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 enginebuilding project.
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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 strokerkit manufacturers have this packaging process down to a science. Connecting rods and crankshafts tend to be quite compatible in most of these kits.
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-thepants 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.
Building A JMC Motorsports 331 Stroker
We’re going to show you the ropes on the Scat budget 331ci stroker kit from JMC Motorsports in San Diego, California. The Scat kit includes a new nodulariron, hardened crankshaft, forged I-beam connecting rods with 3/8 inch rod bolts, forged Ross pistons, Total Seal piston rings, Clevite 77 bearings, and more. John Da Luz of JMC Motorsports is building this 331ci stroker for a 1965- 1966 Mustang with a front sump oil pan, ARP 185 heads, Edelbrock Performer Air Gap intake manifold, and a 600cfm Holley carburetor.
JMC Motorsports is also able to build this engine with Edelbrock Performer RPM heads and induction for late-model 5.0L Mustangs. The nice part about the Edelbrock Performer 331ci stroker from JMC Motorsports is its emissions-legal status. You can pump displacement into your 1986-95 Mustang GT or LX with ease thanks to this engine package from JMC Motorsports. Lets get started.
Building a 347 Street Fighter
One of the most well-known names in the stroker business is Coast High Performance. Coast High Performance’s area of expertise is the smallblock Ford. We’re pretty convinced Coast has probably built more 347ci stroker small blocks than anyone else in the industry. This is why we decided to look in on the assembly of one of Coast’s 347ci Street Fighter small blocks. The Street Fighter is a great bang-for-the-buck engine kit because you get a whole lot of kit for the money. For a few extra bucks, Coast High Performance will assemble your engine kit into a completed, ready-to-fire engine package. Think of the 347 Street Fighter as a crate engine without the stigma of a crate engine. These folks build solid reliability into each of their engines. This makes the Street Fighter an excellent value.
This time, our focus is late-model, Fox-body small-block power. Our platform is a 1993 Mustang GT hatchback with an AOD transmission. Because we’re building a lot of power into our 302ci small-block foundation, the rest of the vehicle will have to be up to the task. More on that later. Meanwhile, we need to build a powerful 347ci Street Fighter from Coast High Performance.
Assembly of the short-block begins at Coast High Performance, with completion happening at JMC Motorsports in San Diego, California, where Trick Flow cylinder heads and induction will be installed. Our hydraulic roller camshaft and valvetrain have been provided by Comp Cams. Underneath, there’s a Canton double-sump roadrace pan.
No Brainer MCE Custom Engines
It isn’t very often we find fiercely committed professionals dedicated to customer service in the engine building business. MCE Engines in Los Angeles, California is a solid exception to this rule. MCE stands for “Marvin’s Custom Engines.” As the name implies, you can order a complete, custom-built crate engine, that will be ready to fire in a matter of weeks. And if you’re on a tight clock, MCE can make it happen even faster. On top of that, these guys will bring tech support to your home garage or racetrack, that is, as long as you live in Southern California. If you don’t live in Southern California, they will give you personalized service right over the telephone or on the internet. This means you can order an MCE custom engine anywhere in the world and get solid, experienced tech support that results from their more than 45 years of experience. We’re willing to bet you won’t get that from your local machine shop.
So, what do we mean by “no brainer” custom engines? MCE Engines has three basic engine formulas that work very well for a variety of budgets and needs. Think of MCE Engines as a user friendly engine builder. Marvin McAfee, who owns MCE Engines, has developed a successful formula cultivated over a lifetime of engine building. He has a hand picked team that includes Ken Van Fleet, Benton Jackson, and Fred Christian.
All of this aside, MCE Engines offers three basic levels of engines. Each level can be customized to your specifications. Level 1 is your basic street engine, with a flat tappet hydraulic camshaft, cast or forged pistons, forged I-beam factory rods with ARP bolts, standard threeangle valve job, pushrod guide plates with screw-in studs, and more.
Level 2 is a more-powerful, moredurable engine with roller hydraulic lifters, more extensive head work, and the like. Think of Level 2 as a 400-horse small block, good for street and weekend strip. Level 3 is an all-out racing engine, ready for road racing or drag racing. Each of these engines is detailed below. And for more details, you need to call MCE Engines and speak with Marvin. He and his team can help you make the right decisions. On top of that, they can build you a solid, reliable engine. Always bear in mind that a quality engine build does not come cheaply. If your goal is low buck, then remember something important. You get what you pay for.
Written by George Reid and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks