Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finding yourselves with a lot of extra time on your hands, and unable to do what you would normally do because of current social distancing measures? Here is a useful, relatively low-cost (~$150-200) mod that will greatly improve audio quality, decrease noise, and increase overall interior comfort. There have already been a couple threads with instructions on this topic, and others can be found elsewhere on the internet. There's no one right way to do it, and you can do as much or as little as you want. Just wanted to share my experience and tips for those interested, and hopefully fill in some of the blanks that you might have in your mind.

Materials I used initially:
Plastic trim panel tool kit
Crutchfield install instructions for Nissan Xterra (I think someone has shared them on here already, I paid a couple bucks for my own pdf copy).
XTC 6" x 9" slim line foam speaker baffles (front doors)
Boom Mat 6 1/2" foam speaker baffles (rear doors)
Dynamat Xtreme trunk kit (contains 5x 4 sq ft panels = 20 sq ft total)
Noico green waterproof (self adhesive) closed cell 170 mil (1/6") sound insulation, 36 sq ft
Plastic panel pins, because if you're like me, you might end up breaking a couple of them.

Box cutter, screwdriver, scissors, small socket set, clean rags and rubbing alcohol

The above went a long way if you use it strategically: I was able to do the front and rear doors, rear hatch, and underneath the cargo area. Later, I bought another panel of dynamat and box of Noico foam for a little more coverage. So 20ish square feet of dynamat, and 30-40 of noise foam are more than adequate for our Xterras.

General tips: The dynamat and sound insulation foam are pretty easy to use and very sticky. A box cutter blade on the back side cuts them easily. Just be careful not to accidentally stick two sticky sides together because they are almost impossible to separate. You'll want to clean off the metal before adhering them to areas, especially of grease, so that's where I used a bit of rubbing alcohol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Front doors.
Here's what "soundproofing" already exists on the inside of the plastic:
126452

Not much, as you can see. Here's what mine looked like after I got started with the sticky closed cell foam sound installation:
126453

I added even more around the edges, and some strategically placed dynamat (heavy). The door panel is removed by popping up some plastic under the handle and 2 or 3 screws, then popping the edges.

Both the foam and the dynamat are easy to shape using a box cutter/razor blade. They stick very well too, just be sure to clean the plastic first with water and perhaps some rubbing alcohol for any oil or grease.

The metal door is a bit trickier due to access. Be sure the window is rolled up first. Pulled up the vapor barrier partway. The asphalt/butyl stuff will readily restick, just be careful. There already is a < 1 sq ft panel of some sort of heavy sound stuff on the inside of the outside door metal. I basically doubled it up and extended dynamat past it, and everywhere else that seemed like it would resonate (try tapping the metal). Tried to have some dynamat distributed on all the main metal parts. One thing I noticed before starting this project was how clear and loud I could hear the speakers from the OUTSIDE of the door. So I stuck some dynamat behind the speaker and around the speaker housing, in addition to the foam baffle. All that wasted sound energy also means that much sound from the outside can come back in.

Remember to cut a quarter-sized hole in the baffle for your wires and so that air can still move around and resonate, otherwise you've effectively muted your speakers. The speakers can be removed with a couple screws. I stuck the baffle in, then used a box cutter to trim the excess.

Most everywhere I put dynamat, I tried sticking a layer of closed cell foam over top with even wider coverage. But not all places--need to make sure that it's not interfering with anything.
126454

With the speaker reinstalled, I made sure it was still working, then put the vapor barrier back. Popped the plastic back on, refastened the screws.

After doing the front doors, I definitely noticed an increase in sound quality from the speakers throughout the entire range, and road noise decreased. And another surprise was a noticable thermal effect. When it was super hot outside, after running the AC, I actually had to turn it down because the interior kept the cool in better. I noticed the same thing with heat in the winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Rear doors:
Similar to the front doors. Pop off the handle and armrest, remove a couple of screws, carefully pop off the plastic panel along the outside, one by one. Be careful to disconnect tweeter in door before taking the whole thing off.
The back side of the panel didn't have any soundproofing at all, but here's what it looked like after I started adding some closed cell foam sound deadening (though I added even more :
126455

Test fit, then slice away at the foam and stick. I think it took 2-3 sheets of the Noico foam per plastic door panel all together. I used more than this photo shows. Also a couple 2-3 sq inch rectangles of dynamat underneath the foam here and there, especially in the middle and around the tweeter.

The metal door didn't have any sort of deadening/weighted sound panel like the front door did, if I remember correctly. And you're going to have to do some reaching, be careful of sharp edges. I tried to cover a good portion of most of the large clear areas. Also wrapped some around the openings, and anywhere else that seemed to resonate more than most when I tapped on it. And a big piece directly behind where the speaker goes. Then went back with even wider coverage with the closed cell foam.

Removed the speaker, disconnected the wires, placed the foam baffle back, fished the wiring through the 1/4-1/2" hole I cut, and put the speaker back in place. I had a harder time with fitting the foam baffle on the back doors than on the front doors. Once I finally got it in place and screwed in, I cut off the excess. Stuck a little dynamat around the plastic speaker box.

Connected up the tweeter again, checked the sound, then put the plastic panel back on. Be sure to get the top part along the window aligned correctly.

Not finding myself in the back seat very much, my before/after experience is limited, but I don't think that doing the back doors makes as much of a difference for audio quality and noise reduction as the front doors do, but it is still worth it. The door also now should give a solid thump sound when you close it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Rear hatch:
This one made a big difference in road and exhaust noise. But I found it to be the hardest to take the plastic panel on and off. Broken pins, hard to get everything back together, some fails with rattling noises. And although the first aid cutout makes the drivers side easy to access, the passengers side is more difficult and has more stuff in the way.

As for panel removal, you need to remove the first aid kit and unscrew the two small screws that are behind it. Then you need to pry open the covers off the sides of the inside door handle to access the two screws holding that on. Be careful not to pull those off all the way--they should still be attached with a plastic tab to the handle. With the 4 screws removed, you can go around the edges popping the pins out. Be especially carefully near the edges of the top. The bottom and sides are typical plastic pushpins, but along the top of the panel it is held by metal spring things that are easily lost.

You don't have to worry much about clearances for the plastic panel, but you do on the outside and inside of the metal hatch. Pretty easy to cover most of it with sticky foam, anad I put a couple small squares of dynamat around the middle part.
126514

For the door itself, the drivers side was easy. I used square of dynamat everywhere that seemed to resonate when tapped, then covered over that and more with sticky foam. It takes some reaching, but you can access much of the interior of the door from the first aid kit cutout, then peel back the clear moisture barrier on the passengers side to access what you can. There aren't a lot of moving parts, but there are a number of wires and levers that prevent you from putting sound material everywhere.
126517

I also took the opportunity to slightly reposition the transmitter for my backup camera and its associated wiring. Put everything back together, hopefully you can get it all the way around the first time. Screw in the handle and behind the first aid kit.

Assuming that your rear hatch closes tightly, you should notice that the exhaust note coming up from the rear is now hard to distinguish. Nice reduction in road noise too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Other areas:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,445 Posts
No pictures visible
 
  • Like
Reactions: Renegade

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
Awesome work. Thanks for posting. How long do you figure one door takes?

I'm also keeping this link handy, it really does a good job laying out how to sound proof a vehicle: How-To
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Awesome work. Thanks for posting. How long do you figure one door takes?

I'm also keeping this link handy, it really does a good job laying out how to sound proof a vehicle: How-To
I think if you had everything you needed to begin with, you could do all 4 doors in a long afternoon. It took me longer, but that was because I was really conservative in my use of dynamat and noico foam, finding I had used only about half of it the first go around. So I went back in a second time for more coverage, which (to my biased ears), seemed to do even more for sound.
 
  • Like
Reactions: eighty

·
Registered
Joined
·
835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And it looks like it's not going to let me edit/update any more because I hit my 10 edits per 7 days limit.... I guess some editing is better than no editing at all...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
583 Posts
And it looks like it's not going to let me edit/update any more because I hit my 10 edits per 7 days limit.... I guess some editing is better than no editing at all...
I share your frustration. It is like this on all of VerticalScope's chat fora.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I should be able to edit my previous posts by now, but I still can't. So here is the rest of the write up. The rear cargo area was the last place I worked on. It also has some sound deadening already (see white stuff stuck on top of wheel well and patch of fabric material on left).
126740

Taking out the back plastic takes a while and is a little more involved than the doors. First, I took off the lid, then the storage panel below (5x screws). Then unscrew the utilitracks (3 screws on each side) and pull them out. Pop up the 2 bottom plastic pieces in front of the rear hatch. Pop out the cargo hooks on either side of the door (or unscrew them if you've upgraded to metal hardware like I have), and pull the right rear panel up enough to disconnect the harness for your rear power plug. Be sure to unscrew the side plastic pieces at the posts towards the front where the retractable cargo cover would go. I busted the plastic on one side because I forgot about it. Then you need to unscrew the bolt holding the bottom of the seat belt (14 mm?). Going from the back to the front, pop the panels around the edge one by one starting from behind the rear door seal. Then when you get towards the middle seats, you'll probably want to have the seat back about halfway down to work the rest of the plastic panel out. Then do the other side. They look like this from the back side (note some padding/sound stuff):
126741


The inside of the plastic rear panels is pretty easy to cover with closed cell foam. Just clean the surface, cut, peel, and stick. The only areas that you need to worry about clearance are the edges and near where bolts and pins go. I kept the "stock" insulation and added to it. I also put foam and some deadening material under the rear cargo bin. There is already some carpet pad soundproofing stuff on the bottom of it, so I added foam to the sides. Also, the top rear corner pillar plastic can be popped off with 2 pins, so I cut out a number of small pieces of foam for the backside of those.
126742


Back to the rear of the Xterra itself, there is a lot of surface area to worry about. Again, I strategically placed dynamat wherever the metal seemed to resonate, and put some on top of and above the wheel wells. Then I doubled up with Noico foam where possible, and put some larger pieces above the wheel well and inside the back cut out areas. Also did some additional dynamat and foam around the cargo well area. Here's what it looked like in progress and near the end:
126743

126744


Put everything back together in the reverse order I took them out: 1) side panels, including plugging in the 12V socket again, screws in the retractable cover slots, and bolting the bottom of the seat belt back. It's going to take some persuasion and patience towards the front because the seat back is a bit in the way, so it might help to have an extra hand to move it back and forth. Pop your cargo tie downs back in place on the side of the rear door. 2) Utilitracks screwed back down along with the rear plastic pieces at the back. 3) cargo well screwed back down. Hopefully you didn't break any push pins, but if you did, you should have replaced them with the new ones you had on hand. Put your cargo lid down and take a drive.

The rear cargo area took me a couple hours all together. It took me extra time because I had to do some rewiring to my extra backup lights, camera, and fridge/freezer power socket. Also, the fire extinguisher mount I have attached to the top of the right side panel cutout had to be partially removed for fitting it back and under the cutout space in the metal car body.

Driving around now, most of the noise I hear now comes from the engine in the front. Very little distinguishable noise sitting in the drivers seat, and exhaust note from the back has practically disappeared. Of course I still get a few squeaks and rattles on big bumps (the Xterra is nearly 10 years old and 120k miles), but overall, it's a bit more like being in a nice sedan or lux SUV. Not quite a Lexus, but definitely quieted up. Audio quality is improved out of the stereo. And I can hear and be heard better on Bluetooth calls. As far as bang for the buck goes, I think the biggest impact of soundproofing is had on the front doors, followed by the rear hatch, rear doors, then cargo area.

Considering one can easily drop several hundred bucks on upgrading head units, amps, and speakers, a few hundred bucks and a couple afternoons of mostly easy modding time might be well worth it. And it would make even more sense to do add some sound deadening if you're already going to be taking apart your doors for new speakers. Hopefully if you've considering adding some soundproofing to your xterra, you find these pictures and descriptions at least useful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Did this with just acoustic foam. Exhaust sound is lot quieter now.
Engine noise from firewall, and wind noise is left. Any ideas for the firewall. There is already thick carpet (rockwool?) in the footwell area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Did this with just acoustic foam. Exhaust sound is lot quieter now.
Engine noise from firewall, and wind noise is left. Any ideas for the firewall. There is already thick carpet (rockwool?) in the footwell area.
I'm not sure, not much space or room for sound deadening up front. I think I was able to put some foam behind the drivers kick panel plastics and the A pillar plastics. Maybe could do some sound deadening underneath the carpet material? The sunglasses and microphone on the ceiling are easily removed and could give some access without having to remove the headliner. I have a little dynamat and foam leftover too, have been meaning to try using the rest of it up.
 
  • Like
Reactions: eighty

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
I'm not sure, not much space or room for sound deadening up front. I think I was able to put some foam behind the drivers kick panel plastics and the A pillar plastics. Maybe could do some sound deadening underneath the carpet material? The sunglasses and microphone on the ceiling are easily removed and could give some access without having to remove the headliner. I have a little dynamat and foam leftover too, have been meaning to try using the rest of it up.
Tried it anyway. Removed the dash panels and driver/passenger carpets.


132649


132648



Most of the firewall can be insulated by sliding the foam under the existing footwell padding .
There is little to no access behind the dash panels to the firewall, So it's a waste of time.
I used 15mm acoustic foam without any clearance issues. Covered the floors as well.
So far it made the cabin about 60% quieter than before. Engine noise is muffled.
I also filled the A pillar with some expanding foam. Not sure if it does anything. But its tin can sound is gone.
Next step is door/window rubber seals and some rubber under coating for the wheel wells.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,912 Posts
Did this with just acoustic foam. Exhaust sound is lot quieter now.
Engine noise from firewall, and wind noise is left. Any ideas for the firewall. There is already thick carpet (rockwool?) in the footwell area.
I did this a few years ago with the Noico and a ton of acoustic foam. Eventually what you’ll be left with is the weak spot being the glass. You can try packing in foam above the headliner and any other open cavity but there’s point where the returns are minimal. The thin spot in the firewall is the rubber grommet for the wiring to pass through the firewall, you could try adding some rtv over it to add some thickness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
Tried it anyway. Removed the dash panels and driver/passenger carpets.


View attachment 132649

View attachment 132648


Most of the firewall can be insulated by sliding the foam under the existing footwell padding .
There is little to no access behind the dash panels to the firewall, So it's a waste of time.
I used 15mm acoustic foam without any clearance issues. Covered the floors as well.
So far it made the cabin about 60% quieter than before. Engine noise is muffled.
I also filled the A pillar with some expanding foam. Not sure if it does anything. But its tin can sound is gone.
Next step is door/window rubber seals and some rubber under coating for the wheel wells.
Holy, down to the studs. How long did this take you?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Holy, down to the studs. How long did this take you?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
You don't have to remove the upper dash, which will take couple of hours to "carefully" remove & install. (I almost broke the passenger airbag). No access to firewall there.
Removing the front seats, carpets and center console can be done in 30 mins. Pay attention to the gear shift area where most of the drivetrain vibration enters the cabin.
It's a labour intensive project. Make sure you have spare time.


I did this a few years ago with the Noico and a ton of acoustic foam. Eventually what you’ll be left with is the weak spot being the glass. You can try packing in foam above the headliner and any other open cavity but there’s point where the returns are minimal. The thin spot in the firewall is the rubber grommet for the wiring to pass through the firewall, you could try adding some rtv over it to add some thickness.
Exactly, The doors, rear cargo area and front floor made the biggest difference. After that you wont notice any audible difference. Now, I can hear external sounds entering through the glass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
It's a labour intensive project. Make sure you have spare time.
Everytime I touch the plastic trim I break stuff. Just don't have the patience for this kinda work. I had someone do the front doors for me.

The doors, rear cargo area and front floor made the biggest difference
What do you mean when you say rear cargo area?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,912 Posts
Everytime I touch the plastic trim I break stuff. Just don't have the patience for this kinda work. I had someone do the front doors for me.



What do you mean when you say rear cargo area?
If you pull out the under floor cargo area it’s mostly bare metal, I think there’s only 4 bolts on that one so it’s a pretty quick job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
175 Posts
Hey GeoJon, I performed a sound deadening project last year during covid lockdown following your guide, and now I can hear the wind noise badly above 40 mph. I know this is a game of whack-a-mole, but did you run into the same thing? Any suggestions beyond replacing the stock weather stripping on the front doors?
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top