KJ Jones
Brand Manager, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
January 18, 2011

This month's Tech Inspection highlights our brief study on thermodynamics, or the study of energy conversion between heat and mechanical work, and subsequently its macroscopic variable-temperature. Your tech editor and Saul "The Surgeon" Gutierrez of Extreme Automotive had an opportunity to check out an interesting and potential new fuel-rail insulation product from Aeromotive and Heatshield Products of Valley Center, California.

My past (and bad) experience with the effect of excessive heat imposed on a 'Stang's fuel system prompted us to accept the exclusive opportunity to test the yet-unnamed rail wraps. Basically, the easy-to-install covers are designed to act as heat deflectors that keep rails and fuel protected from high temperature in the engine compartment.

If you're saying to yourself, this stuff is similar to the shiny deflective covering that I've seen on turbochargers, you're absolutely correct. However, the idea of insulating fuel rails in similar fashion is intriguing, as we know that keeping fuel as cool as possible is important for high-horsepower Mustangs that are used in high-temperature environs.

After 1997, the government mandated that fuel-injected vehicles be equipped with non-return fuel systems. With the non-return design, fuel does not circulate back to the tank and thus has a high potential to become superheated by underhood and ambient heat. As a result, the gasoline may boil, as it basically remains in the rails while the engine is running and the fuel system is pressurized.

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Our study involves taking baseline temperature readings of Aeromotive's 4.6 fuel rails (PN 14103) without the wraps, and then installing the prototype, covered fuel rails, to determine what type of difference-if any-the fuel-rail insulators make. We selected 10 minutes of runtime with the hood shut as the control timeframe for establishing consistent underhood temperature for both tests. The time window allowed the 'Stang's cooling fan to cycle at least once and give us repeated engine temperature (200 degrees) for both evaluations.

The following photos and captions show you what we learned. Procedurally, setting the wrapped fuel rails up on a 4.6-liter Two-Valve engine is not difficult. For our tests, Saul actually switched rails without removing the Pony's strut-tower brace or discharge tubing for the supercharger.

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Remember, this Tech Inspection features a product that, for now, is purely in its prototype stage. We're glad we were given a chance to do some independent testing of the wrapped fuel rails, and we think the idea is cool enough to share.