A vehicles exhaust system can be one of the most common areas for rust. The majority of all cars have exhaust systems which are completely exposed to the elements at all times. If thats the case, any untreated steel components run the risk of rusting out fairly quickly.
To ensure this does not happen to your exhaust system you may consider coating it to prevent any corrosion. Sounds simple enough, but you wont be able to use a typical spray paint. Normal enamel spray paints are only able to handle temperatures up to around 250ºF, far below the temperatures the typical exhaust components reach.
In order to properly coat your exhaust so it will not rust you will need to use a coating specially designed to withstand the high temperatures exhaust components can reach. Eastwood High Temp Ceramic Coating is capable of handling temperatures up to 1400ºF, far above temperatures that will be found in and around the exhaust system. This coating contains special additives that make it very different from normal spray paint, containing small metal flakes that are extremely heat resistant.
The preparation process is very similar to any other type of painting, if you plan to use this on headers or exhaust components we recommend that you take it down to bare metal to achieve best adhesion. To do this the part can either be media blasted or gone over with heavy sand paper.
The first step in getting ready to coat this set of headers is to put it in the Blast Cabinet to remove all of the black shipping coating that is mostly warn off from only a couple thousand miles of use.
After verifying that all of the coating was removed and only clean metal was exposed it is necessary to clean the metal. Use a blow gun to remove any dust or blast material left on the manifold then wipe the part down with PRE Painting Prep. Sand paper and blasting material can trap dirt and contaminants which can get left behind on the surface of the metal.
All of the exhaust ports must be masked off because not only will this prevent the coating from going into the header, it will prevent any trapped dirt or dust from contaminating the coating during application.
Once wiped down again with PRE Painting Prep, the part is ready to be sprayed. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area and use proper safety equipment when dealing with any type of chemical coating. This includes Gloves, a Respirator and Safety Goggles, when necessary. All of the safety equipment you will need can be found right here on the Eastwood website.
Apply 2-3 light-medium coats with about 30-45 minutes between each. Applying this product too heavy can cause durability issues and even flaking. After the final coat the part must sit for at least 24 hours before it can be used. After the 24 hours it can be put back on to the engine but before normal use it must be cured. Start the vehicle and let it idle for about 20 minutes, the heat from the engine and exhaust gasses will fully cure the coating to achieve maximum heat resistance.
The before and after results are staggering, now you can open your hood with confidence at the next show and not have to worry about those ugly rusty headers. All of this with the added assurance that they will not rust out.
Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To’s, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects. If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
– James R/EW