Soundproofing a Truck Cab in 3 Simple Steps
Do you have a truck? Are you sick of all the road loud sounds while driving? Then you’re in the right place.
Disturbing sound can come from various places, highway traffic can be too loud, things in your trailer can go all around the place hitting the wall and engine.
While most of the people think this is just annoying, we know that it can be very distracting. Believe it or not, I have a friend who almost got into an accident because of the noise in his truck cab.
Well, going on the short trip is not that problematic. But if you are constantly on the road, with journeys of several hours or more, then this noise might be your worst nightmare. Not only that it is annoying, but it can potentially cause some hearing problems.
So, for example, if you have children to drive to school, or a baby, these noises can be really frightening, especially if your vehicle’s motor is naturally loud.
Well, no matter what’s the reason behind, you can always deal with the problem. But first of all, you need to know the cause of the problem.
There are several reasons that might affect your peace during the drive.
Main Noise Causes in a Truck Cabin
Before you get into the process of insulating your truck cabin, it is of high importance to know what the reasons of the noise are. Only by figuring that out you can efficiently insulate your truck cab.
The main three reasons are:
- Structure borne
- Airborne noise
- Rattling caused noise
Now when we know where to start, let’s talk about the ways to solve every and each one of them.
Structure-borne noise is transmitted through solid structures, such as steel, wood, concrete, stone etc. When it comes to truck cab, structure-borne noises are produced due to the interaction between the road and the tires.
When on the road, the wheels' noise is transferred into the cab through your suspension system. That is the reason why trucks with a good suspension system profit from a lot quieter cab.
However, when it comes to trucks, impact noises will, in most cases, be the main cause that you will need to deal with.
For sustaining the structure-borne noise, you will need a constrained layer damping (CLD) material.
Simplified, a good CLD material stretches to restrain the vibrations. The layers of the material are very flexible and will stretch and oppose vibrations of the surface, by converting the kinetic energy of the vibrations into heat energy.
You can find various CLD products out there, and these are better-known among customers as sound deadeners. They are highly efficient for cars and definitely effective for soundproofing a truck cab nonetheless.
The best recommendation is the well-known Dynamat, but if you have to fit into the smaller budget, there are also other companies like Fatmat, Hushmat, Noico, and others that will fit into your budget. They are cheaper but less effective options.
For more recommendations of the best automotive sound deadeners, click here.
Using a CLD material such as Dynamat, you will only get rid of the structure-borne noise in the truck cab and a little bit of the airborne noise.
Most of the articles about soundproofing are only recommending covering all the surfaces with the CLD. This is where most people get it wrong by assuming it can be achieved so easily. It will help with soundproofing only one of the three noise sources.
Airborne noise consists of the progressive movement of the vibrations and is transmitted in the form of sound waves at the speed of sound. Simply put, airborne noise is the one that is caused by road noise, such as traffic, horns, etc. (be careful not to confuse it with the structure-borne noise, which is caused by interaction between the tires and the road).
CLD materials are not massive enough and that’s why they are not very efficient against airborne noise. For better soundproofing, you should use high mass sound barriers.
Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) which has a lot of mass and is flexible for vehicle applications is the ideal material for this use. It is very easy to apply on the inside of a truck cab.
MLVs are not cheap, but saving costs by using thinner ones will do.
Noise caused by rattling
Most of the rattling noises are caused by interior accessories and junk flying around the cab.
For sustaining those noises you don’t need some expensive materials, just the closed cell foam will do the job.
When it comes to the process of soundproofing, i recommend prioritizing and starting from the parts that requires the most attention.
Soundproofing a Truck Cab: Where and How
Like i already mentioned, the biggest source of the vibrations and noises are tires which are located underneath the floor, so the top priority for soundproofing should probably be the cabin floor.
As brought out earlier in the article, tires cause structure-borne noise as well as airborne noise due to their interaction with the road while traveling.
First of all, you’ll have to remove the seats, the carpet and all the trim pieces so that you have more space to work freely. Then you start with layering.
The first layer should be of a CLD material. Having in mind that some portions are already layered with damping material, you don’t have to cover the entire floor. There would be no significant benefit in covering these portions, you would just waste material and money.
The most sensitive parts - the thin panels that vibrate the most - should be covered completely. That means you should pick the large and flat panels. This will cut down the structure-borne noises coming from the floor of the truck. Pay special attention to the areas just under the feet of the driver and passengers as these are the areas from which most of the sound is heard.
Right after the CLD, the next step should be covering the floor area with mass loaded vinyl. Unlike the last case, in this one you should aim for maximum area coverage. If resources are at a premium, the topmost priority is the surfaces below the feet that will definitely need to be covered with MLV.
The MLV, as brought out previously, will solve the airborne noise problem.
The last step lining the trims on the floor with closed cell foam.
If you did everything right, the floor of the truck cab is now soundproofed.
Insulate Car Doors
Right after the floor, the next on your list should be insulating the doors of the truck’s cabin. The same method as one used in covering the floor is going to be applied.
Layer the flat surface areas with sound-deadening material. I recommend using 6-7 pieces of 10” x 6” for the outer skin and 2-3 pieces on the inner skin, depending on the size of the door.
After this, hang the mass loaded vinyl and line the door trims with closed cell foam.
Soundproof Back Wall and Roof
Now when we’ve taken care of the floor and doors, it is time to move on to soundproofing the back wall and roof.
You can afford some cost saving by skipping the mass loaded vinyl for the roof. However, the mass loaded vinyl is highly recommended for the back wall.
The layering goes the same way as before, that is CLD material on the first layer followed by mass loaded vinyl and closed cell foam.
It’s is extremely easy to install. However, some sound deadeners are more difficult to apply than others. There are countless Youtube videos explaining how’s done.
A Few Handy Tips:
What will you get when you successfully soundproof your truck cab
Final Thoughts on Soundproofing a Truck Cab
Is all of this worth the effort, stress and the money? It’s on you to make that decision.
How much do you need your privacy and peace, how calm a driver are you, how much the road noises bothers you, how often do you drive?
Those are the questions you should ask yourself before you engage in this process. Be honest with yourself, because only you can help yourself decide.
However, I tried to point out some of the best solutions to soundproofing your truck cab.
Hopefully, this article helped you out realizing what’s the best way of soundproofing your truck cab