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Frequently Asked Engine Valve Questions

Q: Can you chrome plate bumpers or car rims?

No. Our plating process applies hard chromium. You would need to contact a decorative chrome plater.

Q: What is the difference between hard chrome and decorative chrome?

Hard chromium plating is chrome plating that has been applied as a fairly heavy coating for wear resistance, lubricity, oil retention and other "wear" purposes. Hard chrome is not really harder than other chrome plating. It is called hard chromium because it is thick enough that a hardness measurement can be performed on it.

Decorative chrome plating is sometimes called nickel-chrome plating because it always involves electroplating nickel onto the object before plating with the chrome. The chrome plating is exceptionally thin. It is measured in millionths of an inch rather than in thousandths.

Q: What is the minimum number of valves needed for a run?

Our minimum quantity is typically 336 pieces. We will run smaller quantity "test runs" prior to the part going into production. For those who are restoring antique engines, we do make an exception. But, pricing starts at $50.00 per valve.

Q: How much chrome can you put on a valve stem?

We can apply up to 0.020 in. of chrome. However, it is usually not economically feasible.

Q: Can you chrome plate the face-seating area of the valve to build up the margin?

No. Chrome is applied only to the stems for wear resistance, lubricity and oil retention.

Q: Do I have to sort and/or inspect my valves before they are sent to you?

No. Just ship them to us and we'll do the rest.

Q: Do you chrome plate and grind the keeper area of the valve stem?

No. The keeper area is prequalified during our initial inspection operation.

Q: Where in California are you located?

We are actually located in Escanaba, Michigan.

Q: How big is your plant?

Our production capacity doubled in 1999 after we moved into our new 10 acre facility which has more than 80,000 square feet of floor space.

Q: How do I get a price quote?

Just contact our sales department. They will ask for the following initial information:

  • Approximate monthly quantity,
  • Approximate overall length, stem diameter and head diameter,
  • Q: Can I get test samples first?

    Certainly! In fact, we recommend a "trial run" to many of our new customers.

    This gives us an opportunity to run your engine valves through our production line and determine if there are any unforeseen problems in meeting your requirements. More importantly, it allows us to provide you with a finished product to satisfy your own quality assurance department.

    Q: My valve stems are worn. How can they be repaired?

    Nearly all engine valves experience stem wear. Whether you require an OEM diameter or an oversized diameter makes little difference. Each of your valves will be centerless ground to a concentric size, electroplated with hard chrome, and then centerless ground to its final stem diameter size. You can specify the final chrome thickness and chrome location. For more information on the chrome plating process, please visit our Chrome Plating page.

    Q: Which specifications can I control?

    We will ask you to specify the face angle, minimum face margin, final stem diameter, tip-to-chrome length, minimum tip hardness, taper for exhaust valves, and the maximum allowable stem and face surface finishes. We may ask if "same length" valves are desired, or if you have specific chrome plating requirements like minimum thickness or location.

    If you are unfamiliar with any of these terms, more information can be found on our engine valve specs page. Of course, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions at any time.

    Q: Must I supply the entire valve core?

    Not necessarily. In most cases, our customers send us the valves from the engines they are rebuilding. When an individual valve cannot be used due to a defect, it is scrapped. For many engines types, we are often able to purchase core valves to help offset our customers' lack of core.

    Q: Will I get my same valves returned to me?

    For custom valves, the answer is Yes. Every crate of valves is tagged as it enters our receiving area. When we receive an order from you, we will pull the needed number of valves from the core that you have sent us.

    Q: How are damaged valves detected and eliminated?

    Throughout the production process, each valve is inspected by hand using a wide range of manual and electronic inspection methods. There may be as many as fourteen different inspections performed on each valve from start to finish. More information concerning our inspection methods can be found on our engine valve inspection page.

    Q: Must I clean and sort the core valves before I send them to Cal Grinding, Inc.?

    Absolutely not! As you disassemble an engine, just drop the engine valves into barrels or shipping crates. Then, ship them to us. At our receiving station, each crate will be cleaned, sorted, counted, tagged and then set aside awaiting your purchase order. If you don't have shipping crates, let us know. We have specially designed crates that you can use to make things easier for both of us.

    Q: Is Cal Grinding, Inc. ISO registered?

    Yes. Cal Grinding, Inc. received its ISO 9001:2000 registration on October 15, 2003. We also provide APQP, PPAP, etc. reports to customers upon request. For more information on our ISO9001 registration, please visit our ISO Registration page or contact our Quality Assurance Manager.

    Q: Who pays the shipping charges each way?

    The customer pays the shipping charges both ways. Obviously, we could pre-pay the return shipping charges and add them to the invoice, but most of our customers use their own preferred shipping company and are subsequently billed directly by the hauler.

    Q: What else don't I know about CalValves?

    CalValves is a registered trademark of Cal Grinding, Inc.
    Cal Grinding, Inc. is located on the northern shore of Lake Michigan in Escanaba, MI.
    Cal Grinding, Inc. has nearly fifty customers throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.
    Ninety five percent of our employees are Green Bay Packer fans. The other five percent don't know football.