Sound Deadening your 5th Gen - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Sound Deadening your 5th Gen

I'm pretty happy with the sound quality out of my HK stereo and the outback is pretty quiet by any standards but once you go deadened you never go back. My experience with sound deadening vehicles isn't extensive by any means but my knowledge has some depth and I've installed deadening on a handful of vehicles. I plan to be as thorough as possible in this DIY and share the mistakes I've made in past installs to assist anybody who might be doing this for the first time.

The car I'm working on is a 2017 Outback Limited, the products I will be using are Dynamat Extreme and Ensolite CCF. The main goals for me is to insulate the wheel wells against all terrain tire noise, the door cards to stop rattles at loud stereo volume and the quiet down the roof against wind noise. The first step is to remove the interior and I will be taking a top down approach, working on the roof first.

The first step to getting the headliner out is to remove the cargo tray, carpet and spare tire, yeah I know

The carpeted panels are clipped to the foam blocks and can gently be removed, the white part in the foam that the clips go into has been known to just rip out with the panel so gently is the key word. The blocks themselves are secured by two clips that are very hard to remove and pilling on the foam will just break it. I used my specialized bent up dinner fork on most of the clips in the car but these ones are especially difficult due to the fragility of the foam

With the foam blocks out the side panels can be removed and on the power lift gate motor side there is an easily removable panel on the pillar trim making exploration that much easier

Continuing to remove the lower panel the anchor points for cargo hold it to the body and they are held by a 10mm bolt that is covered by plastic trim, pull the anchor loop down and using a flat head or fork or whatever pry the plastic cover from the side to pop it down and expose the bolt

Above that there is the folding seat lever and removing the plastic cover behind the lever exposes a screw that needs to be removed, then above that the cargo net hook has a screw behind it which also needs to be removed

The cargo cover slot has a small angled plastic cover that the cover rests on and it is remove by gently prying from the top to expose yet another screw

The best way to pop the lower trim panel clips is to remove the weather seal and using a flat head screwdriver to pry as close to the clips as possible, you just need to get the lower trim out enough to reach a screw holding the above pillar plastic to the body

These clips holding the panels together are somewhat fragile and it was much easier to push them through the back of the panels with the window off

The push rod for the motor is removed by sliding the clip marked with yellow paint on it's track and then it pops off with ease

I removed the push rod by disconnecting it the same way from the hatch, the pillar trim is then held by 3 white clips and the screw I mentioned earlier located at the yellow square in the bottom left of the picture

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Continuing to try and get that lower trim panel off

The top window trim is held by a push clip on the roof that was covered by that corner pillar trim just removed and a few more pop clips down the side

Here you can see the location of the additional clips

There is one more clip holding the side panel in and it is behind the seat edge at the top

To remove the seat edge the lower cushion needs to be removed, the front edge simply snaps into place and lifting it up firmly will detach the clips. The seat edges are held by a single bolt at the bottom next to the seat belt bolt

With the lower bolt removed all you need to do is slide the seat edge upwards to unhook it from the top and expose the push clip holding the side carpet

To completely remove the seat edge and side trim you need to detach the cables for their respective seat function levers, there is this cable connection behind the seat and under a carpeted trim panel for the side panel lever and the cable from the seat edge can be located behind the seat edge

This is the push clip that made all that necessary, try as I might I was unable to finesse it out with the seat edge in place

Removing the SRS labeled cover on the B pillar trim exposes a 10mm bolt that holds the trim at the top, a couple more clips at the bottom are well covered by the lower B pillar trim which is held by 4 more pop clips

Eventually the headliner removal process brings you to the headliner and the grab handles have a pretty cool attachment method, pull the tiny tab at the top toward you and slide the cover upward

The cover will slide off and it's that simple, with the covers removed the handle slides right off a pair of stamped metal clips

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Eventually the headliner comes off

The visors have a cover that comes off by prying gently at the corners where it is split, this plastic is incredibly fragile and I have cracked so many using gorilla strength when a delicate touch is required. Yes I cracked the driver's side and yes I am ashamed of myself for it, the connecting hook is easy to remove just push in the tabs on each side they come right off

The A pillar trim pops off with ease probably for safe side curtain airbag deployment and the overhead console and dome lights are left in place but don't forget about this little cable

There are these 3 clips in the back, 2 clips on the sides of the center dome light and one clip in the front above the overhead console, the rear clips come unglued very easily and only the center one stayed on the headliner for me. The seat belt has a cover that is best removed from behind and only act on the surrounding plastic when removing the cover because those little tiny clips holding it are extremely fragile and will break for even the slightest pressure

The satellite radio antenna is one of the many wire bundles that need to be disconnected, the two bundles that run down the A pillar contain the SRS wiring so remove the negative battery cable before messing with them

My first impression with half the interior removed: Man, there's a lot of crap in this car

These are the stamped metal clips that hold the grab handles, pretty sure if you were holding onto them in an accident they would break away but not so sure if that is intentional? Never had a car with side impact bags before

I also thought it interesting that the curtain extends all the way to cover the cargo area, just in case you have a dog back there? Maybe some countries still allow kids to ride in the back? Maybe the crash tests showed people can be flung into the cargo area? Such a mystery but the truth is out there

There is some more of the sound deadening like in the spare tire well that looks to be brushed or rolled on and I will be working around it rather than replacing it. Taking the headliner off was also necessary to replace the gargantuan roof rails with lower profile rails from the Touring trim, mostly for aesthetics but they should offer some reduction in noise with their smaller size

I won't go into depth about the rails since it has been covered in a few threads already but side by side it's easy to see the difference in size and therefore wind resistance

I'm not expecting a huge result form this alone but my goal is to get this car as quiet as possible (within reason) and if I'm already taking the headliner off it just made sense to me to do the rail swap at the same time
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 12:41 PM
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Looks good so far, but while you are at it, and have access, you should seal all of the door bottom and wheel well seams to prevent them from rusting out over time.

Definitely like the lower rails - wish they were available for my Gen 2's.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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The rear hatch handle has a small spit on the end to fit a flat head and pop off the cover revealing 2 10mm bolts, remove these bolts and the trim panel is held to the body only by plastic clips

The power lift gate button doesn't need to be removed but in trying to pull the cover straight off it was catching in it's hole so to make things easier it should be removed

Of course the top trim needs to be removed to take off the side trim and the side trim needs to be removed to access the two push clips and take off the bottom trim, this means it's actually necessary instead of optional to take off the power lift gate motor push rod from the hatch as well

Finally the lower cover can come off, there are several pop clips holding it to the hatch and removing the access covers to pull from closer to the middle makes it easier to pop them all than simply grabbing the cover by the edges

Finally the sound deadening part of this sound deadening DIY. My best tip is to wear gloves when handling this stuff, it will stick to you and it will cut you and it will hurt

Working on the roof wasn't so bad when I laid on my back (long ape arms ftw) but trying to do it in a seated position was worse than uncomfortable. I'm only putting the Dynamat on surfaces that are exposed to the outside so none on the roof bracing or other internal structure where it won't have as great of an impact

I like to use larger pieces whenever I can and still not get air bubbles but sometimes they need to be trimmed and all those small pieces will get used somewhere

There isn't much roof exposed in the front but I covered what I could using small pieces, if I was more thorough I would drop the sunroof assembly to get better coverage but it's a huge pain and I just don't care to do that

As much as I don't want to work on the hatch from below there isn't much room to work with it closed and not many access holes to reach the exterior metal

I wasn't able to apply very much on the hatch because of the limited access but by feeling around with my hand first I was able to get an idea of the size and shape I would be able to use
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 06:57 PM
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Excellent work so far. I have been working on my outback as well. Used Hushmat, closed cell foam and Mass loaded vinyl. have not tried the roof. If you want, search for my post in the gen 5 area.

Thank you
Russell Casey, 2017 Outback Limited 2.5, Twilight Blue/Ivory with Eyesight. Build date: 7/19/16. Purchased 8/5/16 in USA. Currently about 22,000 miles.
Added LED backup, cargo, door courtesy lights and Lamin-X yellow film on LED fog lights. Nushield Dayvue antiglare screen, Soundproofed front/rear doors, floorboard, cargo floor, tailgate, cowl area & all wheel wells. 7/70 zero gold warranty

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Using the spare tire well to hold my weight I discovered that the metal is extremely flimsy and dented it almost immediately, when I popped it back by kicking it from below a bunch of the factory deadening had cracked and came off. They must have put a bunch of deadening there for a reason but I'm still just going to work around it and hope that the factory stuff is up to the task of filling in the gaps

I'm going for 100% coverage on the wheel wells but not going to freeze off the pads that are already there, rather than use a big sheet and razor blade all the air pockets I like to cut the mat into workable strips and trim out smaller pieces as I go

The sub needs to come out to gain access to the outer metal and the rest of the wheel well, the mounting plate for the sub was surprisingly solid so I won't be putting any Dynamat on it

Reinstalled the sub for now but there is more to do before completion, I was able to cover most of the spare tire well but didn't spend too much time trying to get full coverage

The left side wheel well took a lot more time to cover with all the curves and stuff in the way, the outer skin is covered the same as the right side about 70%

Most of the metal is still clean but it's still a good idea for adhesion to clean with an alcohol based or other fast drying cleaner like windex, I was debating on covering the frame rails but decided why not so they got a few squares over them

It is a good idea to test fit the spare before putting the deadening on, I've had cars where the tire would touch and squeak over bumps but there is plenty of room all around in the Outback

The plastic piece that holds the cables behind the seat revealed some opportunity for more deadening but needs cleaning first, there are a bunch of clips holding that thing on and some of them are bound to pull out and stay in the body

I use a dinner fork to pull the clips that get stuck and then I added a few more spots of Dynamat

Under the seat bottom there is a little more room for more deadening, I didn't go too crazy here but still worth it to add on any metal that sees the outside
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-17-2018, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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I've been pretty sick and not feeling like working outside, or even getting out of bed, so I have been driving with half the interior removed this whole time. Some observations; The interior acts as a thermal insulator as well as insulating from noise, I've noticed condensation inside on the body and even on the instrument cluster. Dynamat is an excellent thermal insulator I've found with my previous experience, that was motivation to cover the roof, but it doesn't seem to be able to do the job on it's own. Next, the rattles. Everything rattles, the side curtain airbags rattle and rub over every bump in the road. The wiring rattles, the seat belts rattle, the roof supports rattle, the grab handle clips oh you better believe they rattle. Lastly and obviously, none of the electronics in the roof work but even the radio antenna has wiring attached to the headliner. The air bags also have wiring in the headliner and it triggers the SRS warning light, not sure is the entire system gets disabled by this or just the curtain air bags but I never had to find out thankfully

I started by cutting a long strip of Ensolite and working my way front to back, the smell is really strong and gave me a headache after just a short time even with all the doors open

Removing the 10mm bolts that hold the airbag makes covering the pillar much easier, there are hooks made into the bracket that hangs the bag and some are difficult to remove and reinstall

The holes for the sun visors need to be cut out with a razor or knife, I actually used scissors, in order to reinstall the visors correctly the edges of these holes need to be free from any interference

I tried to cover as much as I could but left room for the headliner to sit flush at the top of the windshield, you can't see in this pic but the area in the center where the 3 push clips hold the headliner needs to be cut out so the clips will sit flush or else they will not seat and pop out

It's not as important to get all the air bubbles out like with the Dynamat so using big sheets whenever possible can be a time saver, I was getting pretty impatient and cranky at this point so meticulous coverage was out in favor of rushing to finish so I could go back inside and rest

You can see the 3 holes for the rear push clips, everything else can be covered but all I did was cover the rest of the Dynamat and placed a few odd scrap pieces under the wiring

The glue I used to reattach the clips didn't work at all, it looked like all Subaru used was a hot glue gun and that didn't work well either

I reached peak frustration when reinstalling the headliner and took very little care in doing so, these clips that hold the grab handles must be removed before attempting to place the headliner. To remove them just push them through the back of their stamped body bracket, when the headliner is placed be very careful not to push them in too far because they are a major pain to to pull back out through the front

once the headliner is roughly in place fold the rear seats back up to hold it, I tried holding it up myself and it was futile. The headliner that I very carefully removed now has creases in it from bending and could have been avoided if I just put the rear seats up but I wasn't thinking

The grab handles are very frustrating to reinstall as well, taking care not to push the clips too hard so that they don't push through their bracket while holding the handle just so perfectly straight. The plastic end clips that lock them together are not easy to reinstall either, once you get them started into the top and can prevent the metal clips form pushing back you have to push hard on the handle and get the perfect angle for the plastic clip to lock into place. I also creased the headliner here in my haste... I need to rest and get better before working on this any more
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-17-2018, 12:50 PM
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nice pics.

believe it or not, the factory stuff you can apply directly over unless it has a fibrous/fabric texture.

Dynamat is expensive, so if you want to trim around and use it, thats fine, but if you want max coverage you can plop it right over the stuff in the wheel well spare as long as you clean it good and roller it down. Maybe heat gun it since you've gotta be applying in in sub 60 degree weather right now....
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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The roof took a little more than two full sheets of Dynamat and the hatch/cargo area used up another 5 sheets leaving me with only two sheets for the doors. I wasn't planning on doing the floor but I'm going to need another box of Dynamat to cover the doors anyway so it might happen now

Started doing the wheel well with Ensolite and I was thinking about stuffing poly-fil in all the holes but opted instead to get things buttoned up quickly so I can enjoy a finished car again, poly-fil is another thing that may get added in the future

I was going to put Ensolite on the body outer skin also but seeing how quickly I was using it up made me focus on just the areas directly under interior plastics

The bundles of wiring and other assorted electronics made this quite the chore, I'm hoping the window noise can be reduced with Ensolite around the edges

I really wanted complete coverage over the wheel wells but I wasn't willing to remove the wiring to make it easier, the added difficulty of working with the wiring in place might actually be worse than the difficulty of removing the wiring

The result is a patchwork of odd shaped smaller pieces that are wrinkled and overlapping but so long as it reduces the tire noise I'll be happy

Installing the trim is linear like removal, you must start from the top down in order to get all the clips installed

I didn't get a picture of the cable detach points when removing them and this DIY was intended to be a breakdown of removing and installing the interior as much as sound deadening, this is the cable that is behind the seat bolster and reclines the upper portion of the seat

The latch that drops the seat from inside the cargo area detaches much easier by flipping the plastic lock around and the hook end of the cable pops right out, install is just as easy

I really wanted to cut a sheet the size of the hatch and lay it over everything but again with the patchwork and working around the network of wires

Like the other panels you want to keep the area around the pop clips free so they will seat flush and lock in, otherwise the clips will never fully engage and the panel will be loose and rattle

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