In the world of automotive exhaust, there are two primary materials used – cast iron and stainless steel. Both cast iron and stainless steel are used in manufacturing exhaust manifolds, although most automakers opt for iron. However, these materials are not created equal.
Stainless Steel 304 Exhaust Header
Cast Iron Exhaust Manifold
Cast Iron： Rusty & Breakable Exhaust Manifold
Cast iron is relatively strong, and it’s affordable, which is why so many vehicles are manufactured with this material for the exhaust manifold. It’s able to withstand high temperatures, as well. However, iron has some major flaws that can create costly headaches for vehicle owners. First, iron rusts – no matter how well maintained your engine, that manifold will eventually rust and corrode, eventually needing replacement. Second, cast iron becomes brittle and subject to cracking, leaving you with a major exhaust leak.
Stainless steel is the standard for an incredible range of industries, including the medical and aerospace sectors. This is due to the material’s ability to withstand high temperatures, but also to resist corrosion. It also resists cracking under stress. Finally, it’s considerably lighter than cast iron, while providing significantly greater strength.
AtDK, we design and manufacture exhaust components from 304 stainless steel to ensure we deliver the highest quality, longest lasting exhaust components on the market.