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Do-It-Yourself Projects
Exhaust System Insulation
By Harold Pace/
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyEasy
Estimated Time120 minutes
120 minutes
Wrap It Up -
It can get pretty warm under the hood of a car. The engine gets plenty hot, and the radiator gives off heat as well. If you have performance equipment like a supercharger or a turbo, you're in for some extreme temperatures. This heat causes many problems, like drying out gaskets and premature leaks in coolant and vacuum systems. Heat also "cooks" sensors and electrical equipment, and can cause discoloration and peeling of metal and painted surfaces. Not to mention burned hands from groping around for dropped tools!
Insulated Exhaust System
Play It Cool
How can you minimize or even prevent these problems, especially on a car you've worked hard to restore? One of the best ways to lower the temperature under the hood is to insulate the headers. A few different methods can be used, such as using a special coating or a chemical heat-treating process. Or you can wrap the headers and exhaust system with heat-absorbing tape made specifically for this purpose. One manufacturer claims that in addition to reducing heat, installation of the wrap will even produce more horsepower by preventing the power charge leaving the cylinder head from cooling off too quickly (which otherwise might result in a loss of velocity and scavenging efficiency).
Lower the Temperature Under the Hood by Insulating the Headers
Installing header wrap isn't difficult, but there are a few tricks that make it go easier. Note that the first time you start the engine the freshly painted wrap will smoke heavily for five minutes or so. Heat wrapping your headers is a 2-3 hour job, not counting drying time. Once installed, you will find your engine area to be a much cooler place, and you might find you have more power as well. And more important for a resto project, you won't see all that hard work and those expensive parts go up in smoke.
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