Winning races and championships is not an accident. Choosing the right combination of quality parts is essential in getting to the finish line first. For over 40 years, Ferrea Racing Components has been manufacturing valve train parts for every racing series and every type of vehicle including sprint cars, stock cars, tractors, drag cars and even speed boats. The experience Ferrea has gained from manufacturing top shelf valve train components has earned the attention of a wide range of automotive enthusiasts. Because of the enthusiasts’ interest in Ferrea, we decided to take a closer look at what makes Ferrea distinctive.
We took a trip to Ferrea headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to check out the manufacturing process and to talk with Zeke Urrutia, director of marketing for Ferrea Racing Components. With Zeke’s help, we will walk you through the history of Ferrea, the manufacturing process and some of the components that make Ferrea a prime choice when building your engine.
In the beginning
Horacio Ferrea and Daniel Urrutia, Sr. started in Argentina as engine builders, mechanical engineers, and research and development mechanics on higher performance engines. Focusing on factory-backed racing teams from Ford and Chrysler, the duo provided technical support. In the late 60’s, Ferrea and Urrutia teamed up with a valve manufacturer in Argentina specializing in high performance valvetrain components. In 1978, they opened up the current operation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From that time, Ferrea has continued to build experience in the design and manufacture of high performance components using the latest cutting edge technology.
The Heart of Ferrea
According to Dan Urrutia, Jr., “The research and development department focuses on building valve train systems to increase performance and reliability for racecars worldwide.” The R&D department prides itself on having an in-depth understanding of all the forces acting on the valve train in performance motors. Using this information as the cornerstone of building technologically advanced components, even as the design of engines improves, Ferrea stays ahead of the current trends.
Using the latest measuring instruments, Ferrea conducts testing on all their components so that the in-house design and manufacturing will be of the highest caliber possible. Gathering data from both non-destructive and destructive testing procedures, the engineers continuously fine tune the design of valvetrain components as technology in the manufacturing industry improves. With the ability to measure within a millionth of an inch, Ferrea’s testing department is critical in building the information base used in designing all the valvetrain components.
Manufacturing and the art of Quality Control
Almost since the beginning, all manufacturing has been conducted in-house between the Fort Lauderdale and Argentina facilities. Keeping direct hands-on control throughout the design and manufacturing process has allowed Ferrea to maintain a high standard in Quality Assurance in every part that is produced and shipped out. That attention to detail goes all the way back to the metal used in manufacturing these components. These valve train components are works of art, signed by the Ferrea name laser etched into the metal along with the part number.
Proper material choice for the application is crucial to valve train performance and reliability. The engine experiences extreme temperature changes that affect key valve train components. The combustion chamber can be in excess of 1600º F, while temperatures in the intake manifold can be as low as -25º F. The materials’ ability to resist these severe thermal variations is crucial to the life of valve components. Ferrea uses different material in the production of their valve train components based on the application. Metals ranging from steel alloy and stainless steel to a nickel-based ‘super alloy’ and Stellite (chromium/tungsten) are used in everything from intake valves to valve seats.
Types of Ferrea Valves
A one-piece forged valve begins as a simple steel rod, which is formed under a slow two-step electrical ‘upsetting,’ which ensures proper grain ﬂow at critical temperatures. The forged piece is then CNC machined over its entire surface to eliminate any imperfections from the forging process. Next, the valve will undergo various stages of heat treatments and stress relieving processes to ensure proper molecular integrity and uniform grain structure throughout the entire piece. After heat treatment, the valve is put on a centerless grinding machine in order to hold strict stem diameter tolerances. Next, technicians apply hard chrome plating to the valve stem to reduce guide wear and provide optimum antifriction performance, and finally, depending on which Ferrea Valve Series it is, the valve will either receive a personal touch of micro-mirror polish, swirl polish, or a CNC machine ﬁnish. Prior to packaging, a ﬁnal inspection, ultrasonic tests and x-rays are performed, piece by piece, in order to give each part certiﬁed quality assurance.
Bimetallic Forged Valves
Ferrea Bimetallic Valves offer advanced design solutions for certain extreme engine requirements. The manufacturing process of their bimetallic forged valve begins with two steel rods of different valve alloy materials that are precisely fused together using equipment that applies inertia and force to weld the two pieces into one solid component rod. This process is the only approved method for aerospace valve applications. Next, the complete steel rod is taken through the same forging procedure as a typical one-piece forged valve. After forging and stress relieving, the valves are ﬁnished in the same manner as a one piece forged valve.
Ferrea utilizes a hard chrome plate on all high performance valves to provide the valve stem with a low coefficient of friction and a wear-resistant surface. Hard chrome offers the best choice for extreme engine applications by allowing higher lubricity properties and maximum heat transfer from the valve stem to the valve guide contact area. Widely used by racing industry manufacturers worldwide, Ferrea prides itself in providing continuous high quality consistency of hard chrome thicknesses for more than 30 years.
Ferrea Racing Components makes valve train components for domestic, sport compact and motorcycle applications, including everything from a stage one performance upgrade all the way to elite series competition racing components. Here’s a partial list of Ferrea’s applications:
- Titanium Competition Valves – Completed & Blanks
- Super Alloy Valves
- Competition Plus – Sodium Filled Hollow Stem Valves
- Competition Plus – Hollow Stem Valves
- Competition Plus Valves
- 6000 Series Competition Valves
- 5000 Series Hi Performance Valves
- Valve Springs – Hydraulic & Solid Lifter Applications
- Steel Valve Superlocks
- Competition Cylinder Head Gaskets
- Forged and CNC Machined Steel Competition Wrist Pins
- Motorcycle Competition Valves
- Sport Compact Roller Rocker System
- Super Alloy Valves – Completed & Blanks
- Competition Plus Sodium Filled & Hollow Stem Valves
- Competition Plus Valves
- 6000 Series Competition Valves
- Valve Springs
If you’re looking for valvetrain performance, with over 40 years of racing experience in Drag Racing, NASCAR, Oval & Sprint Car, Road Racing, Motorcycles, IRL and Boat racing, Ferrea Racing Components may be the right choice for you.