Thermally-sprayed, composite coatings have been developed and sprayed on aluminum engine heads to replace powdered metal valve seat inserts. The process uses a conventional two-wire arc (TWA) gun with nickel and iron-based wire feedstocks. A unique surface preparation technique was developed to assure excellent coating adhesion. A composite Fe/Fe3O4/Ni/NiO/CrO coating was dynamometer tested using a single-cylinder Rotax engine, and showed improved wear performance over a conventional powdered-metal insert. Details of surface preparation, coating development, tribological properties and engine testing are described in this work.