Heat saps power. There's no way around it. Apart from venting the engine compartment with unnecessary speed-holes along the hood, it's difficult to prevent heat from building up and cooking parts. Plus, once that heat soaks into the surface of your engine, power can fall off a tad, and if you've got a high-compression motor, detonation is going to be an issue as well. Given enough time, the baking can essentially disintegrate nearly everything in its path. Under the hood, plastic can become brittle like ice, colored AN fittings will lose their luster, and rubber lines will become fragile and eventually fall apart. The heat that penetrates the skin of the intake manifold can easily cause the once cold, dense air to become warm.
The most cost-effective way to wrangle those underhood temps into submission is by wrapping the parts that create and/or maintain the heat. What generates the most heat? The exhaust, of course. The fix is simple. The rest is all about protecting the other components under the hood from the damaging roast. Things such as the battery or starter motor also need to be protected. Oil, water, and fuel lines should also be wrapped since they carry high temperatures through your engine compartment and will build heat quickly. Also, if you've got a blow-through carburetor, wrapping the plumbing to and from the supercharger is just as important. All these will keep underhood temps in check, and your car will run more efficiently with less drama.
Thermo-Tec is one company out there that's got you covered--literally. Thermo-Tec offers a plethora of wraps, jackets, clamp-ons, sleeves, adhesive-backed blankets, and even spray-on heat repellent for your muscle car. Most of their products are universal and they'll cut to fit just about any and everything under your hood. We've gathered the company's most popular products together and highlighted their different applications in an effort to illustrate how and what to protect.
What we did
What's out there when it comes to thermal protecting your ride? We list the most popular products.
Prevent the heat from eating away at your investments
Starting at $9
Wrapping the headers can significantly reduce underhood heat temperatures. Thermo-Tec's insulation header wraps can withstand temperatures up to 2,000 degrees and contains no asbestos. The wrapping maintains hotter exhaust gases which allow them to escape faster. This increases the scavenging effect and keeps intake temperatures lower. Also, the Thermo-Conductive-Coating (TCT) applied to the fabric conducts heat across the wraps surface and controls heat build up and dissipation.
Sometimes it's necessary to protect fuel lines that run along your framerails from being cooked by the exhaust pipes. For this, Thermo-Tec has developed a "clamp-on" heat shield. They are flexible, block up to 90 percent of radiant heat, and utilize TCT. The clamps come complete as a kit in 1-, 2-, and 3-foot lengths.
These nifty wraps are an innovative way to insulate the block and all else from the radiating heat. The jackets are perfect for your small- or big-block engine, and these kits can be installed with the headers already installed, making them the perfect upgrade to reducing heat. The jackets cover the tubes vertically and let the exhaust system expand as operating temperatures increase.
Get rid of those pesky, hard-to-use wire tie tools. When you heat-wrap your components you need a simple and effective way to keep that wrap from loosening. Snap-Straps are made from stainless steel so they won't rust, and they incorporate a multilock system. They come in narrow precut-length kits or individually.
Yes, thermal barriers can come in spray-form. Spraying a can on this thermal treatment to your freshly wrapped components not only color-matches the fabric wrap but also adds extra protection. The spray-on will protect the wrap from liquid spills and even abrasion. Each can contains resins and binders that toughen the surface, extending its life. It dries quickly and also withstands temperatures of 2,000 degree and is available in black, aluminum, or copper colors.
In the interior, resistance to heat is just as important as noise insulation. Get the best of heat and noise control with this lightweight shield. It reduces sounds and vibrations and protects from radiant heat. It can be trimmed to fit nearly anywhere you need damping, and it's flame-resistant. Just use the spray-on heat adhesive to apply it.
Stick-On Heat Barrier
Applying the same technology throughout the Thermo-Tec line is this adhesive-backed heat barrier. These sheets can be cut to fit and applied virtually anywhere you need protection from heat. They can be cut into strips and wrapped around hoses or even wire looms. The sheeted barriers come in four sizes.
For the ultimate in wire and hose protection, a Thermo-Sleeve is the way to go. It's a combination of high-temperature fabric laminated to a highly reflective Mylar foil. The sleeves are ultra-lightweight and provide more protection than traditional rubber-coated fiberglass. Moreover, they are fireproof and oil-resistant, which makes them perfect for fuel lines or wet sump lines.
Protect those hard-to-reach places around hoses and wires with Thermo-Shield tape. It is adhesive-backed, so all you have to do is wrap it and forget. The tape can prevent vaporlock on heated fuel lines. As usual, it's good for up to 2,000 degrees and is available in 15- and 50-foot rolls.
Heat and vibration can literally destroy a battery, so batteries must be protected. Using a combination of materials, the battery wrap can neutralize battery acid (black felt), and the adhesive-backed heat barrier protects the insides of the battery from heat. These are constructed of woven silica with a flexible aluminized finish.
Wire sleeves are the perfect upgrade. They keep spark plug boots cooler, and that translates to enhanced performance and reduces misfires. They don't react with petroleum products, making them safer, nonflammable, and easy to install.
For late-model owners like the LS1 enthusiasts, keeping the air intake tube leading to the throttle body cooler translates to more power. The unique lace-up design allows the shield to fit 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-inch-diameter tubes up to 3 feet long, and blocks over 90 percent of underhood heat.
Starter Heat Shield
An electronic component on the fritz is no good, especially when it's the one electronic component that controls whether your engine starts. In most cases, exhaust pipes are run close to the starter motor. The pipes heat up quickly and transfer that heat to the start motor. This easy-to-install strap-on heat barrier will reflect the heat to insulate the starter and solenoid.
Ultra Strength Heat Sleeves
These heat sleeves are the ultimate in protective barriers for extreme heat exposure and in abrasion resistance. The silicone-treated fiberglass fire sleeving is designed to protect wires, cables, and hoses from high temperatures, liquid spills, and the occasional flame. They are made from braided fiberglass and coated with a compound of silicone rubber. They can withstand constant temps of 500 degrees all the way up to short-term exposure to 2,220 degrees. CHP
These adhesive-backed sheets combine the best of sound and heat control with comfort. Place them nearly anywhere, like floorboards, door panels, trunk floors, and even the ceiling. Just cut to fit, peel away the backing, press in place, and remove air bubbles.
Turbochargers create excessive heat quickly. Thermo-Tec's Snail Wrap turbo kit will keep the turbo spooled up--virtually eliminating turbo lag. Less turbo lag means more power faster. The wrap comes cut to fit and will cover a substantial amount of the turbo.