In our last issue, we assembled a stout, yet affordable short-block based around a 383-stroker kit from Powerhouse Engine Components ("Shoestring Stroker," June 2007). This task was accomplished in the author's home garage, and our do-it-yourself methodology has saved us a bunch on labor-related dough. Picking price-friendly parts appropriate for our application has helped keep the bills low as well-to date we've spent just over $1,540 on engine parts and machine work (inclusive of a four-bolt 350 block).
Although we had some specialized engine build tools in our garage already, we also had to grab some more-but around $250 thus far ain't bad, especially when you consider these tools can be reused on subsequent motor builds or other garage projects. Perhaps most importantly of all, we're enjoying the process of building our own mill.
It's time to continue the engine assembly right where we left off, and we'll stick with the theme of suitable-yet-affordable engine components as we put together our stroker's long-block. Our goal of garnering a minimum dollar-per-horsepower ratio is within sight, so follow along to see how it all comes together (no pun intended). And be sure to join us next time for the remainder of our assembly and the all-important dyno results.
As with our rotating assembly, our valvetrain was sourced from our friends at Powerhouse. Here we have our cam, lifters, and timing set (sans crank sprocket-we already pressed it onto the crank snout last time). Our $19.95 S.A. Gear double-roller timing set (PN 73017), Powerhouse lifters (PN 817, $29.92 a set) and, most importantly, Elgin camshaft, keep it affordable, yet dependable and torque-friendly. This PN E1067P hydraulic bumpstick, which features 234/244 duration at 0.050 and 0.488/0.510 lift, is a virtual steal at $64.95 and will help feed our 383 cubes the air and fuel they need.
The cam slides into the front of the block. It makes things a lot easier if you install a couple of long bolts into it to help give you some leverage. This proves especially important when the cam is almost all the way into the block, leaving little to grab onto otherwise. This is a flat-tappet cam, so don't skimp on the break-in lube on the lobes (and distributor gear, of course). Make the least mess by resting the cam on its journals and lubing each lobe group just as it's about to disappear into the block.
After turning the crank so that its sprocket's timing dot faces straight up, the timing chain and cam sprocket go on. It's best to soak the chain in oil before installation, though this means you will experience some drippage here. You'll likely need to spin the cam by hand a bit to help get the cam sprocket onto its locating pin, and make sure the timing mark on the cam sprocket will face straight down once it's on.
As with last time, we're turning to ARP for many of our fastener needs. The company sells its SBC cam bolt kit for $4.57 under PN 134-1001. We'll be using the PN 230-7003 oil pump stud kit ($5.88) momentarily. Also pictured are a balancer bolt (PN 134-2501) and flexplate bolt kit (PN 100-2901), but we won't get to use them until next issue. They go for $26.22 and $11, respectively.
To help ensure the cam bolts stay in, use some red thread locker on each. Torque to 20 lb-ft.
We're not doing anything fancy with cam timing on this engine, but we still want to verify that the cam has been installed correctly-and you should do the same, stroker or not. Powerhouse Products (a division of Comp Cams) sells this heads-off degree wheel kit for $141.95 under PN POW101580. Its universal nature means it'll work on just about any engine you're putting together, and the inclusion of a padded carrying/storage case is a definite nice touch.
Perhaps the best thing about this particular degree wheel kit is that it works in conjunction with Powerhouse Products' Pro Crankshaft Turning Socket, an item we showed you last time. Just use the knurled nut at the front of the socket to tighten the wheel on. Keep it only snug for now though, since we'll need to rotate the wheel while we're establishing top dead center (TDC).
After bending the provided piece of wire to act as a timing pointer (bottom left of photo), we install the degree wheel kit's TDC stop onto cylinder number one. The crank will need to be turned backward slightly in order to drop the piston into the cylinder and allow the stop to be tightened in place (using a couple of head bolts and some spacers).