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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been reading mixed information about the evils of header wrap. People report header failure after wrapping, due to accelerated rusting and heat damage. The wrap manufacturer tells you to paint the header with high temperature silicon paint to prevent this.

Has anyone painted mild steel headers, then wrapped,and possibly painted the wrap, and had a failure?

My interest in wrapping my 440 headers is keeping my firewall and floor cooler.
Thanks,
Steve
 

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Haven't used wrap but I've been tempted to try it.
I've heard of some success with it but keep in mind that wrapping headers voids warranties for a reason and that's because it's been known to cause premature failure of the headers. I'm not convinced it's ONLY the rust that causes the failure as some argue the heat of the wrap will keep moisture away but there might be some correlation with temperature change or just from sitting in ambient humidity. I'm thinking failure has as much to do with the way it's wrapped and in particular the tightness of the wrap. When the steel heats up it expands and if it has nowhere to expand it causes hoop stresses over and over through all the cycles of heating and cooling of the engine. Over time that will take its toll on the steel.
Instead, I went with a ridiculously expensive coating (Zybar) for the outside of my headers. I spoke to the VP at hushmat and he swears by it for heat reduction (they have testing stats posted). For the inside of the tubes, I went with eastwoods exhaust paint with the long tube attachment that sprays the inside. I haven't tried it yet as I've had no time to go get my headers blasted. Although, it might have all been a waste of money as most people report never having any ceramic based paint lasting a long time and most report success with BBQ grill paint although it has no insulating qualities. When I get a chance to get mine done I plan on reporting back here on RCC but its not gonna be in the coming days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply flyfish.

I decided not to wrap my 20 year old Headman headers.  I painted the right side with 1500 degree silicone paint.  I got too frustrated trying to remove the left header, I gave up.
The paint seems to have been a waste of time, the paint on the tube coming from cylinder 8
is already flaking off. Thats after idling for a few minutes. I prepped with Ospho rust converter, after cleaning most of the rust.

So, if I would have wrapped, I don't think the paint would have protected the headers.
Steve
 

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yea I hear ya on that drivers side header. I've got a mini starter and still had to remove it and even then had to contort the hedman's I have to barely get it out. Mines been sitting with headers removed for about a month and I need to try to remember how I got them out as it might help me get them back in. Not fun for sure. Some people lift the motor a hair on that drivers side...I didn't.
That rust converter might be causing a problem...and ideally the headers should be taken down to bare metal by a media blast to give something for the paint to cling to (therefore not needing a rust converter), but it could be the paint as well.
I wish they made a 300 dollar set of stainless headers that fit our dodge trucks..I'd be all over it  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I raised the engine as high as it would go. The passenger side was still a little difficult, but the drivers side was real tight. I moved the master cylinder and the cruise control out of the way, and removed the starter.  The instal directions say to go through the bottom. May be I should have jacked the truck up  to get more room to manipulate it. I cant remember how I got them in there in the first place. 

The rust converter may have caused an adhesion problem. I cleaned off most of the rust, there were just a few spots that I converted.  The paint is sticking to most of the header, just burning off on one tube.

It doesn't matter, the only reason I pulled it was to put the wrap on, and change gaskets. I did that before I read about the possible damage the wrap may cause. They lasted 20 years without paint, They will last a few more.
 

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The purpose of header wrap is to keep exhaust heat in, which keeps it's velocity up and therefore helps the engine breathe. But only at high rpms where headers tend to be effective. Corrosion does go up with the use of header wrap, mostly because it absorbs moisture and holds it against the headers when the engine is cold. When the engine is warm, this isn't a problem because that high temp evaporates any moisture quickly. However headers naturally tend to rust quickly, anyway due to high temperatures, much as a 55 gal drum rusts quickly if you burn fires in it. The use of wrap simply increases it.

There are more effective ways to keeping the firewall and floor cooler. One of the things I learned from insulating attic spaces was how effective "radiant barriers" are at "blocking heat" You can DIY a simple radiant barrier out of a sheet of aluminum. The key to it's effectiveness is to have it spaced from the surface you want to keep cool.

Other methods exists but will also have a cost. I believe Dynamat has a few products that you can lay under carpets to insulate the floor from engine heat. Theres also special insulating paint, such as Lizard skin.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I will use some kind of insulation when I instal carpet.
Steve
 
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