Thursday, May 5, 2016

Manifold Madness

In the previous post, I knocked a few small jobs off the list and was all set to get the engine back in the car, but then noticed that the LCB exhaust manifold I bought for this project (here), was starting to look a little tatty already. Although it was only a cheapish mild steel budget item, I still want it to look its best and last as long as possible. Well long enough at least until I can afford to replace it with a stainless steel one! So I decided to paint it.


Now, being clever and all that, I know that the manifold gets rather hot on account of all that fire that's happening in the engine! So if I'm going to paint it, I'm going to need a paint that can cope with the heat. The problem is though, I'm not too sure how hot it gets. I tried to research the subject, but there was precious little on the internet that gave any hints on the subject, so I'm winging it again with guess work and hoping for the best!

Now when it comes to high temperature paints, there are some that are specifically designed for the job, but after reading the reviews about them, many people voiced disappointment that they often don't last that long. Obviously I don't want to spend my money on disappointment!!

So I decided to do a little experimentation on some paint that I had left over in the shed that I thought might just do the job. That way, if there was disappointment, at least I haven't payed for it! It's a zinc galvanising spray that's good for temperatures upto  250 degrees Celsius.



But before any painting can commence, the old paint needs to be stripped off and everything cleaned and degreased. Rather than do the whole lot at once though, I decided to concentrate on just the centre branch for the experimenting. After attacking the pipe with a wirebrush on a drill and then cleaning it up with carb cleaner, it looked mighty fine...



Unfortunately, as there's no chance it will stay this nice and shiny for more that a few days before Mr Rust takes over, I got it painted as soon as possible. After applying three to four coats with a day in-between drying time, it was left for a further week to fully cure before I hit it with the heat!



Now the fun begins as it's time to get cooking!! I started with the kitchen hob...


I left it toasting there for a good 5 minutes and apart from filling the kitchen with a less that delicious aroma of chemicals, the results were very impressive. There was a slight browning on the surface, but no flaking or burning.


After a few comments from the more sensible members of the household, I decided to move outside for the rest of the testing. Well nearly outside as it was windy and cold, neither of which I like so just outside the back door was as far as I wanted to go!!



Using my blow torch, I directed the flames inside the pipe to simulate the exhaust gasses passing through. I messed about for 10 minutes or so to try to get it as hot as possible. I would have gone on for longer, but I got busted for using the oven gloves!! After a few choice words from my better half, I decided 10 minutes was good enough!

So after the 10 minutes of extra cooking, again the results was very impressive...



The next few days was spent wire-brushing and painting the other parts of the manifold to bring them upto the same standard as the centre branch.

From this..


To this...

and this...

to this...


Many hours of work later, it all looks like this and is ready for installation...



Wow, that was a ton of work, but was it worth it? Well at this point in time, I'm not really sure. What I can say is that it was a very enjoyable little side project, so from that point of view, it was time well spent. Either way, it's caused no harm to anything and will hopefully make the manifold last a bit longer and look slightly better in the process.

Anyway, enough faffing about, it really is time to get the engine back in...


**UPDATE*************************************
* To see how the paint fared one the engine was running
* Follow this link here ...
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