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Squeaks, Rattles and Sound-Deadening

Discussion in 'Roadster: Technical' started by JohnGarziglia, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. JohnGarziglia

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    #1 JohnGarziglia, Aug 11, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
    I thought I would share some of the things I have done with my Roadster 2.5 to attack squeaks, rattles and noise. None of it, of course, makes the Roadster a quiet car either topless or with the lid on. But the effort has made a difference.

    Sqeaks. I noticed plastic upon plastic types of squeaks from the dash, particularly in more humid weather. A while back, I replaced the Alpine radio with a Kenwood DNX6990HD to much satisfaction (Replacement of Alpine IVA-NAV-10). To minimize the squeaks from the dash area, when putting the dash back together I used 3M Squeak Reduction Tape which I ordered from Digi-Key Corporation. It is not cheap but it fixes squeaks like a charm. This is the 3M Product Sheet and here is a table of available widths and lengths for the squeak reduction tape.

    Prior to removing the Roadster dash, I ordered some replacement airbag cover clips which break when removing the airbag cover. Tesla sells them for $4+ per clip (4 are needed), but they are the same clips used in the Elise which is Lotus Part No. B121U0117F. I found them at Steel Wings for $1.88 each so I got 8 for $15.04 (better to order 4 extra in the event the dash ever needs to be opened again).

    Rattles. My latest rattle quest started with a rattle appearing to come from the middle of the Roadster’s dash but only with the roof on and A/C running. After determining it was not the roof, I initially tried pulling out the radio and exploring whether there were any errant wires or connectors that could be causing the rattle. Searching the forum I found nothing that would point me in the right direction other than the comment in Tesla/Lotus Differences that “the stuff that rattles and squeaks is Lotus, while the rest is Tesla …”!

    So I embarked on a search of Lotus forums and discovered that the A/C pipes running up beside the right-hand footwell will rattle while the A/C is on. To get to those A/C pipes, I needed to pull some of the dash. I figured that if I am going to pull some of the dash to get to the footwell cavity, I might as well do a little sound deadening at the same time. Thus, the project I describe below to install sound deadening as well as track down a few rattles. For rattles, I found that ½” or ¾” Polyethylene Pipe Wrap Insulation works well to cover loose wire connections and possible sources of rattles.

    Sound Deadening. In order to try to track down the latest rattle, I opened up the dash again and while there, made sure all connections were either tied down with wire ties, were solidly fastened with Velcro, or covered in ½” or ¾” Polyethylene Pipe Wrap Insulation.

    For sound deadening, I used Dynamat Extreme (the Dynamat roller also really helps with Dynamat installation). I used almost seven of the nine Dynamat sheets in the bulk pack without putting any in the interior cabin (I have yet to do the doors).

    The areas behind the post-trim panels (the area to the left of the driver’s footwell behind the headlight switch and the area to the right of the passenger’s footwell behind the fuse panel cover) are large areas in which Dynamat was put on the insides of the fenders and wheel wells. While in there, the rather large connection for the electronics for each door just hangs there and could be a source of a rattle so I put ¾” Polyethylene Pipe Wrap Insulation around each door wire electrical connection and put some pipe wrap around one of the A/C tubes in the passengers side which looked way too close to the other tube and seemed to have the potential to vibrate. All of the auxiliary electronics for the Alpine radio are behind the driver’s post-trim panel so a check there to be sure nothing is loose is also good as nothing is tied down but rather several different modules are held in by a foam block with cut-outs (I removed all of these when I put in the Kenwood radio). While in the dash, I put strips of Dynamat on the plastic A/C ventilation tubes.

    I have seen the postings where Roadster owners have just about completely covered the interior cabin with Dynamat or other sound-deadening products. Since I have the 2.5, I figured there likely is a good amount of sound deadening materials in the cabin already. Rather, I looked for areas in the Roadster where a large expanse of metal, plastic or carbon fiber was likely to act like a drum while going over bumps and road defects.

    I first worked under the rear of the Roadster where there is a large metal plate held on with a number of bolts. To get underneath the rear of the Roadster, I used RhinoGear Ramps available from AutoZone or from Amazon which work fine for backing up the Roadster (they will not work as ramps for the front wheels). With the rear wheels up on the RhinoGear Ramps, and a pair of RhinoGear Wheel Chocks holding the front wheels, I was able to unfasten the rear metal plate.

    The large rear underside metal plate has two small strips of sound deadening material on it already but it still sounded hollow when I knocked on it. I put three ½ sheets of Dynamat on it. Also under the rear, there is a large plastic tray under the battery pack that made a hollow sound. A sheet of Dynamat was applied there. There is a cross bar that “sings” (like a tuning fork) when tapped upon, and Dynamat was wrapped around that bar. Having the rear plate off allows access to the wheel wells in front of the rear wheels. Sheets of Dynamat went in there on the wheel wells and on the inside of the rear fenders. Also, in front of the right hand rear wheel, I found a large cable that appeared to have the potential to bounce on the frame so a length of the ½” Polyethylene Pipe Wrap Insulation went around that.

    The front underside metal plate also had a hollow sound when knocked on. To get under the front to remove that plate, I jacked up each side of the Roadster and put the ramps under the front wheels since it is not possible to roll the Roadster up on the ramps. While under the front with the car resting on the ramps, I also found portions of carbon fiber that made hollow sounds when knocked upon. There was also the stabilizer bar that sung when tapped so Dynamat went around it. I then used jack stands in the front to remove each front wheel and apply Dynamat on the top of the fender and on the rear of the wheel well behind the wheel arch liners there.

    Under the front hood, I put a few strips of Dynamat on underside of the interior plastic divider that is between the A/C and the brake master cylinder/electronics and while that plastic divider was off, I discovered an electrical connection going to the A/C unit that was loose and might rattle. I used a wire tie to fasten that electrical connector down.

    I have yet to go inside the doors and use the remaining 2½ sheets of Dynamat there. None of the Dynamat installed is visible.

    Observations. The Roadster definitely has a more solid sound to it while driving, particularly with the top down. There is much less of a “tin-can” sound going over road imperfections and larger bumps. The difference is less than I expected with the top on which may be due to the sound deadening materials already in the 2.5 cabin but the rattle I had from the middle of the dash is gone and Roadster also sounds more solid with the top on.
     
  2. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Thank you for a nice write up. I will try the tape on the dash as i can get the annoying squeaks from the dash. This is mostly a problem when the dash has sat in the sun for a few hours. I tried some adhesive felt with little success.
     
  3. Pantera Dude

    Pantera Dude Member

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    Thanks for the great write up John! Like Dhrivnak I also get one or more rattles from the dash when it gets hot.
     
  4. JohnnyLounge21

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    Can I just say that I really loved this breakdown, John! The squeaks, rattles, etc. are - BY FAR - the largest downside for me with the car. I would like to clean this all up but I don't know how to do it - and I'm not as savvy pulling of a dashboard or racking a car. . .

    I'm anxious to hear what happens when you deaden the doors. . . I bet that will make a huge difference. Any ideas on how I could hire out this sort of procedure - as in exactly what you did above? Without voiding my warranty?!?

    What a great review. . . Thanks again!
     
  5. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    John, by chance do you have any pictures or can tell me where you applied the 3M tape? Did you apply to the front and back of all pieces? Just the backs, or on the back of the pieces that snap on last? Thank you

    I have ordered the tape and hope to attack this issue this weekend.
     
  6. JohnGarziglia

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    #6 JohnGarziglia, Aug 22, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
    I do not have photos but I applied the anti-squeak tape to the dash itself wherever plastic-to-plastic might rub together. I applied the tape to the dash portion that fits under the various front panels such as under the portion over which the right and left side air vent panels fit, over where the radio binnacle, the instrument binnacle and air bag cover fit over the dash (below is a rough depiction from a Lotus Elise parts catalog in which I tried to highlight in yellow where I put the anti-squeak tape). I only put the anti-squeak tape on one piece where the pieces touch, not both pieces.

    Where the yellow is below there is a portion of the dash maybe 1/4 wide that fits under all of the front pieces (four new air bag cover clips--see my post above--will be needed if the air bag cover is removed but it should be to put anti-squeak tape under it as that is also a source of plastic against plastic and it also covers one of the dash screws that should be confirmed for tightness).

    I also applied the anti-squeak tape to the thin pieces of plastic that fit between the junctions for the various front dash pieces (i.e. between the left vent panel and instrument binnacle, between the instrument binnacle and radio binnacle, between the radio binnacle and air bag cover, and between the air bag cover and right vent panel). The squeak tape is likely too wide for on the sides of pieces so it will need to be cut into 1/8 inch or narrower pieces for this.

    Once the right and left vent panels, the instrument binnacle, the radio binnacle and the airbag cover are removed, there are four screws through the dash that hold the dash on itself (one of such screws which is a Phillips head screw is shown with the #31 pointing to it below - there is another screw to the right of this screw also with a Phillips head, a screw with a hex socket head right above the radio, and another Phillips head one under the instrument binnacle).

    If you get this far, you might as well remove the four dash screws, disconnect the two speaker connections, lift off the dash, and make sure that nothing under the dash (wire connections, vent, various modules, whatever) has become loose and is a source of rattles (this is where 1/2 inch pipe insulation, wire ties and good Velcro come in handy). I suspect that, at a minimum, the antenna connection coming out of the radio could use a short piece of pipe wrap to keep it from rattling around and there may be other things under the dash that have become loose. Once the dash is lifted off, it is easy to see what might be causing rattles (squeaks are more difficult to identify so my approach was just to apply squeak tape to anything that could possibly rub together and squeak, as long as the tape itself could not be seen once I put everything back together). The only thing really to be careful of in putting the dash back on once it is removed is the VIN plate on the LH side which can become caught under the dash upon reinstallation.

    Whether or not the dash is removed, be sure to check the tightness of each of the dash screws as my right hand dash screw was slightly loose and a squeak from the RH portion of the dash drove me crazy for a while (apparently the dash slightly moving against the screw) until I tightened the dash screw on the very far RH side.

    Also, since at this point you likely have the right and left side vent panels off, check in the large cavities behind each side vent cover (i.e. behind the headlight switch on the LH side and to the right of the fuse block on the RH side) to be sure that nothing has come loose in either cavity. While I was in there, I put a short length of 3/4 inch pipe insulation around the connections for the wires going to each door because each connection was just hanging there and I could imagine it banging or knocking against the side panels on hard corning or going over significant bumps.

    Here is my very not-so-great depiction of where some of the anti-squeak tape was applied to the dash. As note above, I also put it between vent covers, binnacles and air bag cover to the extent I could. None of it is evident once the various pieces are put back together:
    Dash.jpg
     
  7. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    John thank you SO much for your posts. I now have a whisper quiet Roadster with no more squeaks and creaks from the dash area. Now it just may be me and/or my 1.5 version but for me adhesive felt works better than the 3M tape and sticks better. Amazon.com: 12 Sewing

    I also had to put some pieces for felt on the underside of the dash under the numbers 34-39 on your diagram. For me that was the trick that removed the last of the squeaks.

    On the air bag cover I thought they were the same clips that hold the other dash pieces. WRONG. You were right that they WILL break removing the airbag cover and similar pieces are not available at any local source. So I appreciated your link to order the Lotus replacement fasteners. I ordered 12 as the pieces were cheap <$2 but the shipping high $17. So if someone needs 4 I can part with them for $15 shipping included.

    I have one last creak I can't isolate it seems to be coming from the rear suspension. I hear it in the car and when outside the car pressing down on the shocks. I do not think it is the shocks per-say but have not found the magic spot making that creak. If anyone has any ideas I am all ears.
     
  8. JohnGarziglia

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    Interesting that there was nothing there on your 1.5. On my 2.5, there were pieces of some kind of rubber padding or something akin to felt on the top of the A/C vent tubes (the area of #34-39 above) and the dash. I think you may just have identified something Tesla itself likely identified as an issue in later versions. Yes, I can see how that plastic to plastic contact, particularly with the A/C vent tubes cooling down, rubbing on the underside of a hot dash, could create squeaking. Great work!
     
  9. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    I have a roll of the 3M anti-friction tape that stops squeaks and I use it routinely on the underside of my hard top. It makes a big difference. The problem with it, at least for me, is it only works for a limited amount of time. On the hard top I have to replace the tape about once per month. It works longer on the dash. I'm going to try some of the felt but it's hard for me to tell where the squeaks are coming from. It doesn't help that I'm hard of hearing but it seems like different noises come from different places depending on your speed.
     
  10. driver_EV

    driver_EV Member

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    I have sprayed some light lube (similar to but not WD40) at the inside pivot bushings on the rear suspension to quiet squeaks there. It worked temporarily, though now, it seems to have gone away.
     
  11. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    That's what my Ranger did when I complained about the same squeak. I have to repeat the application from time to time.
     
  12. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I'll blame it on HCSharp as he helped show how to take the stage 2 sound deadening to the next level. I have now installed even more Dynamat and a sound absorbing pad under the seat. It is still not a quiet car but it is MUCH better than the stock 1.5 I initially purchased. Here is a few pictures from the passenger side. I did the driver's side a few months ago and forgot that to get out the passenger seat (challenging unless you have a LONG 6mm rounded hex wrench for the left front bolt) you also have to remove the driver's seat as the emergency brake attaches with bolts you can only reach with the driver's seat out.

    Sound_Stage_2.JPG Sound_Stage_2b.JPG
     
  13. Pantera Dude

    Pantera Dude Member

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    It seems that being deaf wouldn't be ALL bad.:biggrin:
     
  14. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    The heat/sound insulation padding is called Bonded Logic and you can buy it lots of places. It's made from recycled cotton and weighs almost nothing. I think I got a large roll of it and sent some home with dhrivnak. Here's one source:
    Bonded Logic

    When I did my car I put the padding on the whole floor and up the sides. And btw, it was MUCH easier with dhrivnak's help for a weekend - thanks!:smile: Now that we're having real winter - drove my car at -22 F the other morning - I can say the added insulation makes a noticeable difference keeping the car warmer, not just quieter. I also like the feel of it - all the carpeted areas are softer and feel more lux without any extra weight.:cool:

    I'm working on making a Bonded Logic throw-cover for the battery that will drape down over the sides so the pack heater doesn't come on so much on these cold nights.
     
  15. asgard

    asgard Member

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    Dhrivnak and hcsharp:
    1. Would just Bonded Logic alone be adequate or do you need both?
    2. How long did the entire process take (trying to plan for it if its much longer than a few hours).
    It seems to me that for maximum sound deadening, Dynamat needs to be applied to the doors as a lot of road noise enters through the door panel.
     
  16. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    1. I used both. Each one has its relative merits. Dynamat prevents noise that transfers through body panels like your doors and firewall because it keeps them from vibrating. Bonded Logic helps reduce noise that has already entered your car. It keeps it from bouncing around so you don't hear it as much. If you live where it's cold it also helps insulate the cabin. I used Dynamat Lite which is supposedly just as good but weighs less because I'm a freak about adding weight. It's more expensive than Dynamat Extreme and some people claim it doesn't work as well but it's close, and I'd rather reduce the weight. My car (v.2.5) already had Sound 1 so the doors and some interior panels already had some padding installed. I added quite a bit of Dynamat to the door panels and especially the firewall where I was getting most of my low-frequency noise.

    2. Figure a lot of quality time with your Roadster - like at least a whole weekend if doing both Dynamat and Bonded Logic. I was lucky enough to have dhrivnak visiting for a couple days because he'd already done most of it on his car and prevented me from going down the wrong path a couple times.
     
  17. asgard

    asgard Member

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    Thanks. It seems to me that most of the noise is tire noise that seeps in through the very thin inner fenders (wheel well liners).
    Would something like this work for the fenders?
    http://3mcollision.com/products/coatings/undercoating/3m-underseal-rubberized-undercoating-08883.html
     
  18. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    asgard I assume you have a 1.5 Roadster without sound reduction, as the sound reduction replaces the front plastic liners with stiff fabric liners that seem to do a good job of isolating sound. I would not spray it on those. If you have the plastic liners it will likely help but I doubt it will do as much as the fabric liners.

    hcsharp is right it is a good two days to soundproof a Roadster. Granted I am not a mechanic but there are a lot of difficult to reach bolts and for an amateur it takes a while. Both hcsharp and I did use the Dynamat on the inside of the doors.

    On the Roadster (and this is a VERY limited sample) I like the Dynamat Extreme over the Bonded Logic as I think most noise originates from outside the Roadster. BUT both has it's advantages. I think the Bonded Logic insulates better and would give a softer feel inside. But the Dynamat filters out the outside noise.

    And while it does make a noticeable difference the Roadster is not going to be a quiet car.
     
  19. asgard

    asgard Member

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    Yes I have a 1.5 with absolutely no sound dampening. Most high-end cars do have fiber liners. Do you think Tesla would sell me the fiber liners?
     
  20. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    #20 dhrivnak, Jan 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
    I unfortunately have NO idea. But it never hurts to ask. But if by chance you ruin your liners I will send you mine for the cost of boxing and shipping. I have the old pair that came out when they put in the fabric liners.

    PS on the time, it took me 4 hours to put the extra sound proofing on just the passenger side. I had thought it a two hour job when I realized the driver's seat also needed to come out. I think one is looking at 20 hours to do a good job sound proofing. Adding stage two when the Ranger comes for stage one is not that bad assuming you have a friendly ranger. That is the route I went with my 1.5. He left it exploded apart after the first day when I added a LOT of Dynamat that night and then he came and finished the job.

    I think I was the first to line the inside of the doors with Dynamat and that may have been the genesis of the stage II sound reduction.
     

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