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2021 Forester Premium
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101 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my effort at going to the source of road noise by trying to sound deaden the wheel wells and fender liners on my Forester. Last year I did the more traditional sound deadening approach on the inside of the car that is pretty much the same as one sees in the tons of other posts and YouTube videos on this topic. As much as I'm pleased with what I did last year, I couldn't help but notice how I seem to hear more wind, engine and road & tire noise now. So after giving it some thought here is the approach I took on the Forester's wheel wells.

Essentially I cut to fit some Dynamat Hoodliner foam and MVL to place inside the space between the frame of the car and the fender behind the front wheels. I wanted to plug that open cavity that goes directly to where your knees and feet rest on the other side of the frame when driving. The pics tell the story. I traced a piece of cardboard in front of the door to outline the shape of the fender cavity, and then simply the cut the sound deadening material to fit, sandwiched enough pieces together & carefully wedged them in place. For what added value it might provide, I also stuck leftover Hoodliner on the interior side of the plastic fender liner where clearance would allow when it was reinstalled.

I didn't take any sound meter readings to compare before & after results in case anyone asks. To my ears there is a small. almost indistinguishable reduction in tire and road noise. But the completely unexpected surprise was an obvious and almost total lack of engine noise that I've learned to dislike since owning my Forester. Yes I can hear the engine rev up when accelerating, but otherwise that irritating Boxer engine sound is gone. Sounds like a normal car to me now. :) So much so, I"m glad I went to all this trouble.


Car Vehicle Hood Automotive tail & brake light Automotive lighting
Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Bag Trunk Wood
Publication Font News Material property Book
Wood Finger Bumper Automotive exterior Hand tool
Luggage and bags Wood Textile Sleeve Waist
Motor vehicle Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Bumper
 

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2021 Forester Premium
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101 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No. I looked at the rear wheels, but left them alone as I could not figure out any way to improve sound deadening there. They are entirely different than the front wheels. There are no open cavities around the rear wheels like there are in the front. The rear fender liner is also a felt-like material, not plastic like the front with virtually no clearance between it and the wheel well sheet metal. It fits tight against the body. And the gas tank plumbing is present on the passenger side. So I decided to be satisfied with the sound deadening work I did last year around the rear wheel wells on the inside of the cargo area.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i 6-speed
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108 Posts
Food for thought: make sure your new "sound deadening" doesn't trap moisture or road debris in the front fender, unless you're okay with premature rust forming.

Some air gaps are a good thing to allow panels to "breathe".
 

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2021 Forester Premium
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101 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Food for thought: make sure your new "sound deadening" doesn't trap moisture or road debris in the front fender, unless you're okay with premature rust forming.

Some air gaps are a good thing to allow panels to "breathe".
That's a valid concern. Moisture will indeed get into that area, but I took a calculated risk that it won't be enough to do harm. I deliberately washed the car beforehand to see how much water got into the gap, and watched how water was channeled down from the windshield molding vents. Those vents route water inside the engine area and not into the gap. Judging from all the dry dust still on the fender and frame in that area, my guess is that not much other water has gotten in their either. I found Subaru's fender liner design to be a good one, and tight around the edges, protecting the fender gap area from water & other debree the tire throws off. Its the gap between the front door and fender that exposes the area to water. I deliberately positioned the aluminum side of the sound deadening material I used to the open areas, used 3M aluminum duct tape to cover some exposed sides of the foam and left a couple of inches gap at the bottom for water drainage just in case. Nonetheless I expect to check on it's integrity (for this and other reasons) in the future as removing the fender liner on this car is relatively easy.

Unlike the plastic front liners, the fabric fender liner on the rear tires were not tightly sealed around the edges (if I can say it that way). There was a small amount of sand and dirt accumulated inside the fender liner & wheel well that I cleaned out. Seeing that also contributed to my reasons for leaving the rear wheel wells alone.

My son has a 2012 CRV and the front fender area design on that car is very different. Much to our chagrin, we've learned thru the years to pull the finder liner every once in awhile to remove what can amount to a birdnest-size amount of leaves and other junk that accumulates behind the wheel fender liner. No rust in 10 years, but is an awful job to clean up ... thanks to Honda's careless design. I would not do this on a car like his for the very reason you mentioned.
 

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2022 Forester Sport
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87 Posts
I was feeling my 22 Forester had more road noise than my previous Subaru. My audiologist says its related to my moderate hearing loss at high frequencies as I can hear lower frequencies perfectly it make the road roar more noticeable to my brain. Driving with proper hearing aids now make the road noise less to me.
 
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