Install: Heatshield Products Helps To Keep Us Cool and Quiet!
Modern insulation can be a bit of a nightmare. There’s loads of different products from mats, sprays, foams and everything else. It’s easy to get lost in the myriad of wrong information about insulation. You know that you want to upgrade the insulation to make your ride cooler, quieter and more enjoyable – but how do you accomplish that? The days of laying down a single layer and calling it good are over. There are much better products available now to help you achieve your goals.
With our heads spinning a bit, we called up the pros at HeatShield Products to help us get sorted out. We’ve heard stories of being able to use the rubber sticky stuff you can find at Home Depot, but knew that it would be too good to be true. On our project ’55 Bel Air, we are trying to make it into a daily driver and wanted to be able to handle the heat and cut down on the road noise. Heatshield Products has been at the game of keeping your rides cool and comfortable since the 1980’s.
After talking with HeatShield Products we learned a lot. There are different physics happening inside the car that require different materials to fight. We are fighting heat, vibration and sound. Each one of those is going to require a different product to efficiently defeat. With that we decided that db Sniper, HP Stealth Shield and db Armor would be the trio we needed to knock out heat, vibration and sound.
“db Armor is the one to pick if you are doing just one product. If you combine db Sniper with db Armor you cover the full Hz spectrum. Stick on sheets and roll/spray on products target vibration frequencies. The db Sniper handles the frequencies that are more related to road noise. Using both together can give you a luxury-car-like level of sound reduction. Of course that is limited by the seals, body panel fitment, and weather stripping for the windows and doors. Even with these other opportunities for NVH intrusion, our products can stop unwanted noise and vibration at a major part where it enters the interior using the combo,” stated Steve Heye, Vice President of Heatshield Products.
Continuing on, “sound and thermal energy have two different types of physical properties. There is not a one size fits all product for both. Most combo products give up sound reduction to slightly reduce heat. Most damping sheets (stick on) and brush/spray products actually turn the sound waves into friction, to stop the sound. This creates low levels of heat. People who drive a hot rod or muscle car in cold climates probably notice that their vehicle is much louder when it is sub 40F. The extreme cold will definitely affect the butyl and aluminum layer working together to combat noise. This is the thing lost on just about everyone, including companies who sell it. It isn’t the butylene rubber that dampens the noise, it is the foil. Anything less than a 3 mil foil and you are totally wasting your time and money. The foil floats and acts as a counter vibration panel because the butylene rubber ‘floats’ on it. This deadens the waves traveling through the body panels. Think of a hula dancer, her head is calm and graceful, all the shaking and vibration going on below her. Her neck is the foil, her upper torso is the butyl. Same thing happens with the sound waves, this makes it quiet. These companies bragging about how thick their butyl layer is makes me laugh, it’s the foil, the thicker butyl is counterproductive – just adds dead weight! If your hula girl is too big, her neck won’t stop all the shaking,” laughed Heye.
Installation Begins With Preparation
Before starting the installation we removed the seats and carpet. In order to get the best results we started by spending a day with our Miller Multimatic 215 and filling all the holes in the firewall. Through the years there were a dozen or so pencil sized holes from various things mounted to the firewall. Each one of these would leak heat into the cab from the engine compartment and defeat the purpose of installing all the HeatShield Products. At this point we went ahead and cleaned the firewall, floor pans and trunk. We started by wiping any major debris out of the way, vacuuming everything, then wiping everything down with acetone to make sure it the metal was clean and ready for install.
With the holes filled, we then started by taking construction paper and making a template of the firewall. This step wasn’t necessary, but to save us time under the dash and give the cleanest install possible, we made the templates. With the templates in hand all we had to do was cut the material to fit and put them down.
Our first step was to install the db Armor. On the surface this product looks like rubber with a foil backing, but there’s a ton of technology packed into it. The point of this is to eliminate vibrations. Think of the floor as one big metal drum that’s vibrating back and forth – with the db Armor installed it can’t vibrate back and forth which eliminates a ton of noise. Weighing in at less than half a pound a square foot, you don’t have to worry about adding much extra weight to your ride.
The process for installing db Armor is really straight forward. We did cut the pieces to fit based off our templates, but you can easily just put it down as well. After removing the paper backing, we carefully laid down the pieces sort of like a big sticker. With the piece placed down you’ll want to firmly press it into place. You can use a roller, the backside of a screw driver, or a rubber mallet. You just want to make sure to get the db Armor stuck all the way down to reach it’s maximum potential.
We repeated this step from the firewall, to the floor pan and eventually the trunk. Here’s a pro-tip, when you’re installing this product make sure to cut out and don’t cover up your seat bolt holes or the holes for the seat belts. It’s much easier to cut around those holes now than try to find them and push a bolt through later on.
At this point the average user might just slap down their carpet and call it a day. However you’re fighting numerous assailants – vibration and heat. With that you’ll need numerous products to target both effectively. dB Sniper is made to block road noise, where the db Armor helps to quiet things down by eliminating vibration. db Sniper is just as easy to install with the only real difference is you’ll use a 3M spray adhesive as it doesn’t have any sticky surface. You can also lay down the db Sniper on horizontal surfaces without using an adhesive. Gluing down the db Sniper doesn’t improve or impede performance.
Taking our time we started by cutting out pieces of db Sniper and gluing them into place. We made sure the pieces butted up against each other as much as possible to eliminate any possible gaps which would allow sound to sneak in.
HP Stealth Shield
Lastly in our arsenal of products is HP Stealth Shield. This product was developed for use in welding blankets, where they will see extreme heat. Now that we had killed vibration and sound, the last piece of the puzzle was to eliminate heat. Driving across a hot asphalt road with an engine, transmission and exhaust under the car there is a lot of heat! Keeping that heat outside of the cab keeps us more comfortable when driving and helps the Restomod Air work even better.
This product is extremely thin and flexible. At first glance you might think it’s a layer of felt but can tell there is more to it than meets the eye. With the HP Stealth Shield we skipped cutting it into little pieces and laid down bigger pieces. We then used the same 3M spray adhesive to keep it in place.
“The Stealth Shield displaces thermal energy. Once metal has been saturated with heat, there is no thermal sponge to soak it up. Again going back to the sound insulation, it turns vibrations into low level heat to stop sound. While the cold side of a sound insulation would be cooler to the touch than a floor panel, it isn’t stopping or reducing heat. Eventually the sound insulation is going to get heat soaked on a long drive and you won’t have much for heat reduction then. Again we like to see people stop heat underneath, with the Sticky Shield. However not everyone (including me) has a lift to get under the car and do this. Or for people with finished cars, heat protection is an afterthought when summer comes around. The stealth shield is a special carbon fiber. Carbon fiber has wonderful insulation thermal displacement properties and can take extreme temperatures. Carbon fiber is limited by the resins used to make, and once impregnated with a resin it loses a lot of its ability to displace thermal energy. We knit this special fiber into a blanket that displaces the thermal energy,” stated Heye
Proof Is In The Pudding
Between eliminating vibration, sound and heat this car feels like a brand new car. Imagine before driving inside an empty coke can to driving inside an insulated a padded room. Not only do we not have to yell now to hear each other talk, we can actually freeze ourselves out with the air conditioning now!
For more information or to figure out what you need to keep your ride quite and cool, hop on the Heatshield Products site or give them a call at (844) 723-2665