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post #1 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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304ss ??

what's the deal on this 304ss issue? It seems that alot of people are saying that it is junk and not to use. Is it the metal itself or is it just bc a certain company is using it? I'm about to fab up my own kit and want to use SS instead of mild bc i dont want it to rust out. Why do all the high end exhaust companies use 304ss? Am I missing something here....or is this just bashing overflow from another website? Input please!!

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post #2 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 10:40 AM
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304 still gets slight surface rust ... As far as 304, just remember that not all grades of stainless are created equally and also the quality of the fabrication plays a bigger part in things lasting when using stainless over mild steel. There are turbo kit companies that use it and have used it for going on probably 15 years without issues. A lot of new companies in the past 5 years or so have bad mouthed stainless saying how it will always crack and cannot work, interesting enough they sold mild steel kits and their established competitors sold stainless kits.

Make sure and do a lot of research before you go and start trying to fabricate a kit using any grade of SS.


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post #3 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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304 still gets slight surface rust ... As far as 304, just remember that not all grades of stainless are created equally and also the quality of the fabrication plays a bigger part in things lasting when using stainless over mild steel. There are turbo kit companies that use it and have used it for going on probably 15 years without issues. A lot of new companies in the past 5 years or so have bad mouthed stainless saying how it will always crack and cannot work, interesting enough they sold mild steel kits and their established competitors sold stainless kits.

Make sure and do a lot of research before you go and start trying to fabricate a kit using any grade of SS.
If i get quality 304ss with .065" thickness, will that be safe? Would you suggest mild steel for a first timer fabbing a turbo kit?(not headers)
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 11:01 AM
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What do you mean by "not headers"?

I am not sure what thickness to get, I'd call a place up like Burns that sells the tubing and ask them at the very least.

If I was going to fab a turbo kit up for the first time I'd maybe do the first attempt in mild steel if that turned out well then I'd look into redoing it in 321SS but not everyone is willing to spend the $$$ for 321 by a long shot.

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post #5 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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i'm utilizing my factory manifolds, so i will not be building headers for the turbo setup. I'm getting my piping from Columbia River mandrel bending.
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 11:19 AM
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Okay, well when everyone says 304SS cracks, they are referring to headers made out of it more than anything else.

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post #7 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Well I guess i'll just bite the bullet and get the stainless.
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 11:28 AM
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You do realize that 304 still will look rusted after some use unless you get it coated? At that point it is not really any different than having coated mild steel. One could maybe argue heat dissipation characteristics of the two and that stainless might be better but the difference is probably trivial for a street car. I am going to guess you have experience welding stainless or have looked into what it will take.

Do not get me wrong, I am a fan of stainless but from what little you have posted it sounds like you are looking to do an economical fabrication and have a worry of rust yet live in an area that is not really know for automotive rusting issues which makes me think you are more worried about the look of rust.

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post #9 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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it's really for the inside of the pipe to rust. I've had 2 other turbo kits on my 00gt and both after uninstalling had the scalling and rust flake come out. I just dont want all that garbage going through my turbo. I've never seen the ss304 rust just rather discolor.
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 11:47 AM
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The discolor is what I meant by "look", I am surprised you have had rusting in the inside of the pipes like that. I live right down the street from you and seen mild steel kits that were years old and did not have rusting issues like that. Regardless, 304 will be fine for what you want to do, if you could find 400 grade it too would be fine.


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post #11 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 07:04 PM
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Just use 304L ?
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post #12 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 08:31 PM
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I built an exhaust for my truck out of 304. It doesn't rust, it just turns colors after a few heat cycles. 409 will "rust" in that it forms an oxide layer on the outside that will protect the surface from further oxidation much like aluminum oxide. 321 is better than both but also more expensive. If you plan to weld 304, you'll need 308L filler and either purge the tubing with gas or use Solar Flux. I used the flux which was pretty expensive but I didn't want to bother capping the tubes for purging.

The shiny part is 304 tubing and the tan part is factory 409 tubing.

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post #13 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 08:35 PM
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That is interesting because my last kit was definitely 304 stainless and the header after time looked more like your tan pipe which I'd describe as looking like surface rust.

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post #14 of 15 Old 07-17-2009, 08:44 PM
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The tubes do turn a tan/orange color but it doesn't come off when you rub your finger on it. The rust on the 409 tubes will come off on your finger. I can't get under the truck right now to take another picture.
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post #15 of 15 Old 07-20-2009, 11:50 AM
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I have the SS304 ebay headers and the cracks are always being weld up.

I take them to a local guy to be fixed and from what he has said is...The metal is too thin and NO filler rod was used when they were welded together in China lol His welds using SS rod have been holding up fine. at the rate Im going/header are cracking all the welds will be replaced with his before too long lol

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