Friday, 1 August 2014

A Polished Raceco Titanium Exhaust

As I've been getting more and more confident in the car, the road speeds have been increasing, and in turn, I've really felt the need to let my hair down (not that I have any) on a track day.

My main concern with doing track days in the R500 Duratec are the noise limits.  I'd read a lot about other owners experiencing difficulties with noise limits, especially drive by noise rather than the static tests and potentially being black flagged and subsequently 'thrown off' the track day.  Having paid a fair few quid for a track day, and more than likely having driven a hundred or so miles to get to a circuit, this wouldn't go down well with me... So... thinking prevention is better than cure, I decided to invest in a raceco exhaust as these have been recommend on blatchat, and by other R500 owners as being great for reduced noise without any reduction in performance due to the way they are made and packed.

Raceco Titanium Exhaust
I got in contact with Mike Riley (the new owner of the raceco brand)... he's been the guy making them for ammo for the last thirteen or so years, so the right guy to speak to.  He recommended the 7.25" / 185mm diameter silencer which is a standard length with a 750mm sleeve and offset inlet pipe for the Duratec based exhausts.  I paid upfront, and he manufactured the exhaust over the last couple of weeks.

Some pictures below of the components before and during manufacture.

These are the component parts for the inlet and exhaust cap.
These are the component parts for the inlet and exhaust cap.

The inlet and exhaust cap assembled and welded together.
The inlet and exhaust cap assembled and welded together.
The outer sleeve in manufacture.
The outer sleeve in manufacture.
Unfortunately there aren't any pictures of the internals as that's their unique selling point and Mike naturally wants to protect that!

Mike's been great advice and help, has done a superb job, and the quality of the exhaust looks excellent.  A link to his site is here http://www.raceco.com/silencers.html

Getting a Titanium Exhaust Polished
I was initially a little against a titanium exhaust purely due to aesthetics - as I really loved the look of the shiny polished steel exhaust I currently have, so looked into getting the raceco exhaust polished.  It turned out being titanium (which can be a fairly difficult metal to work with) there were hardly any polishing companies interested in taking on the job.  After numerous calls I was recommended M&M Polishing in Poole.  I gave them a call, spoke to Mark there... he was a little unsure due to the size of the exhaust and quality of titanium that would be used, but agreed to take a look at the silencer, test an inconspicuous area and take it from there.

So I arranged with Mike at raceco that once he'd made the silencer, he'd then deliver it direct to Mark at M&M polishers for inspection and (hopefully) polishing. 

Mark at M&M received the exhaust a week ago, and as they were working with titanium they said it is always a good idea to find out first if it has been alloyed with another material such as aluminium, iron, copper, steel and so on. They tested an area first (in a place that wasn't noticeable) to see how it reacted to a light linish and mop.

Raceco Exhaust prior to polishing with sharpie pen as a reference to the size!
Raceco Exhaust prior to polishing with sharpie pen as a reference to the size!
When they were confident as to how far they could go with the grades of sand paper they started to work on the area shown in the picture below.  After the initial linish they worked through various grades of mop and compounds to brighten the exhaust, slowly bringing a brightness to the surface.
Titanium Raceco Exhaust in between polishing stages.
Titanium Raceco Exhaust in between polishing stages.
After they finished the area in the picture above, they let the metal cool as titanium will dull slightly as the heat dissipates.  This is inevitable and this is where their knowledge of different polishing compounds comes into it's own so as to ensure the metal keeps as much of it's initial lustre as possible.
 
As you can see from the picture below, the penultimate stage of polishing had been finished.  You can actually see some of the mop and swirls and the compound reside as they left the exhaust to cool before engaging in the final stage of polishing.
Exhaust cooling before final stage of polishing.
Exhaust cooling before final stage of polishing.
And there it is... Finished off with a very fine cloth mop to achieve a bright polished finish and looking absolutely awesome!

Freshly Polished Titanium Raceco Silencer and looking awesome!
Freshly Polished Titanium Raceco Silencer and looking awesome!
The exhaust was delivered to me this morning, and as I opened the box and removed the packaging, I came to realise the finished article is absolutely as good as the pictures above, if not better! 
Opening the delivered exhaust, and seeing how good it looked for the first time!
Opening the delivered exhaust, and seeing how good it looked for the first time!
Mark and Mike at M&M Polishing were a pleasure to deal with, didn't charge the earth (the polish was £100+VAT, plus delivery) and considering the amount of time and effort that was involved and the quality of the finish I think it was money well spent.  Here is link to their website http://www.mmpolishingltd.co.uk/ and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for polishing services for any type of metal.
 
I'm looking forward to getting the exhaust fitted over the weekend and seeing what I can get the decibel output down to!  By all accounts I should be able to get onto a Track Day at Bedford Autodrome as that is the most restrictive circuit at 96db static!

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