C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sound Proofing the Engine Compartment

C'est la Vie's previous sound proofing consisted of a low density, 1/2" thick paneling.  The paneling was likely installed she was re-powered in the mid nineties.  I've never felt that the paneling was effective at reducing the sound and it was definitely showing it's age by showering the compartment with paper like flakes whenever touched.  Prior to painting the area I removed the old paneling with a hammer and scraper.

removing what remained of the old sound proofing panels

The boat yard assisted me in picking out and ordering new sound proofing material.  The new material is 1" thick and consists, from the face inward, mylar (or similar) outer coating, 5/8" open cell foam, 1/8" lead, and 1/4" open cell foam.  It ships in 24" X 54" sheets.  Along with the foam, I ordered the mounting hardware.

I used cardboard to create templates of the various engine compartment walls.  This allowed me to minimize waste material and create accurate panels without damaging the sound proofing material.  This process began with recording measurements in my journal and then transferring the dimensions to the cardboard laid out on a work table outside the boat.
from sketches in my journal I created the cardboard templates

Once the cardboard was cut into the basic shape, the panels were test fit in the boat.

Starboard side test fit.  The white blocks  with bolts are 1" thick mounts for the fuel filter.  These blocks will allow the fuel filter to be mounted without damaging the sound proofing
The fitting took multiple trips between the boat and the work table.  Each test fit, I made notes and sketches on the templates as to the necessary modifications.  Once pleased with the fit, the next step was to transfer the dimensions of the template onto the new sound proofing.
From cardboard to foam.

I began with the largest pieces first and then used the smaller templates to  figure out how best to minimize waste material. The installation directions recommended that for longevity of the material the edges be taped over prior to installation.

To protect the foam from damage, I taped over the exposed edges.
Some brands of sound proofing offer double sided panels (mylar face on both sides).  These panels cost more, but it is worth consideration.  The backside should never be exposed to water, but you never know what is going to happen "out there."

The time spent on templates ensured a proper fit of the material on the first time. The panels are held in place  by mounting pins that affix to the walls.  Once screwed to the walls via a wide back plate the pins pierce the foam.  A cover plate / washer is then pressed on the pin and secures the panel.  The edges are taped into place.

Next step - create and install mounting panels for the engine room electronics and lighting.


  1. Totally awesome! I would love to soundproof our engine but only on the forward wall shared with the salon. The sides are full with fuel tanks and other engine room room components. I wonder if it would be benefical to just add it to the back of the companionway slates.

  2. Dani, I'll let you know how well is works once we get C'est la Vie back in the water. Installing the sound proofing hs definitely consumed more time than I expected, but thus far I am pleased with the outcome.

    I created mounting panels that rest on posts beyond the sound proofing for all our engine room components. I'll write up a blog post on these soon. Our engine tank hangs on a bracket above the engine and bilge. I elected not to add sound proofing to this area.

  3. Hi Jeff, I just bought a Morgan 34 last month and will start work on it soon. I love the fact that you have created this blog. It has helped me plan some of the work that is ahead for me. I have to ask what size cutlass bearing did you use? I know mine needs to be replaced. I also must say that the engine compartment looks great. Don't get too down about the oil leaks. Oil leaks are common and normal on some engines. I have worked on cars my whole life. It's not easy to keep an old motor from leaking. I am curious as to what motor that is and how much horsepower it has. A four cylinder diesel looks like a tight squeeze. I have a two cylinder Yanmar that is going into mine. A bit under powered but it came with the boat and is in excellent condition. Thanks for posting all of your work. It is of great value to rest of us.

  4. Steven,

    Thanks for your support of our blog efforts. We enjoy posting our adventures and the community it creates.

    I am unsure of the OD & ID of the cutlass bearing. It is four inches long. I simply took the old one over to the boat yard manager and requested that he order a new one. C'est la Vie has a 1" diameter shaft so i assume that that is the ID.

    Please contact me via the blog or at jeffalovett@gmail.com if you have questions about M34 projects. Hopefully we can help. I look forward to following your progress.