Building a Stroker Small-Block with LS-Like Reliability

All-out horsepower is why we get up in the morning. It’s at the heart of this magazine, the hot rodding hobby, and might actually be the reason the world goes ’round—though we lack the astrophysical expertise to prove the latter.

Bigger-than-big cams, sky-high compression ratios, and mondo cubic inches put a smile on any face, but in our older, wiser age we’ll concede that in a daily driver application, they can kind of kill the vibe. Sitting in SoCal traffic with one foot on the brake and the other nervously tapping the gas to prevent a stall is an anxiety and angst-riddled activity, and we’ve lost many a brain cell sucking up pig-rich-so-it-will-idle-cool fumes. Yeah, sometimes the gnarliest engines are best suited for Sunday street/strip’ers and full-blown race cars. We’re of the “I love the smell of race gas, but I don’t want to smell like race gas” mentality.

So, for our latest cruiser project we wanted to build an engine that could start cold, deliver reasonable mpg, and haul the mail all the while. In other words, we wanted LS reliability and power density, but we wanted to execute it in a humble first-gen small-block Chevy platform. Could it be done? Of course, but it meant teaming up with some top-tier parts people and carefully selecting components that would work to achieve our goals.

The basis of the build consisted of a factory, four-bolt-main small-block, a stroker kit to maximize cubic inches, an innovative camshaft grind, and the latest in high-tech EFI and ignition components to give our engine the most punch per cube. Here’s how we did it. CHP




On the Dyno
On the Westech engine dyno, Steve Brulé punched all of the vital engine specs into the FiTech hand-held computer and the engine fired to life. After a break-in cycle and a few pulls to let the fuel injection learn all of the necessary parameters, the engine was pulled for power and torque. It hit all of our goals, belching out 407 horsepower (even with the tiny cam) and over 400 lb-ft of torque from an insane 2,600-5,300 rpm, with peak torque of 440 lb-ft occurring at 4,200 rpm—a torque band so flat you could eat off of it.





Comp Cams


JE Pistons / SRP



Summit Racing Equipment

Trick Flow Specialties

Westech Performance


Photos by Cody Busch

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