How to Insulate Your Exhaust System
Cooking camp breakfast on your rig scores big cool-factor points. We all love our manifold burritos, but too much heat is a bad thing. How many of us have modified our rigs and later realized that we created a different problem someplace else? In our case, we knew the route of the exhaust and the placement of the crossover Flowmaster muffler were going to generate a lot of heat on our '71 Bronco. When we installed the full belly skidplates and the interior panels above the exhaust we wound up with a convection oven; things got too hot too fast.
Different heat sources need different remedies. Exhaust tubing can be wrapped to keep heat in. Starters and other components can be wrapped to keep heat out. Thermal barriers with an air gap can be placed next to a heat source to deflect heat from sensitive areas, while still allowing the heat to dissipate.
We contacted Heatshield Products of Valley Center, California, for the lowdown on staying cool and keeping runaway temperatures under control. We used an assortment of its products and put them everywhere we thought they would make a difference.
The items we selected on our test rig really made a difference. We were able to reduce cabin heat from extreme hell down to nearly pleasant. With our Raytech heat gun we measured everything and found that even the area over the muffler was cut from well over 500 degrees F to 102 degrees F. We lowered our floorboard temps by over 100 degrees F. The area under the seats went from 150 to 100 degrees F. Numbers are great, but the real payoff came when we got back on the trail and didn't melt the fat off our ham hocks. Applications for this space-age technology are unlimited, and we turned our rig into a cool fool.