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Sedan Delivery Floor Insulation

12/12/2016
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Making and keeping a street rod cool is easy, when you use all the right parts

I’ve mentioned before how the ’46 Ford Delivery is a preservation effort of sorts. It’s also important to me that we make memories with our kids in it the same way that my folks did with my brother and I when we were kids. In order to do that, you’ve got to drive it. Kind of a lot.

HOT Rods

The best time to enjoy your Classic or Street Rod is during the long, sunny days of summer, right? But what if your car is miserable to drive? Sweating in traffic while the heat from the asphalt soaks through the floor is not a pleasure no matter how cool your car looks. What can you do to keep your t-shirt dry on the way to the local cruise night or just on the drive home from work on those 100 degree afternoons?

Of course, air conditioning is the natural reply to such a silly question. The thing is, your air conditioning can work even better if you can keep the heat from ever even entering your vehicle. That’s the boat I was in just before we packed our bags for California in the old Delivery. The A/C worked fine and kept things cool enough for me but I had concerns about cramming 4 people into it and heading down the highway through the Mojave during the hottest part of the year. For those who’ve never experienced it, a sedan delivery has little to no airflow. With just two opening windows (and in my case a filled cowl vent) the air coming in almost always makes the inside feel warmer on a hot day. I can thank my generously louvered hood for that, as the low pressure created inside, allows under-hood and undercar heat to creep into the cabin when the windows are down.

Knowing all of that, I wanted to be sure I did everything I could to give the A/C a fighting chance against the heat.

No Barrier

When Elmer was built in 1982 much care and attention was paid to the grey velour, pillowed interior by Charlie Blake. Not much thought was given at that time to the floors, apart from covering them with cut pile carpet. I found some room for improvement and seized the opportunity to exercise the knowledge I’d gained when I tamed the easy-bake oven that the ’54 Chevy had become.

I was able to salvage the original carpet because the glue that held it down had given up the ghost. I also took this time as an opportunity to eliminate the wooden seat risers and modify the seat height and angle to fit my wife and I more comfortably.

So shiny...

Once the carpet was out and the floor was clean, I laid down a base coat of Boom Mat sound insulation to help quiet things down since at that time the mufflers resided directly below the seats. Which was also part of the reason I wanted to tackle this project before our trip.

The foil-faced, viscoelastic polymer insulation comes with an adhesive back. It conforms to the metal surface and dampens vibration therefore the transfer of sound through the panel it is applied to.

On top of this layer I applied a later of Boom Mat Under Carpet Lite insulation. This product creates a heat barrier with a multi-layered composite material. I was able to rough cut a piece for my floor and lay it down and raise half of it at a time to glue.

For that task I again employed the hi-temp spray adhesive from DEI. It works well as a contact adhesive. I spray both parts that are to be bonded and wait for the glue to tack up, then smooth the mat down from the center out. Lift the mat on the other half and repeat the process.

A rough cut will get you close enough to glue it down

Once you work the insulation into all of the nooks and crannies you can trim it down around the edges with a knife or pair of gigantic scissors as I’ve shown above. I put down an extra layer above the mufflers to help isolate that heat and keep it below the floor.

Repeat the glue step with your carpet. In my case, I simply laid the carpet down and used the seat mounts and sill plates to hold it fast, much like a 60’s-70’s car would have had. I plan on eventually replacing all the carpet so I don’t want to ruin the insulation when I do.

Two More Things

I also took the time to address an area that often goes unnoticed. The shift boot. The Lokar shifter had been installed in Elmer by the previous owner. As with most trans-mount shifter installations, the hole they cut was um. . . generous, to say the least. That oversized opening was allowing a great deal of hot air to enter the cabin, especially at highway speeds. Since I generate enough hot air on my own, I needed to resolve the surplus. To counter this problem, I simply took a scrap of the under carpet insulation and cut it into a “Pac Man” or “C” shape. Like the one pictured here. For a shift boot ring that’s 4”-6” in diameter, you’ll want a shape that is roughly 8-9” in diameter to make a cone big enough to cover the hole and leave enough at the bottom to fasten under the mat.

You may need to trim and tailor your insulator boot to fit just right under the cosmetic boot but you’ll be glad you spent the time. It’s well worth the effort.

Once you have it situated in place you can staple the seam up the side with a regular desktop stapler. The base will be held in place with the boot trim ring screws.

Last, you can’t have a truly cool ride without some fuzzy dice. After opening I found that the connecting string was twice as long as it needed to be and there were two of them. Odd, but with the help of my gigantic scissors I made quick work of a tailor-fit pair of dice. Solid four dollar spend.

There you have it. A cool hot rod that will hold onto your conditioned air a little better!

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