Engine & Header Coating Technology - How It Works

Jet-Hot explains the technology and science behind header and engine coatings, and the benefits they offer in power and durability.

Stephen Kim Aug 24, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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Coating Makeup

Ceramic is a rather generic term that doesn’t necessarily describe the makeup of a coating. All coatings are not created equal, and several elements go into Jet-Hot’s coating that give it its heat and corrosion resistance properties and distinguishes it from the competition. At a glance people only see the aluminum part of a coating. Ceramics in general are compounds that are inorganic and nonmetallic. Since organic compounds contain carbon that burns under extreme heat, eliminating them from a coating is very important. This is what makes ceramic coatings different from a powdercoat or epoxy, both of which have carbon bonds that start breaking down at 600-800 degrees F. Additionally, ceramics contain binders that hold everything together. A coating’s filler material can be a pigment, paint, or aluminum. Using aluminum in our coatings allows polishing it to a high-sheen finish that enthusiasts are familiar with. The end result is a coating that not only offers high-temperature and corrosion resistance, but also looks great.

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Coating Process

Jet-Hot’s ceramic coatings can be applied to any set of headers, both old and new, and are backed by a lifetime warranty. After receiving the parts at our facility, they are inventoried into our computer and scribed with the order number on the pipes themselves. We also take a photo of every incoming order for referencing purposes. The next step is cleaning the parts. Usually a thermal degrease or chemical bath works well for light oils, oxides, and other contaminants. Internal engine parts, like pistons, are hand-cleaned with solvents or by using an ultrasonic process. The parts are then grit-blasted to remove scale and debris, and to get the parts down to a clean “white” metal surface. This gives the coating more surface area to grab onto, and ensures good bonding. Once the metal has been cleaned, the ceramic coating is applied using a spray gun similar to those used by body shops. After curing in an oven, the parts may get coated again, if necessary, before they are submerged in a tub of polishing media. The polishing stones vibrate across the metal surface to give the parts a nice sheen, and the parts are then hand-wiped before moving on to final inspection. From start to finish, the coating process takes about two days.

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Inside and Out

It’s not uncommon to only coat the outside of a header, but at Jet-Hot we feel it’s important to coat the inside of the header tubes as well. There are several advantages of doing so, which is why we coat all headers on both the inside and outside. Since water vapor is a combustion by-product, as a motor and exhaust system cools down, water condenses and rusts a header from the inside out. To prevent this, Jet-Hot has developed special fixtures and techniques to apply our coating to the inside surface of header tubing. Regardless of how complex the inside of the tubing may be, we have developed methods to apply coatings to them. Additionally, this yields the benefit of reflecting heat away from the inside surface of the pipes. By reducing the amount of heat transferred through a pipe from the inside out, it keeps the outside header surface cooler as well. Superior heat retention also assists in improving airflow and exhaust scavenging. Furthermore, by ensuring that the heat travels more uniformly across the header surface, it eliminates the potential for heat to build up in localized hot spots. Jet-Hot does not charge extra for this work and provides a full interior coating on all parts. Coupled with a full lifetime warranty, Jet-Hot stands behind its coating and workmanship.

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