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Discussion Starter #1
I have heard varying opinions on the performance benefits of getting one's headers ceramic coated. I'm talking about a quality SS header, like AA. Please post your educated opinion with convincing evidence and preferably some metrics. "They rock and look awesome!" is not an example of such. Thanks.
 

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Well as far as I understand, beyond aesthetics, the main benefit is that the heat stays within the exhaust tubing rather than radiating outward. This allows the gasses to flow with greater velocity (hotter gas = faster gas), and allows the underhood temperature to be significantly reduced since all the heat is kept within the pipes. I don't know how much advantage there is to ceramic coating vs keeping the stock heatshield though (I don't even know if the stock heat shield can be retained on E46 non-Ms). I don't have any metrics or actual temperatures since I didn't bother getting my headers coated. (Got stock Euro headers, which I figured were fine w/o a coating since that's how they came on euro-spec M3s from the factory)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, TerraPhantm. Yes, I understand the general theory, I was hoping that some members could share some real-life, before/after measurements such as temp. readings or even dyno results (though I realize the latter would be difficult as ambient conditions vary so much).
My web surfing has also turned up opinions such as Swain, with its zirconia component, is superior for thermal insulation while Jet Hot is just for appearance. Hoping some Fanatics have specifics like this to share.
 

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My Techniks are Swain coated. After the car has been running, I can touch the headers after a VERY short time. Can't say the same for anything else in the engine bay. Radiant heat is significantly reduced. Check out Swain's website for specific information.
 

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My headers are swain tech coated as well and I love em. Underhood temps seem lower and I dont get as much heat soak in the summer. Don't have any accurate before and after temp readings, but just posting up my experience.
 

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At least for my car, I have seen zero power increase with wrapping the exhaust manifolds. I even have my whole exhaust wrapped. This is just to reduce trans, diff and axle temps. For that, it does work. My manifolds are wrapped as it does reduce temps under the hood.

For street use, I'd go with coating them. Wrapping does not last forever and you have better have some experience at doing it right. I think the biggest customers for coating headers are guys that run dragsters (i.e. Super Comp). This is because the headers always look the same and drag racers spend most of their time cleaning and polishing on their cars. This is because of the lack of track time. I know, I used to run Super Comp.
 
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