Thermal efficiencies of 54% have been demonstrated by single cylinder engine testing of advanced diesel engine concepts developed under Department of Energy funding. In order for these concept engines to be commercially viable, cost effective and durable systems for insulating the piston, head, ports and exhaust manifolds will be required. The application and development of new materials such as thick thermal barrier coating systems will be key to insulating these components. Development of test methods to rapidly evaluate the durability of coating systems without expensive engine testing is a major objective of current work. In addition, a novel, low cost method for producing thermal barrier coated pistons without final machining of the coating has been developed.