Insulating the driver compartment (part 1 of many)

I’m going to start updating in smaller increments, largely with complete projects as opposed to “this is still in flight”. Fortunately, I’ve been able to somewhat increase the number of those completed projects, though I’m still blocked on quite a few due to missing parts. Here’s one quick one that I was able to complete: putting sound deadening and heat resistant layers on the firewall between engine and driver compartments.

Excessive road noise and heat coming from the engine into the driver compartment is something you kinda just live with when you’re driving a race car. You just tune it out since you’re so focused on just driving the car. When you’re in a road car, you might sometimes be driving with the same level of intensity, but more often than not, it will be a much more casual affair. For that, it’s good to not have tons of noise, vibration and heat coming at you all the time. Active measures like air condition are certainly an option, but it all starts out with passive things like insulating the cabin properly from those factors.

To do so, I started out by putting a layer of Second Skin Damplifier on the firewall between the engine and driver compartments. This is predominantly intended as a noise barrier, but it also provides thermal resistance. It comes in 12″ x 24″ self-adhesive sheets which are extremely sticky and therefore involve some careful planning when installing. Once on, they’ll be there until the next millennium. The car’s firewall is somewhat challenging to work on since it’s not only rounded, but has a number of 2″ x 2″ aluminum frame rails that attached to it that you have to work around. No biggie though, you just have to be careful and work fairly meticulously. Below is a picture of the partial install to give you an idea of this part of the project.

Second Skin Damplifier sound deadening and thermal barrier install

Next came the real thermal barrier: Lava Shield Mat by Heatshield Products. This comes in a 5′ wide roll and is pretty easy to work with. It’s also self-adhesive and very easy to cut with one stroke of a knife. Due to the size, I decided to fill out the very left and right lower sides first, then do the small sections above the inner frame rails and finish it with one mostly square piece for the main section. I trimmed it all with about 1″ to spare so I could fold it over. Well, as evidenced by the picture it wasn’t me, but my wife helping me with this. 🙂 It was actually really awesome to have a second set of hands and a second brain to ensure “measure twice, cut once” and to mount the stuff since it’s large and tacky.

Heatshield Lava Shield Mat install with Chrissy’s help

To finish the project I put weatherstripping on the upper edges where the body connects. This is the reason for doing the heat shield “fold over”, because without that I’d have frayed/ruined the edges of the heat shield when I push it on. This part is an experiment that I need to verify whether it works by putting the body on which I can do so temporarily soon. The fear obviously is that it would make the body sit too high and it won’t bolt down properly anymore. TBD…

Weather stripping on the firewall

Overall this was a project that worked as intended and I’m happy. Here’s another full shot of the final product (sorry for the flash not showing it properly):

Firewall with completed sound deadening and thermal barrier

2 thoughts on “Insulating the driver compartment (part 1 of many)

  1. Wow, you are doing a great job! How much building of cars or experience have you had before starting the SLC? I am just getting started on gathering information and have relatively little experience with cars.

    • Thanks! I have previously built a Factory Five Racing (FFR) Cobra, but besides that I have little automotive experience. The SLC is a much more complicated kit though. The documentation/manual is much more general and sparse, you have a lot of stuff you have figure out on your own, the community is much smaller since way fewer have been built, etc.

      I wouldn’t recommend it as an intro kit. For that, the FFR Cobra is really great.

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