The best heat shield protection for performance cars

 

Heat shield products to help your car keep its cool

 

Can your car handle the heat? It’s a question that any revhead should ask themselves when it comes to their performance car. Heat management is one of the most important aspects of automotive design. So if you’ve modified your car for performance, you better hope everything is set up to handle that extra heat.

Components of your car like the engine, gearbox, and brakes rely on heat to work as intended. But if you apply too much heat to these components then it could result in a loss of performance or permanent damage. When high temperatures are generated in your car, it can also cause a significant amount of power loss.

If this is all news to you, then it’s time to listen up. The performance and safety of your car are at stake. The temperature of your car can be lowered to a safe range with the right accessories and gear. Thermal management products like heat shield tape are perfect for solving your performance car’s overheating issues. If you’d like to learn more, then read on to see our recommendations for heat shield tape and other heat shield protection products.

Car parts that need heat protection

To properly manage heat in your car, it’s important to narrow down the problem areas. Find out which areas produce the most heat while running and you can focus on the components that need the most heat protection. Make the following components your top priority:

Exhaust

Located under the engine bay, the exhaust helps to dissipate heat from the engine. It’s the extreme heat travelling along the pipe of the exhaust you need to worry about. Applying heat shield tape or exhaust wrap to the exhaust pipe can help to protect engine components, wiring or hoses in or under your engine bay from excess heat. This can also help make your exhaust more efficient.

Our recommendation:

Kool Wrap Vermiculite Exhaust Wrap
This vermiculite treated exhaust tape is highly flexible and easy to wrap around your exhaust. Made from a specially trated fibreglass, this wrap is naturally resistant to heat with a melting point of 1093 degrees celsius. When applied correctly, this exhaust wrap can help reduce under-bonnet heat by as much as 50% to provide a cooler intake charge.

Bonnet

Under the bonnet of your car is where a vast majority of heat is produced. This heat production is caused by the placement of the engine. Turbo and supercharged cars are particularly susceptible to high engine bay heat. Engine bay temperatures can reach super hot levels that increase the risk of damaging the paintwork of your car’s bonnet.

Our recommendation:

Kool Wrap Adhesive Heat Shield
Our adhesive heat shield is perfect for under bonnet insulation. It’s made with an outer layer of reflective aluminium foil, insulating foam, fibreglass backing, and a pressure-sensitive heat resistant adhesive layer. Installing this heat shield can help block radiant heat from damaging your bonnet.

Turbocharger

A turbocharger is responsible for increasing your car engine’s efficiency and power. It achieves this by forcing additional compressed air into the combustion chamber of the engine. With this performance upgrade comes additional and immense heat production. Components situated around the turbocharger are all at risk of excess heat damage if they’re not shielded correctly.

Our recommendation:

Kool Wrap Titanium Turbo Blanket
A turbo blanket can effectively prevent and isolate heat from your car’s turbocharger. These blankets can also help protect surrounding components such as plastic hoses and electrical wires. Our very own Kool Wrap Titanium turbo blanket is specially designed to reduce radiant heat coming from the turbocharger.

The outer layer of our turbo blanket boasts one of the highest heat ratings of any known material. The inner liner is made from high-temperature resistant silica insulation held in place with a stainless steel mesh and sewn together with kevlar stitching.

Ask the experts at Kool Wrap

Looking to turbocharge the performance of your car? You’ll need to install the right heat shield protection to keep your car cool during peak performance. If you’re looking for more expert advice on car cooling, speak to the experts at Kool Wrap. As a leading supplier of Australian made cooling products, the team at Kool wrap can offer valuable advice to help you choose the right cooling products.

Ask the experts at Kool Wrap for advice on professional heat protection products.

How Hot Does My Exhaust Get?

Formula 1 engine red hot

In short, the highest temperatures that an exhaust manifold or exhaust pipe should ever reach would be approximately 850°C (1,600°F). As a guide, metals will start to turn red at 500°C and be a dark cherry red at around 635°C (1,175°F).

The hottest parts of your exhaust system will be either a bend in an exhaust pipe right next to the cylinder hard or around the catalytic converter.

Temperatures naturally increase as RPM or the engine work load increases. This is when the engine is consuming the maximum amount of fuel and producing the most amount of torque or horsepower.

Tests on the exhaust system temperatures of typical road cars ranged from 120°C (250°F) at 50kph (30mph) up to 550°C (1,020°F) at 112kph (70mph).

Red Hot Motorcycle exhuast pipe

There are 3 ways to prevent damage to nearby components under the above conditions:

  • Insulate the exhaust pipe to keep the heat inside the pipe
  • Place a reflecting barrier with an air gap between the exhaust pipe and the rest of the engine bay and its components
  • Add reflective and insulating materials to objects that could be damaged by the radiant heat coming from the exhaust pipes or manifold.

We typically use exhaust wraps or tapes and wrap these in spiral pattern around the exhaust pipe or manifold to keep the heat inside the pipes. Tests have shown that exhaust wrap can reduce engine bay temperatures by as much as 50%. These exhaust wraps can be made from fibreglass (starts to melt at 815°C), silica, basalt and ceramic wraps.

Car manufacturers have also caught on to the importance of heat control and most late model cars have embossed aluminium or steel heat shields. These are usually mounted in fresh air approximately 1-2 cm away from the exhaust or exhaust manifold. This air gap helps to carry away excess heat.

Heat sleeves are also now used in many new car engine bays to reduce the chances of heat damage to cables, wiring, hoses and hard lines. These sleeves are usually a lamination of aluminium foil and an insulating fibreglass backing. These sleeves use the reflective ability of reflective aluminium foil to repel radiant heat. The fibreglass backing gives the sleeve strength but also acts as an insulator.

Some heat sleeves use a mylar foil outer layer. Mylar is made from a microscopic layer of foil laminated to an outer layer of polyester resin. This is usually backed with an insulating layer of fibreglass. The polyester outer layer makes Mylar really tough, but it will burn off at around 200°C (400°F). Kool Wrap uses a thicker outer aluminium foil backed by insulating fibreglass. This material is available as a sleeve or in sheet form so that it can be used to insulate car components such as a starter motors or a firewall. The Kool Wrap foil and fibreglass can withstand temperatures approaching 660°C (1,220°F).

Remember that air is actually a great insulator when trapped in small pockets. Air is excellent at convection (electric fan heater) but is a poor conductor of heat due to its low mass. You can see evidence of this in styrene foam or ceiling insulating batts. These two products are designed to trap air pockets and reduce heat conduction. The material acts as a heat block. The heat cannot be transferred through the material. The same applies to exhaust wraps and fibreglass or silica blankets or wraps. The air trapped between the fibres reduces heat conduction.

A good example of trapped air acting as a heat barrier is double glazed windows.

References:

University of Washington: Underhood Surface Temperature Tests: Summary of Published Results

https://depts.washington.edu/vehfire/ignition/autoignition/surftemper.html

 

How To Install Our Latest Kool Wrap Exhaust Wrap Insulation

First, you need to work out how much of our Kool Wrap exhaust wrap do you need.

If you are wrapping smaller diameter pipes up to 37mm (1.5”), use a 25mm wide wrap. If your pipes are larger than 377mm in diameter then choose the 50mm (2”) wide wraps.

A Harley Davidson has larger primary pipes and will typically use 15m of wrap. A 4-cylinder engine will also use 15m while a V8 will require 2 15m rolls.Kool Wrap Titanium Exhaust Wrap on headers

Koolwrap offers its standard range fibreglass insulation wraps in white, natural (cream or tan) and black. If you are racing, then your pipes can easily get red hot and we would then recommend our high temp range of either a Vermiculte coated fibreglass wrap or our Titanium wraps. Our Titanium wraps will withstand up continuous exposure up to 1,800°F or 980°C. The melting point is a sky high 2,500°F or 980°C.

You do not have to dampen your Kool Wrap exhaust wrap before applying as our latest high-tech wraps are more flexible than older style wraps and confirm well to corners.

However, there is no harm dampening the wraps if you choose to. It may help to get a tighter finish and can help reduce the small fibres that come off the wraps and can cause skin irritation. Always use gloves and long sleeves when applying. If you decide to dampen your Kool Wrap exhaust wrap, do not soak the wrap in a bucket. Simply dampen the wrap under a tap or use a spray bottle.

It is easier if you work out approximately how much wrap you will need for each pipe before you start and cut a separate length of wrap for each pipe. This avoids trying to pass a large roll of wrap around the pipes.

Fold over the first 15cm of wrap to avoid a fraying end and to provide a tidy start. Then overlap the first 1-2 wraps to lock it on place. You can also add a stainless steel tie at this point to firmly hold your starting point. Then wrap slowly around the pipes using 5-8mm overlap (1/4”). The overlap will naturally increase on the inside of the bends. Keep tension on the wrap to give a nice tight finish.

You can finish your wrap with a spray paint aerosol can. You could choose a clear or a colour of your choice. This will help to lock down any loose fibres and help prevent liquids and dirt from staining your wrap.

You will initially notice the wrap will smoke when you first start your engine. This will disappear after 15-30 mins.

Do Turbo Blankets Actually Boost Performance?

Kool Wrap T4 Titanium Turbo Blanket

Kool Wrap Black Silicone Coated Turbo Blanket

Turbo Blankets or Beanies where introduced for 4 key reasons:

  • Reduce under bonnet or hood temperatures to protect fuel lines, hoses and other engine components from heat damage
  • Reduce the chance of injury for mechanics working near hot turbochargers
  • Improve performance by lowering engine bay temperatures and therefore intake air temperatures
  • Increase temperatures of the turbo exhaust housing and therefore accelerate the intake turbine faster, reducing lag and in turn increase boost pressures

Turbo Blankets have no doubt proved themselves to be very popular with turbo car owners, but will a Turbo Blanket really bring on Boost faster?

Luckily for us, graduate research assistant Steffen Bickle at the University of Texas decided to thoroughly investigate this theory.

Click HERE to read his paper.

The short version is, yes, Turbo Blankets or Turbo Beanies definitely do increase exhaust housing temperatures and help to build boost faster.

Steffan Bickle found that …..”With the turbo blanket mounted, the turbocharger shaft speeds exceeded their baseline counterpart for identical engine operating conditions which resulted in increased boost pressures throughout all tested steady state speed-load point”.

He went on to conclude…”The time-to-torque improvement with the PTP Turbo Blanket was significant, especially for the last case, in which we used a simultaneous tip-in of the speed and the load, the time-to-torque improvement was impressive with an instantaneous torque improvement of up to 140 Nm. This led to an acceleration advantage of 250 engine rpm in spite of the fact that the duration was less than 2.5 s for the entire event. The improvement of the turbocharger performance provided this engine performance advantage because the turbocharger spool-up was faster which resulted in a boost pressure advantage of up to 0.3 bar when the PTP Turbo Blanket was mounted”.

I think that we can safely agree that a Turbo Beanie or Turbo Blanket is a very cheap and easy addition to any Turbocharged Car and the benefits are proven.

  • Faster spool up of the turbocharger- less lag
  • Cooler under bonnet or under hood temperatures
  • Potential power gains by reduced engine bay temperatures
  • A safer engine bay for mechanics and enthusiasts

Check our the Kool Wrap range of Turbo Blankets or Beanies

 

Kool Wrap Can Prevent Harvester Fires

Kool Wrap prevents Harvester Fire

We had a customer call from Western Queensland and he wanted some wrap to go around a muffler that was causing fires on his harvester.

He said it was common for pieces of dry stalks, crop dust or chaff to gather on the harvester and this was particularly dangerous around exhaust pipes, mufflers and turbo chargers.

In fact, the GRDC (Grain Research and Development Corporation) claim that 7% of harvesters will start a fire EVERY YEAR.

The risk of fire varies depending on the weather conditions, wind direction and the type of crops with Chickpeas being one of the worst offenders.

This problem is not confined to the northern states. We have had reports of similar fire problems in southern states such as Victoria.

Wrapping of hot exhausts and mufflers is one way to reduce the risks.

Other methods include the frequent cleaning of the vehicle with high pressure blowers to reduce the build up of inflammable materials.

Hot Floor in Landcruiser

80 Series land Cruiser Hot Floor

We often hear from 4WD owners complaining about floor heat caused by hot exhaust or mufflers under the floor of the cruiser. This is especially a problem at relatively low speeds or on hot days where heat can build up without cool air flowing under the car.

Australia has some of the harshest climates in the world and when exploring the inland deserts or the northern states, temperatures can exceed 40 degrees C.

Kool Wrap would recommend wrapping the exhaust pipe or muffler with our Exhaust Wrap insulating tape or apply our adhesive insulating material to the underside of the floor. Feedback from customers has been very positive.

Which are the best stainless steel ties?

Kool Wrap Stainless Steel Ties

Kool Wrap supplies unique re-usable stainless ties with our Header Wrap kits. Wrap the stainless tie around the pipe and feed through the collar. Pull the tie tight and then bend the tie back on itself and fold the two tabs over to lock it in place. Reverse the process to remove or re-tighten.

Did you know that we supplied heat protection products for Bathurst winning Commodores?

We cannot provide details as the race team asked us to not disclose details. They had experienced heat damaged ignition leads leading up to the big race and were looking for a solution. We were able to provide fiberglass and aluminium foil heat protection boots that solved the problem and they went on to win the Bathurst 1000 that year.

Can Exhaust Wrap Damage Extractors or Headers

Kool Wrap Exhaust Wrap

Steel exhaust pipes, headers or extractors have a large surface area and quickly pass heat to the air that flows around them. This heats up the air in the engine bay reducing its density. The engine then draws the hotter air in through it’s intake system. This heated air is less dense than cooler air and contains fewer oxygen molecules and the car loses some power. This excess heat can also melt ignition leads, wires and hoses.

Another lesser known fact is that as the exhaust gas leaves the cylinder head and starts to dissipate heat through the exhaust pipe, it starts to contract and lose velocity. If the exhaust gas could keep its heat level then the exhaust gas wouldn’t slow down. The inertia of the exhaust gas leaving the exhaust port of the head actually helps to draw more exhaust gas from the chamber and draws in the intake mixture. As more exhaust gas has been drawn out of the chamber the intake mixture doesn’t have to mix with the remains of the exhaust gas. The result is better scavenging of exhaust gas from the chamber, more intake mixture in the chamber and a better burn and potentially more power.

Racers some years ago tried wrapping their exhaust pipes in fibreglass tape to insulate the exhaust pipes and found the benefits mentioned above.

So, can this wrap damage exhaust pipes. In short, the answer is yes and no. It is possible that racers such as NASCAR in the USA or Endurance racers may experience overheated exhausts pipes due to the insulating properties of wrapped extractors or headers and this can cause cracking or fatigue, but in 99% applications, header or exhaust wrap will NOT damage exhaust pipes.

All mild steel exhaust pipes will eventually rust and the best way to extend the life of your exhaust pipes is to coat them first with a high temp exhaust paint or a silicone based paint.

Unlike other wrap products, Kool Wrap exhaust tapes are more flexible than other wraps and don’t require wetting prior to wrapping.

You will notice some smoking from the wrap after first start up but this will disappear over time.

There are no hard and fast rules about recommended overlap, however we say that a minimum overlap of around 5mm (1/4”) is fine although you will often have to have a greater overlap on the inside of bends.