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Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. #5250822 10/26/19 07:50 PM
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joegreen Offline OP
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The heat shield between the exhaust manifold and the spark plug wires has rusted away on my truck. I am going to make new ones from either a sheet of aluminum or a sheet of galvanized steel I can pick up from tractor supply. The shielding is not in contact with the exhaust manifold so we are working with mostly radiant heat between the exhaust manifold and the heat shield. I like the idea of using the aluminum for its anti corrosion properties but i am concerned that the exhaust manifold might get too hot for the aluminum. Below are pictures of the heat shields i am going to make. As you can see the aftermarket shields are made from galvanized steel. Also the shielding is in very close proximity to the exhaust manifold and probably touching it in some places. This vehicle gets driven in the salt belt. What material would you use?

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


1978 Chevrolet k20
Engine: Delo 10w30xle
Transmission: Castrol transmax dex/merc

1984 Mercedes-Benz 300 turbo diesel
Engine: Delo 400 15w40le
Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5250833 10/26/19 08:06 PM
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Dinoburner Offline
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Thats one clean mouse motor. I`m thinking of trying stainless, thin gauge for the 327 I freshened up this past summer. Please post what you wind up with.


77 Chev stepside 454 Casteroil syn
95 GMC 4wd mobil syn
2016 Equinox LTZ V6 dealer
Kubota L5030 T6
Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5250856 10/26/19 08:45 PM
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joegreen Offline OP
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thats a picture i found online not my engine.


1978 Chevrolet k20
Engine: Delo 10w30xle
Transmission: Castrol transmax dex/merc

1984 Mercedes-Benz 300 turbo diesel
Engine: Delo 400 15w40le
Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5250874 10/26/19 09:22 PM
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GoldDot40 Offline
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For that location...I would absolutely use SS over aluminum. You're in track with the exhaust temps at that location being too much for aluminum...otherwise, companies would offer performance headers made of aluminum.


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Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5250968 10/27/19 04:21 AM
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berniedd Offline
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Steel. Just a thought, could you use 2 layers of the shield, one on top of the other? And just maybe insert a thin layer of exhaust manifold cladding material cut to size between the layers? For better heat protection for your plug wires.

Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5251022 10/27/19 06:47 AM
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edwardh1 Offline
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Had same problem on a 4 cyl camry- the 94 camry had the motor mount right next to the one exhaust pipe it failed (from the heat I think]. PUT A cambell big soup can around it part that faced the mount - with a few holes in it to allow some heat loss but it stopped very high temp. so steel is what I used. , warning - but was ugly , not like your motor- this at 150,000 miles droveit to 230,000 no issues.
toyota moved the motor mount in next year or so - toyota is good on tweaking stuff like that.
I would put some 1/2 inch holes in it to prevent xs heat , think 2 hours at 75 mph on interstate-
are heat shields stock on that car?

Last edited by edwardh1; 10/27/19 06:50 AM.

These products are all new every year?? They are a revolution!!! Razor blades, mens shirts, TVs, wiper blades, gutter guards, hearing aids... according to the ads. But also all new last year
Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5251177 10/27/19 10:10 AM
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Dave9 Offline
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Aluminum would be fine for a shield from a thermal perspective. It's not as though the shield is carrying the full thermal load of the exhaust like a header would, nowhere near that.

However, aluminum isn't quite anti-corrosive unless it is anodized, but often you find people using a significantly thicker sheet due to the light weight and to help reduce fatigue cracking. I mean that sitting in open air you will get a better result than bare steel but salt will eat it up too.

Stainless would be the better material to use, but if aftermarket shields exist, why go to the trouble? How many years did the originals last before rusting out?

Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5251190 10/27/19 10:17 AM
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JHZR2 Offline
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I don’t know how much time is involved, but I’d think that aluminum would be easier to work with then steel. The worst that could happen is that they warp or sag. Aluminum melts around 1200F, but since this is a shield and doesn’t have to hold anything or provide strength, I’d argue that it could probably exist at 600F okay.

Heating galvanized can be toxic, but I doubt it’s an issue underhood, unless offgas makes it into the hvac.

Depending upon what conditions (salt, rain, etc) this will see, the material may be less important. Steel may be fine given proximity to some significant heat sources.

Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5251221 10/27/19 10:51 AM
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maxdustington Offline
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Stainless or paint the galvanized with ceramic spray paint.

You could also make it out of aluminium and anodize it yourself if you wanted to, from what I understand the process is very similar to electrolysis for steel. You could probably just use aluminium household flashing, I don't think it needs to be that thick.


99 Toyota Tercel CE 5EFE/C151
Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5252271 10/28/19 04:17 PM
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red7404 Offline
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dont forget DONT use cad plated bolts, but DO use anti-size compound on threads. and tighten bolts to 70-80% of full torque at first then take them on down after 4-6 full heat cycles.

Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5312203 01/03/20 12:53 PM
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joegreen Offline OP
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I finally got around to making some heat shields. I bought a sheet of galvanized steel from home depot. I flattened the old heat shield and traced it onto the new steel. I then used a variety of tools to bend the new metal into the proper form. They came out great and cost under $6. Here are some pictures of the old rusted one I flattened out to make a template and the made parts.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


1978 Chevrolet k20
Engine: Delo 10w30xle
Transmission: Castrol transmax dex/merc

1984 Mercedes-Benz 300 turbo diesel
Engine: Delo 400 15w40le
Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5312230 01/03/20 01:30 PM
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MadAmos Offline
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Nice job, my vote goes to galvanized aluminum is more prone to cracking in my experience.


2000 Ford F250 7.3
1999 Miata
2014 Cadillac ELR
2017 Cruze RS Hatchback 6MT
Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5312371 01/03/20 04:06 PM
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ron350 Offline
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Joegreen nice fabrication and nice pictures

Sometimes you can find those new on ebay.


ron350
Re: Aluminum vs Steel to make exhaust heat shield. [Re: joegreen] #5313714 01/05/20 08:10 AM
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Toys4Life_C5 Offline
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Very nice sheet metal Fab Sir! Based upon all that rust on the frame, I would say you have the salt situation just as bad or even worse than here in MN....

Last edited by Toys4Life_C5; 01/05/20 08:11 AM.
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