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Discussion Starter #1
I got my XLE on March. Great car so far and quiet most of the time. However, the noise can be really loud depending on the condition of the road and surrounding cars. So I decided to try out sound deadening solution.
After many reading, this is my approach: CLD tiles on the outer skin. .5 lb/sql MLV with self sticking CCF on it.
I'm planning to do front wheel well, firewall (hopefully) front door, sliding door(hopefully) back quarter, rear hatch and trunk.

After removing couple parts the manufacture sound proof material revealed: some damper on the outer skin functioning like CLD, some damper glue on the floor and trunk, some foam and fabric. Fairly insulated. Floor matting is thick. I mean really thick. Maybe around 1.5-2 inch thick!

The problem now is: the damper is minimal so the door and panels still have resonance. Foam and fabric can absorb noise but doesn't block them. Both front and rear wheel well does not have any damper and can cause some sound vibration.

First thing I do:
wrap the rear wheel well with Dynamat. This makes a BIG surprise. The road noise dropped. The sound is depressed and feels deeper.

Then my Raamat order and MLV arrived. My next thing done:
Rear hatch with 50% Raamat, MLV with CCF using Velcro to stick on. Licence plate using Ensolite for padding.
Rear quarter with 50% Raamat. MLV with CCF. The right side only covers 70% of the rear quarter due to the tool set and the air intake for the rear AC. The right side covers to 90% of the rear quarter.
I tested on highway and feels the noise are now moving forward! Back is much much quieter.

Rear speaker is oddly shaped and have shallow space. Planned to get some nice one since I take off the panel. However there isn't any available bracket on the market to fit the odd shape. So, I just use some dynamat and ensolite on the back metal. Great surprise from the stock speaker. The base, mid and high are much clear than before. It is definitely much better than front muddy speaker!

I'll continue my project and will update again.

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
To continue, I finished both front door. Takes about 5 hrs for both doors. I'm not a big fan of cool car audio but considering the work on the door, I just get a set of Polk MM651 from crutchfiled. When the front door sound deadening and the new speaker done, the high mid and base are very clear. A lot of details come out nicely.

Usually, I set the volume between 6 - 10. At this level, I'm not impressed by the new speakers. The sound deadening for the rear speaker makes big difference to the stock cheap speaker so the better sound of the front speaker might also be a result of sound deadening. However, when I turn up the volume, the quality speaker proves it's value. Nice balanced sound between high, mid and low. The low is handled with confidence.

Test drive locally. Now, the passing cars are much quieter. Some mid size cars even mute. Because I choose .5lb/sq MLV, which is half the weight of most sound deadening people use, the passing trucks low pitch noise still comes in. Much lower noise level, though.

My next thing will be the sliding door. It might be a headache to remove door panel. Hopefully I can find a way to remove it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Technical speaking it will decrease gas mileage. I share the same concern before starting this and that's why using .5lb/sq instead of 1lb/sq MLV. The total added weight when finishing every project in my case will be around 30lb - 35lb. At most 40lb. For a car weighted at 4500lb, this is less than 1%. I doubt it would have significant difference but I'll update the difference after next long trip.
At this point, the car is much much quiet. Wind noise and engine noise stand out because of great reduce of air bone noise and road noise. I'm looking forward to finish my sliding door next week and maybe further depressing the road noise by adding CLD to the front wheel well.
 

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Do you have a lot of wind noise from the windshield area? Man, I hear wind noise starting from 40 miles/hr and I did not experience this when I had Rav4 and Highlander. Please share your experiences. I will also post this separately as a thread to hear people's reactions. Thank you...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Naturoses, do you have cross bar on the roof? There are some post about the wind noise causing by it. You might want to try that. I have removed mine but didn't pay attention to the noise of it. Maybe I'll put it back on later just to see the difference.
My older SUV has much higher noise level from all places so the wind noise isn't obvious. Would that be the same case for HIghlander and Rav4?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here are some pictures showing the manufacture's sound proofing materials around the car's vertical panels.

On the outside sheet metal, factory added one piece of damping materials on each metal panel.
IMG_0997.JPG
On the inner panel, sound absorbing fabric looked similar to 3M thinsulate acoustic.
IMG_1003.JPG

Only one piece of sound damper on each of the metal panels. It helped to a certain degree but resonance still strong. The entire wheel well are exposed right behind the plastic panel next to the 3rd row. A lot of road vibration coming in from there. The fabric does absorb sound but the thin layer isn't enough.

Wheel well is irregular shape but wrapping with Dynamate is not too difficult. Dynamate is self sticking so I cut big pieces to cover big area and then add small pieces to fill the gaps.
IMG_1002.jpg

After adding dynamate on the wheel well and outside sheet metal, I cut MLV using the inner panel as the pattern and hang with Velcro tape. The Velcro idea is from Sound Deadening Showdown. It makes installation easy and make sure the future service easy. On MLV, I use self sticking ensolite facing outside to absorb sound. Since facotry already have sound absorbing material on the inner panel, I didn't add too much of ensolite. Just here and there.
IMG_1006.jpg
This is on the right side. Intentionally covered only 70 % of the width because of the rear AC unit in this area. Air intake is from tool panel.
IMG_1007.jpg

This is the door. The speaker is Polk 6 1/2 speaker. Crutchfield ship with matching bracket and the tech support are fast and accurate. They knows exactly what I did wrongly and point to me with no wast of time! I thought I have to remove the weather barrier plastic sheet but I didn't have to. The speaker hole is big enough for me to stick my hand all the way and add CLD tiles on the sheet metal.
IMG_1011.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Took a trip on high way yesterday and it's amazing. The noise use to increase so much on high way, now gone. It's like driving locally quiet. Although once a while the road noise raise when road condition changed, it is still much much quiet. I haven't even finish the sliding door. The people on the second row might have different experience yesterday.

So, to this point, sound deadening project raise me serious concern. 1. when car gets to this quiet, I am less aware of the surroundings outside the van and grow much more attentions to people inside the van. 2. the driving on high way are much less stressful but I tend to drive faster than before maybe because I'm less aware of the speed? I can imaging the quietness those seriously done sound deadening car can be and am wondering how people feel in these cars. May be this is the reason to see most luxury cars run fast on high ways?

The air bone noise is inaccurately at this point since the passing car noise are mostly coming in from the sliding door. It creates illusion that the cars are all coming form the back. I definitely have to finish the sliding door. Hopefully by then, I'll get use to the new quiet level of the car. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Finished my sliding door which is much easier than it appears. I thought it would be problematic to remove/seal the weather barrier but it is not. I use a utility knife to cut the Butyl seal just enough to open up one access hole. The hole is big enough for my hand/arm to stick in and add Raamat here and there. Once done, just cover back the weather barrier and push both sides Butyle seal together. It is sticky enough and will seal well. Again, a layer of MLV with some CCF on it. The door panel has pull up shade and it is actually rubbing on the MLV. So, I have to cut MLV again to make it lower. The total time to finish both door is around 3.5 - 4hrs. Not bad.

The noise on high way is much balanced now. The direction is not displaced anymore. Because the quiet level, road noise stands out. If I turn off music, I can hear passing cars. Lots of cars behind me are pretty much mute. When turn on music between 8-10, I can't hear most of the cars around. :) I think I'm ready to take a long trip now!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Me too was really afraid to remove any panel of car. But I found the Toyota service manual web site which gave me very good idea about each panel. I paid 2 day access of $15 dollars and downloaded the assembly/disassembly of each area that I need. If you need info of certain area, send me message. I might have it and can share with you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I hope this is the last piece. B pillars.

Why do I do this? I'm tall and usually push driver seat all the way back. My ear is next to the B pillar. Like Naturoses mentioned, speed over 40 increases "WIND" noise a lot. I have the same feeling.

By now, most of the vertical area are sound deadened, I can clearly identify an obvious noise coming from either B pillar or between B pillar and sliding door when speed increase to 40 mph.

So, I remove the panels and took a look of it. Not surprising at all, there is no sound insulation in these pillars. To make things worse, these pillars are hollow from the floor up. Pretty loud resonance when you knock it with hand. No wonder all sort of "ROAD" noise coming up from here. It can't be WIND noise because B pillar is not exposed when front and sliding door are closed.

There isn't much access to the outer sheet metal. The only access is the seat belt roller. I disconnect battery and carefully remove 2 screws to release the roller. Apply as much Raamate inside as I can reach up the hollow pillar. Then as much ensolate inside as I can reach up. Then, on the inner side of the panels, I cut a lot of small pieces ensolate to fill up all the columns. That's it. The total time is around 1.5 hrs each side.

Now, driving on the road is excellent. No more loud hissing noise around my ear!! This is one of the most exciting result in my project!! I can tolerant some noise from firewall or the trunk but I can't stand the hissing next to my ear all the time!!

For A pillar and C pillar, I wouldn't touch it because of air bag. B pillar is safe to mod and I'm glad I did it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think the driving dynamics might changed slightly (slower start). But I can't feel it anymore. MPG for the past week, really not noticeable. Sit at the 2nd and 3rd row couple times and felt the noise. Couple area is easier to coming

1. from the edge surround the sliding door.
2. from the edge surround the hatch door.
3. engine noise from the firewall and road noise coming from there.

I'm going to add additional weather strap surround the left sliding door to see if it will seal. Front door has 2 rings of weather strap which, I think, makes it much quieter.
 

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Have you thought about adding thermal insulation to the air intake, the side which is facing the engine compartment? (This question is not really related to your thread, but might be a good next item). In the summer the engine compartment warms up the air at the intake, so that even if it is is only 21C/68F outside the air coming entering the compartment is often much warmer (25C/77F or higher). Due to this I find that the air conditioning has to be turned on more often than needed. Perhaps there is some type of spray-on insulation material which can be used to insulate the air intake from the heat in the engine compartment.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Here is one more thing I just did which takes care of the front road noise. Under the dash and around wheel well.

It is difficult to access firewall just like most of the car. But taking apart the entire dash and instrument panel is scary. so, what I did is a simple version.
First I took out the center cup holder console the center floor panel and the panel at the bottom of the front cup holder. Also, took out the glove compartment, which is easy with 4 screws. The carpet is easy to pull out by then and the passenger firewall is easy to see.

So here is under the center council. Toyota has some sound damper here. You can actually see through the floor from the screw hole. Outside road noise must come up from here.
View attachment 4586
This is below the floor panel of the center. When knocking at it, it resonance a lot. I applied couple Raamat on the metal sheet to reduce it. Somehow it might be the structural, it still response to knocking. So, I add layers of MLV to stop the sound. The resonance extended into the area under dash. A lot of engine noise travels into here. There wasn't really anything to absorb or block the sound.
View attachment 4587
Ensolite on the kick panel.
View attachment 4588
Add as much Raamat to the area that does not have factory damper.
View attachment 4589
Hang MLV as high as possible on the passenger side and avoid the AC unit.
View attachment 4590
Add as much Raamat on the sheet metal that does not have factory damper. Toyota has a layer of molded carpet on the firewall. I have to slip my hand under it and add Raamat as high as I can.
View attachment 4591
Lay MLV on the floor, over the wheel well and on 1/3 of firewall just below the paddles.
View attachment 4592
MLV below the center console.
View attachment 4593
MLV wraps under the center of the dash.
View attachment 4594

The result is pretty good that takes care of the remaining front road noise. 60mph on major road where the pavement is new, I don't hear road noise at all. Some place, the road noise will come in depending on the road condition.

Too sad that I can't take down the engine noise. Somehow engine noise doesn't sound as bad as was. Maybe my expectation dropped. Maybe some of that were coming form the lower area of the front seat where I covered it up with MLV and Raamat.
 
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