Are the stock headers stainless steel as I want to polish them up

nope - they'll rust if you decide to remove the factory paint.

Are you talking about the 650R? I could have sworn that I read somewhere in an article that the new 650 had stainless headers....I'll try and find the magazine later today.

I, too, think the black paint looks like hell. Can't figure out why Honda didn't just make the 650 like the 250 and 400's exhaust. I'm not about to get an aftermarket header either (absolute waste of money).

I checked,the very begining of the header inlet(at the head)is stainless(or some other non magnetic material)as the pipe reduces in size it becomes regular old steel......Go figure that one out.....

Speaking from experience they seem to be stainless on all of them. I have cleaned and repainted the stock headers on an '86 XR250R and a '95 XR600R. The only part that had any rust was at the outside welds on the XR6. That baked on mud is a job to get off tho. I will have to try a magnet, they sure stay rust free if they are plain steel.

[ May 14, 2002: Message edited by: 10SE_Michael ]

Oooops,I might have been wrong as there are a number of different grades of SS....What they may have done was use two different grades when constructing the header(some are better suited to higher temps than others)...My opinion was based on the highly sophiscated "Stick a magnet on it"test..Any metallurgists out there?Oh yea according to Red Thunder's link they are SS...

[ May 14, 2002: Message edited by: TT650R ]

Thanks for the replies

I tried the magnet test but as you say some ss sticks some don't.

I want to keep the stock headers for the low down torque.

My comment was in regard to the 600, I don't know about the 650R. I had mistakenly thought with the new format that the 600 & 650R were now separate forums - my bad.

I sent an email to SRC with a few questions about the 650, one of which was about the headers. In their reply, they stated that if you strip the paint off the headers, they will rust. I've never heard of stainless rusting, so maybe those specs that I've seen were mistaken?

Originally posted by RedThunder:

... I've never heard of stainless rusting, so maybe those specs that I've seen were mistaken?

Contrary to popular belief, "Stainless Steel" is not stainless and it definitely does rust/corrode. It just rusts/corrodes more slowly than other types of metals, but tropical climates will get to it in just a few years. Stainless steel contains a minimum of about 12% chrome along with varying quantities of nickel, molybdenum, titanium and carbon, but its corrosion resistance is due to the presence of a thin durable invisible film of self repairing chromium oxide. Should this film be damaged or removed while without oxygen being present, then it will corrode. Oxygen needs to be present for the reaction to occur with the chromium in the steel so it can self repair by producing the chromium oxide protective film that drastically slows down oxidation. If stainless steel is exposed to water (salt or fresh water) without the presence of air, then this protective film will not form and the metal will corrode. Salt water simply accelerates this process.

There's also various grades of stainless steel such as:

Grade 410 is commonly used for fasteners & springs, 420 for knives & surgical instruments, 440C has very high hardness and is also used for knives & surgical instruments, etc. These grades are magnetic and can be hardened by heat treatment, but they have poor welding characteristics.

Grade 409 is special for high temperature applications such as exhaust systems and grade 430 is commonly used in things like architectural trim, cooking utensils & bank vaults. These steels are also magnetic, have poor welding characteristics, canNOT be hardened by heat treatment and must always be used annealed or soft.

Grade 304, 310, 316 & 317 are NOT magnetic and canNOT be hardned by heat treatment, but they can be hardened by cold working. These steels are commonly used in things like kitchen sinks, roofs, rain gutters, doors, windows, tubular frames, food processing equipment, restaurants, chemestry, ovens, heat exchangers, etc. These steels have excellent corrosion resistance, can easily be welded, have excellent cleanability and hygene characteristics along with exceptional resistance to both high and low temperatures. Grade 304 is the most commonly used in the 300 series while 310 is used mainly for high temperrature applications, 316 for better corrosion resistance and 317 for the best corrosion resistance.

Grade 2205 is unique in that it has a high resistance to stress corrosion cracking, increased resistance to chloride ion attack, it's also very weldable and has high tensile and yield strengths. For these reasons, 2205 is used in sea water applications, heat exchangers, desalination plants, etc.

Hi, some facts on stainless steel.

300 series; ie. 303, 304, 316, 364. Non magnetic.

( 303 is not weldable)

400 series: is manetic

Your best bet to beautify your headers is to ceramic coat them.

Spacehog-It depends on the year model of your bike. The only models to have stainless steel headers were the "twin header" '88-'90 XR600's. With all other models, the headers don't rust that easily although to get them looking good you'll have to rub them back and repaint them using exhaust paint. Stainless steel exhaust systems can be made to look nearly new in a matter of half an hour to an hour of scrubbing! :)

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