what are you getting for your cash


Staff member
a good many people will eventually want to build a cost effective, SMALL BLOCK OR big block Chevy engine and most guys will start with the common 454 engine block. I,m always amazed at the guys who flip thru a catalog or talk to a machine shop and buy the first parts they find that seem to match what they are looking for if they can afford it without doing some rather extensive research.
there will always be options in what you can buy, in stronger or better made parts,and theres always going to be places selling over priced parts and making them sound like a great (DEAL).. parts that won,t do the job, of questionable quality.. If you want to build a decent engine you need a trusted machine shop, and you'll have to do some rather extensive research into both what your goals are and what parts you can afford,and understand the terminology and have a good understanding of what your trying to build and how its supposed to work, you'll rarely find money spent on quality parts and machine work is WASTED, as it tends to increase durability. in many cases a PACKAGE DEAL from a SINGLE source can save you both time and effort as generally the components in a package are designed to function as a matched set. good quality parts tend to cost more but in many cases the difference in cost is low compared to what a failed component costs when it fails and the engine sustains extensive damage as a result, a few hundred dollars spent on better parts may be a wise investment.
now a common up-grade is to swap to a 1/4" STROKER crank increasing the 454 engines stock stroke from the stock 4" to a 4.25" as that's about the max displacement that's easily built from a big block 454,with minimal machine work being done, much like when you install a 3.75" stroker crank in a common SMALL BLOCK 350 engine to increase its displacement from 350 to 383 ,and adding a .060 over bore, from the big blocks stock, 4.251 to about 4.310 , this tends to build a bit more compression, adds noticeable potential torque and generally increases performance in the big block , similar in concept to the small block 383 displacement up-grade that's so popular.
a CAST iron crank is not as strong as a CAST STEEL crank and a properly machined FORGED 4340 CRANK is far stronger than either cast crank type ,but a even correctly built and machined , and balanced cast cranks in a BIG BLOCK CHEVY can generally handle 550 hp or more easily, keep in mind its the connecting rods and rod bolts, that are generally blamed for rotating assembly failures but in truth its detonation damage , to the pistons and rings and/or exceeding the rpm limitations of the valve train,stability or failure to check clearances or failure to maintain adequate oil pressure and lack of heat control the proceeds the damage causing problems too cascade into engine damage in many cases. the best quality parts won,t last long if the correct clearances, good lubrication or detonation, are the reason the engines having problems
now theres several ways to go about this but I will point out that Ive generally go the best results using longer 6.385' connecting rods that more easily clear the longer stroke counter weights that are generally used.
the first thing youll want to do is set up a REALISTIC BUDGET and have a long detailed discussion with a local machine shop, and have them inspect your basic engine block as thats your usual starting point.
I would strongly suggest good 6.385" aftermarket connecting rods with arp 7/16" rod bolts and an INTERNALLY BALANCED ROTATING ASSEMBLY you don,t necessarily need a FORGED CRANK as the cast steel cranks are fine for many street/strip applications , but you should do the research and math to figure out the compression, quench, cam timing and matching intake port size, suggested intake design, matching, exhaust design
Youll generally want to use a good set of oval port heads , and a dual plane intake on a 496 bbc built for street use, that will rarely if ever see use over 6000rpm.
look over the links and carefully compare the types of connecting rods, types of pistons (cast vs forged)types of cranks and materials used and note internal vs external balancing.
I generally use and suggest use of scat 4340 forged cranks or occasionally the 9000 cast steel scat cranks for daily driver applications, SCAT, usually does a good job of carefully checking crank dimensions but its your job to check clearances , anytime you build an engine its the builders responsibility to verify clearances, and youll almost always find a rotating assembly needs to be balanced, obviously the crank manufacturer can,t dictate what rods, pistons,piston pins, rings, damper or flywheel are used so the crank counter weights won,t be perfectly balanced

READ THESE LINKS, theres easily a couple days worth of related useful info in the links and the SUB LINKS
Before you get too involved with thinking thru all thats required in an engine build up Id at least look at the options that are available in crate engines
http://www.jegs.com/p/Blueprint-Engines ... 1/10002/-1










http://www.competitionproducts.com/Pro- ... fo/ST496F/
Street/Strip Rotating Assembly
These high performance kits are perfect for street and weekend drags. They feature a cast steel crank, 4340 steel rods with ARP capscrews, Icon FHR pistons, Clevite performance rod and main bearings, and moly rings.
♦ Cast steel crankshaft

Part Type: Rotating Assembly
Application: Chev BB (2-Piece Rear Seal)
Deck Height: 9.800"
Main Bearing Type: 454
Bore: 4.310"
Stroke: 4.250"
Actual Cubic Inch: 496
Crankshaft: Cast Steel
Pistons: Icon FHR Forged Pistons
Piston Dome Type/Volume: -2.4cc Flat Top
Compression: 9.6 w/105cc, 9.4 w/108cc, 8.7 w/119cc
Piston Pins: Included
Connecting Rods: Scat 6.135" Forged 4340 I-Beam (Bushed) w/ARP Capscrews
Rings: Enginetech Moly Racing (Pre-Gapped)
Rod Bearings: Clevite (P-Series)
Main Bearings: Clevite (P-Series)
Balanced: No
Flexplate Included: No
Harmonic Balancer Included: No
Manufacturer: Competition Products
Manufacturer's Part Number: ST469F
Quantity: Sold as Kit

http://skipwhiteperformance.com/detail. ... 496-4340-6

http://enginecrankshaft.info/?kw=forged ... g-assembly

http://www.adperformance.com/index.php? ... cts_id=928

http://www.rpmmachine.com/454-496-cast- ... r-bb.shtml

http://scatcrankshafts.com/images/crank ... n_2013.pdf

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/esp-b ... /overview/

Brand: Eagle Specialty Products
Manufacturer's Part Number: B18022060
Part Type: Engine Rotating Kits
Product Line: Eagle Street and Strip Rotating Assemblies
Summit Racing Part Number: ESP-B18022060

Actual Engine CID: 496
Bore (in): 4.310 in.
Bore (mm): 109.474mm
Engine Stroke (in): 4.250 in.
Balanced: Yes
Pistons Included: Yes
Piston Rings Included: Yes
Piston and Ring Oversize (in): 0.060 in.
Piston Material: Forged aluminum
Piston Style: Dome, with two valve reliefs
Piston Head Volume (cc): -18.00cc
Wrist Pin Style: Floating
Piston Ring Facing Material: Plasmamoly
Crankshaft Included: Yes
Crankshaft Material: Cast steel
Rear Main Seal Style: 2-piece
Engine Balance: External
Connecting Rods Included: Yes
Connecting Rod Material: Forged 5140 steel
Connecting Rod Beam Style: I-beam
Rod Bearings Included: Yes
Rod Bearing Undersize (in): Stock
Rod Bearing Undersize (mm): Stock
Main Bearings Included: Yes
Main Bearing Undersize (in): Stock
Main Bearing Undersize (mm): Stock
Cam Bearings Included: No
Gaskets Included: No
Oil Pump Included: No
Camshaft Included: No
Lifters Included: No
Timing Chain and Gears Included: No
Plastigage Included: No
Assembly Lubricant Included: No
Quantity: Sold as a kit.
Notes: Assembly includes file fit piston rings. Suitable for use up to 700 horsepower.

USA Performance BALANCED Rotating Assembly features 4340 forged 4.250 stroke crank, Forged 4340 H-beam rods with ARP8740 or Optional ARP2000 bolts, Forged Mahle dome pistons with 10.3-1 with 118cc chambers for normally aspirated engines. Available in numerous bore sizes for 489 cid to 496 cid. Crankshafts are forged with 4340 steel and feature multi-stage heat treatment, stress relieving, shot peening, and nitriding for superior strength and reliability. A .125 in radius is used to increase strength, so narrowed bearings must be used.
4.310 bore & 4.250 stroke = 496 cid
4.280 bore = 489 cid
Forged crankshafts by Scat
6.385in 4340 forged H-beam rods by Scat
850 HP w/ ARP8740 and 1200 HP w/ARP2000 rod bolts
Mahle forged pistons +18cc Dome = 10.3-1 with 118cc heads
Plasma moly file fit rings 1.5 x 1.5 x 3mm
King TriAcular rod & main bearings
Precision Balanced Internally
Use 396/427 unweighted flex plate & harmonic balancer

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/hrs-r ... /overview/

Brand: Howards Cams
Manufacturer's Part Number: RAFR496D
Part Type: Engine Rotating Kits
Product Line: Howards Cams Pro Series Race Assemblies
Summit Racing Part Number: HRS-RAFR496D

Actual Engine CID: 496
Bore (in): 4.310 in.
Bore (mm): 109.474mm
Engine Stroke (in): 4.250 in.
Balanced: No
Pistons Included: Yes
Piston Rings Included: Yes
Piston and Ring Oversize (in): 0.060 in.
Piston Material: Forged aluminum
Piston Style: Dome, with no valve reliefs
Wrist Pin Style: Floating
Piston Ring Facing Material: Plasmamoly
Crankshaft Included: Yes
Crankshaft Material: Forged 4340 steel
Rear Main Seal Style: 2-piece
Engine Balance: Internal
Connecting Rods Included: Yes
Connecting Rod Material: Forged 4340 steel
Connecting Rod Beam Style: I-beam
Rod Bearings Included: Yes
Rod Bearing Undersize (in): Stock
Rod Bearing Undersize (mm): Stock
Main Bearings Included: Yes
Main Bearing Undersize (in): Stock
Main Bearing Undersize (mm): Stock
Cam Bearings Included: No
Gaskets Included: No
Oil Pump Included: No
Camshaft Included: No
Lifters Included: No
Timing Chain and Gears Included: No
Plastigage Included: No
Assembly Lubricant Included: No
Quantity: Sold as a kit.

OC 4340 4.25" Crank
OC 6.385 H-beam rods
SRP dome, dish or Flat-top pistons
Total Seal Moly Rings
Federal Mogul race bearings
Internally balanced
Ready to Assemble
Upgrade to ProMax crank - add $400.00


Staff member
I recently had an e-mail asking if this linked DART,short block , (liked below) and its rotating assembly was a good starting point ?
all of us are forced to make choices based on budget and parts cost and availability, but it sure pays to verify what you need well before your order and pay for parts or machine work.

I can easily understand that if your new to hot rodding that some of the parts described or terms used, in advertizements or articles on engine build ups, might not mean much to you, but its always a good idea to check and verify the parts listed meet your intended application or use, obviously the first question that needs to be asked and answered is what are you trying to build or accomplish with that short block assembly and does it reasonably meet and exceed the intended and actual requirements?
the DART SHP block for a SMALL BLOCK CHEVY LISTED HERE, is certainly a step up from the stock oem block casting, and the CAST STEEL crank is certainly better than a stock cast iron crank, a set of FORGED connecting rods is an upgrade from most stock connecting rods but I,m less than impressed with use of 3/8" rod bolts,Hyper-eutectic pistons are certainly better in most applications than the common cast pistons but Id prefer the forged pistons and a 4340 forged crank and 7/16" connecting rods cap screw rod bolts if the engines going to be used to make serious power and expected to operate above about 6000rpm or with nitrous, being used.
obviously the short block assembly was designed to be a cost effective compromise giving you a good basis for a fast street racer type engine at a fairly reasonable price point, keep in mind just the block alone costs $1544, so its about 1/2 of the short block cost and there's not only the parts used but the machine work being done!, plus the convenience, of ordering an assembled short block vs a bunch of parts YOU'LL need to fit and assemble

http://www.jegs.com/webapp/wcs/stores/s ... m=dart+shp

http://www.jegs.com/webapp/wcs/stores/s ... g+assembly

so if the intended application was a performance engine build in a muscle car used for street driving Id think that would be a good basic short block, if I was going to race the car seriously I think Id opt for a 4340 forged crank, 7/16" rod bolt rods and forged pistons

http://www.jegs.com/i/Scat/942/1-41405B ... oreDetails
this rotating assembly is listed just above at $1,649.99 plus the BLOCK COST of $1544 adds to $3194,
plus the required machine work to get it assembled and clearanced etc., with the stronger forged components, but remember you'll need to shop carefully because most 400 crank assembly's will have the larger diam. main journal size so you'll need to order the smaller diameter main bearing diameter to fit the SHP block journal s 350 size crank bearings

http://www.jegs.com/i/Dart/301/03114002/10002/-1 ...$3,313.99
Dart 03114002 - Dart Short Block Assemblies Details


http://www.competitionproducts.com/Long ... ucts/1225/


Dart's 400 cubic inch small block Chevy short block package has been rigorously tested and carefully designed and assembled by the same builders that build Dart's high performance racing engines.

Built on Dart's powerful SHP block for excellent reliability
Internally balanced rotating assembly
Plate honed cylinder bores
High quality cast steel crankshaft
Forged 4340 I-beam rods with 3/8'' cap screws
Hypereutectic pistons with full floating pin
Hastings Moly rings
Clevite bearings
Coated cam bearings for added durability

Engine Performance:
With Dart top end kit p/n 301-01111111 (Iron Heads) or p/n 301-01211111 (Aluminum Heads), compression ratio 10.7:1, .045'' gasket, hydraulic flat tappet cam (230 @ .050) and 750 cfm carburetor.

525 Horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
525 Ft./Lbs. @ 4,000 rpm

you also have the option of a slightly larger roller cam and better flowing cylinder heads which would boost the potential power a bit higher.





Im always amazed frankly at guys that insist they need a certain cylinder head port CC size for an engine, especially when I doubt theres been much if any time spent actually doing the required calculations required to find the correct cross sectional area of an engines intake port or manifold runner length, and you can,t possibly do that required math with out matching the engines displacement, compression ratio, intended power band,rear gear ratio, tire size,cam timing (lift & duration) valve curtain size, after measuring the cylinder head port cross sectional area, and header primary size and length.
I often have guys state they NEED a 180cc or 170CC port head to maintain low speed torque, then the same guys insist they need a VIC JR single plane intake and a 750 cfm holley doble pumper carb, (for better peak power) and they will also point out the need for RAMS HORN EXHAUST MANIFOLDS to maintain good flow but save the cost of headers..

the very mention of the fact that theres MATH formulas available to actually calculate the correct matched components has never once been mentioned, and when it is I get that deer in the head lights stare or Im ignored as an OBVIOUS JERK who is just out to piss on their pizza , as they have read through several magazine articals so they know exactly whats needed!

you may be amazed to find a great deal of research and testing has been done and theres actually proven facts rather than random guess work to use in planing a well built engine combo











reading a few links and sub links is well worth the time and effort




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Staff member
nancy said:
GRUMPY am I better off buying all the components in the SBC 383 rotating assembly separately, while looking for bargain prices, so I can select good quality components, or buying a complete kit some place?

In my experience ,its almost always cheaper and easier to buy a MATCHED set of components from a WELL KNOWN manufacturer like SCAT, which includes the crank,rods,bearings pistons rings damper and flex-plate or flywheel,OBVIOUSLY youll want to read the component list very carefully,youll generally save both time and money if you carefully research the options and don,t shop with LOW PRICE bing your major concern..know what you need and what components meet your requirements and be aware that most of the kit suppliers are only too happy to make substitutions in many cases for a few extra dollars, but also be aware that most cranks have counter weights DESIGNED for a certain range of connecting rod lengths and weights so you can,t generally randomly interchange parts without having a huge increase in some cases in the cost of re-balancing mis matched components ,I generally prefer 7/16" arp rod bolts ,and 4340 forged connecting rods for durability and WHEN BUILDING A 383-406 SBC ENGINE, IVE generally had very good luck ,with both 5.7" and 6" connecting rods.
Be aware most COMPLETE BALANCED ROTATING ASSEMBLY KITS FROM MAJOR SUPPLIERS LIKE SCAT,have the clearance issues worked out,so bearings fit, rings fit the piston grooves, and your LESS likely to have counter weights hitting piston skirts, side clearance issues with connecting rods fitting the crank journals, piston pins not fitting the rods or pistons or connecting rods, hitting the cam or block if you follow the included clearancing instructions that are USUALLY INCLUDED, UNLIKE if you mix and match random components, from several sources.
I prefer 4340 forged cranks and forged pistons on engines that will be raced but the 9000 series cast steel cranks and hyper-eutectic pistons work great on mild transportation engines, youll generally get good advice, if you call and discuss your needs with SCAT


http://www.herbertcams.com/rotating-ass ... eet-strip/

http://www.summitracing.com/search?Sort ... 83%20chevy


http://www.jegs.com/i/Scat/942/1-90355B ... oreDetails