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Long Block Engine Build - Shoestring Stroker, Part 2

More Budget-Minded Parts Allow Continuing Construction Of Our 383 Small-Block - While Keeping The Wallet Fat.

Now turn the crank forward (clockwise) until the piston hits the stop. Mark the pointer reading on the degree wheel. Then, turn the crank backward until the piston drops to BDC, comes up, and hits the stop again. Mark this reading on the degree wheel as well. The halfway point of where the two marks are is your zero, so adjust the location of the wheel on the crank socket to accomplish this. After doing so, verify that zero indicates TDC by spinning the crank forward and then back again, making sure the pointer indicates the same number each time the piston hits the stop (albeit on either side of zero). Here, we get 17.5 degrees each way, meaning our degree wheel is properly positioned.

The most common way to verify that the cam is installed correctly is via the intake centerline method. At the risk of over-generalizing, we'll just say that this measures the crankshaft angle where the cam's intake lobe reaches maximum lift. Install a lifter into cylinder number one's intake lifter bore, and mount the Powerhouse Products fixture so that the dial indicator's tip touches the lifter. Every part of this fixture must be secure and tight for accuracy, and the dial indicator's stem needs to be parallel to lifter travel. Zero the dial indicator at maximum lifter travel out of its bore.

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).

We're on a budget, but the marginal dollar savings incurred with heavy iron cylinder heads simply didn't make sense in our minds, particularly when there's the possibility of a home porting job down the road (stay tuned on that one). That said, our heads of choice are Powerhouse's fully-assembled, angle-plug aluminum units (PN 123400090A). Retailing for $799 a pair, these as-cast, 190cc intake runner heads are a very good buy, reportedly flowing 260/209 cfm at 0.500 lift. Equipped with 2.05/1.60-inch valves, you can also have them in polished versions for another hundred bucks. The guideplates are included, as are screw-in rocker studs.

After cleaning the block's deck surface, we lay our driver side head gasket in place. These ROL units are included in the gasket set provided as part of Powerhouse's stroker kit and are designed to be installed dry-so no RTV to get our fingers sticky with here.

All 16 lifters are soaked in oil to get them lubricated(but they are't pumped up, so as not to interfere with proper valve adjustment), and cam break-in-lube is spread across the before sliding them their bores. then the purshrods are inserted, being sure to put some back in lube on the tips of each well.

ARP provided us with its PN 134-3601 small-block Chevy head bolt kit for $85.74. Rated at 170,000 psi, these 7/16 bolts provide plenty of clamping force without breaking the bank.

Since the cylinder head bolt holes on a small-block Chevy intersect the water jacket, it's important to use sealer on the bolt threads in lieu of moly lube. ARP sells just the stuff to do the trick and prevent coolant from creeping up the threads.

The head bolts are installed and torqued in sequence to a final value of 60 lb-ft (ARP's recommended value for aluminum heads). We repeat the previous steps for the passenger side cylinder head.

Our upper valvetrain consists of rocker studs (included with our cylinder heads), 0.100-inch longer 4130 chrome-moly Elgin pushrods (PN 777, $59.04), and 1.5-ratio extruded aluminum roller rockers (PN 1538, $159) made by Powerhouse. All of this will help keep our stroker's top end as reliable as possible.

The 31/48-inch rocker studs are torqued atop the guideplates. Sealer should be used on these threads as well. As an aside, now is a good time to spread some assembly lube around the areas of the guideplates that will contact the pushrods.

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