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Behind The Scenes: CV Products Shop Tour

[quote align=”alignright” width=”200″]When it comes to high speed valvetrain action, I believe our people know more about what happens to a valve than any other warehouse in America. – Bill Wheately[/quote]

For the average performance consumer, CV Products is usually viewed as a great one stop place to get whatever your needs are for your vehicle. After spending an entire day with the team at CV, to simply sum them up as a distribution center would not only be a huge understatement, it simply wouldn’t be true.

About an hour north of Charlotte, North Carolina, there is a small town that most individuals might use as just a gas stop or a bathroom break off of I-85 – a town called Thomasville. The small town that has just over 21,000 people is where CV products chose to set up camp.

Brief History Lesson

CV Products started in the late 1980s, when it was founded by former stock car driver Clyde Vickers. Vickers was a racer in the late 1970s and early 1980s, during which time he often toyed with the notion of starting up a high performance auto racing parts manufacturing company. In 1988, Clyde and his wife, Ramona, started buying up racing parts and then selling them to drivers and mechanics. They operated out of a small 1,200-square-foot building in Highpoint, N.C. with one employee on the payroll.

Facilities

Today CV Products has two locations - its Headquarters located in Thomasville, and its secondary store in Mooresville, North Carolina.

After a brief introduction with our tour guides – marketing coordinator Melissa Blackwell and director of marketing Scott Highland, we set out in the massive campus layout that includes six buildings where they handle the day to day operations of running the company.

Our tour guides Scott Highland and Mellisa Blackwell of CV Products standing ahead of the CV products cut-away car that immediately grabs everyone's attention when they walk through the doors.

Most people today look at CV Products as 100% in the motorsports market. However, as we made our way to the first stop on the tour, Highland quickly pointed out that while CV Products is a trusted source for the motorsports market, they can help any car guy. “The motorsports industry is our core, but we do have customers in the street rod and performance markets too.” explained Scott Highland.

When you step in CV's headquarters you are greeted by a huge showroom filled with the various products that CV distributes and manufactures

CV prides themselves on having sales and customer support representatives that are trained on the latest within the industry. They will hold weekly meetings within their upstairs training area to showcase the latest products and show exactly how they work.

We quickly picked up on an overwhelming theme throughout our tour – quality. Everywhere we were shown, the emphasis was put on not only providing customers with products but rather ones that would last for sometime.

For instance, this machine performs leak and pressure tests on every single pump that is ordered before it is sent out the doors.

One of the first areas we were shown was the pump testing room where they test fuel, oil, steering, and their water pumps from Xceldyne and SPIN Pumps, both of which are owned by CV Products. “Every pump that goes out of this building, whether it be a fuel pump, oil pump, or whatever, is leak tested and pressure tested just to make sure the basics of the pump is working before it goes out the door,” explained product specialist Chad Brooks.

CV has adapters that allow them to test every pump that they manufacture before the pumps leave the building

“People don’t realize that we manufacture as many pumps as we do,” Highland explained to us. “We are really proud of our 5 stage oil pump design and it is being used by a lot of teams within the motorsports industry.”

The latest pump from SPIN pumps by CV Products is a 5 stage dirt late model oil pump.

Spintron Room

After a quick stop outside to look at the rigs that CV travels to various events with through the year, we headed over to the Spintron room

After we left the pump testing area, our guides took us around to the back of the building to a small room where product specialist Bill Wheatley spends most of his time. The small room was filled with various cylinder heads and a Spintron machine that can provide valuable information to engine builders and race teams.

“We not only use this for our own valve spring development but we also rent this to customers,” Wheatley told us. Engine builders, team owners, or just average car guys can rent the Spintron room for the entire day and learn exactly what is going on within their valvetrain. A CV products valvetrain specialist will assist the renter in working the machine and assist in deciphering the results of each change.

The spintron room at CV Products

Wheatley explained to us that the Spintron works by shooting a laser up against the valve that acts as a distance way finder. The laser is timed with the RPM of the engine, so it knows where the valve is during rotation. “We can follow the track of the valve and see as we get higher and higher in the rev range how it departs from where it was at from idle,” Wheatley explained. “We are able to see valve departures, malfunctions, and bounces, and spring problems that are accurate to ten-thousandths of an inch.”

When asked how much time he spends in here for CV and customers, Wheately laughed and told us that him and others have spent probably close to years studying valvetrain technology on the spintron. “When it comes to high speed valvetrain action, meaning 7500-10,000 RPMS, I believe our people know more about what happens to a valve during this range than any other warehouse in America.”

The spintron works by measuring the valve movement at idle and then at high RPM range and mapping how the valve moves during each.

This particular valvetrain was turned at idle and at 9,000 RPMS. CV explained to us that the goal is to have the lines as close to identical as possible. Notice at the end of the graph how the red line gets jagged, that is the valve bouncing off the seat. The Spintron can help extend the life of your valvetrain drastically by showing problem areas during the high RPM range.

When we shine a light through the port you can get a close look at what exactly the spintron is measuring

 

Manufacturing Facility

The many CNC machines that make up their on-site manufacturing facility.

We then made our way over to the massive manufacturing building where CV Products manufactures a wide range of high performance parts. This building handles all the manufacturing duties for Xceldyne and X2 brands that offer leading valve and valvetrain solutions for the motorsports industry. Here they manufacture such items as titanium and steel engine valves to ancillary components that complete the valvetrain system. 

CV explained to us how the manufacturing facility works like an assembly line to help ensure quality. Each area is designated only for a specific task within the manufacturing process.

Xceldyne receives the material for their racing valves and then handles everything in house to produce valves for NASCAR, F1, AMA and other forms of motorsports to aerospace, medical, and military industries.

Some of the many products that CV produces onsite

One of the first questions we had while walking around the facility was if they handled their own coatings. “We actually have a multitude of coating technologies that we handle on site including a full service ISO9001 certified coating facility called AMC that specializes in anodizing, REM surface finishing, electropolishing, laser marking and other surface treatments,” Highland explained to us. “We work with teams to find out what they prefer or what they are trying to accomplish, and are setup here to provide the right coating to help accomplish their goals.”

Highland then led us to a room near the back of the building where an employee was sitting inside measuring plasma and ceramic coatings that were being applied that morning. Before the valves receive any type of caoting they are heat treated in a massive oven.

Before the valves receive any coating they are heat treated to a certified specification to create its physical properties such as hardness and strength.

A small monitor outside the room shows what is happening up close to the valves that are receiving the plasma coating.

An employee monitors the plasma coatings that were being applied to the valves that morning.

In the middle of the facility, CV has a separate room that is solely dedicated to ensuring nothing leaves the facility without being properly inspected first. Inside the room the CV staff inspects the valves, performs a variety of tests, inspects them for flaws, and ensures that the orders are correct before they ever leave the facility.

This room also performs material strength tests and gives the CV engineers a close look at all the valves that are leaving the facility

The room is dedicated to ensuring that only the highest quality of valves leaves the facility

Product Development

After we took a close look at their manufacturing process, we headed upstairs which is home to a few of the CV engineers that are in charge of coming up with new products, solving issues and improving the existing products.

Engineers will first work together and come up with an acceptable design for a new product or to improve an existing one, and then will create a product from plastic to continue testing.

A perfect example is CV's new SPIN fuel delivery system. Shown here is the development project cutaway that the engineer's developed.

After a product has been designed and tested by engineers, a programer takes over and creates the CNC code for manufacturing.

Conclusion

It’s hard to grasp just how far CV Products has come over the past 25 years. What started in a small shop in High Point in the late 1980s has grown beyond anyone’s expectations. As we stated before, to sum up CV Products as a distribution center would not only be a huge understatement, it simply wouldn’t be true. The truth is, CV products is a manufacturing powerhouse.

Over time CV has grown by choosing to focus on quality more so than anything else. This is why racers and car guys throughout the country choose daily to go with the wide range of products that are available world-wide by CV Products.


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