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Stainless Steel vs. Mild Steel

A very popular question concerning the use of Stainless steel over Mild steel in a Competition Header application constantly arises in the industry. Stainless Steel is a better choice when Header lifespan, updates, and quality are an important consideration. A Stainless Steel Competition Header, when properly built, will virtually last you a lifetime.

A Mild Steel Header in a Competition application will soon take its toll from the elements of high exhaust temperature and rust. Performance Welding has tried many Exhaust Coating manufacturers and have found none that will withstand the extreme temperature of a competition engine. On the inside of the primary tubes and at the throat of the Merged Collector, the thermal barrier coating simply cannot withstand the high temperature and after a very short period, the coating burns off and rust begins to generate.
This rust can be disastrous to any engine and can ruin many components.

On initial overlap, there is an inevitable reversion pulse that can send exhaust back up the intake tract. If the rust loosens in the header primary tube it can, and sometimes, will carry some of this abrasive material into your cylinder.

It is highly advisable after leaving Mild Steel Competition Headers over a period of time to take any precautions to remove the rust build up; on initial engine start up this rust can be disastrous.

Stainless Steel Headers have many benefits outweighing the initial cost increase. Due to the fact that they do not need a Thermal Barrier coating you save a few hundred dollars on the initial cost. Stainless Steel Headers can be repaired, or modified at any time in their lifespan due to the simple fact that they do not rust and do not need a Thermal coating. Mild Steel Headers are very tough to repair or modify due to Thermal Coatings and rust.

It is believed that due to Stainless Steel Thermal characteristics, the high exhaust temperature is retained inside the primary tubes and can increase the exhaust speed in the header, which in a Competition Racing Header sometimes is an important goal. Due to the simple fact that there is no rust generated, the inside of each primary tube will stay smooth and flow accordingly.

Performance Welding Racing Headers feel strongly about the use of Stainless Steel in your Competition Header application. If you have a Race vehicle that you truly wish your Competition header to last a lifetime, or if we have a proven Competition Header for your engines combination, or you simply like the benefits of Stainless Steel we highly recommend it in any Competition Header application.

- Mark Lelchook / Owner

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