Longtube headers and winters/road salt. How are they holding up?

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Charlie207

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Was talking to the machine shop owner, and he recommended I stay away from stainless longtube headers in a year-round daily driver, due to the road salt and other stuff they pre-treat with. Since I've never had SS headers before, those of you that do live up where the DOTs spray salt/brine AND have headers, how are they holding up?
 

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The cat back exhaust on Esky & Denali are stainless. They get dull but don’t rust. It’s a pretty impressive bit of engineering.

Stainless headers and ARP bolts are a recipe for trouble free longevity. The other option is standard steel and ceramic coating them inside & out. Some are already manufactured that way.

The latter choice gives you the flow of headers plus the additional heat scavenging effect of the ceramic coating.

I did the ceramic coating on the OEM mani & stainless downpipe to keep the heat out of the bay on my blown VW. It’s slightly quieter and adds a really exotic tone to the exhaust.
 
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Charlie207

Charlie207

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The cat back exhaust on Esky & Denali are stainless. They get dull but don’t rust. It’s a pretty impressive bit of engineering.

Stainless headers and ARP bolts are a recipe for trouble free longevity. The other option is standard steel and ceramic coating them inside & out. Some are already manufactured that way.

The latter choice gives you the flow of headers plus the additional heat scavenging effect of the ceramic coating.

I did the ceramic coating on the OEM mani & stainless downpipe to keep the heat out of the bay on my blown VW. It’s slightly quieter and adds a really exotic tone to the exhaust.

Who did you use to do the ceramic coating? My machinist didn't have any recommendations when I asked him.
 

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Michael
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We have a local engineering & fab shop that prep’s and powder coats. They had a product that was good up to 1400*F and ceramic based in flat black or white. I did black and it still looks like a new BBQ lid. It was $100 about 8 years ago. No prep needed on a new stainless part.

The absence of heat in engine compartment was phenomenal. I wish I would of known to do it sooner as it would of saved a lot of my crispy wiring harnesses.
 
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Charlie207

Charlie207

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We have a local engineering & fab shop that prep’s and powder coats. They had a product that was good up to 1400*F and ceramic based in flat black or white. I did black and it still looks like a new BBQ lid. It was $100 about 8 years ago. No prep needed on a new stainless part.

The absence of heat in engine compartment was phenomenal. I wish I would of known to do it sooner as it would of saved a lot of my crispy wiring harnesses.

I did requested a quote from Jet-Hot, and it's ~$390 for inside & outside coating. Something to think about for a later date.
 

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Michael
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Well worth it for inside & out, especially in a salt climate. You could spend $390 several times over on rusty headers and broken studs.

When I did a full 2.5” stainless exhaust on the VW almost a decade ago I cringed at $850 that included two stainless Borla. The same system is now over 2x that. Labor, material and restrictions on what causes cancer or not like rules are always changing on the side of increased costs.
 

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I had a set of the made in china Texas Speed longtubes on my old Silverado that was driven year round. The piping looked dull and nasty but no rust or anything after I think 3 or 4 years. A friend bought it and drove it a couple more before going turbo and they still looked fine. Uncoated as well. I would say just install them and run them without coating unless you want to coat for heat dissipation reasons.
 

CMoore711

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One of my previous DD vehicles was an '06 Trailblazer SS with the 6.0 LS2. I had 1-7/8" Kooks stainless steel long tube headers and Kooks stainless steel catted Y-Pipe. Both the headers and Y-Pipe were just left bare stainless, no ceramic coating. I live in Ohio where we get snow and road salt, I drove quite bit for work all through the mid-west year round and after 98K miles the headers and Y-pipe were still in great shape; They were dull and discolored due to heat etc. and didn't look the greatest, but they weren't rusty, and I never had any exhaust leaks.

If you're considering doing the ceramic coating it's definitely something you do to the headers while they're new before you install them, it's not something you would want to do some time later.

Try reaching out to some local powder coaters to see if it's something they offer, might be able to find a lower price locally than the Jet-Hot $390 adder? Or don't get it done; Getting your long tube headers ceramic coated is not a requirement.
 

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Michael
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The long term argument for having the headers coated is thermal protection. The additional surface area of headers (or super / turbo charging) needs protection of all the newly introduced heat trapped under the hood.

Cooked harnesses, crispy hoses and brittle plastic is the recipe for disaster chasing codes that that can’t be corroborated.

Ceramic or high temp powder coated headers are also a generational part. They can go on a future vehicle or be sold for near what you paid or more if they stop doing the process.
 
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