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Ceramic Coating

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Does anyone have any experience with ceramic coating. I know that its pretty common with pistons. It seems that you can do it to the exhaust ports and combustion chamber also. Don't really hear about it being used with L series builds. Whats everyone's view? I figured it would at least help longevity of the parts.

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I had my turbo manifold coated by swain tech. I know swain won't internal coat turbo manifolds out of concern that it could flake off and strike the turbine. Makes sense to me since manifolds grow and wiggle around when they get hot and ceramic isn't exactly known for being the flexible guy in the room.

 

HotRod ran an article years back on TBC coatings. They coated everything, intake/exhaust runners, valves, pistons. They used a V8 in the 400+/- cube range. I want to say all in all they eeked out another 15 horse or so. With just the TBC stuff as the change. Kinda costly considering just my manifold was $200 to coat. Adds up quick on piece parts for a few more hp.

 

I know TBCs show up in jet turbine hot sections at times particularly the blades and stators. Usually only see it when you are trying to push the EGTs a bit higher to eek out some more performance margin for an application. 

 

I think the reason you don't see it in L-builds is, well, look at the typical level of build most guys putting L's together are going for. That, and not too many guys with all out builds like the 300hp NA race builds that get torn down every 20hrs, that JohnC would often speak of, don't generally post on forums. (Those guys are usually busy making stuff happen and getting things done.) Those builds probably have some TBC in them if the rulebook doesn't out right ban it. 

 

I think it is definitely something worth doing in certain applications but I don't think it is in the budget for most builds. (Or on most peoples minds honestly) Most people think about cranks, pistons, cams and port work. I don't think coatings get thought about for most build sheets with a budget. 

 

If I was running a competitive late model in a tight class I would spend the extra grand or two to put it in the winners circle if a couple horse was the deciding factor. (I think that is rarely the case to be honest)

 

WPC Treatment is something definitely worth looking into as shown by MotoIQ. I am heavily leaning towards doing WPC for the motor I need to build for my car. I'm not so sure I am leaning towards much TBC stuff considering I will be well away from the threshold where I am chasing every last bit to get in front of someone.

Not really the purpose of my own build at the end of the day. I am probably going to TBC the exhaust manifold and the downpipe. Send the heat to the turbo and out the tail pipe. No reason to cook the engine bay ancillaries anymore than the other hot stuff does.

 

WPC is some cool stuff, especially if you are looking for longevity.

https://motoiq.com/wpc-treatmemt-saved-our-engine/

 

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Thanks for the info, its just seems that these builds are getting more expensive. I remember getting a quote for a Rebello stroker for around 7k, now similar builds are over 10k. I am slowly piecing together my build but longetivity is a big factor, so no boost or crazy compression. I will be running forged internals, but I am thinking about coatings for the crank and at the minimum getting the pistons ceramic coated. While doing research I came up with info on coating different parts of the head which I was unaware of.

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You may want to reach out to Austin of Hoke Performance as if I recall had coated many parts of his L28et before he had the damage occur with that engine and finally went VQ instead. Not implying that the coating had anything to do with it, but as I recall that was how that all unfolded in sequence.

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@@jpndave has also done some research and coated his own parts on a different LSx build he did for his JKU. He might chime in with some good info and personal experience.  I've read a bit about it and TBCs definitely can help make power and increase longevity if your budget and goals are inline.

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If you are talking about internal engine coatings, like for piston tops, I have no first hand experience but I did a lot of research about them for an engine build a couple years back.  For a while, pretty much all "high end" engine builds used them but more recently many builders have stopped using them.

 

The issue is the benefit gained by these coatings vs the risk of some of the material flaking off and damaging or destroying the engine.  Many builders regard the benefits as minimal, and the risks significant, and thus do not use them.  After everything I read and what I was told, I too decided not to use any internal coatings.  I don't remember for sure, but I think the pivotal opinion for me was from one of the engineers at one of the major piston manufacturers.  I had a long talk with him, and he was of the opinion that these coatings were just a marketing gimmick, that "no" high end racing engine builders use them, and that these coatings can and do come off and cause engine damage.

 

Just one man's opinion, but he convinced me that the risks far outweighed the benefits.

 

If you are interested in external coatings, for headers, turbos, etc....I had my header SwainTech coated about 12 years ago.  Hard to quantify how well it ever worked, but I can say in that period of time that a whole lot of it has flaked off.

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I've been using ceramic coatings for years now with no such issues.  Even if there had been, I'm kinda curious how people think that some "flaked off" bits of ceramic coatings would destroy anything.  I used Dart coatings on the combustion chambers, pistons, valves and intake and exhaust ports...

 

Piston1.jpg

n42chamber3.jpg

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11 hours ago, TimZ said:

I've been using ceramic coatings for years now with no such issues.  Even if there had been, I'm kinda curious how people think that some "flaked off" bits of ceramic coatings would destroy anything.  I used Dart coatings on the combustion chambers, pistons, valves and intake and exhaust ports...

 

Piston1.jpg

n42chamber3.jpg

 

 

Ceramics are generally glass hard....I can definitely see how pieces of the coating breaking loose in the engine would cause damage....  Scoring the cylinder walls if nothing else.

 

There is also the issue of confirming/quantifying any benefit these coatings provide.  Again, I have no first hand experience.  I imagine this will be one of those issues where there are believers and non-believers.  Sort of like oil choice....

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@TimZ have you looked at the part's since you installed them? 

 

We used ceramic coating on development engine i worked on, the coatings we used were significantly thicker(0.5-1mm) and chipped off. This engine was subject to high firing pressure loads (yes, higher than yours Tim) and higher temperatures so there was more thermal growth on the substrate(piston) which essentially caused the cracking. 

 

I do think that a chipped coating could get trapped by the ring and score the bore or  get trapped by the valve and mess up the seal. But i don't think these failure modes are going to cause a huge detriment to performance. 

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But again...where is the evidence/documentation that these coatings offer significant benefit?  I follow engine building very closely, and I have never seen such evidence, although that doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't exist.

 

We car people tend to chase fads and jump on the bandwagon of all the latest things that come out, and much of it IMHO is little more than clever marketing.  I remember 15 or 20 years ago, it was "cryo treating".  No one would install a crank or connecting rod or other critical component on their pet engine unless it had first been soaked in liquid nitrogen...."cryo treating" was supposed to relieve stress in the part or re-align the molecules or some other such crap.  I remember when someone's engine threw a rod or something...all the pundits would ask "did you cryo treat it before assembly?" 

 

I don't think anyone even does that anymore....or if they do....I haven't heard about it.

Edited by Ironhead

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I did tech line cbx ceramic coatings for my engine. Piston tops and combustion, including valves for heat resistant and insulating surface. It´s very thin, you can see piston markings through it.

So, if its cracking pieces will be very thin and small. Also i think that mostly problems are occured when surface is not treated properly. It need quite rough surface to bite in.

Also did some kind of ceramic lubrication for piston skirts and camshafts.

My motor is, of course turbocharged (SR20) and here is big gains archived especially turbomotors. Not so sure advantages on NA engines.

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@Ironhead, I agree that the proof is in the pudding.

 

However, have you ever heard of an engine actually being damaged by a correctly prepped and applied high quality ceramic coating flaking off? I haven't. 

 

And @TimZ hasn't grumbled about losing an engine due to coatings.

 

I'm a firm believer in the external coatings. They work wonders on cars like MR2turbos where heat is an even bigger challenge than usual. 

 

And I think the whole poohpoohing of internal coatings by some established engine builders can be compared to carb guys' saying they've never had a problem before, all the while being blind to huge benefits of EFI. 

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On 10/23/2018 at 12:42 PM, theczechone said:

@TimZ have you looked at the part's since you installed them? 

 

We used ceramic coating on development engine i worked on, the coatings we used were significantly thicker(0.5-1mm) and chipped off. This engine was subject to high firing pressure loads (yes, higher than yours Tim) and higher temperatures so there was more thermal growth on the substrate(piston) which essentially caused the cracking. 

 

I do think that a chipped coating could get trapped by the ring and score the bore or  get trapped by the valve and mess up the seal. But i don't think these failure modes are going to cause a huge detriment to performance. 

Yes I have ended up pulling the head periodically and have _never_ seen an issue with the coatings.  I think 0.5-1mm thick coatings would be a whole different issue (and not a good idea for this application), and none of the mainstream coating suppliers do that to my knowledge. 

Not sure on the higher temperatures comment -when I was running the Elgin cam and prior to switching to E85 I was seeing EGTs in excess of 1850 degF - still no issues with the coatings, but I did end up dropping an exhaust valve seat.  Even this did not cause flaking on the coatings, but they had to be re-done after the resulting head work.  I did follow up with Ferrea "super alloy" valves rated for higher temps and more extensive coatings, as shown in the pics.

Edited by TimZ

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I did cam, valves and cylinder heads myself using Tech Line. I didn't go into the bottom end at that time. The build thread on my Jeep shows some of that. The engine has since been disassembled and the results are somewhat mixed IMO. I'll see if I can get some photos of the parts now. Cam was definitely better with the coating. I'm skeptical that the intake, combustion chamber and valve coatings did much of anything. The cam showed NO wear at all. However, with roller lifters and high quality bearings, not sure it makes much of a difference in the end. Money probably better spent somewhere else.

 

I'm not sure if I will do that on the new engine, not sure it's worth the effort and cost from what I saw on the previous engine. I didn't see any damage, flaking or anything similar on that engine. I just don't know if it's worth the cost and trouble for that application.

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