#7 Bulkhead, Sound Deadening, Swivel Seat and Red Oxide

Working through our initial to do list, today was the day to start the sound deadening, remove the bulkhead, install the swivel seat and red oxide any exposed metal. The jobs were done simultaneously with each jumping in when the other needed a hand but I will go through them one at a time…

Removing the bulkhead:

This is a surprisingly easy job, but felt like massive progress when we finally got it out of the van.  There were around 12 bolts, equally spaced around the circumference, holding it in place as well as 2 rivets. The bolts came out easily, they were not corroded which was great, however a couple were located in areas which made them fiddly to remove. The 2 rivets were removed using an angle-grinder, again a trouble-free job, which took a little time.

Upon attempting to remove the bulkhead, we very quickly realised the floor and wall ply were in the way, these would have to come off before we could continue.

The wall ply was tightly wedged in, with a bit more of the aforementioned brown glue for good measure, and rather annoyingly it came away to reveal 2 sawn-off screws into the metal – not the end of the world but something we will have to remove later! Next was to remove the piece of floor ply directly adjacent to the bulkhead, the original floor was put in in three pieces, the top piece being about a foot in length, running along the width of the van – thankfully very easy to remove.

With the obstructions gone, we pulled the bulkhead away from the bottom, pulling it away in a downwards action to safely remove it from behind the side loading door runner which encroached on the area.

After that, it was a case of walking it out and hey presto – no bulkhead and a whole lot of light coming in!

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Bulk head gone!

Sound deadening:

After removing the rest of the wall ply, the panels were cleaned with methylated spirits to remove any grease/dirt. There are some specifically designed/branded products you can buy for this job; however we just opted for the basic off the shelf meths (costing about £4 a bottle) and it worked perfectly fine. Once the panels were clean, it was time to measure and cut the sound deadening material. The material itself is closed cell foam, approximately 6mm thick with a self-adhesive backing – we got ours from http://www.carinsulation.co.uk.

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Measuring and cutting sound deadening

On the inside the panels are divided in half, to give a top and bottom section and then into three; the material was cut to fit these sections, the backing peeled off and the pieces stuck down. Prior to the job we had bought a small roller; approx. 1 inch wide. Rolling the pieces once stuck on the panel ensured they were attached well with no air bubbles or loose edges. It may be worth noting how thin that outside panel is – if you choose to use this process make sure pressure isn’t applied to forcefully or you risk damaging the panels in a manner that is visible from the outside.

We had plenty on the roll, so we covered as much of the flat panelling as possible and the effects are brilliant, that metallic twangy noise when these panels are tapped turns into low thud.

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Sound deadening on the various sections of bare metal

Installing the swivel seat:

Firstly the double passengers’ seats had to be removed, this was an easy task – remove a couple of (very long!) bolts and disconnect the seat belt pre-tensioner before lifting the seats into the back of the van. The seat belt remains attached to the seats so they cannot be moved far, but the job is a fairly easy one so this doesn’t impede.

We followed the instructions that came with the swivel plate, rearranging some of the bolts and one piece needed sawn off to create a large plastic washer, before putting the plate in place and using the initial screws to bolt it down. We made sure the top piece (the bit that swivels) was secure and then returned the seats to their rightful place, this time bolting them into the swivel plate which now lives between them and the floor. All that’s left is to reconnect the seat belt pre-tensioner – easy as that.

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Front seats moved to install swivel plate

We bought the Trafic/Vivaro specific swivel plate from www.Kiravans.com, it comes crash tested and is very easy to install. It felt like an expensive purchase, however now it has been installed and the benefits of it are clear; it feels well worth the money for us. It offers additional seating space without impacting on the living space of the van, and when dealing with smaller van, like ours, this is perfect – we would highly recommend!

Red Oxide on exposed metal:

This was probably the easiest job of the day. We bought a small pot of red oxide primer and a basic paintbrush and essentially went around to any areas where there was untreated/unpainted metal now exposed and painted them. This occurred due to screws being removed from the floor and walls during bulkhead/ply removal around the van. The primer itself is a rusty orange colour, it goes on well but can drip as it isn’t super thick, and creates a sealed layer over the exposed metal to reduce the risk of rust.

Overall a really successful day, it was beautiful weather and we got to have lunch with a gorgeous view as well as tackling a few easy jobs which made a huge difference in the van and felt like a lot of progress. I have gone over them briefly here, so any questions – just ask!

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Lunch with a view on the shores of Ullswater

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