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DIY solution to deadening tire noise

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
As this started as an off-topic post on another thread I thought it would be best to start a whole new thread about the possibilities of we DIYer's adopting Continental's foam liner solution to dampening tire noise. This is of special interest to me after all of the work on sound deadening I've done to my car, which makes the tire noise much more noticeable. Basically it's the only uncontrolled noise I hear at speed.

As I couldn't find the specific type of foam Conti uses I thought some expertise would be helpful. So I sent the following email to Don Sambrook, the guy who did the work on my car and and is considered one of the leading authorities on the topic:

Don,

My Tesla’s noise reduction continue to be amazing. Tire noise is the biggest issue and I discovered yesterday that Continental, Michelin, and Pirelli are now selling tires that are lined on the inside over the tread with a sound deadening foam. Continental claims a 9db reduction in tire noise, which is pretty substantial. Here’s a link to what they say about it.

This got me to thinking: what if I line my tires with sound deadening foam in the same manner? And could I also do something to the wheels? The timing is perfect as I have new 20” wheels and tires on order and they won’t be installed for about two weeks.

I’m thinking of getting getting this foam from Acoustical Solutions. It’s a composite foam with a vinyl sound barrier. Here’s the data on its sound deadening properties. This foam results in substantial db reductions across the spectrum.
So my questions are:

What do you think of this solution to reducing tire noise?

Is this the right foam to use or would you suggest something else?

What can be done with the wheels or should I not be concerned about that? For example I’m thinking I could also line the inner wheel rims with the same foam or something else to dampen resonance and the like.

I think these are very interesting possibilities as they deaden the tire noise at the source.

Thanks for any advice you can give.

Rick

For all of you owners who are interested in this, I'll be talking to the people at Acoustical Solutions about using their ALPHACOMPOSITETM MELAMINE FOAM for this solution.

290331387576608-xl.jpg


I'll also ask them for advice about the best glue to use. I'll report back on this thread what Don tells me and what I learn from Acoustical Solutions. I'm thinking this foam may even work better than what Conti is using, as it has a vinyl barrier. If all is well with my proposed approach I'l order the foam and glue right away and do the first installation in about two weeks on my new 20" tires. Then I'll retrofit by 21" Michelins so they're ready for the spring and summer. As I've already taken sound readings in my car with the 21's, I'll have a good baseline for comparing results.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,626
22,235
Texas
My problem with this is that the tire manufacturers have tested the tires with this solution, and have probably altered the tires to compensate for the additional heat retention and heat generation by the foam. There is also the question of how many bending cycles the foam can take. If it disintegrates the small pieces of foam/vinyl rattling around in the tire will eat away at the tubeless liner. You're talking about something like 40 million bending cycles (two per revolution) over 30,000 miles.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
My problem with this is that the tire manufacturers have tested the tires with this solution, and have probably altered the tires to compensate for the additional heat retention and heat generation by the foam. There is also the question of how many bending cycles the foam can take. If it disintegrates the small pieces of foam/vinyl rattling around in the tire will eat away at the tubeless liner. You're talking about something like 40 million bending cycles (two per revolution) over 30,000 miles.

According to Continental the tires are the same and the foam is added after manufacturing. I have few concerns about bending cycles on the foam but I guess I'll find out.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,626
22,235
Texas
According to Continental the tires are the same and the foam is added after manufacturing.
That's good to hear [that they don't change the tires]. Of course, you couldn't add the foam during the building process because the vulcanization heat would melt the foam right off.

I have a set of unmounted WR-g3 that I'd be interested in modifying. It will be at least a couple of weeks before cold weather hits again according to the forecasts.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,220
10,743
California
Id be worried about the weight. This foam has a 1#/ft2 vinyl insert. This would add about 10# weight to the tire. The foam itself is only a pound or two.
 

David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,023
Brea, Orange County
9 dB reduction means pretty much half the noise (from tires). That's significant. I would not try to put my own foam inside a tire, though. It would have to be glues perfectly and you have to find the right glue that stays soft enough to follow the movement that happens in a tire while driving, at any temperature. Any slight irregularity in the amount of glue would cause the tire to wobble. I'm all for DIY in most cases, but I would personally stay away from doing that on my car. Once my tires are done I will check out these Conti tires and consider them. I'm all for making my car silent.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
9 dB reduction means pretty much half the noise (from tires). That's significant. I would not try to put my own foam inside a tire, though. It would have to be glues perfectly and you have to find the right glue that stays soft enough to follow the movement that happens in a tire while driving, at any temperature. Any slight irregularity in the amount of glue would cause the tire to wobble. I'm all for DIY in most cases, but I would personally stay away from doing that on my car. Once my tires are done I will check out these Conti tires and consider them. I'm all for making my car silent.

I understand your reservations but as you might guess they won't deter me. The tire/wheel assembly is nearly 50 pounds so the foam will add a relatively small fraction in unsprung weight. I'll just use the glue that Continental uses (yes that info is available and it's a high tack brush on type) and balance the tire/wheel assembly once the foam is attached. The centrifical force of the spinning tire with the glue should help ensure that the foam stays in place.
 
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artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
Id be worried about the weight. This foam has a 1#/ft2 vinyl insert. This would add about 10# weight to the tire. The foam itself is only a pound or two.

Comparable foam without the vinyl is about half the weight. Any good foam with sound deadening is going to be more dense and thus heavier. I imagine the foam Continental uses is quite dense.
 

green1

Active Member
Mar 25, 2014
4,548
1,121
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Comparable foam without the vinyl is about half the weight. Any good foam with sound deadening is going to be more dense and thus heavier. I imagine the foam Continental uses is quite dense.
What benefit does the vinyl layer have in this application? you're trying to keep the sound of the tires deforming out of the cabin, not keep the inside of the tire quiet, I suspect the foam is important, but the vinyl is pretty much useless.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
What benefit does the vinyl layer have in this application? you're trying to keep the sound of the tires deforming out of the cabin, not keep the inside of the tire quiet, I suspect the foam is important, but the vinyl is pretty much useless.

That may be right but I'm not sure. The vinyl dampens vibrations which may not be appropriate in this application. That's why I want to discuss this with Don Sambrook. If the vinyl is not necessary that would be good.

I've found that the glue probably should be cold vulcanizing cement but I'm going to check that further.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,005
4,923
Did anyone try dampening sound inside the wheel well arch?
I was going to suggest that too. I was just shopping for some sound deadening material for a building ceiling application and I see people in the reviews use it for their cars (although not in the wheel well, but rather under the carpet). If used in the wheel well probably something weather proof would be necessary.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbrande...X96BX/100663624?N=5yc1vZc612#customer_reviews

I should note that what I linked above is MLV (Mass Loaded Vinyl) that comes in at 3/4lb per square feet. Apparently the automotive kind is 1 lb per square feet.
 
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artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
Did anyone try dampening sound inside the wheel well arch?

My Model S has been completely sound proofed which makes the tire noise all the more noticeable. There's not much than can be done with the wheel arches, and the best solution is attack last the source of the noise. I when I changed to my 19" wheels for the winter, which have Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus tires, I noticed immediately a dramatic reduction in tire noise over the 21" Michelin Pilot Super Sport XL tires. So I decided adding sound deadening foam to a relatively noisy tire like the 21" Michelin as well as to a relatively quiet tire like the Bridgestone would the best approach to even further improving my own car.

I consider this an experiment that will take place with different wheels and tires over a one year period. In about two weeks I switch to 20" wheels with Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus tires, which are relatively quiet to begin with. I'll add foam to them before installing them to the wheels. The 19" will come off and along with the 21" will be lined with foam while both sets of wheels are re-powdercoated to take car of road rash.

I've taken baseline sound readings for the 19's and 21s so when they go back on the car I'll be abel to to measure the changes.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
Well this project is over before it really started. Here's the advice from Don Sambrook:


The potential is tremendous. 9 dB is a very worthwhile improvement. The

1/6th of the noise idea is strictly marketing department stuff. Pretty
sure they are comparing 54 dB for the vehicle moving at 30 mph and
dividing that by nine. Decibels use a logarithmic scale, so it doesn't
work like that. Still, 3 dB is at the threshold of audible, 6 dB is what
you expect to get from doubling the mass of a barrier and so on.


But I'd be concerned about modifying your tires as a DIY project. Seems very
risky. You're changing the tires' geometry and mass distribution. You'd
also be introducing entirely new compounds into the mix in a hostile
environment. Big red flags for anything but tires used as designed.

This ends it:) But it was worth trying.
 

green1

Active Member
Mar 25, 2014
4,548
1,121
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The ambulance I drive has what looks like astro-turf in the wheel wells for the back wheels, it holds dirt more than I'd like (but we wash it after pretty much every call so it's not a big issue) but it definitely reduces the sound of rocks being thrown up by the wheels.
 

mdevp

Member
Sep 30, 2014
538
87
nj
If you are switching to 20's, the ContisportContact 5p is on tirerack in 255/40/20. I think thats the one with the foam no?

 

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