With our crank securely in place, we can turn our attention to installing the piston/rod assemblies one by one. First the rings must be installed and clocked. The oil rings/rails can be installed by hand (shown), but our Powerhouse Products ring expander comes in handy for the compression rings: it prevents ring twisting and potential damage to the rings or the piston.
Before dropping the pistons in and hiding the lower cylinder walls forever, take a look at the casting area that has been removed at the bottom of some of the cylinders. This clearancing is especially common practice for blocks accepting stroker internals, as it affords a little more room for the rotating assembly. Make sure your machine shop has taken care of this for you if your block has material in this area.
After the cylinder wall is given a good cleaning, it's lubed with engine oil and our Powerhouse Products ring compressor is adjusted to size and set on top. The piston is carefully started on its journey with the butt end of a hammer.
Any significant resistance could be a ring hanging up; if this happens, pull the piston out and start over-don't risk breakage!
The rod cap (with at least one nut) is then installed loosely beneath in preparation for flipping the engine over. Note how we've clearanced the rod nuts that come closest to the block: you can see this on the upper nut of the rod labeled "1" that we've already installed. This is a must-do for nearly all strokers and shouldn't affect engine balance.
With the engine flipped over, the ARP rod studs and nuts are lubed with moly assembly lubricant and torqued for good to Powerhouse's spec of 50 lb-ft. Keep at least one nut on at all times while adding lube so that you don't accidentally send the piston to the floor.
The piston/rod installation process is repeated for all cylinders, and with the bottom end of our shoestring stroker fully assembled, we're out of time. Next issue we'll build upon our short-block success and add some more strong-yet-affordable components that will help ensure reliable power on a tight budget.
Automotive Racing Products (ARP)
531 Spectrum Circle
3402 Democrat Rd.
Powerhouse Engine Components
931 19th St
RPM Performance Engines