Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
October 1, 2002
Photos By: Courtesy of Panhandle Performance

Horse Sense:
The belief that every stroker engine uses oil is a myth. There are several factors to consider when building an engine in order to have proper oil control. But it's especially critical with stroker engines where the lower oil ring is in the wristpin hole. The most important aspect of a stroker is the clearance between the piston and piston rings, and the cylinder bore. If the bore measurement is out of whack, the piston size is wrong, or you're using low-tension race-piston rings, you'll probably run into heavy oil consumption early in the engine's life. So, if you plan to drive your stroker engine- equipped Mustang on the street, use a quality, standard-tension piston ring and make sure the clearances are right on the money.

Stroker engines are all the rage nowadays. With 331s, 337s, 342s, and the ever-popular 347 readily available, and with even SN-95 Mustangs getting up into the mid-100k-mile range, it's only a matter of time before your steed will need one as well. At least that's the story we're sticking to, since our '93 coupe's short-block has been around the block to the tune of 156,000-plus miles. Yours truly doesn't baby his Mustang around town the way other 5.0&SF staff members do, thus the propensity for seeing redline during even the shortest trips to the corner store has taken its toll. So, what else could we do but add a stroker! After all, Editor Turner just dropped a 331 in his coupe, and Tech Editor Houlahan has had his 347 under the hood of his hatch for a while.

Of course, we wouldn't be happy with a 331, would we? And why settle for 347 ci when Lunati makes a 349 stroker kit? Sure, it's only two cubes more than a 347, but-hey-two cubes is two cubes, right? And since Houlahan is a member of the click-click club, and Editor Turner's car will never see the dragstrip, the little coupe affectionately known as Project Jersey Turnpike will surely reign as king of the Primedia Lakeland office. [We'll just see about that. I've already got the small pulley ready!-Ed.] That Corvette Fever staffer downstairs better wake up from his plastic pipe dream as well (we've yet to see the car for ourselves anyway).

Sure, it's a lot of smack talk, but we plan to walk the walk as well thanks to the help of the horsepower heroes at Panhandle Performance. Panhandle's Mark Biddle and Adam Day are performing the machine work, porting and polishing the heads, and assembling the stroker with big power in mind.

Our initial story involves prepping the block and installing the Lunati rotating assembly. Keep an eye for a future issue where we'll install the Lunati custom-grind cam, the Holley SysteMAX II heads and intake, and all the support components.

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