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How to Build a Stroker
This chapter is dedicated to good, solid, reliable engine building technique. Producing this book
and others here in Southern California, we’ve been in the company of some of the best engine
builders in the world. One of them is John Da Luz of JMC Motorsports in San Diego. John has been
building automobiles and the engines that power them for more than 25 years. He enjoys an
extraordinary track record as a seasoned engine builder. His experience lives in virtually every kind
of racing venue in the world, including top fuel.

We have also had the good fortune of knowing Mark Jeffrey of Trans Am Racing in Gardena,
California, who possesses a wealth of experience as a seasoned engine builder, most of it with
Fords. These two gentlemen are going to show us the way to solid, reliable power from a small-
block Ford.
Engine building technology has made considerable advances over the past 30 years. We’ve
learned that it’s the small details that can make or break a project. The two biggest details we can
think of are checking clearances and triple-checking your work. Far too many of us learn the hard
way because we’re not attentive enough to detail. We learn when an overlooked rod bolt fails half
way down the track. And we learn when a carelessly seated valve keeper escapes at high revs,
destroying the piston and cylinder wall in less than a second. These are the important details we
don’t want you to miss during your budget engine build.

Far too many engine projects fail because there wasn’t proper planning. Planning is the most
effective engine-building tool you can have. We waste time and money when we don’t think about
what we want the engine to do. Part of building an engine is knowing exactly what you can afford,
then not giving in to ego and the temptation. And that’s the mistake a lot of us make along the way.
We want to impress our peers. But these are the wrong reasons to build an engine. Don’t build an
engine to impress anyone beside yourself, because you alone will have to live with the result.
Crankshaft installation in a stroked small block
Building  a solid, reliable stroker
small-block takes very close attention
to detail. Clearances need to be
checked and rechecked. Make sure
rods, pistons, and crankshaft
counterweights clear the block and oil
Most of us overbuild our engines. We build more engine than our Ford needs, which costs
unnecessary time and money. For example, you’re building a classic Mustang and you want it to be
fast. You’re thinking of building a 351W stroker displacing 427 cubic inches. Future plans include
fuel injection and a supercharger. Just imagine, the power of a big-block in a lightweight classic.
Maybe it is more than your Mustang (and your driving skills) can handle. You don’t have to worry
about impressing us. We’ve been there too. And we understand the drawbacks of overbuilding.
This is why we’re sharing the cold, hard facts of engine building with you.

Too many enthusiasts build more engine than a car can safely handle. When we infuse big
displacement power into a lightweight Mustang, Falcon, or Fairlane, we’re not thinking enough
about the engine and vehicle as a package. Most of us get it backwards. We build a powerful
engine, then we wonder how to manage all that power safely and effectively. Build the car first, then
the engine, because too much power in an unprepared platform can get you killed. A well thought-
out platform will have good brakes, a handling package, traction enhancement, the right tires and
wheels, a rear axle that can take the punishment, and a mature driver who understands all of this.
Our goal is to teach you how to build a reliable engine that you can afford that will make the power
you need. No matter what the formula is, one basic formula holds true. Performance level is tied
directly to budget. The greater the budget and know-how, the faster you’re going to go. You’re not
going to make a 600 horsepower small-block for $2500. Keep your expectations and planning
realistic. Then go work your plan with perseverance. Lets get started.
289/302 Stroker Kits & Projects
The marketplace is filled with a wealth of great stroker kits for your 289/302ci engine building
project. Which kit you choose depends on your expectations, budget, and needs. This means you
have to examine the contents of each kit to determine which kit works for your engine-building

Stroker selection depends on your planned mission for the engine. Despite everything you have
likely been told in bench racing circles, street engines do not need steel or billet crankshafts. High-
nodular iron crankshafts (also known as cast steel) work quite well for street use in applications up
to 500 horsepower. If you’re going to supercharge or throw high concentrations of nitrous at your
engine, a steel crankshaft becomes mandatory in the interest of engine survival. If you do weekend
road racing with your driver, a steel crank is good life insurance for your engine. Weekend drag
racers don’t always need a steel crankshaft because the high-stress experience is brief, unless you
are using nitrous or supercharging.
Choosing a connecting rod is right in there with choosing a crankshaft. If you’re going to go with H-
beam rods, then you will likely go with a steel or billet crank. For cast steel or nodular iron cranks,
sportsman level I-beam rods will work just fine. Each kit listing is specific about the type of
connecting rod and crankshaft used. Most stroker-kit manufacturers have this packaging process
down to a science. Connecting rods and crankshafts tend to be quite compatible in most of these

Piston selection boils down to the type of driving you’re going to do. Warmed up street engines
really don’t need forged pistons. If seat-of-the-pants torque is what you are seeking from your
street small block, you can get away with using hypereutectic pistons. Opt for forged pistons if you
are going to supercharge or use nitrous. Forged pistons for powerful street engines don’t make
much sense in terms of cost and engine noise. Forged pistons have more unforgiving expansion
properties. It takes a forged piston more time to expand as the engine warms. Forged pistons also
expand more than cast or hypereutectic pistons, which means they need greater clearances. This
is why forged pistons tend to rattle in cold engines.
Most of the following stroker kits are available as published. But most manufacturers will allow
you to custom tailor your stroker kit. Coast High Performance, for example, will package a stroker
kit any way you desire as long as it makes good sense. Plus, they will advise you along the way.
The following stroker kits are listed how they were available at the time of printing. Not all of these
kits will forever remain the same. Kits are developed and kits are dropped from time to time,
depending on availability and consumer demand. In our description of each of these kits, we are
completely frank about the kit described. We are not at the mercy of advertising dollars and will
tell it just like it is.
Kits and Manufacturers
131 North Lang Ave.
West Covina, CA 91760
626/869-0270 • 626/869-0278 FAX

Bore: 4.000”
Stroke: 3.000”
Crankshaft: Nodular Iron Ford 302
Rod Type: Stage 1 with ARP Wave-Loc Bolts
Rod Length: 5.565”
Rod Ratio: 1.85:1
Pistons: Keith Black Hypereutectic
Rings: Speed Pro Cast Iron
Bearings: Clevite Tri-Metal
Max. RPM: 6,500
Max. HP: 400
Approx. Price:$1,000.00
Comments: The Speed-O-Motive Long Rod 302 kit doesn’t increase stroke or displacement.
But, it increases piston dwell time at the top and bottom of the bore to make the most of your
fuel/air mixture. The Long Rod 302 kit gives you more torque.
Coast High Performance
2555 W. 237th St.
Torrance, CA
310/784-2977 • 310/784-2970 FAX

Bore: 4.060”
Stroke: 3.100”
Crankshaft: Nodular Iron 302
Rod Type: Eagle H-Beam
Rod Length: 5.400”
Rod Ratio: 1.60:1
Pistons: Probe Forged Aluminum
Rings: Childs & Albert
Bearings: Clevite 77
Max. RPM: 7,800
Max. HP: 550
Approx. Price: $1,700.00
Comments: This kit provides a solid foundation on which to build. You can grow into this kit with a
supercharger, nitrous, a more radical camshaft, you name it. This is a kit you can spin tight without
worry, assuming proper assembly technique.
Ford Performance Solutions
1004 Orangefair Lane
Anaheim, CA 92801
714/773-9027 • 714/773-4178 FAX

Bore: 4.060”
Stroke: 3.100”
Crankshaft: Nodular Iron 302
Rod Type: Eagle H-Beam
Rod Length: 5.400”
Rod Ratio: 1.74:1
Pistons: Ross Ultra-Lite
Rings: Childs & Albert
Bearings: Clevite 77
Max. RPM: 8,000
Maxx. HP: 650
Approx. Price: $1,700.00
Comments: This kit provides a solid foundation on which to build. You can grow into this kit with big
horsepower adders. Very similar to the Coast High Performance kit just mentioned.
131 North Lang Ave.
West Covina, CA 91760
626/869-0270 • 626/869-0278 FAX

Bore: 4.030”
Stroke: 3.100”
Crankshaft: Race Prepped Nodular Iron 302 Crank
Rod Type: Forged I-Beam
Rod Length: 5.565”
Rod Ratio: 1.85:1
Pistons: Keith Black Hypereutectic
Rings: Speed Pro Cast Iron
Bearings: Clevite Tri-Metal
Max. RPM: 6,500
Max. HPr: 400
Approx. Price: $1,000.00
Comments: This mild increase in stroke will net you increases in power. Properly assembled, your
317ci Speed-O-Motive stroker can spin to 6,500 rpm.
D.S.S. Competition Products
960 Ridge Avenue
Lombard, IL 60148
630/268-1630 • 630/268-1649 FAX

Bore: 4.030”
Stroke: 3.125”
Crankshaft: Nodular Iron 302
Rod Type: Eagle
Rod Length: 5.400”
Rod Ratio: 1.72:1
Pistons: Venolia
Rings: Speed-Pro
Bearings: Federal-Mogul
Max. RPM: 6,500
Max. HP: 500
Approx. Price: $2,000.00
Comments: This kit has a good rod ratio and is good for a few extra horses. But this is not a kit you
want to use with nitrous or supercharging. This kit is good for a strong, naturally-aspirated street
4750 N. Dixie Highway, No. 9
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334
954/491-6988 • 954/491-2874 FAX

Bore: 4.030”
Stroke: 3.120”
Crankshaft: Nodular Iron 302
Rod Type: Eagle
Rod Length: 5.400”
Rod Ratio: 1.73:1
Pistons: JE Pistons
Rings: JE Plasma Moly
Bearings: King High Performance
Max. RPM: 7,500
Max. HP: 500
Approx. Price: $2,000.00
Comments: A good improvement over stock. Better reliability.
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This has been a sample page from

How to Build Big Inch Ford Small Blocks How To Build Big-Inch Ford Small Blocks
by George Reid
Have you been dreaming about a little extra displacement for
your Ford? By increasing the bore and stroke of your current
engine, you can add those cubic inches without the hassle of
switching to a big block. George Reid thoroughly explains the
concept of building a stroker, paying special attention to the
effect that increasing the bore and stroke have on the engine
as a whole. With this information, you’ll be better able to tailor
your heads, cam, intake manifold, carburetor, and exhaust
system to get the most out of the extra cubes. Also included
is a complete guide to factory head and block castings, as
well as aftermarket block and head guides, so you can
choose exactly the right parts for your project. This book is
the definitive guide for building a big-inch Ford small block,
complete with four engine buildups ranging from 331 to 408
cubic inches. Read the sample pages to learn more!

Temporarily Out of Stock - More On their way!

Click below to view sample
pages from each chapter
Chap. 1 - Ford Small Block
Chap. 2 - Stroked Engines
Chap. 3 - 289 and 302 Stroker
Chap. 4 - 351W Stroker Kits
Chap. 5 - 351C Stroker Kits
Chap. 6 - Stroker Vehicles
Chap. 7 - Engine Math
8-1/2 x 11
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300 black & white photos
Item #SA85P
Price: $22.95
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