Subscribe to the Free

Chevy Stroker LS Engine Questions - CHP Garage

Jul 1, 2009

If you've got something to say, we'll make you famous and put your letter right here:

What Electrician?
Next time you need electrical work done, avoid burned fingers and singed eyebrows by following my lead. Make your wife do it!
Al Black
via email

That means I actually have to settle down and get married first!

Carburetor Performance Tip
About 50 years ago I was in a garage and heard the old mechanic grumble, "Most of the carb problems are in the distributor." Now I'm the old guy. I've been doing emissions testing here in Denver for the past 25 years, and the same problem occurs about twice a week. A car fails the test because of high HC (hydrocarbons or raw gas). The first thing I do is look to see if the car has a vacuum advance canister on the distributor. If it does, with the engine idling, pull the hose off and see if the engine rpm drops. A decrease in rpm means you had the hose coming from a direct (manifold) source-not good.
Next, cap off where the hose was originally hooked to and find a ported vacuum source to run the vacuum advance. If you can't, just leave everything alone and retest the car. Voila! Now it passes with a significant reduction in HCs, and the damned bog that you've always had when leaving from a stop (no matter how many times you rebuilt or changed the carb) is gone!
I've done over 75,000 E-tests and know this works. You can thank me later. And leave the carb alone!
Steve Fickler
Wheat Ridge, CO

Keeping The Sanity
I just read your editorial on doing home repairs (Shop Talk, May '09). As I was reading this I was in the middle of fixing the power steering on my '00 SS Camaro. I've handled most of the mods to the car, including headers, an LS6 intake, an N.O.S. nitrous kit, and exhaust. So I decided to tackle swapping the pump out myself.

I got most of the car apart, only to learn I needed a flare wrench to get the pressure line off. The next day I picked up a set and worked through the night to get it buttoned back up. Come to find out my pressure line was leaking at the bottom, too. I'm standing there thinking to myself that this can't be happening. Not to mention my wife is thinking, "Great, this is going to cost even more money."

The great thing is my boss is a good friend of mine and was kind enough to loan me the money to get the line. So there I am, once again underneath the car, ripping it all apart. This time I can't get a wrench on it. This meant removing the alternator, which I hate to admit, because I ended up snapping the bracket! After all that, I discovered that I didn't have the right size flare wrench. Now I have to wait to order an 18mm crow's-foot flare wrench and a new bracket.

I just wanted to say that the editorial helped to calm me down and made me realize that it's only a car and that these little glitches happen to everyone. Thanks for such a great story and magazine!
Justin Sherwood
Port Saint Lucie, FL

More Vette Tech!
I'm a longtime reader of CHP and would love to see more Vette articles or at least handling articles. It's fun to accelerate in the X and Y directions! My next project will be a C5 Vette, especially with prices dropping below $10K. I would like to know more about the stroker LS engines, such as a 440ci, which is what I plan to attempt. Darton has an elaborate sleeving process ($1,800), and better yet I understand that TPIS now has a sleeving process for as little as $1,250. What do you know about different sleeving methods, reliability, and the cost comparison of the different options? What heads would you use: CNC LS1, LS2, L92, or LS7? I know that port velocity is very important for cylinder filling after BDC via inertia. I hear that the L92 heads have great flow numbers, but I also hear that the huge volume actually ends up hurting bottom-end power. I'm looking for a 650hp street machine with about 11:1 compression and a cam as mild as possible, in the neighborhood of 235 duration at 0.050-inch. Which rotating assemblies do you like, and what are the costs? Any clearance issues?

Also, for what it's worth, when I told other people about writing in, they loved the idea of modifying Corvettes. The Corvette is Chevy's signature car, and even if you cannot afford a new one, people still like to hear about mods. Seriously, you can pick up C4s for as little as $4,000, and C5s are staring at $9,500. Don't get me wrong, I like the magazine, but something different would be a nice. Maybe just one article per month?

Don't be afraid to showcase lateral g's, big brakes, sway bars, coilover conversions, lowering, and rollcages. If nothing else, it will introduce other vendors to the magazine and new products. In this economy, divulging a series of "how to" porting, big bore machining with sleeves would be great. Let's see edit on oil galley porting and so on. Come on, let's whip a different General.
Stephen Booth
via email

How can we argue with that? I should mention that we almost got our hands on a C5 outfitted with a cage, but it ended up slipping through our fingers. Still, I like the way you think. We're definitely going to follow through with this. Sometimes, it just takes a reader like you to voice his opinion, and in this case we're going to listen!

0906chp_01_z Chevy_stroker_ls_engine_questions Chevy_nova_ss 2/5

Winter Projects
You asked for winter projects, so here is mine. It was originally a numbers-matching '70 SS 396, but I was scared of hurting the engine and never ended up driving it. To fix that, I pulled the motor and transmission out, dropping in an all aluminum Merlin 540 big-block with a manual shift Turbo 400. On the dyno the 540 put out 608 hp and 635 lb-ft at just 3,700 rpm! The good news is that we just completed the install and are starting to work out all the little bugs. And in case you were wondering, the numbers-matching trans and engine will no doubt wind up in my living room-ready if needed! Also, I'm planning to keep the air conditioning functional. With that, I should probably quit writing and go wax it.
Rick Koch
Conroe, TX

0906chp_03_z Chevy_stroker_ls_engine_questions Heacock_auto_insurance 3/5

Insured Muscle
You've spent countless hours behind the wrench and countless dollars restoring your muscle car. However, how much does this peace of mind cost? It's one of those things that some overlook, but when you think about it, acquiring insurance for your muscle cannot be set aside. Heacock Insurance ( is all about enthusiast-based vehicles, whereas most traditional auto insurers don't fully comprehend the value of our muscle cars or the hobby.

Heacock also incorporates a number of sources, ranging from owner input to printed value guides, along with the expertise of its staff, who are also car enthusiasts, to determine a realistic value for any number of vehicles. Plans are then based on the "agreed value" and the number of miles driven in a year. Typically these policies have premiums that are less than half of a conventional automotive policy. For collectors with multiple vehicles, Heacock Classic assesses liability charges on just the first vehicle and also offers zero-deductible policies.

Heacock also offers some special benefits, including the Heacock Classic Driver Club, which includes free roadside assistance with flatbed towing, lock-out service, fuel delivery, and other emergency services.

0906chp_02_z Chevy_stroker_ls_engine_questions Classic_industries_web_page 4/5

Classic Website
Classic Industries has completely revamped its website, which now features faster, more efficient parts searches; complete order tracking; restoration tips; featured cars; and integration with Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube. Classic revised every aspect of the site, from the look to the content, and the webmasters have done a great job of creating a 24/7, one-stop online destination for GM restoration enthusiasts. Make sure to check out

Meguiar's Top 10 Car Detailing Tips
What better way to get your muscle car out of the garage than with a little spring cleaning? We got together with the folks at Meguair's, and they provided us with their methodology when it comes to car detailing. Here we listed their top 10 tips on getting your muscle ready for the show. Who knows? It may provide you with some new tips you never thought of. Check out for more information and the products to get the job done.

10. Contaminants are continually landing on your paint finish whenever your car is driven or parked outside. Many contaminants can bond or etch into your paint finish in less than a week. For 100 percent protection and a "just detailed" appearance every day, keep a bottle of a quick spray detailer and clean microfiber towels in your car at all times for quick and easy removal of fresh contaminants before they do damage.

9. Swirl marks are microscopic scratches, primarily caused by harsh or contaminated application/wipe-off cloths or abrasive cleaners, polishes, and waxes. To prevent swirl marks, use only foam or cotton terry cloth applicators and either 100 percent cotton, deep-pile terrycloth, or premium microfiber towels for wiping off with nonabrasive formulations.

8. The durability of any car wax varies widely depending on the environment and how often your car is driven or parked outdoors. When your spray detailer becomes slow to wipe off, it's time to rewax.

7. Polishes that boast of cleaning action or protective qualities should be avoided because they are not pure polishes that produce an optimum gloss.

6. Abrasive compounds and cleaners are dangerous and should never be used on clearcoat paint finishes. To guard against scratching, only use nonabrasive cleaners and compounds to remove below-surface stains, blemishes, and oxidation.

5. After washing your car, rub the back of your hand across its top surfaces. You will quickly feel bonded contaminants that must be removed with a clay bar before clear gloss and lasting protection can be achieved.

4. When washing your car, always work from the top down to prevent scratching your paint with the more abrasive contaminants from the lower sections of your car.

3. Dishwashing detergents should never be used on paint finishes. Only use dedicated carwash shampoos and conditioners to wash your car.

2. Unless otherwise directed, "show car perfect" results are best achieved when all five of the following steps are performed in the shade and to surfaces that are not hot.

1. Five basic steps for restoring and maintaining your paint finish:

* Wash. This removes loose contaminants on your paint finish.

* Clean. This removes bonded contaminants, stains, blemishes, scratches, and oxidation before polishing or waxing.

* Polish. This is the optional step for creating perfectly clear reflections on black paint finishes and other dark colors.

* Protect. Form a barrier of waxes, polymers, silicones, and resins on top of your paint finish to protect it from the elements.

* Maintain. The missing link between washing and waxing is the regular use of a spray detailer to keep your car looking like it was just detailed.

0906chp_04_z Chevy_stroker_ls_engine_questions Editors_face_sean_haggai 5/5

Rooster Call
Sean Haggai
Commuting in traffic alone in a rental around L.A. is a killer on the mind. Take that and multiply it on top of other chaotic instances during the day, and you've got a pot full of bad news. It's hard enough to travel to and from work, but when you get out of the office to commute across the valley to another shop for a story, you can get a bit stressed out. Top off the day with less than perfect timing on stories (usually late), and you could snap.

To make matters worse, an accident six months earlier was haunting me. Finally though, I made the effort and got my daily driver to the body shop. Naturally, I took my car to Rubio's Auto Body for the repairs. His shop is taking such great care of Project Brutus ('66 El Camino), it only made sense. After a couple days of cruising the rental, I got my daily driver back in pristine shape. So what's the big deal? Well, less than a week later, I was side-swiped by another driver who wasn't paying attention, again!

How could she not see me? Obviously she was in a rush and wasn't using the two large side-view mirrors at her disposal. She jumped lanes so fast there was no time to hit my brakes.

What bothers me most is the etiquette she illustrated after exiting her vehicle to observe the damage. First, she didn't even bother asking if I was all right. Second, she took a glance at my car and claimed I had no damage. Are you kidding me? I was willing to let the accident slide, but the attitude she was throwing my way was unquestionably irritating. I kept my cool though, keeping my name clean. To make matters worse, my registration papers were snatched up by a gust of freak gail-force wind. I went scrambling down the street after the paperwork, only to see it vanish underneath a storm drain-never to be seen again. Perfect. What else could go wrong? Mark my words: My driver's license almost suffered the same fate. Luckily I was able to stretch far enough to grab my license from under the opening in the sidewalk.

No matter how you slice it, that day was horrible, and I am back in a rental again.



Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

sponsored links

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print