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headers rusting...through?

This is a discussion on headers rusting...through? within the External Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Every discussion I've read on this board about headers (painted vs. chrome vs. ceramic vs. stainless) has talk about rusting ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    headers rusting...through?

    Every discussion I've read on this board about headers (painted vs. chrome vs. ceramic vs. stainless) has talk about rusting (with regard to all but the stainless headers/y pipe.) From the discussions, though, I can't tell if folks are saying that non-stainless headers just get ugly surface rust or actually rust THROUGH and have holes/leaks.

    I do not care at all about what my headers and exhaust look like. My Camaro never sees snow and salt and only occasionally sees wet roads. It is not a daily driver. I would care about headers/y pipe rusting through within 5 years or so...once I do this install I don't want to ever have to do it again. I've had daily drivers that saw snow and ice and didn't have anything stainless (given, the manifolds were cast iron...I think) and in 5-8 years of driving them (from new) I never had an exhaust rust through.

    So, are painted/chrome/ceramic headers/y-pipe at significant risk of rusting THROUGH in a, say, 5-10 year period when not being subjected to extreme weather?

    Thanks for any thoughts you share!

  2. #2
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    Light Pewter
    2002 Camaro SS

    Well the stainless will not rust through in that amount of time, but most stainless headers are 409 stainless and they will rust. The only ones that will not show any is 304 stainless. But stainless headers will turn blue and sometimes will crack due to the expansion and contraction due to heating and cooling. 304 was not designed for heat where 409 is, but 409 will heat stress.

    A nice set of 14 gauge headers like what I have on our show car with a good Eastwood DIY ceramic paint has now gone 4 years going on the 5th. They just need a occasional retouch where it peels and I do that with a cotton swab and a paint cap with some of that paint in it.

    Ceramic coated is better lasting, but the cost is high and also they at times may not look like they are rusting, but internally they are and thats where header rot, inside to out. Moisture trapped against the wall due to heat cycles. The outside dries off so the outside surface rust is very slow to go anywhere.
    The problem with store bought headers is they send them to these coaters in lots so prep goes all to hell and its a quickie where the insides don't get coated fully.

    You can buy your own non coated and send them off to be done. The workmanship should be better but the cost is even higher because its just yours and will be charged as such.


    Stainless will turn blue and can crack.
    DYI will need a good prep and maintainance to look decent.
    Coated either way is show looking for the most part, but costly then again they could outlast both by a years and make the difference of cost up.

    Decision is yours!
    I did mine with mid length direct fit just for inspection purposes because next year I will no longer be required to be emission anything and will go with full dual exhaust and long tubes. Then my decision will be use Eastwoods newer better ceramic paint or send them off to Swain Tech which is the leader and patent holder of these coatings which would run circles around Jet Hot etc. I've been there and see how in person they do it and they have a special wand to thoroughly coat the inside of the header. They also do pistons, combustion chambers, cams and so on for Nascar and also do coating for Aerospace ( NASA ).

  3. #3
    Senior Member REVNORR82's Avatar
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    silver
    2002 ws6 ta convertible

    I have old school painted hooker headers I was on a budget I would like to go to a ceramic headers one of these days but the painted works surface rust for now still a good header.

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