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Shop Tour: GM EFI Visits Stainless Works

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photos by: the author

GM EFI Magazine Investigates What it Really Takes to Manufacture Highly-Quality Exhaust Components in Northeast Ohio

It’s not everyday that many of us get a behind the scenes look at the way some of our favorite products are manufactured, but when we do, we always leave with a better understanding and appreciation of what all is involved. Not too long ago, we visited our friends at Stainless Works in Chagrin Falls, Ohio for just such an education.

Not only did we get a great tour of the shop, but we also were able to take in the process of what it takes to manufacture an exhaust system for the 2009-2015 CTS-V; from the header flanges to the exhaust tubing – using high-quality, USA-sourced 304L stainless steel that SW will stand by for life. While the 3rd-generation CTS-V exhaust components are certainly in the R&D process at Stainless Works, we wanted to showcase just what a typical day at the exhaust company’s operations looked like until then.

What you may or may not know, is that all of SW’s products are designed and engineered right here on American soil. With stainless steel tubing and flat steel from American mills, everything is constructed with top-tier manufacturing processes.

In an attempt to cover the entire process, from start to finish, as well as give you a better understanding of what it takes to implement your favorite late-model GM vehicle with Stainless Works hardware, we had the crew at SW walk us through the production process, which we’ve highlighted for you below.

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Stainless Works’ tubing comes in various diameters; from half-inch, all the way up to 3.5-inches – and all of which is in 304L stainless steel. Although the SW crew bends all of their own tubing, they had already beat us to the punch when it came time to bend the header primary tubing for the CTS-V headers we were scheduled to document, with a shipment already waiting. However, we caught a glimpse of this 3-inch tubing, being bent for a catback system, as pictured above.

 

 

The header is mounted to a mounting bracket that will help the welder continue the final assembly process, that includes debarring the flanges, welding on the Integrated Merge Spike (more on that in a minute) and the collector.

The header is mounted to a mounting bracket that will help the welder continue the final assembly process, that includes deburring the flanges, welding on the Integrated Merge Spike (more on that in a minute) and the collector.

 

 

SW's Integrated Merge Spike is one of their latest features, found only in their long-tube headers destined for V8 musclecars. It directs the flow of all four primaries to the center of the collector, which provides less turbulence and less back pressure.

SW’s Integrated Merge Spike is one of their latest features, found only in their long-tube headers destined for V8 musclecars. It directs the flow of all four primaries to the center of the collector, which provides less turbulence and less back pressure. Here, our guy, Ryan, welds the spike in place.

 

Here's the finished spike, awaiting the header collector.

Here’s the finished spike, awaiting the header collector.

 

With the scavenger spike welded on, it's now time to weld on the collector, which SW makes a stock of, to keep ahead of production.

With the Integrated Merge Spike welded in, it’s now time to weld on the collector which SW keeps stock of to keep ahead of production. There are currently two connection types being offered, in regards to system application. The first, is Factory Connection. Factory Connection allows for easy installation to factory manifolds or exhausts at the sacrifice of smaller diameter tubing in some cases. The second, is Performance Connection – which offers the best performance by connecting directly to Stainless Works systems. This allows true dual systems, larger diameter tubing, and improved airflow.

 

Actually, there's one more detail that goes into every SW header, and that's their final stamp of approval!

Actually, there’s one more detail that goes into every SW header, and that’s their final stamp of approval!

 

 

 

 

 

Occasionally, Stainless Works provides its customers with installation opportunities -

Occasionally, Stainless Works provides its customers with installation opportunities – as seen here on this LT1-powered Camaro Z28. SW currently offers kits for third- and fourth-fen F-bodies, 5th-gen Camaros, GTOs, G8s, C4-C7 Corvettes, 2004-2015 CTS-Vs, trucks and even LS-swapped classic musclecars, among others. If there’s a project you’re working on, chances are good that they have them available!

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