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I have a Ford Transit (2005 2.0 diesel) which is unpleasantly noisy to drive in compared with my Ford Focus (2003 1.8 petrol). I want to install sound proofing in the van, but I am wondering if this will get it anywhere near as quiet as in the Focus.

For example, if the Transit simply does not have soundproofing foam or vinyl in places equivalent to the Focus, then I can install it and be happy with the result.

On the other hand, if the engine in the Focus has, for example, an engine mount designed to reduce sound in the cabin, then clearly I cannot hope to match it in the Transit.

So my question is, will adding foam and/or mass-laden-vinyl to the Transit get the noise levels down to roughly the same as the Focus? Or is there a major structural aspect which I cannot hope to overcome? (Aside from the shape of them which is obviously different - not that I think that would make much difference?).

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    I've seen some very loud Ford Focuses (if there's such a word) with polyurethane motor mounts. Motor mounts and transmission mounts have a massive impact on cabin noise. I would look into aftermarket options, oil-filled mounts, etc. – GregC Apr 6 '15 at 16:03
  • Maybe one just has a louder engine than the other? Do they sound equally loud from outside? – Nate Eldredge Apr 6 '15 at 21:04
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Is the noise level comparable to the one on new Ford Transit? Extra torque from the diesel could have torn the motor mounts. I would visually inspect them to see if they need to be replaced or even upgraded.

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There are two main things which are probably causing you the noise.

First is the engine noise. Diesels can put out an extensive amount of noise. This radiates into the cab of the vehicle. You basically have a big box on wheels which focuses and reverberates the sound around inside causing it to amplify somewhat. This makes for a little more noise than what you'd think, but is the nature of the beast. The best way (and only way I can think of without major surgery) is to add the floor mat. Something like Dynamat is probably a good way to go, but there are other selections on the market as well. The rubber will really help deaden the noise, but I doubt it would get rid of it completely.

Secondly, road noise from the tires can cause a lot of noise in the cabin. If, for instance, you run lite-truck (LT) tires on the Transit, you can expect a bit more noise from them than passenger tires. Road noise can also be from certain brands/models of tires. Some tires are just noisy. The tread depth can also be a factor. As the tread gets worn down, they will make more noise. For the same reasons just posted you, this will also be amplified somewhat. There are two ways to help this. You can either replace the tires (if you suspect these are at issue) or you can again use the Dynamat (or equivalent) and deaden the noise.

Because of the nature of the vehicle, there is basically no way without extraordinary means to get the Transit as quiet as the Focus ... I just don't see it happening. You could, however, get the noise down to a manageable level.

  • A point of clarification: Dynamat and equivalent products are pretty good at damping out higher frequency rattles and squeaks. They can't do much about lower frequency booms and drones (like tire and exhaust noise) due to the wavelength of those sounds. In those cases, you need to work on the sources of the noises (the tires and the exhaust). – Bob Cross Apr 7 '15 at 13:19
  • You can place MLV (mass loaded vinyl) sheets on the surfaces radiating low-frequency noise and that will stop a lot of it. Even better, place a decoupling (foam or similar, maybe thin rock wool) between the mat and the chassis and that will improve the situation even more. acousticalsurfaces.com/noise_barrier/vinylbar.htm and acousticalsurfaces.com/noise_barrier/vinylbar_acou_test.htm – FarO Nov 17 '15 at 12:28

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