Exhaust Header Wraps

We have been asked about the use of exhaust tapes and wraps  on our Automotive and Go kart header pipes. There are good and bad points about the product but i must say with mild steel pipes and when fully wrapping the pipes “I Would Not Recommend it”.  Exhaust wraps are designed to keep heat in the pipes to improve scavenging of the cylinders. Exhaust wraps reduces the radiant heat of the exhaust in the engine bays and can stop burns on the arms of drivers with open engines like go karts. We do not know of any header or exhaust manufacturers that will warranty their headers if any header wrap is installed. Header wraps damage headers and exhausts beyond repair due to excessive heat held within the exhaust. On go kart engines the extra heat that is inside the pipe can damage cylinder head when operated for long periods.
With the tape removed after this pipe had a blow out you can see that the pipe is to badly damaged to repair.

Nearly all NASCAR and other racing engine builders used header wrap tapes for the added power gains and to reduce heat from hot pipes in engine bays. Due to the operating temps and the damage done to the pipes and headers they had to be replaced after each race. Now days with the advance in thermal coating technologies there are materials that can be applied to give a hard wearing outer finish and when the pipes are coated both inside and out you can get gains in performance and your pipes will live much longer. Thermal wraps and blankets are good to protect under bonnet items from heat, and when applied correctly on hot exposed exhausts on motor bikes , off road buggies and go karts to reduce the risk of burns to the driver. There are companies who produce products and materials that can be used to reduce the heat of your headers heating your starter motor,  fuel and brake lines as well as suspension and inner body panels and covers. On exposed exhausts for long pipe life  cool air needs to be around the exhaust header and pipe to stop temperatures getting that high that can lead to exhaust failure and a simple way we have found to cover a pipe to lessen the change of a driver being burned is by running a thermal barrier along the length of the pipe as shown below.


By adding a piece of thermal tape running along the top of the pipe it still allows air to cool the pipe but does reduce the risk of burns to your body.


A short piece of thermal tape with a hose clamped tightened is a way of securing the ends of the tape.


with the clamp positioned it can be tightened to hold the tape on the flange end of the exhaust.


Stainless steel zip ties can be used to hold the tape secure to the exhaust, remember to place them so it holds the tape and you wont burn your arm on the clamps. So depending on your club rules will depend if you are allowed to run the tape in the class you race in.