How to Turn a 454 Engine Into a 502 Engineby 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.
- 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
- Engine boring machine
- Engine block
- Machine shop
- Honing Machine
- Stroke Kit
- Engine Builder Magazine: Line Boring Equipment: A Boring Subject?: June 1, 2006: Larry Carley
- Muscle Mustangs & Fast Ford Magazine: Installing A 331-Stroker Kit In A Small-Block - Stock-Block Stroke Swap: October, 2009: Steve Baur
- Circle Track Magazine: Block Prep Procedures, When Done Correctly, Can Mean Faster Laps: February, 2009: Jeff Huneycutt