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Do-It-Yourself Projects
Exhaust System Insulation
By Harold Pace/
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyEasy
Estimated Time120 minutes
120 minutes
You will need enough wrap to cover your headers. For a typical small-block V-8 engine, this means two packages of two-inch wide, 50-foot long wrap (or one 100-foot roll), a box of snap wraps (an ultra-thin stainless-steel perforated metal strap) or hose clamps and an aerosol can of high-heat coating. Big-block V-8s need another roll of wrap, and 180-degree headers can take three rolls or more. The wrap also comes in a one-inch width for working around small-diameter convoluted headers. You'll also need a pair of gloves since the wrap is a fiberglass-like material, and can irritate your hands as you are installing it.
You Will Need Enough Wrap to Cover the Headers
Start by measuring the length of each header tube from the flange to the first junction where you can't wrap the tape around the tube anymore. The instructions will tell you how much material is needed, determined by the diameter of your header tubes. For instance, a 1 ¾-inch diameter primary pipe will require 88 inches of wrap per foot of length. Add an additional eight inches for each bend in the tube. Do the math and cut your first length. This is not an exact science, so cut one piece at a time and apply before cutting your other lengths. You may need to fine-tune the recommendations to suit your application.
The wrap is too stiff for applying when dry, so dampen it in a shallow pan or dish before you start wrapping. Don't soak it, though. Just a quick dip is enough.
Start by wrapping your first length around a header tube at the flange. Use a snap wrap or hose clamp to secure it. Snap straps are handy in tight locations where a hose clamp would be in the way of spark plugs or header bolts, but hose clamps are easier to install. As you wrap the tube in a spiral fashion, overlap the layers by a quarter-inch and pull tight.
Wrap the Tube in a Spiral Fashion Overlapping the Layers
Snap-Strap, an ultra-thin stainless steel perforated metal strap, comes in a roll and is cut to length. Wrap the strap around the tube, slip the two ends of the strap through the barbed bracket and pull it tight. A small pair of needle-nose pliers is handy for twisting the ends back (like opening a sardine can).
Cut the Snap-Strap to Length
Wrap each primary tube down to the collector, secure the bottom end with a strap or clamp, and then wrap the collector. The tricky part is getting the wrap into the tight crevices between the tubes. If necessary, use a screwdriver to carefully pry the tubes apart. The objective is to cover all metal areas with wrap, right down to the outlet flange. Dry the wrap out by putting the headers out in the hot sun, or use a hot lamp to help cure. As it dries the wrap becomes harder. Once dry, spray with Hi-Heat paint, which seals the pores and protects from moisture.
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