Controlling the Heat: HeatShield Products

by Frank Ewald

In the last article on the NX GTi-R there should have been no doubt in anyone's mind that the temperatures in the engine bay and the engine itself were bordering on the extreme. Temperatures that were under control in 30 minute track day sessions were now spiralling upwards. The larger turbo, the tighter clearances when the engine was built with forged parts, and the loss of the mystical factory manifold heat shield when I transported the NX across the country have all conspired against me. Of course, that I decided to participate in a hill climb event meant that the car was working far harder than it ever had to before. Literally, that 2 minutes and 8 or 15 second run up the mountain created more heat than a 15 minute track session. That meant that it was time to take some significant action. There are essentially two components that must be looked at. One is to control the stuff that gets really hot while the second is to make sure that the cooling system is optimized and cools everything the way it is supposed to do.

To this end we looked to two companies, HeatShield Products and Koyorad, to assist with our heat management plan. Koyorad is a very well known radiator company that build incredible aluminum racing rads. This new rad is a key part of optimizing the cooling system. HeatShield Products is key in ensuring that the hot stuff is contained. The focus here will be the installation of the HeatShield Products.

The trademarked BioCool insulation is made from vitreous silicate and is also known as quartz glass. This material has an incredibly high tolerance for heat so is ideal to be used in the Header Armor (1/2" thick) and HeatShield Armor (1/4" thick). With a continuous temperature rating of 1800°F and intermittant to 2200°F it should be more than capable of handling the SR20DET's heat. This family owned, American company has also produced a material that, on MDS sheets, is listed as NOT being harmful to the environment and NOT containing anything carcinogenic. Both very important factors. HeatShield Products has been producing thermal barrier products for over 30 years for automotive, heavy equipment, industry as well as for marine, home do-it-yourself projects, and the military.

With this heat management project in mind, at the last track outing of 2017 a number of temperatures were recorded. While there are going to be some scientific inaccuracies due to the fact that the ambient temperatures and conditions last October are not going to be identical to the spring 2018 conditions, it should still be enough to demonstrate the effectiveness of the products utilized - and my capabilities as the installer. Please allow some leniency with the science - and remember that a significant amount of this work is being done in my home garage. The resources and unrestrained budgets of the MotoIQ shop simply do not apply here. *Author's note: MotoIQ does not have unlimited budgets, but I'd still like access to their shop.

For consistency and results that can easily be duplicated, I used a Mastercraft Digital Temperature reader. I found it rather curious that in Canada this device is referred to as a 'reader' while searching online stores in the U.S.A., it is referred to as a gun. Regardless, this is something that you can easily pick up. In Canada it is found at Canadian Tire - a popular fixture in most Canadian towns. Similar devices are readily available on Amazon.

Safety Glasses, dust mask, and gloves are a requirement. Anytime you're working with insulation material it is only common sense to use protective gear. I was very pleased to read on the MDS sheets that these materials are NOT carcinogenic.

The HeatShield Products arrived neatly packaged and my first reaction was that the material was substantial. Like most of you, I have experimented with some products already and, probably because I did not have the correct product, the success of my experimentation was questionable. The first thing that you notice on the instructions is that gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask are required. Having installed a reasonable amount of home insulation over the past few decades I did not require any further prompting for using this equipment. My dislike for insulation is intense. Yes, it is very necessary. Still, home insulation is miserable to work with. I was quite pleasantly surprised that the HeatShield Products gave me virtually none of the irritation that home insulation does.

First up you need to make a template. Initially I used newspaper because it is so flexible. If you have the engine out, then it would be absolutely logical to apply the heat wrap to the various parts on your work bench. I chose to install everything while bolted into the car simply because for the first winter in a long time everything could remain in place.
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Friday, May 18, 2018 9:26 AM
Frank - very nice writeup. Will be interested to see how your "after" data stacks up against the fall trackday.
Friday, May 18, 2018 1:55 PM
also looking foward to results!
Friday, May 18, 2018 11:15 PM
Any idea about the total cost ?
Sunday, May 20, 2018 5:24 PM
Looking forward to the after data. Cost estimates would be nice too.
Monday, May 21, 2018 6:24 AM
Also, just a thought, the charge pipes may benefit from a coating which increases their emissivity, as well as heat shielding to prevent radiant heat absorption from heat sources in the engine bay (rad/coolers/manifold). Not saying the applied shielding won't help, because it probably will, but just wondering if them being wrapped will instead keep heat in the pipes? I wish I still had my copy of Turbo magazine when Mike did all of the testing on coatings for the SR20 in the red sentra. I wore that thing out!
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 5:44 AM
Thanks for the comments! Like everything else with the NX GTi-R, there were some other changes that I'll be reporting about before the 'after' data. But that is coming soon. I just got back from the mountain and I was pleased with how I controlled the heat. As I'm in Canada the costs will be different but let me see about that.

Interesting point about keeping the heat in, stylngle. I'll have to keep an eye on that.
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