First jobs were to strip out the interior, lose the stuff I don’t need, check the condition of the floor and make a start on soundproofing and insulation. Boring stuff, but arguably the most important part of the build. I’ll be camping in extremes of temperature, the highs of Southern Europe and the lows of Scandinavia or the Alps so need the insulation to be as effective as possible. I’m really fond of peace and quiet too, so soundproofing the living/sleeping area especially is vital.
The side panels were riveted on, so they had to be drilled out. Thin acrylic which won’t be returning but good for a template. Then cleaned 16 years of muck and dust from underneath, all looks well – no damage or rust. This is a really straight van.
After considering spray foam but deciding against it for a number of reasons, I’ve gone a pretty standard route. First up, layers of 2mm SilentCoat (similar to Dynamat, butyl based but a bit cheaper) to add mass and reduce noise from those big boomy panels. Used this in my Transporter build, it’s great stuff and makes a huge difference to the feel and sound of the van, a lot more solid. Applied with a roller this time, and a heat gun is necessary in the damp, cold British springtime to ensure adhesion. Went for around 80% coverage on the walls, and 100% coverage on the cab floor and roof. Used the thicker 4mm Silent Coat on the wheel arches, footwells and around the pedals. Overkill maybe, but I’m determined to have a quiet driving experience. More on the cab later….
On top of that, for the large panel expanses, I’ve added 9mm Closed Cell Foam – Dodomat for those interested. Doesn’t absorb water and great for both insulation and soundproofing. Looks a really good quality product with super strong adhesive, but have added 3M foil tape over the joins and edges to be doubly sure it won’t go anywhere in extremes of temperature.
The final layer before the panelling will be 44mm Thinsulate, which is really difficult to source in the UK (3M were useless – thanks for nothing), but I eventually found a marine supplier and purchased 15 metres – just under £600 worth. Should be more than enough I hope, not exactly cheap… This will cover any gaps on the walls and roof, plus fill in any voids not taken care of by the CCF. I know a lot of Sprinter builds have used Thinsulate alone with great success, so I’m hopeful this 3-tiered approach will be even more effective, without adding too much weight.
I managed a fair bit of insulation in the back, then decided I needed a break and really should get the floor up and the bulkhead out.
I’ll be replacing the metal bulkhead with a wooden one and adding a walkthrough (with locking door) for security and to keep the heat in or out from the front windows. Should help with keeping things quiet in the living areas too.
First up was to remove this ridiculous hydraulic Transco-era fold down laptop bench/safe type thing. It rattled like mad when the van was being driven and due to its positioning meant an uncomfortable position for driving, with it digging in your elbow. Really heavy bit of kit, and of no use to anyone nowadays – scrapped!
The bulkhead itself was a massive pain in the arse to get out, the factory rivets holding it in being so much tougher than the ones from the floor and side panels. Went through around 10 HSS drill bits and a lot of swearing but got there in the end. Glad I won’t have to do that again. Kept to one side to use as a template. Had to remove the Dynawatt inverter which was mounted to it, as well all the CB radio stuff.
The plywood floor was riveted in, more drilling to get those out, but the wood looks in good condition other than being a bit oily. I’ll probably reuse this after a cleanup/paint, as it’ll be covered well. The floor underneath was in great condition, other than the holes and a little bit of surface rust on and around the arches. Cleaned the dirt and dust up, the tar based mat under the wood left a mess which had to be taken off with degreaser. Pretty grim towards the cab end.
Ground all the rust back to clean metal with a wire brush drill attachment and coated these with a Zinc Rich primer – Isopon Zinc 182.
I repainted the entire floor with Rustoleum metal ready which I’ve used a lot in the past on other vehicles, great paint which holds up well. Marlin Blue is a reasonably close match to the van colour, and as this will only be used in areas that won’t be seen, I don’t mind that it’s not an exact match. Ordered 1 litre, but for some reason the supplier could only send a 2.5 litre for the same price – result!
And this is pretty much where things ended to once the floor had dried – bit of a mess.