Some information that might help you with your decision. Our “ceramic” option is designed only for aesthetics; that is: how nice the visible portion of the tailpipe looks. Except for the last part of the exhaust (the tailpipe) the rest of the exhaust system is made from the same 321 Stainless steel tubing.
Above: Ceramic Coated Short Stack Tailpipe
In fact, ceramic coating the entire exhaust is a bad choice in both the FAA’s view and our view. Ceramic will act an insulator and change the heat profile in the exhaust tube, changing the exhaust’s ability to dissipate heat. However, most critically, the ceramic coating is like a very thick layer of paint. The FAA wants to ensure that you (or your technician) can easily inspect an exhaust tube and be able to see the signs of heat stress or fatigue before it reaches a critical point and leads to a big crack or failure in the tube. With a ceramic coating in place, you cannot easily see signs of impending problems until after they have occurred.
Above: Polished Short Stack Tailpipe
So how did we get FAA approval to ceramic coat part of the exhaust? Lots of persuasion, and the fact that the only part we ceramic coat is the last part of the exhaust that primarily exits the cowling area. In a worse case scenario, if the exhaust were to crack in this area, you would not have a crack inside the cowling that could contribute to a possible safety hazard.
Above: Complete Kit for Cessna 172 with Short Stack Tailpipe
We have not seen any evidence that LOP operations cause damage to PFS exhaust systems, and I haven’t seen that be the case with stock exhausts, either. Excessive vibration is a far greater concern – so get a dynamic balance and check that periodically. As to burn-through; we haven’t seen anything to support or contradict that thought. Ceramic coating acts to protect the base material, but brings with it other issues to be concerned about (above.)
In the end, my advice would be to get the ceramic coated tailpipe option to avoid the look of a brown pipe.