Project Supra, Part 5: Thermal Coating, Wrapping, and Engine assembly.

Keeping Cool Under Pressure

 by Pablo Mazlumian

A notable tradeoff to turbocharged power is the potential for more heat in the engine bay, leading to less-than-optimal power and increased turbo lag.  Find out how we minimize these fun-killers.  Our cylinder head and built short block also come together, and we show off the variety of MKC-tuned boosted cars.

In Part 4 we shared our beefy turbo components, which included a decent-sized 67-mm Precision turbo with larger 1.15 divided housing, PowerHouse Racing's large-runner S45 exhaust manifold and Hypertune's big boy intake manifold.  With our 1-mm oversized, and ported and polished cylinder head, as well as the exhaust setup we'll be showcasing soon, the engine should flow copious amounts of air.  But this comes at a price, and the cost could be a significantly lazier turbo spool.

To combat the aforementioned lag, we've ordered our turbo in dual ball bearing form, hoping it will spool up quicker than its journal-bearing brother.  We also used lightweight engine components in both the cylinder head and block from Part 1 to help with overall engine response.

There is something else to consider, however.  With more power—especially from a turbocharged engine—comes more heat.  And more radiant heat from a turbocharger, manifold, downpipe and block not only hinders overall engine response—affecting torque—but also top-end power, due to the oxygen-scattered environment.  A known rule of thumb is roughly an "11F increase in intake air temperature equals a 1% decrease in horsepower."  With our application, this can be significant if not taken care of.

Containted heat is a good thing, since a turbo relies on heat to spin the hot-side turbine.  So, if we can contain more heat inside the exhaust manifold and turbine housing, we're rockin'.  Our objective today is to help reduce underhood temperatures as well as maintaining the heat inside the turbo components, and away from the intake stuff.  We do this with Swain Tech coatings and Cool-it products from Thermotec

Our PowerHouse Racing S45 exhaust manifold and Precision 6766 exhaust housing spent a couple of weeks at Swain Tech for its White Lightning thermal coating treatment.


Swain's White Lightning coating goes on .015-in thick—reportedly about 5 times thicker than the industry norm--and very evenly .  With the larger 1.5-mm S45 primaries on this PHR manifold we get more flow but at the cost of more lag.  The insulated heat should help keep exhaust velocity higher and counter this drawback with a little better turbo response. 

Whether turbocharged or normally aspirated, there are significant engine benefits with a Swain Tech coated manifold or header.  In turbocharged engines, it helps spool the turbo.  In a normally aspirated engine, the sustained velocity through the header improves exhaust scavenging, which also can increase power. 

The other way power is optimized in both applications is reducing the under-hood temperature.  Swain reports a coated exhaust header radiates between 35-55% less heat in the engine bay.  Obviously, many other parts in the engine radiate heat as well, so this claimed percentage range probably wouldn't be proportional to the drop in intake-air temp.  But even if it were half of the minimum 35%, we're talking a near-2% improvement, potentially, as well as extended life for nearly every rubber and plastic component under the hood. 

Our 1.15 divided Precision turbo housing got the Swain treatment as well to insulate the heat all the way through the turbine, helping turbo response.


Cool It is a product line created by Thermotec, that offers a plethora of heat wraps, shields and sleeves to maximize performance and prolong the life of rubber hoses.  We chose their header wrap (in 50ft rolls) with Hi Heat coating spray, T4 turbo cover, Cool Tube shielding for intercooler piping, some adhesive shielding, and heat sleeves for various hoses.



Page 1 of 7 Next Page
Bookmark and Share
Monday, April 01, 2013 11:29 PM
Given you're going to so much effort to reduce heating up the intake charge - had you considered making/buying some phenolic spacers for the inlet manifold?
Tuesday, April 02, 2013 12:19 AM
I was under the impression that it wasn't exactly a good idea to wrap something that is already coated. The reason escapes me at the moment but I think it may have had to do with the coating chipping? Does this only apply to a ceramic coat?

I believe I received this information from either the owner of the shop that tunes my car/built my engine, the guy who coated the header, or in the instructions for my Tomei header in which I believe it said something about wrapping it being a bad idea, possibly having something to do with a coating they come with from the factory.

I had it ceramic coated and appeared to be having an issue where extreme exhaust heat was leaking from the slip joint (its a EJ engine UEL header), and in turn started to melt part of my fan assembly. I decided to wrap that section of the header prior to going to a track event.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013 10:02 AM
@Seikenfreak-from what I remember is that with uncoated headers corrosion can become a problem if you wrap and the wrap absorbs moisture. There are sprays/coatings like the one used in this article that fight the corrosion.

With a coated header I wouldn't think this would be an issue.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013 12:56 PM
I may have to swing by there. I've driven by hundreds of times on my way to Union Station or Taqueria Mexico, but I've never stopped by there. I need a tune and more boost!
OMG Its Weasel
OMG Its Weasellink
Tuesday, April 02, 2013 2:20 PM
Finally, a turbo subaru with proper, efficient charge pipe routing that doesnt double back over itself.

lots of coatings going on here.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013 2:22 PM
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 11:55 AM

More about the goodness that is the white lightening coating. If you read abotu the material and how it is applied you can deduce that not only can you paint it but wrapping it is not going to hurt it either!
Pablo Mazlumian
Pablo Mazlumianlink
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 12:10 PM
Thanks for reading and passing along, gents! No phenolic spacers avail that I know of for the 2JZ, but if you know of any I'd look into it.
I've run Swain Tech before on a turbo E36 BMW M3 with 321 stainless Tri-Y custom manifold, and had it all not only coated but wrapped with zero problems. It was amazing to see how much cooler it was around the exhaust area. In fact I could fasten the smallest plastic zip tie to hold something down only 1/2in away from the piping, and the zip tie would not break.
The true test will be how the welds hold up on the PHR manifold. However, PHR assured me it wouldn't be a problem and that they actually have done this to several of their own 1000-plus HP supras already. So I'm very confident in what we've done here, and excited to showcase the temperatures with a pyrometer later.
I'm also very curious as to how the thermo paint will hold up under the turbo wrap. If it doesn't, no big deal--it's just cracked paint. If it does, however, then that's a big testament to the stuff. And that's what we're here for..to test as much as we feasibly can.
PS, I did another test for Swain years ago for another magazine, where I fried the tops of two Harley pistons with a 2500F flame. While the non-coated piston started to melt away, the coated one held together. It wasn't until 3x under the same flame that the underside of that piston starting to break down (but the coating still held together). This stuff is the real deal.
OMG Its Weasel
OMG Its Weasellink
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 1:49 PM
subenate: typical off the shelf FMIC kits usually run the charge piping like this:

those setups use about 2 feet of extra piping, and the hotside pipe crosses over the cold side at the throttle. The cold side pipe also ends up running above the turbo, heatsoaking it. compare that first image to the one in this article:
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 1:54 PM
Gotcha. I wasn't even thinking about the Subaru in the garage. :D

I thought you were calling the Supra a Subaru. Herp Derp.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 2:41 PM
Phenolic spacers aren't hard to make - I made a set a number of years ago (not a 2JZ). Bought a phenolic sheet and cut and filed them into shape. Would get rid of a lot of the thermal conducted heat from the head into the inlet manifold
Thursday, April 04, 2013 10:44 AM
How does the aluminum adhesive shielding perform compared to the gold reflective shielding? I was debating using the gold stuff for my charge/intake pipes but now I see the aluminized shielding as an option...
krish banoit
krish banoitlink
Friday, April 05, 2013 7:17 AM
Just as an FYI, that aluminum adhesive shielding is going to fall off the manifold after a few heat cycles. the adhesive and the reflective material separate, leaving a nasty discolored yellow tape behind and the reflective material free to flop around in the engine bay. was very disappointed.
Monday, April 08, 2013 7:00 PM
Good stuff Pablo! Can't wait to see it in action. I wonder if the Swain Tech would help the heat on my HPF M3? Especially in the KC summers. MKC has tuned my car to perfection...just need to keep it cool in the summertime!
Tarik Laaraj
Tarik Laarajlink
Monday, January 16, 2017 9:15 AM
PTP says yes we can wrap the turbo with Swain. Swain says no you cannot it will damage the coating. Another shop says no don't use the turbo blanket.

Post Comment Login or register to post a comment.

MotoIQ Proudly Presents Our Partners:

© 2018 MotoIQ.com