The look of a finely detailed engine is what separates the best from the rest when judges are poring over restored or custom vehicle. Those who have tackled the process of assembling finished fasteners know how maddening it can be to watch your perfect paint work chip off as you remove the torque wrench. Luckily, Davin is here to help with the latest Hagerty DIY video.
Davin rebuilds his fair share of engines for the Redline Rebuild series, not including his own personal projects. He’s tried just about every trick for keeping painted bolts from chipping while being installed—and has yet to find a method that really works. Which is why manifold dressing caught his eye one day. Manifold dressing is a spray-on coating that, once baked, has a tough finish that isn’t marred by tools during installation … or even the first or second removal.
“The cast-iron finish isn’t perfect for everything, but the protection from rust and other corrosion is nice to have,” says Davin, chatting about a few of the technique’s drawbacks. “In cases where I am not doing a perfect restoration, it really keeps things looking great for a long time.”
The key to Davin’s system is the Venom Miniductor induction heater. This allows him to heat the bolts to the 600 degrees Fahrenheit required to cure the coating without baking the bolts in his wife’s oven (we can’t not recommend that strongly enough). Typically, the manifold dressing cures with the first heat cycle of a running engine, but not all of these bolts are going in a place where they will be close to a heat source, so it makes sense to cure the dressing away from the engine to ensure an even and proper cure.
The finished product is a tidy and matching finish on all the fasteners—a very professional look, in our opinion. It also ensures the fasteners won’t be damaged during installation or future maintenance, which is a very nice benefit.
Do you have a technique to keep your finished bolts from chipping? Leave it in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to Hagerty’s YouTube channel to receive a notification with each video that goes live. Davin has more tips up his sleeve, so stay tuned to find out whether he addresses that one problem you’ve been having on your project.