Header paint/coatings [Archive] - Chevelle Tech

: Header paint/coatings

Nov 30th, 10, 3:18 PM
Did a header painting related search-very helpful. One question though that didnt appear to be covered.

Is there any real reason/advantages for or against what color you would paint or coat the header? Black/Silver/white, etc.

I'm blasting my new Headmans and like the eastwood/VHT high temp cast iron color paint but maybe the black would run cooler and aid backpressure/scavange effect?

What do ya think?

Street driven LS5 454 TH400 4:10 gear 1971 SS El camino

Marc S

oops, maybe this should go in ENGINE section-sorry mods.

Nov 30th, 10, 3:23 PM
I dont really think there is an advantage to one color over another other than aesthetics. I painted mine silver to kind of give the "coated" look. It didnt work very well and they ended up pitting and rusting in spots. As with anything else involving paint, prep is KEY. Also, I read a technique here about using a torch and heating the header up through the collector to kind of bake the paint and semi-cure it before you install. I never tried it but it sounds like a great idea and lots of people here have done it with great success. Eastwood makes good stuff so the paint should be the least of the worry. Take your time, do it right and it should come out just how you want it to.

Nov 30th, 10, 3:33 PM
yeah color shouldnt matter at all. The only time color really makes a difference is when were talking about sunlight. Certain colors(like white) reflect light better, where others(like black) do not reflect as well. So....black gets hotter only because its not reflecting the light/heat source as much as the lighter color. I suppose its possible that certain pigments have properties which cause them to hold more heat, but I doubt it.

In this case, were talking about a heat source inside of the pipes, so the outside coating wont really have any bearing

Nov 30th, 10, 3:37 PM
I didnt think so but I kinda like that look of the collector from a profile looky loo of the car-nastalgic look I guess is all I'm after.

I think I'll go with the cast iron look,

Marc S

Nov 30th, 10, 4:32 PM
We always preheated the header tubes. Into the primaries and in the collector, then applied the VHT. It will flash off and cure almost immediate. Tried all different colors over the years, black stays the cleanest.

Nov 30th, 10, 4:43 PM
What is it that you guys are using? Where do you get it? How long does it last? Do you spray it on with a gun, or does it come in a spray can?

Nov 30th, 10, 7:28 PM
I used VHT Flameproof spray paint. I got it at my local Autozone. Its a spray can. I used Dupilicolor engine enamel for the block though. Not the same thing and the Duplicolor doesnt last very long on headers at all. I think its only good to 500* where the VHT Flame Proof that I used is good to 1200* or 1500* IIRC.

Nov 30th, 10, 8:39 PM
My JetHot coated headers are rusting and chipping away after 3 years of occasional weekend cruising. That sterling finish they sell is a joke. I may blast them and try to paint.

Molly's 70
Nov 30th, 10, 9:20 PM
I also used VHT black with great results. I got it at Autozone. Took about 4 or 5 cans. As stated i think the can said 1200 degrees. :yes:

the heckler
Nov 30th, 10, 10:06 PM
I used performance coatings over in ga (www.headercoatings.com (http://www.headercoatings.com)). to do the hedmans on my big block. It seems like they do run a bit cooler since it was done. it costs $210 but they coat them in a ceramic based coating inside and out that looks like chrome. They also give you a lifetime guarantee. I tried the sand blast and coat with VHT paint routine. They looked good for a little while but pitted as stated above.....

Nov 30th, 10, 10:10 PM
I have never had good luck with the spray can stuff it usually lasted about 2 weeks and the headers were bare again. lol. I would like to find something stronger other then sending them away for 3-4 hundred dollars to get them coated.

Souther72, I had the original coating from hedmann and it lasted a good 2 1/2- 3 years, but like yours, they started flaking and chipping. After that it's the rust thing.

Nov 30th, 10, 10:17 PM
A magazine did this test (Dont remember what one) and black dissipated heat faster. It wasnt a huge amount though. I used VHT 2000* spray paint. Sand Blasted, cleaned, heated then painted and it has lasted several months without discoloring or any other kind of flaw. I love it and will use it again if needed.

Highway Star
Nov 30th, 10, 10:42 PM
I use rattle can hi temp header paint. Prep is key. Get them to bare metal, wash them with hi pressure water hose, bathe in lacquer thinner, etc. Get them CLEAN, then apply light rattle can coats and cure each one with heat until the paint smokes. The torch didn't give the results I was looking for so I "roasted" mine over a boiling pot burner. There's like 4 or 5 coats of cast aluminum header paint on mine and they look good.


Nov 30th, 10, 10:55 PM
Prep work and how you cure the paint is very important. I painted my Headmans nine years ago with Duplicollor 1200 degree engine paint (silver with ceramic). Only the collectors are showing some wear. The real trick to the application was putting the entire header in a oven and baking it at 500 degrees for two hours :yes:. The wife is still mad at me for that one :D.

Dec 1st, 10, 12:10 AM
Prep work and how you cure the paint is very important. I painted my Headmans nine years ago with Duplicollor 1200 degree engine paint (silver with ceramic). Only the collectors are showing some wear. The real trick to the application was putting the entire header in a oven and baking it at 500 degrees for two hours :yes:. The wife is still mad at me for that one :D.

Before or after the paint? or paint, cook, paint, cook ETC.

ak 67SD
Dec 1st, 10, 1:29 AM
I use VHT cast iron manifold paint, and i don't preheat or bake them... they bake when i fire the car up! I have been using this paint for many years, no problems! holds up well...

I also sandblast before spraying... current headers have been in there for 2 years, previous set for about 8 years... I have also painted my entire exhaust with VHT cast.


Dec 1st, 10, 2:24 AM
I baked them right after the paint was dry to the touch. I found that when using paint, curing them while they are on the car does not give you even heat distribution. The primary tubes at the first bend are a lot hotter than the collector. The problem with cooking them is finding a oven big enough :D.

Dec 1st, 10, 9:10 AM
i cleaned mine with alcohol, laid with the manifold up. put a little alcohol in the tubes and light it up. got nice and hot then hung them and painted. Dry time was fast but cured instantly.

Dec 1st, 10, 2:56 PM
I bead blasted my Hookers when they were brand new out of the box. Wiped them down with thinner. I then primed them with the VHT primer and then used one can of VHT black per header. After I painted them I put a propane torch down each pipe as well as in the collector to "cure" them. Few minor scratches on install otherwise they looked great. They held up for a few months, but the car sat more than it was driven at that time. It has been 3 years and they look OK at best. The head pipes are starting to show a decent amount of rust and the collectors are a bit worse. I really need to pull them off and do it again before they pit. Overall for the $$ it was worth it and has held up far better than the Hooker paint. I thought about coating them but have yet to see one that truly held up as advertised. In the end is it cheaper to pull them off every few years…. blast them and VHT them.

Anyone bother with the VHT Primer at all? Or do most just use the paint on the bare steel?

Dec 1st, 10, 3:09 PM
i like the day 2 coated headers painted white. has anyone tried this stuff?


Dec 1st, 10, 4:30 PM
A friend of mine was having some wheels sandblasted at a commercial sandblasting place nearby. (Newbury Sandblasting, Newbury OH) As a thank-you for some help I gave him, he took my several-years-old Hedman headers along with the wheels. They were blasted and painted with high-temp silver paint by the sandblasting place. They charged $75, and I got headers that look like new. They've held up nicely for 2 years so far, they were 5+ years old before being blasted, and I live in northern Ohio.

I cured them on the engine, by starting it up for about 2 minutes to where they just started to smoke a bit, and then shut the engine off. But I like everyone's suggestion of a propane torch down the tubes before installation for curing.

I'm very pleased with how they turned out, even more so since it wasn't my money! :-)


Dec 7th, 10, 9:14 PM
I will post pictures of mine here shortly. I decided to go with the Day 2 white painted hedders like the kind you'd find on Dougs Headers or Yenko or dealer tuned cars or the late 60's or early 70's.

I did the following per can recommended procedures,

-Painted w/VHT flameproof flat white hedder paint primer-used one can per hedder.
-Baked @250 for thirty minutes-cooled for thirty minutes baked again @400 for thirty minutes then cooled for thrty minutes and finally baked @ 600 for thirty minutes then cooled for thirty additional minutes.This will turn them a tanish cream color from the bright flat white primer you started with. Then....
-Painted w/VHT flat white flame proof paint-one can per hedder
-Painted w/VHT satin clear-one can per hedder and repeated bake process one final time.

Marc S

Dec 8th, 10, 10:24 AM
Pics of finished hedders.You can see how the VHT Primer turns a cream color once its cured in the background of this pic.
Marc S

Dec 8th, 10, 10:43 AM
What the heck are you guys baking the headers in?

Dec 9th, 10, 11:42 AM
What the heck are you guys baking the headers in?Mine are intermediate length and will fit in you average oven easily. Long tube/full length, you'll have to take them to someone who has a large oven like a coater-who will probably charge you.

I dont advise cooking them inside a house as it gives off some pretty powerful fumes/smoke not to mention you WILL be divorced shortly thereafter.
Go to a second hand store and buy a used oven for 30 bucks and go for it outside-that only works of coarse if you have 220V power in the garage.

Marc S

Dec 27th, 10, 10:42 AM

It did not turn out well at all once headers were installed and car was fired. Recomended clear coat all but burnt off one header exposing paint underneath BURNING IT TO A BROWN COLOR and primer,paint and clear coat bubbled, flaked and fell off the other header.

Marc S

ak 67SD
Dec 27th, 10, 4:49 PM
I tried white about 20 years ago...it peeled off right away... I've been using VHT cast-iron for a long time now, not baking it on, and haven't had any problems... they stay clean.

Sucks to hear it didnt work, sure a shame to waste all that work!


Dec 27th, 10, 7:20 PM
I used black barbeque grill paint and it has held up great.

Dec 27th, 10, 7:46 PM
I am leaning tward it having something to do with the white paint color but I dont know why it would be any different than any other VHT High temp paint color.
I am NOT going to pull them off again-that is a job let me tell you what-although having the correct BBC steering shaft sure helps.
I'm going to pull engine at somepoint in the future to detail it and the compartment and I will try the cast iron high temp paint route as thats what I painted the original manifolds and they look great after 4 years!!

The trouble and expense was well worth it though even if i dont repaint them as throttle response and torque/horspower output is nite and day from the stock manifolds,

Marc S

Dec 27th, 10, 10:41 PM
A white ceramic type coating would be awesome love the day 2 white header look. :thumbsup:

Dec 30th, 10, 2:34 PM
My Headman Elite silver are starting to peel after only 10 hrs. Krap!

If I repaint them I will use something better. Black will radiate heat faster. Silver less.


Dec 30th, 10, 2:51 PM
Moore Power Coatings
10941 N. 142nd St.
Waverly, Nebraska 68462
phone: (402) 786-2887

I live near by so i dropped them off one afternoon but they did an excelent job and i thought it was reasonable after seeing how "well" my friends jet coated headers looked after a short time. Everyone around here uses Moore Power Coatings and I havent heard any complaints yet, and they warranty their work. Just a thought. Worth my money IMO