Ceramic Coating: Real or Rip-Off? (By Jim Tucker)
Published on March 15, 2010 in Guest Columns, News & Updates, Snowmobile Tech
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Ceramic Coating on a Snowmobile Pipe. Are the performance gains real or a rip-off?

It’s 20 below zero, you are blasting down the trail with your sled and something does not seem quite right. The engine doesn’t seem to have the zip that it should. What could be wrong? You lift the hood and notice the heat shield fell off the exhaust pipe. Why would that cause a lack of performance? Doesn’t a heat shield just protect the hood and adjacent parts from burning???

For the answer to these questions, and others, we need to look at how the two-stroke engine is designed. First, engineers spec out the horsepower (HP) and torque curve based on present metallurgy, known two-stroke formulas, and the platform the engine is to reside in, be it performance, trail or touring.

They send these parameters to the wizards at R&D where a prototype engine is manufactured and tested using a dyno under controlled environmental conditions. Ideally the prototype is tested under room temperature, moderate humidity, and whatever barometric pressure they select.

After several dyno pulls the technicians know that this engine, for the sake of argument, will deliver a maximum of 120 HP at 8000 rpm. During these dyno runs pressure waves of exhaust enter the pipe. The waves travel outward towards the exhaust outlet and then reflect inward, back towards the engine, depending on where the piston is in its travel. Pipe designs uses these waves to pull the maximum spent gas out of the engine while at the same time delivering optimal HP.

Using the laws of physics we know that temperature affects pressure, so if the temperature of these exhaust gases are not in the optimal range then the pressure waves are going to be somewhat out of sync and the engine will not make it’s true 120 HP. If the outside temperature of the pipe is cold it will lower the exhaust gas temperature and therefore disrupt the pressure waves, making the engine seem sluggish.

Engine builders add pipe wrap to most modern pipes to keep the heat in the pipe and solve the problems previously described. But, what if there was a way to keep the heat in without using the heat wrap and make the engine run at it’s 120 + HP peak all the time?

Ceramic coated snowmobile exhaust pipe

Well your dreams have been answered. Ceramic coating is the way to go. Due to the ceramic coating’s thermal properties it naturally keeps the heat in the pipe and will simulate actual lab type temperatures and results. Most sleds having their pipe plated will usually see a gain of about 2-3 hp right off the bat and it looks good too!

How many times have you or your buddies opened up the hood on a sled and noticed rusty pipes! Not good. One has to think that resale value will be increased as well if they are shiny and new looking. The plating can come in different colors like white, black or chrome and usually costs around $100 – $200.

I had one of my older Cat’s exhaust plated with ceramic and immediately noticed a difference. Not only was under hood temperature reduced but the sled just seemed to come alive; it ran great no matter the temp and looked good on top of it all.

Don’t kid yourself, you cannot buy this stuff in a can and spray it on. You must leave this procedure to the experts. Do a Google search for companies that perform this kind of work and you will be very happy you did!

Happy trails


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