Insulating the Pizza Oven and Reinstalling the Headliner


Well, last week, I tore the headliner out of our van so I could insulate.  This week, I finish the job:

 

There are really three separate tasks in this video.  The first is installing FatMat Sound Deadener.  I’ve installed this stuff in many other places inside Lance, and it really does help quiet things down.  Lance was already one of the quietest ProMasters out there, so the benefit from this round wasn’t super huge, but you can judge for yourselves.  At the end of the video, you can hear what it’s like in our RV driving at 60 miles per hour.  I’m not wearing a lavalier mic in that shot, so you get the benefit of all the road noise.    Most of the wind noise now is coming from the rear view mirrors.  Tell me what you think of the noise level down in the comments.

The second task is adding insulation.  I did this in two ways.  First, I stuffed insulation into any gaps, crevices, and openings I saw.  Then, I applied insulation to the back side of the headliner before I reinstalled it.  I thought that would be easier than sticking it to the ceiling, and I think it was the right call.  The insulation I used was the more dense version of Rockwool (formerly Roxul).

The final thing was the reassembly.  This actually went better than I thought it would.  I didn’t have any parts left over that I didn’t expect, and with the exception of one of the RV parts I had to trim up, the reassembly was the exact reverse of the disassembly.

I’ll admit, I tried to make it look easy in the video.  I mostly did that by editing out most of the swearing.  There was a lot of it.  Hats off to Stef for enduring the “Cavalcade of Profanity” and still managing to capture some pretty decent video!

Stuff You Saw In This Video That You Might Be Curious About

Ratcheting Wire Terminal Crimper:  This is what I use now for all of my butt-connectors, quick-connectors, and any other type of electrical connector.  I got this thing a couple years ago, and since then, I’ve never had a connection fail.

FatMat:  There are a lot of varieties of this kind of material you can get, and they all work pretty much the same.  I thought the FatMat was economical.  Plus, it came with a couple installation tools.

Gaff Tape:  I mention in the video that I’m not really a “Duct Tape” kind of guy.  I try to avoid the stuff in anything I intend to be permanent.  And even when I do use duct tape, I try not to.  I use gaff tape instead.  It removes without residue.  I started using it when I had a “sound guy” side business years ago, and I’m hooked!  Unfortunately, gaffers tape is about 10 times more expensive than duct tape, but that’s the only negative.

Milwaukee MSpector Inspection Scope: If you poke into areas you probably shouldn’t… like I do… frequently…, then some kind of inspection scope is probably in order.  This thing keeps me from drilling or screwing into wires or other things I shouldn’t.  I went with this one because it uses the same batteries as all my other cordless tools.

 

And that’s about it.  I won’t know until the summer how much I really helped the heat situation up in the ProMaster’s “Pizza Oven”, but it absolutely can’t be any worse than it was.  Hit me up some time around July or August and I should have a pretty good idea how effective this was.

Questions or comments?  Sound off below!



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.


    26 thoughts on “Insulating the Pizza Oven and Reinstalling the Headliner

    1. Tom Swanson

      We just purchased a 2020 59KL (on a 2019 Promaster) and on our second voyage we noticed the huge amount of heat energy coming from the “pizza oven”, even in the Northwest sunlight. I heard that Winnebago is now insulating Promaster foreheads but I guess ours was an earlier build. I’m waivering at trying this myself but first wanted to know what your impression was after going through a summer season (yikes, September already?).
      Found your web site post-purchase and I am SO GRATEFUL. Already installed a skid plate!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        It’s quite the project, no doubt.
        That said, I have noticed a definite difference in how hot things are when we take them out of the pizza oven these days. It used to be, we’d pull something down from there and think, “Oh wow, should we be keeping this up there if it gets that hot?”
        Now, we don’t notice a temperature difference at all.
        We don’t notice much difference in the internal temperature of the rig though – because we always keep the pizza oven jam-packed with stuff. So it never radiated much heat out into the coach. Just cooked the things inside the oven.
        HTH

        Reply
    2. Ian F

      That was fun to watch. It was like watching myself do similar car projects. Although I have those tools and more.

      Reply
    3. Brad Downs

      Good job , however one thing that can bite you in the butt down the road. With RVs you have lots of humidity especially small C class and B class(van) RVs. No vapor barrier. Can develop mold

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Hi Brad.
        Already considered. First off – we live in the desert southwest! 🙂
        Second: We’ve had Lance for 5 years, and for almost all of that time, the entire rest of the van has been insulated to the level I just now brought the cab headliner to. During that time, we have had no moisture problems. I don’t expect they will start now.
        Finally, this is not an issue with Rockwool insulation. From their FAQ (https://www.rockwool.com/technical-resources/faq/)

        ROCKWOOL stone wool insulation does not wick water, which means that any bulk water that contacts the outer surface will drain and not be absorbed into the body of the insulation.

        ROCKWOOL products are inorganic which provide no food source for mold to grow. ROCKWOOL products are tested to ASTM C1338 – A Standard Test for Determining Fungi Resistance – and passes with zero fungal growth.

        Reply
    4. Noel

      In the immortal words of Yoda, “Freakin’ amazing you are!” You definitely made that look easier than it probably was. We’ll be eager for the follow up video regarding the expected heat reduction… hope you have your baseline data already video’d. 😉 Can’t say thanks enough to you and hot camera gal for sharing your projects with the rest of us!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Well, I would have had to have thought about this video back in the summer when it was hot… So, while I might be handy, I’m apparently not psychic. Bummer.

        You seem to be doing some good work yourself lately, btw!

        Reply
    5. m80116

      I think I would definitely like if you could try some infrared heat rejecting window tint foil. I’ve seen tests where it yields wonderful results and I am confident you’d the best couple to test fit these and verify the claims 🙂

      Reply
    6. Bob Moglia

      James, I am conflicted about the value of insulating a metal box. I believe there is real value in noise abatement. However, with metal in contact with the outside, conductive heat transfer would still be significant. The only solution is to cover all exposed metal to create a thermal break, impractical. Unless you believe something is better than nothing. A thermal camera might provide some good information.
      I do enjoy your projects very much!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Insulation does make a difference. I appreciate the value of a thermal break as much as the next guy, but in reality, there’s not much exposed metal inside of Lance. The doors and windows are the biggest culprits.

        I have taken thermal images of the van before to identify areas where I was gaining or losing heat. You can find many of them in this post: The Winter Proof Travato.

        Reply
        1. Bob Moglia

          We have a Zion with external plumbing so hardcore winter camping is out. I did enjoy your winterizing post. Did you ever take before and after thermal pictures of the door insulation installation. I agree those metal doors and windows are the weakest links.

        2. James - Post author

          I thought I had, but the pictures I can find are just the ones in the post.
          Any photos I had only reinforced our shared opinion that the doors and windows are the worst offenders, and insulating them does help.

    7. Gregg Hershberger

      I hope you don’t get condensation from the insulation. Watched a video on a van build and the guy insulated above the cab like you did, but while camping in winter the insulation absorbed condensation and started dripping. Good luck and hope it works for you.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        It’s extremely unlikely that will happen. We’re 5 years in with Lance now, and we’ve never had any condensation issues. The rest of the van is rather well insulated. Adding insulation to the cab isn’t going to make us start perspiring more, or exhaling moister air. We never had any condensation problems in the cab with no insulation (when warm, moist air could come into contact with the cold exterior shell very easily). That would have manifested as drips of water leaking out of the headliner down the windows or similar.

        And even if we did have a moisture issue, Rockwool does not absorb moisture.

        Reply
    8. Kevin Clark

      It’s amazing how edited video makes everything look so easy! Lol.
      Good job though good job. Hopefully it helps in the summertime.

      Reply
    9. Boaz

      Thanks, this was a hundred times better without music.

      Stef, did you have some earplugs to keep out tbe cussing? 🙂

      Winnebago, if you read this please do the sound and thermal insulation at the factory. Few people are able to do this type of modification.

      Reply
      1. Shaun Simpkins

        Winnebago heard you. in the 2020.5s with the new squeezyfoam thermal insulation, the cab roof IS fully insulated, as well as all exterior walls, coach doors, and roof. Much more thoroughly than was done with the scrimmed fiberglass.

        Reply
    10. Shaun Simpkins

      It’s interesting how expectations play into folks’ comments on major projects like this. Some swear that there’s a lot of wind-induced oilcanning of the roof that comes through, but that’s why the CLD from the factory is there, as well as those style lines that break up and spread out the resonances. Temperature control would be the major reason to do this, indeed.

      Mirrors are hugely annoying noise generators. There must be entire teams devoted to reducing the airflow disturbances that the cause. On our Camry there are little vortex generators between the mirror and the door that act to straighten the airflow, lower the noise, and apparently contribute something more than infinitesimal to the highway fuel economy.

      You’d probably need a windtunnel or a CFD program and a Madonna-bra frontpiece with a bunch of little VGs to make any difference in the noise. And then it would be pointless to have the mirrors retract, ’cause they’d stick out as much retracted as extended.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Indeed, this was mostly about the temperature. Lance was already pretty quiet.
        My first idea about the mirrors was to try some sort of fairing there – I can’t be sure, but it seems to me like most of the noise comes from the air passing between the two pillars holding the mirror on.
        But in the end, like you, I figured I’d need a wind tunnel to do it right. (Plus, I don’t have a good way to make a fairing that size anyway.) I may still one day try to just jam something in there temporarily and see if it changes the noise.
        I had another idea for airflow visualization that might make a really good video. Maybe some day….

        Reply
        1. ValkRaider

          I did jam something in there!

          I was referring to the mirror wind noise… 🙂

          It made a world of difference. The passenger side doesn’t have as bad a problem as the driver side – I think the difference is the passenger wiper blade acts to redirect a stream of air over the passenger mirror, changing the dynamic. On the driver side it is very very loud. I played around with blue painters tape and ran at freeway speeds to test (I did not use any form of sound meter – all just my own opinion).

          Blocking off the middle of the two arms holding the drivers side mirror cut the wind noise so much it’s like a different vehicle. So I crafted an air dam there, I cut a thin piece of stiff black foam board to just fill the indention on the front of the mirror, and to go almost all the way to the cab. Works great, in place the mirror can still fold normally. Then I taped it on with black gorilla glue tape, and it is barely even noticeable – even after driving on trips during a wet and snowy winter.

          Single best improvement we made to the Travato (really the promaster because it’s all chassis problem, no house). Made road trips *so* much less tiring and more enjoyable. I can hear the radio, and the spouse, and my ears are not ringing at the end of the long drive.

        2. James - Post author

          Very Interesting!!!
          I’m going to have to try something out and see what I can come up with.
          Thanks for letting us know!

    11. John Cariotto

      I just watched the video of insulating the “pizza oven.” Nice work, as always. I really appreciate your videos – any time my wife starts to note that I have too many tools – and some of mine are more than 70 years old – I show her a video of your shop.
      And thank Stef for the terrific camera work!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I’ve never seen your shop, but I can promise your wife that you do not have enough tools. 🙂

        Reply

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