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Triumph TR3 - Paint the Exhaust System?

I have successfully cleared out the rear end by dropping the axle/differential, springs, shocks, exhaust, etc. Now it's time to clear out the grease, grime and rust as much as possible.

The latest scope creep comes from the exhaust system. Having removing the muffler and resonator as a single unit, I'm now going to clean off the grease and rust. Before I go completely overboard and paint the pipes and parts in high-temp paint, I'm wondering how those of you with stainless steel exhaust systems are loving them years later. Of those who have painted their exhaust systems, what did you use, and how has the paint held up over time? I have my eye on the POR-20 high temp paint. Tips are always welcome.

The fun just doesn't quit, does it?


Bill Stagg
1960 TR3A
Bill Stagg

I used to get about 7,000 miles to my muffler and resonator when they were made of mild steel. Looking at the rest of the TR at that time, painting this was not a consideration. When new, they came painted, but that never helped extend the life. If you clean them off, they may be so thin in places by now that sanding them before paining may surprise you.

Mufflers etc, rust out from the inside. If you drive short distances, the humidity collects inside and rusts inside while it is parked. The short trips prevent the humidity to get totally evaporated.

I sandblasted my exhaust manifold in 1987 and painted it with Hi Temp Silver (natural) paint I bought from Hirsch in NJ.

It's still on and looks original. POR also have a Manifold Grey.

In 1988, I bought a Falcon stainless steel system that consists of the pipe from the manifold to the muffler as well as the muffler and the resonator. It's been on since 1990 (more than 78,000 miles) with no problems. I paid 75.00 from Cox and Buckles (Now Moss UK) and had it shipped by air with all the other parts I bought totaling $3,600.00. I see them now in UK for 90.00. I think you can buy Falcon systems here in N.A.

The only thing wrong was that the "bend" between the muffler and the resonator was not correct. It was too straight. It put the back end over too close to the left rear frame member. I had to have the "bend" bent a bit more. It's been fine since.

Except when I go over a curb from a street with a high crown into a parking lot. I have scraped the bottom of the resonator several times like this. Also driving on and off ferries too. The finish on the rest of the resonator as well as the muffler is still that shiny stainless finish. I remember when it was new, I was docked concours points at TRA because it was not a mild steel original system.

The oil and grease you are cleaning off has blackened the finish and now it looks "original" - at least I don't think TRA have docked me any points on this for the last 10 years - or thay have changed their judging rules.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

Thanks for sharing, Don. The stainless sure sounds trouble free, but my exhaust "appears" to be working fine, but you never know. I think I'll hit it with a wire brush on the drill and give the POR hi temp paint a shot. I'm thinking the POR-20 heat resistant "brilliant aluminum" paint looks like a good bet, but you mentioned the "manifold gray." Did original systems come gray or more of the aluminum finish?

It's just exhausting work...

Bill Stagg

I think they came sprayed black, but in a week or two the paint was burned off and anyway, no-one looked under a TR in the old days. Only since we started to go to TRA.

Don Elliott

This thread was discussed on 10/02/2004

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