How to Turn a 454 Engine Into a 502 Engine

by David Marsh

Changing a 454 cubic inch engine into a 502 cubic inch engine requires making the combustion chambers bigger by boring metal from the cylinder walls or lengthening the distance the pistons travel. Boring the walls is expensive and delicate but gives the best results in terms of engine wear and response. Stroking, or lengthening the piston travel, is not expensive, but may not produce the desired results.

Boring a 454 block out to 502 cubic inches

Mount the engine block on a sturdy, commercial engine stand. Using an improvised engine support could be dangerous since the 454 weighs 685 pounds.

Position the boring bar of the machining center over the engine block. The machining center uses self-centering guides to align the cutting tool over the engine block

Enter the amount of metal to be removed into the machining center's computer numeric control center.

Follow the machining center's guidebook for lubrication. Remove metal from the cylinder walls with the carbide cutting tool of the machining center until the inside diameter of the cylinder is within 0.005 inches of the final measurement.

Position the honing machine in the same way as the machining center. The honing center completes the work begun by the machining center, using small stones instead of carbide blades. Honing gives the finished cylinder walls small cross-hatch grooves that collect oil and aid lubrication.

Remove the finished engine block from the stand, install new pistons and rings and reassemble the engine.

Installing a stroker kit

Unlike boring an engine block to increase displacement, installing a stroker kit does not require any changes within the block itself. The engine simply needs to be disassembled and the new parts installed.

Choose a quality stroker kit containing all the parts required, including a crankshaft, pistons, rings, connecting rods, rod and main bearings.

Disassemble the engine.

Reassemble the engine with the new parts.

Tip

  • check An engine enlarged by either the installation of a stroker kit or boring of the cylinders will also need upgrades to improve the delivery of the fuel/air mixture and its removal after ignition. Add at least an 850 cfm carburetor, bigger intake and exhaust manifold, cylinder head with bigger valves and a larger set of headers.

Items you will need

About the Author

In 1990 David Marsh began writing a column in the "Idaho Falls Post-Register" titled "Good Things," which presented restaurant reviews, sports analysis and movie criticism. Besides newspaper columns, Marsh researched police procedures for the Federal government. He has a Bachelor of Arts in administration and a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Utah.