass to electric lifts I first glued two layers of the foil/bubble wrap onto the then-bare outer door skins-------much easier with all the window guts removed. This alone has decreased road noise so your idea about coating those surfaces was very smart indeed. Anything keeping large metal surfaces from vibrating or transmitting noises helps make things inside much more quiet.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:10 AM
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How are you guys gluing the insulation to the walls and is there any need to worry about moisture being held in the fiberglass and rusting the van from the inside out? Apparently, Sportsmobile Vans use Pink Fiberglass without any reported problems that I know of, but I don't know if it is just put into the walls by itself or with a barrier of somekind. Not that Sportsmobile is the absolute standard, from what I gather they are cheaply built.

Has anybody tried Roxsul sound deadening insulation?
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:10 AM
 
 
 
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