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Discussion Starter #1
I'm guessing yes?

I've got some pretty old Clear Image Budget headers that I'm sure are no longer under warranty that were coated once upon a time, then I painted over the aging and flaking coating..... Now they're getting pretty rusty/flaky and ugly. I wouldn't mind keeping more heat out of the engine bay, but I don't really want to ship them out anywhere to be coated.
I also don't want to ruin them or have them rust out extra quick, as the car does still occasionally see rain. I'd like to get it taken care of fairly soon and kinda quickly, as I've got some leaky header gaskets I need to replace, and I'd like to have the car back together by mid February for a track day.

Suck it up and send them out to be re-coated?
Wrap them?
Clean and paint them?

Here's a picture for reference that I actually took for a different reason, but you get the idea. Driver side primary lookin yucky.
IMG_9595.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #3
" Suck it up and send them out to be re-coated? "

Think you already know the answer.
?
$$$$ Money into noise $$$$$

What's a decent ceramic coating job going for these days? Reputable establishments?

I haven't forgotten to email ya, just been busy!

Thanks!
 

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Ive had the headers on the blue wail wrapped since 2002.
They're still working great and keeping engine bay cool.

Nab
 

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Brian, I know you're looking for an economical solution and this may be it. Mastercoat Hot Jet High Heat Exhaust Coating - DIY and save money! I bought it but have not put it on yet. I did get some of the Eastwood internal coating too. I think the combination will help with under hood temps and keep the heat where it belongs. Eastwood coating is here. Eastwood High Temp Internal Exhaust Coating and Nozzle After I applied the internal coating I found I had to weld something on the header. The coating only browned a little bit. The tube nozzle works pretty good too.

Mark: Snowman-33
 

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Use the header paint in the parts store, and cure it with a propane torch. Use a wire brush for a drill, and get the rust off first. Once you have the paint cured, you can wrap them. I have wrapped ones on my 92 OCC for about 6-7 years, and no problems.
 
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I have also used the "Flame proof" spray paint of which Fred speaks also. It lasts!
I believe it is VHT brand from Autozone.

Nab
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Brian, I know you're looking for an economical solution and this may be it. Mastercoat Hot Jet High Heat Exhaust Coating - DIY and save money! I bought it but have not put it on yet. I did get some of the Eastwood internal coating too. I think the combination will help with under hood temps and keep the heat where it belongs. Eastwood coating is here. Eastwood High Temp Internal Exhaust Coating and Nozzle After I applied the internal coating I found I had to weld something on the header. The coating only browned a little bit. The tube nozzle works pretty good too.

Mark: Snowman-33
Mark,
Did you brush or spray on that Hot Jet stuff?
New or used headers?
Did you prep and clean both internally and externally before either of those?

Use the header paint in the parts store, and cure it with a propane torch. Use a wire brush for a drill, and get the rust off first. Once you have the paint cured, you can wrap them. I have wrapped ones on my 92 OCC for about 6-7 years, and no problems.
Fred,
Good mention on curing with the torch. I probably would not have thought of that. I'd really prefer to only have them off and then back on the car once for the proccess, so "bench curing" with a torch would definitely be helpful.
Did you/would you use any kind of cleaner to prep the headers after knocking the rust off with a wire brush setup?
 

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Brian asked:
Mark,
Did you brush or spray on that Hot Jet stuff?
New or used headers?
Did you prep and clean both internally and externally before either of those?

The Hot Jet instructions call for blasting the headers first. If you have an air compressor (I'm betting you do) just get one of the Harbor Freight blasters that run about $20. I used that because it's easy and what they showed on their instructions. Then just use a HF paint gun that's about another $10-15. My headers are new but you can use it on used headers too. I also blasted both internal and external. I know you said that looks didn't matter to but after lots of thought and research I opted for the way I'm going on this.

Mark: Snowman-33
 

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Brian, I just read what you had asked Fred. My question about using a wire brush and not blasting it would be. "How do you get to the area where the tubes merge into the collector?" It's awful tight in there. I blasted then blew it out. If you don't want to go with the Hot Jet, Eastwood has an external coating too. Read the reviews and decide from there. Eastwood Silver Hi-Temp Coating

Mark: Snowman-33
 

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I'll check into these options a bit. DEFINITELY doesn't have to be pretty, just needs to work, even if it only lasts a 5 years before it needs attention again.
Has there been any previous discussion about the benefits of heat wrap, other than as a cheap way to cover up old headers and keep the engine bay cooler ?
According to my Harley tuner, he tells me heat wrapping the first 16” - 18” of the header tube keeps the exhaust gases hotter for that first section which improves flow, scavenging and keeps cold air from getting to the exhaust valves.
I don’t know if the same concept applies to car headers but I’ve seen it before on modified street cars.
Any thoughts on this ?
If this is off topic, please send it to the thread where it belongs.
Hope you all have a great day.
 

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The 18 inch length is about how much the air is sucked back up into the headers between exhaust strokes. That is why you are supposed to extend the exhaust at least 18 inches past the O2 sensor, or you will probably.get erroneous outputs from the O2 sensor.

If you are going to cure the VHT paint, you can use a HF heat gun, and avoid the torch flame.

The VHT paint comes in spray cans, and it should only take one or two cans to do both headers. Get one, and if that is not enough get another one. You do not have to buy a spray gun.

One of the HF blasters with crushed glass should work fine for cleaning older headers. You might even get away with crushed walnut shells. I use the crushed walnut shells on aluminum to keep it from eroding the metal. The crushed walnut shells are biodegradable as well.

Do not touch the headers with bare hands/skin during and after blasting them.
 

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wrap benefits:

-lower under hood temps.
-plug wires last longer at least 3x longer
-all of the above
 

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I've been lurking and learning til now, but based on personal experience gotta blurt out +1 on errthin' Fred says above. I did VHT ceramic on shortie F-body SLPs for my son's MonteSS 383. Prep is always 135% of any paint job, so a blaster to get to white metal is of course optimal. But I used several wire wheels on both a port. grinder and a bench mount machine and plenty of cleaning and solvent.

Don't know the o.a. size of the OP's headers, but mine fit in the oven so I was able to follow the can's detail step curing perfectly. And for the record, no smell, - which in the end probably pissed off my bride even more than if she coulda' gloated with an, "I told you so." 14 years and they still look pretty decent.
 

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Do it right, suck it up and send em out for recoating if you think you'll be keeping them for any extended period of time.

Recoating them with something good will aid in heat retention, lower under hood temps, help make more power, preserve the headers and look better than any other option. They key is using the right company though, as many brands of ceramic coating aren't worth a crap and will flake and peel very quickly, like most of the stuff used on out of the box aftermarket headers.

check out Swaintech. They are located in NY and every person I have ever spoke to who used their coatings had nothing but amazing things to say about them. They seem to be the longest lasting coating on the market and even guys who have used JetHot in the past have told me they've seen better results with Swaintech. Their cost is also pretty good, a few years back I think they quoted me at $200 for a pair of headers.


 

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The other option I'd suggest is sell them and take the money you'd save on coatings and find some stainless headers, but unfortunately for these cars you won't find anything half decent in T304 for much less than $1000. you could always LS swap though (LOL). , I used TSP F body T304 stainless headers for my LS swap, which were $450 shipped from TSP, and the quality is just about as good as any Kooks or American Racing header I have seen save for a little crystallization on the welds on the inside of the 02 bung, probably from inadequate back gassing. Other than that, the flanges, the TIG welds on the primary tubes to the flange and the metal gauge of the tubes was on par with any $1000 header. If only they made some for LT1 B bodies LOL It sucks that we don't have more budget T304 options.
 

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And to echo what was said above, wrap definitely has benefits (better heat retention=higher exhaust gas velocity, lower underwood temps= more power, less damage to surrounding parts over time, colder AC).

Downsides to wrap is it greatly speeds up the deterioration of the steel. Moisture builds up between the wrap and the header itself, and the wrap, being that it doesn't allow the metal to be in contact with cooling air flow, subjects the metal to higher temperatures than it would normally see than if it were exposed to airflow allowing it to shed heat. The higher temps combined with the moisture that accumulates in and under the wrap causes the headers to rust out prematurely. You won't find many header brands on the market that will warranty their headers when used with wraps. Even stainless headers are prone to cracking from header wrap. you have oxygen from moisture sandwiched in between the wrap and the header this creates a reaction with the iron and heat causing rust.

The reason a coating doesn't do this is because it doesn't allow moisture to be present between the metal and the coating. No moisture=no oxygen=no rust reaction from mixing heat, iron and oxygen.
 

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I know people will say trapped moisture won't be a problem because it burns off, but this is the point. It's what's happening as it burns off. the headers don't always stay hot. When they cool, moisture once again permeates the wrap and the process happens all over again as they heat up; superheating the 02 and iron to create rust.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Good info!
Keeping these headers for the foreseeable future because I'm cheap and broke and they work great, but definitely need a refinish to keep them looking and feeling healthy. Luckily an acquaintance offered to media blast them clean for FREE when I asked him if they did any ceramic stuff at their powdercoat facility, so I'll save a few bucks and plenty of time there.
The ceramic coating on them hasn't been doing much in the way of keeping heat down the last handful of years due to how flaky and trashed it's been, so I don't know if I NEED thermal control, but it definitely can't hurt. Right now I'm leaning toward blasting and just BBQ or VHT paint, but I will definitely look into the Swaintech coating price. I've read how good that stuff is for years, and always just assumed it was out of my price range, but $200-$300 is no more, possibly less than, a decent ceramic coat job.
 
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