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Exhaust Header Heat Wraps - Do Not Use

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Exhaust Header Heat Wraps - Do Not Use



Exhaust Header Heat Wraps Do Not Use
Exhaust Header Heat Wraps - Do Not Use

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Why Header Wraps Destroy Your Headers ... and


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Why Thermal Ceramic Coatings are Recommended


Regularly we are asked about, or have commented on the use of header wraps (header
tape, thermal tape, heat tape). This issue is a real pet peeve of mine. Good or bad about a product I will give my opinion based
upon direct use and fact, and this stuff screams "Do Not Use on Exhaust Headers!"



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Header wraps are designed to keep the heat in the header to improve scavenging of the cylinders. Keeping the heat in
the header allows the exhaust speed to remain high. (the right idea)
Header wraps, by keeping the heat in the header, also reduces the radiant heat in the engine bay.
There are no header manufacturers that I know of that will warranty their headers if any header wrap is installed on their
In most cases the header wrap damages the headers beyond repair. (I will explain below)
If you run a lean mixture, you "may" see a slim performance gain using header wraps. A rich mixture may show slim to
absolutely NO gain in performance.
If you do not mind replacing your headers and header gaskets regularly, and you like that ugly look of a wrapped header,
go ahead and use the heat wrap.


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In the past, almost all NASCAR and other racing engine builders and crew chiefs used header wraps for the added power
gains and thermal control benefits offered by their use. Problems occurred when these same teams had to replace the
headers after each race (NASCAR) due to the wrap being about the only thing holding each header together. Most engine
builders, crew chiefs, and definitely the header manufacturers themselves do not promote the practice of installing these
wraps directly on the headers! They now utilize the thermal coatings that are chemically and electrically applied to the
headers. Popular header coating services include Airborn, Jet Hot, HPC, and some header manufacturers now applying the
thermal coatings in-house.

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Imagine having to replace a $1500.00+ set of headers after each race weekend! Few but the most financially well-off race
teams can afford to do this. Also, consider the downtime in remaking a custom set of headers. Most custom header makers
do not have copies readily available.

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I believe that the wraps are good to protect various underhood 'items' from heat, but not for the use of holding the heat in the
header. For example: you can use the wrapping for the protection of fuel and oil lines, wiring, covering a starter motor, etc.
Cool air needs to be around the header, and insulating it with a wrap to hold exhaust heat in makes the header material
surface temperatures reach near molten levels. When you wrap the header you trap the heat in the header, but also suffocate
the material that needs to breathe to dissipate heat for it's own survival.


Engineers, Metallurgists, and other experts out there will state that there is no way that the material can fail because it was
designed to withstand the internal temperatures of exhaust gases. This is very TRUE! But, when the header is not allowed to
cool (or breathe) so as to dissipate those extreme temperatures that the wrap is controlling, you have now developed a heat
absorption that compares to thermal friction. This causes temperatures to continue to rise beyond the normal exhaust gas
temperatures (EGT's) the header material was designed to withstand. This holds true as with most any type insulation.

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Try this experiment the next time you launder a load of bath towels and then dry them. Immediately pull them out of the dryer
and just toss them in a snug pile on your bed. Now leave them there for a many hours, even a day, and then open them. You
will find that there is still a considerable amount of heat left in the center towels. This heat, even though the outer towels and
bed are normal room temperature have been able to contain their heat. This is a simple thermal insulation test, but compared
to your headers you have an internal heat supply constantly coming from the engine when running. The heat on the outside
portion of the header material is trapped between the wrap, and soon will begin to fatigue the header. This build-up of heat is
amplified by the wrap. Your freshly dried bath towels do not need to breathe, your header material does.
The EGTs stay the same but the properties of the header material changes by amplifying the temperature due to the
insulation. This action goes against normal laws of thermal dynamics, but this effect is fact, and you have to pull the ears off
most engineers before they believe you. This is the trouble with plenty of education, but a lack of something that is often just as
important, that of "common sense"! If you decide not to believe these statements that is your choice. Go ahead and install the
header tape on your headers ... we'll be happy to sell you a new header set!

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The engine is operated b etween 6. However. What does this mean? As exhaust gases are exiting the cylinder head exhaust ports and into the header they are still burning. 300º F. Exhaust Header Heat Wraps .90º F. 10. designed for 6500 RPM operation. 1" above floor pan (in car) 115º F. and even more with higher EGTs and header surface temperatures. or that $1500. think about the information provided above and consider the added thermal stress generated by the header wraps. one header is Jet Hot® coated.50º F. and with any of these coatings you should take care to not damage the coating.60" Intake/exhaust valves. the same engine and car with identical headers.000 RPM with identical sustained EGT's of 850º F. Cam specs are: . they are "pulsing". If you design the header to take advantage of the pulse expansions of the exhaust gases you WILL gain horsepower. When you set up a step header. 4. What do you see? Remember that the wrapped metal cannot cool properly and the header wrap is causing the material to superheat and pre-maturely fail! ON A SIDE NOTE: Do you understand the physics of exhaust flow in regards to step-headers? Step headers are designed to allow controlled and efficient exhaust gas expansion within a selected engine RPM range. Stainless Steel (410) uncoated header will have roughly 8% weight loss in the same 10 hour period. 165º F. 112º lobe centerline.centuryperformance. standard 2. in normal air will have a weight loss percentage of roughly 25% with only 10 hours use at this temperature.48" stroke. since steps are RPM specific to each engine combination.5:1 compression ratio. In fact it will actually gain a bit of weight! Between 1300º F and 1600º F the coating will begin to show signs of mud cracking or like the look of lacquer checking. one header set is uncoated. Here is an example: A basic Chevrolet 350 cubic inch engine: 3.6.450º F.00 or more for a set of custom step headers is a waste of money. .html SECOND STEP DIAMETER SECOND STEP LENGTH THIRD STEP DIAMETER THIRD STEP LENGTH 2/4 .com/exhaust-header-heat-wraps-do-not-use. which continues to inhibit oxidation. Here is the "exact" header size for a racing engine operating at 6500 RPM.500 RPM. . inside and outside of tube applied and using proper materials). The thermal coating becomes part of the header material. 235º duration @ . Pretty impressive difference. transmission type. producing a very thin film of iron aluminide.7" connecting rod length. you'd better do it right. and where you want your power.500" lift. you'd better know where you want the maximum power at. But. your headers will oxidize and small amounts of material is actually removed from the headers. DEFINITION: A "STEP" is an increase in primary tube diameter. and temperatures are measured immediately after the last lap with the engine idling at 2.0" bore. depending on vehicle weight. Note: This is for max power at 6500 RPM! HEADER TYPE PRIMARY TUBE DIAMETER PRIMARY STEP LENGTH http://www.2014.900 and 7.02" / 1. . 750º F. A coated mild steel header will have NO weight loss at temperatures up to 1200º F. 5.) Bestsellers Sanderson Copper Collector Gaskets (pr) Motofeet Engine Stand for Ford FE MEASURED AT: JET-HOT® COATED NO COATING COATED DIFFERENCE 1" from engine 300º F. 2" above header port (on header) 210º F. and these gases are rapidly expanding down the primary tubes. Now. gearing.Do Not Use HERE ARE A FEW TEMPERATURE READINGS TAKEN AT DAYTONA MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Below are the test parameters and results using Jet-Hot Coatings® coated and uncoated headers: (10 Laps.050" lift. In fact. This means your uncoated headers will become lighter and weaker over time. SOMETHING ELSE THAT FEW RACERS and CAR OWNERS REALIZE: Headers Oxidize! Translate RSS Feeds Latest News RSS Feed Latest Products RSS Feed Under normal use. limited diffusion takes place between the coating and the substrate.11. Most of the other coating brands are comparable to these figures (if they are multi-layer. For the average Joe Bracket Racer this would be a standard 1-5/8" or 1-3/4" primary header primary tube size. Examine these actual test numbers: Mild Steel (1010) uncoated header exposed to continuous 1200º F.

. tested and inspected headers that have been destroyed after running headers wraps. Anywhere there step is not properly located you will create added heat. January 22. Or should I say the gases are not allowed to expand.4" 2-Step Header 1. The header wrap allows temperatures between the wrap and the header to turn the material molten.518 RPMs wav-lag degrees = 3. Exhaust Header Heat Wraps .0" .000 RPMs bad wave = (+ positive pressure) = 2. Most all of the coating companies offer inside and outside. You set up the step header for the RPM that the engine will spend the most operating time. will generate heat. or where there is an expansion pulse of exhaust gases inside the header tube. That means that if you screw up your coated header. NOT !!! Those pharmaceutical companies can pucker up and kiss my backside! I'd rather have function than hair! The same can hold true with automotive and marine products. just do not use them ON the header.3º This is a "Optimized" header design for an engine operating primarily at 6500 peak horsepower operation. and make a few horsepower in the process.34. DO NOT allow your headers to only be coated on the outside. I spoke with a gentleman named Sam. and you are 100% sure the header will fit your vehicle. The coating permeates slightly into the header material which makes welding processes on a coated material less than adequate. Oh sure.757" 6.757" 31. Some other considerations about the coatings. the compression of air. 8. The default shipping method is UPS. Heat wraps are great.9. With an internal combustion engine that has an operating range from idle to well over 6.1" . it is virtually permanent. BASIC UNDERSTANDING: Because of the expanding gases. http://www. This is typically where a step would be.0" length (2nd best = 9. simply melted away.5" 1.757 " 14.0: to 23. If you want a true thermal barrier that will reduce thermal loss in the header. I have had headers in my hand where literally the only thing keeping the header in one piece was the wrap. How often have we laughed at the side affects. or in this case compression (or restriction) of exhaust gases. I want to take some drug if my hair starts falling out that makes other body parts fail to function. it is not an easy job to repair and most header companies do not want to even attempt a repair. You can call this compression of exhaust gases (or restriction) that of thermal dynamic friction.632" 14. Whole chunks of the header material was gone.16.018 .6.000 or even 10. We have all seen TV commercials on all of these "medical miracles" and "overnight diets" that do such feats as fast weight loss and regrow your hair.6.6.negative pressure) = 5. But. Once the header is coated. If you were to speak to most "engineers" (I use that title with caution) they will probably tell you that aliens stole the metal as the car was racing around the track! They say this because the conclusion that the wrap is causing problems is not part of normal metallurgy and thermal dynamics theory <key word>. Lastly. if you have had the experience (as I have) to see first hand what header warp has done to a header. or just a single layer application! This is not a complete or quality process. Use them on a device or component on your vehicle that you are trying to protect from header heat.882" 15. I asked Terms & Conditions Mfr Pages and Prefix List Tech Zone questions.0: to 11. Follow @CenturyPerf 0 follow ers and we're working on a fix. A fuel mixture that is too rich or too lean can create higher than normal EGT's that can and will damage the coating.6" Collector Specs: 3.16. there is no specific header that is best for an entire power band.5" length) Acoustical Tuning Specs: best wave = (. an out of tune or tired engine can damage your header coating.11. reduce under hood temperatures.4" . have your headers thermal coated by one of the many companies available or the header manufacturer themselves.882" 6.8" . As we all know. he had answers and this led to a sub sequent successful reb uild on the top end of this BBC. Excess oil for a tired engine or assembly lube from a brand new engine will raise the EGT's as the combustion process tries to burn off these items. after all modifications to the header are made. You cannot have true friction from a gas against a solid.000 . On the checkout page (where you enter your All news Subscribe 3/4 . We know that I (and many others) have personally witnessed.000. or that there are negative consequences. Testimonials Information Latest News Hello. it also does not mean it is the best choice either. my name is Peter.3" 1.2014. and these headers were on a perfectly tuned engines. Privacy Statement for tech support. IN CLOSING: We know that header manufacturers will NOT WARRANTY a header which has had a wrap installed on it. Most header manufacturers state that if you are installing coated headers on a newly built engine that you perform your initial break-in and tuning procedures with an old set of headers or exhaust manifolds before installing your coated headers. but you can have this compressed gas as a source of added exhaust heat. I found About Us Sunday.8. like the most common being penile failure.9" 3-Step Header 1. 2012 your web site while searching for tech data on how to adjust rocker Ordering FAQs arms on a Chevy b ig b lock.5" 1.centuryperformance.2º .17.221" Diameter with a 18. This led me to find a phone numb er During Checkout the shipping method selector is being a bit buggy. and "Other Carriers" is everyone else (right now just USPS). Of course there is no "Perfect" header design unless the engine was to never change RPM.. you would notice the locations on a header where the material failures occur.3. multi-layer coating as standard.Do Not Use Straight Pipe 1. Just because an item or product is advertised for a specific use does not mean it does not do what the promotion or advertisement states. The reason for adding the above step-header specs was to to let you know that the header has areas where the expansive exhaust gases compress as they pass through the header. This is why you always coat the headers last.000 RPM.9" .com/exhaust-header-heat-wraps-do-not-use.0" .html Latest Tweets Loading Tweets.

Especially since I've never ordered anything from your company.html 4/4 Not Use I wanted to thank you for the excellent customer service. Thank you again for top notch customer service!! P E TE R FRO M CO V E LO .6.11. CA Copyright © 1989-2014 Century Performance Center Design By Solace Consulting Services http://www. Your customer service inspires me to want to order something from you.2014. Exhaust Header Heat Wraps .