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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally got my pace setter header installed. I needed to bend the heater pipe and cut the last 4 threads of the e-brake pivot off, but now there is "plenty" of clearance.

Anyway, after the first cruise around town to check for exhaust leaks, I popped the hood and was dismayed to see that the paint had burnt and peeled off the header? I assumed that the paint from the factory was heat proof...***-u-me, I guess.

So, since these headers are mild steel, I want to repaint to slow down the rusting. I saw lots of painted headers in the pretty motors thread; what products and brands are people using to paint their headers?

Thanks.
 

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http://www.vhtpaint.com/products/flameproof/

Use a paint that's 1500 degrees or better, and it's all in the prep and cure. If the product says use such and such primer..... use it. Most of them have some kind of ceramic in them and require baking them on. The cure is crucial on the high temp paints to work correctly. You can do this usually by just running the engine with the paint on, but follow the manufacturer instructions. I have worked in several shops where we used VHT paint for heat shields etc. Worked fine. I have had mixed results with some lower temp paints maintaining their color. Blacks fade to brown, etc. Summit sells VHT, though I'm sure it's available from lots of online vendors.
 

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From what I remember, unless you ordered the "ArmorCoated" headers, the paint on them is merely for protection during shipping, not meant to be protective once on there. I used to drive a Caddy CTS-V, and those guys are starting to move towards Pacesetters that just became avaliable, and there was a big discussion about this.

I'd second the vote for using another paint. From all of their pictures/experiences, you need to or they will be orange in a couple weeks. Also, as he said, follow the instructions to the letter with prep/application. Some of the guys over there were baking them in their oven to cure them, said it didn't stink up the house too bad, but that's not something I'd try being that I'm married.
 

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Go to Eastwood company and check out some of their products for exhaust manifolds. As a general rule i've never had any paint hold up on headers.
 

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The only luck I've ever had with headers is the pre ceramic chrome coated ones. I'm not sure what that bake temperature would be to acctualy get good results. All of the high temp paint I have ever used just turns to powder and slowly goes away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all.

I will check out some of those products. I dont expect the paint to stay pristine forever, but I hope it will last more than one scoot around the block.

The paint for protection makes sense. I had not thought of that...

The pace setter won't fit in my oven and even it did, we use the oven for cooking way too much to risk contaminating it.
 

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paint burned off my header really fast too. I thought about paint, but i think i'm just gonna wrap them. They look really bad all rusted up. And Jet coating them cost more than Pacesetter charged for the header.
 

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Hi heat VHT is ok..you need to let them dry and then fire the motor up for only like a minute then shut it down and wait for it to cool off..then refire and let it run a little longer and then shut down..do this a couple times increasing the heat slowly and thats about the best you can do..the ceramic coating holds up if you send it out..I have a customer that treats fighter Jet aircraft engine parts with a high heat..and I mean HIGH heat coating..I asked how much to do one header for my rotary and they came back at like 800 dollars and that was the buddy price! I have yet to see any brand really outperform the others..By the way that same company also coats internal engine parts and apparently the parts seem to last like forever if you do this..maybe my next engine??
Good luck!
 

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The ceramic ones like the calmini header and my bug pack header, I put on my old vw buggy that I used to have lasted quite a long time. I welded a flange to the buggy one and it did create a rust location but not to bad.
 

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Just a couple notes on headers I've picked up over the years. Take em or leave em I'm not posting to debate just to help.

No paint I have ever used holds up on headers, it will have to be redone about once a year. Best coatings are Ceramic or Jet-Hot and both have to be done professionally.

Do not paint cast iron exhaust manifolds as it will cause them to trap heat and crack instead of transfer and disipate the heat as intended.

Do not wrap headers in anything unless it is just a race vehicle you use occasionally or you don't mind replacing your headers/exhaust manifold every year. Heat wraps destroy headers especially stainless ones and most manufacturers will void warranty on a head that has been wrapped.

Good luck =)
 

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Now i'm curious, and this is in no way a rip on what 01vagabond posted. I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but i'm thinking about wrapping my header and don't want to ruin it. what i don't understand is unless this wrap is always getting wet or is installed wrong how can it be eating up all these headers? I'm almost fifty years old and have never seen one destroyed ( not that i'm saying it can't happen) But I know a couple guys who use it on their bikes and so far have had no problems. I used to be a pipe insulator before i was forced to change professions and I've wrapped pipe in Ceramic tape and mastic, Foamglas, Calcium silicate, Mineral wool, jacketed it in aluminum, and come back later and de-insulated the same lines for the fitters and never noticed any degradation of the pipes,flanges or valves. I wrapped the 900lb steam lines and valves at DOE's Savanna River Site's D area, power station with teflon covered removable jackets, and those lines were running at 1000 deg, feeding the turbine's. I've done lines that were cycling between heating and cooling, up here in Illinois. At DOW chem's marine terminal tank farm on the Illinois river, Wind chills can get to -50, and summer temps to 100, with humidity in the 70s. I guess what i'm asking is if the wrap is installed correctly how can moisture be destroying the metal under it unless it's always wet? But all that aside, if anyone has had header wrap trash one of their headers, I'd like to hear from ya, and i wont waste my money on the stuff.
 

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I had used headers on my S10 pickup and bought and used header wrap on them, it more or less crystalized the metal and it cracked to pieces. Headers are generally thin Gage steel and the warming and cooling of normal engine warm up moisture, in my opinion does eat at the metal. Metal does sweat and create condensation. Thick heavy boiler tubing is more insulated simply by the denser wall thickness. I can say that most exhaust manifold cracks I've seen are usually under the heat shields. on a brand new header especially ceramic coated, it would probly last a long time. For exhaust though you want the heat to expel. Wrapping them insulates them yes but makes the steel hold that heat in. the steel in turn probly is subjected to another 300-500 deg of hot gases traveling down stream....
 

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I've heard people say it but they were always talking about it happening to someone else. i had never seen it with my own eye's, or knew anyone that it's happened to until now. I always thought it was like urban legend. Now I know not to waste my money on header wrap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think header wrap is for applications where you want to keep the heat in the exhaust. That could be for performance or to keep from damaging other components with that heat.

As for why header wrap makes headers rust faster, rusting is oxidation. Oxidation is accelerated by a couple of conditions that are made worse by header wrap:

heat - wrap keeps heat in
moisture - that wrap traps water and wicks it right to the steel surface
tight spaces - oxidation is actually promoted by the presence of crevasses and tight fits (look up crevasse corrosion). The little open spaces between the header and the weave in the wrap are perfect to promote oxidation.

I still plan to pull my header and paint it. That may not preserve the header forever, but it will certainly be an improvement over bare steel...
 

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No worries bigpetey, I guess I should have explained where my header experience comes from instead of just posting what can happen to them.

I spent about fourteen years building Japanese and Euro inports for open tracking, auto crossing, drag racing and drifting. And 18 years as a welder, fabricator and machinist. I can't even remember how many types of headers I have used, repaired or modified.

The idea of heat wrap was two things. One to keep heat trapped inside of the header and keep under hood temperatures lower and heat sensitive items cooler. Two there was also the idea that having the exhaust tubes hotter would help speed up the expulsion of exhaust gasses and increase flow.

If any of you guys really want to have your bare steel headers coated I highly recommend Jet-Hot coating them. It protects the metal, decreases temps and is pretty durable.
 
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