How To Apply Header And Exhaust Manifold Paint

Exhaust manifolds and headers are the hottest part of a vehicle and because of that can be the hardest to keep looking good as they tend to rust quickly and ordinary paint won’t last on them. We specialize in under hood and detail paints for over 30 years now and we have the process down pat for applying header and manifold paint and getting it to stay! Read our steps below to learn how to apply header and exhaust manifold paint yourself.

  1. Clean and Rough- Just like any paint header and manifold paint needs a clean surface with some light texture to “bite” into the surface. We found this is especially important on high temp paints where you need every advantage you can get. If you’re not going for a super smooth and deep paint job on your exhaust we generally suggest to media blast your headers or manifolds to remove any old paint, rust, or debris and give the exterior a nice texture for the paint to grab ahold of.
  2. Clean Again- Did we say clean? Make sure after you blast or mechanically abrade the exhaust parts that you take PRE and and lint free rag and wipe off the surface. If your rag has deposits or dirt or grease you need to continue to soak with PRE and wipe off. If these are old parts it may take a few passes with the rag and PRE to get it fully clean. Let the PRE fully flash off before moving on to the next step.
  3. Brush or Spray- Eastwood High Temp Exhaust Paints can be brushed on with a foam brush or traditional paint brush but it will leave brush marks in the surface. For a smoother finish we suggest applying with a HVLP detail paint gun with a 1.2-1.4 tip. This will give even coverage and leave no brush strokes on the surface.
  4. Let Air Dry- Our high temp exhaust paints will dry to the touch but won’t fully cure until the engine has been run through 1-2 heat cycles. Air drying the exhaust parts may take 24 hours and heat curing needs to be done no matter how long the engine sits before being run. Make sure you run the engine in a well ventilated area as the paint will emit fumes when heating up and curing.

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