DIY-ATNTFIU: Floor Plans - Replacing Carpet and Installing Sound Deadening In Your R32 Part 1

A while ago I talked about how you can strip out the 25-year old tanuki turd infused carpet in your Skyline and now I'll explain how you can put in fresh new carpet for North American mammals to desecrate instead.

You might be wondering right about now where you can get new non-turd-laced carpet. Well, let me refresh your memory by giving you this link to my previous post on getting parts for your R32. In it you'll find that I mentioned a company from Australia that makes R32-specific carpet in all the colors of the rainbow (Okay, I'm not really sure they make it in indigo but you can always ask).

You could also put in replacement carpet from a wrecked R32 or one that's going race car but then you'd just be swapping one set of carpet that's old enough to get wasted and vote for another. Like many other things such as cars, electronics, and our ability to rapidly access the world's treasury of knowledge and random cat videos, carpet materials have improved since the R32 was first made so you're probably better off getting new stuff.

While you're waiting for your new floor coverings to arrive you might as well get started with some preliminary work. Another thing that's improved since the R32 was designed is the acoustics of car interiors and that's partly thanks to new materials and methods such as the use of sound deadening.

You may have seen this stuff on the internet and if you're an audiophile you've probably even used it. Sound deadening is that silver stuff people like to stick all over the interiors of their cars so that YOU CAN TOTALLY FEEL THE BASS YO! The most common brand you'll see is Dynamat but there are numerous others that go by the names FatMat, Roadkill, and NoiseKiller24K YourNeighborsSuckAnyway XL. I may have totally made up that last one.
I elected to use Stinger Roadkill in my car after doing my research.

It's a common misconception that Dynamat and their ilk are sound insulators but really they're not. Unlike insulators which try to block sound from entering the car what sound deadeners do is dampen the vibrations of panels they're attached to. Basically, Dynamat increases the mass of a panel so that it vibrates less and therefore makes and transmits less noise. Because it's just meant to dampen vibrations experts say you really only need to cover 25-50% of a panel to get decent results. Funny enough, the instructions for many of these products tell you to cover everything in as much stuff as possible. Of course, companies don't want you to buy more of their material than you really need right? Yup, that never happens...

For my car I bought a box of Stinger Roadkill Expert from Amazon. This was my first time putting sound deadening in a car so I initially gravitated to the well-known Dynamat but reviews claimed the Roadkill was just as good but much cheaper and they claimed it didn't have the nasty asphalt smell that Dynamat and a lot of other sound deadeners have (asphalt is the major component of most of these products). If you're a faithful reader of my blog you'll recall I bombed my R32 with a Mequiar's Air Refresher a while back to successfully banish the quarter-century oduer it had when I first got it so I wasn't about to replace it with the smell of freshly-laid tarmac.

Removing the carpet from your R32 removes something else, the jute padding that's underneath. The jute acts as an insulator and cushioning so nasty as it is after 25-years you'll want to replace it with an equivalent. Putting in the Roadkill would take up some of the space once occupied by the jute but it wouldn't nearly be enough to replace it all and besides, the sound deadener is hard stuff and wouldn't give the cushioning needed underneath the new carpet. Knowing this I had also ordered a roll of closed-cell foam from Amazon. This stuff would be the filling between the Roadkill and the new carpet.
A roll of this stuff replaced the jute padding that got binned when the old carpet came out.

One other thing I picked up from Amazon was a roller. This comes in handy once you start applying the Roadkill and foam so that you can get it to lay down as best as possible. Aside from the roller you'll need a good pair of scissors (I used a set of trauma scissors I had lying around) and a sharp box cutter.

Once you have all your tools and materials it's time to get to work. Start by vacuuming the floor pan of your car. Be as thorough as possible. After you get all the nastiness sucked up you'll then prep the surfaces you'll be applying the sound deadener to by spraying them down with some denatured alcohol and wiping with a rag. Sound deadening is made to be very adhesive but of course you'll want as clean a surface as possible to make sure it sticks well. The alcohol removes any grease and oils that can affect adhesion.
Twenty-five years is plenty of time for dirt, dust, half-eaten sushi, renegade ninja clans, and everything else to find its way into the nooks and crannys of your floor pan.

Vacuuming and a good wipe down with denatured alcohol gets rid of most of the crap to prep the floor for the new stuff going on top. The renegade ninjas may require more work.

After prepping the surface start covering the floor pan with sections of sound deadener that you've trimmed to fit. Be careful while cutting the material. Sound deadening usually has a metal skin on the side opposite from the sticky surface and you can easily cut yourself on the foil edges if you're not paying attention. I got a small nick but after that I avoided any further mishaps by just being careful. Gloves can help if you've got the attention span of a drugged-up shrew and the handicraft skills of Jeremy Clarkson.
The sound deadener has the bonus effect of making your old floorpan look fresher and shinier - not that you'll ever see it again once the new carpet goes on.

Here's the middle of the driver side floorpan before...

...and after covering with the Roadkill.

Same process on the passenger side...

...and everything looks better.
I added a little bit more to the rear floorpan and a big piece to the rear bulkhead. The bulkhead seemed like it would vibrate like crazy if hit by the sound from the rear speakers hence the bigger piece.

You'll notice from the pictures that I covered practically all of the floor pan with Roadkill but used substantially less in the rear seat area. Sound deadener is heavy stuff – the box of Roadkill I had weighed about 25 pounds. I put in more on the floorpan to fill up the void left by the jute under the old carpet but on the rear seat area I used much less to minimize the added weight. Like I mentioned earlier, experts will tell you covering only about 25-50% of a panel's area with sound deadener is usually more than enough so using only a minimum on the other areas apart from the floorpan should still give most of the benefit without too much added weight. On the door panels as well I only stuck small pieces in and ended up using only half of my box of Roadkill. This is a GT-R of course, not granny's Buick, so keeping an eye on the weight only felt right.
The scale tells the tale - sound deadener weighs a bunch but I wanted to add a little bit more every day civility to my R32 so I figured a little bit of weight wouldn't hurt.

After installing the Roadkill I started adding a layer of closed-cell foam on top. The kind I got from Amazon is very light but soft and self-adhesive. The most common type of closed-cell foam sold in audio shops is much heavier and thicker. The heavier stuff gives better sound insulation but you'll pay a weight penalty. I preferred to lean towards weight savings versus better acoustics in my car hence my choice of foam but you may prefer to go the other way if you prefer to be better able to hear the dulcet tones of Babymetal...or Bach...or Miike Snow...or Nat King Cole...or Alvin And The Chipmunks if that's what floats your boat.
I forgot to take a picture of the foam prior to putting the carpet on top but you can see some of it on the left side. You can also see how I cut flaps that aren't glued to the floor so that if I ever have to futz with the ducts or wiring underneath I can still access them.

Here's some of the foam on the middle passenger-side floorpan.

The foam I got had a self-adhesive backing. I traced shapes onto the back so that I could cut away only the parts I wanted to stick down and leave those flaps I mentioned earlier free to move.

With the floor pan now prepped I'll wrap up part 1 here and then in part 2 I'll talk about how to fit and install the new carpet. Be sure to come back for that post – unless you have a strange aversion to comfy floors.

Important disclaimer: Understand that working on your car can be inherently dangerous. This is meant to be a guide only and does not take the place of common sense and proper safety precautions. Only you can ensure your own safety. Know your limits and ask for qualified help if you're unsure of something. Every time you act stupid in the garage...God kills a Miata.