Thermal and sound insulation of a Camper Defender
When removing a car - regardless of the model or manufacturer - you inevitably come across the question of insulation. Both thermal insulation and noise reduction (i.e. sound insulation) are a major issue. I will explain to you what you should pay attention to when buying, how you should lay and what quantities you will need.
Defender soundproofing - Sound insulation
Every owner of a Defender knows how noisy it is inside when driving. The same probably applies to any other older vehicle. A simple way to counteract this is to install sound insulation.
How does the sound insulation work?
The way the insulation works is relatively simple: a mat is glued to the sheet metal, which makes the vibration of the sheet metal more difficult or stops it from vibrating, thus significantly reducing the transmission of sound. In newer vehicles, the insulation is also often installed to improve the acoustics of the sound system.
Finding the right sound insulation
In principle, there is not much that can go wrong with choosing the right insulation. Note the following points:
- Low odour
- Ideally self-adhesive / -adhesive
- High weight / m²
- Without crude oil / asphalt
- Good reviews off Amazon
- Recommendations from friends
If you don't buy the cheapest stuff on Ebay (or Amazon in the meantime), you can't do very much wrong.
My recommendation and how many square meters for a Defender
I myself have used Alubutyl ABX from Reckhorn and can recommend it without reservation. There 2m² cost from 25€. The stuff is self-adhesive, enormously heavy (4kg / m²) and very easy to use. You can buy it directly from the manufacturer or more expensive on Amazon. An alternative could be the heavy layer from Adms Shop.
For a big Defender 110 TD5 I used 10m² (=5 rolls). They cost me 150€ including shipping directly from the manufacturer. Price/performance excellent. I insulated the floor, the roof, part of the walls and doors with it.
Thermal insulation Defender - Protect against cold & heat
The thermal insulation is not much more complicated either. It helps a lot, especially if you plan to sleep in the car. The thicker the insulation, the more sound it insulates. Which is a nice additional feature :)
The right thickness for thermal insulation
Of course, the thicker the insulation mats, the better. However, with the thickness also price and space loss increase. It makes sense to use a thicker thickness on the roof than on the floor, where there is usually still a mattress, wood finishing, etc., which also insulates.
On the floor I used only 9mm thick Armaflex. And 13mm for ceiling and walls. For me this is enough. Often 19mm is also used for walls and ceiling.
Finding the right thermal insulation
Similar to the sound insulation, you should pay attention to a few properties when buying the insulation:
- Thickness of the insulation
- Mould / water / moisture resistant
- Low odour
- Flame retardant
- Good reviews off Amazon
- Recommendations from friends
Again, the cheapest is not the cheapest to buy from a dubious dealer from abroad.
In addition, I glued the edges and transitions of the Armaflex with an adhesive tape for vapour control layers. Whether it makes sense on the small surface or not, I cannot judge. I thought to myself, if then correctly. Such an adhesive tape costs ~15€. I got a roll with 40m for the whole car.
My recommendation and quantity for a Defender
I can recommend the Armaflex from Armacell. The AF-Armaflex is extremely high quality, sticks super well and is easy to work with. Caution: The surface is very susceptible to scratches and tears easily. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to apply a leather, fleece or felt over it.
For my Defender 110 TD5 I bought 6m² with 13mm and 5m² with 9mm. But I still have about 2m² left. I have insulated the whole roof and the floor up to behind the driver's seats. And the side walls as far as possible.
Armaflex AF / Armaflex XG / Armaflex ACE / Accoflex
There are many different "versions" of Armaflex with specific properties. The quality and the area of application vary greatly. Therefore a short overview is given here:
The most expensive and highest quality version of Armaflex. This insulation has the "Microban ® protection" which promises that no microbes can settle and spread. This is the first choice.
The Armaflex XG is less expensive than the Armaflex AF. However, it has no disadvantages in terms of quality and workmanship. The insulation properties are also identical. Only the Microban ® protection is missing. If you want to pay more attention to the money, you should take a look here
Armaflex ACE / Accoflex
The insulation mats with the designation ACE or Accoflex are an old version and should no longer be used. They have significantly worse insulation properties than Armaflex AF or XG. These sheets are produced cheaply abroad. This is not advisable!
Armaflex from Amazon
Most blogs and youtubers link to this Armaflex on Amazon. I strongly advise against the purchase, because it is the Armaflex ACE! For such special products, Amazon should generally not be the online shop of choice, but a shop specialized in this area. I myself have bought my products at isolierprofi.eu There you can get the AF as well as the XG plates.
Laying insulation material correctly
The laying is no longer difficult. First you clean the surfaces to which the Alubutyl or sound insulation is to be applied thoroughly. The cleaning is absolutely necessary because the glue does not adhere properly to dust and grease.
The Alubutyl can be easily cut with scissors and the installation is also easy. The edges are sharp, so it is recommended to wear gloves. With a roller or a spatula, you can press the Alubutyl down again:
Once the sound insulation is in place, the heat insulation comes in. Clean everything first (i.e. the Alubutyl that has just been laid). The Armaflex is best cut upside down. The backside has a small grid with which you can cut relatively straight.
The Alubutyl could be removed and repositioned. With Armaflex this is no longer possible. The stuff sticks immediately and can only be removed by scratching it away. The surface is very sensitive. Therefore be careful with sharp edges, friction, etc.
What to do after the insulation and insulation?
Congratulations! Now your car is heat- and sound-insulated. To avoid damaging the Armaflex in particular and to improve the indoor climate, I recommend covering the floor and walls with fabric or imitation leather.
For the roof lining I have glued a fleece. More precisely, the"magic fleece" from ADMS-Shop, which is very fair in price, can be processed well, feels nice and insulates again in addition :)
I have laid the floor with an imitation leather. Here I wanted something smooth and hardwearing, which does not tear immediately if I pull something over it. I got the imitation leather from stoffkontor.eu. It is available in many colours. The quality is also 1A!
Conclusion - is the insulation worth it?
Yes, definitely! On the one hand, the work is fun and progresses quickly. With Alubutyl, Armaflex, fleece and imitation leather I was about 250€ off, but it was definitely worth it. In the car it is much quieter, in summer with blazing sun, it doesn't heat up so much and keeps the cooled air (yes, I have an air conditioning system) nice in the car. In winter it gets wonderfully warm and the heat is definitely kept longer than without insulation.
Although the materials are not exactly cheap, the quality and the effect are convincing. If I had to remove my Defender again, I would do it again.
Note: All recommendations and linked products, I link because I am convinced of them and have used them myself. I do not receive any commission or other consideration from the manufacturers or dealers - except at Amazon.