Header Wrap: Buying Made Easy
So what is a header wrap? A header or exhaust wrap is something you can put onto your header in order to protect it from heat issues. It's a lot like air intake insulation or heat shields that you wrap around the component in order to keep it cool and performing excellently while the majority of radiant heat is kept away from it. It typically comes in rolls and can be used on your exhaust and headers. They can even include sprays with silicone coating. Now, if you're looking to buy one for the first time, it helps to know a few important information.
Things to Remember
- Is It Needed or Not? Some of the first few results in a Google search about header wrap cover controversy regarding whether or not it's a valid product. As a matter of full disclosure, here's what people have to say about header wraps. There are motorists who discourage other drivers from buying header wraps, claiming they'll make your headers rust faster since they trap moisture. They also claim ceramic coating is the better insulation choice overall.
- When to Use Header Wraps: It's best to use header wraps when corrosion isn't an issue. For example, if your header is stainless, then it's probably okay to wrap it with header wrap even though stainless steel is already a good insulator in and of itself. You'll also need other precautions such as using rust reformer products to keep rust from appearing on chrome or exhaust headers when using these insulation protection solutions.
- Fitment Isn't As Much Of An Issue: There are times when header wraps are recommended for, say, V8 headers. There are other times when the wraps are claimed to be compatible for trucks, cars, and bikes. Because wraps can be wrapped around from the top of the header (where it bolts unto it) all the way down to the collector like electrical tape, it can fit with most any header imaginable. It's more universal compared to other car accessories.
- Check the Specs of Your Header Wraps: Header wraps are usually of titanium fiberglass (that kind of looks like chainmail or snake skin) and comes in a roll of 50 feet long tape with six pieces of stainless steel zip ties. A good wrap dimension for your header and exhaust wrapping needs is 2 inches in width and inches in thickness. Most importantly, your wraps should be able to withstand heat of up to 1,652 °F as well.
- Header Wrap Kits versus Standalone Header Wraps: A kit is more complete and doesn't only come with the fiberglass wrap plus zip ties, but also various extras such as a variety of locking ties, a can of silicon coating spray, and a variety of colors (such as tan wrap/white spray, tan wrap/aluminum spray, and black wrap/black spray). If you don't need the extras, you can save money by simply getting the wraps alone.
It's not recommended that you use the header wrap if your header isn't made of stainless steel because it can prevent you from being able to stop any corrosion from happening once it starts. This is also the reason why header warranty is voided when header wraps are installed. Otherwise, it's an effective insulation solution for your header and exhaust protection. Its kits even come with silicon coating sprays for good measure.
That's a Wrap!: How to Install an Exhaust Wrap
Your engine's exhaust system is an environment with a LOT of heat. The gases released by the combustion system easily exceed 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. In this high-temperature, high-pressure environment, your exhaust wraps are essential in reducing heat by insulating your exhaust system. With exhaust wraps installed, your vehicle's performance will improve and you can prevent the damage caused by overheating. You can wrap up this project yourself with some basic tools, skills, and safety precautions.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Here's what you'll need:
- Knife or scissors
- Stainless steel safety wire
- High-heat paint
- Exhaust wrap
- Protective gloves
- Vehicle owner manual
Step 1: Open the hood of your vehicle and spray your exhaust pipes with the high-heat paint. Wait for the paint to dry completely.
Step 2: Put on your protective gloves. Exhaust wrap contains pieces of fiberglass so you need to wear gloves before handling it. Take the exhaust wrap and soak it completely in water.
Step 3: Take your exhaust wrap and securely make one wrap around the very end of an exhaust pipe. Make another wrap directly on top of it. After that, wrap your way around to the other end of the pipe in such a way that each succeeding wrap covers half of the previous one. When you get to the other, extreme end of the pipe, make two complete wraps over it. It's a good idea to pull on the wrap every few passes to maintain tension.
Step 4: Cut the wrap with a knife or a pair of scissors. Take the stainless steel safety wire and place it around the center of the last wrap. Secure it by twisting it at the top then push it flat against the wrap to hide it.
Step 5: Repeat the process with the other exhaust pipes.
Step 6: Start your vehicle. The heat will cause the wrap to dry. You will see a lot of smoke until all the water evaporates.
Make sure you use high-heat paint and not any other kind. Regular paint will burn and cause damage to your engine.