1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ Brute - Project Teal-BrutePosted in Project Vehicles on June 1, 2008
Managing heat is one of those subjects that people tend to overlook until they are out on the trail sweating bullets and wondering if a part of their rig is going to burn up, blow off, or break down-and once faced with this situation, attempting to control excessive thermal energy is a lost cause. The fault in this scenario typically boils down to a lack of preparation, motivation, or anticipation.
With our long-standing Teal Brute project, our oversight was the latter. We never thought to address the matter of excess heat created by the 5.7L Hemi V-8 we swapped in ... that is, until we had to deal with 120-plus-degree weather in Southern California's Death Valley one unforgettable summer afternoon. Somewhere between the lack of A/C (not working at the time) and the fact that ambient underhood air temperatures were capable of popping corn, we realized that we needed to address a few issues related to engine cooling, exhaust shielding, and thermal evacuation. The extreme heat generated by our V-8 was radiating into everything from floorboards to frame-rails, and as a result, the whole rig was fast becoming a furnace for occupants. It wasn't just a matter of discomfort, either; the high temps were actually damaging wires, burning the underside of our carpet kit and cooking the newly installed Rhino Lining. Yes, Teal Brute was in a state of meltdown. So we got to looking at what could be done to help dissipate our carbeque. We discovered a whole assortment of products designed specifically to prevent these troubles and we decided to take action. Follow along now as we resolve Teal's front burner issue-once and for all.
When addressing heat-related problems, an infrared laser thermometer like the one shown here is a very handy tool. We found this little unit at a local hardware store for under $40. Notice our Hemi engine is lacking a fan shroud? We planned to have a custom shroud built to fit our application. However, upon further investigation we've decided to swap out the beltdriven fan in favor of an electric fan with a built-in shroud. With electric fans you gain extra horsepower and mileage thanks to less engine load. We'll cover that in a future segment, but for now just keep in mind that a fan shroud is vital to proper engine cooling.
Parts You Need
One of the most trusted names in heat-barrier technology is Cool It Thermo-Tec. The company has addressed the hot topic with innovative products and cutting-edge technology for more than 20 years now. Race-proven and nationally available at speed shops everywhere, Thermo-Tec offers multiple solutions for every aspect of a vehicle. We had the company send us a whole assortment of products to test out on Teal Brute. Starting at the top, we tested:
(A) Heat Sleeves
A silicone-coated fiberglass fire sleeving designed to protect wires, cables, and hoses from continuous 500 degrees F and short-term exposure to 2,200 degrees. We used this product to protect Teal's starter wire from exhaust heat.
(B) Exhaust Insulating Wrap (Graphite Black)
Wrapping exhaust with this coated fiberglass insulation helps keep heat inside the system. The hotter exhaust gases exit the system faster thanks to decreased density. The results are increased exhaust scavenging along with lower under-car temperatures. Exhaust Insulating Wrap withstands continuous heat up to 2,000 degrees F, and contains no asbestos. The proprietary Thermal Conduction Technology (TCT) that Cool It Thermo-Tec developed helps conduct heat evenly across the wrap's surface. DC Customs wrapped every inch of Teal's exhaust system from the manifold collectors to the muffler. A significant decrease in heat was noticed immediately following the installation.
(C) Clamp-On Heat Shield
This flexible clamp-on pipe heat shield blocks over 95 percent of the damaging radiant heat of the exhaust. The high-tech composite construction of this heat shield provides the ultimate in protection. We installed this around our Magnaflow high-flowing Universal Spun Catalytic Converter to insulate it from the floor of the Jeep. We also installed it on the driver-side exhaust downpipe to protect the starter and fuel lines from high heat. The kits come complete with all clamps and stainless steel stand-offs. Available in 1-, 2-, and 3-foot lengths, these heat shields also incorporate Thermo-Tec's proprietary coating technology.
(D) Muffler/Cat Heat Shield
We used this product as a muffler heat shield for our Magnaflow muffler. It is made up of woven silica with a flexible Mylar finish. This highly-reflective heat shield can be installed around the catalytic converter, muffler, or any other component to reflect radiant heat away from the undercarriage of the vehicle. The kit includes all necessary fasteners.
(E) Starter Heat Shield
Everybody knows heat destroys the windings of the starter and solenoid. To combat this problem, Thermo-Tec created a non-conductive strap-on heat shield with a highly reflective mylar surface. This shield reflects over 90 percent of radiant heat, adding life to the starter and assuring reliable starts. The universal kit we installed is designed to fit all starters.