Saturday, September 19, 2009


I just found trash can idea this and want to make one now or buy it for $50.

Here is a homemade one. Pictures on page 2 of the thread.

Pretty cool. Don't know if our bikes would be in the way but bet it would fit. The cool thing is trash goes into it and stays back there.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Old Batteries

I’m examining our electrical system. Our batteries seem in need of replacing, as they are 4 years old. I think we will limp them alone for the next 6-month and watch for sales. I estimate our capacity at 160 amp-hours but I think I would like to double that. We took some measurements under the back bed and I think we could fit some AGM batteries under that space. AGM batteries are more expensive about twice the price but do not require a vented space. We’ll look into if we could build more vented space but I think the AGM batteries will be the considerably simpler and maybe even cheaper answer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Solar Install dilemmas

I was thinking about solar again and if there were other ways to mount it and came across this website:

The 3M VHB tape seems too easy to believe! Am Solar also believes in it:

So I think we are going to go for trying the tape method.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bishop Again!

We headed up to the Bishop area again with the van. Slept at our favorite spot outside Bishop 2 more nights. Again having the van was great as by one climbing area we just stopped and took a nap.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Secondskin products

Our products arrived from secondskin and they look pretty high quality. The Luxury Liner Pro is serious! It is really heavy and dense I think it will be very effective.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Secondskin order

Anja called and had a good talk with Ant the owner of secondskinaudio who was very helpful. He initially agreed with our plan for the dog house of damplifier, motor mat pro, and heat wave pro but once she told him we were going to do some noise testing he changed his recommendation to just damplifier and luxury liner pro for the doghouse.

We placed our order for products for this project:
Phase 1:
We are going with damplifier for the doors. We’ll try to do the inside the door space and surface of the door.

Phase 2:
We will put down two layers of damplifier, then Luxury Liner Pro, and then a layer of Reflectex on top of it.

Phase 3
77 x 30 x 0.6 inches and 21 ounces

Phase 4
Secondskinaudio Spectrum Sludge - $65

Monday, August 31, 2009


I got some Reflectex from OSH Hardware and we cut it to size of the windows in the back bed space. It makes an amazing difference in temperature with direct sunlight on the van windows. It also makes the back bed feel like a tomb because with almost all the light blocked out from those windows it is so dark.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Flying bug removal

Latest Discovery: The attic fan is for bug exhaust. Our SMB has an attic fan and we don’t keep the bug guard on. Most nights we turn it on to blow air out of the van. We ate dinner with the back door open and a rear bed light on. Many bugs came in the van. To get them out we turned on the light by the attic fan and turned off the back bed light. The bugs were drawn to the new light source but before they could reach the light VOOM out the attic fan they went. The van was empty of bugs in about 5 minutes. Sweet!

Rattle stop with felt

Noise Rattles: We put extra firm 3/4" round fabric tabs from KMart on the doors of the cabinets. It seems to have quieted the rattle a significant amount. Most effective $6 fix we have done yet.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


We took a three day, two night trip to the east side of the Sierras (Independence, Bishop, and Mammoth Lakes, CA) for some hiking and climbing. Our misfire issue revisited us as we headed up a steep mountain road to Onion Valley. Again not sure what the cause could be? This time seemed more likely it was an overheating issue but the engine gage was only at two thirds. Just sputtered and died maybe a fuel injection issue with climbing so much altitude since we started the van at 4,000 ft and died in the parking lot at 9,200 ft.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sound Deadening Project - Research

We are planning a major sound deadening project right now which has about three phases. The real ultimate goal is to quiet the front cabin while driving to decrease the volume of our voices when talking and decrease the required volume of the stereo. A secondary goal is to reduce the heat coming off the dog house engine cover.

1. Front door noise dampening mat and add insulation at bottom of door
2. Dog house noise dampening and insulation
3. Noise dampening mat the center floor space (we have a dropped floor with linoleum)
4. Sound dampening on the wheel wells.

First as for all projects we had to do some research and pick our products. Way back in the day I had friends who were into stereo competitions so I'm familiar with dynamat and such products and there cost. So we thought we would use generic EVA dynamat from McMaster on the front doors, center space floor, and outside of the dog house. At $17 for 12 sq ft it seemed like a good deal but for 4 sheets (48 sq ft) and shipping that is $83 and only a DLF (Dampening Loss Factor or ALF Acoustic Loss Factor) of 0.1 it seems kind of ineffective. I knew Dynamat xtreme was $140 for 36 sq ft so what is the value difference. So I fully geeked out on research of products and this is what I found:

Some important items to know:
1. Some cheaper products are relabeled roofing products.
2. The cheaper products are asphalt based and so have odors when they heat up and are ineffective when heated up.
3. Noise products break into two categories;
A. Vibration Dampening (best for applying to sheet metal and can be effective even in small strategic placements)
B. Noise Barriers (must have complete continuous coverage to be affective)
4. All the better products have a foil. Sold on rolls or as sheets.
A. Some retailers claim if it is sold on rolls it must be inferior as higher quality product with be ruined if rolled

If you want to gain some quick understanding about products watch these videos which showcase products:
Just the first 2 minutes give you a good idea what you are going for with the treated and untreated cymbal.

Product suppliers:

Phase 1: Vibration Damping Products for use on doors and any other sheet metal we can expose:
The unit is called Acoustic Loss Factor (ALF) which is the same as Damping Loss Factor (DLF). The range extends from 0 to 1, with 1 being the best.
Product name - ALF value; Price for typical purchase and amount of product; $/sq ft delivered
This is roughly in a ranked order quality which roughly correlates to cost:
1. damplifier pro - ALF?; $175 for 36 sq ft; $4.86
2. dynamat xtreme - 0.42; $140 for 36 sq ft (9 - 18"x32") ; $3.89
3. eDead 120 - ? ; sold by sq ft; $3.50
4. damplifier - ?; $115 for 40 sq ft; $2.88
5. RAAMmat BXT II ?; $115 - 37.5 sq ft; $3.07
6. B-quiet Ultimate - 0.39; $117 for 50 sq ft (1' x 50'); $2.34
7. RAAMmat BXT ?; $134 -15" x 50'; 62.5 sq ft, $2.14
8. eDead 80 - ? ; $2.34 sq ft
9. B-quiet extreme - 0.29; $91.5 for 50 sq ft; $1.83
10. Regular dynamat - 0.14; price?
11. McMaster Mineral - 0.13; $115 for 36 sq ft (4 - 24" x 54"); $2.78
12. McMaster EVA - 0.1; $81.8 for 48 sq ft (4 - 32" x 54"); $1.70
Product descriptions:
damplifier pro - viscoelastic butyl rubber 0.68 lbs/sq ft; Foil 6 mils 80 mils (2.0 mm) (12" x 20")
damplifier - Viscoelastic butyl rubber 0.48 lbs/sq ft 4 mils foil 50 mils (1.3mm) (12" x 24")
Dynamat xtreme - elastomeric butyl and aluminum 1.7 mm thick, 0.45 lg/sq ft
RAAMmat BXT II 4 mil soft aluminum finish, ~0.49 lb/sqft, 250 degree temp rating
RAAMmat BXT $134 premium Butyl mat 60 mil; 2 mill aluminum; 0.35 lb/sqft; 15" x 50'; 62.5 sq ft, 300F degree rated; $2.14
B-Quiet Ultimate butyl based is 1.6mm (60mil) thick, weighs 0.35 lb/sq. ft. comes in 1 foot wide 50 sq. ft. rolls
B-Quiet® Extreme - Rubberized asphalt; 1.15 mm (45 mil) weighs 0.30lb/sq. ft., comes in 1 foot wide rolls and is available in two sizes: 12 and 50 sq. ft. rolls
eDead 120 - ? 115 mils 1 mil litewarp 5 mil aluminum; Butyl Mat
eDead 80 -
install thread with pics
McMaster EVA ethylene vinyl acetate 2 mm (79 mil)
McMaster Mineral filled vinyl 50 mils (1.3 mm)

Thoughts: Well I think Number 4-6 seem like the best bang for your buck. I pull for the little guy so this sways me away from dynamat to RAAMat and Secondskinaudio. In the end Secondskinaudio interests me more so I'm thinking damplifier. However, my co-pilot is a tech nerd and she is thinking just go all the way for damplifier pro.

Phase 2.Hoodliner Research
1. Dynamat Hoodliner $60, 54"x32"x3/4"; 0.13 lb/sq ft; 1 mil aluminum; polyether, urethane-based, thermo-acoustic foam; $5.00/sq ft
2. Motor Mat Pro $40; 24"x54"x3/8"; 0.31 lb/sq ft; $5.56/sq ft ... o.php#tab5
2.A Second skin seems to take this all a step further with additional products like Heatwave Pro a thermal barrier. ... o.php#tab5
3. Super Sound proofing $97 for 1" x 48" x 48" closed cell; closed cell expanded vinyl-nitrile foam; 225F rating; $6.06/sq ft
4. Cascade $100; 37"x54"x3/8" thick; $7.21/sq ft ... tab=2#Tabs
5. Badger way; $13 Walmart sleeping pad; Home Depot duct insulation $20; 5/8" barrier; $2.75 ... ogId=10053

Thoughts: The Secondskinproducts really give you a tear off the old rebuild with technology bionic doghouse. With our doghouse application it seems the best application would be a layer of damplifier, a layer of Motor Mat Pro, and a layer of Heatwave Pro. This gives a 0.8" thick barrier which weighs 1.0 lb/sq ft. However given the doghouse is plastic the damplifier layer maybe unneeded.

Phase 3. Rear linoleum flooring
1. Secondskinaudio Luxury Liner Pro; $50 - 24"x54"; 1.2 lb/sq ft; $5.55/sq ft ... er-Pro.php
2. Neoprene closed cell foam; $46 - 80" x 48"; $1.725
3. Walmart sleeping pad closed cell foam; $12 - 72" x 19"; $1.37

Thoughts: Our application size is 30"x64 so I think our best bet is Neoprene as it will be a single sheet and durable.

Phase 4. Additional Project phase added:
After watching the video I realized for our van we needed to do some work on the wheel well space so we are thinking we will try some secondskinaudio Spectrum Sludge. ... sludge.php

Our wheel wells are about 1' by 4'. So one gallon should get us through three 1 mm applications and have about 0.4 gallons left to use maybe inside the front doors or anywhere else we can find to slop it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rear Speakers

We upgraded the rear speakers. I got MB Quarts 6x9 speakers online. When we removed the interior covering we found the whole door was empty and had a lot of space. I really wanted to spend the time to covert this space to some usable storage but that would require cutting the sheet metal and making new interior so we settled on just filling the door with insulation and installing the speakers. We considered using reflectix but it seemed like fiberglass insulation would be more effective given all the space. However behind the speakers we were not going to be able to put insulation in so we found some duct insulation material at home depot. Real easy to work with, R value of 3, and only about $1.20/sq ft. The speakers sound great and the door is definitely solid with that insulation added.


Monday, May 4, 2009

To the Mechanic

I took the van to Valley Brake and Wheel in El Monte. A good friend of mine, Paul, has known them for years and said they were very relievable and reasonable. They looked at the van bumper to bumper and were not convinced about the fuel filter being the cause of our lack of power and misfiring. Since to replace the fuel filter required dropping the gas tank and probably replacing the fuel pump at the same time it would be pretty expensive a fix.

They compression tested the cylinders, replaced the wires and plugs. While they were at it I had them move the trailer light connection higher on the bumper so the trailer hitch would protect it. They fixed the rear power lock with a new actuator. (Should have done this myself in hindsight). Replaced the wiper fluid pump and changed the fluids. One of the best things, Snell's RV is just half a block down the street so I dropped off the van with Snell’s and they just took it over to Valley Brake when they were done. To have service be so simple in LA, unheard of!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Idyllwild, CA

After the conference Anja meet me in Banning, CA to head up to climb in the Idyllwild area. While I was waiting for Anja, to drive east from West LA, I went to Wal-Mart. Then we headed up to Idyllwild and slept off the Black Rock Road. Getting on the dirt black rock road we drug our rear bumper in a dip and clipped the trailer light plug. We spent two great nights in the van.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wal-Mart storage organization

Center Consol: I looked for a something to place in the center consol (top of the dog house) to hold drinks and organize it. I was unsuccessful

Cup holders: I found a set of cup holders meant to hook on to door they work great in the back over the bed hooked on the head board space by the lights.

Bins: I found a number of bins, which will hopefully help organize the van in the future as we load it up with more and more stuff.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Palm Springs Conference

I took the van out to Palm Spring for a conference I was attending and stayed in at the Happy Traveler RV Park for the two nights.

It was a real nice park and interesting to be plugged into shore power. The starcool AC worked great in the Palm Springs heat.