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Old 04-26-2006, 07:32 PM   #1
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Default HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating

I've been messing around with DIY exhaust coatings, and have about got it down. It's pretty cheap, quick, and easy to do your own stuff if you want to. Here's how it works:


I've been using Caswell Black Satin ceramic-reinforced thermal barrier coating:

http://www.caswellplating.com/aids/techline/

Click the image to open in full size.


This stuff works really well, I used it on a Lovefab SST manifold (big ramhorn turbo manifold) and after a few dyno pulls I could put my hand less than .5" away from it and hold it there comfortably, it radiated very little heat (uncoated it's way too hot to get your hand anywhere near it and burns the paint on the hood over the manifold after a while).

I bought the 12 oz. can for $55, but I've done two headers and a turbo manifold/downpipe with it and I've still got well over half the can left. I can probably do 5-6 more manifolds/headers with it.

The biggest thing about using this stuff is the surface prep. I did the turbo manifold without getting it sandblasted, just wire-brushed it and hosed it down with brake-clean. It went on and did it's job, but it scratched very easily before it cured and some of it flaked off after it cured. On a well-prepped surface it is very tough, even before it cures. I scraped my new header against my radiator when I was installing it and it didn't even scratch the uncured surface. After you heat it up and it cures, it's really tough. I've got some pics from the last thing I did, my old RMF header that I wanted to fix up before I sold it.

Here's the header, just bare mild steel at this point. These things are beautiful and they make power; Randy Monroe does great work:

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Here it is after sand blasting:

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

I don't have a sand blaster, so I got somebody else to do it. You want to get it aluminum oxide blasted, or anything that leaves it with a nice rough finish. No glass beading, nothing that would polish it. Clean it off good with some brake-clean and make sure it is completely dry.

You just need a very thin coat, about .001"-.0015". According to the people at Caswell, the best way to get it on there right is with an air brush. Here's the one that I bought for $10 at Northern Tool & Equipment, I'm sure they have something similar at Harbor Freight. I have a small compressor with a 2.5 gallon tank that I paid $90 for new many years ago so I could do leakdown testing, and it works fine for the air brush:

Click the image to open in full size.

I spray it just enough to cover the metal. If you get too thick a coat on it, then it will not adhere to the metal. It dries in a few minutes, but needs to be heated to at least 700 degrees to cure. It will scratch off if you scrape it too hard before it cures, so be careful installing uncured parts. I didn't want to put this in the oven, mostly because I'd be concerned about fumes and I cook in that oven, so I just cure it on the car. After it cures, the coating is very tough. Here are some pics of the coated, uncured header:

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

This one is getting sold, so no cured pics of it, but here's a pic of my new header to show what it looks like cured:

Click the image to open in full size.

It cures to a flat black finish.almost chalky looking when it first cures, but it's not powdery to the touch, and the chalky look goes away after a while.

Once again I can't stress how much this cuts down on radiated heat, especially from turbo manifolds, but also from headers. Is it as good as paying hundreds of dollars to professional ceramic coating places? Probably not, but it's dirt cheap, can be accomplished in your back yard in an hour, and gets the job done.
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:03 PM   #2
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excellent little write up! i'm definitely doing this.
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Old 04-26-2006, 11:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (rmcdaniels)

Have you tried HPC ceramic coatings? I wonder how they stack up again Jet-hot and Swaintech. Great write up by the way! Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 04-27-2006, 12:20 AM   #4
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I need a compressor and a bigger garage.
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Old 04-27-2006, 08:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (rmcdaniels)

Any idea on the Thermal Abilitis of the ColorGuard?

Does it insulate as well as the black?

Be nice for blocks, heads, DPs in the Titanium or Aluminum Color!
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (neo_)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmcdaniels
You just need a very thin coat, about .001"-.0015". According to the people at Caswell, the best way to get it on there right is with an air brush.
What would happen if you sprayed it on thicker than .001"-.0015"?? Like if you used a regular paint gun as opposed to the air brush.

Also, would the 4oz. can be enough for a just a Lovefab Shorty (log-style) manifold and a downpipe?
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Old 04-27-2006, 12:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (AF-P Dunc)

it will probably chip or flake easily if you apply it too thick

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Old 04-27-2006, 05:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (DJ Gurgla GSR)

The people at Caswell said it wouldn't bond to the metal properly if it is too thick.
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Old 04-27-2006, 06:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (rmcdaniels)

Gotcha, so .001" is a layer just barely covering the metal then? Like should I just spray it on as thick as like a normal spray can would? Oh, just remembered about my other post...you think the 4oz. can would be sufficient for a log manifold and downpipe (maybe the dumptube if I feel like it)?
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Old 04-27-2006, 07:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (rmcdaniels)

damn nice stuff ive got to try this!
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:34 PM   #11
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (JDMTurboEG6)

What compressor did you buy for $90?
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (AF-P Dunc)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AF-P Dunc
Gotcha, so .001" is a layer just barely covering the metal then? Like should I just spray it on as thick as like a normal spray can would? Oh, just remembered about my other post...you think the 4oz. can would be sufficient for a log manifold and downpipe (maybe the dumptube if I feel like it)?
The air brush puts out a real thin layer, like a spray can if you move it real fast. 4 oz. should be more than enough for a log and a downpipe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takumi Fujiwara
What compressor did you buy for $90?
Some super-cheap junky compressor that was on sale at Pep Boys. It's actually worked pretty well though, but I mostly use it for leak down testing.
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Old 04-28-2006, 08:06 AM   #13
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (rmcdaniels)

Cool thanks for you ideas & help!! Click the image to open in full size. I'm just waiting for the new turbo to get in (the current one is smokin' like a champ haha)....so when it does I'll take some before and after readings with a laser temperature guage.
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Old 04-28-2006, 08:09 AM   #14
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (AF-P Dunc)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AF-P Dunc
when it does I'll take some before and after readings with a laser temperature guage.
That would be great, please post them up. It feels a lot cooler when I hold my hand near it, but I haven't had my hand calibrated in years.
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Old 04-28-2006, 08:35 AM   #15
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (rmcdaniels)

haha hands usually need a recalibration once a year or so. As soon as Garrett gets on the ball (I'm hearing Wednesday of next week) and makes some 60-1's I'll post up the temps.
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Old 05-02-2006, 01:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (rmcdaniels)

That would make your EGT's waaay higher, wouldn't it?
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:57 PM   #17
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (redsikiller)

Just ordered a 4oz. can Click the image to open in full size. The new turbo is slated to get here on May 11th. I've done some preliminary temp. measurements.

After a one hour trip on the highway with EGT's averaging 1350*, I let it sit idling for a couple minutes. When the EGT's dropped to 950* I opened the hood and measured:

Manifold: 650*
Turbo: 800*+ It spiked the laser gauge, so it was well over 800*

I'll do the exact same test in a couple weeks when the new turbo is on there and ready to rock Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:18 PM   #18
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (AF-P Dunc)

Ok so I just put the new turbo and stuff on this weekend. That coating is definitely worth the $25 for the 4oz. can. It went a LOOOOONG way. I heat coated my manifold and entire downpipe/dumptube with maybe like 1/4 to 1/3 of the can. Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

But yea, I can hold my finger literally a 1/16" or 1/8" from the manifold comfortably for well over a minute. I could go longer, but I got tired of just holding my finger there....so try and do that with an uncoated manifold!!

Data:
Uncoated:
- Manifold: 650*F

Coated:
- Manifold: 490-500*F

Conclusion:
This stuff is worth every penny for the 4oz. can! I bought the 4.99 air brush kit from Harbor Frieght and just threw it away when I was done. The surface temperature was reduced by 100*F but the radiant heat is amazingly lower. Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

rmcdaniels: GOOD FIND MAN Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:34 PM   #19
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (AF-P Dunc)

excellent, i was worried i wouldn't be able to do my downpipe, but i guess i can. ima do my turbine as well. Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:39 PM   #20
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Default Re: HowTo: DIY Exhaust Coating (rmcdaniels)

very impressive Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 05-25-2006, 08:00 AM   #21
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hmmm, I can understand someones theories on the EGT's being higher.....any data on this yet?? Also wouldn't more heat going through the manifold/turbo create a quicker spool?
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Old 05-25-2006, 08:37 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CivicMike
hmmm, I can understand someones theories on the EGT's being higher.....any data on this yet?? Also wouldn't more heat going through the manifold/turbo create a quicker spool?
You might have more heat for a quicker spool, but it's probably minimal enough that there won't be a big difference.

Also about the EGT: I have not noticed any real change with where my EGT's should be when I'm driving as normal, so I don't think there is a substantial argument for higher EGT's
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Old 05-25-2006, 08:54 AM   #23
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Default Re: (AF-P Dunc)

EGT is affected by ignition timing and afr. If you put the probe right near the exit of the port (where it should be) than you would'nt see a difference. If you were to put the probe in your downpipe near the turbine than i could see there being a difference in temps from non-coated to coated.

I am going to try this aswell

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Old 05-25-2006, 09:59 AM   #24
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good job with the coating
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Old 05-25-2006, 10:24 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excel
EGT is affected by ignition timing and afr. If you put the probe right near the exit of the port (where it should be) than you would'nt see a difference. If you were to put the probe in your downpipe near the turbine than i could see there being a difference in temps from non-coated to coated.

I am going to try this aswell

Excel
Now that argument I would buy into. My probe is in the manifold runner so perhaps that is why I have seen no difference.
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