Ceramic Coated vs Painted Headers – Summit Racing Quick Flicks

Ceramic Coated vs Painted Headers – Summit Racing Quick Flicks

Welcome back to Summit Racing quick flicks,
today we are going to talk about the difference between coated headers and painted headers. In our last header video we had a question
about ceramic coated headers and what the benefits were to the ceramic coated headers
in comparison to a set of painted headers. So today we are going to try to help you make
a decision on what is right for your vehicle. Most of us when we are looking at purchasing
a set of headers, we are purchasing them to improve the performance of our vehicle first
and foremost but the other thing we have to look at a lot of times in everything that
we buy is cost. Most of us are probably going to lean towards
the painted header due to the fact that a painted header will probably run around one
hundred to one hundred fifty dollars less than that of its ceramic coated equivalent. There is nothing wrong with painted headers,
painted headers work great perform great and they will actually perform along the lines
of a ceramic coated header the only downfall to them is appearance and durability. That painted coating that comes on the headers
out of the box you will notice that when you put those headers on your vehicle, right out
of the gate as soon as you start that engine it will burn right off. The headers will probably turn like an ashy
white in a sense. That makes them very susceptible to moisture
over time and they are probably not going to be as durable as your ceramic coated equivalent
due to that. There is a way to make these durable though
and there is a way to make that coating last and make them look good over time as well. What I will typically do if I buy a set of
painted headers is I will go ahead and take them out of the box get them sand blasted. What the sandblasting does is actually makes
the surface porous so it will actually absorb paint and let the paint adhere to it much
better than it does in its natural state then I will go ahead and buy a can of our flame
proof coating that VHT makes or a high temperature paint that is designed to withstand heads
of around twelve hundred fifteen hundred degrees and put a couple of coats of that on there. What that typically does is it will go ahead
and adhere to that header then and make them more durable and actually make them look good
for a longer time. They will actually remain black or whatever
color your decide to paint them for the life of the header from that point on. There are some serious benefits to going with
the ceramic coated header over the painted header in general. For starters the ceramic coating finish is
extremely durable in comparison to whatever type of paint coating you are going to put
on a header meaning if these things get hit by rocks or any type of debris they are not
going to go ahead and rust. They are going to deflect that debris that
may have hit it to try to damage it or whatever may have happened. The other thing is they are going to look
great for the life of the header the appearance of them is going to remain the same as the
day when they came out of the box they are not going to dull or anything like that as
long as they have a good coating on them. Thirdly what they are going to do is they
actually have a performance feature as well that a painted header does not have. Meaning they go ahead and keep heat down in
the engine compartment and also keep that heat retained inside the pipes of the header. Any time we go ahead and retain the heat in
the pipe of header what that does is improves the efficiently of the exhaust system. An exhaust system typically becomes inefficient
the minute it starts to cool down from the point in which the exhaust is being produced
which is right at the head. So what we are trying to do is increase the
heat throughout that header as much as possible. The minute in which it starts to go ahead
and cool down is when that exhaust becomes inefficient. While a regular header is painted it’s going
to dissipate that heat much more quickly than a ceramic coated header, therefore, a ceramic
coated header is typically going to make a little more horsepower than the painted equivalent
due to the fact that is scavenges better meaning because of that heat process because of the
fact that it holds on the heat for so much longer of a period there typically going to
go ahead and let the exhaust flow at a much more efficient rate. You know that is basically it between the
two for the most part as far as what the differences are. It’s just a matter of you deciding what
is best for your vehicle application in most cases most of us are going to be more concerned
about the appearance than anything and if we have a show vehicle we are going to lean
more towards a ceramic coated header in comparison to the painted header.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. their not talking about wrapped headers here…look at the title..look at a different video for that.. this is just between them two..

  2. There are many reasons the coating could be peeling. Please give our tech line a call at 330-630-0240 and they will help you figure it out. Thanks!

  3. Chrome plating headers has been done for a lot of years and while it looks nice, it requires a lot of cleaning & polishing maintenance to keep them looking good. Chrome plating also has no effect on exhaust gas scavenging like coated headers. This being said, many header companies have stopped offering chrome plating as an option. Another draw back to chrome plating is that it is very expensive to have done!

  4. I have a 09 GMC sierra 5.3L with a corsa sport. What's a good brand for ceramic headers for my truck? And should I get the y pipe its a single side exhaust

  5. any good advice on how to paint em using the vth flameproof paint? it says to bake em but i dont have a large enough oven lol thanks

  6. There are actually quite a few header options available for your truck. Please give us a call and we will be happy to help pick out just the right one for you. 1-330-630-0240. Thanks for watching!

  7. There are two methods to cure VHT header paint.

    On the Vehicle
    • Paint must be completely dry before curing
    • Run at idle for 10 minutes
    • Cool for 20 minutes
    • Run at idle for 20 minutes
    • Cool for 20 minutes
    • Run under normal operating conditions for 30 minutes

  8. Off the Vehicle
    • Paint must be completely dry before curing
    • Heat to 250°F (121°C) for 30 minutes
    • Cool for 30 minutes
    • Heat to 400°F (204°C) for 30 minutes
    • Cool for 30 minutes
    • Heat to 650°F (343°C ) for 30 minutes
    • Caution: Do not exceed the temperature of the least heat tolerant component or
    the base metal

  9. Coating System
    VHT provides a multi-high performance coating system for the ultimate in
    protection and quality. The system includes surface preparation, primer, paint
    and clear coat. PrepSP445Prep Spray, PrimeSP118FlameProof™ Primer, CoatSPXXXFlameProof™ Color, FinishSP115FlameProof™ Clear

  10. so i can add the paint over the primer then do the heat cycles after it dries?
    or i have to primer heat cycle
    then paint and heat cycle?

  11. Hi!

    I am about to use VHT flameproof matt black on my headers. I also ordered the primer!

    Is it neccesary to have the finish spray to get good result or is it just to make them shiny?

    How many layers of primer, and how many layers of paint should I do?

    Best regards from Sweden!

  12. Applications: Headers, Exhaust Manifolds, Piston Domes, Inside Heads
    Finish: Flat
    Dry Time: Curing time required and can be done on or off vehicle (see below)
    Curing FlameProof™
    VHT FlameProof™ Coating only attains its unique properties after correct curing (refer to instructions on the can).

  13. On the Vehicle
    • Paint must be completely dry before curing
    • Run at idle for 10 minutes
    • Cool for 20 minutes
    • Run at idle for 20 minutes
    • Cool for 20 minutes
    • Run under normal operating conditions for 30 minutes

  14. Off the Vehicle
    • Paint must be completely dry before curing
    • Heat to 250°F (121°C) for 30 minutes
    • Cool for 30 minutes
    • Heat to 400°F (204°C) for 30 minutes
    • Cool for 30 minutes
    • Heat to 650°F (343°C ) for 30 minutes
    Caution: Do not exceed the temperature of the least heat tolerant component or the base metal

  15. Thank you, but did not really answer my question..

    How many layers of primer and coating is recommended?

    And also, are the owen supposed to be, for example the first cycle, be 250°F when I put in my headers in the owen. Or is it supposed to be cool, and reach that degree?

    Thank you

  16. Not all headers are coated internally. That is a question you should ask while shopping for them! There are no real downsides to coating; other than if you chip it they will rust quicker in that area. The upside is more power due to higher temperature exhaust traveling faster downstream, therefore scavenging better. Better scavenging leads to a cleaner cylinder for the next incoming charge that will now burn more efficiently thus producing more power.

  17. Ceramic coating is just that, a coating! So yes, it can & will chip if accidentally dropped or hit by road debris. Stainless looks really nice (depending on the grade) but does not share the same insulating characteristics as a coated header. Therefore it will not lower underhood temp. or scavenge quite as well as a coated header.

  18. There are two grades of stainless commonly used in exhaust piping, T304 & T409. Neither will rust through completely but, the T409 will get a light orange coat of surface rust after a time. The header wrap does in fact cause a mild steel header to rust prematurely due to the heat and moisture, but will not have that affect on the stainless.

  19. I ordered a painted header thinking I had a choice between painted or ceramic as said in discripition however I was stupid an didn't pay attention to the fact that it never gave the option, when my painted headers come in how can I coat it in ceramic?

  20. Hi grimmjow714,
    Ceramic coating requires the correct equipment to apply and large ovens to cure. There are businesses (Jet-Hot) that offer this service. It is highly suggested you trial fit the headers making sure of proper fitment. It is not uncommon to have to make a small dent or ding in a header tube to make sure they do not rub on anything. Once fitment is verified, you would have to send the headers to a coating company of your choice to allow them to coat your headers. Thanks!

  21. Hello, I know this is a video between painted headers and ceramic headers, but which would be better between ceramic headers and wrapped headers. If this is presented in another video, my apologies. thank you.

  22. Could you get 1 or 2 extra hp if you paint stock exhaust manifolds?  I don't think I've seen anyone do this, but it seems like if you already have them off, it'd be worth it.

  23. Do the titanium coated headers that you offer have the same benefits as ceramic headers? I don't care for, nor want, the shiny look of the ceramic coated but I do care about all it's benefits. Particularly keeping heat down, increased velocity, and of course durability.

  24. There's very little reason to buy painted headers. They can get up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than ceramic coated headers. Don't be cheap, and save all your wires and starters  just by spending a little extra to buy ceramic coated headers. 

  25. Hello, I just bought new motorcycle exhaust that are AISI304 stainless steel polish to brushed matt finish. I want to paint them black. I am thinking of using VHT Flame Proof 1300-2000 degrees Fahrenheit ceramic coating and for a primer use Rustoleum high heat primer up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. I was wondering if before applying the primer if I should sand the exhaust with 360 or higher grit sanding paper. I think since the pipe are already smooth i will not need to go for lower grit sand paper.  Or should I just apply the primer and not sand.  Or maybe I should I just skip the primer and paint them with the VHT. Please let me know what would be the best way to paint them so it will last and look proper.


  26. is there anywhere I can find statistical data on which is more efficient between a higher end wrap or ceramic coated exhaust parts?

  27. I've never been a very big fan of headers personally. I've always found that they leak, they burn up gaskets, wires, cause too much of a headache for a small gain in horsepower. and they never usually get used in the right application. (why would you ever put headers on a truck?) but these ceramic coated are interesting me greatly. I might have to go with a set of these on an LS or 383 stroker build I am planning on a corvette. if the benefits can outweigh the losses I have seen in the past

  28. I wish you would do a real world test of under the hood temps as a fallow up. And show painted vs ceramic vs stainless vs ceramic stainless. and any pro and cons of each type of header.

  29. Although you don't mention any trade names in your piece, it looks like your ceramic-coated examples might be by Nitroplate.  I just called Nitroplate and was told that as of May they no long have a retail operation, which means we hobbyists are out of luck as far as their product.  In view of this development, I think you should offer alternatives here.

  30. i had a set of ceramic coated (inside and out) from dynomax on my 302 for 14years before it started flaking off. they never leaked either. best $279 i ever spent on an engine.

  31. Is there any heat soak with the ceramic coatings? If so what kind of temperatures do the headers get and for how long at that degrees?

  32. just got a set of headers from you guys and painted them(inside and out) with VHT paint, haven't installed them yet but am now wondering if I screwed up?

  33. Can someone please answer this before I purchase. Can't get an answer. Do i need ceramic coating headers for my long tube headers

  34. Ceramic coating will outlast the car and its owner as well, meaning that he/she will sell or get rid of the car before the coating comes off, unless damaged in a car accident . 🙂

  35. I just bought a set of ceramic coated headers for my Charger. Are the coated on the inside as well? They look awesome

  36. I can tell you from experience that VHT flameproof coating works very well and lasts. The mistake I made was pressure washing my engine a couple years later. I got too close to the headers and it striped off the paint in that area.

  37. I have stainless steel headers on my motorcycle. The stainless turns a gold colour after a while. I am going to have them chrome colour ceramic coated to stop this happening once and for all.

  38. I dont paint them I burn the paint off and when I change the oil I wipe the HOT header down with the used oil – It put a oil baked coating and they wont rust … Like a black seasoned cast iron skillet… Done

  39. I dont understand your US english. I`m going to go ahead, I`m going to go ahead, I`m going to go ahead,I`m going to go ahead! WTF? And you think we say eh too much? lol Your friend from Canada eh! lol

  40. Sounds like a lot of trouble getting them sandblasted and then painted. Just pay the extra money and get the headers coated from the factory.

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