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MG MGA - Silver ceramic coating to exhaust manifold

Has anyone had a good/bad experience with ceramic coating (silver) to the exhaust manifold? And is it worth going over the unit, externally with the linisher/buff, prior to sending it off.

And on surface finishes, am also looking for a decent spray painted , bright silver/chrome finish to my old wires- the budget wont stretch to new chromes, just yet. Dont want to replicate the original paint finish- just looking for cheap "chrome" temporary fix

(I guess this part of the info request is more for down-under input)


I picked up some chrome wires for a good price a while ago. The splines were excellent and the spokes were tight, they had hardly turned on a car from new. Unfortunately, they had been sitting in a shed for about 15 years, so the chrome was badly pitted in places. I attacked them with a fierce wire brush and really roughed them them up with abrasive paper. I then sprayed them with acid etch primer and finished them with wheel silver (I find chrome a bit blingy!). A year on and they still look good, no flaking. Might be worth a try if you're looking for a cheap fix, I have seen "chrome" finish paint advertised.
Lindsay Sampford

I remember from my vintage motor cycling days that chrome spokes equaled broken spokes, a no ,no Sean
S Sherry

I've ceramic coated manifolds on other cars with excellent results. engine bay temperatures are noticeably reduced.

Hydrogen embrittlement is what caused chrome spokes to weaken in the old days. That is no longer a problem with modern chroming methods.
Steve S

Mark...this ceramic coating is a new one on me.
What are the advantages? What does it cost?
It sounds very brittle and possibly expensive and may look good but does it help performance etc...?
Neil Ferguson

The "theory" behing the cermaic coating is that it holds the heat in the manifold. This is a good thing when you have a "tuned" exhaust. It helps to ensure good pulse reflection which improves scavaging. That's why racer's use it. On a street car, it's mostly cosmetic and, I've heard, may raise cylinder head temperature.

G T Foster

GTF.....on that basis the ceramic should be on the inside for max benefit...does it go on both surfaces?I just looked up some Oz sites and it costs about A$700 ( US$ 630) for the manifold but descriptions dont help ( mostly seems to be for young petrolheads rather than the mature sober types ).....seems a lot for cosmetics.
Neil Ferguson

Ceramic coating is not like the ceramic tile you have on a kitchen countertop. It resembles paint and is applied to both the inside and outside of the part. It is durable, probably as much if not slightly more than a quality paint. It will not burn off like paint eventually will, however.

I've heard some people claim that wrapping or coating exhaust manifolds will result in increased cylinder head temperatures, but have never seen any data supporting the theory. On a related note, I have also seen it reported that wrapping or coating the manifold will aid in exhausting combustion gasses due to the rear pipes being hotter than the manifold.

All I can report for certain is that my engine bay is much cooler now, the manifold looks great after many miles, and I can drive the MGB through Las Vegas in July with the temperature needle between 190-195F. Good enough for me!
Steve Simmons

Regarding wheels painting I successfully repainted mine on the cheap, by just cleaning, wire brushing them and then using the DupliColor Silver Wheel spray.
This is suggested on MGAGURU, and is quite close to original.
This paint holds on very well!

I guess you could even add a layer of clear coat on top if you want.

They will never look like chromes though! forget that.
Gonzalo Ramos

Thanks , and further to the "ceramic" coating- it seems that it may be just a bling thing, but it did get me wondering if chrome plating does the same? any clues/opinions?

MT -
As Steve says, this is not the glass enamel coating that was used on high end machinery like old Jags etc, but a thin satin ceramic that insulates, prevents rust, and should last forever with reasonable care. And your prices are about 4-6 times what they should be, so you are talking about the wrong thing, I think. Talk to race car guys, or look up "high temperature coatings". You can certainly smooth out lumps etc, but it is not a high polish finish like decorative chrome. The basic prep is clean and sandblast.

FR Millmore

I got the headers ceramic coated on my Healey inside and out with good results from Jet Hot Coatings at a cost of about $259. Not sure but this should be a little more than the cost of a MGA four cylinder as the Healey has six cylinders and two separate cast iron headers. Have a good day!

John Progess

Just had a quote from a local Sydney ceramic coating shop, AU$180. Worth it just to see if it does make a difference.

Mark...would appreciate advice on the spec for the coating, is it inside and out.....and who does it?
Neil Ferguson


have a look at - I had my twinc exhaust manifolds and down pipe done a few years ago - looks great, works well - the floor doesn't get as hot now (when it's running :-( !!)

A Buick

Andrew..thanks for advice . I had seen this company on a general search before your info...and have now asked them for a quote, what spec they recommend,is it inside/outside,surface prep required,advantages etc.....
Their site claims big temp diffs local to manifold.
Do think that if it can appreciably get the under bonnet temp down near the carbs then it should improve their am curious.
Neil Ferguson

For us in UK, there was an article in this month's (September?!) Practical Classics about ceramic coating. Quote for MGB manifolds complete is shown at 131 (GBP)
Graham M V

Hi all
I had my extractor setup on a Magnette done by Performance Coatings of Guilford in Sydney. They beadblast inside and out and coated for about $200. Mine is a road car and we did the same for a Magnette racecar. No evidence of higher cylinder head temperatures but it sure keeps heat out of the engine bay. FAr better in my opinion than wrapping the headers with heat tape. I believe that can promote deterioration of the base metal.

Cheers Brian
Brian Woolmer

This thread was discussed between 17/08/2010 and 26/08/2010

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